Tragic toll as region records 5th highest suicide rate


THE black dog has claimed more lives in the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac region, as the district recorded the fifth highest suicide rate in Queensland.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report showed an average of 32 people took their own lives each year in the region from 2016-18.

The chief health officer’s report analysed the cause of death of more than 2700 residents over the three years in the health service district, which includes Mackay, Bowen, Proserpine, Clermont, Collinsville, Dysart, Moranbah, Sarina, Glenden, Middlemount and Whitsunday.

The health service had the fifth highest suicide rate in Queensland, with 18 people dying from self-inflicted injuries per 100,000 people.

The Queensland rate was 15 suicides per 100,000 people.

The North West region, which includes Mt Isa and Cloncurry, had the highest suicide rate with 24 suicides per 100,000 people.

It was followed by Wide Bay, Cairns and Hinterland, and Central Queensland.

The chief health officer’s report analysed the cause of death of more than 2700 residents over the three years in the Mackay health service. Picture: Tony Martin

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The number of suicides has remained steady despite population increases since the 2018 report, which found there were 31 suicides each year in Mackay from 2013-2015.

Mackay’s high suicide rate comes as the health report found residents were significantly less likely to be hospitalised for mental health and behavioural conditions compared to other Queensland health services.

The health report said last financial year 1789 people sought help at the hospital service.

Compared to its population this meant the region had the second lowest rate of mental health presentations in the state, behind the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.

But Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Service Division operations director Cara McCormack said hospital was not always the best place for mental health treatment and recovery.

“Instead we focus on supporting people in their community and own home,” Ms McCormack said.

“Proactive community-based support helps many people avoid a hospital admission and allows them to continue with work and other social contacts.”

She said services like the Step Up Step Down 10-bed residential mental health facility were a way to help people avoid a hospital admission or to have shorter hospital stays.

“The service helps people ‘step up’ for support if their condition is deteriorating and helps others ‘step down’ to support the transition from hospital to home,” Ms McCormack said.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said an average of 32 people took their own lives in the greater Mackay region each year in the region from 2016-18.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said an average of 32 people took their own lives in the greater Mackay region each year in the region from 2016-18.

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She said since it opened in July 2017 the service had saved 4965 bed days for 273 people.

But she said suicide prevention required a whole-of-community response.

Ms McCormack said the health service was a partner in the Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan for Whitsunday, Isaac and Mackay.

For those struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, Ms McCormack said help was available 24 hours a day, with residents able to access support by calling 1300 MHCALL (1300 642255).

If you need help please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800





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IPL 2020 Final: Rohit Sharma, Trent Boult fire Mumbai Indians to 5th title, Delhi Capitals outclassed in Dubai


Dubai, November 10 (India Today) – It looked like Mumbai Indians were definitely not going to lose the IPL 2020 final and it remained that way as Rohit Sharma’s men won a record-extending 5th title by decimating first-time finalists Delhi Capitals by 5 wickets. Barring blips in their first and last league games, MI were always on top gear and they made it all look easy at the end.

The powerhouse of T20 cricket needed just 18.4 overs to gun down a target of 157 in what turned out to be the shortest final in the history of IPL, in terms of the overs played.

Led by captain Rohit Sharma’s 68 and a terrific Trent Boult, Mumbai Indians used all their experience of having featured in 5 previous IPL finals to good effect against Shreyas Iyer’s men.

Rohit Sharma had not been in the best of forms, marred by injury concern, until the final. However, on the big day, it was Rohit’s show all the way as he took the Delhi Capitals’ new ball attack to the cleaners.

Rohit’s masterclass comes a day after he was rested from the ODI and T20I legs of India’s tour of Australia.

Rohit Sharma has become only the 2nd captain after MS Dhoni to successfully lead a title defence. Mumbai Indians broke their even-year jinx by winning their first title in an odd year (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020).

It was also the first time in the history of the IPL that a leap year hasn’t had a new champion — 2008 Rajasthan Royals, 2012 Kolkata Knight Riders and 2016 Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Mumbai Indians, known for their meticulous pre-season planning and excellent use of data and match-ups, looked a well-oiled machine as they proved yet again why they are the most dominant side of IPL 2020.

From not winning even a single match during their trip to the UAE in 2014 to bossing the tournament in 2020, Rohit’s men have effortlessly turned their fortunes around in the Middle East.





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Tesla Reports 5th Straight Quarterly Profit: Live Updates


Credit…Aly Song/Reuters

Tesla on Wednesday reported a profit for the fifth consecutive quarter, putting it on track to report its only annual profit since its founding in 2003.

Tesla said it made $331 million, or 27 cents per share, in the three months that ended in September. The company reported a profit of $143 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The company delivered 139,600 cars in the third quarter. That was a roughly 50 percent increase from the second quarter, when sales and production were severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Tesla faces questions about whether that strong sales growth is tapering off. Analysts believe Tesla’s sales in the United States have already slowed, and they have said it may be suffering from sluggishness in other parts of the world. In China, Tesla has cut prices several times this year and sales of the Model 3 sedans it makes in Shanghai declined slightly in September compared with August and July. And in Europe, the company faces growing competition from traditional automakers.

“Tesla is losing ground in Europe to fierce competitors” that have offered more affordable electric models, Vicki Bryan, the chief executive of Bond Angle, a research firm, said in a report before the company’s earnings report. Ms. Bryan also said Tesla’s Model Y hatchback seemed to be taking sales away from the Model 3 rather than adding to the company’s sales.

The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, last month appeared to temper expectations when he forecast that sales would rise 30 to 40 percent this year, implying a range of 482,000 to 514,000 cars.

Tesla would have to sell 182,000 cars in the fourth quarter to sell more than 500,000 cars for the year. Most analysts expect sales for the full year to fall short of that mark, however. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the company delivered 112,000 cars.

While several automakers have introduced electric vehicles, Tesla so far has faced little serious competition. But that could change over the next year or so.

On Tuesday, General Motors offered a preview of a battery-powered and technology-packed Hummer pickup truck that it plans to begin selling in about 12 months. The Hummer EV is supposed to go 350 miles or more on a full charge — in line with Tesla’s top models. G.M. promised the truck will be able to charge enough in 10 minutes to travel 100 miles.

The first edition will start at $112,595. Other editions due in 2022 and later will be available for under $100,000.

The Hummer EV is meant to compete with Tesla’s pickup, the Cybertruck, which is supposed to go into production late next year. Ford Motor, Rivian and other automakers are also hoping to bring electric pickup trucks to the market soon.

Credit…Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top White House officials said on Wednesday that they were continuing to narrow their differences on a sweeping stimulus plan to provide pandemic relief to struggling Americans and businesses, even as the California Democrat conceded that a bipartisan deal might not be possible before the Nov. 3 election.

A nearly one-hour conversation between Ms. Pelosi and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary brought the pair “closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation,” a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said.

And Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said he was “still very hopeful and very optimistic that we’re making progress.”

But with time waning to cement an agreement that could be enacted in time for Election Day, both sides remained wary.

Mr. Meadows, who met with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, told reporters that lawmakers in his party had grown suspicious of Ms. Pelosi’s tactics and were “starting to get to a point where they believe that she is not negotiating in a fair and equitable manner.”

Ms. Pelosi said she remained upbeat about the prospects for a compromise, but allowed for the possibility that it would wait until after the election.

“I’m optimistic that there will be a bill,” she said in an interview on MSNBC. “It’s a question of, is it in time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or is it going to be shortly thereafter and retroactive.”

Across the Capitol, Senate Democrats blocked a move by Republicans to advance a $500 billion plan that would revive lapsed federal unemployment benefits and a popular federal loan program for small businesses, as well as provide additional money for testing.

Democrats, who have argued the package falls far short of the level of aid needed, unanimously opposed it, and it fell short on a party-line vote of 51-44, failing to clear the 60-vote threshold required to move forward.

Mr. Meadows said earlier Wednesday that a call by Democrats for hundreds of billions of dollars more in federal aid for states and cities and their resistance to a liability shield for businesses remained the toughest obstacles to a bipartisan stimulus deal.

“The biggest issue remains state and local assistance,” Mr. Meadows said on the Fox Business Network. “That remains a stumbling block.”

The White House has proposed providing $250 billion to states and municipalities, Mr. Meadows said, while House Democrats have called for double that. He also said that the liability protections were a crucial priority for Republicans, and he chided Ms. Pelosi for resisting them, saying she was being “disingenuous” if she believed that his party would agree to any deal without them.

Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin are expected to speak again on Thursday.

Credit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor who is seen as a possible future Treasury secretary if former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the election, warned in a speech Wednesday that “the easiest improvements” in the labor market “are likely behind us.”

Ms. Brainard pointed out that the share of permanent layoffs is rising — bad news because it takes longer to rehire those workers than people who have temporarily lost their jobs — and that unemployment insurance claims have ticked up. She also noted that participation rates for women in their prime working years have fallen.

That decline “could have longer-term implications for household incomes and potential growth,” she said.

A shortfall in government support could pose a major risk to the pace of the economic rebound, Ms. Brainard said, especially if additional help comes after hard-hit households burn through the savings they built up earlier in the crisis.

Apart from the course of the virus itself, the most significant downside risk to my outlook would be the failure of additional fiscal support to materialize,” she said.

Economists often refer to the economic rebound underway as K-shaped, meaning that it is sharply divided. Some people have held onto their jobs, watched their savings rise and maintained basically normal consumption patterns despite some pandemic-spurred modifications. But another broad segment of workers has lost jobs and seen its labor income dry up. While many such households are now living off savings from earlier government support, those funds will not last forever. Likewise, many big businesses are doing well, even as smaller companies and those in hard-hit sectors struggle.

“Further targeted fiscal support will be needed alongside accommodative monetary policy to turn this K-shaped recovery into a broad-based and inclusive recovery,” Ms. Brainard said. “The most important message is simply that we will have a much better, stronger, more inclusive recovery if we do continue to see that targeted fiscal support” alongside Fed policy.

Credit…Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges of defrauding federal health agencies and violating anti-kickback laws, and faces penalties of roughly $8.3 billion, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

The company’s owners, members of the wealthy Sackler family, will pay $225 million in civil penalties.

Wednesday’s announcement does not conclude the extensive litigation against Purdue, but it does represent a significant advance in the long legal march by states, cities and counties to compel the most prominent defendant in the opioid epidemic to help pay for the public health crisis that has resulted in the deaths of more than 450,000 Americans since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, it is unlikely the company will end up paying anything close to the $8 billion negotiated in the settlement deal. That is because it is in bankruptcy court and the federal government will have to take its place in a long line of creditors. Typically, creditors end up collecting pennies on the dollar.

Credit…Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

One of the fronts in the Justice Department’s case against Google is a 13-year-old agreement between Apple and Google that has evolved into a multibillion-dollar deal with enormous consequences for both companies and many of their rivals.

When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, Google was the device’s default search engine. In return, Google paid Apple a chunk of the ad revenue it collected from the millions of Google searches conducted on iPhones.

Today that arrangement covers all Apple devices, which now account for nearly half of all Google search traffic, according to the Justice Department’s lawsuit. As a result, Google pays Apple an estimated $8 billion to $12 billion a year, according to the suit. That has made Apple and Google hugely reliant on one another, while edging out other search engines and, according to the U.S. government, protecting Google’s monopoly.

“By paying Apple a portion of the monopoly rents extracted from advertisers, Google has aligned Apple’s financial incentives with its own and set the price of bidding for distribution extraordinarily high — in the billions,” the Justice Department said in its lawsuit.

With billions of dollars on the line, the partnership is critical to both companies.

With billions of dollars on the line, the partnership is critical to both companies. Inside Google, losing its pole position on iPhones is considered a “Code Red” scenario, according to the lawsuit. At Apple, Google’s payments account for roughly 15 percent to 20 percent of Apple’s profits.

Google officials said they weren’t aware of the Justice Department’s “Code Red” allegation and that the company’s deal with Apple is no different than Coca-Cola paying a supermarket for prominent shelf space.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Credit…Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama will preside over the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google, according to a note posted to the case’s docket on Wednesday.

Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was appointed to the bench in late 2014. He spent much of his career in private practice and worked a public defender in the early 2000s.

Mr. Mehta has handled some high-profile cases. Last year, he ruled in favor of Congress’s attempt to subpoena President Trump’s financial records. He partially ruled against the Trump administration’s freeze to visa programs earlier this year.

And he has supported a federal attempt to rein in business concentration. In 2015, he sided with the government’s plan to block the proposed merger of US Foods and Sysco, two prominent food distributors. The merger ultimately fell apart because of the opposition.

He did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Wednesday.

The Justice Department lawsuit filed on Tuesday argues that Google obtained a monopoly over online search services — and the ads that run on them — and then used contracts with phone makers like Apple to protect that power. Google has said that the lawsuit is groundless and denies it engages in anti-competitive behavior. The company expects it will be at least a year before the lawsuit goes to trial.

  • Stocks on Wall Street fell on Wednesday, after drifting back and forth from positive to negative territory, as investors sought clarity on the prospects of a stimulus deal in Washington.

  • Europe’s benchmark stock indexes headed lower as the region’s central bank warned of the risk to Europe’s economy from a second wave of the pandemic.

  • The S&P 500 ended 0.2 percent lower. Stocks in Europe fell, with major indexes down 1 to 2 percent as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

  • Netflix was lower after the company reported Tuesday that it had signed up fewer new subscribers last quarter than expected. Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, surged on its report that it had recorded a big increase in users.

  • On Tuesday, stocks were whipsawed by conflicting comments about the state of the stimulus talks, but ended the day up half a percent. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “optimistic” a deal could be reached with the Trump administration in the coming days. A few hours later, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, told Republicans that he had advised the White House not to strike a deal. Later still, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman said the speaker and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, had found “common ground as they move closer to an agreement.”

  • On Wednesday, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said that a push by Democrats for hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid for states and cities and Democrats’ resistance to a liability shield for businesses remained the toughest obstacles to a stimulus deal.

Credit…Christian Monterrosa/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Netflix attracted 2.2 million new subscribers for the third quarter, about one million lower than what investors were expecting and short of the 2.5 million Netflix itself had forecast, the company reported Tuesday. Consumer interest in Netflix accelerated earlier in the year as households in lockdown streamed films and shows more than usual, giving the company a record number of new subscribers.

  • Britain’s postal service, Royal Mail, announced it would start to pick up parcels from residential houses as the country sees a surge in online shopping. It will cost 72 pence per package, or nearly $1, for the service.

  • Pioneer Natural Resources, a leading shale oil producer, said on Tuesday that it would buy Parsley Energy for $4.5 billion to expand its operations in the Permian Basin, the oil field that straddles West Texas and New Mexico. A day earlier, ConocoPhillips announced that it was acquiring Concho Resources, another Permian producer, for $9.7 billion. These and other acquisitions signal that oil and gas companies are looking for ways to cut costs because they do not anticipate a quick recovery in demand for their products, which tumbled this spring when the pandemic took hold.

  • Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, said revenue for the third quarter was $678 million, up 52 percent from a year ago, exceeding analysts’ estimates of $559 million. While some analysts had predicted that Snap’s growth would tail off as people returned to school, its number of daily active users rose 18 percent to 249 million. But the company posted a net loss of nearly $200 million in the quarter, narrower than the loss of $227 million a year ago. The company’s stock jumped on the news.



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Thai protesters gather in Bangkok for 5th day in defiance of ban


BANGKOK: Protesters returned to the streets of Bangkok for the fifth straight day in coordinated demonstrations on Sunday (Oct 18) to continue their call for an end to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government.

Despite an emergency decree banning public gatherings, the rallies started at 4pm local time at the Victory Monument, Asoke and Tha Phra MRT station in the capital.

Protest organisers had called on Sunday morning for demonstrators to be ready at any BTS skytrain station near their house by 3pm local time but did not disclose further details about the gathering sites, to avoid blockades by the authorities. 

At about 2.30pm, authorities announced temporary closure of several BTS skytrain and MRT underground stations, as well as walkways between buildings and stations in the affected areas.

Around 4pm, several hundreds of protesters gathered in the rain at Victory Monument, the primary protest site, carrying umbrellas and wearing rain jackets. Traffic around the area also slowed down as more people joined the rally. 

Protesters at the Victory Monument on Oct 18, 2020. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo) 

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Despite lacking proper sound system and mobile stages, protesters shouted short phrases like “reform the monarchy” and “Prayut, get out”. They were also seen trying to stop the police from putting up barricades at the site. 

Driven by a coalition of youth groups from across Thailand, the movement has recently become somewhat leaderless as most of the protest leaders have been apprehended by police.

Bangkok has been under a state of emergency since 4am on Tuesday, yet protesters in Bangkok have defied the government’s orders, which prohibit any action that would instigate unrest. 

READ: Thailand bans protests as challenge to establishment escalates

READ: Thai protest leaders declare end to demonstration after police fire water cannon in Bangkok

Publication of news and electronic information with messages that could instill fear among the public, intentionally distort facts, or cause misunderstanding that would affect national security, or peace and order is also forbidden. 

The order was issued by the prime minister to control anti-government protesters.

Thai protests umbrellas Oct 18

Thai protesters build a makeshift wall using umbrellas on Oct 18. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo) 

Thai protests Oct 18

Volunteer guards at Victory Monument sit on the road behind barricades, ready for any police clearance operations. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo) 

According to police, checking in at protest sites on social media or sharing selfies while in the areas could result in legal action.

“Police enforcement this time around is in compliance with laws, international standards, and human rights, in order to maintain peace and order for the general public,” said police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen in a press conference on Sunday.

At 8.20pm, protest organisers announced that the rally at Victory Monument has ended. 

On Saturday, the authorities shut down much of the city’s transport system in a bid to thwart protesters from gathering. 

However, mass crowds managed to hold demonstrations for several hours in three different areas, including the Lat Phrao intersection, Udomsuk and Wongwian Yai. Police did not intervene on Saturday and the protesters dispersed after several hours.

With many of the key leaders detained, demonstrators on Saturday took turns giving short speeches. 

Besides Bangkok, more rallies have also been held in different provinces. 

Police have dispersed their protests twice, first on Thursday and later on Friday at the Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok’s business district. 



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US retail sales grow for 5th month in a row – Long Island Business News


Retail sales rose strongly in September, the fifth straight month of growth, as Americans spent more on clothing, cars and sporting goods.

U.S. retail sales jumped 1.9% last month, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. That’s more than double what was economists were expected. And it’s up from the 0.6% increase in August.

“Americans raced to the stores in September,” said BMO Capital Markets analyst Sal Guatieri, in a note to investors, adding that they were “buying just about everything in sight, especially clothing.”

Sales at clothing stores rose 11%, accounting for much of September’s overall growth. Even sales at department stores, which have been falling out of fashion with shoppers for years, rose 9.7% last month.

At auto dealerships and auto part shops, sales were up 3.6%. And those looking to go camping or buy exercise equipment for their homes sent sales at sporting goods stores 5.7% higher.

Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity, and is watched closely to gauge the country’s economic health.

Retail sales have been recovering since plunging in the spring as stores and malls were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And spending has continued even after more than 20 million unemployed Americans lost a $600 boost in their weekly unemployment checks at the end of July.

Friday’s retail sales report covers only about a third of overall consumer spending. Services such as haircuts and hotel stays are not included in the report. All of those types of businesses have been badly hurt by the pandemic.

Whether people will keep shopping remains to be seen. The unemployment rate is still high, at 7.8% last month. Some economists say more federal checks for out-of-work Americans are needed to sustain spending. And some say rising COVID-19 cases could keep people away from stores.

Retailers are already facing a holiday season like no other.

Best Buy, Target and Walmart offered holiday deals in mid-October for the first time, piggybacking off Amazon which held its annual Prime Day sales event on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stores hope the October deals will jumpstart holiday shopping early and keep crowds away from their stores in November and December, avoiding a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, said this week it would offer Black Friday deals over three weekends in November instead of just one day after Thanksgiving.

The virus could also change how people shop, especially if they forgo travelling to see family and friends during the holidays.

Joyce Alcantara, who runs the social media accounts of a San Francisco museum, says she will likely buy fewer gifts this year, cutting out co-workers, friends or family that she doesn’t see in person. And for the gifts she does buy, Alcantara plans to skip big national chains and go to neighborhood shops that were more badly hurt by the pandemic.

“I’d rather use my money to support smaller businesses,” she says.





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Today in History for October 5th


Highlights of this day in history: First victim dies in post-Sept. 11th anthrax scare; VP candidates spar over JFK; The Beatles release ‘Love Me Do’; ‘Monty Python’ premieres; Baseball’s Barry Bonds tops single-season runs record. (Oct. 5)

       



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