Lifelike robot speaks with UN on world resources and more zedlines

A robot modelled after Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn visited UN officials to share how droids could help distribute food and energy resources throughout the world. (Image from Flickr)

In an online video, the robot explains to UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, how the rapid advance in artificial intelligence needs to be managed to benefit more than just the few.

The ‘celebrity’ robot has made numerous media appearances and given interviews.


Calls for changes in farm worker visas as unemployed Australians refuse to fruit-pick

New calls for changes in farm worker visas, with a trial targeted at getting unemployed people into agriculture, has gained little support.

Currently, 14 people have signed up for the new Federal Government program that allows unemployed people to earn a salary and still receive their full welfare payment.

NFF workplace relations general manager Ben Rogers said the current visas farmers used only offered a short-term solution, and a more reliable, long-term workforce was needed.

Southern Queensland stone fruit grower Andrew Findlay also added there has been an increasing unwillingness for Australians to pick crops and do outside work.


Griffith Uni join German scientists to combat flu

As Queensland’s flu season continues, Griffith University has designed new drugs to target influenza and other deadly viruses as part of a $4 million deal with German scientists.

Professor Mark von Itzstein (it-stine) says joining forces with other groups of different expertise is crucial in developing new antiviral drugs to combat a constantly mutating virus.

The collaboration will see Griffith scientists design potential new therapies alongside their German counterpart, whose expertise lies in assessing the safety and effectiveness of drugs.

52 thousand cases of the flu have been reported in Queensland this year, more than double that of last year.


Oil giant abandons drilling plan

Chevron has become the second oil company to abandon plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, a year after BP cancelled its plans for the region.

Oil companies have compared the Bight to the Gulf of Mexico, where there are thousands of oil rigs.

The push for the Great Australian Bight to be exploited for Fossil Fuel has faced opposition, since it contains pristine waters and is a vital breeding and feeding ground for marine animals, including 36 species of whales and dolphins.

Chevron, however, said its decision to exit the area is not related to government policy or environmental concerns, but due to low oil prices and more competitive ventures off Western Australia.


Mobile phone users endangering visually impaired

Mobile phone users were asked to pay attention to their surroundings and keep their eyes up to minimise potential harm to blind and vision-impaired people.

New figures from Guide Dogs Australia and lobby group VisAbility show about half of white cane users have been bumped into each time they leave the house, with the majority of incidents attributed to people being engrossed in phones.

The survey also found in the past two years almost half of cane users have been injured, knocked over or had their cane broken by someone walking into them.

VisAbility Tasmania general manager Mary Langdon said the constant use of mobiles was now a part of everyday life, but community members could help the visually impaired people stay safe.


Dozens killed in Syrian suicide attacks

Dozens of people have reportedly been killed in suicide attacks in northeastern Syria.

Reports said the attacks were carried out by members of ISIL, who used car bombs to kill Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting in Deir Az Zor.

A Syrian Democratic Forces spokesperson said civilians fled towards desert areas following the blast, where they were killed by more mines exploding.