Slater and Gordon’s shareholders pay price for rescue plan

Written by admin on 28/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

Slater & Gordon Chairman John Skippen leaves the company’s AGM in Melbourne. Photo by Jesse Marlow. . Slater & Gordon CEO Andrew Grech talks to investors after the company’s AGM in Melbourne. Photo by Jesse Marlow. .
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Slater and Gordon’s long-suffering shareholders will be nearly wiped out in the company’s rescue plan and many will be left with parcels of shares so small they cannot be sold on market.

The dire fate of Slater and Gordon’s shareholders was laid bare in more than 1000 pages of documents filed to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday.

But despite shareholders facing near wipe out, the deal is a better option than placing the company in administration where the shares will be worth zero, according to an independent expert’s report on the deal by KPMG.

The rescue plan will salvage Slater and Gordon’s Australian business.

The recapitalisation comes after two horror years during which the company has teetered on the brink of insolvency after a $1.3 billion deal in the UK blew up.

After the rescue, current shareholders will only hold 5 per cent of the company’s shares.

Slater and Gordon’s senior lenders led by America’s Anchorage Capital Group will hold the other 95 per cent.

The shares that were once worth $2.8 billion were trading at 6.8 cents on Monday equating to a market capitalisation of $24.2 million.

The rescue plan values Slater and Gordon’s shares at between 0.3 cents or 1.1 cents each, meaning the 351.4 million shares currently on issue will be worth between $1.05 million and $3.87 million.

This compares to the $15.5 million in fees Slater and Gordon’s legal and financial advisers will receive for completing the deal.

About 6.5 billion shares will be issued to the hedge funds holding Slater and Gordon’s $1 billion-plus debt pile. Shares will then be consolidated on 1 for 100 basis.

In return, the hedge funds will forgive swathes of Slater and Gordon’s debts. The lighter debt load will free up the company’s balance sheet which is currently weighed down by finance repayments.

Slater and Gordon chairman John Skippen apologised to shareholders over the deal.

“Regrettably the interests of existing shareholders will be significantly diluted and I and the board are sorry for this,” Mr Skippen.

Slater and Gordon’s former managing director, Andrew Grech, and current executives Hayden Stephens and Ken Fowlie will be impacted by the recapitalisation, with all holding shares in the company. Mr Skippen also owns 100,000 shares and will be diluted through the process.

The recapitalisation will mean that many of Slater and Gordon’s existing shareholders will be left with parcels of shares valued at below $500, making them unmarketable.

Slater and Gordon says it may consider a buyback of these unmarketable parcels after the recapitalisation of the company.

The documents also revealed that Slater and Gordon plans to hive off its deeply troubled UK business into a new entity. The separation of the UK and Australian businesses will insulate Slater and Gordon’s middling local results from the earnings losses in the UK.

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Why ironhorse Humidor is turning back Melbourne Cup clock

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He threatened to spoil Winx’s Cox Plate party and now Darren Weir’s ironhorse Humidor will wade into spring carnival waters not tested in almost a decade by contesting all three of Melbourne’s spring carnival majors in the one year.
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Not since Master O’Reilly ran in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in 2008 has a horse contested three of Australian racing’s four grand slams in the space of 17 days, but Weir will wind back the clock for the $6 million race.

It is a program which has become almost obsolete in the modern-day, cotton wool caper of nursing horses to their major targets, yet Weir is adamant Humidor is thriving with repeat races.

Elvstroem is the only other horse to have tackled the big three in the same year in recent times, winning the 2004 Caulfield Cup before progressing to the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

He ran fourth in the second of Makybe Diva’s three-peat, coincidentally the same place Master O’Reilly finished when chasing home the Blake Shinn-ridden Viewed.

Shinn was confirmed on Monday as Humidor’s rider for the Melbourne Cup after Godolphin surprisingly paid up for last year’s placegetter Hartnell, who was widely tipped to run in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival.

Damian Lane, who was admonished by Weir for his aggressive Caulfield Cup ride on Humidor, will partner Hartnell should James Cummings elect to start him.

Shinn was widely praised for his canny ride on Humidor, which almost crashed Winx’s bid to equal Kingston Town’s three Cox Plate wins, less than an hour after he racked up his fourth winner on one of Australian racing’s biggest days.

And he will now have the chance to add a second Melbourne Cup to his trophy cabinet after his success on Viewed in 2008.

“It’s as good a chance I will have to win a second Melbourne Cup,” Shinn said. “It’s exciting. It shows his toughness. Darren’s able to peak them after hard runs and I know I’ll be on a fit horse.”

Humidor remains a $7.50 second favourite with Sportsbet for the Melbourne Cup, shadowing Lloyd Williams’ Almandin ($6.50).

“He put it to the great mare on Saturday and he gave me an unbelievable feel,” Shinn said. “The blinkers definitely helped and knowing Darren is happy to run him again just gives me so much confidence.

“I’m thankful to the owners for making the decision to keep me on.”

Meanwhile, trainer Alain Couetil flew into Melbourne and had his first look at Tiberian as the French stayer attempts to emulate the feats of Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) in winning Australia’s most famous race.

“I think he’ll run very well,” Couetil said. “The owner of Dunaden didn’t think he was capable of running [and winning a Melbourne Cup], but he’s said from the start this one is capable of running and adapting to the racing out here.

“Americain didn’t win a group 2 in France and came here [to win a Melbourne Cup]. On paper he’s probably better. I think for Tiberian, with 24 runners, the race is very difficult.

“[But] the horse is really well. I think he’ll run well. The horse is really intelligent and he adjusts to the ground he’s galloping on. A little bit of rain would be good. I think he’s got the speed to go with them.”

Tiberian is part-owned by Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, which also brought Heartbreak City Down Under last year when the horse was a gripping second to Almandin.

One of Europe’s most prolific riders, Olivier Peslier, has been booked to ride Tiberian. Connections are hoping Peslier will familiarise himself with Flemington on his first Australian visit with rides on Derby Day.???

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Wohler looking for double dose of Cup glory – and another free breakfast

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German trainer Andreas Wohler knows what it is like to win the Melbourne Cup, having enjoyed victory in 2014 when Protectionist romped to an easy triumph under English champion jockey Ryan Moore.
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Now the 55-year-old horseman is back in town and keen for a repeat effort next week courtesy of Red Cardinal, a horse who has gone under the radar somewhat as he has not had a preparatory run in this country.

Red Cardinal, a son of Coolmore stallion Montjeu, has not been seen in public since a disappointing fifth of eight in one of Europe’s key lead-up races, the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville.

That race was won by well-fancied Cup contender Marmelo, who ran an impressive Melbourne Cup trial when sixth in the Caulfield Cup.

But Wohler counsels punters against reading too much into that form, saying his galloper was not at his best that day.

“The Kergorlay is a good race but that day Red Cardinal was not himself, he didn’t like the ground [described as good] that day, and he also had a skin allergy,” Wohler told a Cup carnival launch crowd at Flemington racecourse on Tuesday.

And he is confident that he will not be far from the leaders next week, especially if Marmelo is in at the finish.

“I think where Marmelo is, we are at least,” he declared when asked about his horse’s prospects.

A cursory glance at Red Cardinal’s previous efforts suggests his trainer might not be far off the mark, even though Moore, who enjoyed such success with him three years ago, has changed his mind and will not now partner the horse as he cannot easily get to Australia from the Breeders Cup meeting in the US. Kerrin McEvoy, successful on Almandin 12 months ago, will now look for back-to-back wins aboard the German galloper.

Before his Deauville disappointment, Red Cardinal went to Belmont Park in America and saw off the useful English stayer St Michel in the Belmont Gold Cup.

And at the start before that he was too good for another very handy English horse, Nearly Caught, in a group 2 race at German track Hoppgarten in May. Both those races were over 3200 metres, the Cup distance.

Wohler was feted when he won at Flemington with Protectionist, famously being treated to a free breakfast the next morning at the cafe he had been patronising regularly while looking after his horse.

The memories of that success, and how big an event the Cup is, have made him determined to be involved on a regular basis.

“I have been racing all round the world but I have never experienced anything like the hype around the Cup.

“I think it is an open race this year. If everything goes right he can really be up in the mix. “

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Drink, drugs, death: The Eric Clapton story in full sordid glory

Written by admin on 13/10/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

Though her first feature film, released in 1992, was terrific, it took another 25 years for Lili Fini Zanuck to direct her second.
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The reason, explains the 63-year-old Oscar winner (as producer, with her late husband Richard Zanuck, of Driving Miss Daisy), was “freshman panic”.

“After Rush I was offered lots of things and I thought ‘that’s not good enough, that’s not good enough’, until nobody cared any more,” she says.

What sort of things did you turn down? “Jesus, do I want to bring back those ghosts? Primal Fear [the film that broke Edward Norton]. I turned that down three times. Se7en, with Denzel Washington [in the Morgan Freeman role] and Johnny Depp [in the role Brad Pitt would play in David Fincher’s film]. There’s just too many and none of it makes any sense.”

It wasn’t all bad, though. She was happily married to her producer husband – son of Twentieth Century Fox co-founder Daryl F. Zanuck – and got to spend lots of time with him before his death five years ago. “The truth is I’m not regretful,” she says. “But when I’m directing I love it so much that it’s beyond my belief that I could have gone without it for so long.”

Her debut Rush was a gritty drama about two undercover cops (Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh) trying to bust a drug ring but getting hooked instead. Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars is a documentary. They’re miles apart, except they’re not: both have soundtracks by the legendary English guitarist and both are about addiction.

Her new film came about, she says, because someone approached Clapton with the idea and he thought if someone was going to do it, it might as well be someone he trusted.

Though they were friends, Zanuck says: “We’d never had conversations of the depth we have in this. You don’t know anybody this well.”

She recorded conversations with her subject – about his troubled childhood (he was abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandmother), his failed relationships, his addictions to cocaine and alcohol – without a camera present; she felt it was less intimidating that way, more likely to elicit an honest and thoughtful response. And besides, she didn’t want the audience to be distracted by the disconnect between what the people in the story look like now and the way they looked when the events they talk about were happening.

She cites the example of Pattie Boyd, a central figure in the drama and a source of many of the key images (“Nobody took selfies in those days,” Zanuck says, “so thank God for Pattie and her camera”). A model in the swinging ’60s, Boyd was married to George Harrison, Clapton’s neighbour and friend. Clapton fell in love with her, tried his best to woo her, wrote the song Layla for and about her. Eventually he got his way. Though Boyd at 72 is “still beautiful”, Zanuck says, “I don’t know that she’s beautiful in a way the audience would understand somebody being thunderstruck”.

Not shooting her subjects in the present day meant Zanuck was dependent on archival material (all she shot, she says, is drone footage, mostly of Clapton’s massive country pile Hurtwood Edge). And that put her at the mercy of a multitude of forces.

“It was my first documentary so I didn’t know how much prayer was involved,” she says. She’d track down someone who had a photo from a key moment in the story, she’d call them, and then “there’s this moment of, like, ‘I’ll take a million’,” she laughs. “You’ve got the maths wrong on this. We don’t need the picture that badly.”

Some of the material came from Clapton’s archives, though he didn’t really know what he had. “He wasn’t exactly scrapbooking,” she says.

There’s a remarkable piece of footage in the documentary of Clapton inhaling cocaine from a knife, his nose a bleeding mess. It comes from Rolling Hotel, a tour film shot on a train but never released (for fairly obvious reasons). Clapton had no recollection of it, but like everything else in the film, he had no issues with her using the footage.

So, has he seen the finished film? And if so, how does he feel about it?

“I showed him an hour when it was done and he was so impressed,” she says. “But later when I showed him the whole thing, I think there were things in it that were so arresting he didn’t catch the next five things.

“I think he would get stuck on something that was very emotional. It is very hard to watch your life presented in this way.”

Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars screens at the British Film Festival. Details: britishfilmfestival南京夜网419论坛

Facebook: karlquinnjournalist Twitter: @karlkwin Podcast: The Clappers

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The physics questions that had HSC student stumped

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Physics exam question for 2017 HSC Students from Prairiewood High School are pictured in the schools observatory on 30 October, 2017. Photo: Brook Mitchell
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“I thought it was challenging but overall pretty good,” Madison Yeoh said of Monday morning’s physics HSC exam. But two questions had her stumped.

“One was about magnetic flux and the other was on energy changes on the outside of a rocket when decelerating into Earth’s atmosphere,” said Madison, 17, who is in year 12 at Prairiewood High School.

“A lot of questions were condensed into one so it tested your knowledge of a lot of areas, but [the exam] was pretty rewarding once you completed it.”

Steven Condell, 17, said the exam was “about average … [but] there were a bit more calculation questions in there than usual”.

Steven, who is studying both physics and chemistry at Prairiewood High, said his passion for science grew after he chose astronomy as an elective in years 9 and 10.

“I wasn’t as good at science in years 7 and 8 but astronomy helped me get better,” he said.

“[Astronomy] is very different compared to what we study in normal classes at school, it’s an application science; we get to collect a lot of observational data.”

Nearly 9700 year 12 students in NSW are studying physics this year, compared to about 9300 students last year.

At Prairiewood High, 24 year 12 students are doing physics. About 37 year 11 students are also studying the subject and 45 year 10 students have now chosen to do it for their HSC.

The school’s science head teacher, Giorgio Di Scala, said it would need an extra physics class next year and was looking at hiring another teacher to keep up with the growing numbers.

Prairiewood High is one of the few schools in the state with its own observatory and offers astronomy as an elective in years 9 and 10.

Mr Di Scala said the computerised telescope and the school’s regular star nights were “a drawcard” for students considering studying science.

“We have star nights just to excite kids about science,” he said.

“In 2012 when the transit of Venus happened, primary school kids, parents and members of the community came in; there were hundreds of people.

“Everyone got a chance to see it and that’s something that won’t happen for another 100 years.”

Kerry Sheehan, who is the science inspector and senior curriculum inspector at the NSW Education Standards Authority, welcomed the growing number of students choosing to do science subjects for the HSC.

“These are the hard sciences that everyone in the Western world is trying to increase,” Mr Sheehan said.

He said the new physics curriculum being introduced next year would aim to let students pursue their own areas of interest more than the current syllabus.

“It sets us up with the rest of the world,” Mr Sheehan said.

“The syllabus for the first time encourages kids to collaborate outside of school and work with Australian and international researchers.

“It teaches them to think about what we don’t know rather than limiting students by only looking at what we do know about.

“Physics is back.”

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Police raid house in cannabis investigation

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Drugs seized from the Steel Street commercial premises.POLICE investigating a cannabis growing syndicate in Newcastle on Monday searched another home, this time in Beauford Street, Maryland.
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At 11.50am, officers executed another search warrant at the Beauford Street address. A number of items were located and seized for forensic examination.

​Four people havebeen charged and over 325 cannabis plants seized by officers attached to Strike Force Bungarn, set up totarget the hydroponic cultivation of cannabis in Newcastle.

Police raid house in cannabis investigation Lamps in one of the rooms of the house raided on October 30.

Inside one of the rooms of the house raided on October 30.

Lamps in one of the rooms of the house raided on October 30.

A police office with some of the drugs seized in last week’s raids.

A police office with some of the drugs seized in last week’s raids.

The scene of last week’s raid in Steel Street.

Equipment seized in last week’s raid in Steel Street.

The scene of last week’s raid in Steel Street.

The scene of last week’s raid in Steel Street.

TweetFacebookAt 6pm on October23, officers arrested three men, two aged 22 and 33, for drug possession following a random breath test on Glebe Road, Adamstown, police said.

Then about 2am on October 24, officers executed a search warrant at commercial premises on Steel Street, Newcastle West, where they allegedly located an elaborate hydroponic set-up, 325 cannabis plants and 66 kilograms of cannabis.

About 2.30pm on October25,a 44-year-old woman was arrested at a Kotara business where she was charged with knowingly direct activities of criminal group.

In Newcastle Local Court on Friday, police alleged Nga White, of Hunter Street, Newcastle, was the leader of a group comprising of predominantly Vietnamese men who laundered money and cultivated large quantities of cannabis while living in Australia illegally.

MagistrateRobert Stone granted strict bail with conditions including a $100,000 surety, that Ms Whitewas to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and not to go within one kilometre of an international departure point.

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Chinese student bashing threatens Australia’s image

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Beijing: An attack on Chinese school students in Canberra that saw one hospitalised could be a turning point in Chinese attitudes towards Australia, a major newspaper has editorialised.
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Two local teenagers have faced Children’s Court after the bashing at the Woden bus interchange last week, which has been widely reported by Chinese newspapers, radio and state media.

Lowy Institute director of East Asia programs Merriden Varrall said the incident “could certainly affect decision making” by safety conscious Chinese students considering studying in Australia.

A Chinese student who attended the same school as the victims told a Beijing newspaper that students are scared, because the day after the attack, they had been sworn at and pushed into a Chinese restaurant by a group of 20 to 30 Australian youths.

Global Times, a mass-circulating national newspaper focused on foreign policy, said the incident would prompt many Chinese people to feel Australia isn’t safe.

“If Australia does not take strong measures to eliminate the impact of this matter, this incident and the series of recent negative events and comments against Chinese in Australia will constitute a turning point, reshaping Chinese people’s foundation for understanding Australian society,” the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Monday.

The newspaper said “tough” talk on China by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, anti-Chinese posters at Australian universities, and “backstreet hooligans cursing ‘go back to China’ and beating our children” undermined Canberra’s message that Australia is friendly to China.

In a warning of a potential impact to Australia’s $21.8 billion international education market, the Global Times said Australia was not the only place that Chinese students could gain an education.

Another newspaper, Beijing Youth Daily interviewed Chinese student “Li Li”, a friend of the two students injured, who said they were attacked after being asked for cigarettes – which they didn’t have – by local youths.

The Chinese students did not fight back because their parents would be upset, and they were scared of being deported, he said.

“If we return now, we don’t have any diploma.”

Li Li said the Chinese school students were saddened by the names they are called in Australia.

“Some people say we are ‘stupid and rich’, ‘foreign worshippers’, and deserve to be beaten. In fact, many of our students are from ordinary families. The money is earned by our parents, one penny after another, and tuition fees are paid by ‘biting teeth’,” he told Beijing Youth Daily.

Li Li said he was fearful and ran away when he saw a young person in Canberra who was not in school uniform.

ACT Policing said it had stepped up patrols and “engaged with the Chinese community”.

Ms Varrall, who has previously taught in Chinese universities, said the Global Times editorial reflected that, “there is a changing view in China about the attitude to Australia”.

She said the recent controversy in Australia over Chinese university students had been noticed.

Chinese students consider the safety of the country they are going to when weighing up where to study overseas, and had previously considered Australia safer than Europe.

ACT education minister Yvette Barry said it was an “isolated incident – the ACT community welcomes international students”.

Linda Jakobson, the chief executive of think tank China Matters, said: “The Global Times attempts to connect dots that aren’t necessarily to be connected.

“An isolated incident of violence doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the challenges and problems on Australian university campuses.”

But she said if there were more incidents it would be cause for concern.

Australian Chinese online media reported that a WeChat group has been established to offer help to Chinese students who need transport around Canberra and want to avoid public transport.

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Experts slam ‘utterly false’ claims Australians given budget flu vaccine

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Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has stridently rejected claims a “budget” flu vaccine was partly responsible for this year’s horror flu season, as the academic quoted called the reports “inaccurate”.
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Professor Brendan Murphy called “utterly false” accusations that a cheaper flu vaccine was to blame for hundreds flu-related deaths among the elderly this year.

“I could not be clearer – I completely refute this false claim,” CMO Professor Murphy said of the reports first published in News Corp papers.

“I could not be clearer – I completely refute this false claim,” CMO Professor Murphy said of the reports first published in News Corp papers.

Immunisation Coalition chair Professor Paul Van Buynder – quoted in the article – on Tuesday distanced himself from the claims, saying: “Media reports referring to ‘cheap vaccines’ don’t accurately describe the situation of vaccine purchasing in Australia.”

“The vaccine purchased by the Australian government and used this year was the best available in Australia at the time, and remains so today,” Professor van Buynder said in a statement.

“While the vaccine was relatively ineffective in the elderly this year, we had no alternative vaccine available.”

The articles stated the Australian government could have brought in a vaccine four times stronger and $2 more expensive per dose than those currently on the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).

But the two pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the “enhanced” vaccines have also rubbished claims that the “cheaper” offering was partly to blame for the high flu rates, or that the Australian government could have supplied the newer alternatives.

Sanofi and Seqirus (formerly CSL) have not applied to register their vaccines with the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA), a mandatory step before vaccines can be considered for PBS listing and added to the immunisation program.

Infectious diseases expert at the University of Sydney, Professor Robert Booy, said the newer vaccines were more effective but their benefit this flu season would have been incremental.

US evidence suggested the vaccines were roughly 25 per cent more effective than those currently available in Australia, said Professor Booy, who is also head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance in Australia.

“To be frank, an increase of 25 per cent on a vaccine that was 30 per cent effective this flu season is about 37 per cent effective. That’s the kind of improvement we’re talking about.

“No one is trying to save money here … we are using the best available vaccines in Australia,” he said.

Both government authorities and independent experts conceded this year’s vaccine was far less protective than they had hoped, offering as little as 20 to 30 per cent effectiveness among at risk groups including the elderly.

At the peak of the horrendous flu season, health minister Greg Hunt asked Professor Murphy to explore ways of strengthening Australia’s influenza protection, including holding talks with vaccine manufacturers about new and stronger vaccines.

Professor Murphy said evidence that over 65s had a weaker immune response to the vaccine only emerged “in the past year or so”.

“We’re working with the companies to see what fast-tracking process we can provide to deliver [the new vaccines], but that wasn’t even a consideration at the vaccine choice last year,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Both Sanofi and Seqirus indicated they were in the process of registering their vaccines for use in Australia, and were working with the Department of Health to expedite regulation.

Sanofi’s unavailable vaccine has four times the dose of the currently available vaccines, while Seqirus’ adjuvant vaccine contains an additional component that triggers a stronger immune response and creates more antibodies.

The manufacturers backed the CMO and influenza experts’ stance, stressing suggestions the high rate of influenza in Australia in 2017 are in part a result of the supply of “cheap” vaccine were incorrect.

“The 2017 flu vaccine supplied in Australia is the current standard of care globally for the prevention of influenza,” Sanofi said in its statement.

In a separate statement, Sequiris said they and other manufacturers “have not previously sought regulatory approval for sale of these vaccines in Australia and it would have been illegal and irresponsible for government to have attempted to offer them on the NIP”.

“The Minister for Health, [CMO, TGA] and Federal Department of Health have responded swiftly to this year’s severe influenza season, and Seqirus is working to expedite regulation of our enhanced vaccine” said Dr Lorna Meldrum, vice-president commercial operations.

The World Health Organisation independently monitors circulating influenza strains and advises vaccine manufacturers and public health authorities which strains should be included the next round of seasonal flu vaccines.

“They are the same vaccines that are available and used in the UK, US and other countries and the same vaccines available on the private market in Australia,” Professor Murphy said.

Professor Booy said it was “worrying” to see the currently available vaccines portrayed as “budget” options, warning misinformation could drive down vaccination rates.

He said the best way to protect high-risk groups was to increase the vaccination rate in healthy adults to reduce transmission.

“It behooves us to maximise vaccine uptake in the healthy adults who ae coming into contact with the elderly in aged care, residential care and hospitals,” he said.

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Child cancer patients’ future fertility hopes on ice

Written by admin on 28/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

Somewhere in a freezer at a Melbourne fertility clinic, sits something that belongs to six-year-old Stella Davis.
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It was removed from her when she was a toddler, while she was undergoing intensive chemotherapy for a germ cell cancer that was refusing to go away.

The tissue sample, taken from one of Stella’s ovaries, is of no use to her now. And it might not be for decades to come, if ever.

But it represents hope.

There is a risk that Stella may not be able to have children of her own in the future, because of the multiple rounds of chemotherapy she had to endure after the discovery of a large tumour on her tail bone.

In response, doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne offered her parents the option of preserving some of her ovarian tissue.

Stella’s mother Lara MacEwen said making the decision to preserve her daughter’s ovarian tissue was an easy one.

“I’m very realistic,” she said.

“We know that there isn’t a 100 per cent chance that it is going to work, but you have to be hopeful, and science and technology is progressing so fast.

“Who knows where we will be in 15 years or so?”

One might assume that any parent of a child in Stella’s situation would do all they could to help their child.

But the issue is more fraught than it appears, success with tissue from young children is unproven and could rely on technology that does not yet exist.

The topic has been recently investigated by University of Melbourne bioethicist Rosalind McDougall and her colleagues, who found that for many children the removal of reproductive tissue was ethically permissible, but not ethically required – which meant the decision was up to parents.

“Even though the surgery to collect the tissue is quite straightforward, the techniques of using the tissue are still being developed,” Dr McDougall said.

“[In cases where doctors believe] it is going to be medically safe for a child, it is appropriate to offer the procedure but because of the speculative nature of the future benefit we think it is justifiable for parents to go forward with the procedure – or decide not to.”

Although 80 per cent of paediatric cancer patients now survive their illness, 16 per cent of girls will be left infertile and treatment can also deplete boy’s sperm.

The Royal Children’s Hospital has, since 2013, been routinely offering the fertility preservation procedure for appropriate patients, with tissue samples taken from 100 girls and 40 boys.

These cases were guided by an ethical framework, which asks clinicians to consider questions such as whether the child has already received treatment that may have damaged the tissue, whether the procedure could delay cancer treatment and if parents realised that the procedure would not guarantee future fertility.

The process sees ovarian or testicular tissue taken from young cancer patients and frozen in a process of “cryopreserving”, in the hope that by the time the children are grown, medical technology will have advanced to allow the tissue to be used to create a baby.

In girls, it is thought the harvested tissue may be replanted when the patient is ready to have children.

Royal Children’s Hospital paediatric oncologist Professor Michael Sullivan said it was also conceivable that eggs could one day be recovered from the frozen ovarian tissue.

Professor Sullivan said that globally there had been at least 100 births using cryopreserved ovarian tissue, but only one report of a live birth from tissue that was removed before the girl hit puberty.

“That’s because tissue has only been stored for a relatively short time,” he said.

The technology is less advanced when it comes to boys. It is estimated that births relying on testicular tissue for sperm “may be decades away”.

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JFK files reveal CIA considered killing Sukarno

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Jakarta: One of the daughters of Indonesia’s first president has called for the US to apologise after the release of a “top secret” document from 1975 that reveals the CIA considered assassinating Sukarno during the Cold War.
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The document – a summary of an investigation into CIA involvement in plans to assassinate foreign leaders – was among 2800 previously classified files related to the assassination of President John F Kennedy that were released last week.

It details CIA attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and says the CIA also considered killing Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba and Indonesian president Sukarno.

“America should not only apologise to Indonesia, America should apologise to all the countries they disturbed, if they will admit to it,” Sukarno’s daughter Sukmawati Sukarnoputri told Fairfax Media. “They never want to admit to it, especially the CIA.”

The newly declassified document reveals the degree to which the US was prepared to intervene in other nations’ affairs during the Cold War.

It said Richard Bissell, who was CIA Deputy Director of Plans at the time, testified there had been discussion within the CIA of the “possibility of an attempt on the life of President Sukarno of Indonesia”.

The plotting “progressed as far as the identification of an asset who it was felt might be recruited for this purpose”.

Bissell testified that the assassination plan “was never perfected to the point where it seemed feasible”.

He stressed the CIA had “absolutely nothing” to do with the death of Sukarno in 1970, when his health deteriorated after being put under house arrest.

Ms Sukmawati claimed the CIA had been responsible for riots, revolts and coups in Asia, Africa and Latin America because the US was opposed to the Non-Aligned Movement of nations, of which Sukarno was a founding member.

Ho Chi Minh, then president of North Vietnam, chats with Sukarno in Indonesia in 1959. Photo: AP

The founding members believed that developing countries should not help either the Western or Eastern blocs in the Cold War.

“Sukarno was warned by his friends before the (launch of the) Non-Aligned Movement: ‘Be careful, the US will launch a coup against any state leader who is not pro the US’,” Ms Sukmawati said.

She said her father’s foreign policy had not been “pro-US” because he was opposed to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

PhD scholar Donald Greenlees said this was not the first time documents had been released relating to CIA plans to assassinate Sukarno.

“I would like to know the identity of the CIA ‘asset’. I assume that is buried in a file somewhere,” he said.

Mr Greenlees said there were assassination attempts against Sukarno. “Sukarno was a divisive figure. He had enemies at home. But it remains unclear whether the assassination attempts were simply coincidence, whether people cultivated by the CIA acted alone, or whether some in the CIA were entrepreneurial.”

University of Melbourne Associate Professor Kate McGregor said the US had been concerned at the time about Sukarno’s increasingly radical policies including his campaign against Malaysia, turn to China and support for the Indonesian Communist Party, the PKI.

She said the then president had increasing visibility and influence as an anti-imperialist icon across Asia and Africa who was not afraid to challenge ongoing economic and cultural imperialism.

At the time the West believed there was a real threat that Indonesia would fall to the communists.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Sukarno in 1960. Photo: Fairfax Media

Professor of Asian history at the Australian National University, Robert Cribb, says the CIA and US State Department had been obsessed with Sukarno and the potential damage he could do to their interests in South-east Asia.

“What we are seeing is a little bit more evidence that the CIA was closer to planning an assassination,” Professor Cribb said. “There doesn’t seem to be evidence of a definite plot but there is serious discussion of an assassination.”

The JFK documents are the second batch of newly declassified documents that shed fascinating light on the Cold War period in Indonesia.

Earlier this month the National Security Archive in the US published newly declassified documents from the US Embassy in Jakarta from 1964 to 1968 that revealed the US government’s knowledge and support of a campaign of mass murder against the PKI.

One cable cites as its source a “reliable Australian journalist”, who is understood to be Frank Palmos.

It suggests US officials were well aware that alleged PKI supporters and members being arrested or killed in an army-led campaign of repression and mass murder had no role in – or even knowledge of – an abortive coup in which six army generals were murdered.

Another cable cites the observations of anthropologist James Fox – now a professor at the Australian National University – who was living on Rote island in East Nusa Tenggara at the time and reported the execution of “between 40 and 50 local Rote communists plus another 30 communists” from the neighbouring island of Sawu.

Professor Cribb said it is fascinating every time previously classified documents are released.

“Next year I will be teaching a course called ‘Lies, Conspiracy and Propaganda’ and this will be a very good bit of material for that course.”

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Enever caught by surprise after out of the blue call from Cheika

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Brumbies second-rower Blake Enever was on a coffee run before an NRC match on Sunday when he missed a phone call from an unknown number.
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“I thought it was maybe one of the guys asking for a coffee,” Enever said. “I called him back, he missed it, but then straight away [he] called back and said: ‘It’s Michael Cheika, mate, do you want to come on the spring tour?'”

Enever, a 26-year-old, 200-centimetre forward with just three Super Rugby starts this year, went into shock.

And when he ran out onto T G Millner Field for the Canberra Vikings against the Greater Sydney Rams, he decided to keep the best news of his career a secret from teammates.

After the game, which the Vikings won 35-22, he passed on the good news and began telling those closest to him that he would be travelling to the UK for the first time.

“It’s awesome news and I was so stoked to hear that,” Enever said. “It’s an opportunity for myself.

“It was a bit of a surprise. I still had to try and stay focused as much as I could. In the back of my mind I was really excited to get into camp today [Monday]. I tried not to go into my shell. At the back of my mind I wanted to play well and try and flow into the camp as well as possible.

“I called my fiancee and she was pretty stoked and then tried to keep it a bit quiet until after the game. I had a few mates in the team that were stoked after the game. I didn’t want to tell them before, otherwise it could have rattled them a little bit. Everyone has been happy for me.”

Once he got the news, Enever had to spring into action, knowing the Wallabies were flying to Japan within 48 hours.

“I caught the bus back to Canberra on Sunday and I got home at 11.30pm, packed, [was] in bed by midnight,” he said. “Then I was up at 4.30am for a 6.10am flight. That was all fine. It was a big day today.”

Enever went on a schoolboy tour to Japan in 2008 and played for Australia at the 2011 Junior World Championship in Italy but has never been to Wales, England or Scotland where the Wallabies will play Tests in November.

Cheika has liked a number of Enever’s traits and after a Super Rugby quarter-final, then-Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told Enever he was made of the right stuff to one day become a Wallaby.

“It’s a dream to be able to be a part of the Wallabies squad,” Enever said. “I wasn’t expecting it but I’m really stoked to get the call.

“I’m sure I’m not going over there for a holiday but a day here and there would be good to get your mind off rugby for a bit.

“He [Cheika] has explained a few roles he wants me to take on in the lineout but moving forward hopefully he’ll drip-feed them into me because it’s been a pretty big day so far. He’ll have a few things I’ll need to work on and offer to the squad.

“There’s a fair bit of knowledge that I’ve got to try and knuckle down on in the first couple of days and from then on it’s just refining them and getting myself the best opportunity to be picked.”

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Crameri yet to attract interest despite wanting to play on

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There is yet to be any interest in delisted former Western Bulldogs forward Stewart Crameri ahead of the first delisted free agency signing period, which opens on Wednesday.
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Crameri, 29, who moved to the Bulldogs from Essendon for the start of the 2014 season, has played 99 games since making his AFL debut in 2010.

The mobile yet strong marking forward has battled persistent hip injuries recently and spent 2016 on the sidelines thanks to a suspension received for his part in the Essendon supplements saga.

Fairfax Media understands no clubs have signalled their interest in Crameri at this stage.

He would likely have moved back to Essendon in the trade period had they not secured Jake Stringer from the Bulldogs.

Geelong had been interested in Crameri but don’t have a spot on their list for him. The Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns are also understood to not be in the running for Crameri.

He has been training throughout the off season and is willing to take any opportunity that might come his way, including as a rookie draft selection.

Meanwhile, delisted Hawthorn speedster Billy Hartung is more confident of finding a new home for 2018.

It is understood he has been contacted by clubs and, like Crameri, is happy to take his chance as a delisted free agency signing or as a rookie.

Hartung, 22, has played 63 game since making his debut in 2014. He has played 36 of those games in the past two seasons but coach Alastair Clarkson is understood to have finally run out of patience with the Dandenong Stingrays product.

Hartung was infamously dropped for Hawthorn’s 2015 grand final drubbing of West Coast after he played in the preliminary final and 19 other games for the season.

Taylor Hunt, who was delisted by Richmond last week (after being delisted by Geelong at the end of 2014) is understood not to be hopeful of his AFL career continuing into 2018.

Hunt studied to be a carpenter while he was at Richmond and will likely play VFL or local football in the immediate future.

Between November 1 and November 8, clubs can sign delisted free agents. They can do so again between November 10-17 and November 25-26. Final lists have to be lodged for the 2018 season on November 29.

If delisted free agents miss out on being signed in those periods they can also be picked up in the pre-season or rookie drafts, which take place on November 27.

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