Mulrunji case not over

The acquittal of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on charges of manslaughter and assault leading to the death of Cameron Doomadgee (Mulrunji) does not resolve all the issues raised by this tragedy. I won’t comment on, or discuss, the trial itself. The jury has given its verdict and Hurley is entitled to treat it as conclusive.

The whole sequence of events shows failure by the Queensland state at every level.
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The euro and the dollar

The appreciation of the euro against the dollar has taken the currency close to its highest value ever around $1.35. By contrast, the rate estimated as Purchasing Power Parity by the Penn World Tables International Comparisons Project (ICP) is around $1.00 for most eurozone countries (It’s 1.10 for Italy, 1.05 for France and Germany, 0.96 for the Netherlands. The price differential between eurozone countries is interesting in itself, but that’s another post).

A gap of this magnitude between market exchange rates and estimated PPP values raises all sorts of problems. For example, using the Penn numbers, income per person in the Netherlands is about 75 per cent of that in the US, and this number is often quoted on the assumption that purchasing-power parity means exactly what it says. But using exchange rates, as would have been standard a couple of decades ago, income per person is a little higher in the Netherlands than in the US. Which of these comparisons, if either, is valid?

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Last charitable appeal for 2006-07

As the end of the financial year is approaching, it’s a great time to give charitable donations. I’ve used up all the gimmicks I could think of for the Great Australian Shave appeal, so this is going to be a bog-standard fundraiser. I’m giving $500 to Oxfam as my last donation for 2006-07. Anyone who would like to be part of a collective effort can announce their donation in comments, or (if you’re modest) in email to me. I’ll post a running total until 30 June. Give to whatever charity you choose, and whatever amount you can manage.

What I’ve been reading

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. I’ve bought a lovely Folio edition of this, and have just got started on it. While I’m not a book fetishist, and am perfectly happy to do most of my reading on screen, the book does embody a great tradition of craft values, which will, I hope, never disappear.