Tuesday, January 20, 2009


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pretty grouchy about high bank ATM fees

Arrogant Therapeutic Goods Administration still refusing to cough up for its wrongful actions

They think that they can get away with destroying hundreds of businesses and creating huge financial losses on the basis of mere speculation. One of the grosser examples of bureaucratic irresponsibility and abuse of power. They are all the more hateful because they have settled with the "big" guy whom they hurt but now seem to think they can stiff all the the little guys by insisting on long drawn out and expensive court action. I have commented on the scum previously. Note that I am no fan of "alternative" medicine. As you can see here I think that there is too much quackery even in conventional medicine. But my attachment to the importance of evidence is obviously not shared by the TGA and the bitches who seem to run it -- depite scrutiny of evidence being their brief

PHIL Alexander has turned to the law for help five years after it was used against his naturopath business in the country's biggest medicines recall. He has become part of a $120 million class action against the commonwealth over its role in the collapse of Pan Pharmaceuticals, which once supplied his multivitamin business. "It was an incredibly harrowing experience," Mr Alexander said, recalling the 12,000 items of stock he was forced to destroy in the recall.

He even received death threats as frightened customers turned against him and bad publicity swamped his sales. "The odd father rang up and said 'If you kill my baby, I'll kill you'," Mr Alexander said.

In 2003, the Therapeutic Goods Administration suspended Pan's licence and progressively recalled 1600 of its products. The TGA accused Australia's then largest complementary medicine maker of substituting ingredients, manipulating test results and running sub-standard production lines after a Pan travel sickness drug was linked to 19 admissions to hospital.

But the decisions the authority made at the time were brought into serious question last year after the commonwealth settled with Pan founder Jim Selim for $55 million over the TGA's handling of the affair.

Now Mr Alexander wants redress, saying his once-thriving Sydney business has never recovered from the TGA's actions. "They pulled all the vitamins and minerals off the shelves, without cause," he said. "After 14 weeks, we were able to get stock made and get it back on the shelves, but of course over 30 per cent of our customers wouldn't come back."

Mr Alexander said the TGA had acted on an "ideological and regulatory whim" in ordering such a massive recall. He said Pan had passed a TGA audit not long before, and no complaints were made or illnesses recorded from the recalled products.

Mr Alexander said he first learned of his business's fate on the 6pm news one Monday in April 2003. "All hell broke loose, and the next day the phones went absolutely mad for 14 days. We spent months returning all the calls. It was bedlam, it was just insane," he said. The TGA refused to even test his multivitamins for contamination, despite ordering the destruction of his stock, Mr Alexander said.

A Health Department spokeswoman said yesterday the TGA was unable to comment because the case was before the courts. But the regulator has publicly refused to concede any of the allegations made in Mr Selim's lawsuit.

Susanna Khouri, investment manager with IMF Australia, which is funding the lawsuit, said Mr Alexander's story of lost revenue and emotional harm was repeated many times over.


An antisemitic Leftist newspaper

No surprise about that. Disappointing when it is a major Australian newspaper though. Some of us hoped that the departure of "Wee Andy" Jaspan as editor of The Age might have led to more mature policies there but it seems that the paper has got worse rather than better. Their circulation is already a mere fraction of the rival "Hun". Looks like they want to reduce it further. I think they are going to find that the antisemitic market is rather small. The article does not seem to be online at the site of "The Age" itself but, funnily enough, a Muslim newspaper has reprinted it. So, you can read their latest reiteration of all the old antisemitic tripe here. Below is an outraged response from the Melbourne Jewish community

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), and Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), today jointly called on Melbourne's The Age to apologise for publishing a blatantly antisemitic article (attached) in the Saturday Age yesterday. Searle and Lamm stated:

"Sometimes criticism of Israeli foreign policy becomes so irrational and so hate-filled that it spills over into antisemitism. Yesterday Saturday's Age (17/01) published such a piece wherein its columnist Michael Backman encapsulated centuries of hate speech against Jews in a few hundred words. Among other things, Backman wrote:

* Israel's conflict with the Palestinians caused the London, Bali and World Trade Centre bombings.

* Israel has united the Islamic world against Western nations.

* The historical persecution of Jews constitutes punishment for Jesus' death.

* Israelis and Jews are uninterested in the welfare of others, and do not invest financially or socially in the broader community.

It is inexplicable why The Age would publish such a pernicious article, and why by one of its business columnists, a man whose field of expertise is Asian business and art, a man apparently without credentials on the Middle East, international politics or contemporary religion.

Each of the above statements is demonstrably wrong as are other assertions in the article. It is sheer nonsense to claim, for example that "The enmity many Muslims now feel for Israel has nothing to do with religion". Really? Perhaps Backman should read the hate-filled Hamas Covenant which explicitly talks about extermination of all Jews, not merely Israelis.

It is unacceptable that The Age gave a platform to this man's hatred of Jews and Israelis and incitement against them. The Victorian Jewish community's experience is that such commentary rouses violence and hatred against local Jews. Indeed, the JCCV and the ZCV made this very point to The Age only two weeks ago. We were assured by acting editor Mark Baker that its reportage was totally even-handed. And yet its editors saw fit to publish this vile piece. We are outraged with The Age for publishing Backman's disgusting falsehoods.

The JCCV and SZC have complained to The Age today in the strongest possible terms on behalf of the Victorian Jewish community. We have further committed ourselves to further steps, including possible legal action. This is not 1930s Germany. We will not accept this hatred."

SOURCE. See also here

Australian Study Debunks Methane Theory of climate impact

New Research by an Australian-based scientists Ellen Nisbet has found that in fact plants do not produce greenhouse methane gas. These findings destroy a central plank of the climate change theory.

The scientific theory that plants produce methane was published in the international science journal Nature three years ago, forcing a rethink of the possible sources of greenhouse gas.

Methane is more than 20 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Its main sources include natural gas fields, landfills, cattle, bogs and decaying organic waste.

A 2006 study by German scientist Frank Keppler asserted that tropical rain forests were emitting large amounts of methane. Dr Nisbet, who was studying at Cambridge University at the time, was sceptical when she saw Dr Keppler's results.

Evolutionary biologist Nisbet working with 12 scientists, including her father, atmospheric chemist Euan Nisbet, found that plants do not carry the right genes to produce methane, but merely filter the gas when it's contained in soil and dissolved in water.

"When we grew plants under very controlled conditions we found no, they don't produce methane. They don't have the right genes to make methane. We know what the genes are and they're definitely not there."

Dr Nisbet lectures in life Sciences at the University of South Australia said the team found that plants absorbed methane dissolved in water and soil, and then secreted it into the air. The research has been published this week in Transactions of the Royal Society in Britian.


More destructive bureaucracy in NSW

After a sperm donor in Sweden was ordered to pay child maintenance, is it any wonder that potential donors are now very wary?

A controversial plan for a sperm and egg donor registry has sparked concerns donations will end and women will be forced into one night stands to conceive. Under new State Government regulations for the fertility industry, a database containing highly confidential and sensitive information about donors will be handled by government staff. But fertility specialist Dr Joel Bernstein, from Fertility East in Bondi Junction, said the "over-policing" could turn donors away and may affect hundreds of couples who can't be helped by IVF. "It could turn responsible reproduction into irresponsible reproduction. Donations will reduce and I have little doubt that women will go down to the pub or ask a friend (to donate)."

One in six couples in Australia is infertile and many go overseas to find a donor due to the shortage. Donations plummeted when the law changed in 2004 allowing offspring access to information on their donor once they turned 18. It is believed only a dozen men are registered donors in NSW.

The draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation, on display until February 27, will also allow inspectors to enter fertility clinics to view records and take samples. "I think the Government should be encouraging more donors and not (taking) an aggressive approach," Dr Bernstein said.

The industry is divided over the registry, which may also force donors to update their address and include information on other offspring and partners. IVF Australia medical director Professor Peter Illingworth said the clinic supported a registry but "question marks" remained over its operation. His clinic has a 12-month waiting list for sperm donations while egg donors must be known to applicant couples. "Our view is the donor registry will not affect our ability to attract new sperm donors," he said.

Egg donation is so low in Australia women spend up to $15,000 and travel to Greece and Spain where donors are not identified.


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