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The great and the not-so-good...

PADDY McGUFFIN takes a look at the week's top stories

It's a funny old world isn't it? And I don't mean "ha ha" funny.

For the last 10 days the eyes of the world have been on the Philippines and the environmental devastation wrought there by Typhoon Haiyan.

Thousands of lives have been lost and many more displaced by what some commentators are calling the worst catastrophe since the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

Britain has announced it is sending £10 million in aid and dispatching warships the Daring and Illustrious to the scene of the disaster.

Now when most people, especially this week, think "typhoon" they think elemental forces of nature and horrific destruction but apparently not David Cameron, who obviously thought multibillion-pound fighter jet deal.

Yes - as soon as he's finished soft-soaping the blood-drenched Sri Lankan regime Cameron is jetting off to the Middle East to sell, you guessed it, Typhoon fighter jets to despotic regimes.

It's nice to know that the great and not so good have their minds firmly on higher matters.

The deal was drafted months ago but Cameron obviously felt that now would be a good time to dot the Is and cross the Ts.

Just think of the ongoing human disaster as a ... mnemonic of sorts.

"Thousands dead you say? That reminds me, better get around to suring up that deal for weapons of mass destruction."

But returning to his controversial jaunt to Sri Lanka. Despite calls from human rights organisations around the world to boycott the junket Cameron was there yesterday to chum up with the regime which has slaughtered tens of thousands of Tamils during the bloody civil war and is continuing its anti-democratic onslaught with seeming total impunity.

Come to think of it, maybe he was thinking about human misery this week after all - except he was working out how much cash he could make out of it.

And what about the much boasted of £10m in aid that Britain has said it is sending to the Philippines? Last year we shelled out an estimated £1.3 billion to celebrate the fact a notorious benefit scrounger had failed to get a proper job for 60 years. While this year we were forced to shell out over £3m just to put that old bag Thatcher in the ground.

Which I think you will agree puts Britain's alleged largesse into perspective.

And speaking of skewed priorities, it cannot have escaped your attention that the annual John Lewis promotion period is upon us.

As the holiday season approaches thoughts inevitably turn to religion - or potential plea bargains for justifiable homicide, depending on your point of view.

Cue everyone's favourite moose-killer Sarah Palin.


Now at this juncture it's important to note that her sudden re-emergence from the mound of elk pelts or whatever she's been hibernating under has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Palin has a Christmas book out. No siree!

It would seem the erstwhile Republican nominee for idiot-in-chief has been bemused and alarmed by the "liberal interpretation" of Christianity expounded by Pope Francis, saying she believes he is being influenced by the media.

The first flaw in her logic is blatantly obvious. Since when has the Catholic church ever listened to anyone about anything?

During an interview on CNN Palin said in her own inimitable fashion: "He's had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me. There again, unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I'm not going to just trust what I hear in the media."

Right... am I the only one who thinks that homework has never been that high on her list of priorities?

She obviously hasn't managed to get through the first few chapters of her copy of Deuteronomy for Dummies or the Gospel for Goofballs, and doesn't hold with that whole New Testament bit, preferring to dwell on the hellfire and damnation aspect instead.

Because as we all know if Jesus was around today he wouldn't be some hippy beatnik talking about peace and love. No, he'd be in the National Rifle Association.

After all, he'd probably support capital punishment and I'm sure there's a bit in the Bible where he demands to see proof of health insurance before he healed the poor...


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