Friday, September 10, 2021

Corals climate 'fighters'

<>i>That they "need rising temperatures to slow" is just an assertion. No figures are given

Corals may be able to roll with the punches of climate change better than initially thought in coming decades, but need rising temperatures to slow to have a fighting chance.

Corals can pass down the ability to survive rising temperatures via their genes, researchers say.

That's the finding of new Queensland-led research, published on Monday and based on an analysis of 95 trait measurements across 19 species of reef-building corals from previous studies.

The authors determined corals, which have suffered widespread bleaching events in Australia this century, can pass down abilities to survive under environmental stresses such as rising temperatures through their genes.

"We found their ability to pass on adaptive traits is maintained despite increasing temperatures," said lead author Kevin Bairos-Novak, a PhD candidate at James Cook University's Coral Centre of Excellence.

"In particular, corals that are better than average at survival, growth and resisting bleaching stress under future ocean conditions should be good at passing those advantages on to their offspring."


Queensland’s top 100 schools revealed, with seven earning perfect scores

Queensland’s top-performing high schools have been named following an analysis of academic outcomes among state and private schools, with seven of them managing to earn a perfect score.

Brisbane State High School was given an overall rating of 100 and was named as being in the top one per cent of schools in the state for 2020 by independent website Better Education, which analyses a school’s academic outcomes.

With more than 3000 students, BSHS has long-suffered from catchment fraud from desperate parents determined to land their kids a spot due to its stellar reputation for academic and sporting achievements.

Also topping the list were neighbours ­– and Queensland’s most expensive private schools ­- Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

Fellow top private schools St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School, Ormiston College and Somerset College were also awarded perfect scores by Better Education.

Mansfield State High School (with a score of 99) Indooroopilly State High School (98) Kelvin Grove State College (98) and The Gap State High School (98) were the next top rated public schools, rubbing shoulders with top privates such as All Hallows’ School (99), Anglican Church Grammar School (99) and Somerville House (99).


Labor to resist Greens policies: Albanese

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says a Labor government won't be told by any minor party what to do on tax policy.

The Greens have announced a push for a new 40 per cent corporate super-profits tax on the excess profits made by big corporations, including mining corporations.

The policy would be part of its negotiating platform if the next election ends in a hung parliament.

Mr Albanese, who was a senior member of the last minority government, said Labor would have its own policies to put to voters.

"And I've said before, we won't be in a circumstance whereby any minor party tells us what to do," he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"We're seeking a mandate as a party of government to secure a majority Labor government after the next election, so that we can concentrate on fairness, concentrate on growing wealth, but also wealth distribution as well, making sure that no one's held back and no one is left behind."

Greens leader Adam Bandt told AAP he did not believe Mr Albanese.

"Whether it's Anthony Albanese or anyone else, if the Greens have two or three seats in the House and that's the difference between Labor being in government or staying in opposition, of course they'll talk to us," he said.

"If Labor seriously wants to remain in opposition because they won't tax billionaires and put dental into Medicare, then they're betraying the Australian people."

A minority-held parliament is not out of the question at the next election - due by May 2022 - with a uniform national swing of 0.5 per cent required to remove Scott Morrison's majority.

Meanwhile, veteran WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert has formally resigned from the upper house.

The Greens will need to nominate a replacement to fill the casual vacancy, which will then require the WA state parliament to rubber stamp it.


Sikh temple sold to Christian group

MEMBERS of the Gold Coast Sikh community have been left without a place of worship and have raised questions over the use of almost $1m in donations and government funding after the city’s brand new temple was sold to another religious group for $5.61m.

Members of the Sikh community, known for its generosity to needy people across the city, say they are “in shock” and “broken hearted” at the loss of their gathering place.

But the man behind the sale says it became inevitable after “internal bickering” and lack of financial support made the temple unsustainable.

The Helensvale Gurdwara Sahib, on an 8300sq m site on Shepparton Road, had been open just over two years when it was sold in July to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The temple was sold by the Gold Coast Sikh Foundation, a private company directed and ultimately owned by accountant Surjit Ahluwalia Singh.

Local Sikhs tried to stop the sale by staging a peaceful protest and online campaign. They also made two offers to buy the property from Mr Singh’s foundation, but were unable to raise or borrow enough money to go through with a sale.

As the community rallied against the sale in May, the temple was closed to worshippers. They have nowhere else to gather.

Mr Singh said his foundation had taken out a $2.25m Bendigo Bank loan towards the $5.38m land and building costs and that he and his companies made up the difference.

“It was my dream that once the loan was paid that I would be able to gift the site and the building to the community,” he said.

“In the end, the community did not wish to keep using the site or contributing to the costs, so I was left with no choice but to sell the building.”


Australia debuts 'Orwellian' new app using facial recognition, geolocation to enforce quarantine

The government of South Australia has implemented a new policy requiring Australians to use an app with facial recognition software and geolocation to prove that they are abiding by a 14-day quarantine for travel within the country.

While a conservative expert described the policy as "Orwellian," he told Fox News that it represents an improvement over the current COVID-19 policy. Australians voluntarily choose the quarantine app over alternative quarantine measures.

Australia has banned international travel, unless residents have a permit to leave the country. The country has also severely restricted domestic travel. Residents must spend 14 days in quarantine upon return.

Steven Marshall, premier of the state of South Australia, launched the quarantine app policy in late August. Residents returning from New South Wales and Victoria, two other Australian states, may spend their 14 days in post-travel quarantine at home, rather than in a hotel, so long as they download and use the "Orwellian" app, developed by the South Australian government, ABC News Australia reported.

The app uses geolocation and facial recognition software to track those in quarantine. The app will contact people at random, asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes.

"We don't tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes," Marshall said.

If the resident cannot verify his or her location or identity when requested, the South Australia Health Department will notify the police, who will then conduct an in-person check on the person in quarantine. Marshall said the government will not be storing any of the information provided to the app.

In a statement to Fox News, the government of South Australia noted that registration to use the app for home quarantine is voluntary. Only about 20 people who have applied for the program are using the app in early September.

"The home quarantine app is for a selected cohort of returning South Australians who have applied to be a part of the trial. if successful, it will help safely ease the burden of travel restrictions associated with the pandemic," a government spokesperson told Fox News.

"I think it is accurate to describe it as Orwellian, but one has to understand the context," Robert Carling, an economics senior fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies, told Fox News. "It is home quarantine Australian style, and the alternative is hotel quarantine Australian style, under police guard, which people hate."

Carling explained that South Australia is launching a trial home quarantine as a replacement for hotel quarantine, a nationwide policy, "and Australians would be happy to take any form of home quarantine instead of hotel quarantine."

Biden admin recommends COVID-19 booster shotVideo
"Hotel quarantine is much more oppressive than home quarantine, even if the latter comes with Orwellian surveillance features," the CIS scholar explained. Australians have to pay for hotel quarantine themselves, which costs about $2,500 Australian ($1,850 U.S.D.), he estimated.

"Since March 2020 Australians have been banned even from leaving the country unless they can get a special permit to do so," Carling explained. He called this exit ban a "totalitarian, North Korea-style measure. Many other countries have had compulsory quarantine of some kind but they haven't had exit bans."

"International travel cannot be viable with hotel quarantine but it would be with home quarantine," the scholar noted. "Of course, we would prefer no quarantine at all, but that seems to be a bridge too far for our extremely COVID-risk averse governments at this point."

According to Johns Hopkins University data, South Australia has reported zero new cases of COVID-19 since August 23 and zero deaths since April 12. South Australia has the fifth-largest population of Australian states, at 1.8 million. New South Wales, with a population of 8.1 million and the major city of Sydney, represents the majority of new cases and deaths, driving a resurgence in the country.




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