Friday, January 04, 2008

More Muslim madness

No doubt the girl was threatening the a*hole's "honour" by showing a normal interest in boys

A TEENAGER was last night strangled by her father before he took his own life. Neighbours were alerted to the tragedy by the "howling screams" of the 14-year-old girl's mother, who made the gruesome discovery shortly after 6pm. Police and ambulance crews rushed to the Stevens St, Pennant Hills townhouse in Sydney's northwest, arriving to find the girl unconscious and her father dead.

Distraught neighbours last night said the evening calm was shattered by the mother's distraught screams. "The scream was heard down the street. It was horrible," one neighbour said. It is understood the family were originally from Iran and had signed a two-year lease on the property three months ago.

Paramedics desperately tried to revive the teenager but she was pronounced dead a short time later. Police said the girl had been strangled but did not reveal the father's age or cause of death. A police spokesman last night confirmed the deaths of the teen and her father were being investigated as a murder-suicide. "Investigators don't believe a third party is involved. The exact cause and nature of the deaths will be established in a post mortem," the spokesman said.

The officer-in charge of the investigation, Inspector Michael Begg last night declined to talk about the incident when contacted by The Daily Telegraph.


NSW: 4200 nurses quit every year

What happens when you overwork nurses in order to employ more and more of those lovely bureaucrats

NURSES are leaving public hospitals faster than the Government can replace them despite a record 2368 graduates starting this year. The NSW health system is haemorrhaging nurses at a rate of 10 per cent - 4200 positions - a year, leaving existing staff overworked. Premier Morris Iemma yesterday admitted, while visiting Royal North Shore Hospital, that it was difficult to recruit and retain nurses.

However, embarrassingly for the Government, Mr Iemma also conceded in front of his embattled Health Minister Reba Meagher that Royal North Shore Hospital needed to return "to the forefront". Ms Meagher has been under siege over the hospital's performance, since staff and patients revealed a series of horror stories about the hospital's performance last year. Continually forced to defend the hospital, Ms Meagher yesterday looked on as Mr Iemma did the talking.

"I have taken a number of small steps to address the issue here at Royal North Shore Hospital," he said. ". . . to restore the reputation of the hospital as well as continue to improve the health services. "There are challenges, as there are in any hospital. "We are taking extra measures to address that." The hospital will be allocated 128 nurses at the end of this month, one of the largest intakes in the state. However, it still needs another 22 experienced nurses to fill the hospital's current shortfall. But difficulties remain as bullying and harassment of nurses has tainted RNSH. Long-serving staff have complained publicly of being intimidated by senior management.

Trying to soothe the hospital's bruised reputation, Mr Iemma assured new recruits: "I can promise the graduates that anyone who intimidates . . . will be dealt with, and dealt with very strongly. "I guarantee these graduates there is no place for bullying."

Despite the Government's recruitment push, a global shortage of nurses is placing strain on hospitals. NSW Nurses Association acting president Judith Kiejda said an ageing work force was having an impact on the health sector. "Some (nurses) do leave for overseas, career changes but a lot of the losses come down to retirement," she said. "There are a lot of nurses who are coming up to retirement far more than we are bring in the new ones."

New graduate, Emma Bowen, 20, said she was not put off by the negativity surrounding RNSH. "I did my practice here (at Royal North Shore) and really enjoyed it," she said. "I had excellent support."


Your government will look after you (NOT)

Despite nine calls, no one came for dying man

THE family of a man bashed to death during a Christmas Day game of beach cricket called triple-0 six times but still had to drive the dying man to hospital themselves because neither the police nor ambulances arrived in time. Combined with three other direct calls to Geraldton police station, north of Perth, which raised concerns about the escalating violence at Sunset Beach that night, the family of William Rowe made a total of nine calls asking for police or medical assistance.

It is understood the quality of information in some of the calls may have been affected because the callers were under duress. But in the end no police or ambulance vehicles arrived at the beach, forcing the frantic family to drive an unconscious Mr Rowe to hospital with another family member who had been struck in the face with a bottle during an attack in the beach car park.

A man, 21, and a group of [black] teenagers have been charged over the attacks, which began while Mr Rowe, 49, a farmer, and his family were enjoying the game of beach cricket. In a written response to questions on the handling of the tragedy, the acting police commissioner Chris Dawson defended the inability of the police force to respond fast enough to calls for help.

He said that one of the four high-priority incidents that prevented officers from going to the beach was a home burglary. The others were a violent domestic argument and an incident involving a man armed with a knife. Mr Dawson continued to refuse to give specific times for those incidents.

Detailing the calls from Sunset Beach, he said police arrived about 21 minutes after the first of the calls, by which time the Rowe family was on its way to hospital and most of their alleged attackers had left. "On the information available to them at the time, I am satisfied Geraldton police made the right decisions," he said. He told The West Australian that of the six triple-0 calls made, five were made for ambulance and hospital assistance and one was to police, who had arrived at the empty beach car park by that stage. Mr Dawson said that he would wait for the State Coroner's findings into Mr Rowe's death. The findings could take more than two years to be handed down.


Want to be a doctor? Try your luck

The usual Leftist hatred of merit -- and the examinations which detect it -- at work

The University of Sydney's medical school may turn its admissions process into a lucky dip and scrap applicant interviews in the biggest overhaul of its selection policy in 10 years. The proposals are among options being investigated by a working party to ensure admissions to the university's most prestigious course are fair and snare the best students. The dean of the school, Bruce Robinson, commissioned the review because he was concerned the current process failed to predict which applicants would succeed as students and doctors.

Students are selected through a combination of interviews, grade point average and performance in an exam known as the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test, used by 11 universities. But the test had never been properly scrutinised, Professor Robinson said. An internal review had found no difference between students who scraped through and those who scored highly.

The working party is considering a ballot system used in the Netherlands, with each applicant's name put into a lottery. Outstanding HSC students would get more chances. "It may be just as reliable as anything else," Professor Robinson said. "I'm just not sure the way we're doing it at the moment is the best way or the fairest way. There is no perfect way."

The University of Queensland has eliminated interviews from its admissions system after a review cast doubt on their value. Kim Oates, who is reviewing the University of Sydney program with Kerry Goulston, said there was little evidence the interview system was valuable. "What's really interesting is that a few years after graduation most people working in hospitals can't tell what medical school the students have been to," Professor Oates said. "And I think that's because the hospital system moulds you as well."

However, the University of NSW says the attrition rate in its undergraduate program has been halved since interviews were added to the admissions process in 2002. In its own recent review, the body that developed the current exam, the Australian Council of Educational Research, concluded it was a good predictor of success. Marita MacMahon Ball, the general manager of higher education programs, said there was a correlation between students' results and their first-year exam results. [Is that all? And how big is the correlation?]


Welfare reforms 'not enough'

DISABILITY pension recipients who are able to work at least part-time should be required to seek a job, according to the OECD. The Paris-based economic advisory body said the welfare to work reforms introduced by the Howard government last year did not go far enough to reduce Australia's $25 billion bill for disability and sickness benefits. In a major report on disability benefits, the OECD has urged the Rudd Government to embark on a fresh round of welfare reform that would also put pressure on employers to retain sick and disabled workers.

Employment Participation Minister Brendan O'Connor said any government response to the report would be made in consultation with people with disabilities, employers and experts. "The Rudd Government believes we can improve on the systems currently in place, and we intend to ensure that people with disabilities receive greater opportunities for education and training to ensure their job prospects are maximised," he said.

The report will put pressure on the Government to act because, from Opposition, Labor frequently used the authority of the OECD to attack the Coalition on issues ranging from infrastructure to industrial relations. The Coalition's welfare reforms, opposed by Labor and the disability lobby groups, imposed a work test on new applicants for the disability pension, but left the 700,000 existing beneficiaries untouched. The OECD says only 1per cent of people on a disability pension find work each year. It says the Howard government's welfare reforms created problems by forcing people eligible for the disability pension but with the ability to work part-time on to the Newstart unemployment benefit rather than the more generous disability pension. Not only is the unemployment benefit 20 per cent lower, it is taxed and is less flexible about how much work can be done before benefits are lost.

The OECD says the Government should revisit the welfare review led by Salvation Army chief Patrick McClure in 2000, which recommended a single working-age benefit for the unemployed, the disabled and sole parents. This would "simplify the system and avoid undesirable incentives to move from one benefit to another". As a first step, the OECD urged that younger disabled people who have been receiving the pension be required to seek work, later extending to all disabled people. It should also be easier for people on disability benefits to suspend their entitlement so they would not lose it if they found work for a period.

The OECD said the Government should require employers to put more effort into keeping on people with sickness or disability. More than a third of people applying for the disability pension were previously unemployed. It suggested this "could be related to the fact that sick employees can be fired relatively easily". Anti-discrimination laws did not provide sufficient protection for workers with disabilities. Employers were required to provide 10 days' sick leave, but had no obligation beyond that. The OECD said the Government should follow the example of other countries in mandating the minimum sick leave for a longer period.


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