Yoda and Chewbacca creator dies, PNG woman burned alive for sorcery - 10 things

Japan scrambles fighters as Russians stray

If Japan says Russian planes entered Japanese airspace but Russia denies it; which country’s measuring instruments are you more likely to believe? Exactly. That happened yesterday over the disputed South Kurils, north of Japan. What is amazingly coincidental is that it happened on the Japanese “Northern Territories Day”. At least you can rely on Russia to remember your anniversaries. The two SU-27s allegedly strayed into Japanese territory for only a minute, but it was enough for Tokyo to scramble two F-2 fighter jets in response. As a result of the long-running dispute, Japan and Russia have never formally ended World War II. Last year the two countries agreed in principle to sign a peace treaty that would formally put WWII to bed. But this latest outing may slow the diplomacy.

Thieves knock out & bind elderly man: swipe guns

I hate to think of the life decisions/bad luck that bring a person to the point where they’re bashing a 77-year-old man over the head and tying him up in order to steal his guns. That happened on Wednesday in the Blue Mountains. Two men broke glass bottles over the back of the man’s head, after which they tied him up and proceeded to rob him of a number of registered guns. Clearly the men knew of the guns prior to the robbery. The man is in hospital with injuries. The same day, NSW Police announced Operation Apollo, which is aimed at reducing the number of gun-related deaths in Sydney.

‘Blackest day in Australian sport’

Shock and horror as Australian sport (with a focus on football codes) has been linked with both organised crime and doping. It shouldn’t come as a surprise—it’s not like you can buy such goods at your local pharmacy. The suits in this video make the assertion that match fixing is an inevitable outcome of such an unholy union. Don’t bother with the boring 10 minute video—it just helps break the page up.

UK shames Australia on gay marriage?

Most of the headlines on gay marriage in Australian press focus on how the UK is putting us to shame. But as those of us who have lived in the UK can attest, the motherland is far more progressive than Australia. It doesn’t get more progressive than London—the streets might be more dangerous, but you can still dress like a fruit loop and few will bat an eyelid. I remember walking down the street with a friend wearing a Vivienne Westwood cape… that was 2004. Try doing that here in 2013. Obviously there are more facets to the issue than wearing capes. But we’re far more conservative than we’d like to admit.

Zimbabwe insult laws: man done for photoshopping Mugabe

Perhaps this is one Australia could benefit from, say next time Alan Jones opens his ugly trap on 2GB. Graphic designer, Robert Chikambure was arrested and put before court this week ‘undermining the office of the President’. His office was raided and a copy of the offending photograph found on his laptop. Chikambure has pleaded not guilty. The original image has not been released, however, here’s an artist’s impression:

Jobless rate steady

Australia’s unemployment rate defied forecasts remaining at steady 5.4 per cent for the second month in a row. Full time employment fell a little whilst part time experienced strong growth. Hardly the doom and gloom that Tony Abbott spouts…

PNG Woman burned alive for sorcery

Kepari Leniata was burned alive after being accused of practicing sorcery. The family of a 6-year-old boy, who died the day before, blamed his death on Leniata. The 20-year-old mother was stripped, tortured, bound, doused in petrol and set on fire on a rubbish heap in the Western Highlands town of Mount Hagen on Wednesday.

Now let’s check the weather in your neck of the woods…

Damascus—house fires throughout the day with increasing motar shells in the evening.

Yoda’s creator dies

Stuart Freeborn, 98, passed away this week. The make up artist’s main claim to fame was creating Yoda, Jabba The Hutt and Chewbacca for the Star Wars trilogy. But Freeborn already had an impressive carrier prior to Star Wars. He worked on with Stanley Kubrick to create the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, did make up for Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh

profile of Chuck Kolyvas