Archive for July 2019

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.

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.

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.

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.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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”.

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.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Somewhere in a freezer at a Melbourne fertility clinic, sits something that belongs to six-year-old Stella Davis.

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”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

AFL great Luke Hodge says a line in the sand has been drawn following the three-match ban handed down to Richmond premiership defender Nathan Broad, suggesting that the next player to commit a similar offence to that of the Tiger deserves a considerably heftier penalty.

Richmond – in combination with the AFL – suspended West Australian backman Broad for the first three matches of the 2018 home and away season for sending a photo of a topless woman wearing a premiership medal, taken on the night of Richmond’s grand final win. Broad did not have permission to send the photo of the woman, whose head was not in the image, although while the photo went viral no charges were laid following a Victoria Police investigation into the matter.

The league said it supported the length of the ban, but while Hodge didn’t say it had been overly lenient, he said players should learn from Broad’s mistake, or else incur the AFL’s wrath.

“People, and players especially, they’ve got to be smarter and respect ladies better than that,” Hodge told ABC radio on Monday as he promoted his newly-released book The General.

“[Broad] probably didn’t realise what social media, iPhones can do these days.

“If you send it out on social media, it can go anywhere, the same as a picture message.

“Next time that happens, I hope the AFL comes down a lot harder than this one. I think it’s a massive learning curve for him as a young person, and hopefully he’s better for it in the future.”

Triple-premiership captain and dual Norm Smith medallist Hodge, who has come out of a short-lived retirement to join the Brisbane Lions after a storied 16 season career at Hawthorn, described the situation as a “test case.”

“Hopefully this is a learning curve for not only him, but all the other players who are going to do something silly like that,” he said.

“I obviously feel for the young lady, and hopefully she hasn’t been affected too much by it. Obviously I’m glad that her name hasn’t been put out.

“But I’m tipping that now that this has obviously been the test case, if anyone’s ever silly enough to do this again, then it’s going to be a lot bigger whack, and I think that’s very deserved.”

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the league wouldn’t tolerate this sort of behaviour.

“This is a serious reminder about the responsibility each individual holds in their respectful treatment of the people around them,” Dillon said.

“These unacceptable actions will not be tolerated in the AFL, and our 18 clubs will continue to work to drive cultural change about respectful and responsible behaviour.”

Broad, 24, was plucked by the Tigers as a mature-age recruit from WAFL club Swan Districts deep in the 2015 draft. He played just two senior games in 2016 before missing the early part of this year through injury, but won back his spot towards the end of the year to play 10 games including all three of Richmond’s finals.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.