Bed bugs rife again -- thanks to the Greenies
Banning DDT has brought them back. And killing them is very difficult without DDT
BLAME everything from council clean-up scabs to dirt cheap airfares, Sydney's bed bug problem has exploded with a 4500 per cent increase in treatments for the tiny pests. It has become so bad Westmead Hospital will, for the first time, run courses on how to detect and control the blood suckers next year.
Summer's warmth kicks the creatures into active mode and yesterday Australia's top bed bug expert, Westmead Hospital entomologist Stephen Doggett, said: "In the past few weeks I've had a lot of calls and I expect an explosion of calls now it's getting warmer. Everywhere from five-star hotels to family homes can be infested. Between 2000 and 2006 there was a 4500 per cent increase in calls."
Mr Doggett said the bugs were now resistant to common insecticides after being wiped out in Australia during the 1950s with the aid of the now banned chemical DDT.
Cheap airfares had fueled a big increase in travel, including to poorer countries. "Bed bugs can travel in luggage and what do people do when they first get to a hotel, they put their luggage on the hotel bed infecting it too," Mr Doggett said. He said Westmead's entomology unit had calculated the bugs cost $100million in lost hotel revenue and eradication costs in Australia between 2000 and 2006. "The accommodation industry does not want to admit the scale of the problem," he said.
Bed bug killers San Souci's Pink Pest Services said pleas for help had doubled in recent years as the bug invasion spread. "Worst areas in homes are Bondi, Surry Hills and Redfern," a spokesman said.
Public hospital crisis forces vulnerable women into wards with men
QUEENSLAND'S public hospital bed crisis is now so acute that women, including some with breast cancer, have been put into wards with men. Gail Ramsay said she was horrified when she was admitted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane last week and was taken to a ward containing three men. Ms Ramsay, who is undergoing chemotherapy, has lost her hair and wears a prosthetic breast and a wig. "At night-time when you go to bed, you take all that off," she said.
"I said to the nurse: 'Look, it's embarrassing.' "She said: 'Keep your curtain pulled. If you want to be treated, you've got to be prepared to share with men. That's common practice now. That's what happens.' " Ms Ramsay, from the Ipswich suburb of Riverview, said she was only moved to a women's ward after she complained and "ran out of the room".
The 52-year-old, who was in hospital for three days after doctors found a blood clot near her heart, said she met other women there who had been treated in men's wards. "They didn't like it either," she said.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Davis said the practice was common in most public hospitals throughout the state because of the lack of beds. "I think this is another one of the examples where we've actually gone backwards with our hospitals over the past 20 years by not being able to offer people gender-specific wards," Dr Davis said.
He said he had been told by a colleague this week that beds at the Rockhampton Hospital had been set up in staff offices to accommodate patients. "When the system is running under that sort of pressure, people will have to accept a bed wherever and hope that their privacy and dignity is maintained," he said. "It's not a comfortable situation for a lot of people, very understandably."
A Leftist politician who sues if criticized?
And he is still whining. He shouldn't be in politics
A QUEENSLAND MP who threatened to sue an elderly lady who had criticised him has apologised for acting in the heat of the moment. Phil Gray, the state Labor MP for Gaven, wrote a letter to the Gold Coast woman after she allegedly criticised him and said she wouldn't vote for him at a public meeting last month. Mr Gray told her that if she did not stop smearing his character he would take the matter to court.
But an angry Premier Anna Bligh yesterday pulled the member aside and ordered him to apologise, telling him his behaviour was completely unacceptable. Mr Gray sent a letter of apology today and said he realised he would have to let future criticisms roll off his back. "I do regret it as the (original) letter was written in haste,'' he said. "I think I've probably developed an elephant-like skin now and you can throw whatever you like at me and I won't flinch.''
But he had his family to consider as well, who were hurt by the incident, he said. Mr Gray said politicians were often at a disadvantage in defending themselves and their families. "Politicians seem to have less civil and legal rights in this country than others,'' he said. ''... it's not that we're precious little care bears with a very thin skin, but I think there are limits which at times are crossed by the press or by other people.''
Nasty local bureaucrats in Melbourne tear down boys' cubby house
It's getting as bad as Britain, where nearly everything has been declared "unsafe" somewhere
Sam Cooper was shattered when he came home from school to find council workers had torn down his beloved cubby house. The Eltham North 12-year-old and his best mate, Jack Deer, also 12, spent nine months building the two-storey cubby in a neighbour's tree, using hard rubbish they collected.
Sam's mum, Mary-Ann, was at home on November 19 when she heard banging and went outside to see the cubby being torn down. "It was heartbreaking for me," she said. "I just said, 'Oh, no', because I knew Samuel loved it." Ms Cooper said there was no warning of the demolition so she couldn't prepare Sam for the shock. "When I picked him up from school I didn't know what to do. I just let him find that it wasn't there and he teared up.
"The council workers, they were embarrassed that they had to pull down a child's cubby house and they said they just had a job to do."
Sam, an aspiring builder, said he was "really devastated, because all our hard work had gone to nothing".
Ms Cooper described the cubby as "magnificent", and said it even had carpeted floors.
Nillumbik Shire Council spokeswoman Allison Watt said the workers who removed the cubby believed the tree was on a public reserve. But neighbour Wendy Kilvington, who gave Sam permission to build the cubby, said she planted the tree on her property 14 years ago. But Ms Watt said: "If it's not on council property, it's very close to it. "We didn't sort of march into someone's private back yard and tear down a cubby house. It was in an open public area, which was fully accessible to people other than the kids who built the tree house."
She said the cubby was an "unacceptable risk to public safety". "It seemed to be made from second-hand timber and it was joined together with rope and not particularly sturdy, so, we felt that that was a risk." She apologised for the council not giving notice to residents that the cubby would be removed.
Bizarre! Rudd pumps iron, does press-ups on plane
KEVIN Rudd has started pumping iron with the Australian Federal Police. The Prime Minister has developed his own special form of altitude training - in-flight push-ups aboard the prime ministerial plane. The Herald Sun can reveal Mr Rudd has embarked on a rigorous exercise regime in an effort to keep fit for office. The training program includes regular late-night workouts at AFP gyms.
Opposition questioning has revealed Mr Rudd has approval to use eight police gyms in Canberra. The once pudgy PM attends with his security detail, who are all AFP agents, and is believed to work out with them.
The man known as Kevin 747 for his frequent international travel has also revealed his secret to staying fit while on the move. "I tend to walk late at night, I go to the gym, I do weights," he told the Herald Sun. "It keeps me sane. I do push-ups on the plane."
Mid-air upper body strength-building is a key contributor to Mr Rudd's description of his own health as "fine". "I sleep pretty well, actually," he said. "This is a tough job but I think people would want to know you are working as hard as you can and as effectively as you can."
Offers of cakes and scones at community events, and the fatty meals often served at official functions, are a constant threat to the waistlines of Australian politicians.
The importance of staying in shape as prime minister was demonstrated by John "Man of Steel" Howard, whose early morning walks helped him survive 11 years in the top job. Mr Rudd is also a keen walker but he prefers to set out in the evening. His cross-training program follows his admission this year that he had a weight problem.
Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells was able to uncover some details through questions on notice to the AFP. She asked 29 questions trying to confirm Liberal suspicions Mr Rudd was wasting taxpayers' money by keeping the gyms open after hours. But the AFP's Canberra gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "There are no extra staffing arrangements or costs," the AFP said. It did reveal, however, that Mr Rudd had demonstrated "an understanding and correct use of the equipment, rules and responsibilities" of the gym facilities.