This photo shows an unmounted policeman in Sydney, leading a horse that is probably suffering from equine flu:
That's the way it's going to be at the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] event next week. Not only will police horses be absent, but Laura Bush won't be there either, because she has a mysterious pain in the backside, or somewhere or other. As for Bush himself, he'll be arriving and leaving earlier than initially scheduled, which means that a lot of the advanced security planning carried out conscientiously by NSW authorities will have been a waste of time and effort. They've nevertheless purchased some kind of sophisticated high-tech truck capable of spraying high-pressure water on groups of protesters. The APEC circus will provide the authorities with an excellent opportunity of testing this equipment... provided, that is, that there are groups of real-life protesters. According to plans, it is highly likely that people in this category will in fact turn up in Sydney. On the other hand, if ever the planned protesters did a Laura, or stayed away from the APEC circus because they were afraid of catching equine flu, then the police would have no other alternative than to stir up pseudo-protesting among crowds of normally calm onlookers, so that they can be hosed down experimentally with the new truck. I've heard rumors that the most disgruntled abservers of all are the members of the famous Bondi Icebergs: the folk who make a point of going surfing every day, even at the height of winter. Apparently the APEC organizers have taken over their clubhouse on Bondi beach, in the context of some kind of luncheon for APEC dignitaries. Wouldn't it be funny if Icebergers, protesting because they couldn't go for their normal swim, were to get hosed down by icy water from the high-tech truck. They would probably whine that the water's too warm for their tastes.
Finally, there'll be a fireworks show, but the authorities are telling Sydney folk to watch it solely on TV. As for me, here in France, I plan to watch TV to admire, not only the fireworks, but the high-tech hose-truck in action. I had been looking forward to seeing George W Bush and John Howard dressed up in R M Williams clothes for the traditional end-of-conference photo. But this is unlikely, unless the organizers were to take a photo of Bush in Aussie cowboy gear before he leaves, and then use Photoshop to insert him magically into the final group photo. These days, everything is possible. But only one thing is certain: This gigantic APEC shemozzle is going to disrupt the normally calm life of Sydney for most of next week. I'm glad I'm not there.