Rumours abound for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding

The dress, the guests, the music, even the bathroom arrangements: the world now knows everything about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Or does it?The Clinton family information war rolled on Thursday, keeping Chelsea’s marriage to Wall Street banker Marc Mezvinsky under a lid even WikiLeaks, of Afghan war files fame, would have a hard time cracking.Officially, almost all that’s known is that Chelsea, 30, is to wed Mezvinsky, 32, the man she first met as a teenager, on Saturday. That’s it.The location, type of ceremony, guest list and colour of the bride’s dress remain unconfirmed.But with barely a day to go, pinhole openings in the information barrier have opened and here is a summary of what else Chelsea watchers know – or think they do.LOCATIONAll signals point to Rhinebeck, a quaint town in upstate New York. Paparazzi have snapped pictures of a huge white tent going up in the secluded grounds of Astor Courts estate.Local store owners testify to the presence of well-heeled out-of-towners and men talking into mobile phones about security.Another big clue: the Federal Aviation Authority on Thursday ordered airspace shut over the location during Saturday afternoon. The reason was “VIP (Very Important Person) Movement.”Chelsea might regret such extreme measures: gossip website www.gawker南京夜网 laments the no-fly zone means they won’t be able to send a plane pulling a congratulations banner over the party.GUESTSOther than Chelsea’s father, former president Bill Clinton, and mother, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, there are no confirmed celebrities. But gossip news hounds persistently mention Hollywood and Washington high-fliers.The Hudson Valley News, a humble local weekly, that claims to have an inside angle on preparations, predicts Clinton friends as varied as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and, perhaps surprisingly, the former British prime minister John Major will attend.One fact: President Barack Obama won’t be there. “I am not going and I have to say, it would be tough enough having one president at a wedding, you don’t want two presidents at a wedding,” he told ABC’s lightweight talk show, The View, on Thursday.THE DRESSIt’s Vera Wang! Well, maybe not, but Womens Wear Daily (WWD), the fashion industry journal, snapped Chelsea and her mother visiting the hip designer in New York on Tuesday.That would have solved one parlour game riddle. The problem, concedes WWD, is that Hillary Clinton also dropped into rival designer Oscar de la Renta’s Manhattan showroom the same day.THE TUNESThis is not one you’d want to place bets on, perhaps, but celebrity gossip site TMZ claims to know what the live band will play. That includes Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Cat Stevens’ Wild World, and ABBA’s Dancing Queen.BATHROOMSA vital TMZ scoop: guests won’t have to duck into the idyllic forests around Astor Courts to answer the call of nature. They’ll be treated to $US15,000 ($16,835) worth of luxury porta-potty trailers.”The portable latrines have actual porcelain toilets that flush, stereo music and hot running water – oh yeah, and they’re HUGE,” TMZ gushes.No source is cited. Call it another leak.AFP
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Clinton wedding preparations rocked by revelations father-in-law is convicted fraudster

Chelsea Clinton’s own father is no stranger to controversy, but now it has been revealed that her future father-in-law is a convicted fraudster.Ed Mezvinsky – whose son Marc is set to marry Ms Clinton – served five years in jail over a $9 million scam in which a judge described his actions as a “one-man crime wave”, Britain’s Daily Mail reported.The former congressman has since expressed remorse for his actions, which included him taking his own mother-in-law’s money by funding Nigerian-style internet scams.Mr Mezinsky, 73, eventually lost everything and still owes millions of dollars in compensation to his victims – several of whom will be at the wedding.But the revelations are doing little to dampen the excitement about the marriage, with the event capturing the attention of the US.The battle now for the Clinton and Mezvinsky families is keeping details of the wedding a secret.Officially, almost all that is known is that Ms Clinton, 30, is to marry Mr Mezvinsky, 32, an investment banker, on Saturday. The location, type of ceremony, guest list and colour of the bride’s dress remain unconfirmed.All signals point to the wedding taking place at Rhinebeck, a quaint town in upstate New York. Paparazzi have snapped pictures of a huge white tent going up in the secluded grounds of Astor Courts estate.Local shopkeepers testify to the presence of well-heeled out-of-towners and men talking into mobile phones about security.The Federal Aviation Authority has since ordered airspace shut over the location during Saturday afternoon, citing a “VIP Movement”.The guest list has also been the centre of debate, with gossip news hounds persistently mentioning Hollywood and Washington high-flyers.Clinton friends including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and, perhaps surprisingly, former British prime minister John Major are expected to attend.US President Barack Obama says he did not make the guest list.In an interview on ABC’s televisions talk show The View, Mr Obama said he was not invited because former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted the event to be about their daughter and her future husband.Mr Obama said that was probably for the best, joking that it would be tough enough to have one president at the wedding.The couple met when Ms Clinton was a teenager.smh南京夜网.au and agencies
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Mother confesses to baby murders

A nursing assistant has admitted killing eight of her newborn babies and stashing their tiny remains in plastic bags in a small village in northern France, officials said.Douai town prosecutor Eric Vaillant said 45-year-old Dominique Cottrez had been charged with the murders after telling police “she did not want any more children and did not want to see a doctor to get contraception”.Cottrez’s husband Pierre-Marie Cottrez, also 45, was freed after he denied any knowledge of the killings, which came to light after police found skeletal remains wrapped in plastic at two village addresses.His wife, whose heavy build appears to have concealed the pregnancies from acquaintances, now faces trial and life imprisonment.In past cases in France some defendants have said they were in denial about their pregnancies and not fully responsible for their actions, but Vaillant said Cottrez had admitted to being “perfectly aware” of her condition.Stunned residents of the pair’s quiet village of Villers-au-Tertre in northern France put flowers and candles outside the two houses where police had found the infants’ bodies over the previous few days.Prosecutors described it as the worst case of infanticide in recent French history, following a string of similar cases in which isolated and troubled mothers disposed of their newborns.The suspects were brought before a magistrate in the nearby town of Douai to hear the charges. They were remanded in custody and prosecutors promised to hold a news conference to explain the charges.Pierre-Marie Cottrez worked as a carpenter and was a respected member of the council in Villers-au-Tertre, a 620-strong community.”He’s on his third term in office. He used to volunteer in the community. He’s a respectable man,” local mayor Patrick Mercier told reporters.Mercier said the councillor’s wife was a more withdrawn person who rarely took part in village life. He said she had a weight problem which might be the reason why any pregnancies had passed unnoticed.”No one was aware of anything at all,” said the shocked mayor.The pair were arrested on Tuesday and questioned all day on Wednesday while police used sniffer dogs to search two addresses after the new owners of a home found the bones of two infants while digging in their garden.The house previously belonged to the parents of the arrested woman.Search teams then headed on to the couple’s current home in another part of the village, where six more sets of remains were found, a local councillor told reporters.Gendarmes were deployed outside one of the houses where the bodies were found, and sealed off the entrance to the macabre scene with plastic sheeting.”I’m very upset. I baptise five children every Sunday in the 17 villages of the parish. You don’t just throw children out like that in a big bag. It’s incomprehensible,” said local priest Father Robert Meignotte.The couple had lived in the village for 15 years and had two grown-up daughters who have children themselves, local residents said.The incident follows a string of similar cases in France.Earlier this year a mother was convicted of killing six of her newborn children and hiding them in the cellar of her house in northwestern France.Another notorious recent case was Veronique Courjault, who in June 2009 was jailed for smothering two baby boys born in secret at her expatriate home in South Korea, and a third child born in France, and hidden them in a freezer.AFP
Nanjing Night Net

From red to blue and back again

In the dying days of Kevin Rudd’s leadership, internal polling in Greenway showed Labor’s two-party-preferred vote in the north-western Sydney seat wallowing at 45 per cent.Things were just as bad in the southern seat of Hughes. Rudd, Labor’s powerbrokers concluded, had to go.Greenway, once a Labor stronghold, then safely Liberal, now nominally Labor, has become one of the most topsy-turvy seats, thanks not to fickle voters but the wise heads at the Australian Electoral Commission.The Liberal Party holds Greenway at present with a margin of 4.5 per cent, but since the last election half the constituents have been redistributed to other electorates, radically altering the seat’s political complexion.Affluent Liberal-voting areas around the Hawkesbury have been excised and replaced by working-class suburbs such as Toongabbie, Seven Hills and Pendle Hill. The seat is now notionally Labor at 5.7 per cent.Yet it remains a favourite for pollsters trying to take the temperature of middle Australia. While it now includes some older suburbs, it also takes in the newer suburbs in Sydney’s north-west, home to the aspirational voters of the former Labor leader Mark Latham.The Liberal Louise Markus has held Greenway since 2004, but is shifting to the safer neighbouring seat of Macquarie – which has resulted in her being branded a ”seat-shopper” in Labor leaflets posted around the area.Her replacement is the lawyer Jaymes Diaz, 34, who is aiming to become the first Filipino-Australian elected to federal Parliament.Mr Diaz is the son of Jess Diaz, a prominent Blacktown community figure and Australia’s first councillor of Filipino descent.”The reason I got interested in politics was because I saw my father come here as a migrant and work hard to provide for my mother, my brothers and myself,” he said.Having joined the Liberal Party only five years ago, Mr Diaz is a relative newcomer to politics and does not have a high profile in the area.His preselection was not decided until the day the election was called.By contrast, Labor’s candidate Michelle Rowland is a former Blacktown City Council deputy mayor and has been campaigning full-time since taking leave without pay from her job at Gilbert + Tobin lawyers in April.When the Herald spent time with Ms Rowland on the hustings, most voters she approached already knew who she was.”Some people I’ve door-knocked two or three times,” she said.Local branch members have criticised her for being parachuted into the seat by the ALP’s national office, but Ms Rowland said her local credentials were sound.”I was born in Blacktown Hospital; I went to school in Lalor Park,” she said. ”I worked as a checkout operator while studying law. I live in Glenwood.”Linda Swan, a mother of two who works in the Lalor Park shopping centre, said she was unaware who the Liberal Party’s candidate for Greenway was. ”I work at IGA every day and I haven’t seen anyone else but Michelle,” she said. ”She’s here at least once a week [campaigning].”Ms Swan said community safety and health were big issues in Lalor Park, a suburb with a high number of aged pensioners and public housing residents.”We need more doctors around – especially for after-hours,” she said.Despite the Labor-friendly boundary changes, Ms Rowland said she was not taking victory for granted.”The Greenway you see today is not the Greenway you’ve ever seen in the past. I’m not looking at the margin and I’m certainly not looking at the polling.”
Nanjing Night Net

A nation of immigrants tops out at one in four

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott talk about restraining immigration and being ” fair dinkum” but each is more representative of the changing nature of Australia than they would have us believe.Whichever wins, they will be the first foreign-born Australian elected prime minister since at least John Gorton – and there is doubt about whether he was born in Melbourne or in Wellington, New Zealand.But when Gorton became prime minister in the late 1960s only one in five Australians was born overseas.New figures released yesterday show steady increases in migration since then have pushed up the total to an astonishing one in four. By mid last year an extraordinary 26.5 per cent of the population had been born overseas – the highest proportion since Federation.Bureau of Statistics figures show Australia at its most Australian in modern times was in 1947, when 90 per cent of Australians were born here. The actual proportion was doubtless higher given that at the time Aboriginals were not automatically included in the census.Mr Abbott and Ms Gillard are also representative of the record 5.8 million Australians born overseas in another way. Each was born in Britain, which remains the biggest single foreign birthplace for Australians, supplying 5.4 per cent of our present population, followed by New Zealand, with 2.4 per cent.In the past decade, China (1.6 per cent) and India (1.4 per cent) have displaced Italy and Vietnam in third and fourth place.The most recent crop of migrants is about the most useful we could want.According to the Bureau of Statistics, two-thirds of recent migrants are aged between 15 and 34, compared with less than one third of the population. This means most are unlikely to need support in either nursing homes because they are old or in schools because they are young, and are likely to be in a position to provide support to an increasingly aged Australia.These are the sorts of questions Mr Abbott has pledged to ask a renamed Productivity and Sustainability Commission if he wins office.The figures show migrants overwhelmingly chose to settle in NSW and Victoria.But as a proportion of its population, Western Australia is by far the most affected; 4.4 per cent of its population turnover is migration, compared with 3.5 per cent in eastern Australia. About 30 per cent of West Australians were born overseas compared with 26 per cent in NSW and Victoria.
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