Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Australian Indigenous leader unloads on ‘privileged’ Meghan Markle for spreading the ‘false narrative’ of the Black Lives Matter movement

I have always disliked Meghan Markle. I saw a manipulator. Dragging Harry away from his family and into irrelevance was wicked

Indigenous leader Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has slammed 'privileged' Meghan Markle for spreading a 'false narrative' of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Alice Springs councillor called out the Suits star after she and Prince Harry filmed a video encouraging people to be 'a little uncomfortable' when tackling racism.

'Black Lives Matter continues to push a false narrative. There are a lot of people with a lot of goodwill who think by jumping on the bandwagon they are supporting Aboriginal Australians, but they are doing the exact opposite,' Ms Price told the Daily Telegraph.

Just weeks after her relative was bashed into a coma by her indigenous boyfriend, Ms Price said Black Lives Matter supporters only tend to care when the perpetrator is white.

'There is no interest in learning the truth. Aboriginal people are dying at a far greater rate at the hands of other Aboriginal people - that is something this movement is not interested in,' she said.

Ms Price described Markle as a 'woman of great privilege' who is 'completely removed from reality and circumstances on the ground'.

'Her lending her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement is silencing the voices of those people in the communities who are vulnerable to black-on-black crime,' she said.

Ms Price said said several of her family members have been murdered, including one woman who was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend a decade ago.

Since the alleged murder of African-American father George Floyd at the hands of a cop in Minnesota, Black Lives Matter supporters have been calling for police to be defunded.

But Ms Price said the push is 'ridiculous' when the 'most vulnerable members of society' are African-Americans.

She said that here in Australia, indigenous women and children who are suffering sexual abuse and family violence, need the support of police and authorities.

Black Lives Matter protests swept the U.S. and Australia in June, but Ms Price said the movement has actually created a 'racial divide' in our nation.

Prince Harry, 35, and Markle, 38, filmed the video earlier this month from their $11million California mansion during a call with young leaders from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. 

As part of the discussion on 'justice and equal rights', the Duchess of Sussex said people have to 'acknowledge whatever mistakes we've all made'.

'You have to look at each of us, individually. What have we done in our past that we put our hand up to,' she said.

'This is a moment of reckoning where so many people go: 'I need to own that. Maybe I didn't do the right thing there. I knew what I knew, but maybe it's a time to reset in a different way.'

Referring to the changes that need to be made, Meghan said the change requires people to feel 'uncomfortable' but come through the other side. 

'We're going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it's only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships.

'Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing - which is a fundamental human right.'

Markle, who became the first mixed race person to marry a senior British royal, also highlighted the 'quiet moments' of unconscious bias as a key issue, drawing on her own 'personal experience'.

'It's not even in the big moments right? It's in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and hides and thrives,' she said.

She added: 'So much of what I've come to the understanding of, especially in learning even more about it of late, and obviously having had personal experience with it as well, in people's complacency, they're complicit.'

Harry added that the Commonwealth needs to follow others who have 'acknowledged the past' and are 'trying to right their wrongs,' and admitted to having his own 'unconscious bias'.

'When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past,' he said.

'So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.'


Jindalee extension will put a constant Australian eye on Melanesia

Hopes and fears about the South Pacific drive Australia’s policy ‘step-up’—along with the great needs of Papua New Guinea and the islands.

The hopes and needs get talked up while the fears quietly shape policy.

See that mix in the defence strategic update announcement that the Jindalee operational radar network (JORN), an over-the-horizon radar, will be extended ‘to provide wide area surveillance of Australia’s eastern approaches’.

‘Eastern approaches’ is a polite way of saying ‘Melanesia’.

Australia wants a constant view of every ship and plane operating in our South Pacific arc. What JORN does today for Australia’s northern and western approaches is to be extended to the east.

The Jindalee network is a wonder of Oz science and engineering, based on research started in the 1950s that became a core project in 1970. If it were suddenly invented tomorrow we’d be agog at the achievement: the perfect all-seeing answer for a nation with its own continent ‘girt by sea’.

Bouncing signals off the earth’s ionosphere, JORN does wide-area surveillance. A high-frequency radio signal is beamed skywards from a transmitter and refracted down from the ionosphere to illuminate a target. The echo from the target travels back to a separate receiver site and data is ‘processed into real-time tracking information’.

In Jindalee’s development phase, milestone moments were when the first ship was detected in January 1983, and an aircraft was automatically tracked in February 1984.

The air force says Jindalee’s range is from 1,000 to 3,000 kilometres, depending on atmospheric conditions.

With favourable conditions in the ionosphere (when the signal keeps bouncing) Jindalee can see a helluva long way. Several decades back, what’s known in my trade as a senior government source told me that Jindalee could sometimes track the Russian Backfire bombers taking off from the airbase at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay. Take that as a boast neither confirmed nor denied, merely underlining that Jindalee is amazing kit.

As Defence Science and Technology puts it: ‘The JORN network is Australia’s first comprehensive land and air early warning system. It not only provides a 24-hour military surveillance of the northern and western approaches to Australia, but also serves a civilian purpose in assisting in detecting illegal entry, smuggling and unlicensed fishing.’

The air force says JORN can detect air targets the size of a Hawk-127 training fighter or larger, and objects on the surface of the water the same size as an Armidale-class patrol boat (56.8 metres long) or larger. Detecting wooden fishing boats is harder, or, in the RAAF’s words, ‘highly unlikely’.

The strategic update announced that the JORN site at Longreach in central Queensland will be expanded to look east as well as north. At the moment, the Longreach transmission station can cover most of Papua New Guinea and further north to the Bismarck Sea.

A new eastern array will be able to sweep around from PNG to cover Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, probably reaching out as far as Fiji.

The timeline for the build is vague. The update allocates $700 million to $1 billion to ‘Operational Radar Network Expansion’, in the period to 2030. Much of that will be for Jindalee to look towards Melanesia.

Australia wants to turn a constant eye on a South Pacific that is, in a phrase du jour, more crowded and contested. See an islands element in the strategic update’s discussion of an era of state fragility, marked by coercion, competition, grey-zone activities and increased potential for conflict.

A driver for the Jindalee decision is found in an understated sentence in the Pacific chapter of Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir: ‘In recent years, China has been reported as taking an interest in establishing a naval base in variously PNG, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.’

Those ‘reports’ express what Canberra thinks is a grave new fact: our strategic interests in the South Pacific are directly challenged by China. That galvanising fact casts a deeply different light on Australia’s desire to be the preferred security partner of the islands. It’s a thought about China at the heart of the third paragraph of chapter 1 of the strategic update:

Since 2016, major powers have become more assertive in advancing their strategic preferences and seeking to exert influence, including China’s active pursuit of greater influence in the Indo-Pacific. Australia is concerned by the potential for actions, such as the establishment of military bases, which could undermine stability in the Indo-Pacific and our immediate region.

Link the concerned thoughts in that sentence about ‘establishment of military bases’ and ‘our immediate region’ to express this judgement: Australia thinks China wants a base in Melanesia.

If that fear becomes a reality, Australia will have a constant eye for every ship and plane.


Reform for Australia’s environment laws

Some rationalization

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley will prioritise the development of new national environmental standards, further streamlining approval processes with State governments and national engagement on indigenous cultural heritage, following the release of an interim report into Australia’s environmental laws.

Professor Graeme Samuel’s interim report established that the existing Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 has become cumbersome and does not serve the interests of the environment or business.

“Not surprisingly, the statutory review is finding that 20-year-old legislation is struggling to meet the changing needs of the environment, agriculture, community planners and business,” Minister Ley said.

“This is our chance to ensure the right protection for our environment while also unlocking job-creating projects to strengthen our economy and improve the livelihoods of every-day Australians. We can do both as part of the Australian Government’s COVID recovery plan.

The Commonwealth will commit to the following priority areas on the basis of the interim report:

Develop Commonwealth led national environmental standards which will underpin new bilateral agreements with State Governments.

Commence discussions with willing states to enter agreements for single touch approvals (removing duplication by accrediting states to carry out environmental assessments and approvals on the Commonwealth’s behalf).

Commence a national engagement process for modernising the protection of indigenous cultural heritage, commencing with a round table meeting of state indigenous and environment ministers. This will be jointly chaired by Minister Ley and the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt.

Explore market based solutions for better habitat restoration that will significantly improve environmental outcomes while providing greater certainty for business. The Minister will establish an environmental markets expert advisory group.

In line with the interim report findings, the Commonwealth will maintain its existing framework for regulating greenhouse gas and other emissions, and would not propose any expansion of the EPBC Act in this area.

The Commonwealth will take steps to strengthen compliance functions and ensure that all bilateral agreements with States and Territories are subject to rigorous assurance monitoring. It will not, however, support additional layers of bureaucracy such as the establishment of an independent regulator.

The report raises a range of other issues and reform directions. Further consultation will be undertaken regarding these.

“I thank Professor Samuel for his work and for his very clear message that we need to act,” Minister Ley said.

“As he works towards his final report, we will monitor its progress closely, while we continue to improve existing processes as much as possible.

“It is time to find a way past an adversarial approach and work together to create genuine reform that will protect our environment, while keeping our economy strong.”


Koalas are helping humans in the effort to find a vaccine for a sexually transmitted infection

Jo is a wild koala under the purview of Endeavour Veterinary Ecology, a wildlife consulting company that specializes in bringing sick koala populations back from the brink of disease. Vets noticed on their last two field visits that she was sporting “a suspect bum,” as the veterinarian Pip Mc- Kay put it. So they brought her and her 1- year-old joey into the main veterinary clinic, which sits in a remote forest clearing in Toorbul, north of Brisbane, for a full health check.

Ms. McKay already had an inkling of what the trouble might be. “Looking at her, she probably has chlamydia,” she said.

Humans don’t have a monopoly on sexually transmitted infections. Oysters get herpes, rabbits get syphilis, dolphins get genital warts. But chlamydia — a pared-down, single-cell bacterium that acts like a virus — has been especially successful, infecting everything from frogs to fish to parakeets. You might say chlamydia connects us all.

This shared susceptibility has led some scientists to argue that studying, and saving, koalas may be the key to developing a long-lasting cure for humans. “They’re out there, they’ve got chlamydia, and we can give them a vaccine, we can observe what the vaccine does under real conditions,” said Peter Timms, a microbiologist at the University of Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He has spent the past decade developing a chlamydia vaccine for koalas, and is now conducting trials on wild koalas. “We can do something in koalas you could never do in humans,” Dr. Timms said.

In koalas, chlamydia’s ravages are extreme, leading to severe inflammation, cysts and scarring of the reproductive tract. In the worst cases, animals are left yelping in pain when they urinate, and they develop the telltale smell. But the bacteria responsible is similar to the human one, thanks to chlamydia’s tiny, highly conserved genome: It has just 900 active genes, far fewer than most infectious bacteria.

Because of these similarities, the vaccine trials that Endeavour and Dr. Timms are running may offer valuable clues for researchers across the globe who are developing a human vaccine.

A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery

How bad is chlamydia in humans? Consider that about one in 10 sexually active teenagers in the United States is already infected, said Dr. Toni Darville, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide, with 131 million new cases reported each year.

Antibiotics exist, but they are not enough to solve the problem, Dr. Darville said. That’s because chlamydia is a “stealth organism,” producing few symptoms and often going undetected for years.

“We can screen them all and treat them, but if you don’t get all their partners and all their buddies at the other high schools, you have a big spring break party and before you know it everybody’s infected again,” Dr. Darville said. “So they have this long-term chronic smoldering infection, and they don’t even know it. And then when they’re 28 and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m ready to have a baby, everything’s a mess.’”

In 2019, Dr. Darville and her colleagues received a multiyear, $10.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a vaccine. The ideal package would combine a chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccine with the HPV vaccine already given to most preteenagers. “If we could combine those three, you’d basically have a fertility anticancer vaccine,” she said.

Chlamydia’s stealth and ubiquity — the name means “cloaklike mantle” — owes to its two-stage life cycle. It starts out as an elementary body, a sporelike structure that sneaks into cells and hides from the body’s immune system. Once inside, it wraps itself in a membrane envelope, hijacks the host cell’s machinery and starts pumping out copies of itself. These copies either burst out of the cell or are released into the bloodstream to continue their journey.

“Chlamydia is pretty unique in that regard,” said Ken Beagley, a professor of immunology at Queensland University of Technology and a former colleague of Dr. Timms. “It’s evolved to survive incredibly well in a particular niche, it doesn’t kill its host and the damage it causes occurs over quite a long time.”

The bacterium can hang out in the genital tract for months or years, wreaking reproductive havoc. Scarring and chronic inflammation can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease. Evidence is mounting that chlamydia harms male fertility as well: Dr. Beagley has found that the bacteria damages sperm and could lead to birth abnormalities.

All of this — except the spring break parties — is true in humans and koalas. Researchers who work with both species note that koala chlamydia looks strikingly similar to the human one. The main difference is severity: In koalas, the bacterium rapidly ascends the urogenital tract and can jump from the reproductive organs to the bladder thanks to their anatomical proximity.

These parallels have led Dr. Timms to argue that koalas could serve as a “missing link” in the search for a human vaccine. “The koala is more than just a fancy animal model,” he said. “It actually is really useful for human studies.”


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: