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Spectacular Rare Occurrence in Australia - Monster Waterspout Seen at Batemans Bay!

Spectacular Rare Occurrence in Australia - Monster Waterspout Seen at Batemans Bay! CONTRIBUTOR: Andre Heath. It may have looked like something out of a disaster movie - but the Jeep driver passing through was probably under no illusions to the very real threat posed by this gigantic waterspout. The amazing natural phenomenon, which is created when tornadoes form above the sea, was spotted earlier today...

On this page: 
  • Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors Airs on Australia's Channel 10
  • Fewer Jobs Forcing Young Kiwi Flight to Australia
  • Young Kiwis Protest Against Australian Benefits Discrimination
  • Death in Custody Family Stages Noisy Protest
  • Even PM's Father's Suicide is Self-Promotional Fodder For Shock Jock

Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors Airs on Australia's Channel 10

Updated 6 October 2012  -- More than 6 years ago, naturalist and wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin was filming an Animal Planet documentary in the waters of the Batt Reef, off North Queensland, Australia.  Irwin and his camerman were in shallow water, working with an Australian Bull Ray, Myliobatis australiis, or Southern Eagle Ray, which are normally docile, when the 8-foot-long, 3-foot-wide animal unexpectedly pierced his chest near the heart with its barbed spine. Irwin was able to pull out the mildly venomous barb,  but because the injection site was so close to his heart, he died immediately afterward.
Despite the tragedy, his family has continued to dedicate themselves to working with animals.Starting this month, his wife, Terri, and two children, Bindi and Bob, are starring in a new television series called Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors beginning October 6th, on Australian TV. No word yet whether or when it will be aired in the U.S., but The Crocodile Hunter lives on in international television syndication.

Steve Irwin, RIP February 1962-4 September 2006
Irwin's death from a ray sting was a terrible, freak accident, even though some varieties of the creatures are among the world's deadliest.  Most injuries in encounters with rays are because they've been stepped on. Many tour guides offer opportunities to swim with them in waters where they are plentiful.  My daughter swam with stingrays on a visit to Grand Cayman Island and still treasures the experience.

Like any popular figure, Irwin had his share of detractors. Although he attracted criticism as well as applause while he was alive, PETA attacked him specifically for activities they deemed as being harmful to wildlife in a 2010 article, even though he'd been dead for nearly 4 years.  
In 2004, he made headlines around the world when he held his one-month-old son Bob in one arm while dangling a dead chicken as a snack offering to a huge crocodile.

Irwin said in later interviews that he had no regrets, and felt his son was never in any danger. He had an extraordinary sense of humor and as well as having great fun with Conan O'Brien, he once parodied himself on the David Letterman show by wrestling a blow-up crocodile in a kiddie pool.

Steve Irwin was joined by the whole family in his work with wildlife, having first inherited the passion from his mother Lyn, and from his father, Bob. His wife Terri, an American by birth, was already a naturalist when she met Steve. She describes their meeting in a 2001 live chat transcripted on the Animal Planet website:
"We met when I came to Australia in 1991 when I came to talk to zoos for placing animals there. I worked with captive cougars that needed to be placed. When I went into Australia's zoo, they have an unpretentious entrance. I was surprised to see parrots and kangaroos just wandering around. I heard this voice talking about crocodiles and went over to find a man in the water with the crocodiles. Instead of talking about his accomplishments, he was talking about what passionate lovers and beautiful mothers crocodiles are. I was so impressed, and he looked SO good in those shorts. (laughs) It was love at first sight."
Eerily, she began the chat with the reassurance that Steve wasn't dead, and told the chat host she wasn't overly concerned about the risks Steve took with dangerous animals. That year, he was picked by 104 players out of 55,448 from a total of 18,784 celebrities likely to die in 2006 at's Dead Pool.
Irwin was a hero to many Australians and people around the world for his enthusiasm and devotion to the protection and study of animals.  Most people interviewed about his death, though clearly distressed and saddened, weren't surprised, since his entire life seemed to be devoted to taking incredible risks.  Even his father stated that his son had died doing what he loved.
Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors begins airing on Australia's channel 10 on October 6th, 2012. Terri and their two children, Bob and Bindi, in conjunction with the 24/7 wildlife and animal rescue hospital at the family's Australia Zoo in Queensland, will be traveling wherever animals and their habitats need protection all over the world. The senior Bob Irwin, Steve's father, left the Australia Zoo, reportedly after a rift with Terri in 2008, to start his own Wildlife & Conservation Foundation.
It's inspiring that his family has taken solace in knowing that Steve Irwin died doing what he loved, is still admired by many the world over, and will live forever on screen.  My own family enjoyed The Crocodile Hunter on Animal Planet, and the movie, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.  His devotion to sharing knowledge and joyful exploration of habitats all over the world will always be personally inspirational to us. 
"Crikey!," as he used to say, we will always remember and miss this hero of wildlife.  -- Cat

Comedy Central's controversial cartoon, South Park, sent him up in a parody which now, after his death, may be a little too close for comfort to watch.


Posted 7 October 2012 -- Hundreds of New Zealanders living in Australia have signed a petition against discriminatory social security laws which they say have created a Kiwi "underclass".

Above is a video of an alleged police assault on a Nyoongar youth, who bystanders claim was standing up to police on behalf of his mother.

Updated Oct 7, 2012 – Family and supporters of an Indigenous man who died in police custody have staged a noisy protest after being excluded from a meeting about alcohol problems at Alice Springs. Video  In Climate of Death, an opinion piece in the National Indigenous Times, reporter Gerry Georgatos interviewed Nyoongar Elder, Ben Taylor.

"We have to get rid of racist cops. I don't want to dwell on the past but I have grown up bitter." ~ Ben Taylor, a member of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of WA and 2011 winner of the NAIDOC award for male elder.

Meanwhile, a recent study has linked a rise in Alice Springs booze prices to a reduction in the assault rate. Aboriginals feel the the government is using this study and other measures to support the undermining of local businesses, to strengthen support a Banned Drinker's Register, and to justify violence against the aboriginal community. They aren't alone.

The sheer volume of protective custodies in Alice Springs was emphasised by Coroner Greg Cavanagh in his Briscoe Inquest findings, with Alice Springs accounting for nearly half of the NT’s protective custodies in the 12 months ending April 30 2012. Mr Cavanagh described the statistics as “one of the boldest indicators of the resource drain caused by excess consumption”. He described as “simply unacceptable”  the situation where “Police Officers in Alice Springs spend half their time on duty picking up ‘protective custodies’”. This was the demoralising, depressing backdrop to the events leading to the death of Kwementyaye Briscoe.

Even PM's Father's Suicide is Self-Promotional Fodder For Shock Jock

Alan Jones' Outburst Sparks Fury, Rallies Supporters

Like America's Rush Limbaugh, Australian broadcaster Alan Jones has made a career out of pushing the boundaries to please his right-wing audience.

Jones is a former coach of the Australian National Rugby Union team who sought Liberal Party pre-selection in the late 1970s. He is also a determined climate change denier who 13 years ago was investigated over allegations of accepting commercial support from companies in exchange for favorable comment. Despite this, the take-no-prisoner broadcaster remains one of Australia's most popular and highly paid radio announcers.

Jones has now taken on the last taboo: the survivor of a parent's death by suicide. Described by some as a right-wing populist, among other things, in an after-dinner speech at the Sydney University Liberal Club (note: in Australian party politics Liberal means conservative) he made the following remarks about Prime Minister Julia Gillard's (or Ju-liar, as Jones has called her) father:

"The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood in the Parliament."

On September 29, Jones delivered what many call a pathetic and insecere apology for his comments. Despite apologizing, Jones is still under fireJournalist Jonathan Marshall recorded Jones' comments at the dinner and his press conference apology.

Video While Australia's Green Party is calling for his firing and a boycott of Jones' show and sponsors, the Macquarie Radio Network has announced that it will be temporarily suspending all advertising on Australian Alan Jones GB breakfast show. So far Woolworth's is only the latest company to pull its sponsorship; the rest of the confirmed list includes Challenger, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus of Parramatta, Freedom Furniture, Dilmah Tea, Bing Lee, ING Direct, Lite n' Easy and more are considering it.

PM Julia Gillard refused to comment on Jones' remarks, but thanked the people for the outpouring of support she's received since he made them.

American conservative shock-jock Rush Limbaugh had his own controversy earlier this year, when he called a Georgetown University graduate student who was advocating against anti-reproductive rights legislation a 'slut' and a 'prostitute.' This American research journalist wants to know if Jones, like Limbaugh, who admitted to an Oxycontin addiction in 2003 after law enforcement found he was known to a drug ring they busted, whether it's possible Jones' loose talk may also be the result of medication: he was treated for both prostate cancer and a brain tumor in 2008.

Australian's The Drum wants to know if Australia's 'liberal' politicians can get over their Alan Jones addiction. In any case, after so many scandals, Jones,' like Limbaugh's, audience share numbers are slipping.

2011 Video: Cameras "Catch" Umar Patek Laughing With Police, Anniversary of Bombings Reached as Trial Begins

Justice has caught up with all of the Bali bombers, a significant comfort for those still grieving for their victims 10 years later.
Umar Patek, 45, had been on the run for 9 years until his capture in 2011. Three others have already been executed. Patek claimed that he did not play a major role in preparation or organizing the attack, that the bombing would have happened whether he helped or not, he was a reluctant participant. His testimony no doubt helped him escape the death penalty. 
His flight may have cost him, however, as did being caught on camera laughing with policemen. His convicted co-conspirator, Ali Imron, testified against him. If ever he gets out of prison, convicted Bali bomber Imron wants to go to Australia to apologize, according to his recent interview in a Jakarta detention center. “I want to offer my apologies to the victims’ families in their homeland,” he told The Sunday Times. 

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