Details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between 12 countries in the Pacific has been released but critics remain concerned about its limited reference to climate change.
The TPP involves 12 Pacific countries, including Japan, Canada and the US, which together are responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Australian Government has said the agreement will eliminate 98 per cent of the tariffs levied on imports and exports. Trade Minister Andrew Robb has hailed the partnership as “a transformational series of agreements that will contribute substantially to the diversification of our economy”.
But environmental groups are worried that the agreement does not adequately address concerns about the impact of trade and industry on global climate. Matthew Rimmer, a law professor at Queensland’s University of Technology told Fairfax the deal had “poor coverage of environmental issues, and weak enforcement mechanisms”.
New flu shot for 2016 to be stronger
The Federal Government has announced it will issue a stronger, wider-acting flu vaccine for 2016. Every year the mix varies, depending on infection trends recorded around the world. The vaccine usually combines protection against the three most prevalent strains of flu, but after a spike in infections in 2014 and 2015, Federal health authorities decided to add a fourth strain to broaden protection. Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley told the ABC “There were 90,000 reported flu cases in 2015, that’s 25,000 higher than the previous record.” The flu shot is always offered free to vulnerable people including young children, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, pregnant women and those with specified medical conditions.
Who’s on first base? Really?
Australia’s recent rapid turnover of prime ministers has proved so confusing for many people that health workers have apparently abandoned one of their favourite questions to assess a patient’s consciousness: “Who is the Prime Minister?” A Brisbane newspaper reported that paramedic Greg Abood stopped asking the question twelve months ago. Simple tests such as naming the current year and counting backwards from 20 are regularly used by doctors and specialists. “But the country’s prime ministers are changing so often, it’s no longer a good indication of their mental status,” Mr Abood said.
Bindi Irwin must prove death of father Steve
Bindi Irwin, the daughter of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, cannot be paid for her work on the US TV show Dancing With The Stars until she proves that her father is dead. In the US a judge must process contracts that waive parents’ rights to a minor’s income. A US judge has rejected Ms Irwin’s contract because Steve Irwin has not surrendered his rights. Ms Irwin’s lawyer must now submit a copy of Mr Irwin’s death certificate before she can be paid.
Nurse escapes charges over explicit photos
A Sydney nurse who took intimate photos of an anaesthetised patient during gynaecological surgery has escaped charges because of gaps in NSW’s privacy laws. The nurse was sacked by Norwest Private Hospital but her actions were not an offence under section 91 L of the Crimes Act because the photographs were not taken “for sexual gratification”. The patient, who does not want to be identified, was undergoing a biopsy when the photo was taken and shown to other staff members. The patient said she believed the photo was taken because she was “a larger woman” and it was an obvious attempt to “make fun of fat people”. – Compiled from online news sources by Daniel Walker
Top photo from AFGE’s Flickr photostream.