Cigarette giant being investigated for flouting Britain’s ban on menthols


A cigarette giant is being investigated for flouting Britain’s ban on menthol cigarettes.

The UK’s biggest selling tobacco firm is being probed by Public Health England over new cigs users say taste just like menthols.

The ban, from May, was to stop young people from using menthols, which many smokers mistakenly believed were less harmful.

The Mirror can reveal seven of the most popular brands are being tested, including Sterling New Superkings Green, Benson & Hedges New Superkings Green and Mayfair New Green. Lab analysts are looking at new cigarette products boasting “fresh” flavour, to check if they are breaking the law.

Health chiefs are investigating whether cigarette companies are sticking to the rules

It states products must not have any added “characterising flavour”.

Deborah Arnott, of Action on Smoking & Health, said “Smokers believe they’re still smoking menthol and that’s what counts.

“In the words of the proverb, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”

JTI, which makes £650,000 profit daily from its new range, said: “We are confident that all our products are fully compliant with UK law.”





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‘UK faces mobile blackouts if Huawei 5G ban imposed by 2023’


Huawei 5G

BT and Vodafone have said their UK customers would face mobile phone signal blackouts if they are given three years or less to strip Huawei’s equipment out of their 5G networks.

Executives from the network providers told MPs that they wanted at least five years, and ideally seven, if such an order is made.

The government is expected to announce new curbs on the use of the Chinese firm’s kit within the next two weeks.

Huawei has urged it to take more time.

“There isn’t a burning bridge,” said Huawei’s UK vice president Jeremy Thompson, adding that it was too soon to determine what impact new US sanctions would have.

The company also denied claims it would ever act against its clients’ interests, even if told to do so by the Chinese government.

The Science and Technology Committee hearing represents a last chance for companies to make their cases before government ahead of a decision being taken.

‘No signal’

In January, the government put a cap on Huawei’s 5G market share, but decided that suggested security risks raised by allowing the Chinese firm to supply the country’s telecoms providers could be managed.

Since then, however, Washington has announced fresh sanctions designed to prevent the company from having its own chips manufactured.

As a consequence, Huawei faces having to source other companies’ chips for use in its equipment.

GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre is believed to have told the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that this means it can no longer assure the security of Huawei’s products.

While it now seems likely the government will opt for a ban of some sort, the question is when it will come into effect.

Some Tory backbenchers are urging a deadline to be set before the 2024 general election – and there has been speculation that it could be as soon as 2023.

But Vodafone and BT – which both use Huawei’s products in their networks – said this would be hugely disruptive.

“To get to zero in a three-year period would literally mean blackouts for customers on 4G and 2G, as well as 5G, throughout the country,” said Howard Watson, BT’s chief technology and information officer.

He explained the logistics involved in bringing in cranes and shutting off streets to replace masts, base stations and other Huawei equipment meant that the only way to meet the timespan would be to switch over multiple sites in an area at the same time.

3G signals would not be affected as the EE network uses Nokia kit to provide that service.

Vodafone made a similar case – it uses Huawei’s kit in its 2G, 3G. 4G and 5G networks.

“[Customers] would lose their signal, sometimes for a couple of days, depending on how big or how intrusive the work to be carried out is,” said Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK’s head of networks.

“I would say a five-year transition time would be the minimum,”

Mr Watson added: “A minimum of five years, ideally seven.”

‘Few more weeks’

Earlier in the hearing, Huawei made the case that it was too soon to decide on any new restrictions.

Replacing Huawei's 5G equipment will often involve simultaneously swapping out its 4G base stations and antennas
Replacing Huawei’s 5G equipment will often involve simultaneously swapping out its 4G base stations and antennas

Executives said that the US had yet to confirm the details of the sanctions, adding they would subsequently need time to see if they could mitigate the impact.

The company has built up stockpiles of its chips, and believes it could keep providing equipment based on them for some time to come.

“We can supply our customers with their orders and support the existing network with spares,” said Mr Thompson.

“And in terms of who the alternative [chip] suppliers are, they’re not just Chinese. There are European companies who are also in this space.

“We will be able to share those [details] with you, but that will take a few more weeks.”

A spokeswoman for DCMS said she could not reveal whether the department had already handed over its recommendations to the prime minister.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to convene a meeting of the National Security Council within the coming days to discuss the possibility of a ban, which could also extend to the country’s broadband infrastructure.

Analysis box by Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent
Analysis box by Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent

The warnings from Vodafone and BT about disruption to customers if Huawei is removed swiftly sound stark – but, in fact, both firms have softened their stance.

Last year they seemed determined to battle against any plan to exclude Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks.

Now they seem resigned to the fact that this is going to happen.

Indeed, BT accepts that the threatened US sanctions could mean that within a couple of years, it won’t be able to get hold of reliable Huawei equipment.

Their emphasis now is on timing – they want to make sure the government does not proceed as rapidly as many Conservative backbenchers would like in stripping out the Chinese firms’ kit.

They understand how the political mood has changed, but will be warning ministers that disrupting mobile reception, or abandoning the target to get gigabit broadband to everyone by 2025, would also be bad politics.



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Eric Dier: Tottenham midfielder given four-match ban for confronting fan


Dier denied his behaviour was “threatening” and told a hearing he was protecting his brother

Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier has been given a four-match ban and fined £40,000 for climbing over seats to confront a fan after a match in March.

The incident happened after Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Norwich.

The Football Association ban rules the 26-year-old out of all but one of Tottenham’s remaining Premier League fixtures.

Dier has also been warned about his future conduct by the FA.

A statement said: “The Tottenham player admitted that his actions at the conclusion of a fixture against Norwich City in the FA Cup were improper but denied that they were also threatening.

“An independent regulatory commission subsequently found Eric Dier’s actions to be threatening.”

The incident occurred on 4 March in the fifth-round tie following a penalty shootout in which Dier scored, but Spurs eventually lost.

Speaking at the time, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho said a fan had insulted Dier after the game.

What happened and how did the FA come to its ruling?

Dier jumped over the pitchside barriers into the stand at the end of the game. He made a beeline for a fan and clambered over seats until he reached the top row of seats in front of the hospitality boxes.

Another video shows him being restrained by fans and security, while shouting “he’s my brother”. He is then led away by security with his arm around a fan.

The fan later said in a statement to the police, who took no action following an investigation, that he had “been an idiot”.

Dier, who has 40 England caps, argued during the hearing that his actions did not deserve a football ban as he just wanted to “protect” his brother Patrick who he believed was “in trouble”, but the panel disagreed.

In a written statement, the independent regulatory panel outlined a number of aggravating factors:

  • The stand was heavily populated by spectators.
  • Dier travelled an appreciable distance for a not insignificant period of time trying to reach the spectator – it was a determined and sustained attempt to get to the spectator.
  • He pursued the spectator after he had desisted and moved away.
  • He pursued the spectator when he knew he posed no threat to his brother.
  • Dier’s actions caused some pushing and shoving in the stands
  • Dier’s actions resulted in a melee at the entrance of exit 103.
  • He is a high profile footballer, whose conduct was witnessed by many within the ground and countless others more widely.



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Addin Fonua-Blake looking at lengthy ban for foul-mouthed outburst


Addin Fonua-Blake could be looking at an extended period on the sidelines with the NRL potentially set to throw the book at the star following his tirade on the weekend.

The Manly Sea Eagles player unleashed at referee Grant Atkins during Sunday’s loss to the Newcastle Knights and was slapped with a grade three contrary conduct charge.

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As of right now he is set to miss two games, but the suspension could be increased as the NRL continue to investigate the incident.

Fonua-Blake broke his silence on Tuesday in a video released by the club where he said his second spray, in the tunnel, wasn’t directed at the referees.

“I wasn’t aware that the refs were in the tunnels and they must have heard me say what I said in the sheds,” he said.

“But I didn’t say it directly to their face, it was just sort of me venting out loud in the sheds.”

He said he had apologised to Atkins and noted he didn’t truly understand the weight of the words he had used.

“Growing up I’ve sort of used the word differently, not knowing what it actually meant.

“Now that I know what it means, I’m very apologetic, I did not mean any harm and I didn’t mean to use it in a derogatory type of way to offend anyone.”

But on Tuesday night the NRL released a statement saying the Manly Sea Eagles player had breached the game’s anti-vilification code and suggested a harsher penalty could be on the way.

“What happened on Sunday was divisive and against the fabric of what we stand for as a game,” Acting CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“There is no place for comments like that in our game. Sport is about bringing people and communities together and we pride ourselves on being an inclusive game for everyone.

“Now that the Match Review process is complete, I want to speak directly with Addin and the Club about the incidents before determining any penalty.

“This is more than a simple sanction. It’s important there is an education and rehabilitation component to issues like this to ensure players learn from these mistakes and realise the impact of their actions on the community.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent believes the star will be hit with a show-cause notice by the league.

“One was said in the heat of the moment, the fact that he’s followed the referee up the tunnel and then doubled down on the insult has really upset the NRL,” Kent said on NRL 360.

“There’s a bit of a loophole there in that while he’s already been charged for this, because the second one happened off the field, it allows the integrity unit get involved.

“I’ve been waiting for the last couple of hours for it to lob and it hasn’t but I think the NRL will issue him now with a show cause notice as to why he shouldn’t be punished further.”



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Immigrant Visa Ban Will Harm Upcoming Ski Season


President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on June 22 extending the ban on several immigration visas, including the J-1 cultural exchange and H-2B temporary worker visas, which are both heavily depended upon by ski resorts. International applicants who are currently in the United States, however, are still eligible to apply. The freeze on the visas currently runs through December 31, 2020, and if it isn’t amended, will add another wrinkle into a pending ski season already facing challenges.

The proclamation cites elevated unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and “the lack of sufficient alternative means to protect unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new lawful permanent residents,” as the basis for the extension of the immigration freeze (Proclamation 10014). Ski resorts have long been dependent on these types of immigration visas to employee exchange students and other seasonal employees.

“We were surprised at the breadth and scope of the president’s proclamation—delaying entry through the end of the year when the President was talking about a V-shaped economic recovery during the summer,” says Dave Byrd, director of regulatory affairs for the National Ski Areas Association. “We were surprised, too, that the immigration suspension included visa programs like the J-1 and H-2B visa programs, which demonstrably do not displace American workers, because these are temporary, short-term seasonal positions.”

The H-2B visa program, specifically, requires businesses to prove first that they sought out and offered positions to American workers first but were unsuccessful in filling them. Ski resorts have had an increasingly difficult time filling these seasonal positions, due in large part to their remote locations—far away from metropolitan areas and centers of commerce—in addition to a lack of available and affordable housing in these areas. Even with higher unemployment and more Americans seeking jobs, there simply aren’t enough bodies in these remote hamlets to fully staff seasonal positions like lift operators, food and beverage, ski instructors, and housekeeping.

“Think of the dozens of ski areas in the sparsely populated state of Vermont, and remote resorts like Telluride, Crested Butte, Big Sky, Snowshoe, Mammoth, or even Lutsen up in far north Minnesota; those ski areas are located in counties with populations of maybe a few thousand people,” adds Byrd. “We hire every local, reliable American who wants a job, but we will still have scores of positions that go unfilled, no matter how high unemployment.”

Byrd says that these visa programs, at least when it pertains to ski resorts, do the opposite of perpetuating American unemployment. Instead, they supplement American workers and year-round and full-time American employees, “allowing resorts to fully open at fuller capacity while generating millions in local tax revenues for the rural communities where ski areas are located.”

While not all resorts are located at the back of deep box canyons or in the rural reaches of states, these ski areas will still be affected. Snowbird, for example, is located fewer than 30 miles from Salt Lake City, a metropolitan area of over 1.2 million people. Regardless, Byrd says that those looking to work would rather find it in the Salt Lake Valley than take their chances with the elemental inconveniences tied to employment in Little Cottonwood Canyon, such as frequent wintertime closures that require employees to spend the night up-canyon.

“Snowbird has for years been incredibly reliant on our H-2B and J1 visa workers,” says Snowbird communications manager, Brian Brown. “It would be to the detriment of Snowbird if we couldn’t have those visa workers come back this winter. They’re hard workers; the effort they put in contributes to the financial success of Snowbird, they love coming to the resort in the winter, and take a lot of pressure off of our human resources team to hire out of the Salt Lake Valley.”

Last November, when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reached its cap of H2-B visa applications, meaning it would not accept any more applications for employment beginning prior to April 1, 2020, it put ski resorts looking to increase staff for the busy December holiday season in a bind.

Brown added that previous reliance on international staffing due to decreased demand from the local Salt Lake workforce was due in large part to a tight labor market in a strong economy. However, Byrd envisions the revamped COVID-19 operations requiring a similar, if not increased, labor force.

“Operations will be re-imagined to ensure safety with fewer group ski lessons; but we may actually end up needing even more ski instructors for small family-only ski lessons, for example. We likely will need more chairlift operators to ensure social distancing. With this anticipated demand, it means we will really need to be as fully staffed as possible.”

Many destination resorts, Aspen Snowmass, for example, which is situated three-and-a-half hours from the major metropolitan area of Denver, lean heavily on visa workers for their large crop of international clientele. Not only are they filling unskilled labor positions like lift operations, housekeeping, and food and beverage, but ski instructor and mountain guide roles that require fluency in languages other than English.

“If you come to Aspen and you’re putting your six-year-old in ski school and they only speak Portuguese because they’re from Brazil you’re going to want someone there who can communicate with your children,” says Jeff Hanle, director of public relations at Aspen Snowmass. “For us, it’s not only positions that need to be filled, it’s a customer service [aspect] where people feel more comfortable if they have people who can communicate with them in their own language.”

Working with the Labor Department, State Department, and Congress to implement modifications to the proclamation, the NSAA plans to challenge the decision.

“There are opportunities for periodic review by the State Department, Department of Labor, and Homeland security, we will be reaching out to them, we’ll be writing a formal letter asking for a modification,” says Byrd.

He adds that the argument made by the ski industry is undoubtedly a strong one, as the March closures of ski areas due to coronavirus, prior to spring break and Easter, resulted in over $2 billion in losses.

“About 30 percent of ski area revenues are made over the winter break, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We cannot miss another critical time period for generating revenue due to being short-staffed, after missing the last third of season this spring,” says Byrd. “This doesn’t just impact ski areas, it impacts hundreds of rural communities across the 37 states ski areas operate in. Access to these temporary visa programs will significantly facilitate the economic recovery of ski areas and their surrounding rural communities, and we believe the White House will hear that message loud and clear.”

The 2020/21 ski season is almost assuredly going to be out of the ordinary, with increased social distancing and hygiene protocols put into place, and travel restrictions, both domestic and international, which could drastically change the usual visitor bases, especially for larger destination resorts.

“We don’t know what this coming season is going to look like; we don’t know what travel restrictions will be in place, what capacity will be allowed, or if it will be limited by people not traveling,” said Aspen Snowmass’ Hanle. “We don’t know if we’re going to have the same historic demand for workers that we have had.”

This article originally appeared on Powder.com and was republished with permission.


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Hong Kong police make first arrests under controversial security law as thousands defy protest ban


Hong Kong police made the to start with arrests under Beijing’s new national stability regulation on Wednesday as the anniversary of the city’s handover to China was fulfilled by hundreds defying a ban on protests.

Law enforcement deployed h2o cannons, pepper spray and tear gas in the course of the afternoon, arresting extra than 180 folks, seven of them for breaching the new national protection legislation. 

The confrontations came a working day immediately after China imposed its controversial legislation on the restless town, a historic transfer decried by a lot of Western governments as an unprecedented assault on the finance hub’s liberties and autonomy.

Beijing stated the legislation would restore balance. But its imposition sparked the worst unrest in months. 

Police officers detain a protester following he was pepper sprayed

EPA

Specified political views and symbols grew to become unlawful right away, including showing help for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet independence. 

Police explained the very first two countrywide stability arrests ended up for people today possessing signs endorsing independence.

“Advocacy for independence of Hong Kong is in opposition to the legislation,” protection minister John Lee told reporters. 

Several of individuals protesting on Wednesday chanted independence slogans.

“What this authoritarian routine wants to do is to terrorise the men and women and cease them from coming out,” Chris To, a 49-12 months-old protester, explained to AFP. 

Police mentioned one particular officer was stabbed in the shoulder as he tried using to make an arrest.

Damaged assure?

Opprobrium about the law poured in from critics and western governments – led by the United States – around fears the legislation will usher in a new era of mainland-model political repression. 

Less than a offer ahead of the 1997 handover from Britain, authoritarian China confirmed Hong Kong civil liberties as effectively as judicial and legislative autonomy till 2047 in a formula acknowledged as “A person Region, Two Units”.

“(China) promised 50 decades of liberty to the Hong Kong persons, and gave them only 23,” US Secretary of Condition Mike Pompeo stated as he promised unspecified countermeasures. 

But Beijing claimed foreign nations around the world really should preserve tranquil about the regulation, while Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam hailed the laws as the “most significant enhancement” given that the city’s return to Beijing’s rule.

Following big and usually violent professional-democracy protests very last yr, authorities have shown zero tolerance for even peaceful rallies in the latest months.

Gatherings of a lot more than 50 individuals are at this time banned underneath anti-coronavirus guidelines even though regional transmissions have ended. 

Riot police guard a road in Hong Kong

Riot police guard a highway in Hong Kong

EPA

Floats and helicopters

The 1 July anniversary has extended been a polarising day in the city.

Beijing loyalists celebrate Hong Kong’s return to the Chinese motherland after a century and a fifty percent of what they consider humiliating colonial rule by Britain.

On Wednesday early morning helicopters flew throughout Victoria Harbour carrying a substantial Chinese flag and a smaller sized Hong Kong pennant, whilst a barge appeared with a banner looking through “Welcome the Enacting of the Countrywide Safety Law” in huge Chinese figures.

Small groups of Beijing supporters waved Chinese flags in several local neighbourhoods, untroubled by law enforcement.

Democracy advocates have lengthy made use of the date to hold massive rallies as well-liked anger in the direction of Beijing swells – whilst this year’s occasion was banned for the initially time in 17 several years.

During massive pro-democracy demonstrations last 12 months, the city’s legislature was besieged and trashed by protesters.

Chinese jurisdiction and existence sentences

The “One Nation, Two Systems” components assisted cement Hong Kong’s standing as a planet-class organization hub, bolstered by an independent judiciary and political freedoms unseen on the mainland. 

But critics have prolonged accused Beijing of chipping away at that standing and describe the new safety legislation as the most brazen move yet.

It was passed in just 6 weeks, skipping Hong Kong’s fractious legislature, and the specific wording was retained solution until eventually it came into outcome late Tuesday.

It outlaws subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to undermine countrywide security, with sentences of up to lifestyle in jail.

It also topples the lawful firewall that has existed involving the city’s judiciary and the mainland’s bash-controlled courts.

China will have jurisdiction more than “major” situations and its security agencies will also be ready to operate publicly in the city for the first time.

An additional provision also statements common jurisdiction for nationwide stability crimes fully commited further than Hong Kong or China. 

A commuter walks past a vandalised poster promoting the new national security law, in a subway station in Hong Kong, China, 1 July 2020

A commuter walks past a vandalised poster marketing the new nationwide protection law in a subway station in Hong Kong

EPA

Much more than two dozen countries – which includes Britain, France, Germany and Japan – urged Beijing to reconsider the law, indicating it undermines the city’s freedoms.

Canada, meanwhile, warned citizens in Hong Kong that they faced an amplified threat of arbitrary detention or even extradition to China.

Authorities in Taiwan opened a new place of work to offer with Hong Kongers in search of refuge. 

Beijing states the legislation will not stop Hong Kong’s freedoms but critics have tiny faith in those people assurances, offered how equivalent countrywide safety regulations are routinely applied on the mainland to crush dissent.



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Push to ban strip searches in custody for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Push to ban strip searches for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Caravan sales boom during travel ban as young Aussies and families move in on ‘grey-nomad holiday’


With overseas travel off the cards until 2021, Australians are turning to new ways to holiday and make the most of easing restrictions.

Caravan dealers are reporting record sales, while holidays parks are being “overwhelmed” with visitors.

The peak national body for caravanning said up to a third of the spike was newcomers, many young couples and families.

It hopes the surge in popularity for road holidays could act as a lifeline to the struggling tourism sector.

Road holidays make a comeback

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said since the easing of restrictions in recent weeks, every state and territory had experienced a “boom” in caravan sales and enquiries, some by up to 30 per cent.

The Mooloolaba Holiday Park on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has been busy since the easing of restrictions(ABC News Sunshine Coast: Tara Cassidy)

“We’re seeing dealerships reporting record sales, strong sales in Victoria and New South Wales. The kind of foot traffic everywhere that we wouldn’t see at this time of year.

“I was speaking to a retailer down in Tasmania the other day, who’s never seen his dealership as busy as what it was.”

Dealerships doubling sales

Two men in blue shirts smiling in front of a caravan
Chris Michel and Jason Plant say caravan sales numbers recently have been the best ever.(ABC News Sunshine Coast: Tara Cassidy)

In Queensland, which accounts for over a quarter of Australia’s recreational vehicle registrations already, the surge is being felt at all ends of the industry.

Caravanning Queensland CEO Jason Plant said dealerships, holiday parks and manufacturers had all reported making “some of the best sales they’ve had in years”.

“Which is so encouraging, because it has flow-on effects right through to tourism,” he said.

“If you had asked those same dealers in April what the results were looking like for the financial year, they would have said disastrous, but just the last month to six weeks, sales and inquiry has just been remarkable.”

One Queensland caravan dealer said he had to employ more staff just to deal with the influx.

“Sales for May and June are over double what we did in May, June last year, or 40 per cent comparing to the last five years.

“We’re looking at a 30 per cent increase in staff within a couple of weeks, coming out of COVID, that’s really positive.”

Not just nomads, newcomers too

Jason Filippini, who runs three holidays parks on the Sunshine Coast, said each was almost at capacity, with the school holidays expected to fill the remaining spots.

“Business has been really good. Everyone’s been locked in and they want to get out and about and really try something new.

“We can’t go overseas, so people are investing in our economy locally, they’re giving caravanning and camping a go.”

A couple smiling in front of caravans at a holiday park
Jason and Nicole Filippini said phones have been ringing off the hook to book at their holiday parks since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.(ABC News Sunshine Coast: Tara Cassidy)

Mr Filippini said a third of his visitors were newcomers to the industry, many young couples and families.

“The grey nomad, the winter warriors, they are a core part of our industry. But it’s growing. We’re seeing young families investing.

“That segment of the industry has widened, and we’ve got a bigger demographic now.

“That is important and exciting because they are going to be a customer of the future, they’re going to be the grey nomad of the future.”

According to Mr Plant, “family sales” now accounted for over 40 per cent of the state’s caravanning business.

“What’s encouraging is the young families that we’re seeing coming through, because we see a real potential for growth in this market, which is going to benefit everybody.”

Young families hit the road

South Australian family, the Hoopers, are just one of the growing number of young families, who’ve taken to holidaying and life on the road.

Wade and Fiona Hooper, both in their 30s, packed up their lives and two young daughters and now work on the road while travelling regional Australia.

They said the best parts of caravanning life wasn’t always the destination and amazing views, but the journey and people met along the way.

“I don’t know if you’d call it an idea or a dream, but we’re so glad we decided to try it,” Mr Hooper said.

“At the moment people are unable to cross borders but are realising there’s plenty to see just where you are, you could spend years travelling Queensland itself.”

Ms Hooper said the experience, once thought to only be for retirees and empty nesters, was an entirely possible lifestyle for the everyday family.

A 4WD sits next to a self-contained caravan at Mildura Caravan Park.
Caren Ruck and her husband are staying at the Mildura caravan park while the coronavirus spreads.(Supplied: Caren Ruck)

“We didn’t have savings, we went to the caravan show and left with a caravan,” she said.

“It’s doable and you can make it more than a holiday if you really want to do it, we haven’t regretted it once.

“I think COVID has also proven you can work from the road. It’s been an eye-opener for people in many ways.”

‘Lifeline’ for tourism sector

Despite the caravanning industry eagerly awaiting the reopening of borders so businesses can make the most of interstate travellers, they said the surge in local drive tourism was already providing a welcome boost to the economy.

“We find 90 per cent of our activity is in regional areas so this is a great boom for communities all around the country,” Mr Lamont said.

“It’s encouraging people are spending at home, if they’re travelling Australia or travelling within their state or territory, it’ll inject some money back into the economy.”

Mr Plant said the impacts would be more wide-reaching than simply the caravanning industry.

“It’s encouraging because it has flow-on effects right from manufacturing through to tourism,” he said.

“Interstate borders are still closed, we need people out on the road, touring through their states and territories and visiting these communities that need us.” 



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Olympics: Carlos leads U.S. call for scrapping of protest ban



FILE PHOTO: John Carlos, participant of the 1968 Olympics, stands on the campus track at Palm Springs High School, where he is a teacher and counsellor in Palm Springs, California July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Gallard

June 28, 2020

(Reuters) – John Carlos, one of the two American Olympians who famously gave the Black Power salute on the podium at the 1968 Mexico Games, is leading a call for rules banning athlete protests at the Olympics to be scrapped.

The 75-year-old former sprinter on Saturday joined with active American athletes to send a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for the abolition of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which bans political protests.

“Athletes will no longer be silenced,” read the letter signed by Carlos and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council (USOPC AAC).

“We are now at a crossroads. The IOC and IPC cannot continue on the path of punishing or removing athletes who speak up for what they believe in, especially when those beliefs exemplify the goals of Olympism.”

Many sports organisations have embraced the Black Lives Matters campaign in recent months with players kneeling before competition in sympathy with anti-racism protests. Under Rule 50, that would not be allowed at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC said earlier this month that it would consult with athletes to “explore different ways for athletes to express support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic charter in a dignified way”.

Carlos, who had won bronze in the 200 metres, was expelled from the Mexico Olympics with gold medallist Tommie Smith after they raised their fists and lowered their heads during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

“The Olympic and Paralympic movement simultaneously honors athletes like John Carlos and Tommie Smith … while prohibiting current athletes from following in their footsteps,” the USPOC AAC letter continued.

“Carlos and Smith risked everything to stand for human rights and what they believed in, and they continue to inspire generation after generation to do the same.”

The letter called for the IOC to develop a “new structure” that allowed freedom of expression on human rights issues that align with Olympic principles.

“Aligning with such principles will allow athletes to give the world hope beyond sport – hope that voices matter and are a powerful tool for change,” it said.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)





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