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Crossing state borders: A rundown of the rules

<p>This week, travelling around the country just became nearly impossible as all Australian states except New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT closed their borders. Many Families, friends and lovers are now officially separated, indefinitely.</p> <p>And, as with many of the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/morrisons-mixed-messages-on-the-coronavirus/">rules relating to COVID-19</a>, confusion reigns about border closures, as all but three of the States and Territories take extraordinary measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus.</p> <p>To complicate matters even further, the rules and penalties for failure to comply are different in each jurisdiction.</p> <p>Last week, Tasmania put itself into lockdown, turning away any non-essential visitors. Earlier this week South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory followed suit. As of midnight tonight, Queensland too, will close it’s borders.</p> <p>Here’s what it means, state-by-state:</p> <p><strong>Queensland</strong></p> <p>Anyone entering by air or road will need to self-isolate for 14 days. But there are also restrictions regarding who can come in, and who can’t.  Exceptions have been made for emergency workers, emergency vehicles, people travelling across the border for work, freight, court orders including family court, anyone travelling for medical treatment or compassionate reasons. For failing to comply with the public health act, in Queensland you can be fined up to $13,345.</p> <p><strong>Western Australia</strong></p> <p>The 14-day self-isolation period is also in place for anyone who is not an essential worker. Tourist hotspot Rottnest Island is being considered as a quarantine zone to keep infected people isolated. Failure to comply with Western Australia border and quarantine rules could result in a $50,000 fine or even 12 months’ imprisonment.</p> <p><strong>South Australia</strong></p> <p>Twelve border crossings have been established in South Australia to check on people entering the state. In SA, travellers have to sign a declaration about their health, and pledge to under mandatory self-isolation for 14 days. People who live in communities bordering the state will be allowed to come and go, so long as their home towns remain free of coronavirus. In South Australia, the maximum penalty for failure to comply is $25,000,</p> <p><strong>Tasmania</strong></p> <p>Only Tasmanian residents and essential workers will be allowed aboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. In Tasmania, if you fail to adhere to strict border control measures you risk a $16,800 fine, or possible jail time.</p> <p><strong>Northern Territory</strong></p> <p>Arrivals to the Northern Territory will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, and must provide details of where they will be staying while in the Territory. Police officers will be placed on major highways to enforce the border closure and will use surveillance equipment to catch anyone trying to come in via back roads. A $62,000 fine is in place for anyone who breaks this quarantine.</p> <p><strong>NSW, Victoria and the ACT</strong></p> <p>Only NSW, Victoria and the ACT remain open to state-wide travellers, although like everywhere else in the country, travellers from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days, and not doing so could attract fine in NSW of up to $11,000 and even six months’ prison time. In Victoria, the fine is $20,000.</p> <p><strong>Who is in charge of monitoring people in self-isolation?</strong></p> <p>In many cases, state health authorities have taken the lead to ensure those in isolation abide by the rules, but the police can – and actually have, in Victoria – conducted spot checks to ensure people are where they agreed to be. Police also have the powers to lay charges if they believe an offence has been committed.</p> <p>While its understood that no one has been charged to date, as the virus continues to spread, and as governments and health authorities become increasingly concerned about how to stop it, warnings may not apply. To be clear, self-isolation means exactly that – you cannot come into contact with others during the mandated period.</p> <p><strong>Social distancing</strong></p> <p>Our leaders continually stress that it is up to each and every one of us to do our part to fight the spread of COVOID-19 by following the social distancing recommendations, thoroughly washing our hands, and aiming to stay at home, or as local to home as possible.</p> <p>Other directions at this time include avoiding public gatherings. At home gatherings are also prohibited. This crackdown on inter-personal social interaction has led to many people to be inventive about how they stay in touch with others, organising online events and FaceTime hook-ups. Workplaces are even introducing ‘virtual’ coffee get-togethers and Friday night drinks for employees now working remotely.</p> <p>We’re human after all, even the introverted amongst us need contact with other humans from time to time, and right now, it’s important that we keep in touch with friends, family and loved ones to keep our spirits high.</p> <p>With more community services and businesses now in lock down, and more people being encouraged to stay home there are fears for declining states of mental health over the coming months, as people try to cope with confinement, exacerbated by the fact that we don’t actually know how long these unprecedented restrictions will apply.</p> <p>Of course, anxiety levels are already high, not just in terms of fear of actually contracting the virus, but of the very real prospect of job loss, financial stress, and the great big unknown – what kind of Australia will emerge from the crisis. What will life be like when Coronavirus is over?</p> <p>For anyone needing to seek professional mental health advice for themselves or a loved one, <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak">Beyond Blue has a range of resources</a> and offers counselling by telephone and webchat.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/crossing-state-borders-a-rundown-of-the-rules/">of Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p> <p> </p>

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COVID-19: what closing schools and childcare centres would mean for parents and casual staff

<p>Several schools in Australia <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/toorak-primary-school-closes-following-coronavirus-case-20200317-p54atp.html">have closed</a> after some students and teachers tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, some independent schools have <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/private-schools-begin-sending-students-home-for-remote-learning-20200316-p54agn.html">sent all students home pre-emptively</a>, without any infections being detected. Classes will now be done online.</p> <p>While the federal government has introduced a ban of public gatherings with more than 500 people, it is not, at this stage, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/why-australia-is-not-shutting-schools-to-help-control-the-spread-of-coronavirus">considering mass school closures</a>. Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews has been more forthright, saying the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/11/coronavirus-mass-school-closures-and-industry-shutdown-on-the-cards-says-victorias-premier">time will come</a> for statewide closures of schools.</p> <p>Even with schools staying open, some <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/i-m-happy-to-be-a-small-drop-families-withdrawing-children-from-school-to-fight-coronavirus-20200314-p54a2p.html">families are keeping children home</a> to prevent them getting infected, or passing the virus on to more vulnerable family members.</p> <p>There have been no reports of childcare centres closing across Australia, but some parents may also be keeping their pre-school children at home. Childcare centres <a href="https://ca.news.yahoo.com/alberta-schools-childcare-centres-closing-203000995.html">have been closed</a> in some Canadian provinces, and it’s possible we’ll see something similar happening in Australia as the pandemic progresses.</p> <p>Even without closures, the fewer numbers of students across Australia will impact on casual staff in both the childcare and school sectors. But if both were to close their doors, this may mean a massive loss to Australia’s workforce and economy.</p> <p><strong>How many families would be affected?</strong></p> <p>Millions of parents would be affected if schools and childcare centres were to close. Across Australia there are close to <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/3101.0Jun%202019?OpenDocument">six million children</a> living in around four million families.</p> <p>Around two thirds of these children are enrolled in Australian schools. In 2017, 2.2 million were <a href="https://www.acara.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/national-report-on-schooling-in-australia-20170de312404c94637ead88ff00003e0139.pdf?sfvrsn=0">primary school students</a> and 1.6 million were in secondary school.</p> <p>Capital Economics senior economist Marcel Thieliant <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/second-stimulus-morrison-government-considers-billions-in-spending-20200316-p54aoi.html">told The Age</a> up to 1.85 million parents, or 14% of the workforce, would be required to stay home to care for their children if schools were closed.</p> <p>He said a four-week school closure could knock off as much as an estimated 2% from quarterly GDP. And it is unclear how long schools would need to stay closed for to contain the outbreak.</p> <p>Nearly 1.6 million children are aged 0-4. More than half of them <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/cat/4402.0">attend early childhood education and care</a> or preschool.<br />Economic analysis estimates subsidised early childhood education provides <a href="https://www.thefrontproject.org.au/initiatives/economic-analysis">more than 32 million additional hours</a> to the labour force. This means an additional A$1.4 billion in earnings, which then filters back to the government through taxes.</p> <p><strong>How will closures affect staff?</strong></p> <p>Part and full time teachers are likely to remain employed during any school closure, supporting children remotely. But schools are less likely to need casual teachers, which make up <a href="https://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/research-evidence/spotlight/spotlight---professional-learning-for-relief-teachers.pdf">at least 12% of the workforce according to survey data</a>.</p> <p>Casual staff in schools that have already closed may be feeling the pinch, and schools may also have less need for casual teachers if many students are staying home.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/research-evidence/spotlight/spotlight---attrition.pdf?sfvrsn=40d1ed3c_0">estimated 25-50%</a> of teachers are leaving the profession at five years. If casual teachers are not paid to be in class, they may be prompted to leave the profession sooner.</p> <p>But the situation is even worse for early childhood education.</p> <p>Government provides funding for schools based on their census enrolments. In private schools parents pay fees based on annual enrolments. But early childhood education funding is tied to both enrolment and attendance. It is <a href="http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Australian-Investment-in-Education-ECEC-report.pdf">estimated parents fund</a> around 40% of the cost of early learning, and the government around 60% through a subsidy tied to household income.</p> <p>Families in isolation, can use their child care subsidy to pay for a certain amount of absences, but only if centres remain open and operating. If a centre closes it cannot levy parents for fees nor collect subsidies from the government.</p> <p>Early childhood education services can spend up to <a href="https://childcarealliance.org.au/media-publications/aca-media-releases/112-occupancy-and-performance-report-early-childhood-education-and-care-sector-10-12-2018/file">80% of their revenue</a> on staff and rent. This means services may need to stand down their workforce of <a href="https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/2016_ecec_nwc_national_report_sep_2017_0.pdf">200,000 staff</a>, and potentially dismiss casual staff, if they are forced to close.</p> <p>We don’t have a clear indication of how many educators are casual, although certain types of care, such as holiday care, lend themselves to a casual workforce.</p> <p>In 2019, we estimated the childhood workforce would be short of <a href="https://www.futuretracks.org.au/upskilling/upskilling-research">29,000 teachers by 2023</a>. With <a href="https://theconversation.com/one-in-five-early-childhood-educators-plan-to-leave-the-profession-61279">one in five educators</a> reporting they wish to leave the profession in the next 12 months, the effects of workers stepping away from the early childhood workforce due to centre closures could be dramatic.</p> <p>In recent days, the federal government <a href="https://ministers.education.gov.au/tehan/minimising-impact-covid-19-child-care">announced an assistance package</a> of A$14 million to help minimise the impact of COVID-19 on childcare centres.</p> <p>But the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) <a href="https://docs.education.gov.au/node/53362">Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity</a> is too small, and only available to some services. It is particularly designed for disadvantaged or vulnerable communities and can be used to pay expenses such as wages where services have fewer children attending or are forced to close due to COVID-19.</p> <p>But staff would still be affected in more advantaged communities.</p> <p>My analysis finds that if a service was to close for just one day, based on an average of 90 places and with an average daily fee of A$113.30 per child, it would lose more than <a href="https://education.govcms.gov.au/child-care-australia-report-september-quarter-2019">$10,000 dollars</a> per day. Multiply this by the nearly <a href="https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-11/NQFSnapshot_Q32019.pdf">8,000 centres</a> and tens of millions of dollars would be foregone every day centres are closed – more if you consider other forms of care, such as out-of-school-hours care, would also close.</p> <p>Many services are small or not for profit, and will not have the cash reserves to withstand extended unpaid closures. An extended closure could see services close for good and educators leave the workforce.</p> <p><strong>So, what more can the government do?</strong></p> <p>The early childhood sector already faces uncertainty around the <a href="https://www.themandarin.com.au/122765-its-time-to-commit-to-universal-access-to-preschools-and-funding-certainty-children-families-business-and-government-all-benefit/">time limited nature</a> of pre-school funding, which expires at the end of this year. It is vital the government retain funding in the education system to support educators in the event of a shutdown.</p> <p>Educators can be actively engaged if services close. Remote education can be trialled, even for little learners, given the importance of early brain development. Governments should support schools to develop lessons and provide resources to help deliver education in new ways.</p> <p>With these measures, we can minimise the economic effects of closures, keep our skilled workforce, and ensure parents can return to work and children return to learning settings as soon as possible.</p> <p><em>Written by Megan O’Connell. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-19-what-closing-schools-and-childcare-centres-would-mean-for-parents-and-casual-staff-133768">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down

<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 <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/662/Winter-is-coming-Simple-ways-to-keep-energy-costs-down">Downsizing.com.au.</a></em></p>

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The use of drones: What does the law say?

<p>The rise of the digital age has been marked by an expansion in the types of technologies available to consumers.</p> <p>Perhaps one of the more controversial technologies to hit shelves in recent years is the drone.</p> <p>Consumer drones, also known as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles,’ allow users to photograph, record and transmit information using remotely controlled, airborne craft.</p> <p>They offer many advantages; enabling users to obtain aerial footage without the need for manned aircraft such as helicopters, which can be expensive to operate.</p> <p>They also allow users to take photos and videos in situations which would otherwise be inaccessible, dangerous or illegal to reach.</p> <p>For these reasons, they have become popular with real estate photographers, police, and even the media.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-impact-of-drones-on-privacy/">the use of drones has raised questions about the extent to which they may impinge on privacy rights</a> – and, perhaps even more importantly, the ways in which they may pose a threat to public safety.</p> <p>Last week a man was fined $850 <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-18/drone-fine-man-hit-with-24850-penalty-for-interfering-with/5977594">after he attempted to use his drone to obtain footage of a siege in Melbourne’s western suburbs</a>.</p> <p>Authorities believe he was trying to take pictures of a police operation – but his efforts didn’t go to plan.</p> <p>His drone lost control after it hit a power pole and it was confiscated by police.</p> <p>Aviation authorities say the incident highlights the dangers of using drones in situations involving emergency personnel.</p> <p>There are also concerns about the use of drones near large crowds or gatherings as there is the potential to cause injury to members of the public if used inappropriately.</p> <p>It is believed that the drone’s operator was attempting to capture footage of the race when he lost control.</p> <p><strong>Current Laws Regarding Drone Use</strong></p> <p><strong>So, what does the law say about the use of drones?</strong></p> <p>The use of drones in Australia is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which has developed specific regulations regulating their operation.</p> <p>There are two different sets of regulations which apply to drones – commercial regulations for those who use their drones for business operations, and civil regulations which apply to hobby users.</p> <p>If you’re wanting to use your drone for business operations, the law requires you to obtain an ‘Operator’s Certificate’ – similar to a driver’s licence, but for drones.</p> <p>You also need to have all commercial flights approved by CASA, which involves lodging paperwork and a flight plan.</p> <p>If these requirements are not complied with, you may have your Operator’s Certificate revoked, be issued with an infringement notice or even face criminal charges.</p> <p>For hobbyists, the rules are slightly more relaxed, however you will be expected to comply with certain requirements in the interests of public safety.</p> <p>Users must ensure that they only fly their drones during the day, at least 30 metres away from other people and below 400 feet in the air.</p> <p>Drones must also not be flown over crowds or large gatherings, or within 5 kilometres of an airport.</p> <p>If you fail to adhere to these regulations, you could cop a fine of up to $8,500.</p> <p>You could also face criminal prosecution if your actions injure another person or their property.</p> <p><strong>A need for better regulation?</strong></p> <p>A spate of safety incidents, coupled with concerns that drone use may impinge upon privacy rights, led the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs to conduct <a href="http://www.cnet.com/au/news/parliament-committee-warns-about-drone-privacy/">an inquiry in July into the laws governing drone use in Australia.</a></p> <p>It found that as drones becomes more commonplace, tougher laws are required to deal with privacy and safety concerns, as there are a number of gaps in the current laws.</p> <p>The Committee made six recommendations – including for CASA to include information about Australia’s privacy laws on safety pamphlets distributed to vendors of drones, and for the pamphlets to ‘highlight remotely piloted aircraft users’ responsibility not to monitor, record or disclose individuals’ private activities without their consent.’</p> <p>The Committee also recommended that the government introduce specific new laws providing protection against ‘privacy-invasive technologies’ such as drones.</p> <p>It is hoped that these laws will be introduced by July 2015, however it is not yet certain what form the new laws will take.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-use-of-drones-what-does-the-law-say/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers. </a></em></p>

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Some infant formula milks contain more sugar than soda drinks new research reveals

<p>Some formula milks have double the sugar per serving than a <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35831125">glass of soda</a>. That was the key finding of our <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-020-1252-0">global investigation</a> into the sugar content of infant formula and follow-on milks. But perhaps more shocking is the fact that there are so few regulations in place to control sugar content and to make sure consumers are well informed.</p> <p>We all love sugar. But too much of the sweet stuff can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133084/">dental disease</a>. Our preference for sugary foods stems from our primitive ancestors, who were scavengers and sought out sweet foods for energy. But if we are hardwired to like sweet foods, being fed lots of sugar as babies can increase our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738223/">desire for sweet things</a> and increase the risk of developing disease in later life.</p> <p>Breast milk is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/">the recommended</a> source of nutrition for infants, especially during the first six months of life. Although it is sweet and high in energy, the sugar is mainly lactose and the content is specific to the needs of the growing infant. Conversely, infant formula milks have a standardised make-up and contain added sugars such as corn syrup which are added during production and are not found in breast milk. This is bad for babies because high consumption of added sugars <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212267219313401?via%3Dihub">may contribute</a> to tooth decay, poor diet and lead to obesity in children.</p> <p>We investigated the sugar content of 212 commercially available infant formula milk products targeted at infants under three. The products were being sold in supermarkets in 11 countries. We collected data on sugar content from nutrition labels and compared it to average breast milk compositions and sugar content guidelines. We also noted the clarity of the labels and the marketing strategies used on the packaging.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-020-1252-0">Our findings</a> revealed that over half of the products contained more than 5g of sugar per 100ml. In many cases, the sugar content was over 7.5g per 100ml, which exceeds <a href="http://www.babymilkaction.org/archives/8274">European parliament</a> recommended levels for infants. For example, we found that a powdered product for infants under six months sold in France contained 8.2g of sugar per 100ml, or nearly two teaspoons, while a ready-to-drink milk formula for infants under 12 months sold in the UK contained 8.1g of sugar per 100ml.</p> <p>This comes at a time when sugar-sweetened beverages have been subject to widespread taxation to reduce their sugar content due to <a href="https://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/PPA-Building-Momentum-Report-WEB.pdf">negative impacts on health</a>. As a result, many formula products included in our study contained almost double the sugar of well known drinks such as <a href="https://www.coca-cola.co.uk/drinks/fanta/fanta-orange">Fanta Orange</a>.</p> <p><strong>Nutritional information</strong></p> <p>Obtaining information from the labels of these formula products was difficult as the fonts used were small and the facts provided varied between countries. For example, some products listed sugar content per 100g while others listed it per 100kcal. This is despite <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/3521/regulation/18/made">guidelines</a>, such as those in the UK, which state that values should be expressed as kJ/kcal per 100ml.</p> <p>There are also <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/international-code-marketing-breastmilk-substitutes-resources/the-code/">codes</a> in place to limit the marketing of infant formula products because they are not the best way to feed a growing baby. But most of these are voluntary codes of practice which manufacturers do not have to abide by.</p> <p>Even guidelines which are enforced by law can be side-stepped by manufacturers, since they are <a href="https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/gb/reports/health/dont-push-it.pdf">not strictly monitored</a> and have loopholes. In some cases, manufacturers themselves have even influenced their development.</p> <p><a href="https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/gb/reports/health/dont-push-it.pdf">For example</a>it was revealed that the industry has funded research into infant health and has given doctors free formula products. This almost certainly helps ensure that their sale is affected as little as possible by such guidelines. It is possible that the sale of infant formula products has increased worldwide as a result.</p> <p>The World Health Organization’s <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/international-code-marketing-breastmilk-substitutes-resources/the-code/">International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes</a> stipulates that infant formula products should not be promoted over breastfeeding. <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/3521/regulation/17/made">In the UK</a> the guidelines state that the labels on products targeted at infants under six months should not include images of infants or any other pictures that idealise their use.</p> <p>But we found that many of the formulas had labels that included images of infants or cute toys of animals, presumably designed to entice caregivers into buying. Such findings are not unsurprising as there is evidence that <a href="http://www.babymilkaction.org/monitoring-global">harmful marketing strategies</a> have been used extensively by infant formula and follow-on milk manufacturers.</p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong></p> <p>Our findings are alarming, as is the potential negative impact of the high sugar content on the health of babies. We urge parents and caregivers to opt for breast milk whenever possible. However, to help those families unable to breastfeed their babies, we also have two key recommendations for policymakers:</p> <p>1) Regulate the amount and type of sugar in infant formula products as a matter of urgency. Encourage manufacturers to aim for formulations as close to breast milk as possible. Such regulations could be conducted in a similar way to the taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages which have been <a href="https://www.worldobesity.org/resources/policy-dossiers/pd-1/case-studies">implemented across the world</a>.</p> <p>2) We are also calling for the mandatory disclosure of added sugar by manufacturers and suggest that this could be implemented alongside the introduction of a clear front-of-pack labelling system. Such disclosures and clear labelling could aid consumers to make informed choices about what products they purchase.</p> <p><em>Written by Gemma Bridge. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/some-infant-formula-milks-contain-more-sugar-than-soda-drinks-new-research-129655"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Are cyclists in NSW required to wear helmets?

<p>Remember when you were young, you’d jump on your bicycle and go for a ride to the park, to a friend’s place or to the park? Not a care in the world, using your handy companion to get from place to place? Perhaps the last thing you’d be concerned about would be getting pulled over by a police officer and issued with a penalty notice.</p> <p>Well times have changed, and concerns about the potential consequences of collisions involving bicycles have led to the enactment of laws which make it mandatory to wear helmets when riding.</p> <p><strong>Dangers of riding without a helmet</strong></p> <p>Statistics suggest that <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/pedal-cyclist-injury-deaths-hospitalisations/contents/table-of-contents">one in five</a> people injured on Australian roads are cyclists, and research – and perhaps common sense – says your injuries can be reduced by wearing approved head protection.</p> <p>So, what are the laws when it comes to wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle in New South Wales?</p> <p>And are they justified?</p> <p><strong>The Laws</strong></p> <p>Australia was the first country in the world to implement mandatory helmet laws.</p> <p>Victoria implemented the first laws in 1990, and the rest of the country followed suit shortly thereafter.</p> <p>In New South Wales, <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2014/758/part15/rule256">Rule 256 of the Road Rules 2014</a> states:</p> <p><em>The rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, unless the rider is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet under another law of this jurisdiction.</em></p> <p><strong>Does the law apply to everyone, even kids?</strong></p> <p>Yes. The applies to all bicycle riders, regardless of age, including kids on bicycles with training wheels and those who are being carried as a passenger on a bike or in a bicycle trailer.</p> <p><strong>What is an approved bicycle helmet?</strong></p> <p>An ‘approved bicycle helmet’ is one which has a sticker or label certifying it meets the Australian and New Zealand standard, which is AS/NZS 2063.</p> <p>Helmets manufactured after 31 March 2011 must have an identifying mark from a body accredited or approved by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) certifying compliance with the standard.</p> <p><strong>What is a road-related area?</strong></p> <p>The requirement to wear a helmet applies to roads as well as ‘road-related areas’, which under <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2014/758/part2/div1/rule13">Rule 13 of the Road Rules</a>include:</p> <ul> <li>an area that divides a road,</li> <li>a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road,</li> <li>an area that is not a road and that is open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals, and</li> <li>an area that is not a road and that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles.</li> </ul> <p><strong>What is the penalty for not wearing a bicycle helmet?</strong></p> <p>The maximum penalty a court can impose for the offence is 20 <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-a-penalty-unit/">penalty units</a>, which amounts to $2200, but most cases are dealt with by way of ‘on-the-spot’ fines in the sum of $344 (at the time of writing).</p> <p>The fine for not wearing a helmet in NSW <a href="https://theconversation.com/over-the-top-policing-of-bike-helmet-laws-targets-vulnerable-riders-125228">is the highest in the country</a> – by comparison, the fine is currently $207 in Victoria and $25 in the Northern Territory, and critics argue the enforcement of fines is little more than a revenue raising exercise for police, with <a href="https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/resources-library/statistics">17,560 penalty notices being issued for the offence from 2016 to 2019.</a><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Can I Get an Exemption?</strong></p> <p>Whereas there are laws in a number of Australian jurisdictions which clarify the situations in which an exemption from wearing a bicycle helmet can be obtained, New South Wales is one of the strictest jurisdictions when it comes to getting an exemption.</p> <p>Applications for exemptions can be sought from the Roads and Maritime services on grounds such as medical requirements and religious obligations, and are determined on a case-by-case basis.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Do Mandatory Helmet Laws Work? </strong></p> <p>Considerable controversy exists regarding the efficacy of mandatory <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/cyclists-outraged-over-new-laws/">helmet laws</a>.</p> <p>Whilst there is no doubt wearing a helmet in an accident could save your life, requiring helmets often means less people are willing to cycle.</p> <p>An <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1368064">analysis</a> by Professor Piet De Jong from Macquarie University found that the benefits of mandatory helmet laws were negligible compared to the potential health benefits of more people riding.</p> <p>Regular cycling has considerable health benefits including cardiovascular fitness, increased joint mobility and decreased risk of obesity. It is arguable that this net public health benefit is considerable compared to the isolated risk of injury.</p> <p>Concerns have also been raised that helmets may make some forms of injury more likely. Critics of current laws often cite that helmets can cause a form head rotation injury called a ‘diffuse axonal injury’.</p> <p>This injury occurs due to the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head such as in whiplash.</p> <p>In 2010, anti-helmet activist Sue Abbott <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2012/nov/13/helmets-australia">successfully</a> had her conviction and fine quashed on appeal to the NSW District Court arguing that the laws made riding more dangerous due to risk of diffuse axonal injury.</p> <p>Although District Court Judge Roy Ellis still found the offence proven, he did have this to say on bike helmet laws:</p> <p><em>“I frankly don’t think there is anything advantageous and there may well be a disadvantage in situations to have a helmet – and it seems to me that it’s one of those areas where it ought to be a matter of choice.’’</em></p> <p>However, Ms Abbott’s theories have been disputed by many medical experts. For example, <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/198/8/effectiveness-helmets-reducing-head-injuries-and-hospital-treatment-costs">an analysis of cases</a> by physicians through the University of Sydney in 2013 the risks of severe head injury times higher in non-helmeted cyclists that those wearing a helmet.</p> <p>The debate regarding cycling helmets is unlikely to end any time soon with many activists longing to ride with the wind in their hair, without a hit to their hip pocket.</p> <p><em>Written by Jarryd Bartle and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/are-cyclists-in-nsw-required-to-wear-helmets/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Can police demand the password to my phone or computer?

<p>Many will recall last year’s <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/fbi-cracks-apples-encryption/">battle between the United States Justice Department and technology giant Apple</a>, whereby the former spent millions of dollars trying to force the latter to unlock the IPhone of a gunman allegedly involved in the San Bernadino terrorist attack.</p> <p>The Justice Department felt the need to take such action because it knew the United States constitution would never allow the forced disclosure of an individual’s personal identity information in circumstances where it may incriminate them.</p> <p>However, the situation in Australia is different. Here, there is a legal mechanism for police to <a href="https://www.loc.gov/law/help/encrypted-communications/australia.php">force the disclosure</a> of an individual’s passwords, personal identification numbers and private encryption keys to enable them to access an individual’s smartphone or computer during the investigation of a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/commonwealth-offences/">Commonwealth offence</a>.</p> <p>That mechanism is contained in <a href="http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca191482/s3la.html">section 3LA</a> of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (“the Act”), which provides that “a constable may apply to a magistrate for an order to provide any information or assistance that is reasonable and necessary” to allow them to access data stored on “a computer or data storage device.”</p> <p>A “constable” is defined by <a href="http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca191482/s3.html">section 3 of the Act</a> as “a member or special member of the Australian Federal Police or a member of the police force or police service of a State or Territory”.</p> <p>Police can apply to a magistrate for an “assistance order” requiring the owner or user of a computer or data storage device to provide such information they can establish <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-powers-to-stop-require-identification-and-search-in-nsw/">a reasonable suspicion</a> that the device holds or can enable access to evidential material relevant to a crime.</p> <p>The subject of the order is not required to be suspected of any crime. He or she merely needs to be the owner of the device that police reasonably suspect holds information relating to an offence.</p> <p>If the application is successful, the subject will be required to provide the password/s enabling police to gain access to the device/s, as well as any decryption information in order to make data accessible and intelligible to police.</p> <p>Failure to comply with an assistance order is a criminal offence. When the law was first enacted, the maximum penalty was 6 months imprisonment. However, authorities have since raised the maximum penalty to 2 years behind bars.</p> <p><strong>A climate of paranoia</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/num_act/ca2001112/sch1.html">Commonwealth Cybercrime Act</a> inserted section 3LA into the Crimes Act in October 2001. The Cybercrime Act was passed through federal parliament in a post-September 11 climate of mounting fear about the threat of terrorism and <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/section-308h-of-the-crimes-act-computer-hacking-and-high-tech-offences/">cybercrime</a>.</p> <p>That Act created seven new criminal offences: three serious computer offences and four summary computer offences. It also extended police investigative powers in relation to search and seizure of electronically stored data.</p> <p><strong>The circumstances behind section 3LA</strong></p> <p>In his 2004 University of Queensland paper titled <a href="http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/journals/UQLawJl/2004/1.html?context=1;query=%22ca191482">Handing Over the Keys</a>, Nikolas James points to several reasons why a law that provides police with such pervasive power was passed at the time.</p> <p>The EU’s Convention on Cybercrime recommended that countries implement laws that guaranteed authorities could access user data under the threat of imprisonment. And France suggested that the convention be open to all countries.</p> <p>The Australian laws at the time were seen as inadequate when it came to the growing threat of cybercrime. Police were pushing for new powers, as encrypted data represented a significant obstacle to the gathering of evidence.</p> <p>The Australian business community was also losing faith in the ability of law enforcement to guard against the rising cost of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/do-we-need-new-technology-laws-in-nsw/">cybercrime</a>. And the public’s perception of the threat posed by cybercrime helped enable authorities to broaden their reach.</p> <p><strong>Mass surveillance</strong></p> <p>Mr James also lists Australia’s involvement in the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/rip-government-accountability-in-australia-a-privacy-guide-for-journalists/">Five Eyes global electronic surveillance alliance</a> as a reason the law was allowed to pass with little fanfare. The alliance is comprised of the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and was established under the <a href="https://www.my-private-network.co.uk/vpn-provider-14-eyes-country-something-know/">UKUSA Agreement</a> back in 1946.</p> <p>The Five Eyes agreement allows security agencies of these nations to collect and share private and commercial communications data with one another. In Australia, strong encryption had been hampering operations, and section 3LA helped facilitate data access.</p> <p><strong>The implications of section 3LA</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/turnbull-continues-assault-on-civil-liberties/">Civil liberties</a> groups have always been highly critical of the provision. They point out that the wording of the section is vague and the scope of the investigative powers it provides is almost unlimited. They argue that the section’s intrusion on the privacy of the populace – including those who are not suspected of an offence – is not justified or outweighed by the benefit it provides to law enforcement.</p> <p>Electronic Frontiers Australia <a href="https://www.efa.org.au/Issues/Privacy/cybercrimeact.html">described</a> the passing the Cybercrime Act as a “knee-jerk reaction to recent well-publicised virus attacks,” that “introduces an alarming law enforcement provision requiring release of encryption keys or decryption of data, contrary to the common law privilege against self-incrimination.”</p> <p>The digital rights protection organisation <a href="https://www.efa.org.au/Publish/cybercrime_bill.html">further pointed out</a> that the law has the potential to lead to the imprisonment of an individual who has genuinely forgotten their password or encryption keys.</p> <p>The provisions under section 3LA also have the potential to enable police to access whole computer networks. If an officer has a reasonable suspicion a computer contains some evidential information, they can obtain an order, which will also provide access to any other computer it’s connected to.</p> <p>And with the scope of the internet, the potential reach is virtually unlimited.</p> <p><strong>Brandis plans to broaden powers</strong></p> <p>In July this year, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-14/facebook-google-to-be-forced-to-decrypt-messages-fight-terrorism/8707748">announced</a> proposed new laws that will require social media and technology companies like Facebook and Google to allow Australian security agencies access to people’s encrypted messages.</p> <p>Attorney general George Brandis has actually been pushing for these laws <a href="https://www.itnews.com.au/news/attorney-generals-new-war-on-encrypted-web-services-375286">since early 2014</a>.</p> <p>In a submission to the Senate inquiry into the comprehensive revision of the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2013C00361">Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 2014</a>, the attorney general’s office stated that these laws “would operate in a similar fashion to orders made under section 3LA.”</p> <p>“Section 3LA permits agencies that have seized physical hardware… under a search warrant to apply for a further warrant requiring a person to ‘provide any information or assistance that is reasonable and necessary’ to allow information held on the device to be converted into an intelligible form,” the authors wrote.</p> <p>Co-convenor of the UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Community David Vaile told <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/about/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers®</a><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/digital-surveillance-an-interview-with-the-cyberspace-law-and-policy-communitys-david-vaile/"> in August</a> that the trigger for social media companies starting to use encryption on a wider scale was revelations that the NSA had been hacking into Google data centres.</p> <p>This information was revealed when Edward Snowden leaked classified documents from the NSA in mid-2013. The thousands of documents exposed by Snowden informed the public that global surveillance programs were being conducted by the NSA, along with other Five Eyes nations.</p> <p><strong>Big brother is watching</strong></p> <p>In his 2004 paper, Mr James outlined that by “undermining the effectiveness of encryption, section 3LA redirects the flow of power away from business and private citizens towards law enforcement agencies.”</p> <p>Encryption empowers citizens to protect themselves against cybercrime without the need of police protection. But by applying the provisions of section 3LA, law enforcement can now shift that balance of power, making individuals more reliant on those agencies.</p> <p>The provision also works to monitor citizens through panoptic surveillance, according to Mr James.</p> <p>The panoptic surveillance effect of this law is that individuals are aware that, at any time, police have the potential to access their personal computers and smartphones. So people may begin to self-regulate their behaviour on these devices, as at any moment they might be subject to the investigation of authorities.</p> <p>Mr James warned that as the population becomes aware such provisions exist, “citizens will willingly and obediently reduce the space within which they feel free to live, to play, to act and to create away from authority’s scrutiny and judgment.”</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/can-police-demand-the-password-to-my-phone-or-computer/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Billions are pouring into mobility technology – will the transport revolution live up to the hype?

<p>Over the past decade almost <a href="https://files.pitchbook.com/website/files/pdf/PitchBook_Q4_2019_Emerging_Tech_Research_Mobility_Tech_Executive_Summary.pdf">US$200 billion</a> has been invested globally in mobility technology that promises to improve our ability to get around. More than US$33 billion was invested last year alone. Another measure of interest in this area is the <a href="https://travelandmobility.tech/lists/unicorns/">number of unicorns</a>, which has doubled in the past two years.</p> <p>A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at US$1 billion or more. In early 2018 there were 22 travel and mobility unicorns. By last month the number had grown to 44.</p> <p>The top categories in the mobility area are: ride hailing, with 11 unicorns (25.0%); autonomous vehicles, with ten (22.7%); and micromobility, with three (6.8%). The remaining 20 unicorns are in the travel category (hotels, bookings and so on).</p> <p>Mobility technology is more than just autonomous vehicles, ride hailing and e-scooters and e-bikes. It also includes: electrification (electric vehicles, charging/batteries); fleet management and connectivity (connectivity, data management, cybersecurity, parking, fleet management); auto commerce (car sharing); transportation logistics (freight, last-mile delivery); and urban air mobility.</p> <p><strong>Promised solutions, emerging problems</strong></p> <p>Much of the interest in mobility technology is coming from individuals outside the transport arena. Startups are attracting investors by claiming their technology will solve many of our transport problems.</p> <p>Micromobility companies believe their e-scooters and e-bikes will solve the “<a href="https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/9780784413210.007">first-mile last-mile</a>” problem by enabling people to move quickly and easily between their homes or workplaces and a bus or rail station. While this might work in theory, it depends on having <a href="https://theconversation.com/fork-in-the-road-as-danish-and-dutch-style-cycle-routes-spread-19744">safe and segregated bicycle networks</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-love-the-idea-of-20-minute-neighbourhoods-so-why-isnt-it-top-of-the-agenda-131193">frequent and widely accessible public transport</a> services.</p> <p>Ride-hailing services might relieve people of the need to own a car. But <a href="https://www.som.com/ideas/publications/som_thinkers_the_future_of_transportation">there is evidence</a> to suggest these services are <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-ride-hail-utopia-that-got-stuck-in-traffic-11581742802">adding to traffic congestion</a>. That’s because, unlike taxis, more of their time on the road involves travelling without any passengers.</p> <p>Navigation tools (Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze) have <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps">been around longer</a> than most other mobility technologies and are meant make it easier to find the least-congested route for any given trip. However, <a href="https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~theophile/docs/publications/Cabannes_19_ACM.pdf">research</a> suggests these tools might not be working as intended. The <a href="https://www.som.com/ideas/publications/som_thinkers_the_future_of_transportation">backlash</a> against them is growing in some cities because traffic is being directed onto neighbourhood streets rather than arterial roads.</p> <p>Autonomous vehicles have the goal of reducing injuries and deaths from car crashes. Only a few years ago many bold predictions were being made that these self-driving vehicles would be having positive impacts by now, but this hasn’t happened. The enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles has cooled. <a href="https://www.vtpi.org/avip.pdf">Some now believe</a> we won’t see many of the social benefits for decades.</p> <p>The final mobility tech area is known as mobility as a service (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobility_as_a_service">MAAS</a>). It’s basically a platform designed to make better use of existing infrastructure and transport modes. MAAS begins with a journey planner that is linked to one-stop payment for a range of mobility services – ride-hailing, e-scooters, e-bikes, taxis, public transport, and so on.</p> <p>MAAS is the newest entrant in the mobility tech field. It has attracted US$6.8 billion to date, but is expected to grow to <a href="https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/mobility-as-a-service-market-78519888.html">over US$100 billion by 2030</a>. This idea is creating great enthusiasm, not only among private entrepreneurs, but also in the public sector. It’s too early to know whether it will improve transportation.</p> <p><strong>3 trends are driving investment</strong></p> <p>So, why do venture capitalists <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfrazer1/2019/03/11/new-mobility-worth-billions-venture-capital-thinks-so/#198cda2247d8">continue to show so much interest</a> in mobility technology startups despite poor company performance to date? It appears they believe personal mobility will become increasingly important. <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfrazer1/2019/03/11/new-mobility-worth-billions-venture-capital-thinks-so/#198cda2247d8">Three trends</a>support this belief.</p> <p>First, urban dwellers increasingly value the ability to move around easily. It’s thought to be a key ingredient for a liveable city. The problem is public transport is often not very good, particularly in the US and in outer suburbs in Australia.</p> <p>This is due to historically low funding relative to roads. The prospect of more funding and better public transport services in the future is not good. In part that’s because many <a href="https://www.vox.com/2015/8/10/9118199/public-transportation-subway-buses">view public transport as welfare</a> and not an essential public service. Thus, if cities want to become more liveable and competitive, they must look beyond government-funded public transport for other mobility alternatives.</p> <p>The second trend is declining vehicle ownership. Since 1986 US sales of car and light trucks per capita have dropped by <a href="https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/2020/02/04/vehicle-sales-per-capita-our-latest-look-at-the-long-term-trendh">almost 30%</a>. In Australia, new car sales <a href="https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/research/australian-car-sales-statistics.html">remained relatively constant</a> over the past decade, but a <a href="http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7982-new-vehicle-purchase-intention-march-2019-201905240039">decline since 2017 is expected to continue</a>. These trends are due in part to the cost of owning a vehicle, but also because of a growing view that owning a car may not be necessary.</p> <p>This brings us to the third trend, which involves demographics and the <a href="https://theconversation.com/delay-in-getting-driving-licences-opens-door-to-more-sustainable-travel-57430">post-millennial desire for access to mobility</a> services <a href="https://theconversation.com/car-ownership-is-likely-to-become-a-thing-of-the-past-and-so-could-public-transport-110550">rather than vehicle ownership</a>.</p> <p>These trends, combined with expectations of an upward trend in prices of these services, suggests there may be good times ahead for ride-hailing and micromobility companies. It also means venture capital funding for these startups will not be diminishing in the near future.</p> <p><strong>The future of transport isn’t simple</strong></p> <p>Transport systems are multifaceted. No one single app or technology will solve the challenges. And, as we are discovering, some of the purported solutions to problems might actually be making the situation worse.</p> <p>If the goal is to get people out of their cars (for <a href="https://theconversation.com/designing-suburbs-to-cut-car-use-closes-gaps-in-health-and-wealth-83961">better health and quality of life and a better environment</a>), this will require more than a technology. Better infrastructure and public policies (including better integration of land uses and transport to reduce the need for transport) will be required – <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-why-congestion-charging-is-fairer-than-you-might-think-124894">congestion pricing</a>being one of those.</p> <p>That is not to say technological innovations are not welcome as part of the solution, but they are just that … “part” of the solution.</p> <p><em>Written by Neil G Sipe. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/billions-are-pouring-into-mobility-technology-will-the-transport-revolution-live-up-to-the-hype-131154"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Imprisoning the innocent: The causes of wrongful convictions in Australia

<p><em>It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer’.</em></p> <p>These words of 18<sup>th</sup> century English jurist William Blackstone resonate just as loudly today as they did back then in relation to the magnitude of the injustice created by imprisoning innocent people.</p> <p>But what do we know about the causes of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/wrongful-convictions-in-australia/">false convictions in Australia</a>, and what can be done to achieve justice for innocent people who are languishing behind bars?</p> <p><strong>What is a wrongful conviction?</strong></p> <p>A ‘wrongful conviction’ occurs when a person is convicted of crime they did not commit.</p> <p>Such convictions amount to a ‘miscarriage of justice’, although that term encompasses a far broader range of circumstances than just a wrongful conviction, including the absence of a fair trial and the admission of unfairly prejudicial evidence.</p> <p><strong>Can the percentage of wrongful convictions be estimated?</strong></p> <p>The short answer is no – it is impossible to give a realistic estimate of innocent people who are convicted, despite <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228207991_Innocents_Convicted_An_Empirically_Justified_Factual_Wrongful_Conviction_Rate">various researchers in the United States and other nations</a> attempting to do so.</p> <p>This is due to a range of factors, not the least of which is that many wrongful convictions will never come to light, with those sentenced to imprisonment languishing behind bars despite their innocence.</p> <p>Other factors are that people who are innocent may nevertheless plead guilty – whether to the charges they are facing or to downgraded charges – in order to avoid the risk of a lengthier conviction after a hearing or trial.</p> <p>Some defendants may be pressured into pleading guilty by their lawyers or as a result of their inability to afford a lengthy hearing or trial. Others may simply wish to ‘get it over with’ and avoid a trial and all the associated stress, anxiety, delay and uncertainty it causes to themselves and their families.</p> <p>Others may fall victim of inadequate legal representation during the hearing or trial, or the admission of false or mistaken evidence such as <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/it-was-him-problems-with-identification-evidence/">notoriously unreliable identification evidence</a>.</p> <p>So it is not sensible or realistic to give estimate the number or percentage of people convicted despite the fact they innocent.</p> <p><strong>Notable cases of wrongful convictions in Australia</strong></p> <p>That said, there are <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/FlinLawJl/2015/6.pdf">at least seventy high-profile, reported cases of wrongful convictions in Australia</a>, from <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/wrongful-convictions-in-australia/">Lindsay Chamberlain, to the Mickelberg brother, John Button and Andrew Mallard</a> – all of whom were eventually released from prison (except Peter Mickelberg who died behind bars) after it became clear they should not have been convicted in the first place.</p> <p><strong>Causes of Wrongful Conviction</strong></p> <p>While the reasons for wrongful convictions are often complex and multi-faceted, the <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/CICrimJust/2005/26.html">research of Professors Juliette Langdon and Paul Wilson</a> into reported cases in the United States suggests that:</p> <ul> <li>50% were signified by over-zealous and/or unprofessional police investigations,</li> <li>44% were based on profiling and weak circumstantial evidence,</li> <li>22% of cases exhibited incompetence in the investigation, with 12.5% of those involving criminal conduct by police, and</li> <li>22% involved discredited expert evidence.</li> </ul> <p>The researchers found that a single focus, or ‘tunnel vision’ in the investigation process led to innocent people being convicted.</p> <p>Professors Keith Findley and Michael S Scott from the University of Wisconsin similarly found tunnel vision to be a significant contributing factor, describing it as where investigators “focus on a suspect, select and filter the evidence that will ‘build a case’ for conviction, while ignoring the suppressing evidence that points away from guilt”.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-reliable-is-identification-evidence/">unreliable evidence such as identification evidence</a> – especially where it relates to the identification of minority groups – and the misleading presentation of forensic evidence have also been identified as significant contributing factors.</p> <p>Indeed, the majority of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-the-innocence-project-is-helping-those-wrongly-convicted-of-a-crime/">the more than 300 people exonerated through the Innocence Project</a> in the United States were set free after they were convicted solely or primarily on identification evidence, when DNA evidence from the crime scene later established they were not the perpetrators.</p> <p>Some of these people spent decades behind bars before their release, and a number were on death row.</p> <p><strong>What can be done?</strong></p> <p>On a broad level, it is fundamental that the law maintains the presumption of innocence – which is a fundamental principle that has been <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/lawyers-must-fight-for-human-rights/">significantly curtailed by successive state and federal governments in Australia</a>.</p> <p>The right to a lawyer in criminal cases – <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/would-you-rather-be-suspected-of-a-crime-in-the-us-or-australia/">something which is guaranteed throughout the United States but not in Australia</a> – is also important in ensuring that defendants are not left to represent themselves against a well-funded, professional prosecution, and do not feel compelled to plead guilty for financial reasons.</p> <p>The United States has a robust Innocence Project which reviews selected cases of alleged wrongful imprisonment. And while there are <a href="http://www.bohii.net/">small Innocence Projects in Australia</a>, they have nowhere near the same resources.</p> <p>Funding Innocence Projects could provide an avenue for those who have been wrongly convicted and exhausted their regular avenues of appeal to achieve justice.</p> <p>England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) whose role is to review the cases of alleged wrongful convictions, investigate them and, where appropriate, act to ensure justice.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/australian-body-needed-to-investigate-wrongful-convictions/">similar body in Australia</a> would also assist in promoting justice for those who have been wrongly convicted and exhausted their appeals.</p> <p><strong>Been wrongly convicted?</strong></p> <p>If you or a love-one has been wrongly convicted of a criminal or traffic offence, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/services/appeals/">expert appeal lawyer</a> who can advise you of your appeal rights and the best way forward.</p> <p>If your loved-one is in prison, we offer <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/fixed-fees/">fixed fees for prison visits</a> throughout New South Wales, as well as conferences via audio-visual link.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim and Jarryd Bartle. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/imprisoning-the-innocent-the-causes-of-wrongful-convictions-in-australia/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p>

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It was a very good year - but which Best Picture nominee will win an Oscar?

<p>Last year was an exceptional year for Hollywood cinema, and this is reflected in the Oscar nominees for Best Picture.</p> <p>The Oscars often celebrate the middlebrow and polite over the exceptional and avant garde, resulting in many extraordinary films missing out on the accolades. In 2018, it was Luca Guadagnino’s striking <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034415/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0">Suspiria</a> that received zero nominations.</p> <p>Contrary to form, four of this year’s nominees could have been deserved winners other years. Even more refreshing is the radical difference between these films – from bourgeois social realist drama <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7653254/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Marriage Story</a> to anarchic black comedy <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7286456/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Joker</a>.</p> <p><strong>Close runner-up: Joker</strong></p> <p>Joker proves that Todd Phillips, whose early career, from <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1539993/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Hated</a> to <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0302886/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Old School</a>showed comedic promise, is finally making funny movies again.</p> <p>After a poignant first half hour, the film breezes into (black) comedy mode, as we watch Joaquin Phoenix’s down-on-his-luck comedian Arthur Fleck become progressively more deranged. Phillips presents some genuinely hilarious tableaux.</p> <p>Joker moves poignant tale to black comedy with ease.</p> <p>Fitting for a movie about self-important Batman’s arch-nemesis, the whole thing is wonderfully absurd. Phoenix proves once again that he is the master of flawed characters who, while taking themselves seriously, are pathetically funny.</p> <p>Joker reveals the contradictions of our political present — collective meaning-making transformed into individualised, identity-based fantasy. Phoenix’s Joker – forgotten by a broken welfare system — shows mass disenfranchisement can only be made sense of as its apolitical other: individual bursts of aimless violence.</p> <p>Joker is a thoroughly amoral film. It presents a world of vital (and violent) negativity without offering the usual Hollywood moral bandaid.</p> <p><strong>Exquisitely simple: Marriage Story</strong></p> <p>Noah Baumbach’s Netflix film is similarly peppered with bursts of humour, but its approach is naturalistic.</p> <p>Unlike some of Baumbach’s earlier films (see <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367089/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Squid and the Whale</a> and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1234654/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Greenberg</a>), this has a decisive quality to it.</p> <p>Scarlett Johansson deserves the Best Actress award for her performance in Marriage Story.</p> <p>A simple narrative – a couple with a child undergoes a divorce – anchors an unbelievably compelling performance from Scarlet Johansson. It would be a great injustice if she did not win the Best Actress Oscar. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta are also brilliant as a couple of combative divorce attorneys.</p> <p>The film is technically flawless in its construction, with the camera, editing, and score tending towards invisibility.</p> <p>The final moment between the pair, involving a trivial daily act, epitomises the film as a whole – simple, beautiful, funny and emotionally devastating.</p> <p><strong>Long but worthy: The Irishman</strong></p> <p>Martin Scorsese’s true crime yarn The Irishman, also made for Netflix, demands a more complex process of critical evaluation.</p> <p>Some of it is awe-inspiring – Joe Pesci’s performance as ageing gangster Russell Buffalino is one of its highlights. Robert De Niro’s subtle brilliance as Frank Sheeran is epitomised in a sequence towards the end of the film in which he makes a telephone call. He should have been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar on the basis of this scene alone.</p> <p>Yet the territory is familiar stuff for Scorsese, and the first two-thirds of the (very long) film plays like a watered-down <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Goodfellas</a> or a season of <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0979432/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Boardwalk Empire</a>– a retro true crime saga following gangsters and politicos in control of the Teamsters union. Al Pacino, nominated for an Oscar for his turn as Jimmy Hoffa, just does the usual Pacino thing where he shouts a lot, with little nuance.</p> <p>Though it starts off as a watered-down Goodfellas, the final act of The Irishman becomes something more profound.</p> <p>In the final third, however, the film takes a radically different turn. As the consciousness of the film merges with that of the eponymous hitman, it becomes increasingly emotionally complex.</p> <p>The Irishman’s estrangement from his family, from his work, and from his social world is starkly realised when we find him in a nursing home. This one-time heavy now seems like a disoriented and tired old fogey, attempting to relive glory days by telling stories to people who don’t know – or care – about them.</p> <p>It’s a long (did I mention long?) and gruelling film, brilliantly shot and staged. The finale turns what might otherwise seem like a self-indulgent genre exercise into a profound reflection on art and existence.</p> <p><strong>My pick for Best Picture: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7131622/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0">Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood</a> is Quentin Tarantino’s 21st century masterpiece, and it would not be surprising if he made no more films after this one, given it seems to sum up the rest of his oeuvre – and Hollywood at large – as, indeed, fairytale.</p> <p>His best film since <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119396/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Jackie Brown</a> is a stunning, elegiac lament of the impossibility of film art to transform and transcend history.</p> <p>Tarantino’s latest Hollywood masterpiece may well be his last.</p> <p>Everything about this film works, from the extraordinary performances from old timers like Leonardo Di Caprio and (relative) newcomers like Margaret Qualley (who self-assuredly steals her scenes with Brad Pitt) to the stately creation and photography of a nostalgic Los Angeles.</p> <p>The sequence in which Margot Robbie, as Sharon Tate, watches her performance on the big screen, delightfully laughing the whole time, is one of the most moving scenes in cinema. The fact that the character has few lines is in itself significant, a comment on her early silencing at the hands of the Manson family – and a wail for what could have been.</p> <p>The explosive (and unexpected) violence at the end of the film offers the viewer, familiar with the Manson mythos, a chance to imagine other possibilities – and this is both satisfying and devastating.</p> <p>Every moment in the film seems acutely aware of the absurdity, the thoroughly “Tinseltown” quality of its representation of history. It emphasises that nothing can ever be revised – unless it’s in the make-believe movies. And there is, typical for Tarantino, something sweet and naïve about this celebration of the potential of movies to allow us to simultaneously remember and forget the past.</p> <p><strong>And the rest…</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6751668/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Parasite</a>, the latest film from stellar Korean director Bong Joon Ho, was many critics’ pick for film of the year — but it is let down by an uncommitted ending that drifts into sentimentality.</p> <p>Parasite was three-quarters of an exceptional film.</p> <p>The premise of a lower class family manipulating their way into domestic positions in an upper class household serves as the basis for a very funny narrative. But when the film is called on to commit to this violent premise, it seems to back out. Its tone becomes smarmy and self-important.</p> <p><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11281210/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2">Ford v Ferrari</a> is a well made biopic (from director of mediocre films, James Mangold) about the professional and personal struggles of car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as they seek to win the 1966 Le Mans race, but, like all biopics, seems a little hackneyed and stupid at times.</p> <p><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8579674/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">1917</a>, likewise, is technically dynamic – the “one shot” experiment makes sense in this case – but is otherwise an unexceptional film about a couple of soldiers on a quest to save their fellows.</p> <p><strong>Could do better …</strong></p> <p>Only two of the eight nominees, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3281548/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Little Women</a> and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2584384/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Jojo Rabbit</a> were disappointments.</p> <p>Little Women promised great things. It would seem like a good time to remake the cherished story of the March sisters, and a young director like Greta Gerwig would seem like a good choice – but it just doesn’t work as a movie. The acting is remarkably stiff with virtually no rapport between the sisters. Timothée Chalamet, usually brilliant, seems acutely uncomfortable with the staginess of the film’s approach.</p> <p>There doesn’t appear to be any reason for the clunky reordering of the narrative or for major plot omissions and there appears to be no age differentiation between the sisters.</p> <p>We simply watch a bunch of film star friends hanging out for a while, and this is pleasant enough - you wouldn’t turn it off if you were on a plane. But it is so stilted and affected (underscored by a kind of unjustified sense of self-importance) that it is hard to see why it was nominated for Best Picture.</p> <p>Stilted and clunky, Little Women feels like watching a bunch of actor friends hanging out.</p> <p>Relentlessly clever Taika Waititi’s latest film, Jojo Rabbit is wildly uneven. Some of the comedy works, some falls flat. It seems overly reliant on an outrageous comedic premise, while never quite gelling as a piece of cinema.</p> <p>It is funny for a minute to see Waititi sending up Hitler, but it quickly becomes tiresome, as does Sam Rockwell’s turn as a disaffected Nazi. A bit like Waititi’s 2004 Oscar-winning short, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390579/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Two Cars, One Night</a>, it appears overly concerned with style. Though it almost taps into a child’s point of view – an awesome experience when effectively realised – it jars with the heavy-handed stylistic treatment of the material.</p> <p><strong>Not on the list …</strong></p> <p>There were, of course, several excellent films that received no nominations.</p> <p>The French eco-thriller <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7175992/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">School’s Out</a>, about a substitute teacher being gaslighted by his class of elite high school students, was one of the highights of 2019. So too the outrageous Brazillian-French exploitation yarn <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2762506/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Bacurau</a>, about rich American pleasure seekers attempting to wipe a small Brazillian town off the map.</p> <p>Indeed, it was a very good year. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and Joker will be long-remembered as two of the strongest films of the 21st century, embodying some of the tendencies and contradictions of our age.</p> <p><em>Written by Ari Mattes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/it-was-a-very-good-year-but-which-best-picture-nominee-will-win-an-oscar-130529"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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What is a super spreader? An infectious disease expert explains

<p><em>As the </em><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dr-tom-frieden-former-cdc-director-latest-scientific-novel-frieden/"><em>emerging Wuhan</em></a><em> </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/us/topics/coronavirus-5830"><em>coronavirus outbreak</em></a><em> dominates the daily news, you might be wondering just how the pathogen is working its way around the world. This virus travels from place to place by infecting one person at a time. Some sick people might not spread the virus much further, but it looks like some people infected with the novel coronavirus are what epidemiologists call “super spreaders.”</em></p> <p><a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=k4UBB88AAAAJ&amp;hl=en&amp;oi=ao"><em>Elizabeth McGraw</em></a><em>, the director of the <a href="https://www.huck.psu.edu/institutes-and-centers/center-for-infectious-disease-dynamics">Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics</a> at Pennsylvania State University, explains just what that means and why super spreaders can be crucial to a disease’s transmission.</em></p> <p><strong>What is a super spreader?</strong></p> <p>Researchers currently estimate that a person carrying the Wuhan coronavirus will, on average, <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/news--wuhan-coronavirus/">infect approximately 2.6 people</a>.</p> <p>Recent reports out of Wuhan also cite a case of a single patient who <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/23/health/wuhan-virus-super-spreader/index.html">infected 14 health care workers</a>. That qualifies him as a super spreader: someone who is responsible for infecting an especially large number of other people.</p> <p>During an emerging outbreak, epidemiologists want to determine whether super spreaders are part of the picture. Their existence can accelerate the rate of new infections or substantially expand the geographic distribution of the disease.</p> <p>In response to super spreaders, officials can recommend various ways to limit their impact and slow the spread of disease, depending on how the pathogen is transmitted. Pathogens transmitted via air droplets, contaminated surfaces, sexual contact, needles, food or drinking water will require different interventions. For example, the recommendation for face masks would be specific to airborne transmission, while hand-washing and surface sterilization are needed for germs that can live for a while on surfaces.</p> <p><strong>What are the characteristics of a super spreader?</strong></p> <p>Whether someone is a super spreader or not will depend on some combination of the pathogen and the patient’s biology and their environment or behavior at the given time. And in a society with so much global connectivity, the ability to move pathogens rapidly across great distances, often before people are even aware they are sick, helps create environments ripe for super spreading.</p> <p>Some infected individuals might shed more virus into the environment than others because of how their immune system works. Highly tolerant people do not feel sick and so may continue about their daily routines, inadvertently infecting more people. Alternatively, people with weaker immune systems that allow very high amounts of virus replication may be very good at transmitting even if they reduce their contacts with others. Individuals who have more symptoms – for example, coughing or sneezing more – can also be better at spreading the virus to new human hosts.</p> <p>A person’s behaviors, travel patterns and degree of contact with others can also contribute to super spreading. An infected shopkeeper might come in contact with a large number of people and goods each day. An international business traveler may crisscross the globe in a short period of time. A sick health care worker might come in contact with large numbers of people who are especially susceptible, given the presence of other underlying illnesses.</p> <p><strong>When have super spreaders played a key role in an outbreak?</strong></p> <p>There are a number of historical examples of super spreaders. The most famous is <a href="https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-typhoid-mary">Typhoid Mary</a>, who in the early 20th century purportedly infected 51 people with typhoid through the food she prepared as a cook. Since Mary was an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria, she didn’t feel sick, and so was not motivated to use good hand-washing practices.</p> <p>During the last two decades, super spreaders have started a number of measles outbreaks in the United States. Sick, unvaccinated individuals visited densely crowded places like schools, hospitals, airplanes and theme parks where they <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4357">infected many others</a>.</p> <p>Super spreaders have also played a key role in the outbreaks of other coronaviruses, including SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). <a href="http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2004/02/23/2003099824/1">A traveler sick with SARS and staying in a Hong Kong hotel</a> infected a number of overseas guests who then returned home and introduced the virus into four other countries.</p> <p>For both SARS and MERS, super spreading <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-015-0450-0">commonly occurred in hospitals</a>, with scores of people being infected at a time. In South Korea in 2015, one MERS patient infected over 80 other patients, medical personnel and visitors in a crowded emergency department over a three-day period. In this case, <a href="http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2016/07/patient-proximity-key-korean-mers-super-spreader-event">proximity to the original patient</a> was the biggest risk factor for getting sick.</p> <p><strong>Can super spreading occur in all infectious diseases?</strong></p> <p>Yes. Some scientists estimate that in any given outbreak, 20% of the population is usually responsible for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/438293a">causing over 80% of all cases of the disease</a>. Researchers have identified super spreaders in outbreaks of diseases from those caused by bacteria, such as tuberculosis, as well as those caused by viruses, including measles, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3947/ic.2016.48.2.147">MERS</a> and <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-02/osu-dw021017.php">Ebola</a>.</p> <p>The good news is that <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/investigating-outbreaks/investigations/control.html">with the right</a> <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/training/infection-prevention/en/">control practices</a> <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/bioriskreduction/infection_control/publication/en/">specific to how</a> <a href="https://www.who.int/ith/2020-24-01-outbreak-of-Pneumonia-caused-by-new-coronavirus/en/">pathogens are transmitted</a> – hand-washing, masks, quarantine, vaccination and so on – the transmission rate can be slowed and epidemics halted.</p> <p><em>Written by Elizabeth McGraw. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-super-spreader-an-infectious-disease-expert-explains-130756"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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What are state of emergency powers in New South Wales?

<p>As of January 31, there were still <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50951043">over 50 bushfires</a> raging in NSW and Victoria. Properties were <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-02/canberra-escapes-worst-fate-as-namadgi-bushfire-claims-property/11921090">lost to the Clear Range bushfire</a> on the south coast of NSW over the weekend. And the ACT declared a state of emergency <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6608140/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-bushfires-in-canberra/">on Sunday morning</a>, which was revoked early <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6609934/state-of-emergency-lifted-from-the-act/">the following day</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, the current Australian bushfire season has been the most intense the nation has ever seen. And with NSW being the jurisdiction hit hardest, state premier Gladys Berejiklian has enabled emergency powers <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/the-premier/media-releases-from-the-premier/premier-declares-third-state-of-emergency/">on three occasions</a>.</p> <p>An official NSW government order outlines that the premier declared a state of emergency <a href="https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2020-1.pdf">on 2 January</a> and it would remain in force until the 10th of the month. Another week-long emergency order was issued on 19 December, with the first being called as far back <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/02/nsw-state-of-emergency-what-does-it-mean-for-the-bushfires-crisis">as 11 November</a>.</p> <p>“Declaring this state of emergency is vital to the safety of communities in NSW as we face the most devastating bushfire season in living memory,” Berejiklian <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/the-premier/media-releases-from-the-premier/premier-declares-third-state-of-emergency/">said in a press release</a> as she called in the third state of emergency early last month.</p> <p>While November’s state of emergency was the first time that these measures had been <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-11/nsw-premier-declares-state-of-emergency-for-catastrophic-fire/11691550">invoked since</a> then premier Barry O’Farrell called a state of emergency in relation to Blue Mountains fires in 2013. At the time, it was only the fourth occasion the powers had been used <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/02/nsw-state-of-emergency-what-does-it-mean-for-the-bushfires-crisis">since 2006</a>.</p> <p><strong>Drastic measures</strong></p> <p>The state of emergency powers are contained in division 4 part 2 of the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (NSW) (the Act). And each time the premier called an emergency over the summer, she did so on the advice of NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.</p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s33.html">Section 33</a> of the Act permits the state premier to call a state of emergency. And in doing so, they have to be “satisfied that an emergency constitutes a significant and widespread danger to life or property.”</p> <p>The order can apply to the whole state or specified parts of it. It must be given in writing. And in line with <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s34.html">section 34</a>, the order must be broadcast on television or radio. And it must be published online, as well as in either the state government gazette or the NSW legislation website.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s35.html">section 35</a> of the Act, a state of emergency is effective immediately, it can remain in force for up to 30 days, and it doesn’t prevent the declaration of further such measures.</p> <p><strong>Abandoning post</strong></p> <p>A state of emergency bestows special powers upon the NSW emergency services minister, which has been David Elliot since 2 April last year. And <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s36.html">section 36</a> of the Act allows the minister to coordinate the activities of any government agencies, along with allocating state resources.</p> <p>Despite the bushfire crisis having kicked off as early as September, and being of an intensity not seen before, Minister Elliot decided it was okay to take off on a European holiday <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-27/nsw-emergency-services-david-elliott-holidays-amid-bushfires/11828744">just after Christmas</a>, as the blazes continued across the state.</p> <p>The minister returned as the third state of emergency was being declared <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-04/david-elliott-admits-his-absence-from-nsw-was-inexcusable/11840360">in early January</a>. He then labelled his actions as “inexcusable”, even though at the time he left, there had just been <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-liar-from-the-shire-thousands-march-demanding-action-from-morrison/">nationwide condemnation</a> of PM Scott Morrison for having left to Hawaii for a holiday during the bushfires.</p> <p>On return, Elliott had the state of emergency powers available to him under <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s37.html">section 37</a> of the Act, which allow him to direct people to evacuate a premises or an area, to take anyone in the care of another from an area, or to prevent people from entering the emergency zone.</p> <p>The minister can also order that the directions be given by an emergency services officer, which is an officer from NSW police, Fire and Rescue, the State Emergency Service, or the rural fire bridge, a Regional Emergency Management officer or a member of NSW Ambulance.</p> <p>If an individual doesn’t follow such a direction, the emergency officer is permitted to use reasonable force. And <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s38.html">section 38</a>permits the minister to take possession and make use of another’s property. And while the owner may be compensated, they’re not automatically entitled to compensation.</p> <p><strong>Enhanced powers</strong></p> <p>Each time an emergency has been called of late, it’s meant that the RFS commissioner has been able to exercise special emergency powers. They’re set out under <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s37a.html">section 37A</a> of the Act and are “for the purpose of protecting persons or animals from injury or death or protecting property”</p> <p>Applying within an emergency area, these powers include closing any street, thoroughfare, or place, destroying any damaged wall or premises, and the shutting down of the “supply of water, gas, liquid, solid, grain, powder or other substance” to a pipeline, container or storage facility.</p> <p>The commissioner also had the ability to shut off the supply of electricity or gas to any premises, as well as to take possession, remove or destroy any material within the designated emergency area.</p> <p>Sections <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s37b.html">37B</a> through to <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s37b.html">37F</a> provide that in relation to section 37A powers any person officially authorised may enter a premises in an emergency zone. This individual must provide written notice to the owner, and they must exercise proper care, as well as being able to apply reasonable force.</p> <p><strong>Penalties regarding the powers</strong></p> <p>Section 37A makes it an offence for an individual not to comply with any direction given by the RFS commissioner or any other authorised emergency authority under that section of the Act. And the maximum penalty for failing to go along with such a direction is a fine of up to $5,500.</p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s40.html">Section 40</a> of the Act makes it a crime to obstruct or hinder the NSW minister, or any emergency services personnel operating with the authority of the minister, in their exercising of a state of emergency function.</p> <p>The maximum penalty for this crime is up to 2 years behind bars and/or a fine of $5,500.</p> <p><strong>Just for good measure…</strong></p> <p>And <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/searma1989331/s41.html">section 41</a> makes sure that state authorities can’t be held liable for their actions during a state of emergency. It stipulates that an individual cannot bring proceedings against the Crown, the minister or any other person acting under their authority in accordance with emergency powers.</p> <p>This provision absolves state authorities in relation to any <a href="https://nswcourts.com.au/articles/what-does-the-law-say-about-lighting-bushfires/">damage to property</a>, loss, death or injury “sustained because of anything done or omitted to be done in good faith” during a NSW state of emergency.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-are-state-of-emergency-powers-in-new-south-wales/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Are you committing a crime by importing cigarettes into Australia?

<p>The tax on tobacco in Australia is astronomical, pushing the average price of a cigarette packet beyond forty dollars in recent months.</p> <p>The tax has been justified on public health grounds, and has been partially responsible for significantly reducing the consumption of tobacco products in Australia.</p> <p>The tax has been accompanied by a range of restrictions on the importation of tobacco products, with the number of cigarettes that a person can bring into the country without a permit being reduced from 200 just a few years ago, to one unopened packet of up to 25 cigarettes and one open packet of up to 25 cigarettes.</p> <p>Restrictions have also been placed over the years on the use of tobacco, with prohibitions on a range of venues and public places.</p> <p>The exorbitant price of tobacco has contributed to a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/cheap-cigarettes-available-over-the-internet/">thriving black market</a>, with many arranging for the importation of products by mail and others packing it into their luggage.</p> <p>And while many feel there’s little wrong with bringing a few extra packs into the country, the law says something completely different.</p> <p><strong>The law on importing tobacco products</strong></p> <p>Since 1 July 2019, tobacco products including cigarettes, loose leaf tobacco, shisha/molasses tobacco and ‘heat not burn’ tobacco <a href="https://www.abf.gov.au/importing-exporting-and-manufacturing/prohibited-goods/categories/tobacco">have been classified as prohibited imports</a>, which means it is a criminal offence to import them in the mail. A permit is required to import them otherwise.</p> <p>A permit is not required to import cigars or up to 1.5 kilograms of chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use, provided duties and taxes are paid.</p> <p>Travellers into Australia do not require a permit to import tobacco products in personal effects, provided they are 18 years or older, declare the product/s upon arrival and pay duties and taxes. Permission is, however, required from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissioner to bring in more than 1.5 kilograms of chewing tobacco or snuff.</p> <p>Travellers who contravene these rules are subject to having their visas cancelled, being issued with infringement notices (fines) or being criminally prosecuted.</p> <p><strong>Criminal offences</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/customs-act/smuggling-tobacco-products/">Section 233BABAD of the Customs Act 1901</a> (Cth) sets out four separate criminal offences which relate to tobacco products.</p> <p>Subsection (1) prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for ‘importing tobacco goods’ with ‘the intention of defrauding the revenue’.</p> <p>The offence applies, for example, where a person brings tobacco products into the country in breach of the rules or arranges for their importation in the mail.</p> <p>Subsection (2) sets the same maximum penalty for possessing or conveying tobacco products in the knowledge that they were imported with the intention to defraud the revenue.</p> <p>The offence applies to those who receive or transport tobacco products for which they know duties and taxes haven’t been paid.</p> <p>In addition to prison, those who are guilty under subsection (1) or (2) are subject to fines equivalent to up to five times the amount of the applicable duty or, if the court is unable to determine that duty, a maximum of 1,000 penalty units (currently $210,000).</p> <p>Subsection (2A) prescribes a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for importing tobacco products in circumstances where the person is reckless as to whether there would be a defrauding of the revenue.</p> <p>A person is ‘reckless’ for the purposes of the subsection if they were aware it was likely that there would be a defrauding but went ahead with their actions regardless.</p> <p>And subsection (2B) sets the same 5 year maximum penalty for possessing or conveying tobacco products where the person is reckless as to whether they were imported with the intention to defraud the revenue.</p> <p>A person is ‘reckless’ if they were aware it was likely that the products were imported with the intention to defraud but went ahead with their actions regardless.</p> <p>In addition to prison, those who are guilty under subsection (2A) or (2B) are subject to fines equivalent to up to three times the amount of the applicable duty or, if the court is unable to determine that duty, a maximum of 500 penalty units (currently $105,000).</p> <p>For the purposes of the Act, ‘tobacco products’ are broadly defined as including:</p> <ul> <li>Unmanufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse,</li> <li>Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco and tobacco substitutes, and</li> <li>Other manufactured tobacco and substitutes, extracts and essences, including water pipe tobacco.</li> </ul> <p>See <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1901124/s4.html">section 4 of the Customs Act</a> which refers to <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cta1995178/sch3.html">Schedule 3 of the Customs Traffic Act 1995</a>.</p> <p>Going to Court for an Offence Involving Tobacco Products?</p> <p>If you have been charged with an offence involving tobacco, call <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers</a> anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to ensure you receive the optimal outcome.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/is-it-a-crime-to-import-cigarettes-into-australia/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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The law, defences and penalties for making a false accusation in NSW

<p><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7846859/British-student-faces-jail-Cyprus-urges-Boris-Johnson-intervene.html?ns_mchannel=rss&amp;ico=taboola_feed">It has been reported</a> that a 19-year old British student is facing up to 12 months in prison after being convicted of ‘public mischief’ for falsely claiming that 12 Israeli men gang-raped her in Ayia Napa, a resort town on the southeast coast of Cyprus.</p> <p>A Cypriot judge found that the woman had manufactured the claims due to her ‘embarrassment’ after being filmed by several of the men having consensual sexual intercourse with them.</p> <p>‘The defendant gave police a false rape claim, while having full knowledge that this was a lie’, the judge remarked, adding ‘[t]here was no rape, or violence’. He described the woman’s accusations as ‘grave’ and refused a defence request to adjourn her sentencing proceedings.</p> <p>But the woman’s supporters have questioned the verdict and called upon the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene.</p> <p>She has been on bail since the end of August 2019 after spending a month behind bars.</p> <p>Her sentencing is scheduled to take place on 7 January 2020.</p> <p><strong>The crime of making a false accusation in NSW</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca190082/s314.html">Section 314 of the Crimes Act 1900</a> (NSW) (‘the Act’) makes it an offence punishable by up to seven years in prison to make a false accusation.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:</p> <ol> <li>Made an accusation against another person,</li> <li>By doing so, intended the other person to be subjected to an investigation,</li> <li>Knew accusation was false, and</li> <li>Knew the accused person was innocent.</li> </ol> <p>The offence encompasses situations where a person makes a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/false-sexual-assault-allegations-ruin-lives/">false complaint to police</a>, knowing the person they are accusing is innocent of the accusation.</p> <p><strong>The crime of public mischief</strong></p> <p>Alternatively, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/public-mischief/">section 547B of the Act</a> prescribes a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison for the offence of public mischief.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:</p> <ol> <li>Knowingly made a false representation that an act had been done, or would been done, or that an event had occurred,</li> <li>The representation was made to a police officer, and</li> <li>The representation called for an investigation by the police officer.</li> </ol> <p><strong>The offence covers situations where:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The representation was made to a person other than a police officer,</li> <li>The nature of the representation reasonably required the person to communicate it to a police officer, and</li> <li>The person did communicate it to a police officer</li> </ul> <p>The charge may be preferred to one of ‘false accusation’ in situations where the prosecution is unable to prove that the accuser intended another person to be prosecuted, or knew the other person was innocent.</p> <p><strong>The crime of perjury</strong></p> <p>If the accuser testified in court or swore a statement under an oath or affirmation, they may be prosecuted for the offence of perjury under <a href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca190082/s327.html">section 327</a> of the Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that he or she:</p> <ol> <li>Made a false statement under oath or affirmation,</li> <li>It was made in, or in connection with, judicial proceedings,</li> <li>It concerned a matter which was material to those proceedings, and</li> <li>The defendant knew the statement was false or did not believe it was true at the time it was made.</li> </ol> <p>The maximum <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-the-offence-of-perjury-in-new-south-wales/">penalty for perjury</a> increases to 14 years where the complainant intended to procure the conviction or acquittal for a ‘serious indictable offence’ – which is one that carries a maximum penalty of at least five years in prison.</p> <p><strong>The crime of perverting the course of justice</strong></p> <p>And section 319 of the Act prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/perverting-course-of-justice/">perverting the course of justice</a>.</p> <p>To establish that offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:</p> <ol> <li>Engaged in an act or made an omission, and</li> <li>By doing so, intended to pervert the course of justice.</li> </ol> <p>The definition of ‘<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-perverting-the-course-of-justice/">perverting the course of justice</a>’ is ‘obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or the administration of law’.</p> <p>Examples of perverting the course of justice may include:</p> <ul> <li>Attempting to bribe a police or judicial officer to avoid being prosecuted or punished,</li> <li>Falsely swearing or declaring that another person was responsible for an offence,</li> <li>Using a victim’s phone or email in an attempt to create a defence to a crime,</li> <li>Encouraging or bribing another person to plead guilty to an crime they did not commit, or</li> </ul> <p>provide a false alibi, or give false testimony in court.</p> <p><strong>Defences</strong></p> <p>A number of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/defences/">defences may apply to the above charges</a>, including:</p> <ul> <li>Duress,</li> <li>Necessity, and</li> <li>Self-defence.</li> </ul> <p>Alternatively, it may be possible to have the charged <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/services/mental-health-applications/">dismissed on mental health grounds</a> under <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/drafting-section-32-applications-a-guide-for-criminal-lawyers/">section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-defences-and-penalties-for-making-a-false-accusation-in-nsw/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers</a>. </em></p>

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The inhumanity of Australia’s new offshore detention centre

<p>Papua New Guinea authorities arrested 52 offshore detainees previously held on Manus Island <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/leaked-photos-of-papua-new-guinea-prison-reveal-torture-of-18-asylum-seekers-cut-off-from-world">in August last year</a> and incarcerated them in the purpose-built Bomana immigration centre. The facility is part of a large prison complex that goes by the same name on the outskirts of Port Moresby.</p> <p>Opened in April last year, the <a href="https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/news/five-questions-bomana-immigration-centre">$24 million centre</a> was funded and built by the Australian Home Affairs Department. And although it’s been reported to be run solely by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority, it’s also been asserted that <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/401582/australia-coercing-manus-island-asylum-seekers-to-go-home">it’s Canberra-run</a>.</p> <p>Bomana is the end of the line for certain asylum seekers. Those locked up there had been deemed non-refugees, either via assessment or not. And the centre is designed to be so extreme as to force detainees into giving up hope, despite having spent years prior in immigration limbo.</p> <p>And that’s exactly what happened to the men sent to the isolated facility, with no outside contact. The conditions were so torturous that after years of refusing, most signed up to being sent back to their countries of origins.</p> <p>Although, since doing so, they’re still being housed in Port Moresby not able to be returned as yet.</p> <p>And as of last week, authorities can hail the operation a complete success, as the final 18 men were <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/penalties/nsw/conditional-release-order/">released</a>. This was only after some tinkering from rights groups, so these men were offered resettlement in a third country, rather than being forced to return to the land from which they fled.</p> <p><strong>Employing the techniques of war</strong></p> <p>“The Bomana detention centre was built by the Australian government for the express purposes of holding the Manus people, who’ve been given negative refugee assessments in Papua New Guinea,” explained Ian Rintoul.</p> <p>“It’s a deliberately built facility to hold people in an effort to coerce them into signing to go home and deporting them,” the <a href="http://www.refugeeaction.org.au/">Refugee Action Coalition (RAC)</a> spokesperson told Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</p> <p>And in relation to how the immigration facility manages to coerce detainees in such an efficient manner, Mr Rintoul likened the circumstances within Bomana to something you might expect to find in “prisoner of war camps from the Second World War”.</p> <p>The long-time refugee advocate said that detainees were denied communications with the outside world, including legal representation. They were withheld medication and phones. While the water inside was too hot for showering and the thin mattresses provided, lay directly upon the floor.</p> <p>“They were kept on starvation rations,” Rintoul added, “so everyone who has come out of Bomana has lost between 10 and 15 kilograms.”</p> <p><strong>The final cohort</strong></p> <p>The remaining detainees <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/20/remaining-manus-island-refugees-offered-voluntary-relocation-to-port-moresby">were moved</a> from Manus Island to Port Moresby beginning in August last year, with the final 25 arriving <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/404490/manus-island-refugees-moved-into-port-moresby-apartments">in November</a>. And 52 of these men subsequently ended up in Bomana. Indeed, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/leaked-photos-of-papua-new-guinea-prison-reveal-torture-of-18-asylum-seekers-cut-off-from-world">nine of them</a> had already been approved for Medevac transfer to Australia.</p> <p>According to Rintoul, the men weren’t given reasons for their incarceration, but it was known that only those deemed negative were sent to Bomana. And the conditions soon led to most agreeing to be repatriated, as they reasoned possible imprisonment in their country of origin would be better.</p> <p>And last Thursday, 23 January, saw the final 18 asylum seekers released from the Bomana detention centre, after they agreed to third country resettlement, which was not an offer made to detainees that agreed to leave earlier.</p> <p>“We tried to get messages in to tell people to sign and come out. We attempted various measures, but none of them had been forthcoming,” Rintoul outlined. “The final 18 were released on the basis of them signing to be part of the US resettlement deal, under the auspices of the UNHCR.”</p> <p><strong>A fresh gulag</strong></p> <p>Most Australians remain unaware that during the rising calls to end offshore detention, amid the successful campaign to bring the children on Nauru to Australia, and while the enactment and later repeal of Medevac occurred, the government has been intensifying detention for some.</p> <p>The Bomana immigration centre <a href="https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/news/five-questions-bomana-immigration-centre">is part of the</a> 2013 Regional Resettlement Agreement between Australia and PNG, which allows for the ongoing processing of asylum seekers who arrive in this nation’s waters within the borders of another poorer country.</p> <p>The specially built facility began its operation on 2 April last year. And it has the capacity to hold around 50 detainees, within its 25 rooms, with two individuals in each. These rooms are divided up between <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/leaked-photos-of-papua-new-guinea-prison-reveal-torture-of-18-asylum-seekers-cut-off-from-world">five separate compounds</a> fenced off from one another.</p> <p>“The Australian government has overall control of the centre, as it does every other aspect of the people who they’re responsible for sending to Manus in the first place,” Rintoul made clear, adding that Canberra is “very aware of the circumstances in which people were being held”.</p> <p>The RAC spokesperson further explained that some of the employees at the facility are ex-Australian federal police. And the people who own the company that are running Bomana are also former AFP employees.</p> <p><strong>The gift that keeps on giving</strong></p> <p>As for what Bomana will be used for now that all the Manus Island asylum seekers have been released, Rintoul is clear that it’s likely the Papua New Guinean government will continue to use it in the same manner. But, this time, with asylum seekers who arrive in its own country.</p> <p>PNG prime minister James Marape warned <a href="https://www.pngfacts.com/news/png-pm-marape-tells-illegal-foreigners-to-leave">in mid-January</a> that foreign nationals who entered his country without permission and refuse to leave will be thrown in the Bomana centre, which, for the most part, is unused at present.</p> <p>“There’s a Filipino and three Bangladeshi citizens who are now in the Bomana facility,” Mr Rintoul explained. He said that keeping it open for the purposes of using it in a similar vein is what the PNG government seems to have in mind.</p> <p>“But, I suspect it will only be like that as long as Australia is paying for the upkeep,” he concluded.</p> <p>The images are leaked photos of the ex-Manus Island detainees in the Bomana immigration centre. They were supplied by the Refugee Action Coalition.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-inhumanity-of-australias-new-offshore-detention-centre/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

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The Wuhan coronavirus is now in Australia – here’s what you need to know

<p>The Wuhan coronavirus is now in Australia – here’s what you need to know</p> <p>New South Wales Health has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-25/first-confirmed-coronavirus-case-australian-as-china-toll-rises/11900428">confirmed</a> three men in their 30s, 40s and 50s in Sydney have tested positive to the new Wuhan coronavirus after returning from China.</p> <p>This follows <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-25/first-confirmed-coronavirus-case-australian-as-china-toll-rises/11900428">Australia’s first case of the virus</a> in a patient treated at Melbourne’s <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/health/first-australian-coronavirus-case-confirmed-in-victoria-c-664530">Monash Medical Centre</a> – a man in his 50s who spent two weeks in Wuhan.</p> <p>This brings the total number of Australian cases so far to four.</p> <p>The outbreak is still in its early days, but the early identification and isolation of people suspected of having the virus will go a long way to preventing local transmission in Australia.</p> <p><strong>How many people have been infected worldwide?</strong></p> <p>There are now <a href="https://flutrackers.com/forum/forum/-2019-ncov-new-coronavirus/823378-2019-ncov-confirmed-case-list-by-country-w-links-to-sources-total-cases-1-322-total-deaths-41-as-of-5-am-et-january-25-2020">1,323 confirmed cases</a> of the Wuhan coronavirus worldwide, mostly among people in China.</p> <p>The virus has also claimed 41 lives, including the youngest victim, a <a href="https://time.com/5770924/wuhan-coronavirus-youngest-death/">36-year-old man</a> in Wuhan.</p> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200124-sitrep-4-2019-ncov.pdf?sfvrsn=9272d086_2">Cases</a> have also been identified in Japan, South Korea, the United States, <a href="https://www.thelocal.fr/20200125/coronavirus-in-france-what-you-need-to-know">France</a>, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.</p> <p>The epicentre of the outbreak seems to be a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. It was initially thought transmission had been from infected animals to those people at the market, with no or limited person-to-person spread.</p> <p>However, we’ve since learnt there has been person-to-person transmission in people who <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/explainer-how-the-wuhan-coronavirus-jumped-from-animals-to-humans/news-story/172d9f3163140ed05e1f961253e24978">haven’t visited live animal markets</a>, including the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-25/first-confirmed-coronavirus-case-australian-as-china-toll-rises/11900428">Melbourne case</a>.</p> <p>The person infected in Vietnam <a href="https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200124-sitrep-4-2019-ncov.pdf?sfvrsn=9272d086_2">had not been to China</a> at all, but was a family member of someone infected in Wuhan.</p> <p>This means an animal infection has probably learnt to jump to humans and then spread within our species.</p> <p><strong>Who is most at risk?</strong></p> <p>Of the cases in China, 21% have been reported as severely ill and, on earlier estimates, <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/368/bmj.m308.full.pdf">3% of those infected</a> had died.</p> <p>The ages of the <a href="http://www.nhc.gov.cn/yjb/s3578/202001/5d19a4f6d3154b9fae328918ed2e3c8a.shtml">first 17 people who died from the virus</a> range from 48 to 89, with an average age of 73. Thirteen (76%) were men and four (24%) were women.</p> <p>Most of those who have died from the virus appear to have underlying health conditions, and we know for sure in the case of ten people whose health information has been released.</p> <p>These people <a href="http://www.nhc.gov.cn/yjb/s3578/202001/5d19a4f6d3154b9fae328918ed2e3c8a.shtml">suffered from a range of chronic conditions</a>, including high blood pressure (41%), diabetes (29%), stroke (18%), as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease and Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>If this pattern continues with the mounting death toll, older men with underlying health problems are at highest risk of dying.</p> <p><strong>How does it spread?</strong></p> <p>If the Wuhan coronavirus behaves like the other human coronaviruses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), droplets of saliva, urine, faeces and blood could all be infectious.</p> <p>Contact with these substances – directly from people while they’re infectious, or indirectly from surfaces contaminated with these body substances – could lead to infection.</p> <p>This is why prompt isolation of suspected cases and good infection control practises are so important, especially if a person turns into a “super spreader”. This means they produce large amounts of virus and are unusually infectious.</p> <p><strong>How infectious is the virus?</strong></p> <p>The World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/368/bmj.m308.full.pdf">estimates</a> the coronavirus has a reproduction number (R0) of 1.4-2.5. This means one infected person has the ability to infect 1.4-2.5 susceptible people. But this figure could be revised as the outbreak evolves.</p> <p>In comparison, SARS had a <a href="https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12916-015-0450-0">suspected reproduction number of of 2-5</a>. This meant one infected person could infect up to five susceptible people.</p> <p>So the Wuhan coronavirus appears less infectious than SARS.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-phlncd-sars.htm">risk of transmission</a> for SARS was highest five to ten days into the illness. If people were isolated early on in their illness, after showing symptoms, they were unlikely to infect anyone else.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lancet/pdfs/S0140673620301549.pdf">one study</a> showed it was possible to be infectious with the Wuhan coronavirus without showing symptoms. This raises the possibility of an infected person transmitting the virus to others without knowing they’re sick. This would make it much harder for health authorities to identify and isolate the infectious people and to control the outbreak.</p> <p><strong>What is Australia doing to reduce transmission?</strong></p> <p>State and territory guidelines advise GPs and hospitals to insist people suspected of the virus wear masks and are isolated as soon as possible. They should also call ahead to their GP practice or hospital, so precautions can be in place before their arrival.</p> <p>If the virus started to spread in Australia, which is unlikely, health authorities would likely advise people to avoid large gatherings and ensure they <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov#how-you-can-help-prevent-2019ncov">washed their hands</a> frequently.</p> <p>There is a role for masks when going to public places but their effectiveness depends on the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ive-always-wondered-why-many-people-in-asian-countries-wear-masks-and-whether-they-work-90178">type of mask</a>, the duration it’s worn, and how well it’s fitted.</p> <p>Researchers are <a href="https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2020/01/uq-responds-coronavirus-outbreak">currently working to develop a vaccine</a>, but it’s likely to be many months before an approved vaccine is available.</p> <p><em>Written by Sanjaya Senanayake. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-wuhan-coronavirus-is-now-in-australia-heres-what-you-need-to-know-130580">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Stone tools reveal epic trek of nomadic Neanderthals

<p>Neanderthal (<em>Homo neanderthalensis</em>) fossils were first discovered in western Europe in the mid nineteenth century. That was just the first in a long line of surprises thrown up by our closest evolutionary cousins.</p> <p>We reveal another in <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/01/21/1918047117">our new study</a> of the Neanderthals who lived in Chagyrskaya Cave in southern Siberia around 54,000 years ago. Their distinctive stone tools are dead ringers for those found thousands of kilometres away in eastern and central Europe.</p> <p>The intercontinental journey made by these intrepid Neanderthals is equivalent to walking from Sydney to Perth, or from New York to Los Angeles, and is a rare example of long-distance migration by Palaeolithic people.</p> <p><strong>Knuckleheads no more</strong></p> <p>For a long time Neanderthals were seen as intellectual lightweights. However, <a href="https://theconversation.com/neanderthals-were-no-brutes-research-reveals-they-may-have-been-precision-workers-103858">several recent finds</a> have forced a rethink of their cognitive and creative abilities.</p> <p>Neanderthals are now believed to have created 176,000 year-old enigmatic structures made from broken stalactites in a <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/05/neanderthals-caves-rings-building-france-archaeology/">cave in France</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-discovered-that-neanderthals-could-make-art-92127">cave art in Spain</a>that dates back more than 65,000 years.</p> <p>They also used <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045927">bird feathers</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aar5255">pierced shells</a> bearing traces of red and yellow ochre, possibly as personal ornaments. It seems likely Neanderthals had cognitive capabilities and symbolic behaviours similar to those of modern humans (<em>Homo sapiens</em>).</p> <p>Our knowledge of their geographical range and the nature of their encounters with other groups of humans has also expanded greatly in recent years.</p> <p>We now know that Neanderthals ventured beyond Europe and western Asia, reaching at least as far east as the Altai Mountains. Here, they interbred with another group of archaic humans dubbed the <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/scientists-recreate-face-denisovan-using-dna-180973177/">Denisovans</a>.</p> <p>Traces of Neanderthal interactions with our own ancestors also persist in the DNA of all living people of Eurasian descent. However, we can still only speculate why the Neanderthals vanished around 40,000 years ago.</p> <p><strong>Banished to Siberia</strong></p> <p>Other questions also remain unresolved. When did Neanderthals first arrive in the Altai? Were there later migration events? Where did these trailblazers begin their trek? And what routes did they take across Asia?</p> <p><a href="https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/derevyanko345">Chagyrskaya Cave</a> is nestled in the foothills of the Altai Mountains. The cave deposits were first excavated in 2007 and have yielded almost 90,000 stone tools and numerous bone tools.</p> <p>The excavations have also found 74 Neanderthal fossils – the richest trove of any Altai site – and a range of animal and plant remains, including the abundant bones of bison hunted and butchered by the Neanderthals.</p> <p>We used <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/520438a">optical dating</a> to determine when the cave sediments, artefacts and fossils were deposited, and conducted a detailed study of more than 3,000 stone tools recovered from the deepest archaeological levels. Microscopy analysis revealed that these have remained intact and undisturbed since accumulating during a period of cold and dry climate about 54,000 years ago.</p> <p>Using a variety of statistical techniques, we show that these artefacts bear a striking similarity to so-called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micoquien">Micoquian</a> artefacts from central and eastern Europe. This type of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Paleolithic">Middle Palaeolithic</a> assemblage is readily identified by the distinctive appearance of the bifaces – tools made by removing flakes from both sides – which were used to cut meat.</p> <p>Micoquian-like tools have only been found at one other site in the Altai. All other archaeological assemblages in the Altai and central Asia lack these distinctive artefacts.</p> <p>Neanderthals carrying Micoquian tools may never have reached <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00353-0">Denisova Cave</a>, as there is no fossil or sedimentary DNA evidence of Neanderthals there after 100,000 years ago.</p> <p><strong>Going the distance</strong></p> <p>The presence of Micoquian artefacts at Chagyrskaya Cave suggests at least two separate dispersals of Neanderthals into southern Siberia. Sites such as Denisova Cave were occupied by Neanderthals who entered the region before 100,000 years ago, while the Chagyrskaya Neanderthals arrived later.</p> <p>The Chagyrskaya artefacts most closely resemble those found at sites located 3,000–4,000 km to the west, between the Crimea and northern Caucasus in eastern Europe.</p> <p>Comparison of genetic data supports these geographical links, with the <a href="https://www.eva.mpg.de/genetics/genome-projects/chagyrskaya-neandertal/home.html">Chagyrskaya Neanderthal</a> sharing closer affinities with several European Neanderthals than with a Neanderthal from Denisova Cave.</p> <p>When the Chagyrskaya toolmakers (or their ancestors) left their Neanderthal homeland in eastern Europe for central Asia around 60,000 years ago, they could have headed north and east around the land-locked <a href="https://www.britannica.com/place/Caspian-Sea">Caspian Sea</a>, which was much reduced in size under the prevailing cold and arid conditions.</p> <p>Their intercontinental odyssey over thousands of kilometres is a rarely observed case of long-distance dispersal in the Palaeolithic, and highlights the value of stone tools as culturally informative markers of ancient population movements.</p> <p>Environmental reconstructions from the animal and plant remains at Chagyrskaya Cave suggest that the Neanderthal inhabitants survived in the cold, dry and treeless environment by hunting bison and horses on the steppe or tundra-steppe landscape.</p> <p>Our discoveries reinforce the emerging view of Neanderthals as creative and intelligent people who were skilled survivors. If this was the case, it makes their extinction across Eurasia even more mysterious. Did modern humans deal the fatal blow? The enigma endures, for now.</p> <p><em>Written by Kseniya Kolobova, Maciej T. Krajcarz and Richard 'Bert' Roberts. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/stone-tools-reveal-epic-trek-of-nomadic-neanderthals-129886">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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11 of the longest bridges in the world - not including the Harbour Bridge

<p><strong>Human feats of wonder</strong></p> <p>While most of the longest bridges in the world exist in Asia and the United States, engineering marvels that allow travellers to pass over large bodies of water and/or kilometres of tricky terrain, on a train or in a car, exist across the globe.</p> <p><strong>The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge</strong></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0k3Ik2gU9k/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0k3Ik2gU9k/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by PlayDay Live! (@playdaylive)</a> on Jul 31, 2019 at 2:23am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>At 164.8km in length, China’s Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the world’s longest bridge. Built at a cost of approximately $8.5 billion dollars, per Britannica, this link between Shanghai and Nanjing opened as a viaduct on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway in June 2011. As of publication, this bridge remains in the <em>Guinness Book of World Records</em> as the longest bridge in the world.</p> <p><strong>Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge</strong></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bzc35aXoB0u/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bzc35aXoB0u/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by MyExpatCommunity (@myexpatcommunity)</a> on Jul 3, 2019 at 3:24am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Also in China is the longest bridge in the world made of glass where pedestrians pay high prices for what <em>Business Insider</em> calls a “colossal waste of time.” That’s thanks to a sea of people and their shoes which scuff the glass beneath feet, despite the fact that booties are mandatory to, in theory, protect the 99 panels of 60cm thick glass. Tourists flock to walk the 427m long glass bridge that sits 299m above China’s Grand Canyon.</p> <p><strong>Hong Kong Zhuhai Macao Bridge</strong></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp2EgdvhGgd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp2EgdvhGgd/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by L U (@voyconlu)</a> on Nov 6, 2018 at 8:06am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>=What does $20 billion get you in the 21st-century bridge market? A huge 54.7km bridge connecting Hong Kong and Zhuhai/Macau. Commuting between those cities would previously have required an hour-long ferry ride, according to CNN. The newest world’s largest sea-crossing bridge, with immigration offices and border control at either end (because Hong Kong and Macau are governed under different laws), took nine years to build and opened in the autumn of 2018.</p> <p><strong>Lake Pontchartrain Causeway</strong></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BBD35ejPsLZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BBD35ejPsLZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Fisk - Centro de Ensino (@fiskoficial)</a> on Jan 27, 2016 at 3:13pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Per the Telegraph, “Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in southern Louisiana is an epic structure that crosses one of the most famous bodies of water in the United States; a lake that has inspired literature, music and film.” This nearly 39km-long bridge is the longest bridge in the world that’s not in Asia. It’ll cost you $5 to go southbound on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.</p> <p><strong>The Vasco da Gama Bridge</strong></p> <p>The longest bridge in Europe, found east of Lisbon, Portugal, took more than 3,000 workers 18 months to build. Heavy cloud cover on its inauguration day during the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition meant that travellers couldn’t see the other side. Spanning an impressive 17km over the Tagus River, “the Vasco da Game was named after the famous Portuguese explorer to commemorate the fifth centenary of his arrival from India in 1498. Gama was the first European to reach India by sea, from the Atlantic Ocean,” reports Civitatis’ Lisbon travel guide.</p> <p><strong>Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, Switzerland</strong></p> <p>In Switzerland, you’ll find a 494m suspension bridge that is the longest bridge in the world exclusively for pedestrian use. According to the Telegraph, the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge crosses “a valley between Grächen and Zermatt, and offers scenic views of some of Switzerland’s highest peaks, including the famed Matterhorn.”</p> <p><strong>Millau Viaduct, France</strong></p> <p>At 2460m, the Millau Viaduct is not even close to being one of the longest bridges in the world. Instead, this engineering marvel often seen cutting through the clouds on the A75 highway between Paris and Barcelona is the tallest bridge and, remarkably, is even higher than the Eiffel Tower.</p> <p><strong>Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel</strong></p> <p>Part bridge, part tunnel, this 28.3-mile marvel of engineering opened for automotive traffic way back in 1964. By the following year, it had been designated as “One of Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World,” according to Travel Trivia. The site goes on to explain that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel “connects the Delmarva Peninsula with southeastern Virginia, spanning across open waters around the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.”</p> <p><strong>Atchafalaya Basin Bridge</strong></p> <p>The twin bridge that spans the largest river swamp in the country opened in 1973 and at the time “was the longest bridge in the United States,” reports the Advertiser. Drivers and passengers alike are afforded stellar views of Louisiana’s wetlands from Interstate 10 during the 30km stretch.</p> <p><strong>Bang Na to Bangpakong Expressway</strong></p> <p>Is a bridge still a bridge if it doesn’t cross over water? The six lanes of The Bang Na in Thailand span a whopping 53.9km, including a run through Bangkok, with only a relative drop of the Bang Pakong River flowing beneath. Structurally this bridge, which ranks as the longest road bridge in the world, was made with over a million cubic metres of concrete, according to Road Traffic Technology, and instead of a sea or lake, rises nearly 30.4 metres above another stretch of road, National Highway Route 34.</p> <p><strong>Akashi Kaikyo Bridge</strong></p> <p>Rising high above the Akashi Strait, and connecting the city of Kobe with Awaji Island in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, is the longest spanning suspension bridge in the world. At 3,911m in length, its length is only part of the story. According to PBS, the two towers of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, rising 283m, “are higher than any other bridge towers in the world.”</p> <p><em>Written by Jeff Bogle. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/11-of-the-longest-bridges-in-the-world?slide=all">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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What flight attendants aren’t allowed to do

<p><strong>The (job) rules of the sky</strong></p> <p>There are always rules and regulations to follow at various companies, and flight attendants are no exception. However, since being a flight attendant is no ordinary job and they’ve seen some of the craziest things when flying, it makes sense that they have some more interesting rules they need to abide by. From keeping piercings and tattoos to a minimum and not raising their voice, read on to find out the unusual rules flight attendants need to follow on the job.</p> <p><strong>They can’t sleep when working on a flight</strong></p> <p>It’s tempting for passengers to get some sleep when on a flight, but flight attendants don’t always have that option. “Flight attendants cannot ever sleep while working a flight unless it is a flight of a certain time duration,” says Kiki Ward, an airline flight attendant and author of <em>The Essential Guide to Becoming a Flight Attendant</em>. However, there are some exceptions, like on international or long-haul flights where flight attendants can go to a designated area to take a rest break.</p> <p><strong>They can’t have tongue piercings</strong></p> <p>Many women get their ears pierced at a young age. However, piercings can’t extend to other parts of the body, especially the tongue. According to the British Airways, its uniform standards require a simple, elegant look. A single ear piercing is allowed and only one set of round-shaped earrings must be worn. No other visible body piercings including tongue, tongue retainer, and nose studs are allowed.</p> <p><strong>They can’t have tattoos on most airlines</strong></p> <p>Most airlines require that tattoos aren’t visible on a flight attendant’s face, neck, hands or arms, and if a tattoo can be seen under the uniform, an undergarment should be worn to cover it up. <a href="https://careers.airnewzealand.co.nz/belong-here/life-at-air-new-zealand/tattoo-policy">Air New Zealand’s tattoo policy</a> however allows employees to have <a href="https://media.newzealand.com/en/story-ideas/ta-moko-significance-of-maori-tattoos/">Tā Moko</a> (traditional Māori tattooing, often on the face) and non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing the uniform or normal business attire.</p> <p><strong>They can’t talk loudly in the cabin</strong></p> <p>In a confined space like a cabin, one conversation can be heard by people rows away. “There are personal behavioural guidelines that flight attendants are asked to follow,” says Ward, such as not talking to one another loudly in the cabin, the galleys or on jump seats about personal lives, work, etc because voices carry on aeroplanes. There isn’t a lot of privacy on an plane, so everyone should be courteous to those around them.</p> <p>Although if you’re bumped from your flight, you may feel less than courteous in your interactions with airline staff. </p> <p><em>Written by Madeline Wahl. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/flightstravel-hints-tips/10-things-flight-attendants-arent-allowed-to-do?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><em><u> </u></em></p>

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Post or it didn’t happen: Live tourist snaps have turned solo adventures into social occasions

<p>In the years since <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32336808">selfie sticks</a> went global, it has become clear that the mobile phone has changed the way we travel. The ubiquity of social media means tourists can now produce content on the move for their networked audiences to view in close to real time.</p> <p>Where once we shared slideshows post trip and saved prints and postcards as keepsakes, we now share <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738315000419">holiday images</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1220969">selfies</a> from the road, sea or air — expanding the “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026327692009003001">tourist gaze</a>” from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738315300335">traveller</a> to include remote audiences back home.</p> <p><strong>Instagram-worthy</strong></p> <p>Travelling has gone from a solitary quest to a “<a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780203861301/chapters/10.4324/9780203861301-21">social occasion</a>”. As such, gazing is becoming inseparably linked with photography. Taking photos has become habitual, rendering the camera as a way of seeing and experiencing new places.</p> <p>Travellers take selfies that present both locations and people in aesthetically pleasing and positive <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780203861301/chapters/10.4324/9780203861301-21">ways</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/17/instagrammers-travel-sri-lanka-tourists-peachy-backsides-social-media-obsessed">“instagrammability”</a> of a destination is a key motivation for younger people to travel there - even if filters and <a href="https://twitter.com/polina_marinova/status/1146620000679022593?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1146620000679022593&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftravel.nine.com.au%2Flatest%2Fbali-gates-of-heaven-attraction-fake-twitter-response%2F9014aa28-f31e-4ad7-912f-6749efc18b26">mirrors</a> have been used to create a less than realistic image.</p> <p>This transforms the relationship between travellers and their social networks in three important <a href="http://sk.sagepub.com/books/the-tourist-gaze-3-0-3e">ways</a>: between tourists and destination hosts; between fellow tourists; and lastly, between tourists and those that stay home.</p> <p>The urge to share travel imagery is not without risk. An Australian couple were <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-05/australians-released-from-iran/11576776">released</a> from detention in Iran in October, following their arrest for ostensibly flying a drone without a permit.</p> <p>Other tourists earned derision for scrambling to post selfies at <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/northern-territory/influencers-reason-for-deciding-to-climb-uluru-before-the-ban/news-story/b53928ee54800a6070bc0670b1679356">Uluru</a> before it was closed to climbers.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there is a sad story behind the newly popular travelgram destination Rainbow Mountain in the Peruvian Andes. It has <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/world/americas/peru-rainbow-mountain.html">reportedly</a> only recently emerged due to climate change melting its once snowy peaks.</p> <p><strong>Testing the effects</strong></p> <p>To understand the way social media photography impacts travelling, we undertook an exploratory <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40558-019-00151-4">study</a> of overnight visitors at zoological accommodation in lavish surrounds.</p> <p>We divided 12 participants into two groups. One group was directed to abstain from posting on social media but were still able to take photos. The second group had no restrictions on sharing photos. Though the numbers were small, we gathered qualitative information about engagement and attitudes.</p> <p>Participants were invited to book at <a href="http://www.jamalawildlifelodge.com.au/">Jamala Wildlife Lodge</a> in Canberra. The visit was funded by the researchers — Jamala Wildlife Lodge did not sponsor the research and the interviewees’ stay at the Lodge was a standard visit. We then conducted interviews immediately after their departure from the zoo, critically exploring the full experience of their stay.</p> <p>The study confirmed that the desire to share travel pictures in close to real time is strongly scripted into the role of the tourist; altering the way travellers engage with sites they are visiting, but also their sense of urgency to communicate this with remote audiences.</p> <p><strong>Pics or it didn’t happen</strong></p> <p>Participants Mandy and Amy were among those instructed to refrain from posting pictures to social media while at the zoo. They described having to refrain from social media use as a disappointment, even though it seemed to further their engagement.</p> <p><em>Interviewer: Did you look at your social media throughout your stay or did you refrain?</em></p> <p><em>Mandy: A bit yeah. But even then, probably not reading it as much as I often would. I don’t think I commented on anything yeah.</em></p> <p><em>Amy: Even today when we put something up [after staying at the Zoo] about the things we’d done today and only a few people had liked it, there was that little bit of disappointment that ‘Oh more people haven’t liked my post.’ Where we didn’t have that for the previous 24 hours [because of the experiment] … because nobody knew about it.</em></p> <p>The desire for social media recognition resumed after leaving the zoo. For Michelle, posting after the experience presented new concerns:</p> <p><em>Interviewer: How did you feel about not being able to post?</em></p> <p><em>Michelle: Spanner in the works! For me personally not being able to post was a negative experience because I wanted to show people what we’re doing, when we’re doing it.</em></p> <p><em>And I also feel, like a couple of people knew we were going to the zoo, right, and knew that we couldn’t use social media. So, when I eventually post it, they’re going to go, ‘She’s been hanging on to those and now she’s posting them and that’s just a bit weird.’ Like, to post it after the event. Everyone normally posts it in real time.</em></p> <p>Later, Michelle commented that withholding content from posting to social media also diminished a part of the experience itself:</p> <p><em>I sort of feel like if we don’t share the photos it’s like a tree fell down in the forest and no one heard it, like, we’ve had this amazing experience and if I don’t share them, then no one’s going to know that we had this experience, you know, apart from us.</em></p> <p>Tips garnered from travelgrammers fill lots of online video tutorials.</p> <p><strong>Centre Stage</strong></p> <p>Digital photography and social media transform the relationship between the travelling self and its audience, as individuals have an expanded — and potentially diversified — audience.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738315300335">Selfies in tourist contexts</a> reflect the tourist gaze back at the tourist, rather than outward.</p> <p>The perfect digital postcard now incorporates the self centrestage. As one participant suggested:</p> <p><em>Shannon: It almost feels like it’s kind of an expected behaviour when you are doing something touristy … We’ve actually had tour guides before … kind of a bit disappointed if you don’t take a photograph.</em></p> <p>The purpose of photography has <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1470357207084865">shifted</a> from a memory aid to a way of sharing experience in the moment. There is tension now between the need to capture tourist experiences for digital sharing and individual engagement in the tourist activity. Decrying the desire to use photography as a way of communicating experience will not constructively address this tension.</p> <p>To ensure tourism sustainability, and engagement with their target market, tourism providers need to explore better ways to manage travellers’ face-to-face and digital engagement.</p> <p>Digital engagements have become a defining part of travel, and organisations should be encouraged to promote online sharing of experiences — phone charging stations and photo competitions were two suggestions offered by our interviewees.</p> <p>In contrast, device-free days or activities could be another way to encourage face-to-face engagement and prompt tourists to be more considered with their online sharing.</p> <p><em>Written by Michael James Walsh, Naomi F Dale and Raechel Johns. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/travelgram-live-tourist-snaps-have-turned-solo-adventures-into-social-occasions-124583"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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