Friday, 1 December 2006

Mollie Gowing, after appearing on ABC's 7.30 News last night, has captured the imagination of the print media today. Appearing on page five in both The Sydney Morning Herald (Steve Meacham's 'Portrait of an art lover as a superstar benefactor') and The Australian (Rosalie Higson's 'Mollie's Aboriginal gifts speak volumes' -- no link available) Mollie stole the limelight. At least, at the end of the hard news section.

I covered the story yesterday.

I thought The Sydney Morning Herald had the better page five today. As well as Mollie's story, there was an update on the case of the "four gang-rapist brothers" whose names have been withheld — MSK, MAK, MRK and MMK. Victim Tegan Wagner (she was 14 at the time of the assault) has been at court every day, it seems, and her picture appears with the story. But their anonymity could be reversed, the paper says:

Court orders prevent naming them because two were juveniles, but the Herald is appealing against this and a ruling is expected today.

It'll be interesting to see what happens if they are named. I hope they will be. The four men have maliciously tied up the case over many years with multiple appeals.

Other page five news in the Herald today was the story of the blonde Canadian woman — Melissa Hawach — who is trying to regain custody of her children after her estranged husband, who is of Lebanese extraction, fled with them to Lebanon.

Asked what she wanted to say to her children, she said: "I'm just going to let them know that I love them. I'm keeping a scrapbook ... and it's going to show them how hard we worked to bring them home."

The poor children must be devastated by this. How they will hate their father when they grow up!

Another good story on page five of the Herald today was the effort that universities are making to be able to set their own fees. Government intervention is forcing universities to rely on 'cash-cow' faculties, such as economics and business, in order to cross-subsidise degrees that cannot support themselves under the fee regime the Commonwealth government has instituted. The government is now asking universities to specialise. But, given the current funding situation, it's very difficult for any of them to relinquish their richer faculties.

And finally there's the story of how it will be possible, in future, to make designer apples. Scientists have discovered a gene in apples that controls the reddening of the skin, called the "boss gene". It controls the "worker genes" that make compounds called anthocyanins. The more of this compound that is produced, the redder the apple, according to CSIRO staffer Mandy Walker.

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