Age: “Lawyers and equal rights agencies have criticised federal plans to revamp the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as an assault on the commission’s independence.
Victorian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Di Sisely said the plan to replace the commission with a new body called the Australian Human Rights Commission was a “dangerous violation” of democracy.
Under the Human Rights Commission Bill 2003, introduced to Federal Parliament last week, Attorney-General Daryl Williams would force the revamped commission to seek permission from his office before it could apply to intervene in legal cases – a move critics say would severely weaken the commission’s power.”
In better news, “The Victorian parliamentary Liberal Party will consider a proposal to establish exclusion zones around abortion clinics to keep protesters away.” (Age)
And in silly news, “The canine winner of the biggest dog show in the world may be stripped of its title after being accused of having a secret facelift.” (Age)
Went to Spring Chill on Sunday, had a lovely time. The highlight was probably Fragile State’s infectious version of Black Gold of the Sun, but I missed some of the acts while eating dinner.

Allies should call postwar shots, says PM
“The United States, Britain and Australia would “call the shots” for an interim period in Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s regime is toppled, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday.
The United Nations should have a role in post-Saddam Iraq, but it must accept the propriety of the coalition invasion, Mr Howard said. He also left open the prospect of Australia contributing to a peacekeeping force.”
Generously, “Mr Howard said although the UN had “failed” in the lead-up to the war, Australia would not reject the organisation.”
Finally a chick scientist gets publicity, but this isn’t what feminism had in mind: Female scientist Saddam’s ‘secret weapon’

In order of severity…
BBC: “US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the immediate future of Iraq if Saddam Hussein is deposed.
The role of the UN in a post-war Iraq could be a sticking point at the talks.
The BBC’s Washington correspondent Justin Webb says that unlike Mr Blair, the Bush administration has not been convinced of the need for the UN to be involved in setting up a post-war Iraqi government.”
The Age: “A Melbourne man will stand trial over allegations he killed a rival’s son in a family war over ice-cream van territory.
Dennis Giunta, 26, was stabbed at least 25 times with a home-made sword and died during an attack in his bedroom in his suburban Williamstown home in February last year.

Mangione had a longstanding dispute with the dead man’s father Peter Giunta over where they operated their ice-cream vans, it has been alleged.”
Also from The Age, Homemade sex toy kills pensioner
More fun, vote in V&A’s Snap Happy Days competition.
The Age is having a ‘favourite jokes’ board. I couldn’t resist this one: “A cowboy was walking down the street with his new pet dachshund when a passerby asked him why in the world he would buy such an uncowboylike dog. The cowboy answered, somebody told me to get along little doggie.”