Sunday, November 01, 2009

Weapons maker funds new school curriculum

Leftists are fuming. Nobel peace-prize nominee Adolf Hitler condemned the "armaments madness of the world" too. See the actual prewar German election posters here

An Adelaide public school has come under fire for reaching a deal with the world's largest manufacturer of guided missiles to fund a new curriculum. The principal of Aberfoyle Park High School says the program will get students more interested in maths and science and encourage them to consider engineering as a career.

But critics argue it is helping US-based contractor Raytheon poach students into the defence industry.

Principal Allan Phelps says the $500,000 deal to co-develop the curriculum with Raytheon provides students with the best real-life learning examples possible. "The focus is on learning and teaching in maths and science," he said. The deal also funds about 250 new laptops.

It does not have the support of the education union's president, Coreena Haythorpe. "I think the question the community would be asking is whether you want a company that has been involved in global conflicts and developing missiles, working in education with our children," she said. Ms Haythorpe says schools should not have to resort to business deals and wants the Government to increase education funding.

South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith and Raytheon would not comment.


National Party at war with wishy-washy conservatives over Warmist laws

Australia's rural-based National Party is one of the few in the world to reject outright the global warming theory

Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce says he is frustrated by personal criticism from within the Liberal Party and has threatened to quit the Coalition. Senator Joyce's strong stance against an emission trading scheme has angered some Liberal Party MPs.

Senator Joyce told Channel Seven his critics should have the courage to state their views in public. "If after about four years you continually deal with unnamed sources in the paper and those unnamed sources say that the source of all their problems in life is you, then you say if you want to make yourself public and you are at the appropriate level, I'll leave," he said.

The Coalition is in negotiations on an emissions trading scheme with the Federal Government. However, talks have been stalling over Government claims the Coalition is not negotiating in good faith. Several Coalition members have made comments about the emissions trading scheme that seem to be at odds with Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's stance.

On Friday, Senate Leader Nick Minchin said the Coalition would not necessarily vote for an emissions trading scheme even if the Federal Government accepted the Coalition's amendments. Senator Minchin's comments came amid a report in The Australian newspaper that Liberal frontbenchers were getting cold feet about supporting a scheme because the party's research shows voters are becoming hesitant about the idea.

Mr Turnbull has said he will recommend supporting an emissions trading scheme if the Opposition's amendments are accepted. Senator Joyce has been outspoken in his opposition to an emissions trading scheme and has said he would vote such a scheme down.


Obesity study to measure hospital visits

This sounds perilously like obesity skepticism. Fancy looking for evidence of what "everyone knows"!

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have started a long-range study on people who are overweight or obese and the number of times they need to visit hospitals. The study is following 265,000 people aged over 45 years, their weight and the number of hospital admissions.

ANU Associate Professor Emily Banks says very little is known about whether being overweight can increase your risk of going to hospital. "To look at if there are any points where we can intervene, actually to make people who are overweight or obese less at risk of hospital [visits]," she said. "So we are not only going to describe the relationship between being overweight or obese and going to hospital, we're also going to be able to look and see if there are points where we can make a difference and we can actually prevent it."

Professor Banks says the team will collect data which could be used to help develop future health policy. "The group's going to be investigating the effect of obesity and overweight on the risk of going to hospital and I think a lot of people would be quite surprised to find we don't know very much about that," she said. "We don't know what the risks are. We also don't know what the ideal weight is in terms of whether or not people are at risk of going to hospital."


"Asylum-seekers" admit living in Indonesia

A rather gross example of "asylum-seekers" being anything but

Family First senator Steve Fielding has questioned whether 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, who have "hijacked" an Australian customs boat, are real refugees. It has been revealed that most of the ethnic Tamil group, who are refusing to leave the Oceanic Viking moored off Indonesia's coast, have been living in the country for years. In written messages thrown off the boat, Fairfax newspapers reported the asylum seekers as saying they'd been living in Indonesia for as long as five years and had been accepted by the United Nations office in Jakarta as genuine refugees.

Senator Fielding said on Sunday it was the first he'd heard of the development but questioned whether the group, whose spokesman is a man called Alex, really were legitimate asylum seekers. "I remember the first phone call we took from, I think Alex, his English wasn't so good," he told Network Ten. "Within two weeks his English is better than mine, so I'm not so sure how genuine some of these people are."

The group were meant to be offloaded from the ship under a deal struck between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. But they haven't budged for two weeks and Senator Fielding said the situation was bamboozling the federal government. "This is our boat, it's been hijacked by the refugees, and the Rudd government hasn't got a clue what to do," he said.

Senator Fielding said Labor's border protection policies were attracting more asylum seekers to Australia. "People smugglers are using these laws to send more people our way," he said. "That is a huge concern, something needs to be done. "The Rudd government has a band-aid solution, the Indonesian solution is an Indonesian fiasco and it's clearly not working."

Senator Fielding said every time one asylum seeker was granted an Australian visa, another who had been waiting their turn in a refugee camp missed out. "Those people trying to jump the queue should go to the back of the queue," he said.


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