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Couple who caught coronavirus on Ruby Princess “can’t wait to cruise again”

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Despite catching coronavirus on the Ruby Princess, a couple say they can’t wait to cruise again.</p> <p>Ursula Steinberner and Leon Sharp both caught the illness while on board, with Steinberner spending 10 days in intensive care thinking they were going to die.</p> <p>The couple explained that they “can’t wait to go on another cruise” to<span> </span>ABC’s<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-28/couple-caught-coronavirus-on-ruby-princess-but-will-cruise-again/12283368" target="_blank">7:30</a>.</p> <p>"We've already been down and seen them at Helloworld where we booked our last one," Mr Sharp said.</p> <p>"A lot of people said, 'You got rocks in your head. Why?' I said you've never been on a cruise. This was our first cruise and it won't be our last."</p> <p>Ms Steinberner explained that the cruise ship was “beautiful”.</p> <p>"It was something like being in Las Vegas," Mr Sharp added. "It was just like a floating hotel. Magnificent.</p> <p>"Everything on board was just a highlight. The shows, the staff were fantastic, couldn't do enough for you."</p> <p>The pair recalled feeling ill after returning home to Port Augusta, South Australia.</p> <p>"[I] just started to perspire, I was wringing wet. Ursula saw me and she said, 'What's wrong with you?' And I feel that hot I'm burning up.</p> <p>"I've never been so sick in my life."</p> <p>As Ms Steinberner was a kidney transplant recipient, the virus hit her extremely hard.</p> <p>"I did at one stage think this was curtains for me. You only get so many chances," she told 7.30.</p> <p>The pair are not blaming the cruise company for what happened to them.</p> <p>"It was I think a big case of bad luck, and if you live your life worrying about what you're going to get while you're travelling, you're not really living your life, are you?" Ms Steinberner said.</p> <p>"You'll never go anywhere and that's what we want to do. We're going on another cruise."</p> <p>Their next cruise will take the couple from Singapore to Thailand, Cambodia and Bali.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-28/couple-caught-coronavirus-on-ruby-princess-but-will-cruise-again/12283368" target="_blank">ABC</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Be still, my beating wings: Hunters kill migrating birds on their 10,000km journey to Australia

<p>It is low tide at the end of the wet season in Broome, Western Australia. Shorebirds feeding voraciously on worms and clams suddenly get restless.</p> <p>Chattering loudly they take flight, circling up over Roebuck Bay then heading off for their northern breeding grounds more than 10,000 km away. I marvel at the epic journey ahead, and wonder how these birds will fare.</p> <p>In my former role as an assistant warden at the Broome Bird Observatory, I had the privilege of watching shorebirds, such as the bar-tailed godwit, set off on their annual migration.</p> <p>I’m now a conservation researcher at the University of Queensland, focusing on birds. Populations of migratory shorebirds are in sharp decline, and some are threatened with extinction.</p> <p>We know the destruction of coastal habitats for infrastructure development has <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14895">taken a big toll on these amazing birds</a>. But a study I conducted with a large international team, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320719311036">which has just been published</a>, suggests hunting is also a likely key threat.</p> <p><strong>What are migratory shorebirds?</strong></p> <p>Worldwide, there are 139 migratory shorebird species. About 75 species breed at high latitudes across Asia, Europe, and North America then migrate south in a yearly cycle.</p> <p>Some 61 migratory shorebird species occur in the Asia-Pacific, within the so-called East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This corridor includes 22 countries – from breeding grounds as far north as Alaska and Siberia to non-breeding grounds as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand. In between are counties in Asia’s east and southeast, such as South Korea and Vietnam.</p> <p>The bar-tailed godwits I used to observe at Roebuck Bay breed in Russia’s Arctic circle. They’re among about 36 migratory shorebird species to visit Australia each year, <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/da31ad38-f874-4746-a971-5510527694a4/files/revision-east-asian-australasian-flyway-population-sept-2016.pdf">amounting to more than two million birds</a>.</p> <p>They primarily arrive towards the end of the year in all states and territories – visiting coastal areas such as Moreton Bay in Queensland, Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia, and Corner Inlet in Victoria.</p> <p>Numbers of migratory shorebirds have been falling for many species in the flyway. The trends have been detected since the 1970s <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/MU/MU15056">using citizen science data sets</a>.</p> <p>Five of the 61 migratory shorebird species in this flyway are globally threatened. Two travel to Australia: the great knot and far eastern curlew.</p> <p>Threats to these birds are many. They include the <a href="http://decision-point.com.au/article/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place/">loss of their critical habitats</a> along their migration path, <a href="https://theconversation.com/contested-spaces-saving-nature-when-our-beaches-have-gone-to-the-dogs-72078">off-leash dogs disturbing them on Australian beaches</a>, and climate change likely <a href="https://theconversation.com/arctic-birds-face-disappearing-breeding-grounds-as-climate-warms-62656">contracting their breeding grounds</a>.</p> <p><strong>And what about hunting?</strong></p> <p>During their migration, shorebirds stop to rest and feed along a network of wetlands and mudflats. They appear predictably and in large numbers at certain sites, making them relatively easy targets for hunters.</p> <p>Estimating the extent to which birds are hunted over large areas was like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spent many months scouring the literature, obtaining data and reports from colleagues then carefully assembling the pieces.</p> <p>We discovered that since the 1970s, three-quarters of all migratory shorebird species in the flyway have been hunted at some point. This includes almost all those visiting Australia and four of the five globally threatened species.</p> <p>Some records relate to historical hunting that has since been banned. For example the Latham’s snipe, a shorebird that breeds in Japan, was legally hunted in Australia until the 1980s. All migratory shorebirds are now legally protected from hunting in Australia.</p> <p>We found evidence that hunting of migratory shorebirds has occurred in 14 countries, including New Zealand and Japan, with most recent records concentrated in southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, and the northern breeding grounds, such as the US.</p> <p>For a further eight, such as Mongolia and South Korea, we could not determine whether hunting has ever occurred.</p> <p>Our research suggests hunting has likely exceeded sustainable limits in some instances. Hunting has also been pervasive – spanning vast areas over many years and involving many species.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>The motivations of hunters vary across the flyway, according to needs, norms, and cultural traditions. For instance, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/condor/article-abstract/121/2/duz023/5523065?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Native Americans in Alaska</a> hunt shorebirds as a food source after winter, and <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c1a9e03f407b482a158da87/t/5c42eb8e8a922d3a72d42879/1547889551203/Chowdury-Sonadia.pdf">low-income people in Southeast Asia hunt and sell them</a>.</p> <p>National governments, supported by NGOs and researchers, must find the right balance between conservation and other needs, such as food security.</p> <p>Efforts to address hunting are already underway. This includes mechanisms such as the <a href="https://www.cms.int/en/taskforce/ittea">United Nations Convention</a> on Migratory Species and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway <a href="https://www.eaaflyway.net/task-force-on-illegal-hunting-taking-and-trade-of-migratory-waterbirds/">Partnership</a>. Other efforts involve helping hunters find <a href="https://www.birdlife.org/asia/news/targeting-hunters-save-spoon-billed-sandpiper">alternative livelihoods</a>.</p> <p>Our understanding of hunting as a potential threat is hindered by a lack of coordinated monitoring across the Asia-Pacific.</p> <p>Additional surveys by BirdLife International, as well as <a href="https://cpree.princeton.edu/research/biodiversity/saving-endangered-species">university researchers</a>, is underway in southeast Asia, China, and Russia. Improving hunting assessments, and coordination between them, is essential. Without it, we are acting in the dark.</p> <p><em>The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Richard A. Fuller (University of Queensland), Professor Tiffany H. Morrison (James Cook University), Dr Bradley Woodworth (University of Queensland), Dr Taej Mundkur (Wetlands International), Dr Ding Li Yong (BirdLife International-Asia), and Professor James E.M. Watson (University of Queensland).</em></p> <p><em>Written by Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/be-still-my-beating-wings-hunters-kill-migrating-birds-on-their-10-000km-journey-to-australia-138382">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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The coronavirus survival challenge for NZ tourism: affordability and sustainability

<p>Until a trans-Tasman travel bubble is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/trans-tasman-bubble-coronavirus-what-might-happen-next/12212580">established</a>, there is little doubt the New Zealand tourism industry will <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413845/covid-19-domestic-travellers-eyed-to-keep-tourism-sector-viable-after-lockdown">rely entirely</a> on domestic travel post-COVID-19.</p> <p>Without underplaying the impact the pandemic will have on discretionary spending in both countries, however, there may be a silver lining to the crisis.</p> <p>New Zealand is in the fortunate position of having an <a href="https://tia.org.nz/about-the-industry/quick-facts-and-figures/">already strong</a> domestic tourism sector. Domestic tourists spent NZ$23.7 billion annually (or NZ$65 million a day) pre-COVID-19, compared to a total spend of NZ$12.7 billion (or NZ$47 million a day) by international visitors. <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">Research</a> pre-COVID-19 showed 65% of New Zealanders wanted to explore more of their country, a figure expected to increase.</p> <p>True, New Zealanders generally don’t have the deep pockets international tourists have. Their higher overall spend is a reflection of their numbers, not their bank balances. But with the big ticket tourist attractions now missing the bigger spenders, the market will rule.</p> <p>Regional tourism organisations, attractions and operators may need to rethink their offerings and their pricing. While tramping the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/things-to-do/walking-and-tramping/great-walks/">great walks</a> may be perfectly affordable for a family of four, taking the family on a whale watch, a bungy jump or a cruise on Milford Sound may not be – especially as parts of one big holiday. Indeed, it has been found that <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">price</a> is the major decision-making factor for 30% of New Zealanders when it comes to holidays.</p> <p>So this is also an opportunity to give New Zealanders back a piece of the summer pie – not only for the COVID-19 recovery but in the longer term. Summers have tended to be characterised by a large influx of international tourists, with Kiwis settling for shoulder seasons (and unfavourable weather) to tramp the famous tracks when they are <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99088942/tourists-outnumber-new-zealanders-on-the-great-walks--and-the-gaps-growing">less crowded</a>.</p> <p>But domestic tourists who have grown accustomed to off-peak holidays away from high-cost destinations will soon tip the scales. Now is the time for operators to win back their hearts.</p> <p>With New Zealand’s gradual easing of its strict lockdown (possibly to the stage of allowing non-essential travel by mid-May), tourism can clearly support the economic revival of local communities. The challenge is how to reinvent New Zealand tourism as an initially purely domestic industry.</p> <p>Overall, only a handful of New Zealand destinations have depended entirely on international tourists. These also happen to be the places most heavily associated with overtourism in the past. Given that the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2020.1759131">growth model</a> driven by short-term, dollars-first business thinking has led to an <a href="https://www.noted.co.nz/money/money-economy/nz-tourists-should-we-limit-number-visitors">unsustainable</a> tourism market, might this also be a chance to restore some equilibrium?</p> <p>That will mean no more killing the goose that lays the <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/pristine-popular-imperilled-the-environmental-consequences-of-projected-tourism-growth">golden egg</a>. Some hotspots, such as the <a href="https://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/">Tongariro Alpine Crossing</a> and <a href="https://www.thecoromandel.com/activities/must-do/hot-water-beach/">Coromandel’s Hot Water Beach</a> may be managed by restricting visitor numbers.</p> <p>Such strategies have long been in place in other places, such as the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/milford-track/">booking requirement</a> for the Milford Track. We have also seen tremendous problems associated with too many cruise ships in too small places. Akaroa is a prime example, and limiting both the number of visits and the size of vessels may be a feasible <a href="https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018685520">future strategy</a>.</p> <p>As part of our own research (yet to be published) into the pressing issues of overtourism we conducted interviews with various tourism stakeholders around New Zealand, including city and regional councils, the Department of Conservation, residents and operators. This took place just before New Zealand’s strictest lockdown level was imposed, without any real foreknowledge of the eventual economic impact of COVID-19.</p> <p>Nonetheless, our interviewees shared very similar sentiments when it came to how the industry can evolve sustainably only if New Zealanders themselves embrace the behaviours they expect (and sometimes demand) of foreign tourists. According to our subjects, too many Kiwis still hold on to a past when the country’s population was half its current size and SUVs and large motorhomes didn’t crowd the roads and parking lots.</p> <p>Initiatives such as the <a href="https://tiakinewzealand.com/">Tiaki Promise</a>, which promote environmental and cultural sensitivity to tourists, have largely targeted international visitors. These now need to turn the lens inwards so that Kiwis become better ambassadors within their own backyard.</p> <p>Kiwis love their country, but they will now need to truly discover what it has to offer, not only for a weekend of tramping or a quick getaway, but for their main summer holiday. And they will have to become better kaitiaki (or guardians) of their homeland in the process.</p> <p>The absence of international tourists will be a huge challenge, but also an opportunity. If we get it right, when those foreign visitors are allowed to return (most likely at first from Australia) we will have found ways to grow – or limit – their numbers and their expectations so that our tourism industry can thrive as well as survive.</p> <p><em>Written by Sabrina Seeler and Michael Lueck. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coronavirus-survival-challenge-for-nz-tourism-affordability-and-sustainability-137256">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Fleas to flu to coronavirus: how ‘death ships’ spread disease through the ages

<p>One of the haunting images of this pandemic will be stationary cruise ships – deadly carriers of COVID-19 – at anchor in harbours and unwanted. Docked in ports and feared.</p> <p>The news of the dramatic spread of the virus on the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1632">Diamond Princess</a> from early February made the news real for many Australians who’d enjoyed holidays on the seas. Quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, over 700 of the ship’s crew and passengers became infected. To date, <a href="https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents/Diamond-Princess-534">14 deaths</a> have been recorded.</p> <p>The Diamond Princess’s sister ship, the Ruby Princess, brought the pandemic to Australian shores. Now under <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/police-to-probe-second-ruby-princess-voyage-as-part-of-criminal-investigation-20200417-p54kpo.html">criminal investigation</a>, the events of the Ruby Princess forced a spotlight on the petri dish cruise ships can become. The ship has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/05/ruby-princess-was-initially-refused-permission-to-dock-over-coronavirus-fears-inquiry-told">linked to 21 deaths</a>.</p> <p>History shows the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29737663">devastating role ships can play</a> in transmitting viruses across vast continents and over many centuries.</p> <p><strong>Rats in the ranks</strong></p> <p>Merchant ships carrying rats with infected fleas were transmitters of the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/past/article-abstract/244/1/3/5532056?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Plague of Justinian</a> (541-542 AD) that devastated the Byzantine Empire.</p> <p>Ships carrying grain from Egypt were home to flea-infested rats that fed off the granaries. Contantinople was especially inflicted, with estimates as high as <a href="https://www.history.com/news/microbe-behind-black-death-also-caused-devastating-plague-800-years-earlier">5,000 casualties a day</a>. Globally, up to 50 million people are estimated to have been killed – half the world’s population.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">Black Death</a> was also carried by rats on merchant ships through the trade routes of Europe. It struck Europe in 1347, when 12 ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina.</p> <p>Subsequently called “death ships”, those on board were either dead or sick. Soon, the Black Death spread to ports around the world, such as Marseilles, Rome and Florence, and by 1348 had reached London with devastating impact.</p> <p>The Italian writer, poet and scholar, Giovanni Boccaccio, <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/black-death-oh-father-why-have-you-abandoned-me/">wrote</a> how terror swept through Florence with relatives deserting infected family members. Almost inconceivably, he wrote, “fathers and mothers refused to nurse their own children, as though they did not belong to them”.</p> <p>Ships started being <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">turned away</a> from European ports in 1347. Venice was the first city to close, with those permitted to enter forced into a 40-day quarantine: the word “quarantine” derives from the Italian <em>quarantena</em>, or 40 days.</p> <p>By January 1349, mass graves proliferated outside of London to bury the increasing numbers of dead.</p> <p>Army and naval ships, as well as travellers around the globe, also carried cholera pandemics throughout the 19th century. In the first pandemic <a href="https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-cholera">in 1817</a>, British army and navy ships are believed to have spread cholera beyond India where the outbreaks originated.</p> <p>By the 1820s, cholera had spread throughout Asia, reaching Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan through shipping. British troops spread it to the Persian Gulf, eventually moving through Turkey and Syria.</p> <p>Subsequent outbreaks from the 1820s through to the 1860s relied on trade and troops to spread the disease across continents.</p> <p><strong>At war with the Spanish Flu</strong></p> <p>The Spanish influenza of 1918-1919 was originally carried by soldiers on overcrowded troop ships during the first world war. The rate of transmission on these ships was rapid, and soldiers died in large numbers.</p> <p>One New Zealand rifleman <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1811.AD1811">wrote</a> in his diary in September 1918:</p> <p><em>More deaths and burials total now 42. A crying shame but it is only to be expected when human beings are herded together the way they have been on this boat.</em></p> <p>The flu was transmitted throughout Europe in France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. Three-quarters of French troops and over half of British troops fell ill in 1918. Hundreds of thousands of US soldiers travelling on troop ships across the Atlantic and back provided the perfect conditions for transmission.</p> <p><strong>The fate of cruising</strong></p> <p>A new and lethal carrier in the 21st century has emerged in the pleasure industry of cruise ships. The <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2020/01/20/state-of-the-cruise-industry-smooth-sailing-into-the-2020s/#364b397665fa">explosion</a> of cruise holidays in the past 20 years has led to a proliferation of luxury liners plying the seas.</p> <p>Like historical pandemics, the current crisis shares the characteristic of rapid spread through ships.</p> <p>The unknown is in what form cruise ships will continue to operate. Unlike the port-to-port trade and armed forces that carried viruses across continents centuries ago, the services cruise lines offer are non-essential.</p> <p>Whatever happens, the global spread of COVID-19 reminds us “death ships” are an enduring feature of the history of pandemics.</p> <p><em>Written by Joy Damousi. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/fleas-to-flu-to-coronavirus-how-death-ships-spread-disease-through-the-ages-137061">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Dinner to die for: how fish use their spines to fend off hungry seals

<p>What price are you willing to pay for food?</p> <p>For most of us, that’s a question about money. But what if the cost were actual pain, injury and death? For some seals and dolphins, this a real risk when hunting.</p> <p>We took a <a href="https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03473">close look</a> at a New Zealand (or long-nosed) fur seal that stranded at Cape Conran in southeastern Australia, and discovered it had numerous severe facial injuries. These wounds were all caused by fish spines, and they show the high price these animals are willing to pay in pursuit of a meal.</p> <p><strong>Victim or perpetrator?</strong></p> <p>When the unfortunate seal was first spotted dead on the beach, it was clear something was amiss: the animal was emaciated, and had a large fish spine stuck in its cheek.</p> <p>A team of scientists from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Museums Victoria and Monash University decided to investigate, and took a CT scan of the seal’s head. The results were striking: fish spines had penetrated not just both cheeks, but also the nose and jaw muscles.</p> <p>On closer examination, we also found ten stab wounds, likely from further fish spines that had been pulled out. The wounds were spread all over the face and throat, and at least some appear to have festered. They may have made feeding difficult, and ultimately may have caused the animal to starve.</p> <p>These wounds were likely not the result of unprovoked attacks. They were probably inflicted by prey that simply did not want to be eaten.</p> <p><strong>How to fight off a hungry seal … or at least teach it a lesson</strong></p> <p>Many fish species have evolved elaborate defence systems against predators, such as venomous spines that can inflict painful wounds.</p> <p>Our seal appears to have been done in by two species of cartilaginous fish. One was the elusive <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_ghostshark">Australian ghostshark</a> (also known as elephant fish), a distant relative of true sharks that has a large serrated spine on its back.</p> <p>The other was a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urolophidae">stingaree</a>: a type of small stingray with a venomous tail barb that can be whipped around like a scorpion’s tail. Its sting is normally aimed at would-be predators, but sometimes also catches the feet of unwary humans.</p> <p><strong>How to eat a spiky fish</strong></p> <p>Until recently, most of what we knew about the diet New Zealand fur seals was based on bony remains left in their poo. This technique largely overlooks cartilaginous fish, whose skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone. As a result, we didn’t realise fur seals target these creatures.</p> <p>New <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12686-016-0560-9">studies of the DNA of devoured prey</a> in the seals’ scats now suggest they commonly feed on ghostsharks. Stingarees and other rays are less common, but evidently still form part of their diet. So how do the seals handle such dangerous prey on a regular basis?</p> <p>It all comes down to table manners. Ghostsharks and rays are too large to be swallowed whole, and hence must be broken into smaller chunks first. Fur seals achieve this by violently shaking their prey at the water’s surface, largely because <a href="https://theconversation.com/sharp-claws-helped-ancient-seals-conquer-the-oceans-92828">their flippers are no longer capable of grasping and tearing</a>.</p> <p>Fur seals can eat small fish whole, but need to tear large prey into edible chunks.</p> <p>Shaking a fish in the right way (for example by gripping it at the soft belly) may allow seals to kill and consume it without getting impaled. Nevertheless, some risk remains, whether because of struggling prey, poor technique, or simply bad luck. The wounds on our seal’s cheeks suggest that it may accidentally have slapped itself with a ghostshark spine while trying to tear it apart.</p> <p><strong>Fish spines – a common problem?</strong></p> <p>One of the challenges we face as scientists is knowing how to interpret isolated observations. Are fish spines a common problem for fur seals, or was our individual just particularly unlucky? We don’t know.</p> <p>New techniques like analysing DNA from scats means that we are only just beginning to get a better idea of the full range of prey marine mammals target. Likewise, medical imaging techniques such as CT scanning are rarely applied to marine mammal strandings, and injuries like the ones in our seal may often go unnoticed.</p> <p>Nevertheless, fish spine injuries have been observed in other ocean predators, including dolphins, killer whales, and rays. One wedgefish described in <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.170674">another recent study</a> had as many as 62 spines embedded in its jaw! Now that we know what to look for, we may finally get a better idea of how common such injuries really are.</p> <p>For now, this extraordinary example vividly demonstrates the choices and dangers wild animals face as they try to make a living. For our seal, the seafood ultimately won, but we will never know if the fish that killed it got away, or if the wounds they left are evidence of the seal’s last meal.</p> <p><em>Written by David Hocking, Felix Georg Marx, Silke Cleuren and William Parker. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/dinner-to-die-for-how-fish-use-their-spines-to-fend-off-hungry-seals-133627">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Botany and the colonisation of Australia in 1770

<p>James Cook and his companions aboard the Endeavour landed at a harbour on Australia’s southeast coast in April of 1770. Cook named the place Botany Bay for “the great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place”.</p> <p>Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander were aboard the Endeavour as gentleman botanists, collecting specimens and applying names in Latin to plants Europeans had not previously seen. The place name hints at the importance of plants to Britain’s Empire, and to botany’s pivotal place in Europe’s Enlightenment and Australia’s early colonisation.</p> <p>Cook has always loomed large in Australia’s colonial history. White Australians have long commemorated and celebrated him as the symbolic link to the “civilisation” of Enlightenment and Empire. The two botanists have been less well remembered, yet Banks in particular was an influential figure in Australia’s early colonisation.</p> <p>When Banks and his friend Solander went ashore on April 29, 1770 to collect plants for naming and classification, the Englishman recollected they saw “nothing like people”. Banks knew that the land on which he and Solander sought plants was inhabited (and in fact, as we now know, had been so for at least 65,000 years). Yet the two botanists were engaged in an activity that implied the land was blank and unknown.</p> <p>They were both botanical adventurers. Solander was among the first and most favoured of the students of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist and colonial traveller who devised the method still used today for naming species. Both Solander and Banks were advocates for the Linnaean method of taxonomy: a systematic classification of newly named plants and animals.</p> <p>When they stepped ashore at “Botany Bay” in 1770, the pair saw themselves as pioneers in a double sense: as Linnaean botanists in a new land, its places and plants unnamed by any other; as if they were in a veritable <em>terra nullius</em>.</p> <p><strong>Botany in ‘nobody’s land’</strong></p> <p><em>Terra nullius</em>, meaning “nobody’s land”, refers to a legal doctrine derived from European traditions stretching back to the ancient Romans. The idea was that land could be declared “empty” and “unowned” if there were no signs of occupation such as cultivation of the soil, towns, cities, or sacred temples.</p> <p>As a legal doctrine it was not applied in Australia until the late 1880s, and there is dispute about its effects in law until its final elimination by the High Court in <em>Mabo v Queensland (No. II)</em> in 1992.</p> <p>Cook never used this formulation, nor did Banks or Solander. Yet each in their way acted as if it were true. That the land, its plants, and animals, and even its peoples, were theirs to name and classify according to their own standards of “scientific” knowledge.</p> <p>In the late eighteenth century, no form of scientific knowledge was more useful to empire than botany. It was the science <em>par excellence</em> of colonisation and empire. Botany promised a way to transform the “waste” of nature into economic productivity on a global scale.</p> <p><strong>Plant power</strong></p> <p>Wealth and power in Britain’s eighteenth century empire came from harnessing economically useful crops: tobacco, sugar, tea, coffee, rice, potatoes, flax. Hence Banks and Solander’s avid botanical activity was not merely a manifestation of Enlightenment “science”. It was an integral feature of Britain’s colonial and imperial ambitions.</p> <p><em>Banksia ericifolia</em> was one of the many species given a new name by Banks. Natural History Museum</p> <p>Throughout the Endeavour’s voyage, Banks, Solander, and their assistants collected more than 30,000 plant specimens, naming more than 1,400 species.</p> <p>By doing so, they were claiming new ground for European knowledge, just as Cook meticulously charted the coastlines of territories he claimed for His Majesty, King George III. Together they extended a new dispensation, inscribed in new names for places and for plants written over the ones that were already there.</p> <p>Long after the Endeavour returned to Britain, Banks testified before two House of Commons committees in 1779 and 1785 that “Botany Bay” would be an “advantageous” site for a new penal colony. Among his reasons for this conclusion were not only its botanical qualities – fertile soils, abundant trees and grasses – but its virtual emptiness.</p> <p><strong>Turning emptiness to empire</strong></p> <p>When Banks described in his own Endeavour journal the land Cook had named “New South Wales”, he recalled: “This immense tract of Land … is thinly inhabited even to admiration …”. It was the science of botany that connected emptiness and empire to the Enlightened pursuit of knowledge.</p> <p>One of Banks’s correspondents was the Scottish botanist and professor of natural history, John Walker. Botany, Walker wrote, was one of the “few Sciences” that “can promise any discovery or improvement”. Botany was the scientific means to master the global emporium of commodities on which empire grew.</p> <p>Botany was also the reason why it had not been necessary for Banks or Solander to affirm the land on which they trod was empty. For in a very real sense, their science presupposed it. The land, its plants and its people were theirs to name and thereby claim by “discovery”.</p> <p>When Walker reflected on his own botanical expeditions in the Scottish Highlands, he described them as akin to voyages of discovery to lands as “inanimate &amp; unfrequented as any in the Terra australis”.</p> <p>As we reflect on the 250-year commemoration of Cook’s landing in Australia, we ought also to consider his companions Banks and Solander, and their science of turning supposed emptiness to empire.</p> <p><em>Message from The Conversation: Captain James Cook arrived in the Pacific 250 years ago, triggering British colonisation of the region. We’re asking researchers to reflect on what happened and how it shapes us today. You can see other stories in the series <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/cook250-78244">here</a> and an interactive <a href="https://cook250.netlify.app/">here</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Bruce Buchan. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/botany-and-the-colonisation-of-australia-in-1770-128469">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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3 ways nature in the city can do you good – even in self-isolation

<p>Spending time at the beach or taking a <a href="https://theconversation.com/reducing-stress-at-work-is-a-walk-in-the-park-57634">walk in the park</a> can help us recover from the mental and physical impacts of life’s stresses. But physical distancing measures to contain COVID-19 have included closing <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/21/bondi-beach-closed-down-after-crowds-defy-ban-on-gatherings-of-more-than-500-people">beaches</a>, <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-australia-why-playgrounds-outdoor-gyms-had-to-close/news-story/a89cfc97d6352263c994b0d2e0b797bb">playgrounds</a> and <a href="https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/city-file/article/royal-botanic-gardens-close-due-coronavirus">parks</a>, adding to the challenges to our mental health. When we stay home to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-has-australia-really-flattened-the-curve-of-coronavirus-until-we-keep-better-records-we-dont-know-136252">flatten the curve</a>, how can we help ourselves by taking advantage of the benefits associated with nature?</p> <p>The <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">evidence for nature supporting human well-being</a> has grown in recent decades. We researched the links between nature and urban residents’ well-being and found there are benefits of nature that we can still enjoy now, even in lockdown. Our findings point to some of the ways we can improve our well-being by engaging with everyday nature close to home.</p> <p><strong>1. A room with a view</strong></p> <p>We <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">reviewed the evidence</a>, collected <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">survey data</a> on self-reported well-being and biodiversity indicators, and organised <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, to better understand participants’ relationship with urban nature.</p> <p>If you’re stuck at home, the good news is there is plenty of research that suggests <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/00139160121973115">a view through a window</a> of vegetation or a body of water can provide a micro-break. A view of nature through a window has even <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402">aided hospital patients’ recovery</a> from surgery. A short, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.04.003">40-second glance at a green roof</a> supports cognitive restoration better than a view of concrete.</p> <p>Our research found urban residents had greater self-reported well-being when they had nature nearby or visible from their homes. Participants valued a view of vegetated areas – green space – and bodies of water – blue space. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">One participant said</a>:</p> <p><em>I could live in something that was pretty grim if it had a balcony that looked out [at nature].</em></p> <p>Participants in our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> also highlighted the importance of seeing changes in the natural world, such as change in the weather or the seasons. Even if your view does not have a lot of vegetation or water, a view of the sky can allow engagement with nature’s dynamism.</p> <p>A view out a window at nature’s dynamism can improve our well-being. Lucy Taylor, Author provided</p> <p><strong>2. Gardening – indoors and out</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky enough to have a yard or balcony, now may be a good time to do some gardening. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007">Gardening can offer benefits</a> such as reductions in stress, anxiety and depression. As a physical activity, gardening can also improve physical fitness and support weight loss.</p> <p>Gardens can also provide <a href="https://theconversation.com/bandbs-for-birds-and-bees-transform-your-garden-or-balcony-into-a-wildlife-haven-129907">habitat for wildlife</a>, potentially introducing you to new plants, pollinating insects and birds. <a href="https://theconversation.com/biodiversity-and-our-brains-how-ecology-and-mental-health-go-together-in-our-cities-126760">Urban biodiversity benefits us</a> too.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between gardening and self-reported well-being. If you don’t have a yard, gardening on a balcony or tending to indoor plants also has benefits. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">One participant explained</a>:</p> <p><em>Having a small vegetable garden and flowers in pots makes me feel happy and content … It is wonderful to see things grow in the city.</em></p> <p>Gardening in a yard, on a balcony, or even tending indoor plants does us good. Peter Lead, Author provided</p> <p><strong>3. Green exercise</strong></p> <p>We know exercise is good for physical fitness and <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-your-mental-health-deteriorating-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-heres-what-to-look-out-for-134827">mental health</a>. “Green exercise”, or exercise that takes place in and around nature, can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/es903183r">improve your mood and self-esteem</a>.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between how often urban residents exercised and their self-reported well-being. One participant described how important green exercise is to them:</p> <p><em>Being able to walk my dog down at the beach or go up into the hills is a great stress relief and keeps me fit and healthy and, best of all, it’s free.</em></p> <p>Another participant described <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">exercising in a public park</a>:</p> <p><em>I feel significantly calmer, [my] breathing rate goes down. I love the feel of that moist air going into my lungs from all the trees and I really do feel different.</em></p> <p>To limit infection, residents of cities around the world are subject to a range of national and local constraints on when and how they leave the house to exercise. It is important to follow physical distancing guidelines, but it is also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-04/coronavirus-queensland-exercise-safety/12115924">important to exercise</a> rather than be both isolated and sedentary.</p> <p><strong>Urban nature now and for the future</strong></p> <p>Nature can support our well-being now, when we all could use the help, but we need to protect it. <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1060902">Climate change talks have been postponed</a> because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is clear climate change has not stalled, even taking into account <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-changes-brought-on-by-coronavirus-could-help-tackle-climate-change-133509">the effect of lockdown on emissions</a>.</p> <p>There are lasting ways to <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-must-fight-climate-change-like-its-world-war-iii-here-are-4-potent-weapons-to-deploy-131052">reduce our emissions</a> and create <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-the-blueprint-for-liveable-low-carbon-cities-we-just-need-to-use-it-121615">low-carbon</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-another-hot-summer-here-are-6-ways-to-cool-our-cities-in-future-110817">cooler cities</a>. And the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-what-the-coronavirus-pandemic-can-teach-us-about-tackling-climate-change-134399">earlier we act, the better the outcomes</a> will be.</p> <p>If you have a yard, <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-solution-to-cut-extreme-heat-by-up-to-6-degrees-is-in-our-own-backyards-133082">planting trees</a> might be a good lockdown activity now and will ultimately <a href="https://theconversation.com/here-are-5-practical-ways-trees-can-help-us-survive-climate-change-129753">benefit your future</a>.</p> <p>Taking time to notice nature – via a glance outside, <a href="https://theconversation.com/running-out-of-things-to-do-in-isolation-get-back-in-the-garden-with-these-ideas-from-4-experts-134229">tending plants in pots or gardens</a>, or via green exercise – will improve your well-being. Appreciating nature and having access to it has never been so important.</p> <p><em>Written by Lucy Taylor, Dieter Hochuli and Erin Leckey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-ways-nature-in-the-city-can-do-you-good-even-in-self-isolation-133150">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Brexit: how the UK is preparing to secure its seas outside the EU

<p>Four dinghies carrying 53 migrants who tried to cross the English Channel from France were intercepted by British and French authorities <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-52207869">in early April</a>. The crossings are a reminder of the importance of maritime security and safety to the UK.</p> <p>Brexit has led to many uncertainties, including over the governance of the UK’s seas in the future. Withdrawal from EU regulations at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 2020 raises questions over how to face the difficult task of managing maritime risks which are currently managed alongside the EU.</p> <p>Uncertainty has also spurred new government efforts by shining a light on the need to secure UK waters, something we’ve written about in <a href="http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/policybristol/briefings-and-reports-pdfs/SafeSeas%20report_v5.pdf">a new report</a>.</p> <p>The UK faces <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322813/20140623-40221_national-maritime-strat-Cm_8829_accessible.pdf">rapidly evolving risks</a> to its shipping lanes, fishing grounds and marine infrastructure. These risks include <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/722074/fisheries-wp-consult-document.pdf">illegal fishing</a>, human trafficking, <a href="https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/173-national-strategic-assessment-of-serious-and-organised-crime-2018/file">organised crime such as smuggling</a>, <a href="https://rm.coe.int/the-united-kingdom-s-strategy-for-countering-terrorism-june-2018/16808b05f3">terrorism</a>, and the potential for protests <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/04/greenpeace-banned-from-protesting-on-shell-north-sea-oil-rigs">at sea</a>.</p> <p>Terrorist attacks could cause significant loss of life if targeted against ferries and cruise liners. Illegal fishing could affect <a href="https://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/SeafishGuidetoIUU07-2016.pdf">the livelihoods of fishers and marine biodiversity</a>, while other risks could have an impact on the wider economy in a context where <a href="https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/why-ports-are-crucial-britains-future/">95% of Britain’s trade</a> flows via the ocean.</p> <p>These risks tend to interlink with each other in ways that are increasingly well documented in other regions of the world. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016578361400143X">In Somalia</a>, for example, local fishers losing their stock as a result of illegal fishing have <a href="https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2442.pdf">turned to piracy</a>. What unintended consequences of new risks might appear in UK waters is still not fully understood.</p> <p>Maritime security threats can also take place simultaneously. Without greater understanding of these risks, it’s difficult to know which should be prioritised.</p> <p><strong>Added complication of Brexit</strong></p> <p>These issues have been complicated by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">UK’s withdrawal from the EU</a>. During the current transition period the UK manages its waters within a wider EU maritime governance framework and under EU regulations, as it did while it was an EU member. While the UK isn’t expected to cease all cooperation with the EU when this comes to an end, it will be required to depend more on national enforcement and regulations.</p> <p>This shift is most visible in the fisheries sector. As part of the EU, British fisheries were managed under the Common Fisheries Policy meaning both UK and EU fishing boats had access to quotas in UK waters. Such arrangements are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X17307376">likely to come to an end</a> with the UK choosing to regulate its own waters.</p> <p>UK ports are also a hotspot for change as they seem likely to withdraw from EU port legislation. This could lead to <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/308/pdfs/uksiem_20190308_en.pdf">new national regulatory</a> challenges such as a need to balance harmonisation with the EU with the pursual of British priorities like the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/freeports-consultation">creation of freeports</a>, aimed to give British trade a competitive edge.</p> <p>Taking sole responsibility is made difficult by other complicating factors. In the UK, different risks are managed by <a href="https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2018-02-23.HL5857.h">different government agencies</a>, with problems of jurisdictional overlap.</p> <p>Depending where it takes place, multiple agencies could be involved in illegal fishing, for example. This could include the Marine Management Organisation, Marine Scotland, and the Royal Navy’s Fishery Protection Squadron. Other agencies may contribute boats or intelligence, such as the National Maritime Information Centre, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.</p> <p>Yet, a common understanding of the threats and consistent communication between departments <a href="http://www.safeseas.net/a-moment-of-opportunity-britain-and-the-maritime-security-challenge/">is lacking in some areas</a>. This is more of a problem for devolved issues such as fisheries, which add even more authorities, departments and agencies to the picture. The relationships between these different organisations are likely to be further tested by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">challenges posed by Brexit</a>.</p> <p><strong>Opportunity for reform</strong></p> <p>But Brexit also offers the UK an opportunity to improve its maritime security. The leak of <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831199/20190802_Latest_Yellowhammer_Planning_assumptions_CDL.pdf">Operation Yellowhammer</a> in 2019 raised the public profile of maritime issues such as delayed freight in ports, the illegal entry of EU fishing boats into UK waters and potential clashes between fishing vessels. This came at a time where there were high profile landings of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-46358700">illegal migrants along the south coast of the UK</a>, while Operation Yellowhammer warned of stretched maritime enforcement capabilities.</p> <p>The UK has started off well. In 2019, the UK government created the <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2019-09-05/debates/CAD11F2C-9E6C-4092-9417-C34D68330187/MaritimeSecurity">Joint Maritime Security Centre</a> (JMSC) to coordinate all the different agencies involved and foster interaction between them. The JMSC conducted a joint UK maritime security exercise at the end of 2019, highlighting how coordination can improve enforcement. It is also preparing a new UK maritime security strategy.</p> <p>Interactions between the different government agencies involved in managing the risks to the UK seas need to become more frequent and overcome existing divides to create habits of cooperation and communication. Other groups such as fishing communities need to be included in deliberations. Transparency and information sharing in the process of drafting a new maritime security strategy can help to identify common goals, encourage involvement, and establish a shared basis for action.</p> <p>A review of resources would also be worthwhile to identify the means the UK has to secure its waters, what gaps exist, and how these means can best be shared.</p> <p><em>Written by Scott Edwards and Timothy Edmunds. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/brexit-how-the-uk-is-preparing-to-secure-its-seas-outside-the-eu-133548">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Can I go fishing or bushwalking? Coronavirus rules in Western Australia

<p>According to Google Trends, some of the top coronavirus searches nationally in the past few days include “can I visit my parents coronavirus Australia?”, “can I go fishing during coronavirus?” and “can I go for a drive during coronavirus Australia?”</p> <p>“Can I visit my boyfriend during coronavirus Australia?” was also a common one.</p> <p>We asked legal experts in Western Australia – Natalie Skead and Michael Douglas from the University of Western Australia – to help shed some light on what the new rules might mean for residents of their state.</p> <p><strong>Can I visit my parents?</strong></p> <p>If you’re a child with parents who live apart, and you move between each of your parent’s homes, then you can keep doing that.</p> <p>Aside from that, you can’t organise a prohibited gathering, which includes more than two people in “a single undivided indoor space” like a room or even a patio, unless you maintain 4m² distancing.</p> <p>So, yes, you can visit your parents if you each stay sufficiently far from one another, but you can’t hug mum! Sunday family dinner is off the cards for now.</p> <p>There is an exception “for the purposes of providing care or assistance … to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance”. The terms “care” and “vulnerable person” are not defined. If one of your parents has a disability or a health condition, and you want to look after them, then visiting them is okay.</p> <p>It also depends on where your parents live. The parents of one of the authors (Michael) live down south, while he lives in Perth. It was his dad’s birthday on Wednesday. The intra-state travel restrictions meant he could not visit the elder Douglas. They all had a FaceTime birthday dinner instead.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Prohibition%20on%20Regional%20Travel%20Directions.pdf">Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions</a> say you cannot enter another “region” in WA unless certain exceptions apply. “Regions” are defined in the <a href="https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/prod/filestore.nsf/FileURL/mrdoc_42251.pdf/%24FILE/Planning%20and%20Development%20Act%202005%20-%20%5B04-h0-01%5D.pdf">Planning Act</a>.</p> <p>But there’s an exemption for “compassionate grounds” — like one of your parents is seriously ill, or an immediate family member has died. Visiting a parent on their birthday is not enough.</p> <p>If your parents live in certain parts of the Kimberley, or a remote Aboriginal community, visiting may require quarantine under <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/restrictions-access-the-kimberley-and-remote-aboriginal-communities">restrictions made by both the state and federal governments</a>, if it is permissible at all under the Prohibited Regional Travel Directions. The situation there <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-02/kimberley-coronavirus-spike-sees-shire-borders-closed/12115580">is not good</a> and by the time you read this, visiting may be prohibited.</p> <p>If your parents are interstate and you are in WA, then the answer is more complicated. Seek legal advice.</p> <p><strong>Can I go fishing or bushwalking?</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Restriction%20of%20Activities%20Direction_1.pdf">Preventative Restriction of Activities Directions</a> do not specifically address fishing or bushwalking. But doing either with more than two people would be a <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/200331%20Prohibited%20Gatherings%20Direction.pdf">prohibited gathering</a>. That means you can only walk in the bush with the people who you are currently living with or one other person you don’t live with, but even then stay appropriately socially distanced.</p> <p>Fishing is a bit murkier. Western Australia appears to have taken some guidance from a since deleted Facebook post, by the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, who attempted to <a href="https://www.racq.com.au/Living/Articles/Coronavirus-impacts-how-you-can-go-fishing">clarify the boating and fishing rules</a> as permitting boaters to fish for food to travel locally in their community.</p> <p>The latest advice from the WA government is the social distancing rules for gatherings of no more than two in public places apply on the land and the sea, meaning they apply to both boat- and land-based fishing.</p> <p>So, you can fish for food with one friend, or those you live with. If you’re going out on a boat, though, it will need to be a biggish one to accommodate the 1.5m/4m² distancing rule.</p> <p>It also depends on where you propose to fish or bushwalk. You can’t do either outside your “<a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Prohibition%20on%20Regional%20Travel%20Directions.pdf">region</a>”.</p> <p><strong>Can I go for a drive?</strong></p> <p>The Australian government’s <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing-for-coronavirus-covid-19">Department of Health says</a> “all Australians are required to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside”.</p> <p>This means you can only go for a drive to buy essential food, to attend to health needs (visiting a doctor or a pharmacy), or on compassionate grounds (for example, to care for a vulnerable person). So you should not go for a leisurely drive just to get out the house.</p> <p>You can’t drive outside your <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Prohibition%20on%20Regional%20Travel%20Directions.pdf">region</a>.</p> <p><strong>Can I visit my boyfriend/girlfriend?</strong></p> <p>Under the <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/200331%20Prohibited%20Gatherings%20Direction.pdf">directions</a>, a gathering of two people indoors is not permitted “where there is not at least 4m² of space for each person at the gathering”.</p> <p>This means you can visit your girlfriend or boyfriend provided the room you’re in is big enough, but you cannot touch them!</p> <p>One might argue spending time with the girlfriend or boyfriend falls under the “care for vulnerable person” exception. That’s a weak argument.</p> <p>An important exception applies where the “gathering” is with a member of the same household, meaning two or more persons who usually reside at the same place, irrespective of whether those persons are related to each other.</p> <p>So if you immediately move in to your partner’s place, and then stay there, you may be okay to touch them, legally speaking. But you may be putting each other at unnecessary risk.</p> <p>If your partner lives in another “<a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Prohibition%20on%20Regional%20Travel%20Directions.pdf">region</a>”, then you cannot visit them (even to move in).</p> <p><strong>Can I go for a walk around my neighbourhood or sit on a park bench?</strong></p> <p>A walk around your neighbourhood — or on the beach — to get some fresh air or catch up with a friend, is not currently covered by state restrictions provided you limit it to a walk with only <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/200331%20Prohibited%20Gatherings%20Direction.pdf">one friend or those with whom you live</a>.</p> <p>That said, given your walk would flout the federal <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing-for-coronavirus-covid-19">Department of Health</a> requirement we all “stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside”, we suggest you think twice before heading out.</p> <p>Sitting outdoors on a park bench or other public space with members of your household or one other person observing the social distancing rules, is not prohibited by WA’s <a href="https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/200331%20Prohibited%20Gatherings%20Direction.pdf">restrictions against public gatherings</a>. But, again, the federal government cautions strongly against hanging out in public, so you probably shouldn’t.</p> <p><em>Written by Michael Lund and Wes Mountain. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-i-visit-my-boyfriend-or-my-parents-go-fishing-or-bushwalking-coronavirus-rules-in-western-australia-135544">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month

<p>While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.</p> <p>Our research, published today in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/GCB.15083">Global Change Biology</a>, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first-hand.</p> <p>Antarctica may be isolated from other continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/conveyor.html">global ocean conveyor belt</a>, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.</p> <p>Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a ‘canary in the mine’, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>A heatwave in the coldest place on Earth</strong></p> <p>Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/ice-free-areas-are-hot-property-in-antarctica">important biodiversity hotspots</a> for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates.</p> <p>This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heat wave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5°C. On January 24, its highest <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml">maximum of 9.2°C</a> was recorded, almost 7°C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.</p> <p>The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes.</p> <p>By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-reported/">maximum temperature of 18.4°C</a> was recorded on February 6 at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Peninsula - almost 1°C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/%202020/feb/13/antarctic-temperature-rises-above-20c-firsttime-record/">20.75°C was reported</a> at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the Peninsula.</p> <p><strong>What caused the heatwave?</strong></p> <p>The pace of warming from global climate change has been generally slower in East Antarctica compared with West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is in part due to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051">ozone hole</a>, which has occurred in spring over Antarctica since the late 1970s.</p> <p>The hole has tended to strengthen jet stream winds over the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043">Southern Ocean</a> promoting a generally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00787-x">more ‘positive’ state</a> of the Southern Annular Mode in summer. This means the Southern Ocean’s westerly wind belt has tended to stay close to Antarctica at that time of year creating a seasonal ‘shield’, reducing the transfer of warm air from the Earth’s temperate regions to Antarctica.</p> <p>But during the spring of 2019 a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">strong warming of the stratosphere</a> over Antarctica significantly reduced the size of the ozone hole. This helped to support a more ‘negative’ state of the Southern Annular Mode and weakened the shield.</p> <p>Other factors in late 2019 may have also helped to warm Antarctica. The Indian Ocean Dipole was in a strong ‘positive’ state due to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">late retreat of the Indian monsoon</a>. This meant that water in the western Indian Ocean was warmer than normal. Air rising from this and other warm ocean patches in the Pacific Ocean provided energy sources that altered the path of weather systems and helped to disturb and warm the stratosphere.</p> <p><strong>Is a warming Antarctica good or bad?</strong></p> <p>Localised flooding appeared to benefit some Vestfold Hills’ moss banks which were previously very <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0280-0">drought-stressed</a>. Prior to the flood event, most mosses were grey and moribund, but one month later many moss shoots were green.</p> <p>Given the generally cold conditions of Antarctica, the warmth may have benefited the flora (mosses, lichens and two vascular plants), and microbes and invertebrates, but only where liquid water formed. Areas in the Vestfold Hills away from the flooding became more drought-stressed over the summer.</p> <p>High temperatures may have caused heat stress in some organisms. Antarctic mosses and lichens are often dark in colour, allowing sunlight to be absorbed to create warm microclimates. This is a great strategy when temperatures are just above freezing, but heat stress can occur once 10°C is exceeded.</p> <p>On King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, our measurements showed that in January 2019 moss surface temperatures only exceeded 14°C for 3% of the time, but in 2020 this increased fourfold (to 12% of the time).</p> <p>Based on our experience from previous anomalous hot Antarctic summers, we can expect many biological impacts, positive and negative, in coming years. The most recent event highlights the connectedness of our climate systems: from the surface to the stratosphere, and from the monsoon tropics to the southernmost continent.</p> <p>Under climate change, extreme events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, and Antarctica is not immune.</p> <p>If you’ve been let go and then retrospectively un-sacked, you are also guaranteed to get at least $1,500 per fortnight, which in that case might be less than you were being paid, but will be more than the $1,115 you would have got on Newstart (which has been renamed JobSeeker Payment).</p> <p>If you remain employed, and are on more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer will have to pay you your full regular wage. Employers won’t be able to cut it to $1,500 per fortnight.</p> <p>To get it, most employers will have to have suffered a 30% decline in their turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago. Big employers (turnover of $1 billion or more) will have to have suffered a 50% decline. Big banks won’t be eligible.</p> <p>Self-employed Australians will also be eligible where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30% decline in turnover. Among these will be musicians and performers out of work because large gatherings have been cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Half the Australian workforce</strong></p> <p>The payment isn’t perfect. It will only be paid in respect of wages from March 30, and the money won’t be handed over until the start of May – the Tax Office systems can’t work any faster – but it will provide more support than almost anyone expected.</p> <p>Its scope is apparent when you consider the size of Australia’s workforce.</p> <p>Before the coronavirus hit in February, 13 million of Australia’s 25 million residents were in jobs. This payment will go to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job">six million</a> of them.</p> <p>Without putting too fine a point on it, for the next six months, the government will be the paymaster to almost <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0">half</a> the Australian workforce.</p> <p>Announcing the payment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unprecedented times called for unprecedented action. He said the payment was more generous than New Zealand’s, broader than Britain’s, and more comprehensive than Canada’s, claims about which there is dispute.</p> <p>But for Australia, it is completely without precedent.</p> <p><em>Written by Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana Kind and Sharon Robinson. Reviewed by Emma Kucelj. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/anatomy-of-a-heatwave-how-antarctica-recorded-a-20-75-c-day-last-month-134550"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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“Hell” for Aussies aboard cruise ship stranded off South America

<p>Sue and Mort Leburn from the Gold Coast were two of the 129 other Australians on board the virus riddled Zaandam cruise ship which is currently isolated in waters off South America.</p> <p>Over 150 of their fellow travellers are showing flu-like symptoms but the ship was denied docking at several points.</p> <p>It wasn’t until Monday that they were taken off the plagued ship, which has seen four deaths from COVID-19, and transferred to its sister ship the MS Rotterdam.</p> <p>Mr Leburn is undergoing cancer treatment but aside from that the couple are in good health and not experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus.</p> <p>However, they feel unsupported and forgotten due to the lack of information being given by the Australian Government.</p> <p>“We’ve been in strict isolation since 22nd March. We’ve been outside once for half an hour [and] we only open our cabin door for meals three times a day,” they told<span> </span><em>9News</em>.</p> <p>“Other than that we don’t have any contact with other people apart from through social media or our friends that are on the boat that we can ring up.</p> <p>“We haven’t had a great deal of advice from the government, we’ve looked on the smart traveler website and contacted our state and federal MPs who sent us replies but they have been fairly generic,” said Ms Elburn.</p> <p>Their son Colin waved them goodbye a month ago from Queensland, and doesn't know when he'll get to see his parents again.</p> <p>He says they had already encountered difficulties as they tried to come from Chile.</p> <p>“They were supposed to dock somewhere in Chile. But the Chilean Government denied them after they had gone out of their way to get there,” he said.</p> <p>“Then they were told midnight, then midnight came and [they were told] no you can’t dock.”</p> <p>The current plan for those aboard the Rotterdam is to disembark in the United States.</p> <p>But Colin is anxious about the roadblocks his parents may encounter in their attempt to return home.</p> <p>"They keep getting hand-balled around from person to person and when you're on board a boat with extremely slow internet and limited access that's the other thing... you can't just pick up the phone and call people," he said.</p> <p>"I think what it comes down to is communication, and Mum and Dad just want to communicate with our Government to find out what's happening and are they going to be able to come home.</p> <p>"We're really lucky they've been given safe passage through the Panama canal so that was the next thing I was really worried about for Mum and Dad that they were going to get denied access.</p> <p>"Now we don't know what's going to happen once they get to America."It is understood passengers who were showing signs of COVID-19 remain on the Zaandam cruise ship which Colin described as a "floating coffin".</p> <p>"I feel for the poor people that are left aboard the Zaandam because there on a floating coffin basically and the Government is doing nothing to help them," Colin Elburn said.</p>

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Why marine protected areas are often not where they should be

<p>There’s no denying the grandeur and allure of a nature reserve or marine protected area. The concept is easy to understand: limit human activity there and marine ecosystems will thrive.</p> <p>But while the number of marine protected areas is increasing, so too is the number of threatened species, and the health of marine ecosystems is <a href="https://ipbes.net/global-assessment">in decline</a>.</p> <p>Why? <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">Our research</a> shows it’s because marine protected areas are often placed where there’s already low human activity, rather than in places with high biodiversity that need it most.</p> <p><strong>Not where they should be</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the world’s protected areas, in both terrestrial and marine environments, are placed in locations with no form of manageable human activity or development occurring, such as fishing or infrastructure. These places are often remote, such as in the centres of oceans.</p> <p>And where marine protected areas have been increasing, they’re placed where <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">pressures cannot be managed</a>, such as areas where there is increased ocean acidification or dispersed pollution.</p> <p>But biodiversity is often highest in the places with human activity – we use these locations in the ocean to generate income and livelihoods, from tourism to fishing. This includes coastal areas in the tropics, such as the Coral Triangle (across six countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia), which has almost <a href="https://ccafs.cgiar.org/publications/marine-protected-areas-coral-triangle-progress-issues-and-options">2,000 marine protected areas</a>, yet is <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-seagrass-in-indonesias-marine-protected-areas-is-still-under-threat-125875">also home</a> to one of the largest shipping routes in the world and high fishing activity.</p> <p>What’s more, many marine industries are already regulated through licences and quotas, so it’s hard to establish a new marine protected area that adds a different type of management on top of what already exists.</p> <p>This leaves us with an important paradox: the places where biodiversity is under the most pressure are also the places humanity is most reluctant to relinquish, due to their social or economic value. Because of those values, people and industry resist changes to behaviour, leaving governments to try to find solutions that avoid conflict.</p> <p><strong>Lessons from the fishing industry</strong></p> <p>How can we resolve the paradox of marine protected areas? A strategy used in the fishing industry may show the way.</p> <p>Fisheries have had experience in going beyond the limits of sustainability and then stepping back, changing their approach to managing species and ecosystems for better sustainability, while still protecting economic, social and environmental values.</p> <p>In the past, many of the world’s fisheries regularly exceeded the sustainable limit of catches, and many species such as <a href="https://www.ccsbt.org/en/content/latest-stock-assessment">southern bluefin tuna</a> declined significantly in number. But <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/4/2218">strong rules around how a fishery should operate</a> mean declines have since been reversed.</p> <p>So how did they do it? In recent decades, many of the world’s large-scale fisheries implemented formal “harvest strategies”. These strategies can flip downward trends of marine species in places not designated a marine protected area.</p> <p>Harvest strategies have three steps. First is pre-agreed monitoring of species and ecosystems by fishers, regulators and other stakeholders. Second, regulators and scientists assess their impact on the species and ecosystems. And last, all stakeholders agree to put management measures in place to improve the status of the monitored species and ecosystems.</p> <p>These measures may include changing how fishing is done or how much is done. It’s a commonsense strategy that’s delivered <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-parks-and-fishery-management-whats-the-best-way-to-protect-fish-66274">successful results</a> with many fished species either recovering or recovered.</p> <p>In Australia, the federal government introduced a <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/fisheries/domestic/harvest-strategy-policy.docx">formal harvest strategy policy</a> to manage fisheries in 2007. It was evaluated in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/71/2/195/788673">2014</a>, and the report found many (but not all) fish stocks are no longer overfished. This includes species such as orange roughy and southern bluefin tuna in Australia, which were overfished but are no longer so.</p> <p>But unfortunately, this positive trend has not been replicated for biodiversity hit by the combinations of other human activities such as coastal development, transport, oil and gas extraction and marine debris.</p> <p><strong>A consistent strategy</strong></p> <p>We need to adapt the experience from fisheries and apply a single, formal, transparent and agreed <em>biodiversity</em> strategy that outlines sustainable management objectives for the places we can’t put marine protected areas.</p> <p>This would look like a harvest strategy, but be applied more broadly to threatened species and ecosystems. What might be sustainable from a single species point of view as used in the fisheries might not sustainable for multiple species.</p> <p>This would mean for our threatened species, we would be monitoring their status, assessing whether the <em>total</em> population was changing and agreeing on when and how we would change the way that they are impacted.</p> <p>Such a strategy would also allow monitoring of whole marine ecosystems, even when information is limited. Information on trends in species and ecosystems often exists, but is hidden as commercial-in-confidence or kept privately within government, research or commercial organisations.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>Still, a lack of data shouldn’t limit decision making. Experience in fisheries without much data shows even rules of thumb can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2014.11.005">effective management tools</a>. Rules of thumb can include simple measures like gear restrictions or spatial or temporal closures that don’t change through time.</p> <p>Moving forward, all stakeholders need to agree to implement the key parts of harvest strategies for all marine places with high biodiversity that aren’t protected. This will complement existing marine protected area networks without limiting economic activity, while also delivering social and environmental outcomes that support human well-being.</p> <p>Our marine ecosystems provide fish, enjoyment, resources and and simple beauty. They must survive for generations to come.</p> <p><em>Written by Piers Dunstan, Natalie Downing, Simone Stevenson and Skipton Woolley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-marine-protected-areas-are-often-not-where-they-should-be-133076">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Acting selfishly has consequences right now – why ethical decision making is imperative in the coronavirus crisis

<p>As the country moves into lockdown mode in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are increasingly faced with serious ethical questions about what ordinary people should be obliged to do for others.</p> <p>These challenges can perhaps best be seen in the outrage as <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-21/bondi-beach-closed-over-crowds-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/12077618">people flocked to Bondi Beach</a> and packed into <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-fury-as-people-ignore-social-distancing-advice-flock-to-beaches-pubs-cafes/news-story/f7eb3fdb923a63a9ff5c5981654b8077">pubs and cafes</a> over the weekend, despite strict social-distancing rules.</p> <p>This also helps explain the anger on social media over people <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/lives-at-risk-as-victorians-lie-about-overseas-travel-in-order-to-see-gps-20200318-p54bdg.html">lying about overseas travel in order to get doctors’ appointments</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-plenty-of-toilet-paper-so-why-are-people-hoarding-it-133300">hoarding toilet paper</a> and <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-police-arrest-covid-19-1.5505349">defying quarantine orders</a>, even as they <a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/an-australian-woman-breached-coronavirus-quarantine-in-beijing-to-go-for-a-jog--and-lost-her-job-c-755123">defend their conduct self-righteously</a>.</p> <p>People are even being <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/coronavirus-social-etiquette-in-the-age-of-covid19/news-story/f7218797a49a7731a72c9230293ab3c9">met with disdain when they ask others to keep their distance</a>.</p> <p>A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did<br /><br />Many of us were too selfish to follow suggestions to change our behavior. Now we’re in lockdown and people are needlessly dying. <a href="https://t.co/N43ZxSUVBo">https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-cautionary-tale-italy-dont-do-what-we-did/ …</a></p> <p><strong>Why is ethical action critical?</strong></p> <p>In the face of a pandemic, legislation and police enforcement can only do so much. <a href="https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/fatigue-will-be-the-carrier-of-the-second-coronavirus-wave/articleshow/74725529.cms?from=mdr">Ethical decision-making by ordinary people becomes crucial</a>.</p> <p>While laws and policies <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-the-laws-mandating-self-isolation-and-how-will-they-be-enforced-133757">can be slow to evolve</a>, individuals can alter their behaviours instantaneously. Rules and bans can be ham-fisted or crude, but ethical decision-makers can respond intelligently to their own contexts.</p> <p>Above all, ethical decision-makers can be intrinsically motivated to do right by the community, ensuring compliance of social-distancing rules in situations where effective policing is logistically impossible.</p> <p>Even as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-23/victoria-covid-19-coronavirus-shutdown/12080132">announced a special taskforce</a> to enforce an immediate shutdown of venues and restrictions on gatherings, he appealed to people’s consciences in the strongest terms:</p> <p><em>If you act selfishly, people will die.</em></p> <p>This is why leaders have called for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/17/how-australia-will-enforce-coronavirus-self-isolation-rules-for-overseas-arrivals">voluntary cooperation</a> during the crisis. Laws and political action alone will not save us. An effective response to the pandemic requires ordinary people making sound ethical decisions.</p> <p><strong>Why is this so challenging?</strong></p> <p>As we’ve seen from the images over the weekend, ethical decision-making in response to a pandemic is not easy. Many people are simply not taking the crisis seriously enough.</p> <p>One of the reasons for this is confusion. Rules change almost daily, meaning some people won’t know the latest requirements. Others might not appreciate the stakes involved with their behaviours, and that it is not only their own health they are risking.</p> <p>Also, rules can be ambiguous. For example, what happens if you’re <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-21/bondi-beach-closed-over-crowds-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/12077618">keeping an appropriate distance from others</a> at the beach or park, and it starts becoming crowded? Who should leave? Should those who arrived first have priority? Or should those who have had “their turn” move on?</p> <p>In ambiguous situations, people take cues from those around them. If we saw others interacting normally at the park or pub (before they were closed), we could conclude it’s probably okay. We might also wonder if there’s any point in obeying the rules if others aren’t.</p> <p>Furthermore, it’s easy to question the legitimacy of the new rules. Ordinarily, <a href="https://news.griffith.edu.au/2019/09/09/the-threats-and-promises-of-multidimensional-legitimacy/">we judge rules based on many factors</a>, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Is it the right thing to do?</li> <li>Is it fair?</li> <li>Will it be effective?</li> </ul> <p>In fluid situations, these conditions are hard to meet. Consider the case of <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-it-comes-to-sick-leave-were-not-much-better-prepared-for-coronavirus-than-the-us-133231">casual workers with no paid sick leave</a> who might not be able to pay rent or might lose their jobs if they comply with quarantine orders. Demanding they shoulder this burden can seem unfair.</p> <p>Similarly, many <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-australia-is-not-putting-teachers-in-the-coronavirus-firing-line-their-risk-is-very-low-134021">teachers feel they are taking unfair risks</a> to keep schools open.</p> <p>In the most difficult cases, people must weigh up conflicting moral priorities. Do they support their elderly parents by visiting them, or is this risking infection?</p> <p>For these reasons, even conscientious ethical decision-makers can struggle.</p> <p><strong>Why we might make poor decisions</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, human beings suffer from decision-making biases.</p> <p>For example, we often <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959354302012003015">interpret expectations as entitlements</a>. We convert our ordinary expectations about social, work, educational, religious and sporting routines into demands that these should continue.</p> <p>This is one reason why <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/20/america-needs-be-war-footing/">some call for a “war footing”</a>, urging people to acknowledge a “new normal”.</p> <p>In addition, people tend to be self-interested and prioritise immediate goals. Abstract concerns about risks to community infection can seem less salient than the pressures of the moment.</p> <p>This bias can affect ethical decision-making. It allows us to “<a href="https://www.everydaysociologyblog.com/2008/10/techniques-of-n.html">neutralise</a>” rules by inventing stories about why they don’t apply to us, given our special circumstances. These self-serving excuses are a classic source of serious moral error.</p> <p><strong>Some guidelines to follow</strong></p> <p>There are no easy answers to the myriad moral challenges that COVID-19 thrusts upon us. However, here are five rules of thumb:</p> <ol> <li>Common sense ethics still applies – and the stakes make it more important than ever. Never lie about or conceal your history or infection status. Comply strictly with authoritative directives about quarantine.</li> <li>Stay informed about the latest rules.</li> <li>Never force your decisions on other people. Even if you aren’t personally concerned about social distancing, acknowledge that others are entitled to their space.</li> <li>If others are behaving recklessly or inappropriately, try to engage with them constructively. Outrage can be appropriate, but <a href="https://theconversation.com/actually-its-ok-to-disagree-here-are-5-ways-we-can-argue-better-121178">understanding can be better at changing minds</a>.</li> <li>Gird yourself for the long haul. “<a href="https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/fatigue-will-be-the-carrier-of-the-second-coronavirus-wave/articleshow/74725529.cms?from=mdr">Fatigue</a>” can set in over long periods with changing rules. As the weeks in a state of emergency turn into months, we can be worn down and become less diligent in our ethical decision-making.</li> </ol> <p>Finally, remember the positives. As the stakes rise, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/21/like-an-emotional-mexican-wave-how-coronavirus-kindness-makes-the-world-seem-smaller">acts of kindness and support</a> are more important than ever before.</p> <p><em>Written by Hugh Breakey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/acting-selfishly-has-consequences-right-now-why-ethical-decision-making-is-imperative-in-the-coronavirus-crisis-134350">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Coronavirus RNA found on cruise ship 17 days after passengers abandoned liner

<p>Coronavirus RNA has been determined to have the ability to live for up to 17 days among surfaces after health authorities studies the <em>Diamond Princess</em> cruise ship.</p> <p>The disease can survive longer than research has previously shown, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown to us on Monday in new data.</p> <p>The study sought out to show how the Japanese and U.S government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned <em>Diamond Princess</em> ship in Japan and the <em>Grand Princess</em> ship in California has been.</p> <p>RNA is the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19, and was “identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the D<em>iamond Princess</em> but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the researchers wrote.</p> <p>The CDC added the genetic material of the virus that specifically causes COVID-19 revealed that there was no indication that the virus can “spread by surface”.</p> <p>They also added researchers were unable to  “determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” and that more studies focussing on whether COVID-19 can be spread through touching surfaces on cruise ships was warranted.</p> <p>“COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread,” the data report read.</p> <p>The CDC has urged people to stay away from cruise ships at this time if they are part of the more vulnerable population.</p> <p>Researchers at the national Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University previously found that COVID-19 can last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The study also determined the RNA of the virus decreases over time on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The new study set out to understand just how “transmission occurred across multiple voyages of several ships.” It noted at least 25 cruise ship voyages had confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 17.</p> <p>All of these cases where either detected during or after the cruise trip ended.</p> <p>Almost half, 46.5%, of the infections aboard the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were asymptomatic when they were tested.</p> <p>The study revealed it partially explaining the “high attack rate” of the virus among passengers and crew.</p> <p>On February 4, all 3,700 passengers and crew of the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were quarantined at a Japanese port after a passenger had been diagnoses with COVID-19 after returning to Hong Kong.</p> <p>What resulted was the largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China at the time, with more than 800 passengers and crew eventually going on to become infected.</p> <p>Nine people died due to the outbreak after disembarking the ship. Research revealed that 712 of 3,711 people on the <em>Diamond Princess</em>, or 19.2% were infected by COVID-19.</p> <p>78 cases were also found on the <em>Grand Princess,</em> which was force to moor off the coast of California after two passengers tested positive when they disembarked the vessel.</p> <p>The 78 cases tied back to the ship across separate voyages. California officials allowed the ship to remove all passengers from the vessel at the Port of Oakland.</p> <p>The <em>Diamond Princess and Grand Princess</em> has accounted for more than 800 total COVID-19 cases, including 10 deaths.</p>

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The end of global travel as we know it: an opportunity for sustainable tourism

<p>Saturday, March 14 2020, is “The Day the World Stopped Travelling”, in the words of <a href="https://skift.com/2020/03/15/the-day-the-world-stopped-traveling-a-letter-from-skift-founder/">Rifat Ali</a>, head of travel analytics company Skift.</p> <p>That’s a little dramatic, perhaps, but every day since has brought us closer to it being reality.</p> <p>The COVID-19 crisis has the global travel industry – “the most consequential industry in the world”, says Ali – in uncharted territory. Nations are shutting their borders. Airlines face bankruptcy. Ports are refusing entry to cruise ships, threatening the very basis of the cruise business model.</p> <p>Associated hospitality, arts and cultural industries are threatened. Major events are being cancelled. Tourist seasons in many tourist destinations are collapsing. Vulnerable workers on casual, seasonal or gig contracts are suffering. It seems an epic disaster.</p> <p>But is it?</p> <p>Considering <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/01/world/nasa-china-pollution-coronavirus-trnd-scn/index.html">human activities need to change</a> if we are to avoid the worst effects of human-induced climate change, the coronavirus crisis might offer us an unexpected opportunity.</p> <p>Ali, like many others, wants recovery, “even if it takes a while to get back up and return to pre-coronavirus traveller numbers”.</p> <p>But rather than try to return to business as usual as soon as possible, COVID-19 challenges us to think about the type of consumption that underpins the unsustainable ways of the travel and tourism industries.</p> <p><strong>Tourism dependency</strong></p> <p>Air travel features prominently in discussions about reducing carbon emissions. Even if commercial aviation accounts “only” for about 2.4% of all emissions from fossil-fuel use, flying is still how many of us in the industrialised world blow out our carbon footprints.</p> <p>But sustainability concerns in the travel and tourism sectors extend far beyond carbon emissions.</p> <p>In many places tourism has grown beyond its sustainable bounds, to the detriment of local communities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-australia-might-be-at-risk-of-overtourism-99213">overtourism</a> of places like Venice, Barcelona and Reykjavik is one result. Cruise ships disgorge thousands of people for half-day visits that overwhelm the destination but leave little economic benefit.</p> <p>Cheap airline fares encourage weekend breaks in Europe that have inundated old cities such as Prague and Dubrovnik. The need for growth becomes self-perpetuating as tourism dependency locks communities into the system.</p> <p>In a 2010 paper <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23745318?seq=1">I argued</a> the problem was tourism underpinned by what sociologist Leslie Sklair called the “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0263276410374634">culture-ideology of consumerism</a>” – by which consumption patterns that were once the preserve of the rich became endemic.</p> <p>Tourism is embedded in that culture-ideology as an essential pillar to achieve endless economic growth. For instance, <a href="https://www.tourism.australia.com/en/markets-and-stats/tourism-statistics/the-economic-importance-of-tourism.html">the Australian government</a> prioritises tourism as a “supergrowth industry”, accounting for almost 10% of “exports” in 2017-18.</p> <p><strong>Out of crisis comes creativity</strong></p> <p>Many are desperate to ensure business continues as usual. “If people will not travel,” said Ariel Cohen of California-based business travel agency <a href="https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3800229,00.html">TripActions</a>, “the economy will grind to a halt.”</p> <p>COVID-19 is a radical wake-up call to this way of thinking. Even if Cohen is right, that economic reality now needs to change to accommodate the more pressing public health reality.</p> <p>It is a big economic hit, but crisis invites creativity. Grounded business travellers are realising virtual business meetings work satisfactorily. Conferences are reorganising for virtual sessions. Arts and cultural events and institutions are turning to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/arts/music/coronavirus-pandemic-music-streaming.html">live streaming</a> to connect with audiences.</p> <p>In Italian cities under lockdown, residents have come out on their balconies to create music as a community.</p> <p>Local cafes and food co-ops, including my local, are reaching out with support for the community’s marginalised and elderly to ensure they are not forgotten.</p> <p>These responses challenge the atomised individualism that has gone hand in hand with the consumerism of travel and tourism. This public health crisis reminds us our well-being depends not on being consumers but on being part of a community.</p> <p>Staying closer to home could be a catalyst awakening us to the value of eating locally, travelling less and just slowing down and connecting to our community.</p> <p>After this crisis passes, we might find the old business as usual less compelling. We might learn that not travelling long distances didn’t stop us travelling; it just enlivened us to the richness of local travel.</p> <p><em>Written by Freya Higgins-Desbiolles. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-end-of-global-travel-as-we-know-it-an-opportunity-for-sustainable-tourism-133783">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down</p> <p>Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down. It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill. Read more:</p> <p><strong>It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill.</strong></p> <p>According to recent Mozo research, households were<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/articles/australians-set-to-waste-2-billion-on-bad-energy-habits-this-summer"> expected to waste a jaw dropping $774</a> on bad energy habits this summer, with the biggest culprit - leaving the air conditioner on overnight.</p> <p>So if you’ve been stung with a high summer energy bill, now is the time to get prepped in time for winter - below are some helpful tips.</p> <p><strong>Switch on smarter bulbs</strong></p> <p>Did you know that lighting accounts for seven per cent of a household’s annual energy usage?</p> <p>What’s even more surprising is that according to Red Energy, standard incandescent light bulbs use the majority of its energy to heat up a bulb and only 10% is then converted into light, making them highly inefficient. </p> <p>You can get smarter with your lighting by switching to more energy efficient light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).</p> <p>These bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity and last up to 20 times longer than regular light bulbs, which can come in handy if you spend most of your time at home.</p> <p><strong>Take advantage of rebates in your state</strong></p> <p>Whether you live in New South Wales or Tasmania, most Australians dread the day their energy bill arrives in the mail.</p> <p>New research has even shown that<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/savings-tips/is-your-energy-bill-your-household-s-biggest-financial-stressor"> electricity costs is one of the top two financial stressors</a> for Australian households.</p> <p>So to ease the pinch of high bill, it’s worth looking into various government energy rebates you may be eligible for.</p> <p>There are a range of rebates available from solar battery storage to owning energy efficient appliances, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one you can apply for. </p> <p>For instance,<a href="https://www.moneymag.com.au/state-energy-rebate"> the Seniors Energy Rebate</a>, which is available in NSW, provides independent retirees with a $200 rebate on their electricity bill every year, while pensioners or veterans may be eligible for a $285 low-income household rebate.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that you may need to supply relevant documentation to confirm your eligibility, like your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, so be sure to have these handy when you apply.</p> <p><strong>Get picky with your plan</strong></p> <p>From picking up a new toaster to locking down a good deal on your phone bill, there’s no denying<a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/630/New-report-shows-how-retirement-village-consumers-can-save-thousands-by-shopping-around"> the value of shopping around</a> for the best price.</p> <p>And as deregulated energy markets, like New South Wales and Victoria continue to grow, the result can only mean competitive pricing and more options for customers.</p> <p>Following a Mozo number crunch of 427 electricity plans from 37 retailers, our data revealed that households have the potential to save an average of $554 a year, just by shopping around.</p> <p>So once you’re ready to start shopping around on energy plans, be sure to have your most recent bill nearby to make the process smoother.</p> <p>It’s important to look beyond flashy discounts and incentives many retailers offer new customers and instead consider whether the plan provides long term benefits and savings.</p> <p>Making sure there are no lock-in contracts or exit fees is also important because it can give you the flexibility to move between plans if better offers become available.</p> <p><strong>Go heavy with your sheets</strong></p> <p>As the seasons change, many Australians use it as an opportunity to give their bedroom a facelift with some new decor.</p> <p>But during winter, it’s also the chance to give your space an energy efficient upgrade.</p> <p>There’s nothing worse than a bad nights sleep or waking up in a with frozen fingers and toes, so it might be best to start with switching out your thinner bedsheets for thicker and heavier fabrics, like fleece.</p> <p>This will keep you warm during colder nights, without having to resort to the switching on the heating or electric blanket.</p> <p>Aside from being somewhat inexpensive, fleece sheets are great at insulating heat, are more durable and can absorb water or moisture faster than regular sheets.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post from <a href="https://mozo.com.au/">Mozo</a>, a trailblazer in energy comparison, providing Australians with practical energy saving tips and expert analysis.</em></p> <p><em>Mozo believes that getting a better deal on energy doesn’t have to be complicated and that no Australian should be paying more than they have for the same service.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Ceyda Erem. Republished with permission of Downsizing.com.au.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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What does the law say about self-quarantining in NSW?

<p>In an attempt to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), several public health measures have been implemented across Australia, and New South Wales is no exception.</p> <p>These include directions that require self isolation in certain situations, the quarantining of arrivals into Australia and prohibitions on certain public gatherings.</p> <p>Breaching these rules can lead to serious consequences, including <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/">criminal charges</a> and even the prospect of imprisonment.</p> <p>Here’s a rundown of the rules.</p> <p><strong>The law</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127">Public Health Act 2010</a> (NSW) (‘the Act’) empowers state officials to make a range of enforceable directions and orders with a view to dealing with public health risks.</p> <p>The power to deal with these risks is contained in <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part2/sec7">section 7 of the Act</a>, which provides that where the health minister considers on reasonable grounds that a situation has arisen that is, or is likely to be, a risk to public health, the minister may take such action or give such directions that are necessary to deal with the risk and its possible consequences.</p> <p>The section makes clear that actions and orders can be made in order to:</p> <ul> <li>Reduce or remove any risk</li> <li>Segregate or isolate inhabitants</li> <li>Prevent, or conditionally permit, access to areas</li> </ul> <p>The section says that such an order must be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after it is made, but that failure to do so does not invalidate the order.</p> <p>Similar legislation applies in other parts of the nation.</p> <p><strong>Current ministerial directions</strong></p> <p>The following <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources">directions</a> have been made pursuant to these rules:</p> <ul> <li>All people who arrive in Australia must self-isolate for 14 days</li> <li>Individuals who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus must self-isolate for 14 days</li> <li>Public gatherings of more than 500 people are prohibited. This rule does not apply to schools, universities, shops, supermarkets, public transport or airports</li> <li>Individuals who are diagnosed with the virus must be placed in quarantine</li> </ul> <p><strong>Penalties</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part2/sec10">Section 10 of the Act</a> provides that a person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with such a direction faces a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and/or a fine of 100 penalty units, which is currently $11,000.</p> <p>Any continued failure to comply is punishable by a fine of 50 penalty units, or $5,500, for each day the offence continues.</p> <p>The maximum penalty for companies is 500 penalty units, or $55,000, and 250 penalty units, or $27,500 for each day the offence continues.</p> <p>Orders against persons suspected of being infected</p> <p><a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part4/div4/sec62">Section 62 of the Act</a> empowers ‘authorised medical practitioners’ – who are defined by <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part4/div4/sec60">section 60</a> as the chief health officer and registered medical practitioners authorised by the chief health officer’s secretary – to make public health orders against individuals in certain circumstances.</p> <p>The section provides that such an order can be made if the practitioner is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the person:</p> <ul> <li>Has a Category 4 or 5 condition and because of the way the person behaves may, as a consequence of that condition, be a risk to public health (coronavirus is a <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/sch1">category 4 condition</a>), or</li> <li>Has been exposed to a contact order condition, is at risk of developing the contact order condition, and may be a risk to public health because of the way the person behaves.</li> </ul> <p>The section requires such an order to be in writing, name the person subject to the order, state the grounds on which it is made, state that, unless sooner revoked, it expires at the end of the specified period or, if no period is specified, in 28 days.</p> <p>Such an order may require a person – known as the ‘public health detainee’ to do any of the following things:</p> <ul> <li>Refrain from specified conduct</li> <li>Undergo specified treatment</li> <li>Undergo counselling</li> <li>Submit to the supervision</li> <li>Notify the Secretary of other persons with whom the person has been in contact within a specified period</li> <li>Notify the Secretary if the person displays any specified signs or symptoms</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part4/div4/sec70">Section 70</a> of the Act prescribes a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and/or 100 penalty units, or $11,000, for any person who fails to comply.</p> <p><a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/127/part4/div4/sec71">Section 71</a> of the Act provides that a person who contravenes a public health order can be placed under arrest  to ensure compliance.</p> <p>Powers to ensure compliance with the Act</p> <p>The Act contains a number of powers to enable authorised officers of the NSW Health Service to ensure compliance.</p> <p>These include section 108 which empowers them to enter premises and seize, inspect or copy documents in the premises, section 110 which can force suspected persons to answer relevant questions and 112 which requires persons to give their name and address.</p> <p>Information and updates about the coronavirus are provided by <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx">NSW Health</a> and the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert">Federal Department of Health</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-does-the-law-say-about-self-quarantining-in-nsw/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Million-dollar reward offered to solve 1983 murder of Janita McNaughton

<p>Victoria Police has announced a $1 million reward for anyone with information that helps solve the murder of Janita McNaughton, 36 years after she was shot in the head on a boat in a southern Victorian bay.</p> <p>McNaughton, then 23 years old, was on board a boat with four other people in Western Port Bay on December 27, 1983 when she was fatally shot between the eyes. The part-time model died in hospital from her injuries later that night.</p> <p>Police said homicide squad detectives had spoken to all those on board that day, but they were still seeking answers into her death.</p> <p>Those on board first told police the shot was fired from the shore. Later, investigators were told the gun belonged to one of the passengers and was accidentally fired after it was dropped on the boat.</p> <p>Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Rowe said police have disproved the sniper and the accidental discharge accounts, <em><a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/who-killed-janita-1m-reward-for-clues-to-a-36-year-old-mystery-20200310-p548ly.html">The Age</a> </em>reported.</p> <p>Head of the homicide squad, Detective Inspector Tim Day said police are “keeping an open mind” in its investigation, which was reopened in 2015.</p> <p>“The one thing we do know is that someone out there will know who is responsible for shooting Janita and the exact circumstances in which she died,” he said.</p> <p>A then 29-year-old man was charged with manslaughter in 1983, but had his charges dismissed by a coroner at inquest in 1984.</p> <p>“Janita’s family have suffered heartache for 36 years without knowing why Janita was killed,” Day said.</p> <p>“We’re hopeful that someone out there will be able to provide us with information about her death.</p> <p>“It might be that one of the people on the boat can come forward with the truth, or it might be someone that they’ve spoken to over the years, such as a family member or friend, who can provide us with information.</p> <p>“We know that circumstances change with time and we hope this reward will encourage someone to come forward and give her family some deserved justice.”</p> <p>A reward of up to $1 million would be paid, at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information that led to the conviction of the person or persons responsible over McNaughton’s death.</p> <p>Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report at <a href="http://www.crimestoppers.com.au/">its website</a>.</p>

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Will a Section 10 Dismissal affect my ability to travel?

<p>Have you ever thought about the consequences that a criminal record could have on any future overseas trips you were planning on taking?</p> <p>Imagine being restricted on which countries you could visit next time you go on a holiday.</p> <p>Getting a criminal record has obvious consequences – the potential impact on your job and future job prospects may be foreseeable but you might not have considered whether it could also affect your ability to travel overseas.</p> <p>A criminal conviction can make this a real possibility – or at least mean that travelling becomes very difficult.</p> <p>Fortunately, if you are charged with a crime that may result in a criminal conviction, there are ways to avoid this.</p> <p>If you plead guilty, you can apply for your case to be dealt with under a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/penalties/nsw/section-10-dismissal/">section 10 dismissal</a> of the <em>Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act</em>.</p> <p>Under a section 10 dismissal, (a special provision that allows the court discretion to dismiss the charges) you can avoid getting a criminal conviction at all, meaning your travelling ability will not be hindered.</p> <p>So, what effects could a potential criminal record have on your ability to travel?</p> <p>This will largely depend on the country you wish to travel to, and what the offence was.</p> <p>The United States, for example, is very strict when it comes to granting entry to people with a conviction.</p> <p>Australians wanting to travel to America with a criminal record are advised by the Embassy of the United States in Australia to apply for a visa well before you plan on travelling.</p> <p>The outcome of a visa application is uncertain before you have an interview, where your eligibility will be determined.</p> <p>If you are found ineligible, it is possible to get a waiver, but this is time consuming (it can take around five months for approval) and success is not guaranteed.</p> <p>Whether or not an application for a waiver is successful or not will depend on the nature and severity of the offence and how recently it occurred.</p> <p>This does not include minor traffic violations like speeding, and if you have a drink driving conviction, generally you do not need to apply for a visa as long as you are otherwise eligible.</p> <p>Some criminal offences will make you ineligible to immigrate to the US.</p> <p>But again, remember that avoiding a criminal conviction can eliminate the hassle and restrictions on travel. The uncertain, expensive and time-consuming process can be avoided.</p> <p>With a section 10 dismissal, travel to other countries may not be affected at all.</p> <p>Successfully getting a section 10 dismissal is possible if the court believes that it would reduce the likelihood of the person convicted committing further offences and allows the person to keep their good name.</p> <p>Things that the court takes into account include factors such your character, age, health, mental condition, the nature of your offence and any extenuating factors that were present at the time you committed the offence.</p> <p>An extenuating factor is something out of the ordinary that can partly explain why someone committed an offence.</p> <p>While section 10 dismissals are available for all charges, it is much more likely to be awarded for less serious cases.</p> <p>However, this does not automatically mean that more serious ones cannot be dealt with under a section 10 dismissal if there are very good reasons for doing so.</p> <p>If you need to travel for work, obtaining a section 10 dismissal may be an essential part of the case you want argued before a magistrate.</p> <p>A good lawyer will be able to present your case in the strongest way to ensure best possible chances of you end up criminal record-free.</p> <p>A section 10 dismissal may be your ticket to travel, literally!</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/will-a-section-10-dismissal-affect-my-ability-to-travel/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

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Can I take my children overseas without my partner’s permission?

<p>If you want to take your children overseas without their other parent, it’s important to understand how the law works, especially if you are separated or getting divorced.</p> <p>There are certain legal protections which are in place to prevent children being abducted by a parent and taken out of the country without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>Even if you are just going for a holiday, it’s important to make sure you aren’t going to get into legal trouble for taking your children overseas without your partner or ex-partner’s permission.</p> <p><strong>Why do I have to get my partner’s permission?</strong></p> <p>In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases where one parent has taken a child out of Australia to another country.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.australianmissingpersonsregister.com/ParentalAbductions.htm">Australian Missing Persons Register</a>, over 150 children are abducted by a parent every year and many of them are never found.</p> <p>Children can be taken out of the country for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/apprehended-violence-order/">domestic violence</a>, other times it’s because of a custody dispute or because a parent wants to move and take their children with them, but doesn’t want to go through the usual processes in order to do so legally.</p> <p><strong>What does the law say about taking children overseas?</strong></p> <p>Although currently there is no law in place making it a crime, there are a number of provisions in place designed to prevent parents from taking children overseas without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>If one parent takes a child away without the permission of the other parent, the other parent can apply for a recovery order from the court.</p> <p>A recovery order is a court-issued document which requires one parent to return a child or children.</p> <p>If you are served with a recovery order, it’s important to comply with any terms laid out as you can face further legal action if you don’t.</p> <p>Can my partner stop me taking the children overseas?</p> <p>If your partner is concerned that you may take the children overseas without their permission they can apply to have the names of your children placed on the airport watch list.</p> <p>The airport watch list is held by airports in Australia and is updated by the AFP. If any parent tries to remove a child who is on the airport watch list from the country they will not be allowed to leave.</p> <p>This applies to both parents, so if your partner has requested your children be listed, they won’t be able to take them out of the country until the court order is lifted (which can only be done by the AFP).</p> <p>As well as the airport watch list, your partner can also apply for a restraint for removal from Australia order.</p> <p>This is a formal court order which prohibits you from removing the children listed on the order from the country.</p> <p><strong>What if my partner won’t give permission?</strong></p> <p>If you want to take your children overseas and your partner won’t give you permission, you can apply to the <a href="http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Publications/Family+Law+Courts+publications/Children+and+international+travel+after+family+separation">Federal Circuit Court</a> in Australia.</p> <p>You will need to sign an affidavit and provide information about where you are going, your itinerary, any links you have with the country you are travelling to and any other relevant factors.</p> <p>You may also be required to pay a sum of money as security which will be refunded on your return.</p> <p><strong>Can I get a passport for my child?</strong></p> <p>Passport applications for children require the signature of each person with parental responsibility for the child.</p> <p>This is usually the parents named on the child’s birth certificate, but it can also include grandparents or other relatives who may have parental responsibility, or welfare organisations who have assumed responsibility for the child.</p> <p>Without the signature of both parents (or those with parental responsibility), a passport won’t be issued.</p> <p>However, it is possible to apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for <a href="https://www.passports.gov.au/web/brochureswebpages/brochurechildenparentalconsent.aspx">special consideration</a> to have a passport issued without the signature of both parents.</p> <p>Although it is difficult to take your children overseas without your partner’s permission it is possible under certain circumstances.</p> <p>The law exists to protect children and families from unlawful child abduction, so it’s important to seek legal advice if you are planning to take your children out of the country against your partner’s wishes.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/can-i-take-my-children-overseas-without-my-partners-permission/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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The world may lose half its sandy beaches by 2100: It’s not too late to save most of them

<p>For many coastal regions, sea-level rise is a looming crisis threatening our coastal society, livelihoods and coastal ecosystems. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0697-0">A new study</a>, published in Nature Climate Change, has reported the world will lose almost half of its valuable sandy beaches by 2100 as the ocean moves landward with rising sea levels.</p> <p>Sandy beaches comprise about a third of the world’s coastline. And Australia, with nearly 12,000 kilometres at risk, could be hit hard.</p> <p>This is the first truly global study to attempt to quantify beach erosion. The results for the highest greenhouse gas emission scenario are alarming, but reducing emissions lead to lower rates of coastal erosion.</p> <p>Our best hope for the future of the world’s coastlines and for Australia’s iconic beaches is to keep global warming as low as possible by urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><strong>Losing sand in coastal erosion</strong></p> <p>Two of the largest problems resulting from <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">rising sea levels</a> are coastal erosion and an already-observed increase in the frequency of coastal flooding events.</p> <p>Erosion during storms can have dramatic consequences, particularly for coastal infrastructure. We saw this in 2016, when <a href="https://theconversation.com/sydneys-wild-weather-shows-home-owners-are-increasingly-at-risk-60621">wild storms</a> removed sand from beaches and damaged houses in Sydney.</p> <p>After storms like this, beaches often gradually recover, because sand from deeper waters washes back to the shore over months to years and in some cases decades. These dramatic storms and the long-term <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002532271630010X">sand supply</a> make it difficult to identify any beach movement in the recent past from sea-level rise.</p> <p>What we do know is that the rate of sea-level rise has <a href="https://theconversation.com/contributions-to-sea-level-rise-have-increased-by-half-since-1993-largely-because-of-greenlands-ice-79175">accelerated</a>. It has increased by half since 1993, and is continuing to accelerate from ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>If we continue to emit high levels of greenhouse gases, this acceleration will continue through the 21st century and <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-science-really-say-about-sea-level-rise-56807">beyond</a>. As a result, the supply of sand may not be able to keep pace with rapidly rising sea levels.</p> <p><strong>Projections for the worst-case scenario</strong></p> <p>In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">report</a>, released last year, the highest greenhouse gas emissions scenario resulted in global warming of more than 4°C (relative to pre-industrial temperatures) and a likely range of sea-level rise between 0.6 and 1.1 metres by 2100.</p> <p>For this scenario, this new study projects a global average landward movement of the coastline in the range of 40 to 250 metres if there were no physical limits to shoreline movement, such as those imposed by sea walls or other coastal infrastructure.</p> <p>Sea-level rise is responsible for the vast majority of this beach loss, with faster loss during the latter decades of the 21st century when the rate of rise is larger. And sea levels will continue to rise for centuries, so beach erosion would continue well after 2100.</p> <p>For southern Australia, the landward movement of the shoreline is projected to be more than 100 metres. This would damage many of Australia’s iconic tourist beaches such as Bondi, Manly and the Gold Coast. The movement in northern Australia is projected to be even larger, but more uncertain because of ongoing historical shoreline trends.</p> <p><strong>What happens if we mitigate our emissions</strong></p> <p>The above results are from a worst-case scenario. If greenhouse gas emissions were reduced such that the 2100 global temperature rose by about 2.5°C, instead of more than 4°C, then we’d reduce beach erosion by about a third of what’s projected in this worst-case scenario.</p> <p>Current global policies would result in about <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/cat-thermometer/">3°C of global warming</a>. That’s between the 4°C and the 2.5°C scenarios considered in this beach erosion study, implying our current policies will lead to significant beach erosion, including in Australia.</p> <p>Mitigating our emissions even further to achieving the Paris goal of keeping temperature rise to well below 2°C would be a major step in reducing beach loss.</p> <p><strong>Why coastal erosion is hard to predict</strong></p> <p>Projecting sea-level rise and resulting beach erosion are particularly difficult as both depend on many factors.</p> <p>For sea level, the major problems are estimating the contribution of melting Antarctic ice flowing into the ocean, how sea level will change on a regional scale, and the amount of global warming.</p> <p>The beach erosion calculated in this new study depends on several new databases. The databases of recent shoreline movement used to project ongoing natural factors might already be influenced by rising sea levels, possibly leading to an overestimate in the final calculations.</p> <p><strong>The implications</strong></p> <p>Regardless of the exact numbers reported in this study, it’s clear we will have to adapt to the beach erosion that we can no longer prevent, if we are to continue enjoying our beaches.</p> <p>This means we need appropriate planning, such as beach nourishment (adding sand to beaches to combat erosion) and other soft and hard engineering solutions. In some cases, we’ll even need to retreat from the coast to allow the beach to migrate landward.</p> <p>And if we are to continue to enjoy our sandy beaches into the future, we cannot allow ongoing and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The world needs urgent, significant and sustained global mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><em>Written by John Church. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-world-may-lose-half-its-sandy-beaches-by-2100-its-not-too-late-to-save-most-of-them-132586">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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