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April 2008

Anzac Day 2008

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

- Laurence Binyon, from For The Fallen, first published in The Times, 21.9.1914

Lest We Forget.

To the memory of the soldiers who fell at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915.
To the memory of Australian soldiers who served in the Great War, and in all other wars.
To the memory of all victims of war and conflict worldwide, civilian and military.
To the memory of my grandfather, Private Cooper Eyre.
To the memory of my father, Gunner Fred Eyre.
To the memory of my uncle, Private Percy Walter Ellis Eyre, who died at El Alamein, 23 October 1942.

Memorial plaque for Private Percy Eyre, Garden of Rememberance, Chatswood.
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Testemunha de Terra 2: Making wine, not rice

Australia has been a leading exporter of rice, supposedly feeding up to 40 million people worldwide. But decades of mismanagement of water allocations in the Murray-Darling river basin, exacerbated by the recent drought, has hit rice crops hard, despite the fact that Australian farmers have taken huge leaps in improving water efficiency in rice production.

But there's another problem. They can grow grapes on their land, using less water and making money from the booming wine industry. Yes, the hungry of the world risk playing second fiddle to middle-class Aussie tipplers.

Al Jazeera English visited the Riverina district of New South Wales for this report, which aired on April 23:

Testemunha de Terra 1: Protecting precious mangroves

This is the start of a public beta test vlog that I am trialling, utilising worldwide news sources that make available embeddable video reports on environmental/business themes. With Green Day having taken place on Tuesday, this seems as good a time as any to start.

To kick it off, a report from Reuters dated April 18. I know that the hoi polloi with their harbourside mansions in Sydney hate mangroves because they spoil those investment-hungry "harbour views", and that they attract the mozzies, but mangroves serve an extremely valuable role in the ecosystem, especially as protection against erosion. And it's believed that many thousands of lives could have been spared in the 2004 tsunami if mangroves hadn't been removed on the coasts of India, Sri Lanka and Sumatra.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reports that up to a third of the world's mangroves have disappeared. In the Republic of Congo Reuters Television meets a man who has taken up the challenge of saving his country's mangroves.

Catching up on IPL Game One

"IPL is now a well established product on TV."

- Kunal Das Gupta, head of Sony TV India, as reported by Business Standard, 20.4.08.

Yes Kunal, a well established product less than 48 hours after its launch. Just one of the many cases of hyperbolics and just plain bollocks accompanying the birth of the Indian Premier League.

The IPL: Welcome to Sub Prime Cricket

As I write, Delhi are 48 for 1 after six overs against the Deccan Chronicles Chargers, and presumably cruising to victory in Game Seven of the Indian Premier League. There's a lot to observe and a lot to talk about. Lots to blog about over the coming weeks if I have the time and maintain the energy.

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Axe the boycott, be there, be heard.

I'm not a supporter of sporting boycotts in most cases. The exceptions can be distilled down to two types. One, where discrimination and exclusion is inherently carried out by the host sporting body (eg. apartheid-era South Africa). And two, where the host nation is in such a repressed, run-down state that playing international sport in those surrounds would be grossly immoral (eg. Zimbabwe, North Korea).

Boycotts of the Olympic Games are almost as old as the modern Olympics themselves. Think of Irish athletes refusing to compete in the first London Games and you realise that 2008 is the centennial year of the Olympic boycott.

Torch the torch, but spare the Games

I'd have no problem with tight security for the Olympic torch if it were being relayed from Olympia to Beijing by the shortest, fastest route. But for the torch to be protected by a phalanx of police and armed guards while on a ceremonial jog through London and San Francisco, that is the height of absurdity.

No, wait a minute, the height of absurdity is to hide the torch for forty minutes and change the route at the last minute so that no one actually knows where it is. As happened in San Francisco today.

The awarding in 2001 of the 29th Olympic Games to Beijing was always a troubling decision. Having accepted it then, we have no real reason to get uppity about it in 2008. But nothing justifies the politicised sideshows.

Charlton Heston 1924-2008

There was a time when Charlton Heston, who died yesterday at the age of 83, was a hero of mine. Then I began to appreciate some of the subtleties of screen acting. And well before he became chief evangelist for the Gun Lobby. In the tradition of my Jack Palance obituary, here is my Top Ten List In Chronological Order of my favourite Charlton Heston screen appearances: