Friday, December 17, 2010

Four people dead in Australian Floods...

A fourth person has died as the flood crisis worsens across Australia, with at least four states and territories on high alert for thunderstorms and heavy rain.
Farmers have watched their livelihoods swallowed by the deluge and thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes, with the tragedy of the situation compounded by yet another death.
Today, the body of a man, aged in his 50s, was found in a car that had been driven into Denison Creek at Oxford Downs in central Queensland a few days earlier.
Witnesses said the driver passed other cars that were stopped on the roadside waiting for the floodwaters to subside.
It's the third flood-related death in Queensland.
On Saturday night, an elderly man whose utility was swept off a flooded causeway in central Queensland was found dead, 35 kilometres south of Rockhampton.
The man, identified as Alan Kane, went missing on Friday night at Bajool.
A 55-year-old woman died last week when her car was swept off a flooded roadway near Dysart, northwest of Rockhampton.
Tragedy has also stuck in the central west of NSW, with the discovery of a woman's body today afternoon in waters about 500 metres from her abandoned vehicle in Goonumbla, northwest of Parkes.
NSW remains in the grip of flooding with 30 areas now declared natural disaster zones after Queanbeyan was hit by a deluge yesterday night.
About 100 houses and businesses were evacuated and 10 people were rescued by boat in what is being described as a one-in-20-year event.
Battle-weary emergency crews in Wagga Wagga are continuing their vigil in the regional city.
The Murrumbidgee River is expected to peak at 9.7m sometime tomorrow, potentially putting even more of North Wagga under water.
Aerial scans today of the nearby towns of Tarcutta and Tumut showed the impact of massive deluges overnight, with farms and homes inundated causing the closure of the Hume Highway near Tarcutta Creek.
The weather bureau is predicting the rain band that wreaked havoc in Queanbeyan will move north.
Authorities are worried it will pose problems for areas such as Coonamble in northwestern NSW.
Further south, towns in northeast Victoria remain on flood alert as the Ovens, King and Broken rivers are expected to peak tomorrow, although rain has eased across the state.
Myrtleford, Wangaratta and Benalla in the northeast are also on rural flood alerts into tomorrow.
The SES says a key focus for emergency teams is also the town of Harrow in the state's west where the Glenelg River is forecast to peak tomorrow.
About 10 property owners have been warned of potential flooding.
The largest rainfall recorded was 158mm at Mongans Bridge, outside Mansfield, and 145mm in Mt Buller.
"We've had extensive rural flood in northeastern Victorian and there are a small number of properties that may be inundated or isolated over the next couple of days," SES spokeswoman Jilly Charlwood said.
It's lucky no lives were lost in South Australia's floods, with many communities having as little as 15 minutes' notice of the looming disaster.
"This was one of the most significant weather events in this state for a lot of years," said SES assistant chief officer Matthew Maywald.
"People were lucky they didn't lose their lives.
"A number of people chose to drive through floodwaters and there were a number of rescues."
Maywald said in most cases the worst of the water and storm damage occurred over a 15-minute time frame.
"In a lot of cases it had happened and was flowing out before it was even reportable," he said.
Meanwhile in Queensland, residents of Rockhampton have been sandbagging homes in preparation for a 7.8m flood peak expected early next week.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the Fitzroy River will reach seven metres over the weekend and peak at 7.8m on Monday or Tuesday.
The flood could cut off some homes for a wee

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Prince William's wedding won't allow for a bank holiday and no Obama invitations...

Word coming from St. James Palace is that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are not on the guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's April 2011 wedding.

Palace sources reason that because Prince William is not the direct heir to the throne his wedding is not considered a "state affair" though the government has declared the wedding a bank holiday.

The couple's selection of Westminster Abbey as their wedding ceremony venue limits the guest list to 2,000 guests and the couple would prefer to invite charity workers and ordinary citizens rather than foreign dignitaries.

The Daily Mail reports that a handful of heads of state are likely to make the list including France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni.

At Prince Charles and Princess Diana's 1981 wedding President and Mrs. Reagan were invited but only the First Lady attended.

The decision to keep the wedding guest list open to non-VIPS is an example of Prince William's desire to hold the first ever "people's wedding" by inviting the public who have worked with his 21 charities.

More on the Royal Wedding:
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 08:  Pope Bene...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeLeaked cables prove Vatican's cover-ups of child abuse by Catholic priests...

A recent  international newspaper report claimed that American diplomatic cables indicated the Vatican felt  "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See sovereignty when  asking high ranking churchmen to answer questions about sex abuse to an Irish sex abuse commission. Part of a cover up, perhaps?

That the Holy See has tried to use its diplomatic- immunity status to try to thwart the Irish fact finding probe has long known. But WikiLeaks cables allegedly published by Britain's Guardian newspaper contain delicate, behind the scenes diplomatic assessments. Interesting to say the least.

The Vatican press office declined to comment on the cables, but decried the leaks as a matter of "extreme seriousness". The cables or their contents I wonder?

The US ambassador to the Holy See also condemned the leaks and said the Vatican and America co-operate in promoting universal values.

There is much more to the report, but I would like to briefly comment on the so-called universal values: Just what values did they discuss?

I would strongly suggest that the Vatican, and America by its association, should be eternally condemned for trying to hide evidence of child rape and sexual assault by Roman Catholic priests in a number of countries over many decades.

The Church had many priests transfered to other parishes, and sometimes other countries, and prevented in many cases  local authorities from obtaining evidence against paedophile priests.

Ireland wanted to be seen as being supportive of the independent  probe into child abuse cover-ups in the Dublin Archdiocese, but Rome  officials didn't want to intervene in the probe's efforts to get information.

To do so was viewed by the Vatican as an affront to their sovereignty - never mind an offront to human decency!
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