Welcome to a new feature on this blog, which we'll try and make daily (print deadlines permitting), a wrap of significant news and blog stories for the day.
Coverage begins with the latest NZ study on marijuana use, suggesting cannabis could be five times more harmful than tobacco in terms of lung damage. Coming hard on the heels of last week's continued revelations about an increased likelihood of mental illness, it's been a bad week for the stoners down at bong central.
Radical Islamic issues continue to dominate headlines. Here in New Zealand TV One's Close Up is under fire for failing to ask any hard questions at all of disgraced British MP George Galloway last night, despite full coverage of the Galloway controversy in the latest Investigate magazine. Across the ditch, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews claims deported terror suspect Mohammed Haneef was involved in "suspicious" chat room conversations, releasing a transcript where Haneef's brother says "Nothing has been found out about you", while in Washington visting British PM Gordon Brown has pledged to keep fighting the war on terror right around the globe, but also to push for increasing globalisation under the aegis of the UN.
Domestically, the proposal to interrogate every female who enters a New Zealand hospital about sexual, physical and psychological abuse looks set to be another litmus test on the social engineering front, especially with plans to roll the scheme out further. Could this be a cover for teachers soon being required by law to ask children whether their parents still smack them? Watch this space. Meanwhile, National's Jackie Blue is giving only qualified support to the scheme: "It’s great for women to have a safe environment in which they feel supported in talking about their experiences with violence, but it must not lead to an anti-male witch-hunt. It would be terribly wrong for all men to be labelled potential wife-bashers and child abusers.”
National meanwhile has pulled out of a planned junket to Australia by a parliamentary committee, one of the highlights of which is Labour's Charles Chauvel taking the MPs to meet his former employer for nibbles. National describes the trip as a waste of time and taxpayer funding.
From the oddities file this morning - a story first broken by Investigate magazine two years ago, the prospect of face transplants is coming a lot closer with a Boston hospital now offering the operation. Would you want someone else's face?
And still on the bizarre, Russia is trying to combat its birth-rate death spiral by encouraging lovefests: "Remember the mammoths, say the clean-cut organisers at the youth camp's mass wedding. "They became extinct because they did not have enough sex. That must not happen to Russia". Regardless of the entertainment value, the issue is serious right across the West. On current demographic trends, many countries are halving their populations every generation, creating an increasingly geriatric population mix with little ability to defend themselves or resist a massive political power shift at the hands of immigrant communities. Disturbingly, the linked story suggests Russia's answer maybe a return to totalitarianism - these sexfests take place at the equivalent of Hitler Youth camps.
Finally a reminder - we're significantly increasing the back-catalogue of Investigate content online as part of the upgrade of our main website. Because it relies on dynamic RSS content it will be slightly slower to load as it seeks and updates for the latest material. Feel free to browse and familiarise yourself with what is available. One of the things I recommend is our Multimedia page where you can access streaming radio from NZ, Australia and the US, including talk hosts like Limbaugh and Savage.