Jul 20, 2011
TechComapny update: Google’s investment algorithm, Why we’re not getting the backup message, HTC Sensation in the spotlight
|Privacy crackdown looms amid carbon crisis|
|The beleaguered Gillard government will open a new reform front, pushing for a legal right to privacy in the wake of the News of the World scandal.|
Julia Gillard is in Ipswich, Queensland, this morning, where she'll open the the Brassall State School Hall.
Tony Abbott is in Melbourne where he'll visit the Monash Medical Centre with Premier Ted Baillieu.
Questions: It's now fairly clear the Gillard government will use the British phone hacking crisis to crack down on Australia's media. Privacy Minister Brendan O'Connor has flagged a new legislated right to privacy in the wake of the scandal. Expect this to be vigorously opposed by Australian media companies as an attack on press freedom. Crucially, there is absolutely no evidence here of the sort of journalistic malpractice exposed in Britain. Mr O'Connor did not nominate any previous local examples of the sort of conduct he wants to avoid.
As she considers a Greens calls for a media inquiry, Julia Gillard yesterday declared that News Ltd had "hard questions to answer", following the News of the World scandal. But she won't say what they are. Are they secret questions? It's all very unclear. News Ltd chairman and chief executive John Hartigan said the accusation was "unjustified and regrettable".
If the government is committed to the pursuit of answers to "hard questions", perhaps it should look at reforms to the farce that is question time. ABC boss Mark Scott suggested a solution to the problem last night - adopting the British system of Prime Minister's questions. It involves a ballot for questioners and backbenchers can ask supplementaries simply by leaping to their feet. "They just get through 20x as many questions as the House of Reps does in the same amount of time," he tweeted. A twitter imitator of Speaker Harry Jenkins @HarryJ-Speaker gave short shrift to the suggestion. "I think not! ORDER!"
Lookalike: Speaking of the British parliament, was th
|Take a bow Andrew Peacock|
|Here in Australia we are not short of ex-leaders of national parties. Currently there are six former prime ministers floating around and eight opposition leaders…|
|More Peter Brent|
The Economist | Seleted New Articles: Democrady in America / Free Exchange / Buttonwood ... and more
Democracy in America agrees that vaccinations are a CIA plot
Free exchange delivers your daily debt-ceiling update
Buttonwood derides a plan to solve the debt crisis by taxing banks
Johnson finds that journalists show herd behaviour when markets do
Eastern approaches sees: Lithuania's row with Austria widen
Video: Closing in on Tripoli
Daily chart: The flight to safety
Online debate: Has the internet improved journalism for everyone—or just for news junkies?
Personal Finance Daily
JULY 20, 2011
A city's ‘walkability' can boost home values
- The 10 most walkable U.S. cities
- Mortgage, credit cards in CFPB's focus now
- Why debt-ceiling brawl hasn't rattled bonds, yet
- Debt fight may already be hurting U.S, economy
- Radioactive cows are latest beef in Japan
Plus, don't miss Ruth Mantell's story on how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pushing ahead on several key consumer initiatives, despite the fact that some lawmakers appear ready to drag their heels on President Obama's nominee to head the agency.
I'm lucky enough to live in a highly walkable city. San Francisco's hills, however, aren't exactly conducive to ambling. This is more like Class 4 mountain climbing.
—Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
The 10 most walkable U.S. cities
New York is the most walkable city in the U.S., with many of its residents able to forgo owning a car or able to leave their cars behind when going to neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores and coffee shops, according to a report released Wednesday.
Read more: The 10 most walkable U.S. cities.
Top 3 most walkable, 3 least walkable U.S. cities
New York is the most walkable city in the U.S., with many of its residents able to forgo owning a car or able to leave their cars behind when going to neighborhood amenities, but Jacksonville, Fla., is the least walkable, according to a report released Wednesday.
See slide show: Top 3 most walkable, 3 least walkable U.S. cities.
Sales of existing homes slip 0.8% in June
Sales of existing homes slipped in June to a seven-month low, with a trade group attributing the weak economy and a spike in cancellations for the surprise downturn.
Read more: Sales of existing homes slip 0.8% in June.
SPENDING & SAVING
Mortgages, credit cards in CFPB's focus now
Mortgage forms, consumer credit-card complaints, protecting veterans — these are among the first areas the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is addressing, even as lawmakers continue to argue over the agency's leadership.
Read more: Mortgage, credit cards in CFPB's focus now.
Why debt-ceiling brawl hasn't rattled bonds, yet
Washington is rife with high drama about a debt ceiling deal and potential first-ever default by the U.S. government, but one wouldn't know it by watching the bond market — at least not yet.
Read more: Why debt-ceiling brawl hasn't rattled bonds, yet.
Investors remain cautious about Arab Spring
Six months after the Arab Spring brought movement toward democracy to Egypt and Tunisia, investors are remaining on the sidelines, awaiting more clarity over the direction of governments, experts said Wednesday at a World Bank forum on the region.
Read more: Investors remain cautious about Arab Spring.
ECONOMY & POLITICS
Debt fight may already be hurting U.S. economy
The fight in Washington over how to tack the growing U.S. debt might already be hurting the economy, according to a Goldman Sachs economist.
Read more: Debt fight may already be hurting U.S, economy.
Smoke and mirrors with the federal deficit
The so-called Gang of Six senators releases a new budget deficit plan that is largely smoke and mirrors, and that only in the U.S. Senate would appear as a real solution to anything.
Read more: Smoke and mirrors with the federal deficit.
Exxon, government pressed for answers to spill
An Exxon Mobil executive and a Transportation Department regulator were pressed in the Senate Wednesday to provide answers on what led to the recent Yellowstone River oil spill.
Read more: Exxon, government pressed for answers to spill.
Radioactive cows are latest beef in Japan
In another reminder that radiation spewed by the Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi plant is turning up in the food supply, the Japanese government orders the halt of all beef-cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture.
Read more: Radioactive cows are latest beef in Japan.
Printing money is Europe's only way out
One thing that can't be underestimated is the political will of Europe's leaders to keep the euro alive, which is why Europe will likely turn to massive printing of money to prevent a breakup.
Read more: Printing money is Europe's only way out.