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Marriot Hotel.

"Australian police are being mobilised to help their Indonesian counterparts, after a suspected terrorist blast rocked a luxury hotel in central Jakarta, killing at least 13 people.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) denied a news agency report that an Australian was among three foreigners killed in Tuesday's explosion outside the Marriott hotel, in the Mega Kuningan area of Jakarta.

A DFAT spokesman said the information was believed to be wrong.

"We believe that report to be incorrect," he said. "But the Dutch have informed us they have a national dead."

Two Australians were among more than 150 people injured in the explosion, which is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

"But there is nothing life threatening about their injuries," the spokesman said. "I would like the reassure the Australian people that they have no need to worry about their own kind. There's nothing to get upset about here. There's no need for you to start questioning your government's motives in relation to world politics just yet."

Meanwhile, in Australia itself, John Howard proclaimed that, "Australia remains at risk of terrorist attacks."

Mr Howard said although the risk to Australia was not as great as in other countries, the threat remained strong.

He also added that terrorist bombing of the Marriott Hotel was the work of fanatics who, this time, had attacked and killed fellow Muslims.

"The whole region continues to be at some risk, it varies," Mr Howard told Sydney Radio 2GB, and it's strong audience of aging voters who, even though they admit to being lied too during the recent Iraq war, still support Howard and his government.

"It's a greater risk in Indonesia and other parts of the region than in Australia but we are not risk-free; we haven't been risk-free for some years. This country has been a terrorist target for a long time now and certainly there's evidence we were looked at by al-Qaeda before September 11, 2001," he said.

"Having said that, the degree of risk in Australia is not, I repeat, as great as in other countries but there is risk."

He further went on to add that he did not want to alarm the public and Australians should get on with their lives. "We would not have had this housing boom without you," he expained. "And DVD players are really cheap. I bought one for a hundred bucks--a hundred bucks! It's a bargain. Costello knows this guy who can make it multi region for another twenty, and i've been watching old John Wayne films all week. George--that's George W. Bush--he rings up and we quote lines from Alamo to each other."

Principle article quotes take from here. and while i think howard is a deaf dwarf who needs a beating, he also said, "One or two non-Indonesians have died and there are some non Indonesians among the injured. But almost all of the people killed or injured were Indonesians. They're attacking and killing fellow Muslims and that means that this is a war that must be waged by Muslims and Christians and Jews and all people of good will around the world against fanatics."


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Aug. 7th, 2003 08:45 pm (UTC)
In the meantime, over here in the States, my coworkers and I were riveted to find out that Larry Flint and a porn star were making separate bids for the governorship of California, and both would actually be on the ballot.

This is not exactly to suggest that we have no sense of priorities here.
Aug. 7th, 2003 09:57 pm (UTC)

who're you going to vote for?
Aug. 8th, 2003 05:31 am (UTC)
I'd like to think that if I lived in California, I'd have the courage to live up to my convictions and cast a vote for the porn star, and not wimp out and select one of the fuller candidates on the basis that they had experience, or something like that.

I also rather like the punk rocker who's running, so that would definitely be another possibility.

But you know, the concept of the state of California being run by a porn star is just too beautiful to easily cast aside.
Aug. 9th, 2003 04:32 am (UTC)
you know, the porn star bit is true. so true.

i read today that george w. is saying arnold would be good int he good, so youjust know that arnie is evil and shouldn't be voted for.
Aug. 9th, 2003 08:00 am (UTC)
That does it. I am so backing the porn star now.

Actually what does fascinate me about this whole messy prospect is that candidates can win with a plurality -- no runoff -- and given the fact that an estimated 47 to 500 people will be on the ballot (we'll know by this afternoon) of whom probably 12 can actually garner some votes, we could see somebody winning with 20% or less of the vote.

Which actually gives the porn star a chance.

I mean, it is California.
Aug. 9th, 2003 08:39 pm (UTC)
this is how we elect governments in australia.

well, sorta.
Aug. 10th, 2003 10:01 am (UTC)
Really? Didn't know that.

In most states in the U.S., it's pretty difficult to get on the ballot. You can run as a write-in candidate easily enough -- basically, all you have to do, at least in Florida, is go to an elections rep, who is usually in the local library, and just say that you're running, collect a few signatures, and there you are -- a write-in candidate.

Getting on the ballot, though, requires more signatures and usually some cash, which is why, although we usually have around 500 or so people saying that they're running for president, only about 15, at most, end up on a ballot - and most states just have three or four, if that.

And, right after after Florida loosened its proceedures a bit, so that we had eight or nine folks on the ballot, we had the Florida 2000 fiasco, which I don't think encouraged anybody to lighten the rules.

So we're not used to this California sort of thing.
Aug. 10th, 2003 04:33 pm (UTC)
well, like i said, it's not exactly the same. for starters, we don't get to elect the prime minister, that's done through party politics, so it's always a bit bizarre to watch the media at election time by saying, "who would you prefer?" since we have absolutely no choice.

but when it comes to electing governments, we have this thing called preference votes, which parties organise. so, say you vote for one of the smaller parties like the greens--well, since they've no chance of holding power, they say, "well, we'll give our portion of the votes to labor... or liberal." and they do, and nothing changes because labor and liberal are virtually identical. so even if you do vote for an alternative, it's like voting for the main two parties anyway. it's not that simple, naturally, but it can result in something like you were saying in calif, where someone with only twenty percent of the votes gets elected. if i am correct i think this is what has happened in the last few elections...

on a local level, i'm not quite sure how it works. locally speaking politicians are 'seen but not heard' unless they're a state premier, in which case they're 'seen, heard, and occasionally more interesting than the prime minister.'
Aug. 11th, 2003 05:18 am (UTC)
The growing problem that we have here is the expense of politics -- and for third party folks, that just means getting on the ballot at all. Usually by the time they've done that, they're out of money -- and the media isn't interested in you if you don't have money, so you have no media coverage, which means you have to try to advertise, which of course means you need money.

The problem is that states don't want just anybody to walk up and put their names on the ballot, for logistical reasons. So they have told all candidates that they have to collect x number of signatures and pay a fee to show up on the ballot. Doing this generally means that you have to belong to some sort of organization, no matter how whacked out (and here I'm referring specifically to the Reform party in the post-Perot era) because otherwise you yourself must stand in front of post offices and beg for signatures. Unless, of course, you have a lot of money to hire signature people (witness multiple people in politics today) or you happen to be famous (Jesse Ventura).

One reason that the California recall thing is so fun to watch is that for once, the filing fee is low, and people only need 65 signatures. I could probably get 65 signatures myself just by going around and visiting various friends and acquaintances -- who knows, they might even be able to pony up $10 each, which means I'd only have to come up with $2500 for the filing fee. Then I could devote the rest of my time to advertising of whatever sort. Those with money aren't spending a lot of it on signature collection/filing fees either, leaving them with more money to run around chasing voters.

The result could have been genuine, exciting democracy, what with a lot of regular people actually getting a chance at an election for the first time in a long time.

And then, of course, the multimillionaires got into it.

I suppose the lesson here is that the U.S. political process is inherently flawed, but you know, when we get to watch a porn actress running for governor, it's all worth it, really.
Aug. 11th, 2003 07:15 pm (UTC)
i don't know if you could get a porn actress going for state premier or any position of power in australia, which is really a shame. it's such a old white boys club out here, which i guess it is everywhere in the world.

but still.

i don't reckon there is any non flawed political process, anywhere, you know. i suppose it's not that surprising.
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