4zzz Headlines (Pt. 14)

  • Go card loopholes wiped out
  • Koala killing woodchipper company rebuked
  • Stroke sufferers going without basic care
  • PM Abbott declares end to Afghan War
  • First global skin cancer conference held in Brisbane
  • Global warming brings irrukandji to Queensland waters

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson has today announced a loophole in the go card system has been removed. Previously, adult go card users were able to buy their card for a small sum, let their balance run into the negative, and then dispose of it, effectively gaining free trips with no repercussions. This sort of action had resulted in a loss of more than 220,000 dollars each year. Mr Emerson when announcing the fix said he would not accept deliberate fare evasion.

Australian woodchip exporter Australian Bluegum Plantations has had its environmental certification revoked in the wake of allegations the company was responsible for the death and maiming of hundreds, if not thousands of koalas. International environment auditor Rainforest Alliance found that the company had significant failures in its wildlife management systems, causing the company to halt work in large areas of koala habitats. Last year Australian Bluegum Plantations was named Australian Forest Manager of the year by the Forest Stewardship Council of Australia.

A national audit released today shows that, of all Australians who suffer a stroke each year, 12,000 are unable to access basic health care, resulting in 700 patients dying or being disabled annually. The audit also reveals that more than one third stroke survivors are being turned away from specialist care centres, an increase from previous years. The National Stroke Foundation has said that specialist care is crucial for stroke survivors, but due to a lack of hospital resources, patients are being denied this.

In a surprise trip to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared an end to the Afghanistan War. Troops are expected to leave by Christmas this year, handing over currently occupied bases to the Afghans. However federal funding will remain in place in the Uruzgan province, which helps support education and local empowerment, as well as a legacy of more than 200 schools, clinics and roads. More than 300 trainers and advisors will remain on as well, stationed in Kandahar and Kabul. More than 20,000 Australians have served in Afghanistan, at a cost of 40 lives and more than 7.5 billion dollars.

The first ever global skin cancer conference will be held in Brisbane next month, which includes a free forum to provide information about the latest skin cancer research, prevention, treatment, and support to the public. The event is hosted by Cancer Council Queensland, in partnership with Melanoma Patients Australia, and is being described as an opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field of skin cancer research and treatment. The forum will be held on the 24th of November, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with around 136,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Bells were rung at 11.30am in Bundaberg today, to mark the start of turtle nesting season. National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said the first turtles, believed to be a loggerhead and a flatback, had made their way to the Mon Repos beach over the weekend, and are believed to be the first of a bumper year in terms of both turtles and visitors. Mon Repos was severely damaged by Cyclone Oswald in February, but rangers and volunteers worked hard to get the beach ready for the start of the nesting season.

In an Australian first, Canberra prisoners will soon be given access to sterile injecting equipment, in an effort to manage blood-borne viruses. The move is the next step in the ‘Strategic Framework for the Management of Blood-Borne viruses in the Alexander Maconochie Centre’ document, which was released in response to a 2012 report which showed the access to sterile equipment would provide significant health benefits not just to prisoners and prison staff, but to the broader community.

A survey released by the Salvation Army recently shows that more than two thirds of Australians feel that alcohol advertising encourages binge drinking, and should be restricted. The news has only strengthened the Australian Medical Association’s calls for an inquiry into the advertising and promotion of alcohol. Greens health spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, supports a ban on alcohol advertising during sporting events.

A petition calling for harsher punishment for the six men who attacked and raped a teenage girl in Kenya has attracted over one million signatures, and the number is continuing to rise. Three of the six attackers were taken to the police after the attack, where they were ordered to cut grass around the station, before being set free. Petition organiser Nebila Abdulmelik described it as “the worlds worst punishment for rape”. The girl, who is now wheelchair-bound with a broken back and campaigning to raise funds for her medical fees, has told reporters she wants to see justice done.

The recent influx of Irukandji jellyfish, one of the deadliest marine animals in the world,  in south-eastern Queensland could be linked to global warming, marine researchers say. Higher sea temperatures is reportedly the cause of their migration, which is part of a world-wide trend in marine life. Although the establishment of Irukandji jellyfish could be devastating on the south-east Queensland tourism industry, researchers believe rising ocean acidification may stop the development of Irukandji young, meaning no long-term colonies will be established in the south. In recent years there have been reports of the Irukandji jellyfish as far south as Fraser Island and Sydney.


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