Friday, January 13, 2012

Macquarie University teaching migrant students how to use a toilet correctly

A UNIVERSITY is teaching migrant students how to use a toilet correctly after complaints from cleaners that they were leaving them in an unhygienic state.

The toilet lessons, given on a poster on the backs of cubicle doors at Macquarie University, come after opposition citizenship spokeswoman Teresa Gambaro said migrants should be taught to use deodorant and wait in line, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Posters put up by the university show a person standing on the toilet seat and squatting over the bowl with a line through it. Another crossed-out image shows a person squatting on the floor.

Students are taught how to use sanitary bins, how to flush the toilet and wash their hands in other parts of the diagram under the heading: Protecting each other, use of female toilets. A person sitting on the toilet seat is marked with a tick.

The signs were installed 15 months ago after complaints from a company contracted to clean campus toilets. "We received a complaint from our cleaning contractors about the state of some toilets, they believed that some students may have been squatting above the toilet rather than using them in a conventional western fashion, they were concerned about the cleanliness." a Macquarie University spokesman said.

"They thought it was a health concern and they raised it with the management of the university. We put those posters around the campus in collaboration with the international students group and got advice on what information should be contained." He said the problems had stopped since the signs went up.

Ms Gambaro was forced into an embarrassing apology this week after she suggested migrants on work visas should be taught about hygiene.

The comments caused outrage and Ms Gambaro apologised and said she had been taken out of context. She later said her comments calling for migrants to have lessons covering the use of deodorant and how to wait in line were not Coalition policy.

"Without trying to be offensive, we are talking about hygiene and what is an acceptable norm in this country when you are working closely with other co-workers," she said.


Brisbane One Nation candidate targets Indians

Indians are gernerally successful at retail because of their greater willingness to put in long hours

A ONE Nation candidate has courted controversy on his first day on the job, complaining that Indians own most of the local convenience stores.

One Nation state director Ian Nelson made the comments shortly after he announced that he would run for the key seat of Ashgrove.

"Ninety-five per cent of those 7-11 stores are now run by Indian families," he told the Nine Network on Thursday. "Now what's happened to the Australians that man those, that have those leases? "Now they've gone, they're out."

Asked whether he was worried about being labelled racist, Mr Nelson replied, "How is that being a racist?"

Labor member for Ashgrove Kate Jones wasted no time taking to Twitter to ask Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman whether he was still considering a preference deal with the One Nation party.

"Is Campbell Newman still refusing to put One Nation last after Ian Nelson's comments on Channel 9" she tweeted.

However, Mr Newman had ruled out doing deals with any minor parties or independents at a shadow community cabinet meeting in Ashgrove earlier on Thursday.


Wivenhoe Dam manual offers little direction for another flood, says Queensland expert

BRISBANE and Ipswich residents are at unnecessary risk during major floods because a new manual for controlling Wivenhoe Dam has the same failings as the version used by engineers last January, one of Queensland's most experienced dam experts says.

The criticism comes as hundreds of families in the southeast struggle to rebuild their lives, a year after their homes and businesses were devastated.

Many flood victims were surprised by the damage suffered in locations thought to be safe from flooding or protected by the dam. All are keeping a weather eye out after being told last year by the Bureau of Meteorology to expect more heavy rain this summer.

The Commission of Inquiry into the floods in August ordered dam manager Seqwater to come up with an interim revision of the manual in time for the wet season after Judge Cate Holmes called the document "a bit of a mess". The State Government approved the new manual in October.

But veteran engineer Max Winders, who warned in May of problems with the old manual, said the new version was no better and Seqwater's changes were "there to protect what they did in 2011".

He said the manual was still too simplistic and failed to take into account the complexity of the floodplain. It also still relied on the judgment of operators but without giving them the tools to do their job properly.

"There's nothing new in there," he told The Courier-Mail. "You need a manual that tells you how to minimise the problem, not, 'use your discretion'."

Minister for Natural Resources Rachel Nolan said she was confident that the review leading to the current manual had been "appropriate and thorough". Mostly it had involved technical and language issues, she said. "That's what the commission asked for and that's what the experts did," she said.

Mr Winders, who gave expert testimony to the inquiry on his work for Brisbane Council on downstream impacts of the January 2011 flooding, is a consultant with 50 years' experience advising companies and public authorities on flood mitigation.

He said the manual's failure to focus on river heights down-river in a rapidly changing environment meant operators had no way of knowing how much damage they might do.

"(The revised manual) doesn't do anything because it doesn't set the target for minimising the damage, it just delays the peak (of the flood)," he said. "That's very nice for Fernvale and Lowood but by the time it gets to Brisbane you need a dynamic model."

Seqwater said it had such a model "available" but the body had "no role in forecasting water levels or issuing flood warnings".

The new manual stresses the need to keep river flows at Moggill at less than 4000 cubic metres of water per second (cumecs), the threshold for serious damage in urban areas. But Mr Winders said: "Much more damage was done (in 2011) by letting 7500 cumecs go at the wrong time and this manual does nothing to prevent that".

The revised manual has expanded the flow charts that engineers use to decide what dam release strategy to follow. But Mr Winders said such situations were "too complex for yes/no boxes".

The document also tells engineers to "usually" give "zero or little weight" to 24-hour Bureau of Meteorology forecasts in determining flood mitigation strategies. The bureau declined to comment.

The inquiry also called for a longer-term review of the manual. Ms Nolan said this "optimisation study" would be completed by the end of this year and a new draft then prepared. The inquiry's final report will be published on February 24.


4G poised to sweep Australia

Making Gillard's fibre network obsolete before it is built

THE first 4G mobile phones will arrive before the end of the month, and Australians will be among the first in the world to try them. Running from 2MB to 40MB a second, the 4G network will double current 3G network speeds.

Analysts expect this will be accompanied by raised cap sizes without significant extra cost. Technology and mobile analyst Foad Fadaghi, of Telsyte, said consumers could expect similar prices to 3G plans but with higher data allowances. "It's actually cheaper for them to provide services. We don't think there will be a huge premium that the carriers will be able to charge to them," he said.

Meanwhile 3G service prices will become cheaper, though the slower network will remain the workhorse for phone calls until the 4G network is more widely established and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls replace the current system.

However, it is bad news for iPhone fans. Apple is yet to create a 4G-capable phone - even the iPhone 4S has a maximum download speed of 14.4MB.

Telstra will launch its phone, yesterday leaked to Gizmodo website as the HTC Velocity, by the end of the month, but it has not confirmed a date or model.

Scouts from the telco are at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to see potential 4G models for Australia. "They are checking out a range of technologies including the next generation in mobile tablets, connected home devices and 4G smartphones," a Telstra spokeswoman said

Those considered included the Nokia Lumia 900 (Windows) and the Samsung Galaxy Note (Android). LG has also indicated it will have 4G phones on the market from June.

Telstra already has tested its 4G network with USB devices for computers, but when phones enter areas not covered by the network they will slip back to 3G systems.

Optus will launch its 4G network, in development since November, from April with Melbourne to get it mid-year.

Vodafone is building its 4G network, but was not able to say when it would be available to customers.


* The Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G is the fourth generation of Australia's mobile wireless internet.

* The system substantially increases the speed which mobile devices download and upload the internet.

* Currently most developed parts of Australia operate a 3G network.

* It is currently only available on computer via a USB plug in.


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