Queenslanders to benefit HIV Drug Trial and more zedlines...

An extra 1000 Queenslanders will be given access to a potentially life-saving HIV medication trial. (Image Source: Flickr)

Announcing the increase today, Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said the extra places would mean 3000 Queenslanders could now have access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a drug which dramatically reduces the risk of HIV transmission in HIV negative people.

The announcement came after 80 clinicians and community leaders gathered in Cairns earlier this week to share insights on ways to improve sexual health within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Mr Dick said a crucial step in eliminating HIV in Queensland by 2020 involves reaching out to Indigenous communities with respect and confidentiality.


Rainbow Beach contractor charged with possession of shark fins

A Rainbow Beach shark netting contractor faced Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday charged with eight Fisheries Act offences.

The charges against 39 year old Gregory Bruce Pearce include unauthorised possession of regulated fish and shark fins, following an investigation by the Fisheries Department last year which found undocumented and illegal hauls at a Rainbow Beach property.

Queensland Coordinator of Sea Shepherd’s Apex Harmony Campaign Jonathan Clarke likened shark finning with the rhino horn trade and said the industry was causing the destruction of sharks worldwide.
Mr Pearce did not enter a plea to the charges, which were adjourned to December 21.


Last Holden marks end of car manufacturing in Australia

The final Holden will roll off the production line at the company’s Adelaide factory this morning, marking the end of car manufacturing in Australia.

The car, a VFII SSV Redline Commodore sedan, has been overseen by the remaining 950 production workers all week, who are also completing the final models of the Caprice V, as well as a V6 Commodore Calais wagon and an SS Commodore ute.

Car manufacturing in Australia has slowed over the past decade, gradually leaving Australia a country that does not build its own cars, with automotive companies receiving $30bn of financial assistance between 1997 and 2012.

Holden announced the closure of the factory four years ago, Toyota ceased production on October 3 and Ford closing its plants at Geelong and Broadmeadows last October and Mitsubishi leaving in 2008.


Airport firefighters demand blood tests for toxic foam

Airport firefighters have demanded their blood to be tested for chemicals, amidst growing fears of toxic firefighting foam.

The United Firefighters Union said its members could be among the worst affected by the toxic foam, which was used at dozens of airports, fire stations, and military bases from the 1980s and include perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which studies in the US have linked with cancer and other illnesses.

The Western Australian and Queensland government have announced they would offer blood testing for their firefighters, but figures including Union branch secretary Henry Lawrence says that airport firefighters both past and present should be told whether they have unsafe levels of the chemicals in their blood due to their likelihood of increased exposure.

“The Queensland fire service is doing it, the West Australian service, the metropolitan fire service in Melbourne is doing it, so why can’t Airservices follow a responsible and caring lead for their employees?” Lawrence told The Guardian. “Why are they not wanting to introduce the testing? Why won’t they give us the information that we’re asking for?”


‘Me Too’ campaign began as one woman’s search for safety

Black activist Tarana Burke launched the ‘Me Too’ campaign to help young women gain empowerment through empathy, which has recently spiralled into a viral hashtag on social media.

Having worked with young black and brown girls in South America for 10 years, Ms Burke was trying to find resources to aid survivors of sexual violence.

A decade later, more and more high-profile women have started sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment, prompting the ‘Me Too’ campaign to become a viral hit.

Ms Burke said the ‘Me Too’ hashtag assists in representing women who are survivors of either sexual harassment and assault, which raises public awareness about the issue.


Spain set to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy

The Spanish Government will hold a special cabinet meeting on Saturday to activate Article 155 of the constitution, which will give the central Spanish government control over Catalonia.

This comes after Catalan’s leader warned the Spanish government they would declare independence if Spain failed to agree to talks and continued the repressing the region.

Article 155 allows for Madrid to take control of any of its semi-autonomous regions but not the power to fully suspend the regional authority.

The Article has never been invoked in Spain’s democratic history, but the Spanish Government said this will allow them to protect the interests of all Spaniards.