Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Another troublesome Sudanese

A drunk plane passenger violently lashed out at flight attendants when they asked him to hand over a juice bottle he had carried on-board, a court has heard.

Dominic Bol Bol, 29, behaved so poorly on the Tiger Airways flight from Sydney to Adelaide that the crew threatened multiple times to turn the plane around.

But he argued that the allegations against him were “all lies” and “not true” as Magistrate John Fahey on Wednesday sentenced him to six months behind bars.

Magistrate Fahey said Bol Bol was intoxicated and carrying bottles of alcohol and aloe vera juice when he boarded the plane on August 29, 2019.

“I don’t really know how it was you got on the plane while you were in that state,” he said in the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

After takeoff, Bol Bol blared music from his phone and attempted to speak to a woman sitting near him.

He also stood up, despite repeated requests from flight attendants to remain seated and turn off the music.

Magistrate Fahey said a flight attendant who asked him to hand over the juice was met with abuse.

“You were told then that if you were not going to behave then the aircraft may be diverted back to Sydney,” he said. “Again you were asked to hand over the aloe vera juice. “You refused, but, in any event, it was taken from you.”

Bol Bol loudly said to the attendant “f*** off, give me back my bottle”, stood up and walked towards the front of the plane.

He tried to move forward to the cockpit while continually asking for the bottle back, waving his arms, clenching his fists and pushing crew members around.

Magistrate Fahey said passengers stepped in to help block Bol Bol, before he targeted a cabin manager and crew member. “You pushed the cabin manager and were acting in a threatening way towards him,” he said.

“Eventually a call was made to the Australian Federal Police and, when you arrived at the airport, you were taken into custody.”

Bol Bol later returned a blood-alcohol content reading of .240.

“That’s a very high reading and you were no doubt higher than that when you were on the plane, which no doubt explains your behaviour” Magistrate Fahey said.

The magistrate said a plane is a confined environment and passengers rely on each other to behave and respond to directions from the cabin crew.

“I can only imagine how frightening that must have been for the people on the plane,” he said. “They must have been, I think, extremely concerned by your behaviour.”

Bol Bol has a history of failing to attend scheduled court appearances, and arrived 45 minutes late for the hearing.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting or threatening a member of aircraft crew, and was jailed for six months.

Magistrate Fahey said the behaviour was dangerous and “extremely alarming” and he refused to suspend the sentence.

Bol Bol, who has prior convictions for assault and trespass, looked shocked as he was led away from the dock by court staff.

He also pleaded guilty to offensive and disorderly behaviour in an aircraft and failing to wear a seatbelt during takeoff and landing.

Scientists call for pause on AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology says the federal government should immediately pause the planned rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine because it may not be effective enough to generate herd immunity.

Phase three clinical trials of the vaccine, which is the centrepiece of Australia's vaccination strategy, show it is only 62 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 when given in the recommended dose. Trials suggest vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are about 95 per cent effective.

Immunology society president Professor Stephen Turner said based on current trial evidence the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be widely rolled out.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine is not one I would be deploying widely, because of that lower efficacy,” he said. “You cannot rely on it to establish herd immunity.”

“Given we have fantastic vaccines against this, I think it would be wise to not rely on the AstraZeneca vaccine for controlling the virus in Australia. But it could be used as a tool to blunt the effect of COVID until those vaccines could be deployed.”

Infectious diseases expert Associate Professor Michelle Ananda-Rajah says the AstraZeneca vaccine may not be effective enough to generate herd immunity.

There are no questions about the safety of the vaccine. Trial data suggests it offers potentially complete protection against life-threatening illness, meaning that even if people become infected the disease could be less damaging.

On Tuesday, the Australasian Virology Society confirmed to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that it supported an immediate pause in plans to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine until research proved it was effective enough to achieve herd immunity.

But following a furious internal debate, the president of the virology society contacted The Age and the Herald late on Tuesday evening to say it had changed its position and no longer opposed the rollout of the vaccine.

When asked why the society was changing its official position at the last moment, its president, Professor Gilda Tachedjian, said: "That’s for us to know and you to find out".

“One reason is we don’t want to undermine the confidence in the vaccine. And we don’t have the full picture. We need to go with the most effective vaccine so we can have herd immunity. But we just don’t have the full picture at the moment with the AstraZeneca vaccine."

Speaking before the virology society's position changed, vice-president and spokeswoman Professor Heidi Drummer said 62 per cent effectiveness was not enough to achieve herd immunity.

“We should wait to see what data AstraZeneca provides to demonstrate higher levels of efficacy can be achieved with their vaccine and opt to use vaccines that achieve the highest level of efficacy to achieve herd immunity, whichever they are," she said.

“If it is 62 per cent efficacy, and that comes out in their further trials, I think there is a really good argument to make for the federal government to invest in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and use that in the wider community.”

Professor Drummer later said she "had to stand by what the president says". "I don’t oppose the rollout of the vaccine provided we can see more data that shows that 90 per cent efficacy can be achieved,” she said.

Herd immunity means that such a large portion of the population is immune that a virus can no longer circulate and is eliminated.

Associate Professor James Wood, a University of NSW vaccine modeller and member of the federal government’s Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, said herd immunity was “the long game”, and providing a vaccine that could protect life immediately was much more important, particularly given Australia had so far only bought enough Pfizer vaccine for 5 million people.

Phase three trial results from the AstraZeneca vaccine published in The Lancet this month show the vaccine was 62.1 per cent effective at preventing disease when given in standard doses.

However, in a small group of volunteers who accidentally received a lower dose, that rate rose to 90 per cent, creating significant uncertainty over the vaccine’s true effectiveness. Not a single person given proper doses of the vaccine developed severe COVID-19.

Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer have achieved greater than 90 per cent effectiveness, probably high enough to force the virus out of circulation if widely administered, Professor Drummer said.

The Australian government has secured 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with two injections required per person.

It remains unproven if any of the vaccines can prevent transmission of coronavirus.

Professor Drummer said clinical data suggested the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were far more likely to do so than AstraZeneca's, but more studies needed to be conducted.

Dr Andrew Miller, president of the Australian Medical Association’s Western Australia branch, said a vaccine that did not provide herd immunity would not meet the public’s expectations about returning to pre-COVID normal.

“We need it to be over 70 per cent effective – preferably over 80 per cent – to prevent significant transmission still continuing in the community,” he said.

“We've got plenty of money, and we have got plenty of time because we have very good disease control. Why would we settle for the second-best option?”

But will people buy it?

Stupid new name

The owner of 80-year-old cheese brand Coon has explained the meaning behind the company’s new name, after racism claims sparked a rethink.

Lino A Saputo, the Chair and CEO of Saputo Inc, the Canadian dairy company that owns Coon Cheese said it was a “challenging” decision because Coon was such a well known brand in Australia.

“Although we’ve only owned it since 2015 it was important for us to understand that name did not please other consumers,” Mr Saputo told Sunrise on Wednesday.

He said the name being disliked by some created a “competition that was not favourable” and led them to “embark on a journey of changing the name”.

Responding to criticism the company was named after a cheese processor named Edward William Coon, and therefore shouldn’t change its name, Mr Saputo said some of the company’s consumers were “activists”.

“You want to have a culture that is fully inclusive, where everyone feels like they’re accepted, where everyone feels like they’re respected.

“We thought there was no harm in changing the name. In fact, a real plus, a real benefit to our consumers.”

The rebrand comes six months after their initial announcement in 2020, in the midst of global Black Lives Matter protests. Calls came from Australian actor Josh Thomas on Twitter, and Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan, who said the name was “racist”.

“Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do,” Mr Saputo said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cam Bruce, the company’s Commercial Director, said the new name, Cheer Cheese, “is a cheese for everyone, and we trust our valued consumers and those who are new to our products will embrace this new name”.

The company’s Commercial Director said Cheer Cheese remains committed to Australian dairy farmers.
The company’s Commercial Director said Cheer Cheese remains committed to Australian dairy farmers.Source:Supplied

“We want to stay true to the brand values,” Mr Bruce said. “CHEER Cheese is the same recipe that millions have come to love, and will continue to grow up with, for generations to come.

“We remain committed to our Australian farmers who continue to produce the high-quality milk that goes into all of our products, including CHEER Cheese.”

Cheer Cheese will be available on Aussie shelves from July 2021.

But the announcement has sparked a furious backlash from critics who said it was a sign of “political correctness gone totally mad”.

“Won’t be buying it … should never have changed the name — family name nothing to do with racism … gone mad,” one woman wrote on Facebook.

“FFS political correctness has gone totally mad,” one woman wrote on Twitter. “Coon cheese will always be Coon cheese, not this stupid Cheer cheese name change.”

“Its old name was in no way racist given the context,” another man wrote on Facebook. “There’s still many people out there with the last name Coon, should they be forced/asked to change their name?

Others simply couldn’t get used to the iconic brand’s new name.

“Not a fan of being forced to change the name but surely someone could have came up with a better name?? Cheer?? Really,” another wrote.

“What an absolutely ridiculous name. I’ll never buy this brand again,” another said.

Lockdowns not the way forward in COVID fight

Prof. Peter Collignon

If we look at past outbreaks in Australia – northwest Tasmania, Adelaide, Logan, Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel – they, like the current clusters, have all been controlled by a combination of testing, contact tracing, quarantining of close contacts and limits on the size of events.

Melbourne’s devastating second wave last winter was our major exception, but many important factors were poorly managed, and these have now been markedly improved.

Why, then, is there now such a sense of panic that COVID-19 will spiral out of control, with calls for citywide lockdowns of millions of people?

We have a very good track record of success in Australia with good testing and contact tracing. Additionally, in summer transmission risks are lower than in winter.

It’s hard to see a lot of benefit from sharp three-day lockdowns such as occurred in Brisbane, if you have good testing and contact tracing.

We need to be careful not to overreact or catastrophise. Our track record shows spread can be controlled and this can be achieved while still giving the vast majority people reasonable mobility, as well as economic and social engagement.

COVID-19 and its risks will be with us for another year or two. Governments need to trust the public with good information to show rationale for decisions. We need health advice and interventions to be consistent, predictable and sustainable.




No comments: