Sunday, December 04, 2011

More multiculturalism: African driver shows no regard for others

IF THERE is a prize for stupidity, this driver wins hands down. As cars stopped at traffic lights at the busy King William St and Waymouth St intersection, city, on Thursday, he simply turned on his hazard lights, turned off his engine and got out.

Reaching in for his keys and his wallet, the man turned and casually wandered across the road to a nearby ANZ automatic teller machine.

As he took out his card and inserted it into the machine, cars banked up behind his motionless Holden Vectra.

A stunned Sunday Mail photographer Jo-Anna Robinson snapped these pictures of the dopey driver as other motorists and pedestrians simply looked on in amazement.

"I've never seen anything like it," Robinson said. "He was just very matter-of-fact, like he was doing nothing wrong."

The lights turned green as the man started punching the ATM keypad, but he continued his transaction and ignored the traffic jam.

After finishing his withdrawal, he stood by as a van drove past before crossing back to his car.

The man was as oblivious to the banked-up traffic as he was to the sound of other car horns from behind. He waved to one woman leaning on her car horn as he settled himself into the driver's seat.

He then waited for the lights to turn green before driving away, smirking at the photographer as he accelerated.

SA Police traffic enforcement branch officer-in-charge Superintendent Linda Fellows said the man could be charged under a number of sections of the Australian Road Rules and could face an $80 fine and a victims-of-crime levy.

"All drivers are responsible for ensuring they do not create a danger to other road users either by their manner or driving or the way in which their vehicle is used," she said.


Boys and girls may be split in Victorian classrooms

THE Baillieu Government will encourage state schools to adopt single-sex classes if a current trial lifts academic results.

Education Minister Martin Dixon said the grassroots trial by at least six primary and secondary schools would examine whether students were more likely to thrive in same-sex classrooms.

He said the model potentially offered students the benefits of a private school-style single-sex learning environment, while giving them the social benefits of co-education.

"If this has benefits, and I think it has, you'll find it makes schools a one-stop shop in terms of social and learning experiences for children," Mr Dixon said. "We're certainly not going to mandate it, it is more a matter of facilitating it."

Oberon Secondary College principal Anne Murphy said the Geelong school would trial two single-sex classes in year 8 next year and consider expanding it schoolwide if successful.

"If, educationally, we find that the kids' learning is advanced from being in a single-sex classroom then I would be hard-pressed to justify not offering that more," Ms Murphy said.

"I know several parents will feel this is a co-educational school and they want their children to have a co-educational experience. In a co-educational school we can give them the best of both worlds."

Dromana Secondary College principal Alan Marr said the school had split boys and girls in year 9 maths and English classes.

"It has been a positive experience, so positive we're considering bringing it down into year 8," he said.

"We've noticed the girls have been much calmer and less hesitant to act things out, and the boys have been more confident to express their own opinions."

Some schools, including Essendon Keilor College and Camberwell High School, have been running boys-only classes for several years to address gender imbalances caused by girls attending local all-girl state schools.

Victoria has seven single-sex girls' public schools but only one for boys. Mr Dixon said it was up to individual schools to decide whether to adopt single-sex classes.

"We will make the findings and all the background material (relating to the trial) available to all the schools in the system and say here is an option that may work for your cohort of students," he said.

Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy said schools considering same-sex classes needed to work around families, many of whom wanted their children to learn alongside the opposite sex. Broad consultation with the school community was critical.

The Queensland Government last week extended trials of single-sex classes after participating schools reported improved results.


A housing oracle speaks

Billionaire property developer Harry Triguboff believes Europe's financial problems could see Australia's population grow - and he says he's ready to help house the new arrivals. "I think we will have more people coming to live in this country," the chief of Meriton Apartments told an Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday. "And not just because the migration intake will be greater. "People will be coming here and not wanting to go away."

Asked if he believed it was a good thing if the population grew, Mr Triguboff replied: "Yes, very good," to chuckles from the audience of 730 diners.

"If you were a Greek fellow who left this country to go back to Greece, because you had a good life there and didn't have to work hard - now it's miserable there - I think he'll come back. And I think he'll bring his children. I think they'll all come back. "The population will grow - there's no doubt about that - and I'm ready for them."

Mr Triguboff also criticised the long building approval process that apartment developers faced and government charges. "Take for example an apartment that costs $350,000, it could cost $200,000 if the council was reasonable," he said.

He said that most of his customers were from China because the costs imposed by authorities and interest rates "made it very difficult for Australians to buy". "That's why we have to depend so much on the Chinese.

"I hope that the costs will go down and that interest rates will go down because the demand is much greater than ever before."

Mr Triguboff was presented with a book, On China, by Henry Kissinger, for speaking at the lunch. Triguboff was born in China in 1933, the son of Russian Jews who fled after the rise of Lenin.


Dads pass on obesity to children

CHILDREN inherit obesity from overweight fathers, with daughters particularly at risk, new research has found.

Sperm from overweight fathers carried a molecular signal that causes their children to become obese, researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered.

A team from the university's Robinson Institute Research Centre for Reproductive Health made the find as part of a study looking at reproduction and obesity.

The team tested two groups of mice - one fed a high-fat diet and the other a balanced diet.

Offspring from fat males were regularly obese and suffered from diabetes and infertility, with researchers tracking the trigger to a class of genes in sperm known as microRNAs.

"In the group fed the high-fat diet we discovered that male obesity alters the microRNA profile of sperm, resulting in obesity in offspring," researcher Maria Teague said.

But changes to sperm resulting from obesity were non-genetic, indicating that would-be fathers who slimmed down before trying for a child could avoid triggering obesity in their children.


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