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You've got to feel sorry for Malaysians: even those that are teaching them English get it wrong.

A demonstration of a "mistake" on a TV programme on ASTRO TV for SPM pupils says "the verb does not agree with the subject" but the mistake demonstrated does not relate to a verb. The sentence reads "There are many .... in the class." The lesson says that it's wrong to insert "person" and correct to insert "people." That's true. But it's not a verb. Perhaps they should send their material to us for proof reading before broadcast. Then again, they do speak some nonsense in their continuity and the voice-overs ASTRO puts on adverts that have been recorded elsewhere.


The Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, issued a statement that, coming as it does from a senior prosecutor, is disturbing. It relates to a horrible, racially motivated attack by one man on another, leaving the victim dead. The victim was a nice old man who did lots of good things for lots of people. But he was not a head of state or a leader of government. Vance, or whoever in his office writes in his name, said ""James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate." That has been picked up by media all over the USA. The thing is, that it's not an assassination. It's a murder. Moreover, Vance goes on that Jackson acted as he did " in order to launch a campaign of terrorism." Well, that's debatable: terrorism is an offence created by statute and it must have a political, religious or ideological purpose intended to cause government or society to change. Jackson appears to be a white supremacist who wanted to find a black man and kill him. It's horrible, it's horrific and it's heinous but terrorism? Coming from the office that covers much of the commercial district of New York including Wall Street, you'd think Vance would understand what terrorism really means. And it's not this.



It's easy to dislike Pauline Hanson and her "One Nation" party and to try to marginalise it. But like all radicals, racists and extremists, she gains followers because she builds her case on a kernel of truth. Her supporters are driven by fear generated by the picture of a rapidly fracturing society that Hanson paints. But there is a truth that Hanson's detractors seek to falsely deny because they make the mistake of thinking everything she says is false or wildly inflated. It is outrageous that she calls Islam "a disease" and calls for the banning of Islam in Australia. But her basic point is one that many people pretend isn't happening. She says, rightly, that there are those in Islam (she falsely presents this as being all Muslims) want to develop a global form of Islam which is superimposed on democracy. Some call it a "caliphate" but even within the same sects of Islam, they don't agree on what a caliphate should be. And she is right: there are radicals, some of whom are in political parties that gain seats, that want to create a single caliphate across the southern Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Southern Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia and their tactics include both terrorism and infiltrating politics. They are clear: they are opposed to democratic rule. Hanson is an odious racist who has no place in decent politics but those who deny that she makes, at the heart of her arguments, valid points dismiss her at their peril and undermine their own credibility. She is not the only Australian politician who should have his mouth taped up: Independent MP Bob Katter is a troublemaker, too.



It's often said that "dog bites man" isn't a news story worth printing but "man bites dog" is. And so we bring you this from the US demi-state Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico man bites head off girlfriend's Chihuahua


It reminds us, in a bizarre oblique way, of the Billy Connelly skit about a drunk on the top deck of a bus. And no, we are not going to retell it here.


They do things differently in Scandinavia.

In Copenhagen, the land of the Little Mermaid, there's an old former ambulance hanging around in some of the dodgier parts of the port town. It's been converted into a not-actually-a-brothel where prostitutes can take customers to have sex is a safe environment. The safety is not just that it's clinically clean and kept that way but that it's got .. well, to call them "bouncers" is not right but then again to call them security guards seems a bit over the top. The aim is that volunteers man the ambulance and are there to protect the prostitute if things get out of hand. Oh, screw it: we tried so hard not to have any double-entendres in this piece, and failed. Twice.