Monday, June 24, 2013

Sllyfingers Test Post Content

Sllyfingers Test Post Content

Friday, March 1, 2013

Infants in Fukushima face greater risk of cancer: WHO

Infants in Japan's Fukushima prefecture are at greater risk of developing cancer after the March 2011 accident at the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, the World Health Organization says in a report released here on Thursday.
People living near Dai-Ichi were exposed to radiation when the plant suffered severe damage from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck northeastern Japan March 11, 2011.

Inhabitants of the worst-affected area who were infants at the time of exposure face additional risks of developing cancer in comparison with Fukushima residents who lived farther from the plant and with people in other parts of Japan, the WHO experts concluded.

For girls in the target area, the chances of having thyroid cancer over the course of their lifetimes are 70 per cent greater, while the boys face a 7 per cent higher risk of leukemia, the report says.

Japanese girls in general have a 0.75 per cent probability of thyroid cancer and those in the hardest-hit part of Fukushima must contend with an additional risk of 0.5 per cent, the researchers said.

"Outside the geographical areas most-affected by radiation, even in locations within Fukushima prefecture, the predicted risks remain low, and no observable increases in cancer above natural variation in baseline rates are anticipated," the WHO said. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guitar business bill hits flat note

A WOMAN who helped her partner market his guitar business in exchange for lessons sent him a $26,000 bill for the work after they split up, a tribunal has heard. 

When the two-year relationship came to an end in November 2010, the woman calculated the cost of guitar lessons for herself and her children and offset that against what she assessed to be the value of her contribution to the marketing of the business.

She sent her ex-partner an invoice for $26,415 which he refused to pay because he argued there had been no contract.

She filed a dispute in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

However, an adjudicator ruled against her in January this year after seeing emails from her rejecting offers of payment.

She sought leave to appeal this decision, but senior QCAT member Richard Oliver, in a judgment published this week, refused the request.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Banks would struggle to fund recovery: NAB

Australia's banks may struggle to provide enough business credit if borrowing levels recover, NAB says.
Major banks would struggle to cope if borrowing levels recovered, the National Australia Bank has told a Senate inquiry.

NAB's chief financial officer Mark Joiner says Australia is still mired in the global financial crisis and would continue to be "for some time".

In this environment, he said NAB was "finding it quite difficult" to move away from safe-haven and fixed-income assets like bonds as financial market volatility continued.

Unstable sharemarkets were making investors "fearful" and encouraging them to put their superannuation into cash.

He added that wholesale money market volatility and strong competition for deposits among Australia's major banks meant these lenders may not have sufficient funds to provide business credit in the event of a borrowing recovery.

"The Australian banks would struggle to go along with the demand for credit," Mr Joiner told the Senate economics committee inquiry in Sydney.

"It can be solved. We're not in a position to solve it very easily at the moment, but it can be can solved by strengthening the ability to distribute (banking) assets to superannuation funds."

Commonwealth Bank-owned subsidiary BankWest was under fire at the hearing for bringing in receivers to cheaply wind up a rural NSW hotel and property developments in NSW and Queensland that had appeared to be solvent.

BankWest managing director Rob De Luca repeatedly said, in the presence of hostile audience members at NSW Parliament House, that it was not in the bank's interest to default on business loans.

"It's in our interests for the customers to be viable and to be able to repay the debt," Mr De Luca said, adding those who filed complaints made up just 0.01 per cent of its customers.

"There was no benefit either to BankWest or to CBA in defaulting customers or causing losses to customers.
"In fact any losses that arose were borne by BankWest."

BankWest Business chief executive Ian Corfield denied a suggestion from Nationals senator John Williams that BankWest had panicked.

"I don't think so. The reality is that some of those markets dropped between 50 and 80 per cent and they have not recovered," Mr Corfield said.

CBA bought BankWest from struggling UK banking group HBOS for $2 billion in 2008 but took on $17 billion in funding liabilities.

Online banking group ING Direct told the inquiry wholesale borrowing costs were rising, and Australian consumers were gloomy despite weathering the GFC with a triple-A credit rating.

"If you look at Australia, on the macro scale, it has survived the GFC quite well," ING Direct's chief risk officer Bart Hellemans said.

"It's one of the few triple-A rated countries left in the world ... and yet people seem to still have a feeling that the worst is to come.

"There's a lack of confidence and that actually impacts quite a lot on decision making, particularly upon the consumer."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey earthquake: More aid pledged to worst-hit areas

The Turkish government has pledged more aid to thousands of people affected by Sunday's deadly earthquake in the east.

Officials said 12,000 more tents would be delivered to the cities of Ercis and Van and also to nearby villages.

Ankara has been accused of failing to help some of the most needy, who spent the second night in freezing conditions without heating and tents.

At least 279 people are now known to have died and some 1,300 were injured after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs continued through the night to search for survivors under the rubble of hundreds of collapsed buildings.

Cranes and other heavy equipment have been lifting slabs of concrete, and many residents have been joining in the rescue effort, digging with shovels.

But hopes of finding more survivors are fading, with no-one being pulled alive in the last seven to eight hours, the BBC's Tim Willcox in Ercis reports.

In one building, our correspondent adds, there are fears that up to 50 are missing - buried under the rubble.

Turkish officials are now warning that the death toll is expected to rise further.

'We're freezing'

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, in charge of the relief operation, said late on Monday that "from today there will be nothing our people lack".

Officials were also setting up more field hospitals and kitchens to help the thousands left homeless or too afraid to return to their homes amid continuing aftershocks.

But some survivors in the ethnic Kurd areas complained that not enough help was reaching them.

"Tents will not be enough - we do not have food, no rescue teams have reached here yet," said Serif Tarakci, an official from the village of Halkali, about 50km (30 miles) from Van.

"It's cold at night, everybody is outside and we're freezing here," the New York Times quoted him as saying.

Another resident of Van said that even tents were in short supply.

"All the nylon tents are on the black market now," Ibrahim Baydar, a 40-year-old tradesman from Van, told Reuters news agency.

"We cannot find any. People are queuing for them. No tents were given to us whatsoever," he said.

Opposition politicians earlier decried what they called "a lack of crisis management", saying that many people still lacked food, heating and tents.

They also said Ankara was wrong to refuse offers of foreign aid.

Ercis, with a population of about 75,000, has been the worst hit - some 80 buildings have collapsed there.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford, in Ercis, says most of those destroyed buildings are apartment blocks with dozens of people missing at each site.

Both Ercis and the larger city of Van, about 100km (60 miles) to the south, lie on a high plateau surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

'Primitive tools'

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said 970 buildings in the earthquake zone had been destroyed.

Mr Erdogan visited the area on Sunday and said many villages made of mud brick had been almost completely destroyed.

Some of the rescue workers have complained of a lack of adequate equipment, said the Hurriyet Daily News.

"We are working with primitive tools, we have no equipment," one rescuer told the Turkish newspaper.

Despite the difficulties, five people were pulled from the ruins of one collapsed building in Ercis on Monday after one of them called for help on his mobile phone, Anatolia news agency said.

Another man was rescued later on Monday, some 30 hours after the earthquake struck.

The earthquake struck at 13:41 (10:41 GMT) on Sunday at a depth of 20km (12 miles), with its epicentre 16km north-east of Van in eastern Turkey, the US Geological Survey said.

About 200 aftershocks have hit the region, it added, including one of magnitude 6.0 late on Sunday.

Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines.

Two earthquakes in 1999 with a magnitude of more than 7 killed almost 20,000 people in densely populated parts of the north-west of the country.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Rot in hell daughter to mother who killed brother

As a young girl, Melissa Ashfield watched as her brother John was murdered by her mother, Gunn-Britt Ashfield.

This morning at her mother's Sydney parole hearing, Ms Ashfield told her mother: "You're sick and twisted and you can go to hell."

Ashfield, now known as Angelic Karstrom, and her then boyfriend, Austin Allan Hughes, beat John Ashfield, 6, to death with a hammer in August 1993 at their home in Nowra in southern NSW.

Ms Ashfield was three when she and her three other brothers saw her mother and Hughes beat the boy with a hammer and a phone book over a period of several hours.

He suffered a retinal haemorrhage and extensive bruising to his whole body, and died in hospital the next day.

Karstrom was sentenced to 19 years in jail.

Today, after serving 18 years, Karstrom was granted parole by the NSW parole authority under strict conditions that will apply for 12 months following her release next month.

The conditions include being electronically monitored, prevented from attending her victim's grave and forbidden from being in the company of children under 16.

The authority said it elected to release Karstrom a year before the end of her sentence so she could be closely monitored for the next 12 months.

Ms Ashfield opposed such a decision when giving an emotional witness impact statement at the hearing today.

Karstrom was on screen via video link from jail as her daughter yelled at her.

"She can rot in hell," she said. "The day I'll jump for you is the day you drop dead. And you can go to hell."

Ms Ashfield expressed disgust as the parole board chairman read his decision, holding up a picture of her dead brother and declaring to her mother "Look what you did you f---ing dog" before running, crying from the court.

Outside the parole hearing, Ms Ashfield, her aunt Annette and other family members gathered to speak to a throng of waiting media.

Ms Ashfield said she was angry and frustrated, denying that her mother was truly remorseful.

"They say this is in the best interests of everyone, but I want her to serve her full sentence," she said.

She was haunted daily by the memories of her brother's bashing and eventual death, she said.

"The day that - way before my brother's come home from school, it was a lot of tension, a lot of yelling, a lot of flaring.

"And before you know it, my brother was the target.

"They started hitting him, punching him.

"They both took turns putting the phone book on his head, smashing it with a hammer.

"They both bashed him for 2½ hours.

"My brother's screaming, saying: 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' and she kept going.

"She could've easily said: 'Stop.'

"But it went further. She let Austin put one of my dresses on my brother and mocked him before he got, before he was dead."

A long-standing family friend Annena Hallcroft said: "The memories live day to day as new as they were yesterday, as new as the day when her little brother was killed."


Friday, May 6, 2011

SMS service could have warned Lockyer

LOCKYER Valley residents could have been warned of a deadly creek surge if the council had used an alert system operating in Brisbane at the time, an inquiry has been told.

Early Warning Network's Kerry Plowright on Friday told the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry his service could have devised a warning for the Lockyer Valley before the freak flood which killed at least 17 people in January.

Brisbane City Council has a contract with Mr Plowright's company to send alerts by SMS, email and telephone to participating ratepayers warning them of coming storms and tidal surges.

Unlike the national alert system operated by Telstra, which waits for authorities to order SMS messages to be sent, Early Warning Network monitors the weather around the clock and can alert councils to developments as they arise.

The alerts it sends to subscribers are based predominantly on Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warnings.

But it also uses private meteorologists including Anthony Cornelius, whose Weather Watch service predicted the January 10 Lockyer Valley flash flood but had no powers to warn the public, Mr Plowright said.

"Our guys are monitoring those sort of events continuously," he said.

"Several of them were quite alarmed by what was starting to occur."

The company could thus have put out an alert in cooperation with Lockyer Valley Regional Council to warn residents in the area.

However, at the time of the January floods, only 19,000 Brisbane ratepayers had taken up the service.

The inquiry has also looked at how Brisbane residents fared when floodwaters hit the city from January 11, swamping more than 14,000 properties.

Brisbane City Council regional operations manager Sean Hodgson recounted how it became "impossible" for 250 council staff to warn people at every home that was at risk once the Wivenhoe Dam ramped up releases of water.

On January 11, staff set out to doorknock 10,000 properties at risk of flooding.

But the dam releases were scaled up the next day, and the number of properties blew out to 30,000.

Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Martin appeared at the inquiry on Friday to give his side of an exchange with Moggill MP Bruce Flegg about a food drop Mr Flegg organised for his flooded constituents on January 14.

The area was cut off from the rest of Brisbane by floodwaters, one of its supermarkets was flooded, and the other had been shut down by police after a scuffle between panic buyers.

Dr Flegg on Thursday told the inquiry he organised a private helicopter pilot to fly in supplies from the Sunshine Coast and he didn't understand why Mr Martin scuttled the plan.

Mr Martin said he was unsure he had the power to approve such a flight, which was "quite problematic", as he had no say over the flight path, or knowledge of the aircraft or pilot.

Far from being insensitive to the community's needs, official plans were already "well afoot" to get provisions in by army vehicle earlier than Dr Flegg's helicopter, he said.

Dr Flegg denied playing politics over the food drop, organised with another opposition MP.

But Mr Martin said he took a call from an ABC journalist 20 minutes after speaking to Dr Flegg, questioning why the drop had been refused.

"I gave an explanation to the journalist that we were well advanced with respect to our plans," he said.

"The journalist indicated to me that was different to what he had been told."

The inquiry resumes in Brisbane on Monday.