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Weekly news round-up: How the carbon tax affects you, and the end of an era for News of the World and Harry Potter

Meld Magazine

Tue Jul 12 2011

news of the world closes

IN THIS week’s news round-up, Elizabeth Yick reflects on the end of an era for British tabloid News of the World, as well as the Harry Potter series, albeit for very different reasons. She also looks into how Australia’s proposed carbon tax could hurt your pocket.

British tabloid News of the World shuts down

Thank you and goodbye” was the final headline splashed across the front page of British tabloid News of the World, which ran its final edition on Sunday July 10 2011, before the permanent closure of its printing press.

The termination of the newspaper came as an executive decision by publisher News International. It was the final response to the ongoing investigations regarding questionable journalism practices at the paper, which had prided itself on “breaking news” through insider information, or by hiring private investigators.

Following a string of alleged phone-hacking activities, Scotland Yard had renewed its investigations into the paper earlier this year. On Monday July 4, The Guardian reported that News of the World journalists had gained illegal access into the voicemail inbox of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone, and had then tempered with and deleted certain messages.

Prime Minister David Cameron made his sentiments clear in a public statement, saying if the allegations were true, it would be “truly despicable” and urged the police to pursue a “vigorous” inquiry into the matter.

Two short days later, new evidence surfaced regarding inappropriate access to the mobile phones of the families of deceased British military personnel, as well as those belonging to the relatives of the 7/7 London bombing victims.

The serious nature of the allegations quickly led various major companies to act and terminate their current advertising contracts with the tabloid, in a demonstration for journalism integrity. Many organisations stated they were likely to continue the boycott, and had no future plans to advertise with News of the World.

The paper’s publisher, News International, released a statement on July 7, with Chairman James Murdoch announcing the permanent closure of the tabloid, stating he was deeply regretful that the questionable journalism practice had not been confined to a small number of reporters as previously believed, and announced that the last edition of the paper would run with no commercial advertisement and with all proceeds from the advertising spaces going towards charity.

As such, “the world’s greatest newspaper 1843-2011” ran its final edition on Sunday July 10, with the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Julia Gillard’s carbon tax

Would you pay $23 per tonne for carbon? It’s not too high a price to pay for the environment, according to Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as her Labor-led government released the treasury’s modelling to the media.

But it may cost Julia Gillard her job, as the latest opinion polls recorded an all-time low for Labor support with approval ratings at a depressing 27per cent, and support for opposition leader Tony Abbot sitting on 43 per cent as the preferred candidate as prime minister.

It is not a surprise that Australian voters are displeased with having to fork out some $15 billion dollars for when the carbon price kicks in at July next year, and more than 50 per cent of the carbon costs incurred by businesses would likely be passed on to households. And the effects won’t just be felt through higher electricity bills (the average household expected to pay an extra $130), but also higher goods and services pricing.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

After more than a decade, the Harry Potter films had its grand finale at Trafalgar Square in London on July 7, with the world premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

As a stylish Emma Watson strutted down the red carpet in a flowing Oscar de la Renta creation, it was clear that the childish Gryffindor trio that an entire generation had grown to love so dearly were in fact, no longer kids.

While “Harry, Ron, and Hermione” will no longer be “Harry, Ron, and Hermione” again, Daniel Radcliffe said “each and every person… who have watched these films for the last 10 years, they will always carry the films with them for the rest of their lives.”

Eleven years after the first Harry Potter film, the saga concludes on screen with Harry and his friends defeating the evil forces of You-Know-Who and living happily ever after. While all Harry Potter fans would already know exactly what is to happen, it has not stemmed ticket sales in the slightest, with all the midnight screenings of the film in Melbourne sold out a month prior to the date.

For a generation that has, in the J.K. Rowling’s own words, “queued up and camped out for the books” and had grown up reading about Hogwarts and the world of wizardry, the final Harry Potter film truly marks the end of an era.

“It’s been the best part of my life,” a smiling Rupert Grint summed up.