Monthly Archives:March 2019

Former teammate Tremlett wills Watson on ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

England paceman Chris Tremlett is desperate to play against former county cricket teammate Shane Watson in the Ashes series beginning this month.

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The Australian allrounder is in a race against time to be fit for the first Test after injuring his hamstring during the final match of the one-day series in India.

Tremlett and Watson played together at Hampshire and the giant paceman says the Australian No.3 would be doing everything to be ready for the Gabba.

“He’s a big player for Australia and we want to play against Australia’s best players so hopefully he gets well soon,” Tremlett told AAP in Hobart.

“I’m a bowler who’s had a lot of injuries and I think for anyone it’s very frustrating.

“I’m sure he’ll be working hard to be fit to get back for the first Test match.”

The 32-year-old Englishman will be in a three-way battle with fellow quicks Boyd Rankin and Steve Finn when England play Australia A at Bellerive from Wednesday.

Tremlett was impressive on England’s Ashes-winning 2010-11 tour, claiming 17 wickets in three matches at an average of just 23.35.

Big guns Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann are expected to play in the second of the touring side’s three warm-up matches.

“We can use these practice games as a little bit of a rotation policy for bowlers and so each batsman can try and get some time in the middle,” Tremlett said.

“Alastair Cook had a bit of a back problem the last game but he’s absolutely fine now and I think all the other guys are raring to go.

“I’m sure we’ll see all those main guys playing in this game and probably the next game as well.”

Cool conditions and a green-tinged pitch have greeted England in Hobart but 24 degrees is forecast for day one at Bellerive.

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No RBA change should reassure savers ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

The nation’s savers may breathe a sigh of relief if the central bank leaves the cash rate unchanged at its next board meeting, as many economists expect.

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Some observers believe the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has finished cutting rates in the current easing cycle, after reducing the cash interest rate to an all time low of 2.5 per cent in August.

It’s made 225 basis points worth of reductions to the rate, which underpins commercial lending rates, since November 2011.

But there has been a downside if you aren’t a mortgage holder.

Some savers have seen investment returns plummet by as much 230 basis points.

“If the Reserve bank leaves the cash rate unchanged it will be a timely gift for savers this Christmas,” financial comparison website finder.com.au spokeswoman Michelle Hutchison told AAP.

However the average reduction over the past two years on the 21 high interest savings accounts monitored by the website has been 69 basis points – about 156 basis points less than the RBA’s cumulative reductions.

Even so, savers with $20,000 in the bank would have missed out on about $300 in interest over a two year period.

The RBA cuts would have impacted on about 6.4 million households which don’t have a mortgage and rely on savings, Ms Hutchison said.

But savers have faired better than borrowers, who’ve missed out on 53 basis points of home loan reductions when the RBA cuts weren’t passed on by their lenders.

Meanwhile, some major banks are now lifting fixed rate home loans, which can be a precursor to rises in variable interest rates.

“They are still much lower than the past two years, so there’s no need for Australians to panic,” Ms Hutchison said.

The average one-year fixed home loan being offered on November 1 was 4.94 per cent – 156 basis points lower than on November 1, 2011.

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Gunman held investor hostage for money ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

A man who disguised himself as a police officer to gain entry into the home of a Sydney investor threatened to kidnap a family member if he did not leave with money, an inquest has heard.

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Jean Govinden knocked on the door of Veronica Ghalloub’s West Ryde home on March 14 last year claiming to be a police officer investigating a child abduction.

His real identity became clear when Mrs Ghalloub’s husband, Anthony Ghalloub, returned home and recognised Mr Govinden as a relative’s fiance.

Mr Govinden held the couple at gunpoint before he shot himself in the head in the bathroom.

An inquest into his death is examining why Mr Govinden pulled the trigger and why he fronted the Ghalloub household.

The inquest heard on Monday Mr Ghalloub’s investment company had attracted a number of investors including members of Mrs Ghalloub’s family.

In the months following Mr Govinden’s death, Mr Ghalloub told an investor meeting that the investment project had failed and the money would not be returned.

Mrs Ghalloub’s sister, Claudia Shashati, invested $60,000 in her brother-in-law’s investment in the late 1990’s.

She received quarterly payments of about $3000 and assumed she received all of her capital back but admitted other family members were growing “agitated” with the lack of returns.

Ms Shashati said the gunman said he would take a family member, who cannot be identified, if he did not receive any money.

Recalling conversations she had with Mrs Ghalloub after the hostage saga, Ms Shashati said the gunman obviously thought he could rob the family.

“He heard about them through other people and he was trying to get money,” she told the inquest.

“He was desperate for money.”

Mrs Ghalloub had received death threats, Ms Shashati said.

“Obviously people were upset they were not getting their returns … but I never thought it would get to that,” she said.

A relative of Mr Govinden, who cannot be identified, told the inquest he gave Mr Govinden $30,000 to invest in a brothel in 2012.

But Mr Govinden admitted to his relative in the days before his death that the money was for his wedding.

The relative said Mr Govinden had mentioned Mr Ghalloub had worked in investment and was making good money for a lot of people.

The inquest heard Mr Ghalloub’s father’s car was fire bombed in December 2012 and his brother-in-law received threatening texts.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon continues.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 and MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

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Burma still fragile: Peace Prize winner ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

As Burma tries to move away from decades of brutal military rule, Sydney’s newest Peace Prize recipient says the fight is far from over for the country’s refugees.

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Dr Cynthia Maung, an ethnic Karen, fled to the Thai-Burma border during the pro-democracy uprising of 1988.

There, she set up the Mae Tao Clinic, which has grown from working in a small border home to providing care to 150,000 people per year.

Most of the clinic’s patients are either internally displaced people or Burmese who are working undocumented in Thailand.

The clinic has also trained midwives and community health workers in a bid to reduce Burma’s high infant mortality rate.

In Burma’s cities, she said almost half of all children are delivered at home.

In border towns and ethnic areas, this figure jumps to around 90 per cent, she said.

Apart from the health implications, Dr Maung said the children born at home have created a whole generation of refugees, as they aren’t registered and therefore have no citizenship.

“That means a huge number of children are very vulnerable … to child labour and trafficking,” she told AAP on Monday.

When the clinic recently opened a school, 70 per cent of the children who joined had no papers, she said.

Dr Maung said she wanted to use the prize to remind Australians that just because Burma says it is moving away from its history of repressive military rule, much of the country’s ethnic population continues to be displaced.

“The ceasefire is very fragile. People want to go back to their community but they are afraid,” she said.

“Land confiscation is also another issue that prevents refugees from going back to their community.”

Dr Maung will deliver the Peace Prize Lecture at Sydney’s Town Hall on Wednesday before receiving the prize on Thursday.

Previous recipients include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Noam Chomsky and last year, the Zimbabwean Senator, Sekai Holland.

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Aussies help unravel diabetes drug mystery ( admin posted on March 17th, 2019 )

Australian scientists have helped unravel a decades-old mystery about how the most common diabetes drug works.

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The drug is metformin, the active ingredient in more than a dozen medicines taken by hundreds of thousands of Australians with type 2 diabetes.

Until now, no one has been able to explain how it lowers blood sugar, say researchers at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, who worked in collaboration with colleagues at McMaster University in Canada.

The answer is that it reduces fat in the liver, according to their research published in the journal Nature Medicine.

This work has the potential to help develop more effective treatments for type 2 diabetes, which affects four per cent of Australians, says St Vincent’s researcher Professor Bruce Kemp.

Many people taking metformin have a fatty liver, which is frequently caused by obesity, he says.

“Our study indicates that metformin doesn’t directly reduce sugar metabolism, as previously suspected, but instead reduces fat in the liver, which in turn allows insulin to work effectively.”

The research is important, although it will not have immediate benefits for patients, says Associate Professor Jonathan Shaw of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

“This is an interesting paper which will help in our understanding of metformin.”

Prof Shaw says it not common for scientists to not fully understand drugs before they are prescribed, but it isn’t unique to metformin.

“Drugs that have their clinical role well established can certainly be prescribed, have their effects and side-effects known, but still not have their mechanism properly understood.”

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