Thursday, 21 November 2019
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New dengue vaccine effective in clinical trials

© Neena Bhandari,

An experimental dengue vaccine has proved 80.2 per cent effective against virologically-confirmed dengue among children and teens aged 4—16 years in the 12 months after a second dose, according to results of phase 3 clinical trials. “A vaccine with this kind of efficacy could have a substantial impact on public health,” says Derek Wallace, contributor to the trial results, published 6 November in The New England Journal of Medicine. According to the WHO, dengue is one of the top 10 threats to global health, infecting nearly 400 million people and killing up to 25,000 people worldwide annually. There is no specific treatment for the mosquito-borne viral disease, which causes flu-like symptoms, joint and muscle pain and, in severe cases, leads to haemorrhagic fever and death. It is now endemic in more than 100 countries, with Asia shouldering 70 per cent of the disease burden.

The invisible people

© Neena Bhandari, The Week

Australia is a sought-after destination for Indian students, travellers and skilled migrants from India, but it is a little-known fact that Indians also come here to seek asylum. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), population statistics based on data received from the Australian government, 51 asylum seekers from India in Australia were found to be refugees in 2018. Many of them are waiting to be resettled; others have been waiting for their asylum claims to be processed, some for six years or more, in Australia’s offshore immigration facilities in the Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru.

What does the future hold for Australia’s biggest urban park?

© Neena Bhandari, Foreground Magazine

Greater Western Sydney has one of the fastest growing populations in Australia. Currently home to 1.9 million people, the region’s population is projected to reach three million by 2036. This population growth and related development poses potential challenges to the preservation of what is the largest urban parkland in Australia, the Western Sydney Parklands (WSP). The 5280-hectare Western Sydney Parklands area stretches 27 kilometres from Quakers Hill to Leppington, running through the local government areas of Blacktown, Fairfield and Liverpool. It is 25 times the size of Centennial Park in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and similar in scale to the Lee Valley Park in London (United Kingdom) and Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto (Canada).

Chlorine dispensers fitted to public taps cut child diarrhoea

© Neena Bhandari,

A low-cost device that infuses small amounts of chlorine into water drawn from public taps can reduce  child diarrhoea by 23 per cent, according to a study conducted in Bangladesh. Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years of age and is responsible for killing some 525,000 children every year, according to the WHO, while UNICEF says nearly 60 per cent of deaths due to diarrhoea worldwide are attributable to unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation.

Australia Urged to Sign & Ratify the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

© Neena Bhandari, Indepth News Analysis (IDN)

SYDNEY: Australia must sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), says a new report released here by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Australian-founded initiative which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. The report comes amidst growing international tension with important agreements, including the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – widely known as the Iran nuclear deal – and the 1988 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia, being undermined.

Modern awards – a fresh look at the industrial labyrinth

 © Neena Bhandari, AHRI HRM Magazine

Australia’s awards system can be something of a dangerous labyrinth. You can be unaware for years that your organisation has embedded an error – a misinterpretation of an award – into your payroll management system. When it’s finally uncovered, it can take a long time and a lot of money to correct your missteps. This happens even to larger companies. In July 2018 cosmetics giant Lush committed to giving $2 million to current and former Australian workers after it found it had underpaid 5000 of them over an eight-year period. To accomplish this, it promised to upgrade its payroll system (for an estimated $1.5 million) and re-enter approximately 200,000 handwritten paper timesheets.

 अडानी भारत में नहीं लेकिन ऑस्ट्रेलिया में चुनावी मुद्दा ज़रूर है

 © Neena Bhandari, BBC Hindi

भारतीय अरबपति बिज़नेसमैन गौतम अडानी का उत्तरी क्वींसलैंड का कारामाइकल कोलमाइन प्रोजेक्ट, 18 मई को होने वाले ऑस्ट्रेलियाई चुनाव में एक अहम मुद्दा बन गया है. इस प्रोजेक्ट के चलते आर्थिक, पर्यावरण, कोयला और जलवायु परिवर्तन के मुद्दे पर मतदाता और राजनीतिक दल बंटे हुए नज़र रहे हैं. सात संभावित निर्दलीय उम्मीदवारों ने एक अहम समझौते पर हस्ताक्षर किया है. ऑस्ट्रेलियन कंज़र्वेशन फ़ाउंडेशन (एसीएफ) के संयोजन में इन सदस्यों ने संसद सदस्य के तौर पर चुने जाने पर जलवायु परिवर्तन को ध्यान में रखते हुए कई क़दम उठाने का वादा किया है. इसमें अडानी के थर्मल कोलमाइन प्रोजेक्ट का विरोध भी शामिल है. मौजूदा समय में शासन कर रही कंर्जे़वेटिव लिबरल-नेशनल पार्टियों का गठबंधन चुनाव में पिछड़ रहा है. यह मुख्य तौर पर कोयला खनन और निर्यात का समर्थक रहा है.

BBC Hindi -
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BBC Marathi -
English Translation:

We South Asians are made up of hundreds of identities and we must fight to protect all of them: Fatima Bhutto

 © Neena Bhandari, Press Trust of India 

Acclaimed Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto, who believes the way to combat fundamentalists is to celebrate the co-existence of more than one culture, says South Asians are made up of hundreds of identities and we must fight to protect all of them. The 36-year-old granddaughter of the late Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto delivered the closing address at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 5. She speaks to Neena Bhandari/PTI about her latest book "The Runaways", what drives young people to become radicals, how the violence and turbulence in Pakistan during her growing up years taught her to be brave and why western countries must take responsibility for their citizens who have been convicted.

Managing diabetes key to lowering kidney disease

© Neena Bhandari,

Growing incidences of diabetes and obesity are increasing the burden of kidney disease in the Asia Pacific region, noted the International Society of Nephrology’s (ISN) Report on Global Kidney Health Atlas launched at the World Congress of Nephrology (April 12 to 15) in Melbourne, Australia. The report highlighted the urgent need for appropriate diabetes management practices to reduce the burden of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD)— also referred to as end-stage renal disease—the last stage of long-term chronic kidney disease. Between 2001 and 2014, ESKD incidences increased by over 1,000 per cent in Thailand, 190 per cent in the Philippines and 162 per cent in Malaysia, with diabetes being the cause in majority of the cases. Globally, 160 million patients with Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

ऑस्ट्रेलिया में एशियाई मूल के छात्रों के साथ क्यों होता है यौन शोषण?

© Neena Bhandari, BBC Hindi

रिया सिंह (बदला हुआ नाम) रोज़ाना की तरह सिडनी सेंट्रल स्टेशन से अपनी यूनिवर्सिटी जा रहीं थीं. जैसे ही वो पहले से भरी हुई यूनिवर्सिटी बस में चढ़ीं एक पुरुष कर्मचारी ने उन्हें धक्का देना और सहलाना शुरू कर दिया. "बीस मिनट की यात्रा के दौरान ये सब चलता रहा. मुझे बहुत बुरा लगा लेकिन मैं डरी हुई थी. मुझे पता नहीं था कि क्या करूं, किसके पास जाऊं. मैंने इस बारे में किसी को नहीं बताया क्योंकि मैं नहीं चाहती थी कि मेरे अभिभावकों को कुछ पता चले, वो शायद समझते भी नहीं. ये ऐसी बात भी नहीं थी कि मैं अपने छोटे भाई से साझा कर सकूं. मैंने अपनी सबसे क़रीबी दोस्त से इस बारे में बात की, वो भी नहीं समझ पाई कि क्या किया जाए." 2017 में ऑस्ट्रेलियन यूनिवर्सटी में यौन हमलों और यौन उत्पीड़न पर ऑस्ट्रेलियाई मानवाधिकार आयोग ने एक राष्ट्रीय रिपोर्ट प्रकाशित की थी. इस रिपोर्ट का नाम था- चेंज कोर्स. ये घटना इस रिपोर्ट के आने से कुछ दिन पहले की ही है.

BBC Hindi -
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BBC Telugu -
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English Translation:

It was never in Jamsetji Tata's ken

© Neena Bhandari, Business Standard, India

ImageThe Tata Group of companies has made big forays into Australia, investing and expanding in various sectors from mining to information technology. Historically too, remote though it may now be, Tata Steel has a connection to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, which contains 50,000 tonnes of steel. Close to 80 per cent of the steel used in the bridge, spanning 1,650 ft (503 metre), was made by Teesside Company Dorman Long, which became part of British Steel Corporation after World War II. In 1999, British Steel merged with a Dutch company, Hoogovens, to become Corus. In 2007, Corus was bought by Tata Steel.

Tata Steel has had an office in Brisbane since 2000. The original name was Tata International, since deregistered. The principal business activity has been procurement of steel-making raw material in Australasia, predominantly metallurgical coal, for the steel operations in Jamshedpur. “These volumes have continued to grow and are now in the millions of tonnes. Additionally, Tata Steel Resources was tasked with identifying investment opportunities in metallurgical coal mines and made its first overseas coal mine investment in Carborough Downs, central Queensland, in 2005 with a five per cent equity stake. We are now actively identifying new investment opportunities to the increasing metallurgical requirements for the steel mill expansions in India for the next 10 years and beyond,” Bryan Granzien, chief executive officer, Tata Steel Resources Australia Pvt Ltd, said.

Sydney breaks bread with Sangrur - the wheat link

© Neena Bhandari, Business Standard, India

ImageWheat collaboration between Australia and India is likely to be extended, after experiments combining strengths in each other’s varieties show rising promise.

India and Australia are collaborating on research to enhance the volume and quality of grown wheat. The five-year bilateral programme on marker-assisted wheat breeding concludes in May 2012 but is set to be extended.

It has been exploring molecular technologies, management practices and more heat-tolerant cultivars, to face the challenges of climate change. India and Australia are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures, warns a leading Australian wheat scientist.

"In Australia, wheat is rain-fed and will be adversely affected by the combined impact of higher temperatures and drought. In India, increasing temperature linked with lowering water tables would mean farmers will be unable to irrigate with the current frequency. This will result in difficult production conditions and reduction in total yield,” says Richard Trethowan, director, A Watson Grains Research Centre, University of Sydney. India is the second largest producer of wheat and Australia seventh in the world. India produces all its consumption; Australia is the second largest global exporter of wheat and, so, a major contributor to global food security.

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