Placeholder Content Image

Woolworths “essential box” causes fury among customers

<p>Customers have erupted in fury after a latest move by Woolworths selling an $80 “essentials box” labelling it a “rip off”.</p> <p>The box created to be delivered to customers’ doors during the coronavirus pandemic, and costs $66.93 if the items were purchased individually.</p> <p>The backlash has been swift with shoppers angrily saying the box “couldn’t even make a meal”.</p> <p>The supermarket rolled out the brand new initiative this week in partnership with Australia Post, but has apologised to shoppers for only receiving groceries worth half the price. It has been explained the “basics box” is actually delivered in two separate boxes.</p> <p>The entire box includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items and can be found online.</p> <p>The supermarket has stressed the products and brands customers might receive will differ based on location and availability.</p> <p>A woman shared her discontent with the package, calling it “absolutely ridiculous”.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835464/woolworths-essentials-box-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e7cbb055b497461a899caf9e236046bf" /></p> <p>“This is so sad,” one woman wrote. “Think of all the elderly ordering these boxes and getting ripped off.”</p> <p>“Can't even make a meal out of it,” another shopper commented.</p> <p>Others took to the comment section to call the initiative “overpriced,” “horrid” and “disgusting”.</p> <p>The box was launched earlier this week at Woolworths stores in New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory.</p> <p>With the hefty $80 price tag, shoppers will also get contactless doorstep delivery by Australia Post, and Woolworths has claimed they will not make any money from the service.</p> <p>A spokesman for the supermarket told<span> </span>The Daily Mail: “The price includes delivery to the door and covers the costs associated with the picking, packing and transport of goods. </p> <p>“By streamlining the mix of products and partnering with Australia Post and DHL, we're able to get more food to more vulnerable customers much faster.   </p> <p>“While it's a far cry from a fully customised home delivery, it's a good value offer covering the basics.</p> <p>“We continue to work hard behind the scenes to ramp up our home delivery capacity for our Priority Assist customers.”</p> <p>WHAT EXACTLY IS IN THE WOOLIES $80 'BASICS BOX'? </p> <p> <u>Snacks</u></p> <p>Tea, 50 bags</p> <p>Biscuits (or chocolate wafers, sweet snacks), 175g</p> <p>Muesli bars (or dried fruits), 5 pack</p> <p>Crackers or similar, 185g</p> <p> </p> <p><u>Lunch and dinner</u></p> <p>Pasta (or rice, lentils, noodles, quinoa, couscous), 500g</p> <p>Pasta sauce or similar, 500g</p> <p>Canned tuna or other canned meat, 4 x 95g</p> <p>Canned items - 4 x soup, 1 x vegetables &amp; 1 x fruit - approx 400g each</p> <p>Baked beans or similar, 420g</p> <p>Tortilla bread or similar, 8 pack</p> <p><u>Household staples</u></p> <p>Flour, 1kg</p> <p>Sugar, 1kg</p> <p>Toilet paper, 8 pack</p> <p>1 bar of soap (or other hygiene products)</p> <p>Longlife milk (or a dairy substitute), 2lt</p> <p>Fruit juice, 2lt</p> <p>Weetbix, oats or breakfast cereal, 375g</p> <p>Spread (jam, vegemite, honey or peanut butter), 150g</p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Blunt message from inside hotel quarantine

<p><span>A woman has bitten back at those criticising people stuck in hotel quarantine for 14 days, and has told everyone commenting hurtful things online to “get off their high horse.”</span><br /><br /><span>Fiona Renton told abc news she is currently stuck in solitary confinement with just a little over a week to go after travelling to the UK on March 1.</span><br /><br /><span>Originally from Brisbane, Ms Renton travelled overseas before travel bans and strict isolation measures were put in place.</span><br /><br /><span>She explained she went to visit a friend dealing with stage-four cancer who was due to start chemo.</span><br /><br /><span>"I spent a month in quarantine in Wales with my friend, cheering her up, laughing, joking and trying to help her through an impossible situation," she said.</span><br /><br /><span>Due to COVID-19, Ms Renton said her friend was advised by doctors not to have chemo.</span><br /><br /><span>"Will I see her again? No-one can say. Do I regret going? No way."</span><br /><br /><span>She told abcnews a passenger sitting directly behind her was the first to be taken off the flight when it landed back in Sydney.</span><br /><br /><span>"That's my greatest fear," she explained.</span><br /><br /><span>"I am concerned for my own health, but not only that, for my family back home [in Brisbane].</span><br /><br /><span>"I mean, in the two weeks here we should know whether I have the virus or not, and then going home I will be staying with my family."</span><br /><br /><span>Ms Renton says the situation is “terrifying” but went on to admit she found it unfair the criticism she and money others who are quarantining in hotels are getting.</span><br /><br /><span>"... Having people call us horrible names and accusing us of infecting the population is unfair and incorrect," she said.</span><br /><br /><span>"I am in a room totally by myself with no face-to-face contact with anyone, I haven't had fresh air since I left the UK except getting on and off a bus to bring me to this hotel, I am in solitary confinement because I dared to visit my sick friend.</span><br /><br /><span>"All I ask is for people to get off their high horse. Try to understand that some of us are just trying to get through the day, alone."</span><br /><br /><span>Ms Renton says food is placed onto a table in the corridor and a piece of paper is slipped under the door to notify them - the only reminder she has that there is life surrounding her.</span><br /><br /><span>She also went on to admit the food used to be grim, but having the option to use food services has significantly made the experience better.</span><br /><br /><span>"I have been given a beautiful room and I am prepared to stay here for as long as it takes to ensure I don't spread this horrible virus, but please don't attack me for wanting more than dry rice for dinner," she said.</span></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Can mosquitos spread coronavirus?

<p>The pathogens mosquitos spread by sucking our blood cause over half a million deaths each year and hundreds of millions of cases of severe illness.</p> <p>But there is no scientific evidence to suggest mosquitos are transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.</p> <p>While there are many things we have yet to know about the coronavirus, current research supports that it’s highly unlikely a mosquito will pick up the virus by biting an infected person, let alone be able to pass it on.</p> <p>Mosquitos CAN transmit other viruses</p> <p>Female mosquitos need the nutrition found in blood to help develop their eggs. Viruses take advantage of this requirement as mosquitoes can easily move from host to host to transmit diseases.</p> <p>But for a mosquito to become infected, it first needs to bite an infected animal, such as a bird of kangaroo, or a person.</p> <p>The list of diseases a mosquito can transfer includes dengue, tallow fever, chikungunya, Zika and Ross River virus. They can also spread malaria, which is caused by a parasite.</p> <p>But they cannot transmit other viruses such as HIV and Ebola.</p> <p>Coronavirus is mainly spread through droplets produced when people sneeze or cough, and by touched surfaces that are contaminated.</p> <p>While the virus is found in blood, there’s no evidence that can spread via mosquitos.</p> <p>So if a mosquito does pick up a substantial dose of the virus, the virus won’t be able to infect the mosquito itself.</p> <p>And if the mosquito isn’t infected, it won’t be able to transmit it to the next person.</p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus: When will social distancing and restrictions end?

<p>In the last few weeks you may have heard the term ‘social distancing’ being thrown around a lot, as it’s being hailed as the solution to end this pandemic.</p> <p>And they aren’t wrong, as social distancing is something everyone needs to be adhering to. It’s an emergency response in an emergency situation. It’s slamming the door on the face of a viral pandemic. The issue is that the virus lurks for a terribly long time. It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.</p> <p>So the question remains, when will the emergency be over? When can we open our doors? When can we go back to our offices, cafes, clubs? To socialise? To be free?</p> <p>Before we can ease up, we have a mountain to crush.</p> <p>The only way restrictions will start to lift is when it’s known for certain that COVID-19 has been slowed to a point where our hospitals are coping well. But the good news is, that Australia’s early measures to “flatten the curve” may be starting to have a positive impact.</p> <p>This means our hospitals will be able to cope with the inevitable emergency cases as they keep rolling in. Resulting in fewer Australians dying.</p> <p>But that means we’ll be in quarantine for months to come.</p> <p>“For most of March, the total number of cases doubled in Australia every three to four days. That rate has now slowed to doubling every six to seven days,” <span>a report released Wednesday </span>from the Grattan Institute reads.</p> <p>“Over the past week the growth pattern has slowed and shifted from the exponential doubling to a linear trend with the number of new cases in Australia increasing by about 350 per day. If this rate continues, Australia’s current ICU capacity will be able to cope.”</p> <p>But there’s always a “but”.</p> <p>“But it is still early days. And our current testing regimen may not be shedding as much light on community transmission as we need. With limited community testing, and a disease which is asymptomatic or mild for many, we don’t know how far infections have spread into the community and so we don’t know the actual number of new cases each day.”</p> <p>So when will things return back to normal?</p> <p>The simple answer: When people build up immunity.</p> <p>“It will largely depend on being able to say who is safe from contracting the coronavirus,” says University of Queensland research fellow Larisa Labzin.</p> <p>No one knows yet if those who have contracted the virus are now immune from catching it again, which is why according to the molecular bioscientist, it’s crucial to test those who have the virus, but also those who have already had it.</p> <p>“An antibody test – which would identify those whose immune systems have already encountered the virus, as opposed to current tests that reveal the presence of the virus itself – will be an important part of efforts to track the true extent of the outbreak,” Labzin writes.</p> <p>Australia has ordered 1.5 million antibody testing kits, so it can be understood whether the immune system can recognise and fight off COVID-19 after recovering from the virus.</p> <p>It’s a different testing process to what is currently being applied. But Australia has ordered 1.5 million antibody test kits.</p> <p>We need to confirm immune systems can recognise – and fight off – COVID19 after recovering from the virus.</p> <p>“These kinds of tests will help clinicians and scientists measure exactly how soon after infection we develop antibodies, what levels are needed to be protective and how long these antibodies stay in our body,” Labzin writes.</p> <p>“But there is still a long way to go before we can test people’s blood for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and confidently say it is safe for people to go back to work or into the community without getting sick,” Labzin warns.</p> <p>With a vaccine still at least 18 months away, the recurring message is the need to test, and to keep the number of active cases down to levels the health care system can handle.</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

On your bike: Kate Langbroek’s husband wants a divorce after being sued for breaking lockdown laws

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Kate Langbroek explained that her husband, Peter Allen Lewis, is being sued by the city of Bologna for breaking lockdown laws during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>She clarified to Triple M’s Moonman in the Morning that Peter, 44, had been caught riding his bicycle and was unaware that the rules for self-isolation in Bologna had changed overnight.</p> <p>She also reflected on the family’s stressful weeks in self-isolation, joking that her and husband might be “getting a divorce” to celebrate their anniversary this weekend.</p> <p>“Initially you were allowed to go out and exercise - which you know I would never do,” Kate said with a laugh. </p> <p>“Peter, my husband, actually got stopped by police on his bicycle three weeks ago at 7 am on a Sunday. They had changed the rules the night before. It was pretty intense. He's being sued by the city of Bologna.</p> <p>“And they [the police] said to him, "Have you got a lawyer?’”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9-IGRkgWS1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9-IGRkgWS1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Friday night dinner. At my Favourite* restaurant in bologna, with my Favourite** people. *only **only #anotherweekinlockdown #sixtakeitaly 💚🇮🇹❤️#coronavirus #covid #vivaitalia 🙏.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/katelangbroek/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Kate Langbroek</a> (@katelangbroek) on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:34pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Kate then revealed that the lockdowns have gotten more intense.</p> <p>“You cannot leave the house. I've probably left the house five times probably. It's just very difficult,” she added.</p> <p>She spoke about her upcoming anniversary, saying that things have been a bit hectic.</p> <p>“I said [to Peter], "How should we celebrate?’ And he said, ‘By getting a divorce!’”</p> <p>She spoke to Hughesy &amp; Ed that COVID-19 restrictions had brought her closer to her husband of 17 years, saying that they lie in bed like “little gumnut babies”.</p> <p>"We lie in bed like little gumnut babies just clutching each other's hands until we fall asleep ready to start it all again the next day," she said.</p> </div> </div> </div>

News

Placeholder Content Image

What has happened to the $1.6 billion donated to restore Notre Dame

<p>It seems like a whole world away, but long before COVID-19, the world was brought to a standstill by the fire that gutted Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral.</p> <p>The fire occurred on April 15th and was all that anyone could talk about as the 850-year-old landmark and priceless artefacts were destroyed by a blaze that ripped through the cathedral.</p> <p>It motivated some of the world’s richest people into action, and within days, 1.6 billion had been pledged by France’s wealthiest individuals and corporations to restore the Roman Catholic cathedral.</p> <p>However, many are curious as to whether or not they will pay up. Six months after the fire, only some of the money from wealthy donors materialised. Early work to repair the building replied on $59 billion in smaller donations from individuals and businesses.</p> <p>As the first anniversary of the fire approaches, where are the billions for the Notre Dame?</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97A_xlhZ7w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97A_xlhZ7w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (@notredamedeparis)</a> on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:35am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>This week, the Foundation Notre Dame, which is the largest of the four official charities overseeing the repairs, said that all of the donor pledges have come through.</p> <p>"I can confirm that all the companies that committed to pay money for the restoration of the cathedral to the Notre Dame Foundation have either already paid it in full or have contracted to pay it as and when needs," the foundation's funding director Jean-Michel Mangeot said to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.businessinsider.sg/notre-dame-fire-one-year-reparations-billionaire-donations-progress-2020-3" target="_blank">Business Insider</a></em>.</p> <p>The other three charities raising money have not revealed the status of the pledges they have received.</p> <p>The future of the cathedral remains unclear due to the coronavirus pandemic delaying vital work, with 500 tonnes of melted metal lattice on the roof of the weakened building threatening to come down at any minute.</p> <p>It is not currently known when workers are able to start repairing the cathedral. </p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Make your own mask from a tea towel, t-shirt or vacuum bag

<p>The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has led to a shortage of protective face masks, leading to a number of online tutorials on how to make your own using items found around the house.</p> <p>Homemade masks offer significantly less protection than the N95 medical masks, which are made of a thick, tightly woven material that fits over the face and can stop 95 per cent of all airborne particles.</p> <p>And while many health organisations have recommended to ditch the masks unless in a medical setting, there is a good reason to think DIY masks could be effective in tackling the pandemic.</p> <p>They’ve been used extensively in countries such as Hong Kong, Mongolia and South Korea – places that have the disease largely under control.</p> <p>The World Health Organisation also does not recommend that people without the illness wear the face mask, but they’re looking at reversing their decision due to evidence from Hong Kong that it may be effective in fighting the virus.</p> <p><strong>Here’s how you can make your own at home using a kitchen towel</strong></p> <p><strong>What you will need:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Kitchen towel</li> <li>One tissue</li> <li>Masking tape</li> <li>Elastic bands</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Cut both the paper towel and tissue in half and apply masking tape on each end to make sure the mask is stiff.</li> <li>Punch holes through either end of the mask and thread the elastic bands through the holes.</li> </ol> <p>Your mask is ready in two simple steps.</p> <p><strong>How to make a face mask with a t-shirt</strong></p> <p>A tutorial by YouTuber Runa Ray shows how to make a face mask with a t-shirt, no sewing required.</p> <p><strong>What you will need:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Scissors</li> <li>Pencil</li> <li>Ruler</li> <li>Unwanted t-shirt</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Cut out a 16" by 4" rectangle from the middle of the t-shirt, then fold it in half, and measure four inches on either side.</li> <li>Mark the t-shirt with an even number of tassels on each side and use scissors to cut them.</li> <li>Turn the t-shirt inside out and separate the corner tassels, but tie the remaining ones in-between.</li> <li>With the remaining t-shirt material cut some ear straps using the hem of the shirt. </li> <li>Attach the straps to the remaining outer tassels and you have yourself a face mask, with no sewing involved, and using an old t-shirt.</li> </ol> <p><span><strong>How to make a face mask from vacuum cleaner bags</strong></span></p> <p><strong>What you will need:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Vacuum bag</li> <li>Paperclip</li> <li>Two rubber bands</li> <li>Stapler</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Cut the bag into a rectangle. Make sure to keep all the layers together.</li> <li>With the inside of the bag facing upwards fold twice along the bottom and top.</li> <li>Fold both bottom corners of the bag.</li> <li>Get a paperclip or other thin wire and straighten it out.</li> <li>Take two rubber bands and fold the far ends around them. Staple the folds to secure them.</li> <li>Push the straightened wire through the centre of the top.</li> <li>Stretch the rubber bands around your ears to hold the mask against your face. Pinch the wire to secure around your nose.</li> </ol>

Art

News

Placeholder Content Image

"Grossly irresponsible": If you travelled after the ban, here’s what we need you to do

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>New statistics revealed in data provided by the Department of Home Affairs showed that about 16,000 Australians defied government advice and travelled overseas after March 18th.</p> <p>The Federal Government raised the advice for all overseas travel to the highest level, which is four, on March 18th, meaning that everyone should not travel overseas, regardless of destination, age or health.</p> <p>However, 16,000 Aussies chose to fly overseas between the 19th and the 30th of March, despite the restrictions.</p> <p>A further 3,800 flew out after the official ban on overseas travel was enforced on the 24th of March. However, they did require a government exemption, which can be granted for people who live overseas or on compassionate grounds as well as having essential work abroad.</p> <p>Many are calling for those who were irresponsible enough to fly overseas to pay for their own quarantine accommodation, as the bill is currently being funded by state governments who is placing overseas travellers in quarantine in hotel rooms.</p> <p>The West Australian government is considering whether or not to charge returning Australians who travelled overseas.</p> <p>“It was grossly irresponsible of people to go to Bali or Thailand or Britain or wherever it was,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/thousands-of-australians-travelled-overseas-despite-pm-s-strict-travel-advice" target="_blank">SBS</a></em>.</p> <p>Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday that the Federal Government "will not be able to ensure the return of every Australian who wants to head home during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> </div> </div> </div>

News

Placeholder Content Image

No fresh air: Today show hosts clash with young mum in hotel quarantine

<p>An Australian mum in isolation with her young sons at a Brisbane hotel came head-to-head with the hosts of <em>Today </em>show in a tense interview.</p> <p>Sarah Greig and her two sons were placed in quarantine at the Novotel Hotel in Brisbane after arriving from Jakarta on Sunday. The family will remain in mandatory isolation for two weeks.</p> <p>Greig told hosts Allison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic she and other travellers stuck in the same situation are unable to access fresh air or go outside.</p> <p>“I think the best thing for us right now is for the Australian public to understand that nobody is complaining about conditions of the hotel,” Greig said.</p> <p>“We’ve got fresh, clean sheets, we’ve got running water, all of those things are fantastic but we don’t have access to fresh air.</p> <p>“We just want a solution to be able to get access to sunlight and fresh air. I don’t think that’s being unreasonable in any way, shape or form. I certainly don’t think that that makes us whingers.”</p> <p>Greig added that she would welcome safety measures such as wearing protective clothing while outside.</p> <p>“I would wear a garbage bag over my body to be allowed some fresh air and sunlight right now. I am very concerned about that, don’t get me wrong, but there has got to be a solution to us going outside.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">There is growing anger among the thousands of Aussies forced into isolation in hotels around the country, with some saying they're being treated like prisoners. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9Today?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9Today</a> <a href="https://t.co/ccPRPDBQb1">pic.twitter.com/ccPRPDBQb1</a></p> — The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheTodayShow/status/1245450097007243271?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Langdon said self-isolation is a “price worth paying” for overseas travellers to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. This the price you and the boys unfortunately have to pay which is two weeks in self-isolation but in the grand scheme of things, if this means keeping everyone healthy, is it not a price worth paying?” Langdon said.</p> <p>Greig responded, “I was asked to come on air today to speak to you about finding solutions to get us some fresh air. That was what I was coming on air to speak to you about today, not to whinge about any of the things you just said to me.”</p> <p>More than 5,000 returning overseas travellers are under quarantine in hotels and accommodation around the country.</p> <p>The measure was started on Saturday by the National Cabinet.</p> <p>NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said he is working to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-01/coronavirus-thousands-australians-quarantined-hotel-rooms-travel/12111970">address the concerns raised by those under hotel isolation</a>. “I know there are people who are posting on social media their dissatisfaction … some complaints are reasonable and we will deal with those,” he said.</p> <p>“We shouldn’t frame everyone in these hotels as people who are ungrateful because it certainly is not the case.”</p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Roger Federer "devastated" at Wimbledon 2020 cancellation

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Tennis fans are reeling from the news that<span> </span><span>Wimbledon </span><span>has been cancelled for the first time since World War II.</span></p> <p>The All England Club announced the closure of the event. It’s the first time that the tournament, which began in 1877, will not be played during peacetime.</p> <p>The All England Club considered a number of alternatives, but decided that cancellation would be the best option, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/28981311/wimbledon-cancelled-due-coronavirus-pandemic" target="_blank">ESPN</a></em>.</p> <p>"It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic," Wimbledon said in a statement on its website.</p> <p>"Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen -- the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents -- as well as our broader responsibility to society's efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life."</p> <p>While moving Wimbledon into late July or August this year was discussed, it was vetoed due to not enough sunlight and too much dew on the courts.</p> <p>Playing the court behind closed doors with no spectators was also ruled out.</p> <p>"With the likelihood that the Government's measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk -- from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds -- and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement," the All England Club said in Wednesday's statement.</p> <p>Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer tweeted about the news, saying that he was “devastated”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Devastated <a href="https://t.co/Fg2c1EuTQY">https://t.co/Fg2c1EuTQY</a> <a href="https://t.co/cm1wE2VwIp">pic.twitter.com/cm1wE2VwIp</a></p> — Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1245373248210178048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Fans comforted him saying that they too were devastated, but “public health” needed to be a priority. Federer agreed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Absolutely, health and family <a href="https://t.co/t31L86vsFk">https://t.co/t31L86vsFk</a></p> — Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1245378268540395520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Last year’s women’s winner Simona Halep expressed her sadness on Twitter.</p> <p>"So sad to hear Wimbledon won’t take place this year. Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title!," she wrote.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">So sad to hear <a href="https://twitter.com/Wimbledon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Wimbledon</a> won’t take place this year. Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title 🤗 <a href="https://t.co/PmppwUuKtD">pic.twitter.com/PmppwUuKtD</a></p> — Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) <a href="https://twitter.com/Simona_Halep/status/1245367979707109376?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Next year’s event will be held from June 28 to July 1.</p> </div> </div> </div>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Australia to get “miracle drug” against coronavirus soon

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Health minister Greg Hunt spoke on<span> </span><em>A Current Affair</em><span> </span>about how he has struck a deal to bring hydroxychloroquine into Australia. The drug is being touted by US President Trump as a “wonder drug” against coronavirus.</p> <p>“We would rather put out there preventions, hydroxychloroquine, things such as that,” Hunt said.</p> <p>“I’m confident we will have a significant supply of hydroxychloroquine, which will be available, if doctors wish to use them with patients who are in hospital. Those are the terms.</p> <p>“That is breaking news.”</p> <p>Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to treat patients with lupus or other immune deficiency diseases.</p> <p>Trump has said that the drug could be among “the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” for its potential effects against COVID-19.</p> <p>However, medical professionals are still uncertain over the effectiveness of the drug as a coronavirus treatment. National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Professor Chris Freeman said that the drug is strictly being used in ICU “under the context of a clinical trial”.</p> <p>According to Mr Freeman “there is an indication it might be effective,” but he doesn’t “want to give people false hope if the medicine is proved to be not effective”.</p> <p>Host Tracy Grimshaw asked if the health minister if the drug was deemed to be a “cure’, but Hunt was clear that experts were “cautiously hopeful” that the drug “can have an impact”.</p> <p>“It’s not a perfect cure, it’s not a perfect prevention, it’s not fully proven but there have been some promising trials around the world.</p> <p>“This will allow us the capacity to expand those trials in Australia.”</p> <p>The European Commission said that there was no evidence that the drug touted by President Trump is effective against COVID-19.</p> <p>“The efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients has to date not been proved,” a spokesman for the European Commission said on Tuesday, relaying an internal opinion from the European Medicine Agency.</p> </div> </div> </div>

News

Travel

Placeholder Content Image

If nonviolent inmates aren’t released for COVID, the nation will pay

<p>Right before the Berejiklian government closed down parliament until mid-September due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it <a href="https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/Pages/bill-details.aspx?pk=3741">passed a law</a> that allows for the early release of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/a-new-trial-in-lithgow-jail-to-cut-prison-crime/">prison inmates</a> on parole based on a number of factors including offence, age, health and vulnerability.</p> <p>Although, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-nsw-governments-new-injustice-laws-more-power-to-police-and-prosecutors/">there are questions</a> as to whether these provisions apply to prisoners on remand, who make up a third of NSW’s over <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_custody_stats/bocsar_custody_stats.aspx">13,000 inmates</a>. Indeed, some of these remandees will go on to be found innocent.</p> <p>As he was introducing the <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_custody_stats/bocsar_custody_stats.aspx">emergency powers bill</a>, attorney general Mark Speakman made clear that this law was one that the state government hopes it “will never have to use” – which hardly screams early release.</p> <p>At 3 pm on 29 March, there were <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers">3,966 confirmed cases</a> of the coronavirus in this country, and 16 people had died as a result of the disease. However, the number of cases is set to dramatically increase in the coming weeks due to the way viruses <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-26/coronavirus-covid19-global-spread-data-explained/12089028">exponentially spread</a>.</p> <p>So, if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs at one of Australia’s numerous correctional centres, it’s likely to pass dramatically throughout the facility. And as prison staff will be leaving gaols after every shift, there’s the potential for detention-related infections to spread into the community.</p> <p>New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison turned up <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/22/coronavirus-outbreak-new-york-city-jails-rikers-island">38 cases of COVID</a> over the week ending on 23 March. And twelve of those affected were staff. While, as of Sunday, Iran – one of the hardest hit countries on the planet – had released <a href="https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/iran-temporarily-frees-100-000-prisoners-to-limit-spread-of-coronavirus-120032901200_1.html">100,000 inmates</a> to prevent greater disease outbreaks.</p> <p><strong>Inside distancing is impossible</strong></p> <p>“In gaols, the COVID-19 virus will likely multiply like rampant bacteria in a Petri jar,” said <a href="https://www.cla.asn.au/News/#gsc.tab=0">Civil Liberties Australia (CLA)</a> CEO Bill Rowlings. “If the virus gets into a gaol, the closeness of prisoners will mean it’s impossible to contain the spread.”</p> <p>The Health Department has advised practising the key prevention measure known as <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing_4.pdf">social distancing</a>. It includes staying more than 1.5 metres away from other people to ensure that the virus is not passed on. But, as Rowlings points out, this is simply not possible behind bars.</p> <p>“At mealtimes, and in line-ups for the daily counts or for medicine dispensing, there’s no way people could be 1.5 metres apart. There just isn’t room,” he told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “Prisoners are among the Australians most vulnerable to a virus.”</p> <p>Queensland Corrective Services acting deputy commissioner Peter Shaddock <a href="https://corrections.qld.gov.au/improving-prison-safety-through-better-health/">recently said pre-COVID</a> that “prisoner health is a matter of public health”. And he went on to explain that “prisoners are some of the most disadvantaged and sickest members of our communities”.</p> <p>“Another consideration,” Mr Rowlings added, “is that about a third of people in gaol are on remand. That is, they’re not even guilty, but have been charged and are awaiting their day in court. Many of them could, and some should, be out on bail.”</p> <p><strong>An innocent elderly inmate</strong></p> <p>Susan Neill-Fraser is a wheelchair-bound elderly inmate locked up for a crime she didn’t commit. The mother-of-two has been incarcerated in a Tasmanian prison since 2009, when she was remanded over the murder of her partner. And she’s now serving a 23 year sentence.</p> <p>Ms Neill-Fraser’s conviction has always been disputed. And <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/free-susan-neill-fraser-an-innocent-woman-behind-bars/">in March last year</a>, 60 minutes presented a report involving an eyewitness recollecting that her male companion brutally murdered Bob Chappell. The young woman had been too scared to reveal this in the past.</p> <p>Rowlings explained that then Tasmanian DPP Tim Ellis told the jury Neill-Fraser’s DNA was found on a rubber glove presumably used to clean up the crime scene. However, he later apologised, admitting it had been someone else’s DNA.</p> <p>“No-one believes she would ‘re’-offend, even people who still think she’s guilty,” said CLA president Dr Kristine Klugman. “It’s time for some common sense compassion from the Tasmanian government in the case of this woman who has been sorely tried over the past decade.”</p> <p><strong>Prevent Aboriginal deaths in custody</strong></p> <p>The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) <a href="http://www.natsils.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=NBF0S7YQGcc%3d&amp;portalid=8">released a statement</a> on 23 March, calling on Scott Morrison to release First Nations prisoners from correctional facilities, “as people in prison are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19”.</p> <p>According to the ABS, there were <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4512.0">42,799 adults</a> being incarcerated in Australian facilities last December, and of these, 11,776 were Indigenous. This means that while First Nations people make up less than 3 percent of the general populace, they account for 29 percent of those inside.</p> <p>NATSILS is calling for the immediate release of remandees, “women who are victims of family violence and sentenced for lesser offences like fines and public order offences”, young people and those most at risk from COVID-19, like the elderly and people with health conditions.</p> <p>The national peak body further stated that lockdowns and solitary confinement should be avoided, especially in the case of young people. And they raised concerns about First Nations inmates being completely cut off from friends and family.</p> <p><strong>Risking overall prevention</strong></p> <p>Queensland Corrective Services moved to stage two pandemic restrictions <a href="https://corrections.qld.gov.au/pandemic-visits-to-queensland-prisons-cease/">on 23 March</a>, meaning all personal visits are prohibited. But, as Rowlings points out, if it decides to impose stage four restrictions it will mean complete lockdown, with no time out of cells.</p> <p>The long-term civil liberties advocate described these extreme restrictions as “basically locking up prisoners and letting any virus foment”. While the QCS further set out that the stage four scenario is an option of last resort, however it is “prepared for the eventuality”.</p> <p>Meanwhile the World Health Organisation <a href="http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/prisons-and-health/news/news/2020/3/preventing-covid-19-outbreak-in-prisons-a-challenging-but-essential-task-for-authorities">released a guidance</a> last week on dealing with the coronavirus in prisons, which explains that those detained within these closed environments are particularly vulnerable to the disease and it amplifies the risks for those on the outside.</p> <p>“The global effort to tackle the spread of disease may fail without proper attention to infection control measures within prisons,” the WHO <a href="http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/prisons-and-health/news/news/2020/3/preventing-covid-19-outbreak-in-prisons-a-challenging-but-essential-task-for-authorities">ominously warned</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/if-nonviolent-inmates-arent-released-for-covid-the-nation-will-pay/">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Travel Tips

Placeholder Content Image

Tennis legend Roger Federer surprises fans with trick shot video

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Roger Federer has delighted fans by posting a trick-shot video on Twitter.</p> <p>The 20-time grand slam champion is making sure he’s still got the trick-shot kills by hitting between-the-legs “tweeners” and behind-the-back shots effortlessly in the snow.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Making sure I still remember how to hit trick shots <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TennisAtHome?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TennisAtHome</a> <a href="https://t.co/DKDKQTaluY">pic.twitter.com/DKDKQTaluY</a></p> — Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1244696825602473988?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>He cheekily captioned the video “Making sure I still remember how to hit trickshots”.</p> <p>The video has already been viewed by fans 4.6 million times and has 260,000 likes on Twitter.</p> <p>Fans were thrilled at the video, saying that it’s helped them during quarantine.</p> <p>“Thank you for this video Mr Goat, it’s helped my tennis drought x 100”, one fan commented.</p> <p>Another counted how many shots Federer took in the vide.</p> <p>“15 shots. 5 tweeners, 3 behinds the back, 2 backhand slices, 5 forehands and six in the net”.</p> <p>As Wimbledon announced that it wasn’t going ahead due to coronavirus, many tennis fans are settling for this video.</p> <p>“The sound of your racquet is music to my ears”, one fan said joyfully.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-er0bhltTD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-er0bhltTD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Another glimpse into the stay at home practice routine 🧤🧣🎾👊 I hope everyone is safe and healthy. Stay positive. Keep active. Support one another. We will get through this together🙏 #stayhome</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rogerfederer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Roger Federer</a> (@rogerfederer) on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:10am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Federer also gave fans another glimpse into his “stay at home” practice routine, saying he’s going back to the “olden days” of playing tennis against a wall. He also urged fans to take care during this time.</p> <p>“Staying active at home is very important at the moment, and I’m even working on the trick shot once in a while,” he joked about his viral video.</p> <p>“Seriously now, I think it’s very important that we listen to local government, that we adapt to the new situation and we try our best there.”</p> <p>“I’ll keep practicing in the meantime, might go for a run later and play some tennis against the wall like in the olden days.”</p> <p>The video quickly ends as Federer accidentally hits the ball against the camera, but he fixes it and wishes everyone to stay safe.</p> <p>“Stay safe everyone, and take care!”</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month

<p>While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.</p> <p>Our research, published today in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/GCB.15083">Global Change Biology</a>, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first-hand.</p> <p>Antarctica may be isolated from other continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/conveyor.html">global ocean conveyor belt</a>, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.</p> <p>Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a ‘canary in the mine’, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>A heatwave in the coldest place on Earth</strong></p> <p>Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/ice-free-areas-are-hot-property-in-antarctica">important biodiversity hotspots</a> for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates.</p> <p>This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heat wave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5°C. On January 24, its highest <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml">maximum of 9.2°C</a> was recorded, almost 7°C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.</p> <p>The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes.</p> <p>By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-reported/">maximum temperature of 18.4°C</a> was recorded on February 6 at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Peninsula - almost 1°C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/%202020/feb/13/antarctic-temperature-rises-above-20c-firsttime-record/">20.75°C was reported</a> at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the Peninsula.</p> <p><strong>What caused the heatwave?</strong></p> <p>The pace of warming from global climate change has been generally slower in East Antarctica compared with West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is in part due to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051">ozone hole</a>, which has occurred in spring over Antarctica since the late 1970s.</p> <p>The hole has tended to strengthen jet stream winds over the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043">Southern Ocean</a> promoting a generally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00787-x">more ‘positive’ state</a> of the Southern Annular Mode in summer. This means the Southern Ocean’s westerly wind belt has tended to stay close to Antarctica at that time of year creating a seasonal ‘shield’, reducing the transfer of warm air from the Earth’s temperate regions to Antarctica.</p> <p>But during the spring of 2019 a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">strong warming of the stratosphere</a> over Antarctica significantly reduced the size of the ozone hole. This helped to support a more ‘negative’ state of the Southern Annular Mode and weakened the shield.</p> <p>Other factors in late 2019 may have also helped to warm Antarctica. The Indian Ocean Dipole was in a strong ‘positive’ state due to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">late retreat of the Indian monsoon</a>. This meant that water in the western Indian Ocean was warmer than normal. Air rising from this and other warm ocean patches in the Pacific Ocean provided energy sources that altered the path of weather systems and helped to disturb and warm the stratosphere.</p> <p><strong>Is a warming Antarctica good or bad?</strong></p> <p>Localised flooding appeared to benefit some Vestfold Hills’ moss banks which were previously very <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0280-0">drought-stressed</a>. Prior to the flood event, most mosses were grey and moribund, but one month later many moss shoots were green.</p> <p>Given the generally cold conditions of Antarctica, the warmth may have benefited the flora (mosses, lichens and two vascular plants), and microbes and invertebrates, but only where liquid water formed. Areas in the Vestfold Hills away from the flooding became more drought-stressed over the summer.</p> <p>High temperatures may have caused heat stress in some organisms. Antarctic mosses and lichens are often dark in colour, allowing sunlight to be absorbed to create warm microclimates. This is a great strategy when temperatures are just above freezing, but heat stress can occur once 10°C is exceeded.</p> <p>On King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, our measurements showed that in January 2019 moss surface temperatures only exceeded 14°C for 3% of the time, but in 2020 this increased fourfold (to 12% of the time).</p> <p>Based on our experience from previous anomalous hot Antarctic summers, we can expect many biological impacts, positive and negative, in coming years. The most recent event highlights the connectedness of our climate systems: from the surface to the stratosphere, and from the monsoon tropics to the southernmost continent.</p> <p>Under climate change, extreme events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, and Antarctica is not immune.</p> <p>If you’ve been let go and then retrospectively un-sacked, you are also guaranteed to get at least $1,500 per fortnight, which in that case might be less than you were being paid, but will be more than the $1,115 you would have got on Newstart (which has been renamed JobSeeker Payment).</p> <p>If you remain employed, and are on more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer will have to pay you your full regular wage. Employers won’t be able to cut it to $1,500 per fortnight.</p> <p>To get it, most employers will have to have suffered a 30% decline in their turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago. Big employers (turnover of $1 billion or more) will have to have suffered a 50% decline. Big banks won’t be eligible.</p> <p>Self-employed Australians will also be eligible where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30% decline in turnover. Among these will be musicians and performers out of work because large gatherings have been cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Half the Australian workforce</strong></p> <p>The payment isn’t perfect. It will only be paid in respect of wages from March 30, and the money won’t be handed over until the start of May – the Tax Office systems can’t work any faster – but it will provide more support than almost anyone expected.</p> <p>Its scope is apparent when you consider the size of Australia’s workforce.</p> <p>Before the coronavirus hit in February, 13 million of Australia’s 25 million residents were in jobs. This payment will go to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job">six million</a> of them.</p> <p>Without putting too fine a point on it, for the next six months, the government will be the paymaster to almost <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0">half</a> the Australian workforce.</p> <p>Announcing the payment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unprecedented times called for unprecedented action. He said the payment was more generous than New Zealand’s, broader than Britain’s, and more comprehensive than Canada’s, claims about which there is dispute.</p> <p>But for Australia, it is completely without precedent.</p> <p><em>Written by Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana Kind and Sharon Robinson. Reviewed by Emma Kucelj. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/anatomy-of-a-heatwave-how-antarctica-recorded-a-20-75-c-day-last-month-134550"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus has seriously tested our border security: Have we learned from our mistakes?

<p>There are now nearly <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/28/interstate-coronavirus-cases-from-ruby-princess-jump-as-32-queenslanders-test-positive">300 cases of COVID-19</a> linked to passengers who disembarked from the Ruby Princess cruise ship without any health checks from authorities.</p> <p>Amid public condemnation, video of travellers squashed together in the immigration queue at Sydney airport <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-26/coronavirus-fears-at-sydney-airport-after-video-shows-long-lines/12092796">made the rounds last week on social media</a>.</p> <p>Border security at both airports and cruise terminals primarily falls under the purview of the Australian Border Force (ABF). Both episodes have raised critical questions about the management of our border security and who exactly is responsible for what during the coronavirus crisis.</p> <p><strong>Overlapping responsibilities at the border</strong></p> <p>The first thing to talk about here is Australia’s federal system and the “national cabinet” of Commonwealth, state and territory leaders that has been set up to respond to coronavirus.</p> <p>One of the reasons for this approach is that certain roles were ceded to the national government at federation, including border control. But it’s not that simple – there are actually various agencies in charge of different facets of border control.</p> <p>The ABF, which sits within Home Affairs, is the lead agency responsible for overseeing the movement of people and goods across Australia’s international borders.</p> <p><a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity">Biosecurity Australia</a>, in the Department of Agriculture, works with ABF to protect Australia from any form of disease, including those brought in by humans. And the states are responsible for health delivery, which means anyone identified at the border with health concerns is transferred to the local health authority.</p> <p>This partly explains why there was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/finger-pointing-over-the-ruby-princess-debacle-wont-help-solve-coronavirus-crisis">confusion</a> over who was responsible for the Ruby Princess passengers. The inability of these three agencies to coordinate effectively at the time showed a gap in existing arrangements.</p> <p><strong>A risk-managed approach</strong></p> <p>Australia has had to adopt a risk-management approach to border security, given the range of threats the country faces (narcotics, biosecurity, organised crime), as well as the <a href="https://www.themandarin.com.au/121480-the-state-of-home-affairs-michael-outrams-address-to-the-home-affairs-industry-summit/">large volume of movements across the border</a> (more than 44.7 million people per year and 53 million air cargo consignments).</p> <p>And the numbers of travellers and imports crossing the border are increasing at double-figure rates. As Michael Outram, ABF commissioner, <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/estimate/9cba4477-60ef-40db-a537-241108688a6c/toc_pdf/Legal%20and%20Constitutional%20Affairs%20Legislation%20Committee_2020_03_02_7589.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf#search=%22committees/estimate/9cba4477-60ef-40db-a537-241108688a6c/0000%22">said at Senate Estimates</a> recently,</p> <p><em>Such enduring increases in volume necessitate a range of responses that improve efficiency and optimise the impact of our finite resources.</em></p> <p>The ABF uses a framework of pre-arrival, arrival and post-arrival assessments and controls to identify, prevent and respond to threats.</p> <p>On the front end, this means working closely with other countries and organisations to identify areas of risk – narcotics-producing countries, for example – and trying to prevent these threats from getting to Australia in the first place. As such, only a small number of specialised border officials are required at the “primary line” of airport terminals.</p> <p>Health threats are also risk-managed. As such, global pandemics have been part of the normal forecasting and response mechanisms used by ABF and its partners in the past. They developed <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-bio-index.htm">action plans</a>, for instance, after the SARS, MERS and Ebola epidemics.</p> <p>This system relies on early identification and effective containment of a disease, along with other factors, such as how early symptoms appear, how contagious and lethal a disease is and whether vaccines are available.</p> <p>In the case of SARS and MERS, for example, the diseases had limited spread, early onset of symptoms and relatively low transmission rates, even though initial information was limited and problematic.</p> <p>However, the enormity and spread of COVID-19 is unparalleled in the modern era, requiring a rapid rethink of our strategies.</p> <p>It was only two months ago that Chinese and WHO officials <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/china-confirms-human-human-transmission-coronavirus-200120162507948.html">declared the virus could be transmitted between humans</a>. Only 218 cases were officially confirmed in China at the time.</p> <p>Research suggests that actual cases were already in the thousands. And international travel was continuing as usual, with around 2,000 people flying from Wuhan (the epicentre of the virus) to Sydney in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/22/world/coronavirus-spread.html">previous month</a>.</p> <p><strong>Why cruise ships are usually so low risk</strong></p> <p>Where do cruise ships fit into this? Like airlines, cruise liners are required to check the health of passengers and inform the ABF of any illnesses before arriving in Australia.</p> <p>They are then given permission to dock and for passengers to disembark with minimal physical checks at the terminal. This permission is known as “pratique”. It essentially means that risks are managed before arrival.</p> <p>These arrangements, together with the profile of passengers from countries without major health issues and the medical resources available onboard ships, mean that cruises previously presented an extremely low health risk.</p> <p>And like border authorities, cruise lines have had a limited understanding of coronavirus until very recently.</p> <p>While all this activity is happening behind the scenes, Australia has also been streamlining the immigration process for travellers. The <a href="https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/smartgates">SmartGates</a>, for instance, whisk more than <a href="https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/reports-and-pubs/Annualreports/home-affairs-annual-report-2018-19.pdf">27.5 million air travellers</a> through immigration in a matter of seconds annually.</p> <p>All of this means a better passenger experience and use of taxpayer resources. But COVID-19 has challenged the systems we have in place and shown there’s still a need to be able to adapt quickly and reimpose physical barriers and other controls when necessary.</p> <p><strong>What lessons can ABF learn?</strong></p> <p>After the mistakes and creative responses of recent days, the ABF and its parent organisation, Home Affairs, should now be poring over these lessons and others to see how they can improve their operations.</p> <p>In the case of the Ruby Princess, federal and state authorities identified the problem and adapted quickly, as seen by the revised arrangements for the reception of cruise ships in Western Australia. Border and health authorities are now working together to <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coronavirus-wa-rules-tested-as-cruise-liner-vasco-da-gama-arrives/news-story/2ec5fd2e058c9bc01351443a48648b9c">ensure stringent health checks</a> for passengers and crew.</p> <p>And state health officials and the ABF have worked out new arrangements for air arrivals, including an order that nurses and biosecurity staff <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/all-sydney-airport-arrivals-to-be-temperature-checked-as-nsw-goes-it-alone-on-coronavirus-screening">give temperature checks</a> for all incoming passengers and <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-arrivals-to-australia-complain-about-quarantine-in-hotels/news-story/bff5101eba3cf0adc3c36df8dcd4048e">enforcing a 14-day quarantine</a> in hotels.</p> <p>The roles of varying agencies is also becoming clearer. In NSW, the <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coronavirus-now-theres-no-escaping-hotel-isolation/news-story/0de171dda7c6d108f6953baceac47a69">state police have taken control</a> of the quarantining of returning overseas passengers. Managing social distancing and imposing other physical measures in the terminals, meanwhile, should now be an integral part of ongoing training of border officials and airport staff.</p> <p>Another key lesson: there is now a special place in the risk matrix for health issues like coronavirus that may be rare in frequency, but have extremely damaging consequences. From now on, health checks and mandatory quarantines should be put in place much more quickly.</p> <p>These are practical matters that agencies can learn from and adjust as required. But perhaps the greater challenge is one that’s less obvious.</p> <p>A modern border management system relies significantly on the international system of rules, regulations and data sharing. In a world of increasing competition between the major powers and the rise of misinformation, it is more difficult to vet the quality of information being shared and rely on international partners to collaborate.</p> <p>COVID-19 has presented a strategic shock to Australia’s border operations. The good news is we are now seeing better collaboration and extraordinary adaptation among the agencies in charge of border security. A willingness to engage, cooperate and learn quickly from mistakes is what is needed right now – and to be sure we are ready for the next challenge.</p> <p><em>Written by Jacinta Carroll. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-has-seriously-tested-our-border-security-have-we-learned-from-our-mistakes-134794"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p> </p>

Travel Tips

Health

Placeholder Content Image

Scott Morrison tears up as he reveals what keeps him awake at night

<div class="body_text "> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared on the brink of tears when he addressed Australia and gave the nation a rare glimpse into the personal toll the coronavirus pandemic is having on its leader.</p> <p>He was asked by a reporter what keeps him up at night during a press conference.</p> <p>Morrison was quick to answer, saying that it’s a “great comfort” having his family in Canberra with him.</p> <p>"I am pleased that my family is with me, they have joined me in Canberra and that is a great comfort to me ... I hope that it is comfort to them," he said.</p> <p>"But they sustain me. We are just like any other family; I suppose in many other respects.</p> <p><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6AmqPZnLvQ/" target="_blank">https://www.instagram.com/p/B6AmqPZnLvQ/<br /></a></p> <p>Morrison then went onto explain that he tries to keep his kids informed and give them “positive and encouraging news”.</p> <p>“You talk to your kids about what this means and I suppose the really difficult issue for all of us is trying to imagine the world on the other side of this and to give your family some positive and encouraging news,” Morrison said.</p> <p>Morrison’s voice began to waver when he thought back to his grandmother.</p> <p>“I think back to my grandmother and how she lived through the Depression and I remember as a kid being told stories by my grandmother about what they used to do as a family to get through and we are doing the same thing in our house.</p> <p>“You have got to keep your family positive and keep connected and together. To us, our faith is very important to us. That helps us get through each day. But every family is different. Stay together, Australia.”</p> <p>Morrison announced in the press conference that child care will become completely free so that parents can continue working, a temporary overhaul that is estimated to cost $1.6 million.</p> <p>It was in the same press conference that Attorney-General Christian Porter announced changes made by the Fair Work Commission to the nation’s employment conditions.</p> <p>This ensures workers get better protections during the coronavirus pandemic, including access to two weeks unpaid leave for workers in hospitality and retail if they need to self-isolate from coronavirus.</p> </div>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie nurse shares incredible surprise found on doorstep: “Felt like Christmas”

<p>An Australian nurse has woken up to a lovely surprise on her doorstep this week.</p> <p>Supermarket shelves have been left empty of essential products due to panic buying at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic and Michelle, who works at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide shared a sweet image of toilet paper, tissues, pasta, rice and flour which she says she received from a “little angel”.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835441/face-mask-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2f29a5022f1b45eeafb06a9b9a60b36b" /></p> <p>“While I was sleeping before my night duty this week a little Angel left this in a bag on my Porch. It felt like Christmas,” she wrote.</p> <p>The heartwarming post recurved kind comments from strangers praising Michelle and other hospital workers on the front line like her.</p> <p>“What a treasure chest,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“That's a billion $ shopping bag right there. Jackpot,” another comment said.</p> <p>Michelle shared another post a few weeks ago to her public Facebook page where she urged people to stay home amid the health crisis that has already taken the lives of 24 people in Australia.<span> </span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835440/face-mask-4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ded8a9d857704600bb7c4f2d9595c90b" /></span></p> <p>“As I finish up my shift tonight I have totalled 60hrs at work in the last 6 days,” she wrote alongside an image of her with a sigh that read: “I stayed at work for you. You stay home for us.”</p> <p>“We need to do all we can to stop the spread of this disease,” she added.</p> <p>The post was shared over 700 times.</p> <p>Photo: Facebook</p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

CSIRO tests potential COVID-19 vaccines

<p>Australia’s national science agency has begun testing potential coronavirus vaccines in what has been described as a critical milestone in the global fight against COVID-19.</p> <p>CSIRO scientists are performing the first stage of testing for two vaccine candidates at the agency’s high-containment biosecurity facility in Geelong.</p> <p>The pre-clinical trials, which is expected to take three months, will test the vaccine from the University of Oxford and Inovio Pharmaceuticals on animals to see if they are safe and effective.</p> <p>The current number of COVID-19 cases in Australia have reached 4,860 with the death toll rising to 21. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Wednesday that the virus won’t be beaten without a vaccine.</p> <p>Dr Larry Marshall, chief executive for CSIRO described the testing as a critical milestone while health and biosecurity director Dr Rob Grenfell says it is very significant given the race by staff to get ready.</p> <p>“Usually it takes one to two years to do this and we have apparently done it in eight weeks, so that’s actually really good,” Dr Grenfell told AAP.</p> <p>The vaccine candidates were identified for CSIRO’s first trials by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, in consultation with the World Health Organisation. They’re the first of a number the CSIRO hopes to test.</p> <p>Dr Grenfell revealed that one of the candidates is currently being tested overseas and if it is shown to be safe and effective in both trials, they would then begin testing it on humans.</p> <p>“These types of studies are vital to give us the confidence to move into human studies,” he said.</p> <p>And while he remains optimistic, Dr Grenfell said there is still time for the vaccine to be finalised, suggesting it could be 18 months away.</p> <p>“The scientific ingenuity that we’re using, the global collaboration and co-operation is astounding,” he said.</p> <p>“We’ve seen some momentous science across many avenues of the vaccine development pathway globally, so yes, I’m optimistic.</p> <p>“At the moment, the best thing that we can all do is to maintain our social distancing and self-quarantining to minimise the spread whilst we’re waiting for effective drugs and vaccines.”</p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus is a wake-up call: our war with the environment is leading to pandemics

<p>The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the world is a crisis of our own making.</p> <p>That’s the message from infectious disease and environmental health experts, and from those in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60901-1/fulltext">planetary health</a> – an emerging field connecting human health, civilisation and the natural systems on which they depend.</p> <p>They might sound unrelated, but the COVID-19 crisis and the climate and biodiversity crises are deeply connected.</p> <p>Each arises from our seeming unwillingness to respect the interdependence between ourselves, other animal species and the natural world more generally.</p> <p>To put this into perspective, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html">vast majority</a> (three out of every four) of new infectious diseases in people come from animals – from wildlife and from the livestock we keep in ever-larger numbers.</p> <p>To understand and effectively respond to COVID-19, and other novel infectious diseases we’ll likely encounter in the future, policymakers need to acknowledge and respond with “planetary consciousness”. This means taking a holistic view of public health that includes the health of the natural environment.</p> <p><strong>Risking animal-borne diseases</strong></p> <p>Biodiversity (all biological diversity from genes, to species, to ecosystems) <a href="https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/">is declining faster</a> than at any time in human history.</p> <p>We clear forests and remove habitat, bringing wild animals closer to human settlements. And we hunt and sell wildlife, often endangered, increasing the risk of disease transmission from animals to humans.</p> <p>The list of diseases that have jumped from animals to humans (“zoonotic diseases”) includes HIV, Ebola, Zika, Hendra, SARS, MERS and bird flu.</p> <p>Like its precursor SARS, COVID-19 is thought to have <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2169-0">originated in bats</a> and subsequently transmitted to humans via another animal host, possibly at a wet market trading live animals.</p> <p>Ebola virus emerged in central Africa when land use changes and altered climatic conditions forced bats and chimpanzees together around <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Mahoney2/publication/245669692_Climatic_and_ecological_context_of_the_1994-1996_Ebola_outbreaks/links/545b0bd00cf2c46f66439322.pdf">concentrated areas of food resources</a>. And Hendra virus is associated with urbanisation of fruit bats following habitat loss. Such changes are occurring worldwide.</p> <p>What’s more, human-caused climate change is making this worse. Along with habitat loss, shifting climate zones are causing wildlife to migrate to new places, where they interact with other species they haven’t previously encountered. This increases the risk of new diseases emerging.</p> <p>COVID-19 is just the latest new infectious disease arising from our collision with nature.</p> <p>Due to its ability to spread at an alarming pace, as well as its relatively high mortality rate, it’s the sort of pandemic experts have been <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/opinion/coronavirus-pandemics.html">warning will arise</a> from environmental degradation.</p> <p>We saw this in 2018, for instance, when disease ecologist Dr Peter Daszak, a contributor to the <a href="http://origin.who.int/blueprint/priority-diseases/en/">World Health Organisation Register of Priority Diseases</a>, coined the term “Disease X”. This described a then-unknown pathogen predicted to originate in animals and cause a “serious international epidemic”. COVID-19, <a href="https://slate.com/technology/2020/03/coronavirus-covid19-pandemic-cause-prediction-prevention.html">says Daszak</a>, is Disease X.</p> <p><strong>Climate change makes us vulnerable</strong></p> <p>But <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/climate-and-health">climate change is undermining human health globally</a> in other profound ways. It’s a risk multiplier, exacerbating our vulnerability to a range of health threats.</p> <p>Earlier this year, all eyes were on the extensive, life-threatening bushfires and the resulting blanket of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/23/bushfire-crisis-more-than-half-of-all-australians-found-to-have-been-directly-affected">smoke pollution</a>. This exposed more than half of the Australian population to health harm for many weeks, and led to the deaths of more than <a href="https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/bushfire-smoke-pollution-responsible-over-400-excess-deaths">400 people</a>.</p> <p>For infectious diseases such as COVID-19, air pollution creates another risk. This new virus causes a respiratory illness and, <a href="https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-2-15">as with SARS</a>, exposure to air pollution worsens our vulnerability.</p> <p>Particles of air pollution also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944079/">act as transport for pathogens</a>, contributing to the spread of viruses and infectious disease across large distances.</p> <p><strong>A wake-up call</strong></p> <p>It might be clear to readers here that human health depends on healthy ecosystems. But this is rarely considered in policy decisions on projects that affect natural ecosystems – such as land clearing, major energy or transport infrastructure projects and industrial-scale farming.</p> <p>The current COVID-19 pandemic is yet another warning shot of the consequences of ignoring these connections.</p> <p>If we are to constrain the emergence of new infections and future pandemics, we simply <a href="https://www.cbd.int/health/stateofknowledge/">must cease</a> our exploitation and degradation of the natural world, and urgently cut our carbon emissions.</p> <p>Controlling the pandemic appropriately focuses on mobilising human and financial resources to provide health care for patients and prevent human to human transmission.</p> <p>But it’s important we also invest in tackling the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/8/3888">underlying causes of the problem</a> through biodiversity conservation and stabilising the climate. This will help avoid the transmission of diseases from animals to humans in the first place.</p> <p>The health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19 should act as a wake-up call for all governments to take stock, carefully consider the evidence, and ensure post COVID-19 responses reverse our war on nature. Because – as pioneering 20th century conservationist <a href="https://www.rachelcarson.org/SilentSpring.aspx">Rachel Carson argued</a> – a war on nature is ultimately a war against ourselves.</p> <p><em>Written by Fiona Armstrong, Anthony Capon and Ro McFarlane. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-a-wake-up-call-our-war-with-the-environment-is-leading-to-pandemics-135023"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

Caring

Lifestyle

Placeholder Content Image

DIY coronavirus masks: Are they doing more harm than good?

<p>The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way civilians protect themselves and over the course of a month we have seen a rise in DIY face masks.</p> <p>However there is concern surrounding whether it is necessary for healthy people to wear face masks despite advice via the United States government telling it’s citizens not to bother if they are healthy.</p> <p>With the thousands of videos popping up online teaching people how to make nonmedical face masks with paper towels, men’s underwear and even bras.</p> <p>But which one is best for you, and should you even be wearing a DIY mask?</p> <p>Medical experts and health professions across the globe say a homemade face mask or even a bandana may just prove to be helpful in protecting people from transmitting and getting the virus.</p> <p>Among the supports includes<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24229526" target="_blank">a 2013 study</a><span> </span>published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness which found well-fitting homemade face masks made from cotton T-shirts will provide protection from droplet transmission.</p> <p>Epidemiologist and doctor at the University of New South Wales, Raina MacIntyre told<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/masks-diy-coronavirus/2020/04/01/20830f5e-7420-11ea-85cb-8670579b863d_story.html" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a><span> </span>there is “no evidence” pointing towards one type.”</p> <p>The health professions has completed research on the effectiveness of face masks.</p> <p>“These are all just common-sense approaches people are trying.”</p> <p>Here are the basic tips people should follow when deciding what face mask they should wear:</p> <ul> <li>A mask should provide good coverage for your face – reaching above the bridge of the nose and below the chin.</li> <li>A mask should be snug, not spacious, and it is noted fabric ties could work better than an elastic band.</li> <li>Rewash face masks after every use</li> <li>Layering a face mask at least three times is recommended to make an effective mask and it is helpful to include a small pocket or pouch so a filter may be inserted.</li> <li>Sunlight is “germicidal” MacIntyre noted, so hang the mask outside if possible.</li> <li>Cotton and cotton blends are highly recommended over cloth materials as cloth retains moisture and therefore can be harmful.</li> <li>Non-woven fabrics is also a recommended material to make a face mask, Peter Tsai, the creator of the highest quality of masks recommends.</li> <li>Non-woven fabrics are made of individual fibres that are bound together mechanically, thermally or chemically.</li> <li>Car shop towels are recommended as they filter droplets better than cloths.</li> </ul>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

We groom dogs in our own image: the cuter they are the harder we fall

<p>Australians are <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-love-their-pets-so-why-dont-more-public-places-welcome-them-112062">slightly obsessed</a> with our dogs. But are we obsessed enough to watch a reality doggy makeover show?</p> <p>The reality makeover concept has a long history, from Top Model to the Biggest Loser to Backyard Blitz. Now on <a href="https://7plus.com.au/pooch-perfect">Pooch Perfect</a>, hosted by Rebel Wilson, groomers will compete to see who does the best makeover for dogs: the first reality makeover competition to feature our best friends.</p> <p>At the heart of this show will be the cute factor.</p> <p>This got us thinking: what is it that makes something cute and who gets to decide what cuteness is? And why does cuteness tug at our heartstrings so strongly?</p> <p><strong>Cute as a button</strong></p> <p>Certain traits are believed to make something or someone cute. Ethologist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Lorenz">Konrad Lorenz</a> noted people generally find infant-like characteristics cute: big, wide-set eyes; a round face; small nose and mouth; and a large head. He argued traits like these make us feel protective: we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our cute children safe until they develop enough to look after themselves.</p> <p>One argument is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0162309599800014">pets piggyback on this tendency</a>, with their cuteness inspiring us to care for them. Certainly, we often treat pets like children and consider them to be <a href="https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/report/pet-ownership-in-australia-2013/">members of the family</a>.</p> <p>Researchers have tried to understand more about what draws us to our pets, and whether cuteness is an important feature.</p> <p>We do have confirmation <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175303709X434194?casa_token=WW35yPkYA2gAAAAA:eRdF1GlwWAqjrSTL-keLAi4fL42mR-8XvyM1ecYXQtu0rlPPu3U9tIGh5Ro5tVAY4u3Y83wlx23PAHg">dogs look like their owners</a>, at least insofar as research participants can successfully match dogs with owners based solely on a photograph.</p> <p>However, they can do the same with <a href="https://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1027/1614-0001.27.1.38">cars</a>, so perhaps instead of looking like their owner, both cars and dogs exhibit features we associate with a certain type of person, allowing us to guess on that basis.</p> <p><strong>The ties that bind</strong></p> <p>Whether dogs look like us or not, they obviously reflect something important about us. Does dog cuteness matter even beyond this reflection of ourselves?</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2015.1069992?casa_token=qo5KM5NHkjAAAAAA:DIzFaZhtK2sYz31ZKGiJuQ3z9xC7hIOxmphb6k-Wsdw26UXtj7etNtnEM09FGF1ap-XTQ1tK3uy2f1Y">We found</a> owners who think their dog is very cute are more likely to feel a strong bond with their dog.</p> <p>In the same study, some participants sent us a photo of their dog. We then asked strangers to rate the cuteness of the dogs and to judge the dog’s personality from the image. Dogs that were rated as cuter by strangers were also believed to be friendlier and more trainable.</p> <p>However, when comparing owner and stranger ratings of cuteness, we found nearly all owners think their dog is cuter than strangers do. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, after all!</p> <p>What does this have to do with dog grooming? Well, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/089279315X14129350722217?casa_token=20dx3dGDkA4AAAAA:BgdaxZpWH7EP5xHyv8GeCx4y_z_NAXoik3rQd0ALd468Fe_-Aqk_d0XN5hvKI47kXUwHK7lNXE78mgA">a 2015 study</a> asked people to rate which out of two dog photos they liked best. The photos were identical except for almost imperceptible changes that made one dog appear slightly cuter or more human-like.</p> <p>To increase cuteness, researchers made the dog’s eyes larger, the jowls smaller, or increased the space between the eyes. To make the dog more human-like, they applied colour to the dog’s irises, or gave the dog a visible smile. People typically preferred the dogs with cuter or more human-like traits.</p> <p>The dog groomers on Pooch Perfect appear to instinctively understand this. The difference between the “before” and “after” shots of the dog makeovers is the eyes look bigger (or are made visible at all!), and they look more human with the addition of accessories such as pretty bows.</p> <p>Dogs reflect something about us, and some of us care enough about what our dog looks like to go on a reality TV show to get the dog a makeover.</p> <p>Do you prefer a perfectly groomed dog? Maybe you want to project an image of elegance.</p> <p>Do you like scruffy and unkempt? That says something else.</p> <p>Perhaps you have no interest in what your dog looks like: just like your dog, physical appearance isn’t your top priority and feeling safe probably is.</p> <p>A cautionary note to end on, then, is we must keep animal welfare top of mind. It’s fine to make over a dog who enjoys it, but let’s not cause dogs stress just for the sake of entertainment.</p> <p>All dogs are wonderful because they are dogs, and we should love and protect them regardless of how successful their latest makeover is.</p> <p><em>Written by Tiffani J. Howell and Pauleen Bennett. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-groom-dogs-in-our-own-image-the-cuter-they-are-the-harder-we-fall-132255">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Beauty & Style

Placeholder Content Image

Scary red or icky green? We can’t say what colour coronavirus is and dressing it up might feed fears

<p>Images of the latest coronavirus have become instantly recognisable, often vibrantly coloured and floating in an opaque background. In most representations, the shape of the virus is the same – a spherical particle with spikes, resembling an alien invader.</p> <p>But there’s little consensus about the colour: images of the virus come in red, orange, blue, yellow, steely or soft green, white with red spikes, red with blue spikes and many colours in between.</p> <p>In their depictions of the virus, designers, illustrators and communicators are making some highly creative and evocative decisions.</p> <p><strong>Colour, light and fear</strong></p> <p>For some, the lack of consensus about the appearance of viruses confirms fears and <a href="https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2738/2481">increases anxiety</a>. On March 8 2020, the director-general of the World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/director-general-s-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-2019-novel-coronavirus---8-february-2020">warned</a> of the “infodemic” of misinformation about the coronavirus, urging communicators to use “facts not fear” to battle the flood of rumours and myths.</p> <p>The confusion about the colour of coronavirus starts with the failure to understand the nature of colour in the sub-microscopic world.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/articles/technical/how-do-we-see-color">perception of colour</a> is dependent on the presence of light. White light from the sun is a combination of all the wavelengths of visible light – from violet at one end of the spectrum to red at the other.</p> <p>When white light hits an object, we see its colour thanks to the light that is reflected by that object towards our eyes. Raspberries and rubies appear red because they absorb most light but reflect the red wavelength.</p> <p>But as objects become smaller, light is no longer an effective tool for seeing. Viruses are so small that, until the 1930s, one of their scientifically recognised properties was their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10739-018-9530-2">invisibility</a>. Looking for them with a microscope using light is like trying to find an ant in a football stadium at night using a large searchlight: the scale difference between object and tool is too great.</p> <p>It wasn’t until the development of the electron microscope in the 1930s that researchers could “see” a virus. By using electrons, which are vastly smaller than light particles, it became possible to identify the shapes, structures and textures of viruses. But as no light is involved in this form of seeing, there is no colour. Images of viruses reveal a monochrome world of grey. Like electrons, atoms and quarks, viruses exist in a realm where colour has no meaning.</p> <p><strong>Vivid imagery</strong></p> <p>Grey images of unfamiliar blobs don’t make for persuasive or emotive media content.</p> <p>Research into the representation of the Ebola virus outbreak in 1995 <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0392192107087919">revealed</a> the image of choice was not the worm-like virus but teams of Western medical experts working in African villages in hermetically sealed suits. The early visual representation of the AIDS virus focused on the emaciated bodies of those with the resulting disease, often younger men.</p> <p>With symptoms similar to the common cold and initial death rates highest amongst the elderly, the coronavirus pandemic provides no such dramatic visual material. To fill this void, the vivid range of colourful images of the coronavirus have strong appeal.</p> <p>Many images come from stock photo suppliers, typically photorealistic artists’ impressions rather than images from electron microscopes.</p> <p>The Public Health Library of the US government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) provides one such illustration, created to reveal the morphology of the coronavirus. It’s an off-white sphere with yellow protein particles attached and red spikes emerging from the surface, creating the distinctive “corona” or crown. All of these colour choices are creative decisions.</p> <p>Biologist David Goodsell takes artistic interpretation a step further, using watercolour <a href="https://pdb101.rcsb.org/sci-art/goodsell-gallery/coronavirus">painting</a> to depict viruses at the cellular level.</p> <p>One of the complicating challenges for virus visualisation is the emergence of so-called “colour” images from electron microscopes. Using a methodology that was originally described as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451945616303579">painting</a>,” scientists are able to add colour to structures in the grey-scale world of imaging to help distinguish the details of cellular micro-architecture. Yet even here, the choice of colour is arbitrary, as shown in a number of coloured images of the coronavirus made available on Flickr by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In these, the virus has been variously coloured yellow, orange, magenta and blue.</p> <p><strong>Embracing grey</strong></p> <p>Whilst these images look aesthetically striking, the arbitrary nature of their colouring does little to solve WHO’s concerns about the insecurity that comes with unclear facts about viruses and disease.</p> <p>One solution would be to embrace the colourless sub-microscopic world that viruses inhabit and accept their greyness.</p> <p>This has some distinct advantages: firstly, it fits the science that colour can’t be attributed where light doesn’t reach. Secondly, it renders images of the virus less threatening: without their red spikes or green bodies they seem less like hostile invaders from a science fiction fantasy. And the idea of greyness also fits the scientific notion that viruses are suspended somewhere between the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-alive-giant-discovery-suggests-theyre-more-like-zombies-75661">dead and the living</a>.</p> <p>Stripping the coronavirus of the distracting vibrancy of vivid colour – and seeing it consistently as an inert grey particle – could help reduce community fear and better allow us to continue the enormous collective task of managing its biological and social impact.</p> <p><em>Written by Simon Weaving. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/scary-red-or-icky-green-we-cant-say-what-colour-coronavirus-is-and-dressing-it-up-might-feed-fears-134380">The Conversation. </a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Retirement Life

Placeholder Content Image

Virologist claims drinking alcohol can protect against the coronavirus

<p>A critically acclaimed German virologist has claimed drinking whisky can aid in warding off the COVID-19 infection.</p> <p>Dr Juergen Rissland, who is the head doctor at the Institute for Virology at Saarland University Hospital in Germany, has gone against advice from the World Health Organisation that explicitly states drinking alcohol does not protect a person in any way from testing positive for COVID-19 and can in fact be dangerous.</p> <p>While speaking on the show <em>Health Issues</em>, Dr Rissland answered a question from one audience member who wanted to know if it was a good idea to drink alcohol to kill any viruses he has possible swallowed.</p> <p>“Yes, of course, that’s true,” the expert replied. “And the higher the percentage of alcohol, the better it is.</p> <p>“For example, if you are a whisky lover, then that certainly isn’t a bad idea.</p> <p>“But of course you need to bear in mind that you can’t do that every 15 minutes, that is something else to consider.”</p> <p>The presenter interrupted to say “Are we really advising our viewers to drink high-proof alcohol?”</p> <p>Dr Rissland continued by saying, “I would say it can’t do any harm although we need to remember that it’s not a guaranteed cure for the problem.”</p> <p>The health professional later defended his claims and made it clear the virus was susceptible to alcohol due to it having a fatty coating.</p>

Food & Wine

Finance

Placeholder Content Image

Police crack down on mums breastfeeding in public

<p>A young mother breastfeeding her child was recorded on camera being approached by police enforcing social distancing rules.</p> <p>Officers have taken to patrolling parks and beaches across the Sydney region and sending home those sitting in public spaces.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835446/coogee-beach-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ac1e0f63ccbf4993aa12f4893c5cc925" /></p> <p>Channel 9 cameras captured police approaching a mother breastfeeding her baby, a man reading a newspaper alone and two young tradies eating their lunch in an effort to enforce the new strict measures placed on NSW citizens.</p> <p>Coogee beach had several patrol cars monitoring the eastern suburb along with a police helicopter circling over the water.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835447/coogee-beach-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f3853aadb9d547a2a8c8cb76226ad7d2" /></p> <p>One officer spoke to two young mothers sitting closely together in active wear alongside their prams with their babies in their hands – with one who was breastfeeding.  </p> <p>On Wednesday morning, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said officers would “show discretion” while policing the state’s tough new lockdown laws.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835448/coogee-beach.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7d4c7a5be7bc4596a6a2051630b52656" /></p> <p>“Police have been enforcing these laws and I know ... there has been criticism of police, which I don't accept. I accept the criticism of my leadership,” Commissioner Fuller went on to say, admitting there are many “what-if” situations people are still trying to wrap their heads around.</p> <p>Fuller says this new transition would be “challenging” for many people across the state, but added the adaption is absolutely necessary in this uncertain climate.</p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

How is coronavirus relevant to a bail application?

<p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/services/bail-applications/">Bail is a promise to attend court</a> while you are waiting for a charge to be dealt with by the courts, instead of being held behind bars on remand.</p> <p>For less serious charges the promise may be enough and bail may even be dispensed with altogether, but for more serious charges where gaol is a real possibility this promise may need to be backed up by conditions, such reporting regularly to a police station, surrendering your passport, or the court holding an amount of money until the end of your matter.</p> <p>If the police consider you a risk while out on bail and refuse it to you when arrested, you can apply for bail to be reviewed by the court.</p> <p>You should always have an experienced criminal defence lawyer for this as there are a number legal complications to work around and creative avenues that may not be apparent.</p> <p><strong>The Bail Act</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ba201341/s18.html">Section 18 of the <em>Bail Act 2013</em></a> lists the factors that may be taken into account when determining whether bail will be granted, and while disease is not a factor in its own right, the risk of coronavirus (Covid-19) to yourself and/or others can be relevant to these general factors.</p> <p><strong>Personal circumstances</strong></p> <p>Subsection 18(1)(a) draws the court’s attention to your personal circumstances, to which your potential exposure to coronavirus would be a relevant factor. The potential for infection is specifically relevant to your health and treatment, as well as the health of other inmates and corrective services staff.</p> <p>In that regard, NSW Health’s FAQ website on coronavirus states, ‘People living in group residential settings are at greater risk of being exposed to outbreaks of COVID-19 if a case is diagnosed in a resident or staff member’.</p> <p>Although correctional centres have some medical treatment facilities, they certainly do not have ICU-level care. The risk posed to a bail applicant and others by someone exposed to the virus is a factors that can be taken into account by a court.</p> <p><strong>Delay</strong></p> <p>Section 18(1)(h) of the Act requires the court to take into consideration the length of time you will likely be in custody before your matter is resolved.</p> <p>In these uncertain times, any coronavirus-related delay could be . Just today (30 March 2020) Justice Price AM, Chief Judge of the District Court of NSW announced that new Judge alone trials, sentence hearings, Local Court Appeals, arraignments and readiness hearings – that is, effectively any court date other than a mention – where the defendant is not in custody have been suspended. While those in custody are still having all but new jury Trials, this is still but one step away from the courts shutting down completely and still leading to significant delays for those in custody. This indeterminate delay leading to a greater length of time on remand is a significant factor that courts must consider when assessing your bail application.</p> <p><strong>Special vulnerability</strong></p> <p>Section 18(1)(k) of the Act requires a court to consider any special vulnerability or needs you may have.</p> <p>Special vulnerability is particularly relevant to those for whom the coronavirus poses a greater danger, which includes those grouped together in confined spaces and especially:</p> <ul> <li>people with compromised immune systems</li> <li>people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions</li> <li>elderly people</li> <li>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have higher rates of chronic illness</li> </ul> <p>A special vulnerability to coronavirus would apply if you have a pre-existing illness or poor immune system, e.g. if you have cancer, HIV or a respiratory illness, though could also extend to include health issues from drug or alcohol addiction.</p> <p>A strong argument can be made that you would be at a much greater health risk in gaol. The same applies if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.</p> <p>ATSI people have long been recognised as being more at risk from these sorts of illnesses than the wider Australian population, so this is of clear relevance to you when making a bail application.</p> <p>Finally, older people are recognised as being especially vulnerable to coronavirus, so  a court will need to take into account the added health risk to you when determining whether it is appropriate whether you should be set at liberty or stay in custody.</p> <p><strong>Unacceptable risk</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ba201341/s19.html">Section 19 of the Act</a> sets out the circumstances in which you may be considered an ‘unacceptable risk’, including a risk of failing to appear in court on the next occasion.</p> <p>The current domestic and international travel bans that are in place may be relevant when determining your bail if you are considered a flight risk. The self-isolation may also be of relevance in a number of matters, but this could cut both ways, as the section also states that you may be an unacceptable risk if the court thinks you would commit a serious offence or endanger the safety of victims, individuals or the community.</p> <p>For matters involving domestic or personal violence, spending significant amounts of time in proximity of the complainant would be of real concern to a court considering bail.</p> <p>In these cases, concerns for the complainant would need to be addressed through conditions. In contrast however, other bail concerns might be lessened by self-isolation and other restrictions, for instance if attending a pub or bar was of particular concern these are not open through the restrictions.</p> <p>So with all this in mind, your personal background circumstances, as well as any risks of granting you bail must be carefully considered in light of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-coronavirus-a-civil-liberties-nightmare-of-orwellian-proportions/">coronavirus</a> infection and the quarantine restrictions that are in place.</p> <p>These are the main ways that the coronavirus pandemic could affect your bail application, but there may be others that apply to your particular situation.</p> <p><em>Written by Patrick O’Sullivan. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-is-coronavirus-relevant-to-a-bail-application/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

The coronavirus super loophole you should know

<p>How would you feel if you were having a Zoom meeting with your accountant and they asked “how would you like to save more than $5,000 in income tax over the next six months?”</p> <p>While probably a bit sceptical (did I hear right? Maybe this technology is faulty? What’s the catch? Surely this is too good to be true?) you might be intrigued. You might even turn up the volume to make sure you hear the next bit.</p> <p>What about if they followed up with, “It’s completely legal. The Australian government will be picking up the tab as part of the stimulus packages! Plus, you can do it mostly risk-free. But you do have to rearrange your financial affairs a bit, and deal with some bureaucratic hurdles.”</p> <p>What the accountant would be referring to is a generous incentive that is on offer now over the next six months.</p> <p>It is linked to the decision to temporarily allow the <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf">early release</a> of A$10,000 in super this financial year and $10,000 the next.</p> <p>When parliament approved the <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/r6521_aspassed/toc_pdf/20044b01.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf">Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020</a> last week, they put no new restrictions on how people could contribute into super.</p> <p>This means that it’s possible to voluntarily contribute $10,000 of your pre-tax income into super over the next three months, and also apply to withdraw a $10,000 lump sum from super tax-free at some point before June 30.</p> <p>You still end up with $10,000 in your pocket. But if you contribute through a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer and stay within the <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/grow-your-super/super-contributions">concessional contributions limits</a>, your voluntary contributions will be taxed at 15% rather than your marginal personal tax rate.</p> <p>When you pull out the funds from super, the withdrawal is tax free. And, you will be able to do the same thing again between July 1 and late September.</p> <p>In a working paper released by the ANU’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, we described these kinds of situations – where people assume a different legal form in order to receive a lower marginal tax rate – as “<a href="https://taxpolicy.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/ttpi-working-papers/16280/australian-tax-planning-playbook-volume-1">tax arbitrage</a>”. They are completely legal, and widespread.</p> <p>Like other tax arbitrage opportunities, there are sizeable tax savings available from the pursuing of the super equivalent of the <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=hokey+pokey&amp;rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU863AU863&amp;oq=hokey+pokey&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57j46l2j0l5.1489j0j4&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8">Hokey Pokey</a>.</p> <p>This chart illustrates the sums involved.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Potential tax saving in one specific scenario associated with salary sacrificing up to $10,000 into super and withdrawing it in the same financial year</strong></p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/324470/original/file-20200401-66169-10a2vw8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/324470/original/file-20200401-66169-10a2vw8.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Personal income tax calculations include the Low Income Tax Offset, Low and Middle Income Tax Offset and the Medicare Levy.</span></p> <hr /> <p>It applies to a very specific scenario: a working age individual who is on 9.5% compulsory super contributions, has an annual salary below $158,000, has made no previous voluntary contributions to super in 2019-20, and who elects to make a “simultaneous” (within 2019-20) pre-tax contribution to and withdrawal of the maximum possible $10,000 from super over the next three months.</p> <p>It suggests that, as long as an individual in this situation has an annual income of approximately $30,000 or more, there is a prospective tax saving from rearranging his or her financial affairs over the next three months.</p> <p>The tax savings can be risk-free, if that’s what you want. If you were worried about the stock market falling further and taking away your contributions to super with it, you can direct your super fund to hold all new contributions purely as cash.</p> <p>In all, its not a bad return for three (or six) month’s efforts – especially as it results purely from a change in legal fiction rather than any change in underlying economic activity.</p> <p><strong>Who can do it?</strong></p> <p>As always with these kinds of arrangements, the devil is in the detail, but there is a lot we already know.</p> <p>First, the arrangements are targeted at those who have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. On or after January 1, 2020 working hours (or turnover for sole traders) have to have been fallen by at least 20%.</p> <p>And it benefits those willing to embrace the bureaucratic hurdles (or outsource the embracing to their accountant). Consistent with Australia’s self-assessment tax system, the onus is on the applicant to certify that they qualify. The Tax Office will then make a determination that the funds be released by the super fund.</p> <p>There appears to a fair bit of discretion left to the ATO as to what impacts from coronavirus will be considered sufficient.</p> <p>One thing is that isn’t clear is what the base period for comparison is, although some <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf">examples</a> provided by treasury compare outcomes over a month in 2020 against the average over the six months at the end of 2019.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/324479/original/file-20200401-66109-dm30kr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/324479/original/file-20200401-66109-dm30kr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf" class="source">Early access to super fact sheet, Commonwealth Treasury, March 2020</a></span></p> <p>It seems quite straightforward if your workplace has cut back your hours or the business you own has had its trade (say) halved, but it is less clear cut if you have voluntarily scaled back your hours because of childcare or if you have returned from working overseas because of the virus.</p> <p>The second key condition is you need to be fortunate enough to hold on to a job providing you with taxable income (or if you are self-employed, generating pre-tax income) of up to $10,000 over the next three, and maybe six, months. The new <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/">JobKeeper</a> wage subsidy will help.</p> <p>And you need to be able to handle the “cash flow” gap - between when you start salary sacrificing income (which reduces take-home pay) and when your super fund is able to release the income to you.</p> <p>But sole traders whose business is suspended and are ceasing earning income may not be able to do so. And salary sacrifice isn’t an option if you become unemployed and move on to a government welfare payment which doesn’t allow salary sacrifice.</p> <p>The third key condition is you need to have enough assets in super to be able to withdraw $10,000 per quarter for the next six months. You can only make one application for an Australian Tax Office determination between now and June 30, and one application between July 1 and September 25.</p> <p><strong>What are we meant to make of it?</strong></p> <p>Taking it all together, a (probably unintended) consequence of the super changes has been to create a sizeable tax loophole for those who are relatively mildly impacted by the coronavirus, still earning taxable income, and have the financial capacity to salary sacrifice into super.</p> <p>While it might initially sound like a niche opportunity, it could be of interest to a significant number of the estimated six million recipients of the JobKeeper payment.</p> <p>The people who benefit will probably welcome their windfall. Some might, quite reasonably, point out that they should be expected to pay only the minimal tax legally applicable. They might even invoke the spirit of <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/kerry-packers-approach-to-tax-20160215-4akgt.html">Kerry Packer</a>.</p> <p>At a system-wide level, though, this sort of tax planning is grossly unfair and leads to a tax system that is less efficient, more complex and less sustainable.</p> <p>Income tax is easily the <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201920/RevenueOverview">most important</a> source of Commonwealth government revenue. Loopholes in it feed through into company tax reveune through refundable imputation (something Labor tried to wind back in the 2019 election). There is no inheritance tax. And the main consumption tax is set at a low rate, is far from comprehensive and doesn’t fund Commonwealth government spending.</p> <p>We ought to worry about actions that erode the collection of personal income tax.</p> <p>The policy process has moved astonishingly quickly in the past three weeks. There were always going to be mistakes, and during a recession its often wise for decision makers to not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.</p> <p>But equally, we must safeguard against details that are objectively bad.</p> <p>Now we’ll see how the government responds to error.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/135306/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robert-breunig-167291">Robert Breunig</a>, Professor of Economics and Director, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tristram-sainsbury-297343">Tristram Sainsbury</a>, Research fellow, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-australian-government-opens-a-coronavirus-super-loophole-its-legal-to-put-your-money-in-take-it-out-and-save-on-tax-135306">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Pharmacists cop abuse and death threats amid coronavirus pandemic

<p>Pharmacists have faced assaults and death threats on frontlines as tensions rise over limits on prescription and over-the-counter medicines amid the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>The limits, introduced last month, require pharmacists to limit dispensing prescription drugs to one months’ supply and non-prescription medicines such as paracetamol and anti-histamines to one unit per purchase.</p> <p>Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly urged Australians to not buy “<a href="https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6687331/ventolin-paracetamol-and-other-medications-limited-to-one-item-per-purchase-due-to-covid-19-panic-buying/">more than you need</a>” to avoid supply issues.</p> <p>In an incident being investigated by police, a pharmacy assistant in the Victorian town of Torquay needed part of her ear glued back together after a customer threw a glass medicine bottle at her last week.</p> <p>Pharmacist Fedele Cerra, who runs five pharmacies across the state, told <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/on-coronavirus-frontline-pharmacists-face-assault-abuse-and-threats-20200401-p54fwl.html">Fairfax</a> some of his staff were left traumatised after receiving death threats over toilet paper and medicine shortages.</p> <p>David Morcos, account manager at the Family Pharmacy Granville in the Sydney suburb of Granville, said the business has had to call the police to deal with customers angry at the lack of hand sanitiser and toilet paper.</p> <p>One customer who attempted to bulk buy children’s painkillers was asked to consider other children. He responded: “F**k the other kids.”</p> <p>“Everyone has turned into an animal,” Morcos told <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/20/pharmacists-abused-by-customers-who-have-turned-into-animals-over-medicine-limits">The Guardian</a></em>.</p> <p>The Pharmacy Guild’s Victorian president Anthony Tassone said while most people are “generally understanding and appreciative”, some continue to “display rude, abusive and unacceptable behaviour”.</p> <p>Pharmacists have also been asked to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/body/malaria-and-arthritis-drugs-touted-as-potential-coronavirus-cure">keep their supplies of arthritis medicines safe</a> amid increasing demand due to claims they could cure coronavirus-infected patients.</p>

Legal

Entertainment

Placeholder Content Image

Samantha Armytage shares relatable problem while in self-isolation

<p><em>Sunrise</em><span> </span>host Samantha Armytage has shown that she’s just like us after she showed off the reality of self-isolation in a candid Instagram post.</p> <p>The WW (formerly Weight Watchers) ambassador took to her social media page to check in with her followers and offer them words of reassurance during these trying times.</p> <p>And in the clip, the 43-year-old candidly made a relatable admission about turning to carbs during this stressful period, and it struck a cord with everyone watching.</p> <p>“Just wanted to see if you’re OK, I know the program is probably going a little bit out the window at the moment and it’s getting harder and harder,” she said, acknowledging how difficult it can be to be around your kids and partner 24/7.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9qW_DOHbxY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9qW_DOHbxY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">🖤</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/sam_armytage/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Samantha Armytage ⭐️</a> (@sam_armytage) on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:20pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“It’s a really good time just to nurture yourself, take care of yourself, be kind to yourself if you fall off the wagon because carbs are so good right now.”</p> <p>She also gave her 227,000 followers a self-isolation tip, advising people to stay away from alcohol.</p> <p>“You’re probably tempted to have a drink, but if I can offer one little bit of advice at the moment, maybe just leave the alcohol because I just think it’s just a waste of points,” she said, referring to the program’s nutritional measurement system.</p> <p>Sam, who lost 10kg last year on the plan, said: “Be kind, try and stay out of the fridge as much as you can – I know that’s impossible.”</p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Dolly Parton’s BIG announcement!

<p>Dolly Parton has announced plans to donate $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s COVID-19 research efforts.</p> <p>"My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who's been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations," she wrote in an Instagram post.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-ceG0wlAVc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-ceG0wlAVc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">❤️</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/dollyparton/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Dolly Parton</a> (@dollyparton) on Apr 1, 2020 at 9:24am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The two have been friends since 2014, when he treated her after a minor car accident.</p> <p>The friendship between the pair was discussed in the podcast<span> </span><em>Dolly Parton’s America</em>, hosted by public radio veteran Jad Abumrad.</p> <p>"At some point, Jad realised that there was someone calling on his father's phone and their name was an interesting pseudonym. He asked his dad about it and he says, 'Oh, it's Dolly. I just help out when she needs some advice,'" Dolly Parton's America producer Shima Oliaee said in an interview with <span><em>Pocket Casts</em>.</span> "He's a good friend that advises her when she has a question. So that was the first step."</p> <p>This isn’t the first time Parton has showed off her generosity. In 1990, the singer established Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that sends low-income children free books every month from birth to age five. During the coronavirus pandemic, Parton is hosting<span> </span><em>Goodnight With Dolly,</em><span> </span>a series where she reads children’s books out loud, beginning with<span> </span><em>The Little Engine That Could</em>.</p> <p>It is estimated that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready within 12-18 months, with over 20 vaccines currently in the works.</p>

Music

Placeholder Content Image

How to seek medical advice from the comfort of your own home

<p>Australians can now seek medical advice from their GP or mental health professional from the comfort of their living room without being left out of pocket. </p> <p>They can phone or video call their medical professional and bulk bill as part of new Government measures to try and contain the coronavirus, a move very much needed, that will also change the way many view telehealth.</p> <p>The list of medical professionals people can now access for bulk-billed telehealth consultations includes - GP’s, midwives, psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, paediatricians, speech pathologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists for services for children with developmental delays. Also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners as well as social workers and dieticians for eating disorders.</p> <p>You may be surprised to know telehealth has been in existence for over a decade yet the uptake has been slow and fragmented in this country. </p> <p>This is despite its success to date  - it improves access to health care for those in rural and regional areas, it’s more affordable, reduces the risk of infection spreading and there’s less strain on hospital emergency departments.</p> <p>People think of telehealth as simply enabling people to seek medical help and advice via phone or online using video technology such as FaceTime and Skype, but it has gone beyond just this. </p> <p>New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence can help clinicians vastly increase their patient risk assessments by helping to automatically assess data providing key indications that may flag issues missed in traditional testing methods.</p> <p>As Australians start using telehealth, and we expect unprecedented numbers will, and they witness first hand how effective it is we will see it start to become the norm. </p> <p>This is not the first time telehealth has been used in disaster situations before - Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the 2011 earthquake in Japan as well as the Boston Blizzard in 2014. In the 2003 SARS outbreak, one-fifth of reported infections were in health-care workers. Healthcare systems are easily stretched beyond their limits and it’s critical the health-care workers are kept well, so they can attend to the surge in required services. </p> <p>As patients get access to expert medical advice while maintaining social distancing ..this shift will start to change the mindset of both the clinical and patient community, helping normalise the remote delivery of gold class clinical care.</p> <p>Our work at <a href="https://maxwellplus.com/">Maxwell Plus </a>in the diagnosis of prostate cancer is fully remote for the vast majority of our patients. We centralise the clinical expertise and use telehealth and other technologies to make that widely available. </p> <p>At the same time, we utilise the excellent existing infrastructure through partnering with pathology and radiology services all over the country. </p> <p>I think patients everywhere are starting to understand that top quality care can be delivered in many different ways.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835444/headshot-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c83ceb8eea9140dcb99123a18c388fee" /></p> <p><em>Written by Dr Elliott Smith.</em></p>

Technology

Placeholder Content Image

Kerri-Anne Kennerley blasts Derryn Hinch for calling her a “cockroach”

<p>The air was thick on<span> </span><em>Studio 10</em><span> </span>this morning when Kerri-Anne Kennerley confronted Derryn Hinch over a comment he made about her in a book several years ago.</p> <p>Hinch made an appearance on the show and was being interviewed by Joe Hildebrand and Sarah Harris about his new book<span> </span><em>Unfinished Business – Life of a Senator</em>.</p> <p>At one point during the interview, Harris referred to Kennerley who wasn’t on the panel at the time: “I understand in one of your books you referred to our colleague Kerri-Anne Kennerley as ‘the cockroach of television’?”</p> <p>“It was a compliment,” said Hinch. “I was trying to say that she’s a survivor. We both hosted the<span> </span><em>Midday<span> </span></em>show.</p> <p>“She’s a cockroach,” he continued. “If a nuclear war hit your television studio, you may go Sarah, but I bet you KAK will still be there.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Did we just mend a decades long TV feud between <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KAK?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KAK</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/HumanHeadline?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HumanHeadline</a>? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Studio10?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Studio10</a> <a href="https://t.co/OEy6rkuJd4">pic.twitter.com/OEy6rkuJd4</a></p> — Studio 10 (@Studio10au) <a href="https://twitter.com/Studio10au/status/1245135752851267587?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 31, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Harris replied, “Derryn, I don’t think she took it as a compliment”.</p> <p>It was at that point that Kennerley rushed onto set and confronted Hinch who was joining the program via Skype.</p> <p>“You wrote in your book I was ‘the television equivalent of a cockroach,’ yes, I’m really flattered,” said Kennerley, her voice dripping with sarcasm.</p> <p>“Alright, take it like you want,” said Hinch.</p> <p>Hinch revealed that Kennerley had raised the comment with him previously when they bumped into one another overseas, and he repeated that he meant it as a compliment.</p> <p>“Don’t ask me to thank you now,” Kennerley said sternly.</p> <p>The cockroach comment wasn’t the only one that had rubbed Kennerley the wrong way.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Studio 10<span> </span></em>co-host then said to Hinch: “I will forgive you when you apologise for banging on for years after Midday because you thought you did better.”</p> <p>Hinch hosted Midday on Channel 9 in 1994 for one year before the show was axed. Kennerley hosted a revived version of the show from 1996 to 1998.</p> <p>Hoping to end the ongoing feud, Hinch said: “Alright, KAK, I apologise to you”.</p>

TV

Property

Placeholder Content Image

Royal residence! Rare look into Prince Charles’ and Duchess Camilla’s Clarence House

<p><em>Google Arts &amp; Culture</em> have teamed up with the royal family to give onlookers a virtual tour of Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla’s highly publicised, but rarely seen Clarence House in London.</p> <p>Royal life is often tightly guarded and kept between the select few. However, it has never been easier to see what it is like to live as a royal.</p> <p>The virtual tour of Prince Charles’ Clarence House only lets onlookers see into the ground floor of the house, but even that is enough to showcase just how family-oriented this royal family is.</p> <p>Littered among the walls and every sitting place is portraits of the Windsor family – from the Prince of Wales’ grandmother to his youngest son, Prince Harry.</p> <p>It is a stunning property that the Queen herself is privileged enough to say she once called home – and judging by the grandeur styling and opulent decor, it is no wonder how the royal would have fit right in.</p> <p>Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have called the Clarence House their own since 2003 and was originally built for the Duke of Clarence who would go on to become King William IV in 1827.</p> <p>He and the Queen were not the only utmost senior royals to call the abode their own, as the Queen Mother once graced the halls of the four-story property between the years 1953 to 2002.</p> <p>For a short time, Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh lived in the home after they were married in 1947.</p> <p>The most mystifying feature of the entire property is the lavish, stunning gardens which is what guests will first see when they enter upon the grounds of Clarence House.</p> <p>Prince Charles designed the gardens himself in 2005 in a bid to honour his grandmother, who he shared a very close relationship with while she was alive.</p> <p>The entrance hall of the home has its own unique and unbelievable features as portraits of great royalty line the walls along with treasured relics.</p> <p>Another intimate touch royal onlookers are given a rare insight to is the family photos on display in the Morning Room, where Prince Charles is said to entertain guests from all walks of life.</p> <p>The gorgeous and unique residence who is called home by Prince Charles and his wife has remained a treasure to the royal family for generations and will continue to do so even when he moves on to become King and is passed on to another royal family member.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Prince Charles’ Clarence House.</p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Mornington Peninsula homes hit downsizer sweet spot

<p><strong>A range of new single-level houses, specifically designed to meet the needs of downsizers, have been released on the popular Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne.</strong></p> <p>The two and three bedroom homes - each with their own property title - form part of the 31-dwelling <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/49063/sublime-single-level-living-designed-for-the-downsizer">Waterfall Gardens estate</a> currently under construction at Rosebud. </p> <p>Real estate agent Robert Bowman, of Bowman and Company, said the estate’s developer Masterline would have been able to increase the dwelling yield at the site by building two-storey terraces, for a wide range of potential buyers. </p> <p>Instead, he said, the developer had opted for lower-yield single-storey homes, specifically to meet demand for this type of home from downsizers who were keen to age-in-place. Each of the homes features its own outdoor deck and small garden area.</p> <p>The Waterfall Gardens homes are in line with <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/657/Three-beds-small-garden-Australias-ideal-downsizing-home-revealed">the housing aspirations of downsizers, as outlined in a report released in February by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. </a></p> <p>The report finds that Australians over 55 reported the highest level of satisfaction (66 per cent) with three bedroom dwellings, closely followed by a 59 per cent satisfaction rating for two bedroom dwellings. In addition, the report shows many downsizers are still keen for a small courtyard-style garden.</p> <p>However, the report also found that many downsizers find it difficult to access these types of homes.  </p> <p>Mr Bowman said three bedroom homes at the estate started from $589,000, with two bedroom homes starting at $549,000.</p> <p> “The developer of these homes has been developing for 50 plus years, and he is in the later years of his career and life, and has designed these homes for the retirees,” Mr Bowman said. </p> <p>“We could have got a higher yield on the site by putting on two-storey homes but we decided not to do that. </p> <p>“The person who buys these homes is a definite downsizer - we don’t get investors or first home buyers - so you are entering into a community of like-minded individuals. Everyone that has purchased in the estate so far has been a retiree.”</p> <p>“These homes are a higher grade specification, they are all brick veneer, which means they are lower maintenance for the retiree and they are not going to require constant upkeep.”</p> <p>Mr Bowman said the estate was an alternative to retirement villages, given that owners retain all capital gain, pay less in fees compared to villages and own the property title to the dwelling and land.</p> <p>However, unlike the situation with some retirement village properties, stamp duty is payable. </p> <p>Downsizing.com.au recently <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/656/Australias-most-popular-retirement-locations-unveiled">named the Mornington Peninsula as one of the top three downsizing destinations for 2019 in Victoria.</a> </p> <p>The Waterfall Gardens properties are across the road from Bay Views Golf Course and a stroll from local cafes.  </p> <p><em>Written by Mark Skelsey. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/665/Mornington-Peninsula-homes-hit-downsizer-sweet-spot"><em>Downsizing.com.au.</em></a></p>

Downsizing

Placeholder Content Image

The science is in: Gardening is good for you

<p>“That’s all very well put,” says Candide, in the final line of Voltaire’s novel of the same name, “but we must go and work our garden.”</p> <p>I studied this text at high school before I became a gardener and professional horticulturist. We were taught that Candide’s gardening imperative was metaphorical not literal; a command for finding an authentic vocation, not a call to take up trowels and secateurs.</p> <p>In fact, Voltaire himself really believed that active gardening was a great way to stay sane, healthy and free from stress. That was 300 years ago.</p> <p>As it turns out, the science suggests he was right.</p> <p><strong>The science of therapeutic horticulture</strong></p> <p>Gardens and landscapes have long been designed as sanctuaries and retreats from the stresses of life – from great urban green spaces such as Central Park in New York to the humblest suburban backyard. But beyond the passive enjoyment of a garden or of being in nature more generally, researchers have also studied the role of actively caring for plants as a therapeutic and educational tool.</p> <p>“Therapeutic horticulture” and “horticultural therapy” have become recognised treatments for stress and depression, which have served as a healing aid in settings ranging from prisons and mental health treatment facilities to schools and hospitals.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and school</strong></p> <p>Studies of school gardening programs – which usually centre on growing food – show that students who have worked on designing, creating and maintaining gardens develop more positive attitudes about health, nutrition and the <a href="http://www.kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/HPP_2011_MMR_Sample1.pdf">consumption</a> of <a href="http://search.proquest.com/openview/61a8bb123ec000d6a6348aeb950645fa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar">vegetables</a>.</p> <p>They also <a href="http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/15/3/439.short">score better</a> on science <a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/syllabi/435/Articles/Klemmer.pdf">achievement</a>, have better attitudes about school, and improve their <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15330150701318828">interpersonal skills</a> and <a href="https://food-hub.org/files/resources/Blair_The%20Child%20in%20the%20Garden_J.%20Environ%20Educ_2009.pdf">classroom behaviour</a>.</p> <p>Research on students confirms that gardening leads to higher levels of self-esteem and responsibility. Research suggests that incorporating gardening into a <a href="http://kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/Thechildinthegarden.pdf">school setting</a> can boost group cohesiveness.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and mental health</strong></p> <p>Tailored gardening programs have been shown to increase quality of life for people with <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">chronic mental illnesses</a>, including <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">anxiety and depression</a>.</p> <p>Another study on the use of therapeutic horticulture for patients with clinical depression sought to understand why gardening programs were effective in lessening patient experience of depression. They found that structured gardening activities gave patients existential purpose. Put simply, it <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01612840.2010.528168">gave their lives meaning</a>.</p> <p>In jails and corrective programs, horticultural therapy programs have been used to give inmates positive, purposeful activities that lessen aggression and hostility during and after incarceration.</p> <p>In one detailed study from a San Francisco program, involvement in therapeutic horticulture was particularly effective in <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J076v26n03_10">improving psychosocial functioning</a> across prison populations (although the benefits were not necessarily sustained after release.)</p> <p>Gardening has been shown to help improve the lives of <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacqueline_Atkinson/publication/265575473_AN_EVALUATION_OF_THE_GARDENING_LEAVE_PROJECT_FOR_EX-MILITARY_PERSONNEL_WITH_PTSD_AND_OTHER_COMBAT_RELATED_MENTAL_HEALTH_PROBLEMS/links/55094b960cf26ff55f852b50.pdf">military veterans</a> and <a href="http://www.joe.org/joe/2007june/iw5p.shtml">homeless people</a>. Various therapeutic horticulture <a href="https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/2930">programs</a> have been used to help people with learning difficulties, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of torture.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and older people</strong></p> <p>As populations in the West age, hands-on gardening programs have been used for older people in nursing homes and related facilities.</p> <p>A systematic review of 22 studies of gardening programs for older adults found that gardening was a powerful <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942">health-promoting activity</a> across diverse populations.</p> <p>One <a href="http://journals.lww.com/jcrjournal/Abstract/2005/09000/Effects_of_Horticultural_Therapy_on_Mood_and_Heart.8.aspx">study</a> sought to understand if patients recovering from heart attack might benefit from a horticultural therapy program. It concluded:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>[Our] findings indicate that horticultural therapy improves mood state, suggesting that it may be a useful tool in reducing stress. Therefore, to the extent that stress contributes to coronary heart disease, these findings support the role of horticultural therapy as an effective component of cardiac rehabilitation.</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yvir4sm2G7Q"></iframe></div> <p>While the literature on the positive effects of gardening, reflecting both qualitative and quantitative studies, is large, most of these studies are from overseas.</p> <p>Investment in horticultural therapy programs in Australia is piecemeal. That said, there are some standout success stories such as the <a href="https://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/">Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation</a> and the work of nurse <a href="https://www.anmfvic.asn.au/membership/member-profiles/steven-wells">Steven Wells at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre</a> and beyond.</p> <p>Finally, without professionally trained horticulturists none of these programs – in Australia or internationally – can take place.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/65251/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chris-williams-300083">Chris Williams</a>, Lecturer in urban horticulture, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-is-in-gardening-is-good-for-you-65251">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

Placeholder Content Image

Online plant delivery announced for Australia

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Making your way out to a garden centre can be difficult to stock up on plants and gardening supplies, but a new online plant delivery service is set to change that.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/theplantpeople_au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Plant People</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are a Brisbane-based nursery that take care of everything from seeding, growing and potting low-maintenance indoor plants that are ideal for those who want some greenery in their home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company delivers throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory so no matter where you are, the plants can be delivered to your door. </span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Pq3ZJjWdu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Pq3ZJjWdu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Introducing the space where we keep our collection of plants. We think other people might call it a living room. Unsure. A green haven from @kvitka_v_byte_ #theplantpeople</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theplantpeople_au/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Plant People</a> (@theplantpeople_au) on Dec 18, 2019 at 11:00pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company deliver ready-to-display plants to your door, such as succulents, ferns, Swiss cheese plants, elephant ears and many of the other varieties of indoor plants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They are a family-owned business who have been raising plants for over ten years and offer a guide for those who are new to owning plants, including what to do if your plant looks wilted on delivery.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5UbEL2grut/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5UbEL2grut/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Plant People (@theplantpeople_au)</a> on Nov 25, 2019 at 10:47pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote>

Home Hints & Tips