Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hungry Jack's criticized over monster burger

"Hungry Jack's" is the Australian branch of America's "Burger King". When something is attacked by "the chairman of the Sydney World Action on Salt and Health", you know you are dealing with an attention-seeking fraud -- and you can be pretty sure that the truth is the reverse of what he says -- since a low salt diet REDUCES your lifespan. The full range of scientific evidence shows NO basis for the salt phobia. Salt deficiency ("hyponatremia") is however a major cause of death in some settings. Google it

HEALTH experts are demanding warning labels be put on a new burger that contains almost twice as much saturated fat and 40 per cent more salt than the recommended daily intakes. Hungry Jack's double Angry Angus, packed with deep fried onion rings, two slices of cheese, two beef patties and several rashers of bacon, contains 26 grams of saturated fat and 5.6 grams of salt - 10 grams more saturated fat and 1.6 grams more salt than the daily intake recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Eating the Angry Angus would cause a diner's blood pressure to rise immediately and eating it regularly would cause chronic high blood pressure, leading to heart attack, kidney failure and stroke, the chairman of the Sydney World Action on Salt and Health, Bruce Neal, said yesterday. Children who eat a high sodium diet risk developing obesity, asthma and high blood pressure. "Hungry Jack's appears to have little commitment to the health of their consumers. In the context of our national obesity crisis this type of product is reckless," Professor Neal said.

Australians should eat one to two grams of salt a day but most ate about nine grams, he said. If that was cut to six grams, the chances of heart attack or stroke would drop 15 to 20 per cent. "If manufacturers were forced to use front-of-pack warnings, they would reform their products pretty quickly to ensure they didn't have to carry that label," he said.

The chief executive of the Heart Foundation, Tony Thirlwell, said the company was behaving irresponsibly. "The burger has a great title because it makes me doubly angry. It is highly disappointing that a manufacturer in modern-day Australia would consider serving this to people. "To think that you could have only one of these burgers every two days and nothing else is a ridiculous idea." [It's the food "standards" that are ridiculous]

He called on food manufacturers to put pressure on Hungry Jack's to act responsibly before the Government was forced to step in, banning or taxing high-calorie meals. "This behaviour is not in the best interests of the food industry or the consumers because this burger can cause serious heart disease." [Proof?]

Hungry Jack's did not respond to the Herald's inquiries but late yesterday altered the nutritional figures on its website, lowering the saturated fat content for the double Angry Angus to 21.3 grams and salt to 4.5 grams.

An associate professor in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, Clare Collins, said people needed protection against "monster foods". "It's shocking," she said. "We don't need a burger like this. It should carry a message saying 'increase your health premium now because you'll need it for your coronary care'."

A survey this year found three-quarters of sandwiches and burgers sold by McDonald's, Subway, Oporto, Red Rooster, KFC and Hungry Jack's contained over half the maximum daily allowance of salt in a single serve.


More racist "justice"

A disgrace that this had to go to appeal after previous protests and appeals over judicial racism

An Aboriginal man who raped a pregnant woman was given leniency because of his race and background, the Court of Appeal ruled today. Justices Marcia Neave and Robert Redlich said the sentence imposed on Rodney Daryl Moore, who raped a woman who was eight months' pregnant, was "manifestly inadequate". They upheld an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who argued that too much weight was given to his background and that Aboriginal offenders should not be sentenced more leniently than non-Aboriginal offenders.

"It appears that his Honour, for reasons of compassion, gave too much weight to the offenders deprived and tragic circumstances," said Justices Neave and Redlich. "The sentence imposed on Mr Moore is so disproportionate to the objective gravity of the offence as to shock the public conscience."

Moore, 24, was originally sentenced in the County Court at Mildura to four years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of two years and six months, after pleading guilty to rape and aggravated burglary. He was re-sentenced today to five years and six months with a non-parole period of four years.

Justices Neave and Redlich said Judge Michael Bourke recognised that Moore’s Aboriginality had contributed to his disadvantaged background of alcohol, drug abuse and violence. But this had to be balanced against the gravity of the offence, general and specific deterrence, community protection and the respondent’s prospects of rehabilitation.

The DPP argued in the appeal that legal precedent dictated that race should play no part in sentencing. Justices Neave and Redlich said a previous appeal decision had stated "in sentencing persons of Aboriginal descent, the court must avoid any hint of racism, paternalism or collective guilt".

In the judgment, the court said Moore broke into the home of his 21-year-old victim in the early hours of January 10, 2006. The night was extremely warm and the woman, who lived alone, was lying naked on a mattress on the floor to keep cool. Justices Neave and Redlich said that after he raped her Moore said "everyone f***s you’’ which suggested he regarded her as nothing more than an object for his sexual use.

Moore told a psychologist who examined him that he regarded the victim as a "slut". He had prior convictions for aggravated burglary, the appeal judges said, and for offences involving violence. Moore had previously received two community based orders and Judge Bourke found that his prospects for rehabilitation were not good.

"The attack was a violent one," Justices Neave and Redlich said. "The appellant (Moore) invaded the victims home in the early hours of the morning and raped her while she was in an advanced state of pregnancy. "Not surprisingly, the victim was terrified and the rape has had lasting effects on her. (His) impaired mental functioning could not substantially eliminate his responsibility for the offending."


Emissions Trading Scheme will cost Australian families $1100 a year

KEVIN Rudd's Emissions Trading Scheme will increase the average family's bills by about $1100 a year. Based on the Federal Government's own modelling, by 2012 the ETS will add more than 20 per cent to electricity tariffs - a surge of nearly $300 for typical households already reeling in New South Wales from a similar blow from the state pricing tribunal in July. And industry forecasts predict grocery prices could surge 5 per cent once the estimated price of carbon is imposed, making stocking a home larder $520 more expensive, The Daily Telegraph reports.

For those on lower incomes, overall costs are tipped to rise $630. While lower in dollar terms this represents a bigger slice of their outgoings. They will be compensated by taxpayers - the Government yesterday vowed nine in 10 poorer households would receive more than what the ETS added to their bills but middle-income families won't get the same deal.

The Government's latest changes to the proposed ETS actually reduce consumer compensation by $5.8 billion over the next decade. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the high Australian dollar meant the carbon price would be lower, so less compensation was required.

Experts said that higher-earning households looking to limit the financial impact of the scheme would either need to spend up on going green or cut back on power use.

National Institute of Economic and Industry Research head Dr Peter Brain, author of the most commonly cited study into the cost of the ETS for households, said: "It's carrot and stick. It has to be. Otherwise emissions won't decline by anything like the rate required."

Mr Rudd said the latest version of the ETS would ensure that Australia could "achieve its ambitious unconditional target" of a 5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 when compared with 2000 levels and its conditional target of 15-25 per cent.

Energy price comparison service GoSwitch CEO Ben Freund said: "What the Government wants people to do is shift from cheaper sources of power to more expensive sources like wind and solar. "How do you make people do that? By making the expensive sources of energy more compelling. And you do that by making the cheaper sources of energy more expensive."

Professor Joshua Gans from the Melbourne Business School said the other way middle - and higher - income families could limit the impact was to cut power usage. "The idea of the CPRS is not to cause people to spend more on electricity. It is to change their behaviour so they don't spend more on electricity," Professor Gans said.

Small business owners James and Kylie White, of Botany, said they were worried about how much the ETS was going to cost them. "It's obviously a concern, coupled with the interest rates heading back up," Mr White, 34, said. "Over the last 12 months we have been seeing less and less income and the bills increasing. This is going to make it a little bit tougher."


Infamy, insanity, inanity in Australia's proposed climate laws

We had a prime minister who declared economic war on his own country. And an opposition leader who spent the rest of the day trying desperately to make it unanimous. Finally, succeeding. Or, perhaps not.

As I wrote yesterday this is one case where the devil is not in the detail. So making the detail of the Emissions Trading Scheme seemingly 'better' is without the slightest merit. And indeed is worse even in its own distorted terms. The ETS remains a direct, if slightly diverted attack against our national interest, against the very foundation not just of our economy but of our society. And it is completely incompatible with the government's population growth 'policy,' for want of a better word.

Yes, the extra 'assistance' to the power industry would probably help - literally - to keep the lights on in the short term. But only in the short term, and only if the debts of Victoria's power stations are guaranteed by the federal government, whether directly or indirectly.

There still wouldn't be another coal-fired power station built anywhere in Australia while this insanity prevails - while dozens are built in China and India.

And with nuclear also prohibited, we would face an 'interesting' intersection point between population, power and permits some time around 2015. Not, obviously, that nuclear could have 'saved us' in just five years anyway. That's when a bigger population demands more power; there isn't any; and all that 'generous assistance' is reaching its use-by date and then we face the prospect of the existing power stations going broke or breaking down.

This is when the reality of prime ministerial insanity catches up with Australia. Not even in 'distant 2020' but a few years before that. Because all that so-called assistance doesn't alter the basic reality of the ETS and the government's overall Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

What's in a name? Digressing, one really wonders how Kevin Rudd and his co-destroyer Penny Wong can literally live with themselves, as they spread the same 'pollution' every breath of their lives. As Rudd said yesterday, seemingly proudly, certainly totally unaware of his own stupidity: "the deal will ensure that Australia can achieve its ambitious unconditional target of 5 per cent (reduction in CO2 emissions), conditional target of up to 15 per cent and top-end target of 25 per cent off 2000 levels by 2020." This is the bottom line that isn't altered by all the extra so-called assistance. That once the ETS is in place, we are legislatively committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, whatever - the nothing - that the rest of the world does.

So if coal-fired power stations emit more as a consequence of their extra assistance, the cuts have to come from somewhere else. Or we pay foreigners for the right to over-emit. Doesn't sound too tough? Just 5 per cent? But factor in our roaring population growth and we have to cut by closer to 33 per cent per person. And do it in just 10 years!

Now committing to something like this this would be bad enough coming from any leader of any country. Directly attacking the wellbeing of its citizens. Especially when that leader knows, and I mean knows, that it is utterly pointless, even in his own misconceived terms, as no-one of major emitting substance is going to follow.

Coming from the leader of a country whose entire economy is built on carbon-based energy and the export of carbon-based products, it is criminally - there really are no other words for it - insane. In the context of my opening reference, it is as if Rudd himself had launched the planes on our Pearl Harbor, our economy.

In this case, double apologies are due to the author of the original quote, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The usual apology for amendment. The additional one for associating it with something and someone so grubby.


Victorian parliamentary committee says mens-only clubs should be allowed to restrict entry

ELITE clubs should retain the right to restrict entry to men or women only, a parliamentary committee has recommended. A report tabled in State Parliament yesterday said that gender-specific venues, including the upmarket Melbourne and Athenaeum clubs on Collins St, should be able to continue to operate as single-sex institutions, despite a campaign by Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls for them to lose their exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.

Earlier this year, Mr Hulls said that the predominantly men's-only clubs had become outdated.

The report by the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee recommended yesterday that freedom of association was a "fundamental human right" that should be balanced against the right to non-discrimination. "The committee does not recommend a change that would prevent single-sex clubs from continuing their operations or require them to seek an exemption in order to continue their operations," the report says.

Mr Hulls said the Government would consider the recommendations: "While the recommendations in relation to private clubs appear unclear and somewhat confusing , the committee did recommend that Section 78 of the current legislation, which allows clubs to be exempt from anti-discrimination laws as of right, be amended."


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