Wednesday, January 07, 2015

New high terror alert issued for Australians travelling to Indonesia

New travel advice has been issued for Australians travelling to Indonesia urging them to exercise caution due to the high threat of terrorist attacks.   The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last updated travel advice for all areas of Indonesia, including the tourist hub of Bali, on Monday.

Australian tourists are being urged to exercise a high degree of caution while on holidays with the government continuing to receive information that indicates terrorists may be planning attacks.

'Terrorists have previously attacked or planned to attack such places, including nightclubs, bars, restaurants, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia,' DFAT said.  'These types of venues could be attacked again.'

The terrorist bombings on a Bali nightclub in 2002 killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

'You should take particular care to avoid places known to be terrorist targets,' DFAT said.

'Tourist areas and attractions throughout Indonesia and tourists travelling to or from these places, including those in tour groups or tour buses, could be targeted.'

It comes as the US government warned of a potential threat against US-associated hotels and bank in Surabaya, north west of Bali.

'Terrorist groups remain active throughout Indonesia despite police disruptions,' DFAT said.

'Police continue to conduct operations against these groups and have stated publicly that terrorist suspects remaining at large may seek to attack western targets.  'In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided at venues.'


No contraception, no dole

By former Australian Labor Party politician GARY JOHNS.  As so often happens, Gary has drifted Rightward over the years

IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.

This is not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents. Such a measure will undoubtedly affect strugglers, it undoubtedly will affect Aboriginal and Islander people in great proportions, but the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant.

Large families of earlier generations were the result of the combination of absent contraception and the need to have many children, in order that some survive to care for parents in old age.

These conditions do not now apply. Infant mortality is minuscule in all sectors of society, and the taxpayer picks up the tab for aged care.

Therefore, there should be no taxpayer inducement to have children. Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it. But no one should enter parenthood while on a benefit.

It is better to avoid having children until such time as parents can afford them. No amount of ‘‘intervention’’ after the fact can make up for the strife that many parents bring down on their ­children.

As commissioner Tim Carmody wrote in the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry report in 2013, ‘‘some families will never rise to the challenge or have the capacity or commitment needed to take responsibility for the children they bring into the world’’.

And so it was that taxpayers were confronted with two cases over Christmas. Both happened to be indigenous, but of course, many non-indigenous cases abound. The first, in Cairns, involved a single mother with nine children from five fathers.

The usual allegations of failure to support were levelled at authorities. Gracelyn Smallwood, the enduring indigenous north Queensland activist, wanted ‘‘a 24-hour culturally appropriate service’’ for such mothers.

Indeed, all manner of culturally appropriate support has been forthcoming, but as Carmody found, ‘‘the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has severely outpaced the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers’’.

Better this woman had fewer children. Better men on benefits also could be prevented from having children.

Which recalls the second case, in Redfern, of contested parenting between the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and a grandmother for her daughter’s, and an absent father’s, six children.

Until June, the grandmother was caring for her six grandchildren and two of her daughters at different times, in a small two bedroom house in Redfern.

The department had taken the children and placed them in foster care.

The facts suggest the outcome was fraught, whatever the court’s decision about who ultimately cared for the children.

The grandmother, the mother and the absent father have been long-term alcoholics and drug abusers. But again, the large number of children made the burden intolerable.

The department outlined a long list of issues that faced the grandmother, for which it suggested multiple interventions.

These included help with her parenting; child protection counselling; drug and alcohol relapse prevention; literacy and numeracy assistance; respite care service; medical, dental and school appointments for the children; issues with the children’s behaviour; issues with people (including family members) staying overnight in the home; children spending time with the parents; children spending time outside the home; housing problems; fin­ancial problems; and other concerns about the safety or welfare of the children.

Other than that, everything was just fine.

The department had a long history of involvement with the grandmother from when she was 16, with her first child.

The grandmother had started drinking alcohol at age 12 and went on to use a range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The grandmother was not focused on her children when they were young. Indeed, her mother was the main carer of her first three children.

The mother acknowledged drinking alcohol to excess, being subjected to assaults by the father and leaving the children unsupervised. There had been a number of ‘‘risk of harm’’ reports related to both parents’ abuse of alcohol and poor supervision, for example, leaving the children unattended while they were at the local pub.

There was serious domestic violence between the parents.

Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife. As for inadequate non-beneficiaries, we just have to grin and bear it.


Dangerous eccentric who doesn't believe in vaccinating children defends controversial tour to Australia

Sherri Tenpenny's not worth a dime

A prolific U.S. anti-vaccine campaigner who will be speaking at child health seminars across Australia has defended them after pro-immunisation parents labelled them as 'disgusting'.

Sherri Tenpenny, who has written books such as Saying No to Vaccines and Flu and Flu Vaccines: What's Coming Through That Needle?, will be touring in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney in February and March.

But pro-vaccination campaigners have hit out at the Raising Healthy Children Naturally, and Birth, Baby and Beyond seminars.

Dr Tenpenny said she found the backlash on social media 'curious'.

'I planned to be in Australia for a holiday and was asked to speak with a few groups who are interested in discussing the pros and cons of vaccines,' she told Daily Mail Australia via email.

'It is curious why the public health, pro-vaccine community is so outraged over my visit and the opportunity to share information sourced from conventional medical journals.

'If vaccines were so effective, so protective and so incredibly safe, no one would be interested in these gatherings.  'The public health community should be willing to openly discuss they problems associated with vaccines, how to improve vaccine safety, and how to restore the health of those who have been vaccine-injured.'

As soon as next month, Australians will also get the chance to sit down and have dinner with the high-profile anti-vaccination campaigner, with tickets ranging from $125 to $200.

On her website, Dr Tenpenny writes she believes 'vaccines can cause more harm to the health of the individual' and is against 'a system that forces parents to inject their children, against their better judgment'.

Her views on immunisation are further demonstrated by the T-shirts sold on her site, which read: 'I didn't deny my children vaccines... I spared them' and 'Fact: 1 in 50 = Autism Overall, Fact: 1 in 25,000 = Unvaccinated, Prove Me Wrong'.

But Dr Tenpenny's visit have people so outraged they have vowed to write to local politicians to stop her from spreading her message, with Stop the AVN - a group who are for vaccines - leading the charge. 

Stop the AVN's Dave Hawkes told Daily Mail Australia the group's concern was Dr Tenpenny 'peddled misinformation'.  'She’s giving information that's not supported by evidence and marketing it to people with alternative views and possibly leaving them in danger by not vaccinating their young children,' he said.

Dr Hawkes - who has a PhD in HIV research - said it was also concerning that people who were joining Dr Tenpenny, like Isaac Goldman, were spruiking homeopathic vaccines, which are 'essentially water'.  'The evidence shows they don’t work… and leaves their kids susceptible,' Dr Hawkes said.

'Recently a seven-month-old child who was not vaccinated died from whooping cough.'

One of Stop the AVN's supporters wrote on social media she was going to write to federal politicians asking for their intervention.

'I'm writing to the Hon. Sussan Ley and Fiona Nash (health minister and assistant health minister). Vaccines are recommended by every state body in Australia. They are incentivised by our federal govt,' one woman said on Facebook.

While others have expressed their disgust on the social media pages of the venues holding the seminars.  'I am beyond disgusted that you are hosting an anti vaccination seminar in March... Children die each year in this country as a result of this misinformation, is the small amount of money you are going to get... worth it?' a Facebook user wrote on Melbourne's Bayview Eden page.

Another wrote: 'Cannot believe you are hosting an anti vaccine seminar in March, disgusting. Never staying here, ever.'

This comes after the Federal Court ruled against Homeopathy Plus, finding homeopathic vaccines were not scientifically proven to be effective, and said the health website had mislead people into thinking they could be used as a substitute for medical vaccines, News Corp reported.

National Centre of Immunisaiton Research and Surveillance director Peter McIntyre told Daily Mail Australia Dr Tenpenny was tapping into people's 'fear factor'.

'When we've got no disease to see, it's very easy to look at something like autism - unfortunately it's something we still don't understand - and start to suggest it has something to do with being vaccinated. You can understand why people would believe that,' he said.  'But there are hundreds of studies that disprove that.'

Professor McIntyre added there was no scientific evidence homeopathic vaccinations protected people against infectious diseases.  He said it was like asking someone if they wanted to be vaccinated with 'sterile water'.  'It’s just laughable really,' Professor McIntyre said.


Cripes!  Dangerous jellyfish in Brisbane

That means that the entire coast of Queensland is at risk.  Thank goodness for the Wynnum lagoon, I guess

A late afternoon ocean swim for a mother and her children turned into a complete nightmare which almost cost her young son his life.

Raelene Murphy and her two children Ruth, 9, and Sebastian, 6, were enjoying the 'warm bath water' at Wellington Point beach, Brisbane, at about 4pm on New Year's Eve.   But it wasn't long before Raelene realised she had been stung by a creature and when Sebastian came towards her in the knee-deep water he began to scream in pain.

Paramedics revived the young boy on the way to the hospital after he lost consciousness, the Brisbane Times reported.

'I took off my reef shoes and pulled the tentacles off my feet,' Raelene told Daily Mail Australia.  'The tentacle that was wrapped around my shoe was about 50cm long in total.'

She said her son must have walked straight into the creature as he was only about a metre away from her as he walked towards his mother after she was stung.

'Then I asked people nearby to take care of Sebastian and make sure he was OK because I was having problems breathing and I had pains in my chest,' she said.

Raelene was convinced that she was having a heart attack as the unbearable pain spread to her lower back, legs and arms.  'I thought I was dying and my son said he thought he was dying too,' she said.

'The first ambulance took my son who was vomiting, frothing at the mouth and his lips had turned blue.'

Sebastian needed three shots of adrenalin and one shot of morphine before being monitored in hospital for the night.  While Raelene received two shots of morphine for the excruciating pain to begin to subside.

'Sebastian is a very healthy and fit kid but if it was someone half his size - it would have been a very different situation,' his mother said.

'Initially we were terribly worried as he is quite a talented pianist and cellist, however, he will make a full recovery.'

Royal Life Saving Society national medical adviser Professor John Pearn and world marine stinger expert Lisa-ann Gershwin were sent a sample of the creature's tentacles and identified it as an irukandji morbakka fenneri, which is coincidentally the species Gershwin discovered in Moreton Bay and named in 2008.

'The specimen that stung Sebastian was unusual and the second most potent I've ever seen,' Dr Gershwin told the Brisbane Times.

This incident follows, Dr Gershwin's warning back in August that the dangerous creatures were around Broadwater beach on the Gold Coast and that the numbers would increase as the earth warmed.

Dr Gershwin said the Morbakka species was responsible for a diver being put on life supports off Cairns in 2000.

'In this case the woman saw the critter whack into her while she was diving, and then the specimen was captured by her dive buddy so the ID was pretty reliable,' she told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

A lifelong Wellington Point resident who has swum at the beach since she was child, Raelene wanted to share her story to warn others about the dangers of the beach as she had never heard of this specific creature ever sighted in the area.

'I don't want anyone else to go through it,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 'I would never have taken my son into the water and put him at risk if I had have known.  'I don't think we were unlucky we were stung, we are lucky to have survived and gained an appreciation of the sea and have been able to warn others.'

Redland council erected warning signs at Wellington Point within hours of being notified about the incident and were unaware of the species ever being sighted along the council's beaches.


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