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New development in Samantha Murphy murder case

<p>In a significant turn of events, Patrick Stephenson, the man charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, has secured high-profile legal representation. Samantha Murphy, a beloved mother of three, disappeared after going for a run on Sunday, February 4. Despite extensive searches near her home in Ballarat, her body has not been found.</p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, was charged with the 51-year-old’s murder in March. He has now enlisted the services of renowned solicitor Paul Galbally from Melbourne law firm Galbally O’Bryan.</p> <p>Galbally is recognised for his expertise in handling some of the country’s largest and most intricate criminal cases, with previous clients including the late Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who was initially convicted but later acquitted of historic child sex charges.</p> <p>In a major breakthrough in the investigation, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police discovered Samantha Murphy’s missing phone</a> last Wednesday. The phone, found in a dam about 19km south of the Murphy family home, is in near-perfect condition despite being submerged in mud. Forensic testing on the phone is ongoing and could provide crucial information about her final movements.</p> <p>Samantha's husband, Mick, confirmed the phone belonged to his wife immediately upon being informed by the police. The recovery of the phone was a moment of subdued celebration for the officers, with footage from the ABC showing them hugging and shaking hands at the discovery site.</p> <p>Cybersecurity expert Nigel Phair called the phone’s recovery a “game changer” for the investigation. “The physical properties of the phone will obviously be damaged," he said. "But what’s behind it, those ones and zeros of data, will be retrievable.” </p> <p>Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat at around 7 am for a 14km run through the Woowookarung Regional Park. Police believe she reached the Mount Clear area, adjacent to the park, about an hour after leaving home. Subsequent searches by police and volunteers have yet to locate any trace of her.</p> <p>In February, a large group of volunteers gathered at Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade Memorial Park to search the surrounding bushland, using metal detectors and even a sniffer dog. Later, police conducted a targeted search of Buninyong Bushland Reserve, employing specialist units including mounted officers, the dog squad and motorcyclists. This search was driven by intelligence from multiple sources.</p> <p>Patrick Stephenson, who has not yet entered a plea, is scheduled to appear at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on August 8, facing charges of Samantha Murphy’s murder. The case continues to unfold as investigators hope the data recovered from Samantha's phone will provide new leads and bring them closer to solving this tragic mystery.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied / Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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Cold Chisel share major announcement

<p>Cold Chisel have announced a national tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. </p> <p>The iconic Aussie rock band will visit a number of capital cities for <a href="https://www.coldchisel.com/tour/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Big Five-O tour</a>, which will be a celebration of their biggest hits spanning five decades.</p> <p>The anniversary party will kick off in the NSW city of Armidale on October 5th, paying tribute to the town where they based themselves out of in the early days of their career. </p> <p>In the months after undergoing open heart surgery, Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes said touring Australia was a number one priority. </p> <p>"The Big Five-0 is a landmark moment," Barnes said.</p> <p>"There have been plenty of times where I never thought I'd live to see this day so I'm going to make the most of it."</p> <p>"I can't wait to celebrate with my mates and with all the fans who have been such a big part of our story. We're gonna smash it!"</p> <p>In addition to the tour, the band will be releasing a Best Of album in August, which is set to be jam packed with all their biggest hits. </p> <p>Check out the dates for The Big Five-O tour below.</p> <ul> <li>October 5 - Petersons Winery, Armidale, NSW (Red Hot Summer tour)</li> <li>October 8 - Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre</li> <li>October 11 - The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney</li> <li>October 15 - WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong</li> <li>October 19 - Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley, WA (Red Hot Summer Tour)</li> <li>October 25 - Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne</li> <li>November 2 - Victoria Park, Brisbane</li> <li>November 6 - Newcastle Entertainment Centre</li> <li>November 9 - Victoria Park, Ballarat (Red Hot Summer tour)</li> <li>November 13 - MyState Bank Arena, Hobart</li> <li>November 17 - VAILO Adelaide 500, Post Race Concert, Adelaide</li> </ul> <p>Fan Presale will begin from 12pm on Friday May 31st, while General Public tickets will go on sale from 12pm on June 4th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: SplashNews.com/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking

<p>A quiet moment in a bar has led two researchers to study how alcohol tastes at different temperatures. No, this is real science.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>“Two years ago, Xiaotao Yang and I were drinking beer together. He had just finished his doctorate degree thesis and asked me, ‘what should we do next?’” says Lei Jiang, lead author of a new study <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matt.2024.03.017" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published</a> in the materials science journal <em>Matter</em>.</p> <p>Yang and Jiang are material scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.</p> <p>“At the time, I was a scientific committee member of one of the biggest Chinese alcoholic beverage companies, and I had the idea to ask the question ‘why does Chinese baijiu have a very particular concentration of alcohol, either 38%–42%, 52%–53%, or 68%–75%?’”</p> <p>Baijiu is a clear grain liquor from East Asia. It’s typically distilled from fermented sorghum (a type of grass), though it is also sometimes made from rice, wheat, barley or millet.</p> <p>“Then we decided, let’s try something, so I put a drop of beer on my hand to see the contact angle,” says Jiang.</p> <p>Contact angle is a measure of surface tension. For example, water has a low contact angle which is why it appears bead-like when placed on a surface. Solutions with high <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/debunks-vices-alcohol/">alcohol</a> concentration, however, have a higher contact angle meaning they flatten and spread out.</p> <p>Contact angle also reveals how molecules within the droplet interact with each other and the surface below.</p> <p>After plotting the concentration of ethanol (alcohol) against contact angle, the scientists were surprised with what they found. There is no linear relationship between alcohol concentration and contact angle.</p> <p>Instead, increasing the amount of alcohol leads to a series of plateaus and sharp rises in the plot. Further experiments showed that this arises out of the formation of clusters of ethanol and water in the solutions.</p> <p>At low concentrations, ethanol forms pyramid-like structures around the water molecules. At high concentrations, the ethanol molecules arrange end-to-end in a chain.</p> <p>They also found that these structures change depending on temperature.</p> <p>For example, 38%–42% and 52%–53% ethanol solutions have distinct cluster structures at around room temperature, but this difference disappears at higher temperatures, like 40°C.</p> <p>“Although there is only 1% difference, the taste of baijiu at 51% and 52% is noticeably different; the taste of baijiu at 51% is similar to that of lower alcohol content, such as 38%–42%. So, in order to achieve the same taste at a lower alcohol content, the distribution of baijiu products ranges most within the 38%–42% and 52%–53% categories,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers also found that there is an increase in ethanol chains at 5°C in 5% and 11% ethanol solutions – the concentration range of beer – giving it a more “ethanol-like” taste which is generally preferred.</p> <p>“At low temperature, the tetrahedral (pyramid-shaped) clusters become the low concentration amount, and this is why we drink cold beer,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers say their research could help beverage companies produce the best flavour with the lowest alcohol concentration.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" fetchpriority="high" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Cosmos-Catch-Up-embed_728x150-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Sign up to our weekly newsletter" width="600" height="154" title="why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=303282&amp;title=Why+a+cold+beer+is+best+%E2%80%93+chemically+speaking" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/chemistry/beer-taste-temperature/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/evrim-yazgin/">Evrim Yazgin</a>. </em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Bombshell allegations in murder case of young school girl

<p>The man accused of murdering nine-year-old Charlise Mutten has claimed her mother was the one to pull the trigger. </p> <p>Justin Stein, 33, is facing trial for allegedly murdering Charlise in January 2022 at Mount Wilson, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.</p> <p>Nine-year-old Charlise was shot once in the head and once in the back, with her body recovered from a barrel dumped near the Colo River, four days after she was reported missing by her mother.</p> <p>On Monday, Stein formally pleaded not guilty to the charges, and has now alleged it was actually Charlise's mother who killed her and helped stuff her body in a barrel before lying to police. </p> <p>The court heard that Stein was in a relationship with Charlise's mother Kallista Mutten, as the pair met while both serving jail sentences. </p> <p>Both parties struggled with substance abuse, as Kallista had been using ice since she was in her early 20s, while Justin had been undergoing treatment for heroin addiction. </p> <p>Before the alleged murder, Stein and Kallista broke into a neighbour’s home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms, crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury.</p> <p>Stein initially told police the girl may have been taken by unknown persons, but later told a corrections officer Kallista had shot and killed her daughter and that he had helped dispose of the body.</p> <p>According to Stein’s lawyer, Carolyn Davenport SC, Stein had been inside a shed on the Blue Mountains property when he heard a gunshot, and had gone outside to see Kallista shooting her daughter a second time.</p> <p>At the time of her death, Charlise was living with her grandparents at Tweed Heads, and had flown to Sydney on December 21st with plans to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her mother and Stein.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC / NSW Police </em></p>

Legal

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Brutal cost of Bruce Lehrmann’s failed defamation case

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay the majority of Network Ten's multi-million dollar legal fees after his failed defamation case. </p> <p>In April, Lehrmann faced a huge loss after the Federal Court found an allegation that he raped Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019 was most likely true, therefore is unable to be defamed for the allegations. </p> <p>The 28-year-old had sued Network Ten for defamation over a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, in which journalist Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Higgins over the rape allegation.</p> <p>Since the defamation case drew to a close, the parties have been in dispute over the legal costs and who should foot what is expected to amount to a sizeable legal bill for the long-running and high-profile case.</p> <p>On Friday afternoon, Justice Michael Lee found in favour of Ten's application for indemnity costs for most of the trial, as Lehrmann is now ordered to pay for the network's and Wilkinson's costs on an ordinary and indemnity basis, but he will not have to pay costs for some affidavits.</p> <p>"In the end, it comes down to the order for costs that best does overall justice in the circumstances," Lee told the court.</p> <p>"On balance, the appropriate exercise of discretion is to make an award that Network Ten recover its costs against Mr Lehrmann on an indemnity basis, except for costs incurred in relation to the statutory qualified privilege defence."</p> <p>In explaining his decision, the judge said he found Lehrmann had defended the criminal charge "on a false basis, lied to police, and then allowed that lie to go uncorrected before the jury".</p> <p>"He wrongly instructed his senior counsel to cross-examine a complainant of sexual assault, in two legal proceedings, including, relevantly for present purposes, this case, on a knowingly false premise," he said.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann had no financial backers and that his lawyers had agreed they did not need to be paid if he lost the case.</p> <p>The total amount he will have to pay will be determined at a hearing later in May.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 18px; line-height: 24px; color: #333333; caret-color: #333333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol';"> </p>

Legal

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"I killed them": Major twist in slain Aussie brothers case

<p>The girlfriend of the man who allegedly killed Perth brothers Callum and Jake Robinson has reportedly "flipped" on her partner, becoming the star witness in the case. </p> <p>Ari Gisel García Cota was arrested earlier this week, along with her partner Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota and his brother Cristian Alejandro Garcia, after the bodies of the Robinson brothers and their friend were found on Saturday in a desolate section of Santo Tomas in the Baja California region.</p> <p>According to Mexico police, the three men were killed as a result of a failed robbery, after locals attempted to steal the tyres from their pick-up truck.</p> <p>The bodies of the three men were recovered from a 15-metre deep well, with each man having fatal gun shot wounds to the head. </p> <p>In a major twist to the case, prosecutors revealed to court on Wednesday that Ari Gisel García Cota had become a key witness in the case after turning on the "ringleader" of the crime. </p> <p>“She has flipped on the ringleader and the evidence she’s provided to the prosecution will lead this case going forward,” Nine News correspondent Alison Piotrowski, who was in the courtroom, told 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Thursday.</p> <p>“What’s alleged is that Jesús Gerardo was driving her car that night when he went out to that remote campsite. The prosecution is saying what we’ve been talking about for the last couple of days has potentially happened, that the two Aussies and their American friend were ambushed.”</p> <p>Prosecutors allege Jesús Gerardo “killed them, took their tyres, put the tyres on her car and drove back”.</p> <p>When he went back to their house, the court heard he allegedly told Ari Gisel, “I f**ked up three gringos (English-speaking foreigner).”</p> <p>“She said to him, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And he told her, ‘I killed them’, and then showed her the vehicle with Jake, Callum and Jack’s tyres on her car,” Piotrowski said.</p> <p>“Ari was arrested later that day, she had fled to her mother’s house to get away from him. When the officers arrested her they said, ‘You have the right to remain silent’, and she said, ‘I don’t want to be silent, I want to tell you what I know. I’m a victim of domestic violence, I want to protect my four-year-old so let me help you with this case.’ So she has spectacularly turned on him and will now be crucial in this case moving forward.”</p> <p>Piotrowski added that the stunning revelation explained why Mexican officials “have been able to put him behind bars so quickly and also how they found the bodies”.</p> <p>“This conversation that he had with his girlfriend is pretty damning,” she said.</p> <p>So far only Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota has been charged in connection with the deaths of the three men, and only with forced kidnapping, while Ari Gisel García Cota and Cristian Alejandro Garcia have only been charged with drug possession.</p> <p>Piotrowski said the kidnapping charges may not be upgraded to murder until the next court hearing, although the judge has more questions about how the three men were killed. </p> <p>“The judge did say that he can’t understand how one sole person could have done this, essentially kidnap and kill three men and take their tyres, it seems like too much,” she said.</p> <p>“He suggested that the prosecution needed to look into more suspects, that they needed to broaden their investigation because it couldn’t have been done by one man alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / State Commission of the Penitentiary System of Baja California</em></p>

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Huge reward to help solve cold case of missing mum

<p>Police are offering a $500,000 reward for information to help solve a cold case that suspect was a murder. </p> <p>Tammy Lisa Dyson, also known as Tamela Menzies, was 23 when went missing from the Currumbin area in 1995. </p> <p>The mother of two was picked up from a drug rehab clinic by a woman claiming to be her sister on July 20, 1995 and has not been seen since. </p> <p>Dyson was born and raised in Victoria before moving to Brisbane in 1988, where she worked in the adult entertainment industry under the nickname "Pebbles". </p> <p>Police believe she began mixing with criminals and using drugs while working in strip clubs on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>In early 1995 Dyson arranged for her young sons, Jyles and Rainey, to stay with their grandmother in Victoria temporarily.</p> <p>A few months later she made a distressed call to her sister Olivia, who said she had been assaulted. </p> <p>Olivia and her partner then dropped Dyson off to a drug rehabilitation centre at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, and on July 20, 1995 she was picked up by someone claiming to be her sister. </p> <p>The following day, Tammy completed a statutory declaration signed by a Justice of the Peace in Tweed Heads, giving custody of her children and her possessions to her mother.</p> <p>She also called her sister one last time, with Olivia recalling that Tammy "didn't sound like herself" and she had mentioned underworld figures. </p> <p>Police have received a number of reported sightings of Tammy since 1995 but all proof of life inquiries have  been proven negative.</p> <p>In 2012, the Queensland coroner said that they believed Tammy was deceased and indicated that she may have been a victim of violence, although a certain date, time and cause of death have not been determined. </p> <p>Police are now offering the huge reward for new information and immunity from prosecution for any accomplice who comes forward.</p> <p>"Tammy associated with criminals that were known to police and vanished without a trace after giving custody of her children and possessions to her mother; we believe the circumstances of her disappearance is suspicious," Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell said.</p> <p>On Wednesday, her sons, who were only three and one when their mother disappeared, made an emotional appeal for public help to find her. </p> <p>"Growing up without mum and not knowing what happened to her has been very hard," Jyles Lebler said through tears during a media conference. </p> <p>"Whoever has picked her up, I'm not saying they have done something but they must know something bad has happened."</p> <p>"We hope we find out what to mum to give grandma some closure before it's too late," Rainey added.</p> <p><em>Images: Queensland Police</em></p>

Legal

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Eye infections might seem like a minor complaint – but in some cases they can cause blindness and even death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>When you think of eye infections, what comes to mind? Puffy, swollen bruised feeling eyelids that get glued together with gunk overnight? That feeling of having grit in your eye that can’t be cleaned away? Eye infections may seem like a relatively minor – if unsightly and inconvenient – complaint, but they can also be far more serious.</p> <p>Take the deadly outbreak of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5022785/">antibiotic resistant</a> bacteria <a href="https://www.cff.org/managing-cf/burkholderia-cepacia-complex-b-cepacia"><em>Burkholderia cepacia</em></a> in 2023-24, for example.</p> <p>Between January 2023 and February 2024, contaminated brands of lubricating eye gel were linked to the infection of at least 52 patients. <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/contaminated-eye-gel-outbreak-death-b2523446.html">One person died</a> and at least 25 others suffered serious infections.</p> <p>The outbreak has now subsided and products are <a href="https://www.gov.uk/drug-device-alerts/specific-brands-of-carbomer-eye-gel-recall-of-aacarb-eye-gel-aacomer-eye-gel-and-puroptics-eye-gel-potential-risk-of-infection-dsi-slash-2023-slash-11#update-2-april-2024">back on the shelves</a> but it isn’t the first time that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8335909/">medicinal products</a> have led to outbreaks of <em>B cepacia</em>.</p> <p>The bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen known to pose a significant risk to people with cystic fibrosis, chronic lung conditions and weakened immune systems. The infection likely progresses from the mucous membranes of the eyelids to the lungs where it leads to pneumonia and septicaemia causing <a href="https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/17/2/295">death in days</a>.</p> <p>But it’s not just <em>B cepacia</em> that can threaten our health. Something as simple as rubbing our eyes can introduce pathogens leading to infection, blindness and, in the worst case, death.</p> <p>Bacteria account for up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16148850/">70% of eye infections</a> and globally <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9032492/">over 6 million people</a> have blindness or moderate visual impairment from ocular infection. Contact lens wearers are at <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/contact-lens-related-eye-infections">increased risk</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pWsx8i1kaxs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The eye is a unique structure. It converts light energy to chemical and then electrical energy, which is transmitted to the brain and converted to a picture. The eye uses about <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11556/">6 million cones and 120 million rods</a> which detect colour and light.</p> <p>Eye cells have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8775779/">no ability to regenerate</a> so, once damaged or injured, cannot be repaired or replaced. The body tries its best to preserve the eyes by encasing them in a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531490/">bony protective frame</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482428/">limiting exposure</a> having eyelids to defend against the environmental damage and ensure the eyes are kept lubricated.</p> <p>Despite our bodies’ best efforts to shield the eyes from harm, there are a number of common eye infections that can result from introducing potential pathogens into the eyes.</p> <h2>Conjunctivitis</h2> <p>The outer-most layer of the eye, the sclera, bears the brunt of exposure and to help protect it, it is lined by a thin moist membrane called the <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24329-conjunctiva">conjunctiva</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RZ4danuJwd0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The conjunctiva is <a href="https://innovations.bmj.com/content/9/4/253">highly vascularised</a>, which means it has lots of blood vessels. When microbes enter the eye, it is this layer that mounts an immune response causing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328962/">blood vessels to dilate</a> in the conjunctiva. This results in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/symptoms.html">“pink eye”</a>, a common form of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, allergens or viruses and typically heals by itself.</p> <h2>Blepharitis</h2> <p>Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid and usually affects both sides. It can cause itchy eyes and dandruff-like flakes. It’s most commonly caused by <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/09273948.2013.870214"><em>Staphylococcus</em> bacteria</a>, or the <a href="https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/blepharitis/background-information/causes/">dysfunction of the glands</a> of the eyelids. It can be treated by <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blepharitis/">cleaning the eyes</a> regularly.</p> <h2>Stye</h2> <p>A stye (also called <a href="https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/hordeolum">hordeolum</a>) is a painful infection of the upper or lower eyelid. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370090/">Internal styes</a> are caused by infection of an oil-producing gland inside the eyelid, whereas <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28723014/">external styes</a> develop at the base of the eyelash because of an infection of the hair follicle. Both are caused by bacteria, typically <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/1874715">the <em>S aureus</em> form of the <em>Staphylococcus</em> species</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/INKrGOdy824?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Styes can be treated by holding a clean flannel soaked in warm water against the affected eye for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day. Do not try to burst styes – this could spread the infection.</p> <h2>Keratitis</h2> <p>Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that light passes through. The cornea is part of the eye’s main barrier against dirt, germs, and disease. Severe keratitis can cause ulcers, damage to the eye and even blindness.</p> <p>The most common type is bacterial keratitis; however, it can also be caused by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998329/">amoeba</a>, which can migrate to other parts of the body – including the brain – and cause infection and <a href="https://theconversation.com/nasal-rinsing-why-flushing-the-nasal-passages-with-tap-water-to-tackle-hay-fever-could-be-fatal-225811">even death</a>.</p> <p>Noninfectious keratitis is most commonly caused by wearing contact lenses for too long, especially while sleeping. This can cause scratches, dryness and soreness of the cornea, which leads to inflammation.</p> <h2>Uveitis</h2> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/uveitis/">Uveitis</a> is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Although relatively rare, it is a serious condition and usually results from viral infections such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8501150/">herpes simplex</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29023181/">herpes zoster</a> or <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-09126-6_40">trauma</a>. Depending on where the inflammation is in the eye, the symptoms can be anything from redness, pain and floaters to blurred vision and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772296/">partial blindness</a>.</p> <h2>Exogenous endophthalmitis</h2> <p>This is a rare but serious infection caused by eye surgery complications, penetrating ocular trauma (being stabbed in the eye with a sharp object) or foreign bodies in the eye. Foreign bodies can be anything from dirt and dust to small projectiles such as shards of metal from drilling, explosives or soil from farm machinery and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7286045/">many other sources</a>.</p> <h2>Dacryocystitis</h2> <p>Dacryocystitis is the inflammation of the nasolacrimal sac, which drains tears away from the eye into the nose. This condition can be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8443113/">acute</a>, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/6700662">chronic</a> or <a href="https://www.jebmh.com/articles/a-study-of-congenital-dacryocystitis.pdf.pdf">acquired at birth</a>. Most cases are caused by <a href="https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-020-01792-4"><em>Streptococcus pneumoniae</em> and <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em></a> bacteria.</p> <p>The condition mainly affects newborns and those over 40. Seventy-five per cent of cases are women and it’s most commonly found in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039673/">white adults</a>. It can lead to the stagnation of tears, creating a breeding ground for microbes.</p> <h2>Careful with contacts</h2> <p>Proper eye hygiene reduces the risk of all these conditions – and this is even more important for contact lens wearers.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uENHAntJOIA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Appropriate hygienic cleaning of lenses is paramount. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30789440/">Non-sterile water</a>, <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/contact-lens-care">spit</a> and other fluids can transfer <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/bacteria-living-your-contact-lens-solution">potentially dangerous</a> <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482476/">microbes</a> into the eye – a warm, moist environment that makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria – leading to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542356/">localised infection</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972779/">blindness</a> or progress to a more serious <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9835757/">systemic infection or death</a>.</p> <p>Any persistent and painful redness or swelling of eyes should be checked by a registered health professional.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/227252/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/eye-infections-might-seem-like-a-minor-complaint-but-in-some-cases-they-can-cause-blindness-and-even-death-227252">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225891/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </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/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Astonishing drug and prostitute claims surface as Lehrmann case reopened

<p>The ongoing defamation case involving Bruce Lehrmann, a central figure in the Brittany Higgins saga, has been thrust back into the spotlight with shocking new allegations.</p> <p>The reopening of the case stems from claims made by former Seven Network producer Taylor Auerbach, which seek to shed light on a series of dealings surrounding Lehrmann's interactions with various media outlets.</p> <p>The allegations put forth by Auerbach paint an astonishing picture of Lehrmann's recruitment by Seven Network for an exclusive tell-all interview. It's alleged that Lehrmann, in a bid to secure his cooperation, was lavishly reimbursed for expenses that included not only extravagant meals and travel but also expenditures on illicit drugs and prostitutes.</p> <p>The details emerged through affidavits filed by Auerbach with the Federal Court, just days before a judgment was expected in Lehrmann's defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson. The case originated from a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, where Brittany Higgins accused Lehrmann of rape within a Parliament House office in 2019.</p> <p>According to Auerbach's affidavits, Lehrmann breached a so-called Harman undertaking by leaking private and confidential texts from Higgins to Seven Network, violating an agreement that restricted the use of evidence from an abandoned criminal case against him. These texts allegedly facilitated Lehrmann's negotiations with Seven Network and formed a crucial part of his interview on the <em>Spotlight</em> program.</p> <p>The allegations take a darker turn with claims of financial reimbursement for illicit activities. Auerbach asserts that Seven Network reimbursed Lehrmann for expenses related to drug purchases and visits to brothels, implicating the network in what can only be described as deeply troubling conduct.</p> <p>"I recall that monies paid by (Lehrmann) for illicit drugs and prostitutes that evening at the Meriton and the following evening at a brothel in Surry Hills were reimbursed to (Lehrmann) by Seven," Auerbach states in his affidavit, according to <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/lehrmann-defamation-case-reopened-evidence-163000287.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a>.</p> <p>The reopening of Lehrmann's defamation case underscores the gravity of these allegations and their potential implications. Justice Michael Lee's decision to admit fresh evidence indicates the seriousness with which the court regards these claims and the need for a thorough examination of the facts.</p> <p>In response to these allegations, both Lehrmann and Seven Network have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Lehrmann maintains his innocence, asserting that he did not leak texts to Seven Network and denying any involvement in the misconduct alleged by Auerbach. Seven Network, for its part, denies authorising or condoning the alleged payments to Lehrmann and says that any unauthorised expenses were promptly rectified.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Major development in Madeleine McCann case

<p>In the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, German police have descended upon a property in Braunschweig, Germany, in search of a key associate of Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in the case.</p> <p>The urgency of the search stems from the belief that this individual may possess crucial information regarding the fate of the missing girl.</p> <p>The focus of this operation was a residence linked to a 56-year-old man identified only as Ralph H. According to reports from <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/26665050/hunt-madeleine-mccann-christian-b-pal/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Sun</em></a>, Ralph H. is a long-time friend of Brueckner, suspected of being involved in criminal activities alongside him, including home robberies.</p> <p>The property, located just outside Braunschweig, was surrounded by armed officers – however, the operation hit a roadblock as police were unable to enter the premises due to the absence of a search warrant. </p> <p>The urgency surrounding Ralph H. is palpable, with authorities stressing the need to speak with him promptly. “We must find him to ask him about missing Madeleine McCann,” said a<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> detective from Germany’s federal investigative agency, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA). </span>“He’s not at home, he doesn’t answer the phone, he’s apparently disappeared.”</p> <p>Neighbours of Ralph H. corroborated reports of his absence: “They surrounded his home and shouted out his name but with no luck,” one said. “The officers later asked me if I had any idea where Ralph could be. It was about midday and I thought he was out working. But it turns out he hasn’t been seen for nearly a week now.” </p> <p>Meanwhile, Christian Brueckner, the main suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, is embroiled in a separate legal battle. Currently facing trial for unrelated sexual offences, Brueckner's defence has maintained his silence, refusing to respond to the charges against him. Despite his denial of involvement in Madeleine's case, suspicions loom large, given his proximity to the scene of her disappearance and his criminal history.</p> <p>As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains on individuals like Ralph H. and Brueckner, whose connections and actions may hold the key to unraveling the mystery that has gripped the world for nearly two decades.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Experts shed new light on Samantha Murphy case

<p>A panel of experts have shed new light on the case of missing mum Samantha Murphy. </p> <p>The mother-of-three went missing on February 4 after going for her usual morning run in a local park in Ballarat. </p> <p>Despite major search efforts from the missing persons squad, specialists and the local Ballarat community, she has still not been found, and now a panel of experts have gathered to discuss the possibilities of what could've happened to Murphy. </p> <p>Former Victorian detective Damian Marrett, criminal psychologist Dr Peter Ashkar, missing persons specialist Valentine Smith and cyber expert Nigel Phair discussed a number of different scenarios in Channel Nine's show <em>Under Investigation </em>on Wednesday night. </p> <p>“The idea that Samantha has actually wilfully left the family is just unfathomable and just implausible to me,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>Presenter Liz Hayes, who spoke to mine shaft explorer Raymond Shaw said that there's a possibility Murphy's body has been buried in one of the abandoned mine shafts around Ballarat. </p> <p>“I think there could be anywhere between 4000 and 5000 gold mines just underneath the town," Shaw told Hayes. </p> <p>The panel agreed that the most likely scenario was that Murphy’s body had been dumped in a mineshaft after meeting with foul play, as they believe that there was "no way" Murphy fell down a mineshaft by accident, as the locals all know how to navigate the terrain. </p> <p>“They could be a great place to conceal a body or a crime after the fact … and you’d probably never find it,” Marrett said. </p> <p>Dr Ashkar added that the absence of any trace of Murphy could point to her having been attacked by a “psychopathic predator … who would know that area, like the back of their hand”.</p> <p>The panel also considered a potential new clue, the possible sighting of a damaged vehicle, which was alluded to in a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/major-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police statement </a>requesting for new information about the case. </p> <p>The experts said that if there was a damaged car in the area, it could mean that Murphy was kidnapped at the 7km point of her run and could still be alive. </p> <p>“I would still like to believe the very real possibility that it’s a kidnapping and she’s still alive,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>“That’s my hope. But I absolutely feel that whoever has taken her and abducted, they are very systematic and organised and knew very well what they were doing.”</p> <p>Marrett added that the police’s interest in the damaged car was significant.</p> <p>“They didn’t just say a car, they said a damaged car, it’s so specific,” he said.</p> <p>“So was that damage caused with this incident or was that damage because someone saw a damaged car leave?”</p> <p><em>Image: Nine / Facebook</em></p>

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The secret witness who could be the key to the Madeleine McCann case

<p>A secret witness to a disturbing comment made by the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann case could be the key to seeing him charged. </p> <p>Madeleine McCann was three years old when she went missing on a family trip to Portugal in 2007, and has not been seen since. </p> <p>Christian Brueckner, a convicted rapist and paedophile, has long been named the prime suspect in Maddie's abduction, and is set to stand trial on Friday for a series of charges, none of while relate to the McCann case. </p> <p>Now, almost seventeen years since her disappearance, a secret witness has come forward about a disturbing comment Brueckner a year after Maddie's abduction. </p> <p>Helge Busching, a former friend of Brueckner, has revealed a chilling conversation he had with his former friend after they ran into each other at a music festival. </p> <p>Busching, who is currently in police protection, claims Brueckner told him Madeleine was taken without anyone noticing because she didn't make a sound. </p> <p>"He said she didn't scream. 'She didn't scream', that is what Brueckner said and then I looked at Mr Brueckner and thought 'what are you telling me now?'" said Busching on <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/60-minutes/the-secret-witness-who-could-break-open-the-madeleine-mccann-case/3a383ca7-758a-4b46-a288-8f911ee942e5" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>60 Minutes</em></a>. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3NDFgEPudr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3NDFgEPudr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 60 Minutes Australia (@60minutes9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In the wake of Busching's comments, the police prosecutor in Brueckner's case remains adamant he is behind the high-profile disappearance of Maddie. </p> <p>"We have evidence and we come to the conclusion that Madeleine McCann is dead and Christian B murdered her," says Hans Christian Wolters.  </p> <p>With the 46-year-old currently in jail and facing convictions for several counts of rape and sexual assault, Wolters has the luxury of time to pursue all leads, no matter how small, to build a watertight case against the suspect. </p> <p>He said, "We have only one chance and we want to go to court with the best result we could get. So we decided to investigate as much as we can and if it takes much more time than normal investigations, it's the price for the best result."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / 60 Minutes</em></p>

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It’s 4 years since the first COVID case in Australia. Here’s how our pandemic experiences have changed over time

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lupton-9359">Deborah Lupton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It might be hard to believe, but four years have now passed since the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/about">first COVID case</a> was confirmed in Australia on January 25 2020. Five days later, the <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/covid-19-public-health-emergency-of-international-concern-(pheic)-global-research-and-innovation-forum">World Health Organization</a> (WHO) declared a “public health emergency of international concern”, as the novel coronavirus (later named SARS-CoV-2) began to spread worldwide.</p> <p>On March 11 the WHO would declare COVID a pandemic, while around the same time Australian federal and state governments hastily <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp2021/Chronologies/COVID-19StateTerritoryGovernmentAnnouncements">introduced measures</a> to “stop the spread” of the virus. These included shutting Australia’s international borders, closing non-essential businesses, schools and universities, and limiting people’s movements outside their homes.</p> <p>I began my project, <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2023.1092322/full">Australians’ Experiences of COVID-19</a>, in May 2020. This research has continued each year to date, allowing me to track how Australians’ attitudes around COVID have changed over the course of the pandemic.</p> <h2>Evolving pandemic experiences</h2> <p>We recruited participants from across Australia, including people living in regional cities and towns. Participants range in age from early adulthood to people in their 80s.</p> <p>The first three stages of the project each involved 40 interviews with separate groups of participants (so 120 people in total). These interviews were done in May to July 2020 (stage 1), September to October 2021 (stage 2), and September 2022 (stage 3). Stage 4 was an online survey with 1,000 respondents, conducted in September 2023.</p> <p>Limitations of this project include the small sample sizes for the first three stages (as is common with qualitative interview-based research). This means the findings from those phases are not generalisable, but they do provide rich insights into the experiences of the interviewees. The quantitative stage 4 survey, however, is representative of the Australian population.</p> <p>The findings show that as the conditions of the pandemic and government management have changed across these years, so have Australians’ experiences.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-10743-7">early months of the pandemic</a>, some people reported becoming confused, distressed and overwhelmed by the plethora of information sources and the fast-changing news environment. On the other hand, seeking out information provided reassurance and comfort in response to their anxiety and uncertainty about this new disease.</p> <p>Australians <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003280644-28/covid-19-crisis-communication-deborah-lupton">continued to rely heavily</a> on news reports and government announcements in the first two years of the pandemic. Regular briefings from premiers and <a href="https://theconversation.com/chief-health-officers-are-in-the-spotlight-like-never-before-heres-what-goes-on-behind-the-scenes-166828?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton">chief health officers in particular</a> were highly important for how they learned what was happening, as were updates in the media on case numbers, hospitalisations, deaths and progress towards vaccination targets.</p> <h2>Trust has eroded</h2> <p>Australians appear to have lost a lot of trust in COVID information sources such as news media reports, health agencies and government leaders. Early strong support of federal, state and territory governments’ pandemic management in <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-10743-7">2020</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649365.2023.2240290">2021</a> has given way to much lower support more recently.</p> <p>My <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> (this is published as a report, not peer-reviewed) found doctors were considered the most trustworthy sources of COVID information, but even they were trusted by only 60% of respondents.</p> <p>After doctors, participants trusted other experts in the field (53%), Australian government health agencies (52%), global health agencies (49%), scientists (45%) and community health organisations (35%). Australian government leaders were towards the lower end of the spectrum (31%).</p> <p>In <a href="https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/1/daac192/7026242?login=false">2021</a>, Australians responded positively to the vaccine targets and “<a href="https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/victorias-roadmap-delivering-national-plan">road maps</a>” set by governments. These clear guidelines, and especially the promise that the initial doses would remove the need for lockdowns and border closures, were strong incentives to get vaccinated in 2021.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the prospect that vaccines would control COVID was shown to be largely unfounded. While COVID vaccines were and continue to be very effective at protecting against severe disease and death, they’re less effective at <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/vaccines/vaccines-faq">stopping people becoming infected</a>.</p> <p>Once very high numbers of eligible Australians became vaccinated against the delta variant, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37068078/">omicron reached Australia</a>, resulting in Australia’s first big wave of infection. This led to disillusionment about vaccines’ value for many participants.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a>, respondents reported a high uptake of the first three COVID shots. But when asked whether they planned to get another vaccine in the next 12 months, almost two-thirds said they did not, or they were unsure.</p> <h2>Enter complacency</h2> <p>Complacency now seems to have set in for many Australians. This can be linked to the progressive withdrawal of strong public health measures such as quarantine, mandatory isolation when infected, and testing and tracing regimens.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the media, government leaders and health agencies have played less of an active public role in conveying COVID information. This has led to uncertainty about the extent to which COVID is still a risk and lack of incentive to take protective actions such as mask wearing.</p> <p>In <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023</a>, after mandates had ended, only 9% of respondents said they always wore a mask in indoor public places. Only a narrow majority of respondents even supported compulsory masking for workers in health-care facilities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> confirmed many Australians no longer feel at risk from COVID. Some 17% of respondents said COVID was definitely still posing a risk to Australians, while a further 42% saw COVID as somewhat of a risk. This left 28% who did not view COVID as much of a continuing risk, and 13% who thought it was not a risk at all.</p> <h2>COVID is still a risk</h2> <p>Whether or not people feel at continuing risk from COVID, the pandemic is still significantly affecting Australians. The <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> found more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) reported having had at least one COVID infection to their knowledge, including 13% who had experienced three or more. Of those who’d had COVID, 40% said they experienced ongoing symptoms, or long COVID.</p> <p>If the pandemic loses visibility in public forums, people have no way of knowing the risk of infection continues, and are therefore unlikely to take steps to protect themselves and others.</p> <p>Updated case, hospitalisation, death and vaccination numbers should be communicated regularly, as <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-is-surging-in-australia-and-only-1-in-5-older-adults-are-up-to-date-with-their-boosters-220839">used to be the case</a>. To combat confusion, complacency and misinformation, all health advice should be based on the latest robust science.</p> <p>Australians are operating in a vacuum of information from trusted sources. They need much better and more frequent public health campaigns and risk communication from their leaders.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220336/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lupton-9359"><em>Deborah Lupton</em></a><em>, SHARP Professor, Vitalities Lab, Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Centre, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </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/its-4-years-since-the-first-covid-case-in-australia-heres-how-our-pandemic-experiences-have-changed-over-time-220336">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Very poor journalism": Lisa Wilkinson called out in defamation case

<p>Lisa Wilkinson has been forced to defend the journalistic decisions of <em>The Project</em>, as she took to the stand as part of Bruce Lehrmann's defamation case against Wilkinson and Channel Ten. </p> <p>During court proceedings on Friday, Wilkinson admitted that during her bombshell report on Brittany Higgins' rape allegations, the program left out key information. </p> <p><em>The Project</em> allegedly edited out important details about what happened in Parliament House the morning after Brittany Higgins was allegedly raped.</p> <div data-body-element-id="zjCMXjhzxa"> <p>In an uncut version of the episode which aired in February 2021, Wilkinson asked Ms Higgins if any security guards had asked if she was "okay" after the alleged incident.</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="R0B2D1Ni6K"> <p>Ms Higgins replied, "No, no. I mean, besides one who called into the office in the morning, and said ‘Is everyone okay?’ and that was it."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="2D5V5jCZaQ"> <p>In the final cut, the words "...besides the one who called into the office in the morning" were not included.</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="9FH5ZgE5Ew"> <p>Bruce Lehrmann's barrister Matthew Richardson SC quizzed Wilkinson about the edit, saying, "That's very poor journalism, isn't it?"</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="q0X6OvsQtG"> <p>Wilkinson replied, "I'm disappointed to see that. It is a detail which escaped my attention."</p> <p>Elsewhere during the court proceedings, Wilkinson bit back at Lehrmann's lawyer for challenging her journalistic abilities.</p> <p>On Thursday, Wilkinson was asked why she didn't ask to see the metadata on a photo of a bruise on Brittany Higgins' thigh, which she claimed was from the alleged rape. </p> <p>Wilkinson told the Federal Court that she was not "tech-savvy" and did not know what metadata was, saying, "I didn't know photos had metadata."</p> <div data-body-element-id="A9GzCf-Iqm"> <p>Lehrmann's lawyer Mr Richardson was quick to ask in response: "You describe yourself as a serious investigative journalist?"</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="3eDMnH9cY0"> <p>She bit back, stating she only refers to herself as a "journalist".</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="tMBlnKPjTn"> <p>Mr Richardson said, "You were emphatic yesterday when you said you were not a tabloid journalist.'</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="9WzAcuceor"> <p>She repeated: "I describe myself as a journalist, Mr Richardson."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="bUfGxqx44_"> <p>He said given she had been a journalist for 40 years, "it was most improbable that you did not know what metadata was."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="QIHT-BVE1b"> <p>She replied, "I disagree."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div>

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You’ve heard of long COVID, but did you know there might also be a long cold?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/giulia-vivaldi-1476903">Giulia Vivaldi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queen-mary-university-of-london-1745">Queen Mary University of London</a></em></p> <p>At least <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2">10% of people</a> infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, have symptoms that last more than four weeks after the infection. With more than <a href="https://covid19.who.int/">770 million infections</a> to date, this translates to tens of millions of people living with the long-term consequences of COVID, known as “long COVID”.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2">More than 200 symptoms</a> of long COVID have been studied, with some of the most common being fatigue, breathlessness and cognitive difficulties, such as memory problems or “brain fog”. The condition can be debilitating – many people have to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(23)00387-5/fulltext">reduce their working hours</a> or are <a href="https://ifs.org.uk/publications/long-covid-and-labour-market">unable to work entirely</a>.</p> <p>But COVID may not be alone in causing long-lasting symptoms.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(23)00428-5/fulltext">new paper</a>, my colleagues and I report the findings of a study comparing long-term symptoms reported by people who experienced different types of acute respiratory infection. We asked more than 10,000 people to report on 16 symptoms commonly found in long COVID, such as fatigue, breathlessness, aches and pains, and dizziness. We then compared how common these symptoms were among three groups: people who had reported COVID, those who had reported another acute respiratory infection (but had tested negative for COVID), and those who had not reported either infection.</p> <p>We focused on long-term symptoms by only including people who had been infected more than four weeks earlier. We also took into account people’s general health before they were infected, and whether they had any existing respiratory conditions.</p> <p>Our study showed that all the symptoms considered were more common in people with previous COVID than in people with no infections, regardless of whether they reported long COVID. But this finding wasn’t unique to COVID. Almost all the symptoms we looked at were also more common in people with non-COVID respiratory infections than in those with no infection.</p> <p>In other words, our findings hinted towards the existence of a “long cold”: long-lasting health effects from other respiratory infections, such as colds, flu, or pneumonia, that are currently going unrecognised.</p> <p>Some of the most common symptoms of the long cold include coughing, stomach pain, and diarrhoea. These symptoms were reported an average of 11 weeks after the infection. While a severe initial infection seems to increase the risk of long-term symptoms, our research does not yet tell us why some people suffer extended symptoms while others do not.</p> <h2>Important differences</h2> <p>Importantly, we have no evidence that symptoms of the long cold have the same severity or duration as long COVID. In fact, we saw some important differences in the symptoms reported in the two groups, with those recovering from COVID more likely to experience light-headedness or dizziness and problems with taste and smell.</p> <p>These findings shine a light not only on the impact of long COVID on people’s lives, but also other respiratory infections.</p> <p>A lack of awareness, or even the lack of a common term, such as “long cold” or “long flu”, prevents both reporting and diagnosis of these conditions. And people who do report their long cold may still struggle to get a diagnosis, owing to the wide range of symptoms and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01810-6">lack of diagnostic tests</a>.</p> <p>Long-lasting symptoms after respiratory infections are not a new phenomenon. Studies in survivors of two previous coronavirus outbreaks – the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) pandemic and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) outbreak – have found long-term impacts on <a href="https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/21/1/e68">lung function, quality of life and mental health</a>. And some people hospitalised with influenza A have experienced <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17497-6">respiratory and psychological problems</a> at least two years after being discharged from hospital.</p> <p>But most of the research so far has focused on people with severe disease, often severe enough to be hospitalised. Little is known about the long-term effects respiratory infections might have among people whose acute disease episode is less severe.</p> <p>Long COVID has bucked this trend, being studied in people with all levels of severity of the initial infection. This is in large part due to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953620306456">strong patient advocacy</a>, showing that it can affect even those with mild initial symptoms.</p> <p>In demanding recognition of their condition, people with long COVID have cast a much-needed spotlight on post-infection syndromes more generally. Now is the time to improve our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Let’s not wait for another pandemic.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214995/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/giulia-vivaldi-1476903"><em>Giulia Vivaldi</em></a><em>, , <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queen-mary-university-of-london-1745">Queen Mary University of London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/youve-heard-of-long-covid-but-did-you-know-there-might-also-be-a-long-cold-214995">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Try these 12 clever pillowcase hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Use a pillowcase as a laundry bag while travelling </strong></p> <p>When you travel, you always want to keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. Stick a pillowcase in your suitcase and toss in the dirty laundry as it accumulates. When you get home, just empty the pillowcase into the washer and throw in the pillowcase as well.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to dust ceiling fan blades</strong></p> <p>Have you ever seen dust bunnies careening off your ceiling fan when you turn it on for the first time in weeks? Grab an old pillowcase and place it over one of the ceiling fan blades. Slowly pull off the pillowcase. The blades get dusted and the dust bunnies stay in the pillowcase, instead of parachuting to the floor.</p> <p><strong>Turn a pillowcase into napkins </strong></p> <p>Who needs formal linen napkins that need to be pressed every time you use them? Pillowcases are available in a wide array of colours and designs. Pick a colour or design you like, and start cutting. Prevent fraying by sewing a hem on each side, or simply finish with iron-on hemming tape. You’ll have a new set of colourful napkins for a fraction of the cost of regular cloth napkins.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to keep matching bedding together </strong></p> <p>Your recently arrived overnight guests want to go to bed, but it’s not made. You run to the linen closet, but you can’t find a matched set of sheets. Next time, file away your linens. Place newly laundered and folded sheets in their matching pillowcase before putting them in the closet.</p> <p><strong>Prepare travel pillows</strong></p> <p>Family road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also get a little grimy too. Your youngsters may want to bring their own pillows along for the ride, but after several days in the car, they’re likely to get dirty with candy, food and markers. Take their favourite pillows and layer several pillowcases on each. When the outside one gets dirty, remove it for a fresh start!</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to wrap a present </strong></p> <p>Trying to wrap a basketball or an odd-shaped piece of art? Is your wrapping paper not doing the trick? Place the gift in a pillowcase and tie closed with a ribbon.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to store your jumpers</strong></p> <p>Stored in plastic, winter jumpers can get musty. But stored in a wardrobe, they’re prey to moths. The solution can be found among your linens. Put the sweaters in a pillowcase for seasonal storage. They will stay free from dust but the pillowcase fabric will allow them to breathe.</p> <p><strong>Use old pillowcases as garment bags </strong></p> <p>You’ve just laundered a favourite dress shirt or skirt and you know you won’t be wearing it again for a while. To protect the garment, cut a hole in the top of an old pillowcase and slip it over the hanger and clothing. Psst – you can also use this trick when you’re packing for a holiday.</p> <p><strong>Use pillowcases as dust bags </strong></p> <p>You reach up to pull a leather purse or suede shoes down from a shelf. Of course, the item is dusty and now you have to clean it. Save yourself the time and hassle next time by storing infrequently used items in a pillowcase. They’ll be clean and ready to use when the occasion arises.</p> <p><strong>Wash your delicates in a pillowcase </strong></p> <p>Jumpers and pantyhose can get pulled out of shape when they twist around in the washer. To protect these garments during washing, toss them into a pillowcase and close with string or rubber band. Set the machine on the delicate setting, add the soap, and worry not about knots.</p> <p><strong>Machine-wash stuffed animals in pillowcases</strong></p> <p>Your child’s favourite stuffed animal is cute, but mighty dusty. Time for a bath! Place it in a pillowcase and put it in the washer. The pillowcase will ensure it gets a gentle but thorough wash. If any parts fall off the stuffed animal, it’ll be caught in the pillowcase so you can reattach them after the washing machine bath.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to clear out cobwebs </strong></p> <p>There’s a cobweb way up high in the corner of your dining room. Before you take a broom to it, cover the broom with an old pillowcase. Now you can wipe away the cobweb without scratching the wall paint. It’s also easier to remove the cobweb from the pillow than to pull it out of the broom bristles.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/12-clever-uses-for-pillowcases-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Taking an antidepressant? Mixing it with other medicines – including some cold and flu treatments – can be dangerous

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>In the depths of winter we are more at risk of succumbing to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522168/">viral respiratory infections</a> – from annoying sore throat, common cold and sinusitis, to the current resurgence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID.</p> <p>Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection range in severity. They can include fever, chills, muscle or body aches, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, earache, headache, and fatigue. Most antibiotics target bacteria so are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32495003/">not effective</a> for viral infections. Many people seek relief with over-the-counter medicines.</p> <p>While evidence varies, guidelines suggest medicines taken by mouth (such as cough syrups or cold and flu tablets) have a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25420096/">limited but potentially positive</a> short-term role for managing upper respiratory infection symptoms in adults and children older than 12. These include:</p> <ul> <li>paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain or fever</li> <li>decongestants such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine</li> <li>expectorants and mucolytics to thin and clear mucus from upper airways</li> <li>dry cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan</li> <li>sedating or non-sedating antihistamines for runny noses or watery eyes.</li> </ul> <p>But what if you have been prescribed an antidepressant? What do you need to know before going to the pharmacy for respiratory relief?</p> <h2>Avoiding harm</h2> <p>An audit of more than 5,000 cough-and-cold consumer enquiries to an Australian national medicine call centre found questions frequently related to drug-drug interactions (29%). An 18-month analysis showed 20% of calls <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26590496/">concerned</a> potentially significant interactions, particularly with antidepressants.</p> <p>Australia remains in the “<a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/mental-health/topic-areas/mental-health-%20prescriptions#Prescriptionsbytype">top ten</a>” antidepressant users in the <a href="https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=HEALTH_PHMC">OECD</a>. More than <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/mental-health/topic-areas/mental-health-prescriptions">32 million</a> antidepressant prescriptions are dispensed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme each year.</p> <p>Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms of anxiety or depression but are also used in chronic pain and incontinence. They are classified primarily by how they affect chemical messengers in the nervous system.</p> <p>These classes are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)</strong> such as fluoxetine, escitalopram, paroxetine and sertraline</li> <li><strong>serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)</strong> such as desvenlafaxine, duloxetine and venlafaxine</li> <li><strong>tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)</strong> such as amitriptyline, doxepin and imipramine</li> <li><strong>monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)</strong> such as tranylcypromine</li> <li><strong>atypical medicines</strong> such as agomelatine, mianserin, mirtazapine, moclobemide, reboxetine and vortioxetine</li> <li><strong>complementary medicines</strong> including St John’s wort, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) and L-tryptophan</li> </ul> <p>Medicines within the same class of antidepressants have similar actions and side-effect profiles. But the molecular differences of individual antidepressants mean they may have different interactions with medicines taken at the same time.</p> <h2>Types of drug interactions</h2> <p>Drug interactions can be:</p> <ul> <li><strong>pharmacokinetic</strong> – what the body does to a drug as it moves into, through and out of the body. When drugs are taken together, one may affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism or elimination of the other</li> <li><strong>pharmacodynamic</strong> – what a drug does to the body. When drugs are taken together, one may affect the action of the other. Two drugs that independently cause sedation, for example, may result in excessive drowsiness if taken together.</li> </ul> <p>There are many <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/pnp.429">potential interactions</a> between medications and antidepressants. These include interactions between over-the-counter medicines for upper respiratory symptoms and antidepressants, especially those taken orally.</p> <p>Concentrations of nasal sprays or inhaled medicines are generally lower in the blood stream. That means they are less likely to interact with other medicines.</p> <h2>What to watch for</h2> <p>It’s important to get advice from a pharmacist before taking any medications on top of your antidepressant.</p> <p>Two symptoms antidepressant users should monitor for shortly after commencing a cough or cold medicine are central nervous system effects (irritability, insomnia or drowsiness) and effects on blood pressure.</p> <p>For example, taking a selective SSRI antidepressant and an oral decongestant (such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine) can cause irritability, insomnia and affect blood pressure.</p> <p>Serotonin is a potent chemical compound produced naturally for brain and nerve function that can also constrict blood vessels. Medicines that affect serotonin are common and include most antidepressant classes, but also decongestants, dextromethorphan, St John’s wort, L-tryptophan, antimigraine agents, diet pills and amphetamines.</p> <p><a href="https://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker">Combining drugs</a> such as antidepressants and decongestants that both elevate serotonin levels can cause irritability, headache, insomnia, diarrhoea and blood pressure effects – usually increased blood pressure. But some people experience orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure on standing up) and dizziness.</p> <p>For example, taking both a serotonin and SNRI antidepressant and dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) can add up to high serotonin levels. This can also occur with a combination of the complementary medicine St John’s Wort and an oral decongestant.</p> <p>Where serotonin levels are too high, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15666281/">severe symptoms</a> such as confusion, muscle rigidity, fever, seizures and even death have been reported. Such symptoms are rare but if you notice any of these you should stop taking the cold and flu medication straight away and seek medical attention.</p> <h2>Ways to avoid antidepressant drug interactions</h2> <p>There are a few things we can do to prevent potentially dangerous interactions between antidepressants and cold and flu treatments.</p> <p><strong>1. Better information</strong></p> <p>Firstly, there should be more targeted, consumer-friendly, <a href="https://www.webmd.com/interaction-checker/default.htm">online drug interaction information</a> available for antidepressant users.</p> <p><strong>2. Prevent the spread of viral infections as much as possible</strong></p> <p>Use the non-drug strategies that have worked well for COVID: regular hand washing, good personal hygiene, social distancing, and facemasks. Ensure adults and children are up to date with immunisations.</p> <p><strong>3. Avoid potential drug interactions with strategies to safely manage symptoms</strong></p> <p>Consult your pharmacist for strategies most appropriate for you and only use cold and flu medications while symptoms persist:</p> <ul> <li>treat muscle aches, pain, or a raised temperature with analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen</li> <li>relieve congestion with a nasal spray decongestant</li> <li>clear mucus from upper airways with expectorants or mucolytics</li> <li>dry up a runny nose or watery eyes with a non-sedating antihistamine.</li> </ul> <p>Avoid over-the-counter cough suppressants for an irritating dry cough. Use a simple alternative such as honey, steam inhalation with a few drops of eucalyptus oil or a non-medicated lozenge instead.</p> <p><strong>4. Ask whether your symptoms could be more than the common cold</strong></p> <p>Could it be influenza or COVID? Seek medical attention if you are concerned or your symptoms are not improving. <!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208662/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Mater Health SEQ in conjoint appointment as Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Bond University and as Associate Professor (Clinical), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/taking-an-antidepressant-mixing-it-with-other-medicines-including-some-cold-and-flu-treatments-can-be-dangerous-208662">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What happens in our body when we encounter and fight off a virus like the flu, SARS-CoV-2 or RSV?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lara-herrero-1166059">Lara Herrero</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wesley-freppel-1408971">Wesley Freppel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.labcorp.com/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-news-education/covid-19-vs-flu-vs-rsv-how-tell-difference">Respiratory viruses</a> like influenza virus (flu), SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can make us sick by infecting our respiratory system, including the nose, upper airways and lungs.</p> <p>They spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks and can cause death in serious cases.</p> <p>But what happens in our body when we first encounter these viruses? Our immune system uses a number of strategies to fight off viral infections. Let’s look at how it does this.</p> <h2>First line of defence</h2> <p>When we encounter respiratory viruses, the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193131281600038X?via%3Dihub/">first line of defence</a> is the physical and chemical barriers in our nose, upper airways, and lungs. Barriers like the mucus lining and hair-like structures on the surface of cells, work together to trap and remove viruses before they can reach deeper into our respiratory system.</p> <p>Our defence also includes our behaviours such as coughing or sneezing. When we blow our nose, the mucus, viruses, and any other pathogens that are caught within it are expelled.</p> <p>But sometimes, viruses manage to evade these initial barriers and sneak into our respiratory system. This activates the cells of our innate immune system.</p> <h2>Patrolling for potential invaders</h2> <p>While our acquired immune system develops over time, our innate immune system is present at birth. It generates “non-specific” immunity by identifying what’s foreign. The cells of innate immunity act like a patrol system, searching for any invaders. These innate cells patrol almost every part of our body, from our skin to our nose, lungs and even internal organs.</p> <p>Our respiratory system has different type of innate cells such – as macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells – which patrol in our body looking for intruders. If they recognise anything foreign, in this case a virus, they will initiate an attack response.</p> <p>Each cell type plays a slightly different role. Macrophages, for example, will not only engulf and digest viruses (phagocytosis) but also release a cocktail of different molecules (cytokines) that will warn and recruit other cells to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cmi.12580">fight against the danger</a>.</p> <p>In the meantime, natural killer cells, aptly named, attack infected cells, and stop viruses from multiplying and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-021-00558-3">invading our body further</a>.</p> <p>Natural killer cells also promote inflammation, a <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2018/1467538/">crucial part of the immune response</a>. It helps to recruit more immune cells to the site of infection, enhances blood flow, and increases the permeability of blood vessels, allowing immune cells to reach the infected tissues. At this stage, our immune system is fighting a war against viruses and the result can cause inflammation, fevers, coughs and congestion.</p> <h2>Launching a specific attack</h2> <p>As the innate immune response begins, another branch of the immune system called the adaptive immune system is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21070/">activated</a>.</p> <p>The adaptive immune system is more specific than the innate immune system, and it decides on the correct tools and strategy to fight off the viral invaders. This system plays a vital role in eliminating the virus and providing long-term protection against future infections.</p> <p>Specialised cells called T cells and B cells are key players in acquired immunity.</p> <p>T cells (specifically, helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells) recognise viral proteins on the surface of infected cells:</p> <ul> <li> <p>helper T cells release molecules that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764486/">further activate immune cells</a></p> </li> <li> <p>cytotoxic T cells directly kill infected cells with a very great precision, <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00678/full">avoiding any healthy cells around</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <p>B cells produce antibodies, which are proteins that can bind to viruses, neutralise them, and mark them for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7247032/">destruction by other immune cells</a>.</p> <p>B cells are a critical part of memory in our immune system. They will remember what happened and won’t forget for years. When the same virus attacks again, B cells will be ready to fight it off and will neutralise it faster and better.</p> <p>Thanks to the adaptive immune system, vaccines for respiratory viruses such as the COVID mRNA vaccine keep us protected from <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/covid-19-vaccines/our-vaccines/how-they-work">being sick or severely ill</a>. However, if the same virus became mutated, our immune system will act as if it was a new virus and will have to fight in a war again.</p> <h2>Neutralising the threat</h2> <p>As the immune response progresses, the combined efforts of the innate and adaptive immune systems helps control the virus. Infected cells are cleared, and the virus is neutralised and eliminated from the body.</p> <p>As the infection subsides, symptoms gradually improve, and we begin to feel better and to recover.</p> <p>But recovery varies depending on the specific virus and us as individuals. Some respiratory viruses, like rhinoviruses which cause the common cold, may cause relatively mild symptoms and a quick recovery. Others, like the flu, SARS-CoV-2 or severe cases of RSV, may lead to more severe symptoms and a longer recovery time.</p> <p>Some viruses are very strong and too fast sometimes so that our immune system does not have the time to develop a proper immune response to fight them off. <!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/207023/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lara-herrero-1166059">Lara Herrero</a>, Research Leader in Virology and Infectious Disease, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wesley-freppel-1408971">Wesley Freppel</a>, Research Fellow, Institute for Glycomics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</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/what-happens-in-our-body-when-we-encounter-and-fight-off-a-virus-like-the-flu-sars-cov-2-or-rsv-207023">original article</a>.</em></p>

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