Australia's promise on human rights to be put to the test and more zedlines...

Nearly 70 percent of the West Papuan population have signed a petition, that has been explicitly outlawed by the government, to call for the United Nations to host a free vote on independence.

When Australia bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council it promised to be a voice for human rights in the pacific, the government needs to uphold this promise by supporting the rights of all Papuan citizens.

Tom Clark, director of campaigns at the Human Rights Law Centre, says that 1.8 million people are risking prosecution in an attempt to freely voice their desires, and the Australian government should be willing to defend this right.

Brisbane motorists are being ripped off at the bowser

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) report on Brisbane fuel prices has revealed that Brisbane motorists are being ripped off compared to motorists in other states.

Following a Petrol Prices Roundtable in March 2016, the Commission was requested to undertake an investigation to help examine Queensland petrol prices.

The ACCC Brisbane report found that on average over the last eight years, Brisbane motorists have been paying 3.3 cents per litre more for petrol compared to the rest of Australia.

Minister for Energy and Biofuels Mark Bailey says that 3.3 cents per litre might not seem like much but when looking at the bigger picture, Queenslanders are paying $50 million a year more than other motorists.

Queensland deforestation champion of developed world

Former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman was presented with a trophy yesterday to mark Queensland becoming the deforestation champion of the developed world.

Australia is the only developed country in the world to have a deforestation hotspot in the top 10, ranking alongside the Amazon, Borneo, and the Congo.

Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman says an area the size of the Gabba is bulldozed every 3 minutes in Queensland, with deforestation killing over 34 million native animals per year.

Plesman says deforestation rates have increased by more than 250 per cent since 2012, after the Newman government amended the Vegetation Management Act in 2013 to make it easier for tree-clearing to occur.

Funding promises treatment pathway for deadly brain disorders 

Researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ) have received $1 million in funding towards a promising new pathway for the treatment of deadly brain disorders.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch says researchers at The University of Queensland are well advanced in the development of a new treatment for diseases such as motor neurone disease and Huntington’s disease.

There is no current cure or available treatments to slow or halt the progression of these diseases however  UQ researchers have discovered a disease-modifying drug that could significantly slow disease progression in experimental models.

Lead UQ researcher Dr Woodruff says that within the project’s three-year timeframe, his team expects to sponsor a first-in-human clinical trial in Queensland.

LGBT community targeted with a wave of arrests and violence

A wave of arrests and violence against the LGBT community in Egypt has left members living in fear, and has prompted outrage in the Egyptian media.

The spike in arrests is believed to have begun after attendees at a Cairo rock concert last month raised rainbow flags in support of the band’s openly gay frontman.

Since then, 57 people have been arrested, with the conservative Egyptian media reacting with fury to images of the flags.

While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, public homosexual acts are prohibited, and in the days following the concert, seven people were arrested and accused of ‘promoting sexual deviancy’.

Catalans against independence from Spain take to the streets

In an attempt to get their voices heard, hundreds of thousands of citizens have marched the streets to protest for Catalonia to remain part of Spain.

The protesters are calling themselves the silent majority claiming they feel both Catalan and Spanish, and that the nation is stronger when combined.

A week after the secession vote both sides are hardening their positions as the country spirals into its worst political crisis in decades.