Culture


Peter Dutton declares ‘game is up’ for ‘fake refugees’ living in Australia

21st May 2017

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the “game is up” for “fake refugees”.

Mr Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

“If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I’m sorry, the game’s up,” he said.

“They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not.”

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Mr Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is “not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia”.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support, and appeal to the Coalition’s support base, but urged the Government to take a “calm, methodical and fair” approach.

“I only hope that the Government puts as much effort into dealing with job seekers as it does with asylum seekers,” Senator Xenophon said on Insiders.

But refugee advocates have slammed the “arbitrary” deadline as “cruel and unfair”.

GetUp’s human rights director Shen Narayanasamy said while many of the asylum seekers had been in Australia for years, they were only given the go ahead to lodge an application for protection last November.

“Asylum claims are incredibly long, torturous documents,” she said.

“And what Peter Dutton has failed to tell you is that he has denied them interpreters and access to legal assistance.”

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers “outside the process” and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

Asylum seeker statistics

  • 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals arrived in Australia between 2008 and 2013
  • Labor processed 20,000 of these people
  • It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012 leaving 30,500 people yet to be processed — this is known as the Legacy Caseload
  • 23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for Temporary Protection Visas or Save Haven Visas
  • Of those 6,500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
  • 3,000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
  • 13,000 are having their claims assessed
  • Around 7,500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection

Source: Federal Government

 

 

source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-21/peter-dutton-october-deadline-asylum-seekers-protection/8544890

A 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm

30th April 2017

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it’s not a cause for alarm.

In 2015, 164,000 Australians had autism diagnoses, according to results of an ABS survey released on Wednesday. That’s an increase of around 50,000 people since 2012.

This figure reflects the number of diagnoses – not the number of people with conditions that might be classified as autism if they sought a diagnosis.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Senior Principal Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute, said that Australia’s autism diagnosis rate was now in line with other countries at around 1.1 per cent.

“What this figure represents is a rise in the numbers of children and adults diagnosed with autism,” he said.

“All the evidence that we have to date is showing that the rise in the number of kids and adults being diagnosed with autism is due to increased awareness, not just at the health professional side, but also at the family side.”

He added that the roll-out of the NDIS has led to more Australians seeking formal diagnosis in order to access services.

A new Muppet called Julia, has autism, is about to be introduced to Sesame Street’s TV family.

Autism Awareness Australia CEO, Nicole Rogerson, said we are only now understanding the true prevalence of autism in the community.

“I would hate to think that this statistic freaked out new parents of little babies and toddlers right now that think we are in the grip of some frightening epidemic,” she said.

“That’s where silly conspiracy theories and vaccination theories [about a link with autism] come from, and that’s all really unhelpful.”

Autism is a condition that affects the brain’s growth and development, and can be characterised by difficulty in social communication and interaction.

Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, said the rise was also caused by a broadening of the criteria of autism and improvement in identifying autism earlier in children.

She said the increase may also be linked to biological factors and that children of older fathers and premature babies have a higher chance of receiving autism diagnoses.

“Premature babies live now, in the past they used to die. Prematurity is a risk factor for autism,” she said.

“There are biological factors that work to increase the risk, they haven’t all been identified.”

IT companies are reaching out to support the development of programming skills for people with autism.

She said one paper she contributed to found that the mean age of diagnosis for people under seven was around four years of age whereas in the 1980s children were rarely diagnosed before five or six, “so we are getting better.”

Ms Rogerson said diagnosing a child and providing dedicated assistance from age two or three will help them achieve “their best outcome”.

“Children with autism can make marked improvements and make autism a lot less disabling in their life if they have got access to good quality early intervention,” she said.

“But it’s the ‘early’ in early intervention that’s important.”

According to the ABS survey of 63,500 people in 2015, of those with autism, almost two-in-three were classed as having “profound or severe disability” and almost three-in-four needed help with cognitive and emotional tasks. About half needed help with communication.

The ABS classifies autism as including Asperger’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, Rett Syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.

 

 

source:http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/29/why-42-cent-increase-autism-diagnoses-no-cause-alarm

Survey: 1 In 5 Adults In The UK Can’t Change A Lightbulb, Boil An Egg

23rd April 2017

Are you handy enough that if a lightbulb went out in your home you’d be able to change it? Believe it or not, one in five people aren’t so skilled. In fact, a new survey of people in the United Kingdom finds not only do about 20 percent of people not know how to change a bulb — the same number aren’t sure how to boil an egg, either.

The British insurance company Aviva recently released their annual Home Report which detailed, among numerous findings about how people do work around the house, relatively common tasks that people encounter. The company surveyed 2004 people across the UK in February and March about their habits and roles at home.

In addition to just one in five not being able to change a lightbulb or boil an egg, the survey found that nearly a third of the participants couldn’t cook any meal on the fly. And if someone were to spill a portion of their meal on their clothes or on the floor, only 59 percent would know how to get rid of the resulting stain.

Only 37 percent could change a flat tire.

The findings were even surprising to the folks behind the study.

“As a nation we tend to take pride in our ability to do things ourselves in and around the home, so it’s a surprise to see there could be a skills gap in places,” says Aviva Propositions Director Adam Beckett in a press release. “That said, we also know that people lead busy lives, so while we enjoy doing things ourselves, we also appreciate the opportunity to leave things to a professional from time to time, particularly with some of the more challenging jobs.”

Interestingly, while 50 percent of those surveyed said they learned how to do a home task on their by trial and error, plenty of people are turning to the internet for help, especially millennials. The study found four in 10 people aged 25 and under prefer learning do-it-yourself chores online. That’s more than twice the number in the age group who turn to an actual book for help.

Here’s a look at the polled tasks and the number of people who indicated they could successfully complete them:

 

 Task Percentage who feel confident doing this task
Boil an egg 81%
Change a light bulb 79%
Cook a complete meal without using a recipe 69%
Read a map 66%
Sew on a button 65%
Unblock a sink 62%
Remove a stain from a carpet or clothing 59%
Change a baby’s nappy  57%
Wire a plug 57%
‘Bleed’ a radiator 53%
Check oil levels in a car 53%
Put up a shelf 47%
Put up wallpaper 39%
Change a flat tyre  37%
Change a washer on a tap  30%
Fit tiles 22%

 

 

source: https://www.studyfinds.org/change-lightbulb-household-chores-study/

CIA, FBI launch manhunt for leaker who gave top-secret documents to WikiLeaks

20th April 2017

CBS News has learned that a manhunt is underway for a traitor inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.

Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider — either a CIA employee or contractor — who had physical access to the material. The agency has not said publicly when the material was taken or how it was stolen.

Much of the material was classified and stored in a highly secure section of the intelligence agency, but sources say hundreds of people would have had access to the material. Investigators are going through those names.

The trove was published in March by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks

In his first public comments as director of the CIA just last week, Mike Pompeo railed against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” he said.

WikiLeaks has said it obtained the CIA information from former contractors who worked for U.S. intelligence. The CIA has not commented on the authenticity of the WikiLeaks disclosures or on the status of the investigation.

 

source:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cia-fbi-on-manhunt-for-leaker-who-gave-top-secret-documents-to-wikileaks/

Trump’s Victory Brought Back Childhood ‘Trauma’

14th April 2017

Pop star Katy Perry — one of Hillary Clinton’s top celebrity endorsers during the 2016 presidential campaign — says Donald Trump’s victory brought back painful childhood trauma.

“I was really disheartened for a while; it just brought up a lot of trauma for me,” the 32-year-old “Chained to the Rhythm” singer said in a cover story interview for this month’s Vogue magazine. “Misogyny and sexism were in my childhood: I have an issue with suppressive males and not being seen as equal.”

“I felt like a little kid again being faced with a scary, controlling guy,” Perry added. “I wouldn’t really stand for it in my work life, because I have had so much of that in my personal life.”

Months after the election, Perry has established herself as a vocal member of the anti-Trump “Resistance” movement. A month after Trump’s inauguration, Perry performed at the 2017 Brit Awards alongside giant skeletons meant to skewer Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Just ten days prior, Perry performed at the 2017 Grammy Awards while wearing an armband that read “PERSIST,” along with a Planned Parenthood button.

The singer’s “purposeful” pop has introduced what the singer hopes will be a new era of political activism, a time that has coincided with an “awakening” of young people she says are now more politically engaged than ever before.

“It’s an awakening that was necessary because I think we were in a false utopia, we can’t ever get that stagnant again,” Perry explained. “I am so grateful that young people know the names of senators. I think teenage girls are going to save the world! That age group just seems to be holding people accountable. They have a really strong voice — and a loud one.”

Just this week, Perry posted a picture of Clinton sporting a pair of pumps, called The Hillary, that the singer says were inspired by the former secretary of state.

 

The $139 pumps, now for sale on Perry’s website, include a clear heel embedded with golden moon and stars meant to inspire those who wear them to “step in and reach for the stars.”

 

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/04/13/katy-perry-trumps-victory-brought-up-a-lot-of-trauma/

Disney seeks new patent for soft robots playing characters

8th April 2017

Soft-body robots could someday be roaming Disney theme parks, playing animated, humanoid movie characters and interacting with visitors.

A new patent application by the entertainment giant doesn’t name specific characters, but it describes “designing a robot that will move and physically interact like an animated character.”

A prototype sketch filed with the patent application shows a round body, echoing the shape of the Baymax soft-robot character in Disney’s 2014 movie “Big Hero 6.” The application, and theme park observers, say the big issue for robotic interaction is safety. The document, dated Thursday, shows Disney research scientists in Pittsburgh have worked on prototypes identified only as “soft body 300” or “soft body 1000.”

“It’s hard to know why Disney decides to file for a patent, but they have been looking at soft-body robots since ‘Big Hero,’” said theme park writer Jim Hill. “Disney is still terrified that even with this soft technology, a robot could accidentally harm a child. They do a lot of testing.”

Disney officials declined to comment on the patent application.

The new Disney patent says soft-body robots would be “designed for reducing collision impacts during human interaction.”

“Robots can be found providing interactive guidance or entertainment in stores and amusement parks and in more dynamic settings,” the new patent filing says.

From Aladdin and Ariel to Winnie the Pooh and Woody, keeping track of character appearances at Walt Disney World is practically a full-time job for theme park blogs and websites. There are dozens and dozens of characters listed on multiple sites that track them. On Walt Disney World’s own website, visitors can search locations and times to meet specific characters. Characters roam freely or meet visitors in set-aside areas.

More robotic characters could eliminate some labor costs, although there’s no information about how much they would cost or whether it would reduce the number of costumed characters.

Free-roaming robots aren’t exactly new at Walt Disney World. Previous versions have included Push the Talking Trash Can, which was basically a remote-controlled vehicle, and Lucky the Dinosaur.

But the new patent filing describes problems with previous robot-human interaction: “It has proven difficult to provide wholly safe interactions between humans and robots simply by operating these humanoid and other robots with controlled movements.”

The new application describes pliable chambers making up the body of the robot, filled with fluid or air. The robot would be able to sense pressure on each chamber and adjust the amount of air or water, to respond to a child’s hug, or to an accidental collision.

The outer shape of the robot could be determined by “data obtained from a digital model of an animated (or other) character,” the application says.

It says frame and joint components made with a 3-D printer and outer shapes on the robot would include “a donut shape, a cylinder, and a cylinder with a round end.” It leaves open the possibility for variations on the basic concept.

The inventors are Alexander Alspach, Joohyung Kim and Katsu Yamane, who work at Disney Research Pittsburgh. They’ve been working on a prototype soft robot since at least 2014, according to Disney Research. They posted videos online showing a soft upper body of a robot holding an apple and a small plush toy.

Pittsburgh is also where Carnegie Mellon University developed a soft robotic arm that inspired Disney director Don Hall as he researched concepts for a “huggable robot,” which eventually became “Big Hero 6’s” Baymax.

Jim Hill said Hall actually brought the soft robot research to the attention of Disney’s engineers, the Imagineers, at that time.

Disney in the past has clashed with unions regarding rules for employees who portray characters. In a 2015 dispute, union representatives objected to a rule that such actors can’t publicly talk about which character they portray.

Staffing characters with costumed humans hasn’t proven foolproof, either. A 2011 lawsuit filed by a Philadelphia woman claimed that an Epcot employee dressed as Donald Duck groped her. That lawsuit alleged that Disney attempted “to cover up continuing, long-standing similar prior incidents,” and Disney declined to comment publicly; the suit was settled confidentially.

And in 2007, a Disney employee playing Tigger the tiger was suspended after a New Hampshire family accused him of punching their 14-year-old son during a home-video session at Disney-MGM Studios.

Bob Boyd, a financial analyst who follows Disney closely, said filing for a patent doesn’t mean Disney is close to rolling out new soft-body robots.

But he said it indicates that Disney continues to pursue advanced technology that interacts with guests, similar to its leading role in animatronics in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Meeting the legal and liability threshold is very difficult,” Boyd said. “Most robotics or animatronics are separated from guests by a physical barrier. But it is very difficult to have large numbers of people posing as characters too.”

 

source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-bz-disney-soft-robots-20170407-story.html