Hard News by Russell Brown



What a week! Intrigue! Freedom The Budget! But also, the first All Black squad in World Cup Year! At noon! In truth, there aren't really that many games between now and the tournament, and the "conditioned" All Blacks are looking manifestly short of a gallop.

The selection for the impending games against France C will probably not be much of an indicator for the final squad, but I trust Toeava will be in there and Nonu won't.

I'm telling myself that the Super 14 doesn't matter and it's really just like the Aussies dropping their guard before the Cricket World Cup - only to become unbeatable when it counted. I'm sticking with that.

Al Gore "hasn't ruled out" running.

While Bush and Blair heap praise on each other - and Bush kicks off their press conference with a joke - Chatham House releases an "unremittingly bleak" report on the present and future state of Iraq. It finds the country racked by "several civil wars" and on the verge of collapse and fragmentation.

I presume Coca-Cola is getting a good discount on the two billion songs it is purchasing to give away via iTunes in the European market. The huge promotion via iTunes may or may not have a bearing on the impending demise of the local Windows Media-based CokeTunes store. Meanwhile, EMI's decision to go DRM-free has earned an early bonus: Amazon scale.

Derek from Karajoz (yes, they finally have a website to go with the blog) notes that "the Aussies are paying $50 for a cup of coffee made from beans which have 'passed through' the systems of Indonesian Civet cats." Eeew …

Chris Bell from NZBC has a nice new home on the web for his writing and other activities. He'll even send PDFs on request.

And … busy day! Read Keith!

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