Saturday, April 03, 2010

Police secrecy about attack on Indian

"Racial sensitivities" apparently. The public are too dumb and stupid to be given important information, apparently. One guess that the offender was an ethnic too -- perhaps a Polynesian (Maori etc.)

A SERIOUS alleged knife attack at one of Queensland's busiest train stations during the peak afternoon commuter period was kept quiet by authorities. The Courier-Mail has learnt that an Indian man's throat was slashed while he waited on Platform 9 at Brisbane's Roma Street Station about 4.20pm on March 17.

A 26-year-old man was charged a short time later after handing himself in at police headquarters, across the road.

It is alleged the attack on Narendrakumar Patel, 34, was seen by police monitoring the station on closed-circuit television screens. But details of the incident were never released by police despite the high-profile location. Sources have claimed that a decision was taken by authorities not to release details of the assault, which is certain to fuel fears about train station safety.

It also will spark debate about whether Indians are the target of racially motivated attacks in Queensland, an issue that has raised tension between the Australian and Indian governments after a spate of attacks in Victoria.

Police would not comment on the case, or the decision not to release details.

But Opposition justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg said the attack struck "at the heart of confidence of all rail commuters" and the public had a right to know about it. "I hope that this has not been covered up or hosed down by our authorities because of the nationality of the victim," he said.

Police Minister Neil Roberts said train stations were patrolled by 54 officers in the rail squad and more than 100 full-time transit officers and private security guards. He said the clear-up rate for crime on the rail system was "very good".

Mr Roberts also said he had been briefed on recent incidents involving people from various ethnic backgrounds. "Some are obviously racially motivated, however police advise me that in their opinion the majority of incidents involving persons from different ethnic backgrounds are not suspected of being racially motivated," he said.

The man accused of attacking Mr Patel was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and carrying a knife in a public place. It is believed the bluntness of the knife saved Mr Patel from more serious injuries. Despite police prosecutors opposing bail, the man was released and is due to face court again on April 15.


Australian clerics mock atheism

I think that these attacks do apply to militant atheists. Evangelical atheism as practiced by Dawkins et al. is pretty absurd

RELIGIOUS leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the rise of atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen describing the philosophy as an "assault on God".

A day after Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell criticised non-believers, Dr Jensen said in his Good Friday sermon at Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral that atheism was a form idolatry.

"As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist - they seem to hate the Christian God - we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain," Dr Jensen told worshippers. "Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself. "It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him. "It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves."

Cardinal Pell of St Mary's Cathedral delivered a similar attack on atheism in his Easter message yesterday. He praised government organisations "paid for by the Christian majority" for helping make the Australian way of life the envy of the world, but noted that atheists sponsored no community services.

The new Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, in Sydney's west, Anthony Fisher, continued the attack in his Easter message. "Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating: Nazism, Stalinism, Pol Pot-ery, mass murder, abortion and broken relationships - all promoted by state-imposed atheism," he said.

However, the Atheist Foundation of Australia said Dr Jensen's claims were "preposterous" and condemned Christianity for a spate of child sex abuse scandals. "He seeks out a scapegoat and attacks atheism without any understanding of what he is saying," foundation president David Nicholls said. "To state we hate his god or are attacking his god is nonsense. "How does one hate or attack that which does not exist?"

A spokesman for Dr Jensen denied it was a co-ordinated attack by the churchmen. But he said the comments were likely to have been spurred by the recent Rise of Atheism conference held in Melbourne, which attracted 2500 non-believers and featured renowned figurehead Richard Dawkins.

Dr Jensen went on to say in his sermon that religion can be an "even more dangerous" form of idolatry than atheism if incorrectly interpreted. "Here, too, religion can simply be the power game under a different guise ... Atheist or religious person - we all need to be reconciled to God and give him our lives," he added.


Major public hospital rejects surgery patients wholesale

WESTMEAD HOSPITAL is cancelling surgery at four times the rate the Health Department considers acceptable, and waiting times are so long some surgeons are refusing to add new patients to their operating lists.

About 8 per cent of elective surgery patients at the flagship Sydney University teaching hospital had their operation cancelled on the day of surgery, due to a shortage of post-surgical beds. This was often after fasting and being prepared for theatre, said John Fletcher, chairman of the hospital's surgery division.

This did not include the many patients told not to come to hospital days before their scheduled operation. Those cancellations - which Professor Fletcher said affected up to half of patients for some types of surgery - were not formally recorded.

Population growth, a jump in the proportion of emergency admissions last year from 41 to 45 per cent of all surgery, the designation of Westmead as a major trauma treatment centre, and the rigid enforcement of unrealistic bed budgets were behind the worsening shortage of beds for non-emergency surgery, he said.

Hospitals in western Sydney have suffered staff freezes and bed cuts due to debts that last year reached $26 million. Doctors insist the quality of treatment at Westmead remains excellent, but they are frustrated they cannot accept more patients.

The neurosurgeon Brian Owler said he was under pressure from managers to schedule operations that had virtually no chance of taking place on the nominated day, but had begun to refuse. "I think it's unfair to patients when the possibility of them being operated on that date is extremely small," he said. "People arrange their lives around it. They take holidays and get relatives to fly interstate to look after them."

Associate Professor Owler, the Australian Medical Association's NSW councillor for surgeons, said many patients in so-called category 2 - whose procedure should be performed within 90 days - were waiting much longer, sometimes with disabling spinal conditions. "People suffer pain and numbness and they can't walk," he said. "If they get [high blood pressure] because they can't exercise, that compounds the problem."

Patrick Cregan, the chairman of NSW Health's Surgical Services Taskforce, said same-day cancellations in western Sydney were about twice the state average, and much higher than the 2 per cent maximum set by NSW Health. "The fundamental problem is that [the area] doesn't have the resources it needs," he said.

Peter Klineberg, chairman of Westmead's medical staff council, said the 854-bed hospital - the state's largest - was effectively capped at 17 elective surgery patients a day who would require an overnight stay.

This was in addition to gynaecology and cardiac patients who are accommodated in separate wards, and day-surgery patients. The hospital could perform almost twice as many operations if beds were available.

Under the state trauma plan released on March 1, Westmead would receive a greater proportion of severely injured patients. Dr Klineberg said this would exacerbate bed shortages.

A spokeswoman for Sydney West Area Health Service said it was too early to know the impact of the trauma changes. She said Westmead was meeting elective surgery targets and in the period to last December 90 per cent of patients had their operation on time.


Helicopter parents not doing enough to let children fail

THE belief that regular praise will improve the self-esteem of students has backfired, with educators urging over-anxious parents to let their children fail so they can learn from their mistakes.

Parents were also doing too much for their children who were becoming less resilient and unable to cope with failure. Some were even too scared to put up their hand in class and risk giving the wrong answer.

As new research shows that members of Generation Y are entering the workforce with an inflated sense of their abilities, principals are warning "helicopter parents" against putting too much pressure on children to be successful, which could discourage them from risking failure.

Rod Kefford, the headmaster of Barker College, has warned: "We are creating a generation of very fearful learners and the quality of our intellectual life will suffer as a result."

Today's students are let down lightly by teachers and wrapped in cotton wool by some parents. But in the 1960s, it was not uncommon for teachers to tell students bluntly that they had given a wrong answer. "Then someone invented the concept of self-esteem," Dr Kefford said. "In some ways it has been the most damaging educational concept that has ever been conceived.

"We couldn't do anything that would upset or harm the self-esteem of students, which was very fragile, we were led to believe … That is when we stopped our proper work in the character formation in young people. If we are serious about building resilience, we have to let them fail. It is only through our failings in the learning process that we learn anything." He said schools needed to give children the confidence to risk failure to encourage more creative thinking.

"[Through] this fear we have of ever allowing them to fail, we are selling them short as human beings and as future adults," he said. One of the first empirical studies on generational differences in work values shows Generation Y or the "millennials" (born between 1982 and 1999) are entering the workforce overconfident and with a sense of entitlement. The research, led by Jean Twenge at San Diego State University and published in the Journal of Management, shows this generation wants money and the status of a prestigious job without putting in long hours. When they do not get the marks they expect at university or rise quickly enough in their jobs, they turn into quitters.

"More and more students are reaching university not knowing how to do things for themselves. Parents think they are helping young people by doing things for them but they are actually making them less independent," Professor Twenge said.

"It is now common for parents and teachers to tell children, 'you are special' and 'you can be anything you want to be'." While such comments are meant to encourage students and raise their self-esteem, experts say they can inflate students' egos.

"Feeling special often means the expectation of special treatment," she said. "Your parents might think you're special but the rest of the world might not. This can be a difficult adjustment."


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