Thursday, February 15, 2018

Orangutan numbers in Borneo plummet by more than 100,000 in just 16 years

About half of the orangutans on the island of Borneo were either killed or removed between 1999 and 2015, according to new research.

Key points

  • Surveys show only 70,000 - 100,000 orangutans remain in the wild in Borneo
  • Deforestation one factor, but greater losses seen in forested areas
  • Hunting may be the biggest driver
"That's a huge amount of loss," said Professor Serge Wich from Liverpool John Moores University, a co-author of the study published today in the journal Current Biology.
"It's a higher amount than we thought, and that we were thinking based on previous studies," Professor Wich said.
Maria Voigt from the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is another co-author of the research, which pooled data from 38 international institutions.
Orangutan numbers in Borneo plummet by more than 100,000 in just 16 years - Science News - ABC News:




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Barnaby Joyce responds to Labor allegations he is living 'rent-free' and is breaching ministerial standards

Barnaby Joyce has had to defend living rent-free in an apartment in Armidale in his electorate in order to fend off a move from Labor to have him sacked as Deputy Prime Minister.

Key points:

  • The Deputy PM is living in a house in Armidale that is owned by a friend, paying no rent
  • Labor said he asked for a place to live for free, which breaches ministerial standards because it's a gift
  • Mr Joyce denies asking his friend for free accommodation; notes he's still paying for a property for his estranged wife and their daughters
In Parliament, the Opposition accused Mr Joyce of breaching ministerial standards by asking for a place to live and receiving the gift, which is worth about $12,000.
Labor put a motion forward in Parliament for Mr Joyce to be sacked because it said the code means ministers "must not seek or encourage any form of gift in their personal capacity".
Barnaby Joyce responds to Labor allegations he is living 'rent-free' and is breaching ministerial standards - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):




Florida shooting suspect arrested after 17 people killed in high school attack

Seventeen people have been killed in a shooting at a Florida high school on Valentine's Day, local police have confirmed.

Key points:

  • Suspect Nikolaus Cruz is a 19-year-old former student
  • 17 people are confirmed dead and several are in surgery
  • Stoneman Douglas High School is one of the biggest schools in Florida
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said several people were also in surgery after the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, about 72 kilometres north of Miami.
The suspect is 19-year-old former student Nikolaus Cruz.
Florida shooting suspect arrested after 17 people killed in high school attack - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Day: The folly of misguided love and why unhappy couples stick it out

Most of us have seen it happen: A friend falls in love with somebody of questionable standards.
We're happy that they're happy but after time the shine wears off and our friend is stuck in what appears to be a bad relationship.
Despite becoming notably depressed, they do not break it off as expected, and instead persevere long-term — often to become shadows of their former selves.
As Valentine's Day falls again and some us find ourselves buying roses when we'd rather buy a ticket elsewhere, Flinders University sociologist associate professor Kristin Natalier tries to shed light on why so many people stick it out.
Valentine's Day: The folly of misguided love and why unhappy couples stick it out - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):




Friday, February 9, 2018

One of the most bizarre tales to ever come out of Westminster

You'd be hard-placed to find a country that does political scandals as well as England.
But one involving a prominent politician, a jilted former lover, an amateur hitman and the unfortunate death of a dog still manages to read like a work of fiction.
In 1979, the former leader of Britain's Liberal Party Jeremy Thorpe went on trial for conspiracy to murder, accused of hiring a hitman to kill a former gay lover who was threatening to destroy his political career.
The story of his downfall sits right up there with the most bizarre tales to ever come out of Westminster.
John Preston wrote a book about it, A Very English Scandal, which is now being turned into a TV series with Hugh Grant playing the role of Thorpe, and Benjamin Whishaw the former lover.
A Very English Scandal: One of the most bizarre tales to ever come out of Westminster - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):




Plan to use Illawarra steel for defence vehicles to shore up manufacturing jobs

Australian steel is tipped to play a key role in the country's fledgling defence exports industry, with a deal being signed in the Illawarra region of NSW.
German defence technology firm Rheinmetall will team up with Bluescope Steel, which operates the Port Kembla steel works, to create a new military vehicle.
The armoured vehicles will be developed at a new "centre of excellence" west of Brisbane and if successful, will be sourced from 100 per cent Australian steel.
Plan to use Illawarra steel for defence vehicles to shore up manufacturing jobs - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Rising cost of living leaving many people struggling to pay for basic essentials

Figures from the Bureau of Statistics show the cost of life's basic essentials like fuel and transport are rising at their fastest pace, and well above growth in wages.

Key points:

  • Cost of living rose 2pc last year — strongest pace of growth in 3.5 years
  • Some people's living cost index rose 1pc in Dec quarter to annualised rate of 2.4pc
  • Salvation Army say more Australians showing up simply looking for next meal
The latest data shows the cost of living rose 2 per cent last year — the strongest pace of growth in 3.5 years.
"Broadly, rising cost-of-living pressures are pressuring income-earners across the board," Commsec economist Ryan Felsman said.
He said Australians receiving welfare payments and pensioners were suffering the most.
Rising cost of living leaving many people struggling to pay for basic essentials - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):