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Chatter: Australian PM makes a bet, loses it

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard throws down the gauntlet and loses, Snowden could be stuck in Russia forever, Obama's going to Africa, and the British pound is about to get more literary, and more lady-like.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Well, that didn't go to plan. After weeks of infighting, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a ballot today to decide who should lead the ruling Labor party — her or Kevin Rudd, the rival she ousted in 2010. Spoiler alert: Rudd wins.

Gillard may be regretting throwing down such a hefty the gauntlet. Before the vote, she declared that whoever lost should quit parliament, and politics. Seems like she'll be looking for a new job. Though Rudd shouldn't get too comfortable in his: Australia has an election coming up in September, and Labor's chances aren't looking strong.

WANT TO KNOW

Edward Snowden is stuck. The fugitive whistleblower, wanted by the US government for shedding unwelcome light on its surveillance activities, has done a pretty good job of evading capture so far. But there's only so far you can get without a passport or a visa, and the whole of Washington on your back.

WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website that has been embraced Snowden as a comrade-in-arms, says he may find himself stranded in Russia "permanently." Hopefully not at Moscow airport, where Snowden remains for his fourth consecutive day in international limbo.

Welcome back to Africa, Barack Obama. The US president lands in Senegal tonight on his first visit to the continent in four years. And a lot can happen in four years. 

The colorful banners are up and the local people are excited — but maybe not so much as the last time. When Obama visits Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania this week, he will come laden with the weight of surveillance scandals at home and disillusionment abroad. GlobalPost asks the president's hosts what they want from America — and finds out why they're no longer dazzled by his star power.

Twenty weeks, 13 hours, two minutes: Texas's proposed abortion bill was always a question of time, but in the end it came down to a far smaller margin than anyone expected. 

State Senator Wendy Davis had to delay legislators' vote by 13 hours if she was to successfully filibuster the draft law, which would have banned terminations after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shut down the majority of abortion clinics in America's second most-populous state. At first it looked like she hadn't done it, when the Republican-dominated legislature rushed through a vote achingly close to the midnight deadline. But faced with video evidence, the bill's supporters were forced to admit that voting had begun two minutes too late. Bill, killed.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Cents and sensibility. The UK's money is about to get a little more genteel, with the addition of author Jane Austen to its bills. She'll be only the third woman ever to appear on pound notes — the others are prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, nurse Florence Nightingale and, er, queen Queen Elizabeth II, who gets her physiog on all of them — and lends her lady-like weight to the Bank of England's claim that there's no "Pride and Prejudice" when it comes to cash.

Austen is due to appear on tenners sometime in the next few years. She's "waiting in the wings," the Bank says. She would.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-australian-pm-makes-bet-loses-it