Monthly Archives: March 2019

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State of the NationWednesday, May 24, 2017

State of the Nation | Wednesday, May 24, 2017 TweetFacebookUnited Kingdom►Police have arrested a 23-year-old man after a suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and injured scores more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which was packed with thousands of young people. Read more
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►Children were among the 22people whodied in a suicideattack at the Manchester Arena in the UK on Tuesday. Read more

Regional news►NSW: Police investigating historical sexual assaults over a period of almost 20 years have charged a man in Newcastle. The 82-year-old Hamilton man was arrested on Monday and taken to Newcastle police station.Read more

Blair Cottrell and other members of the United Patriots Front outside court in Melbourne today. Picture: Paul Jeffers

►BENDIGO:Three men charged under Victoria’s racial vilification laws for allegedly staging a mock beheading in Bendigo have appeared in court in Melbourne for a second time.Read more

►BALLARAT:Stockland Wendouree will undergo a $37 million renovation starting July 6. The redevelopment will add 6,700 square metres retail floorspace to the shopping centre, including a laneway dining precinct with outdoor seating, and plans for an all-abilities children’s playground.Read more

WHERE: Wagga airport.

►WAGGA WAGGA:A Wagga academic has waded into the public art debate, saying it’s a vital part of the city’s identity.

Senior art history lecturer Neill Overton criticised the anti-art movement as “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”. However, he also pointed a finger at the art community, questioning the “blind faith value of culture”.Read more

BLOOD NEEDED: Long-term blood donor Johanna Baker-Dowdell donates for the 52 time in her life to help prevent the critical blood shortage. Mrs Baker-Dowdell said she first donated at 21 years of age. Picture: Neil Richardson

►TASMANIA: The Blood Servicehas called on 170 donors in the greater Launceston region to come forward and donate this fortnight to help reduce the effect of a blood shortage. Read more

►VICTORIA:A number of central and northern Victorian organisationshave been struck off the national charity register by Australia’s charity watchdog. Read more

Batlow CiderFest, conference coordinator Ray Billing and marketing coordinator Harald Tietze are stoked with this year’s turnout at the annual Batlow CiderFest extravaganza.

►CENTRAL NSW:An enormouscrowd flocked to the small township of Batlow onSaturday to taste the flavours the region has to offer in the wake of this year’s cider production.Read more

►QUEENSLAND:Steve Wollaston reckons he has the solution to the issues around the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo Mardi Gras.

The rodeo copped criticism recently when it cancelled the Friday night Mardi Gras and although Mount Isa City Council later included it in itsWednesday night street party schedule, many parents are unhappy because it is a school night.Read more

National news

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Florence Onus Chair if the Healing Foundation reference committee when they attended the Healing Foundation Bringing Them Home breakfast at Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday. Picture: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares

►The government has poured cold water on a push for a revamped national anthem that would delete words considered offensive by some AboriginalAustralians and introduce a third verse paying tribute to the Dreamtime and Indigenous history before colonisation.Read more

►Former Australian Open boys tennis champion Oliver Anderson has avoided conviction after pleading guilty to a match-fixing offence.

The 19-year-old admitted on Tuesday morning to throwing the first set of a match at the Traralgon Challenger tournament last year. Read more

National weather radar:World news:►UNITED KINGDOM:On Tuesday morning, Katrina woke up shaking.

The memory of the blast, the screaming, the smell of smoke – the frantic search for her mother after the Ariana Grande concert was hit by a suicide bomber – came back to her all at once.Read more

►BANGKOK:Thailand’s military government, opposition parties and human rights groups have denounced the targeting of patients in a bomb-attack at a military-run hospital in the Thai capital as one of the country’s worst acts of terror. Read more

On this dayFACES OF AUSTRALIA TO MARKET: Love Your Eggs founder Larissa Robins with close friend and Design Exchange’s Lyndelle Flintoft. Picture: Lachlan Bence

LARISSA ROBINSLovingly encouraged eggs have made Larissa Robins’ life crazy in a good way.

About eight months on from having 1100 hens arrive on her property near Geelong, Larissa is preparing to sell the fresh free-range eggs in her hometown at next week’s Design Exchange winter market.

Money collected on the door will support Larissa and her Love Your Eggs venture. Read more

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Drug survey finds the ways Australians stand out in the world

Will Tripp is white, employed and just shy of his 40th birthday.
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His drug of choice is alcohol, but he is next most likely to smoke marijuana, most likely in the few hours before bed.

If he was to try psychedelics, he may be motivated by the desire to expand his mind.

He pays more per gram for cocaine than he would if he lived anywhere else in the world.

The fictional Mr Tripp is the typical Australian respondent to the Global Drug Survey 2017, which was conducted in partnership with harm reduction groups and global media, including Fairfax Media.

The report’s authors caution that participants in the survey are likely to be people who are interested in the topic of drug use and the report should not be used to draw national estimates.

But the survey does spot patterns and emerging trends and can be used to make comparisons within the drug-using population.

More than three-quarters of the 5700 Australian respondents to the anonymous survey of 115,000 people had used illegal drugs and around one in three had used them in the past month.

They were more likely to take cannabis than legal drugs, including tobacco and caffeinated drinks, and the next most popular illegal drug was ecstasy, followed by cocaine and LSD.

Australians respondents were not the biggest cannabis users in the world, but they were the biggest bong users, with water pipes more popular in Australia than any other country.

They had a slight preference for smoking their weed with tobacco but the difference was small, whereas every other country had a clear cultural preference.

Survey respondents from New Zealand and the Americas much preferred straight marijuana, while those from Europe were bigger fans of mixing it with tobacco.

And they were more likely than most other countries’ citizens to have injected drugs, with 6 per cent of respondents admitting to having done so in their lifetime compared with 2 per cent globally.

GDS founder and chief investigator Adam Winstock said Australians picked up what they could get hold of and were quick to pick up on global trends but these were sometimes slow to spread as a result of border control policies and dealing networks.

“The dark net will challenge this, as will a wealthy group who will make cocaine a worthwhile risk,” Dr Winstock said.

“Geographical dislocation from traditional dealing networks makes [Australia] more prone to novel drugs, which may carry higher risk than the drugs they seek to replace such as MDMA.”

Surveyed Australians paid more for cocaine than any other country, spending about $321 a gram, which was slightly more than New Zealanders reported but almost double the next most expensive country.

It was cheapest in Colombia, with a local price of $5.26 per gram.

The typical Australian LSD user was 20 when they first tried the drug, in their own country, at home with friends. They mostly took tabs, for which they paid $19 each.

They were a little older, around 22, when they first tried magic mushrooms, which they usually ate whole rather than in other food.

Most people said an important motivation in experimenting with psychedelics was curiosity, but a large majority also said they wanted to expand their minds, learn more about themselves and deepen their understanding of the world.

Dr Winstock, an addiction psychiatrist who advocates education rather than prohibition when it comes to drug policy, said if people were going to use drugs, they should test drugs such as mushrooms and ecstasy and gradually increase the dose once they felt the effects, to avoid overdose.

“In a world dominated by fake news and where policies remain immune to the evidence – facts are more important than ever,” Dr Winstock said.

“While drugs always carry some risk of harm – how you choose to use is the difference only you can make.

“There are so many chances here for enlightened policies that treat people who use drugs as adults. Honest conversations are easier to support than law change.”

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Manchester attack: Australians urged not to travel

Manchester attack: Australians urged not to travel A woman is consoled as she looks at the floral tributes following an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images
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A woman is consoled as she looks at the floral tributes following an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Messages are left among tributes by members of the public in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester ,England.Photo: Getty Images

A woman looks emotional as she looks at flowers left in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A young man writes emergency details and a tribute message on a pavement on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A woman lays flowers in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A man with a t-shirt that says ‘FCK ISIS’ waits at a red light on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

People leave flowers in St. Anne’s Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Messages are left among tributes by members of the public in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester ,England.Photo: Getty Images

People embrace as they stand near the Arndale centre on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Messages are left among tributes by members of the public in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester ,England.Photo: Getty Images

A giant TV advertisement screen, standing next to the city logo of The Worker Bee, displays ‘Pray For Manchester’ after last nights terrorist attack, May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Armed police officers monitor the area before an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A woman wearing a ‘I heart MCR’ t-shirt makes her way to lay flowers in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A tribute is laid at a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

A Manchester United scarf, laid in the shape of a heart, lies next to flowers left by members of the public at a candlelit vigil in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

People gather to attend a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public attend a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public look at some of the floral tributes following an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public attend a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public gather at a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Police officers and members of the public look at some of the floral tributes following an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public attend a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public attend a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening’s terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Photo: Getty Images

TweetFacebookThe City of Manchester stands United pic.twitter南京夜网/LowMhEnZeK

— OhDearBritain (@Ohdearbritain) May 23, 2017broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017

“The Australian High Commission in London is making urgent enquiries to determine whether any Australians have been affected by the incident,” it said.

All major UK political parties suspended their election campaigns for the day.

Leaders from around the world sent messages of sympathy and support.

In a statement to the Australian Parliament, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it had been a vile and “brutal attack on young people everywhere”.

Australia was acting to protect places of mass gathering, he said, and Australia stood with the UK as “steadfast allies in freedom’s cause”.

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Manchester terrorist attack halts UK election campaign

London: Savagery has brought British politics to a stop before.
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When a neo-Nazi assassinated Labour MP Jo Cox after she met constituents in Birstall, West Yorkshire last year, it was in the dying days of the bitter EU referendum campaign.

Remainers and Leavers downed megaphones, paid tribute, shed tears and vowed to be a little kinder to each other. When the campaign eventually resumed, a pall remained.

With just over two weeks to until national polling day, Prime Minister Theresa May was supposed to be spending the day in Tory heartland – in Somerset seats in idyllic south-west England. The welcome the Tory leader would have enjoyed might have been respite from her worst day on the campaign trail and potentially of her 10-month-old prime ministership.

But Tuesday would bring horror, visits to children’s hospitals and sympathetic calls from world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

At 10.33pm on Monday, a suicide bomber struck the Manchester Arena, targeting young fans of popstar Ariana Grande as her Dangerous Woman concert came to a close. Saffie Roussos, just eight years old, would be named by the headmaster of her primary school as one of the 22 victims.

May immediately suspended the campaign.

The former home secretary stayed up throughout the night overseeing the response and taking updates. At 4am she spoke to her opponent Jeremy Corbyn to agree to indefinitely halt the politicking.

Just before midday, she stood outside 10 Downing Street and gave one of her trademark tough but determined, heartfelt but commanding and calm, methodical addresses.

This was vintage May – the resolute stateswoman.

Just 12 hours earlier the political landscape she faced could not have been more different and – for a leader who has soared sky-high in the polls – discomfitting.

On Monday May was being derided as “weak and wobbly” a counter to her claim, repeated ad nauseam, of being “strong and stable.” It followed another disastrous policy proposal, Tory backlash and subsequent backdown.

This time it was over what the British press dubbed the ‘Dementia Tax’ – a scheme unveiled in last Thursday’s conservative manifesto that would allow the government to claim against the deceased estates of the elderly for the care they’d received in their homes.

The Tories’ 20-point lead in some polls halved. Four days later May, was promising there would be a cap on the absolute limit that would have to be paid.

The Tory backlash and U-turn mirrored a similar episode in March over a budget proposal to raise national insurance costs for the self-employed – a proposal that contradicted the last Conservative manifesto.

May was hammered on both in her prime-time interview on the BBC with the veteran political commentator Andrew Neil – widely reported to be one of her worst performances. Her voice wavered and she was noticeably higher in pitch as Neil challenged her over her broken promises and issues of trust.

This was May under pressure.

But all of this will be swept aside and very likely forgotten as a result of the Manchester atrocity.

The campaign, with 16 days to go, is on hold “until further notice,” Downing Street said. But even when it resumes, the tone will be different.

Domestic social care policies will go backstage, with the spotlight on national security, issues of cultural and national identity – which will play to Tory and Theresa May strengths.

Overwhelmingly, national unity will be paramount and there will be little complaint.

“Powerful statement from Theresa May, thank you.#WeWillNeverBeBroken,” Jo Cox’s husband, Brendan, tweeted as the prime minister wound up her 14-minute statement.

Follow Latika Bourke on Facebook

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Poor children face higher risk of early puberty

Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households.
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And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others.

The startling findings, which may help explain why disadvantaged children are more likely to have health problems later in life, come from a new study by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, which surveyed 3700 Australian children.

Parents were asked to report on signs their children were going through puberty, which included growth spurts, pubic hair and skin changes. About 19 per cent of all boys and 21 per cent of all girls were classified as having reached early puberty.

But looking only at the children from severely disadvantaged homes, 36 per cent of boys and 33 per cent of girls were found to have reached early puberty.

That is compared with “average families”, where 20 per cent of boys and 21 per cent of girls went onto early puberty.

Lead researcher Ying Sun, a visiting adolescent health academic from China, said the findings could help explain the link between early disadvantage and health problems later in life.

“Multiple evidence shows early maturation links with emotional, behavioural and social problems during adolescence,” she said. “Also, it carries risk for reproductive tract cancers and cardiovascular diseases.”

The findings suggest that early-onset puberty may be an evolutionary response to trauma and struggle.

“When we are raised in sub-optimal living conditions that means we have a higher risk of premature death,” associate professor Sun said.

“That means maybe we will die before we’re successfully reproductive, so we would choose an adaptive strategy to mature earlier, to have our first baby earlier, and maybe we could have more kids to ensure our genes transfer to the next generation.”

Being born premature or being overweight may also influence when puberty starts.

Journalist Amanda Dunn has written The New Puberty, a book about children going through puberty earlier, which is due to be released in July. She says while scientists still do not know precisely what triggers puberty when it does, there is well-established evidence that early childhood stress and trauma can bring it forward.

“The hypothalamus in the brain is the trigger for puberty and it sends messages to the pituitary gland, and the pituitary gland then sends out puberty hormones that swing the testes and the ovaries into action,” she said.

“But we don’t know exactly why the hypothalamus swings into action when it does, that’s still unknown. The research shows that if a young person is under stress, under duress, they tend to mature earlier, probably simply in order to survive.”

The latest research, which surveyed children recruited at birth as part of the Growing Up in Australia study, was published today in The American Journal of Pediatrics.

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