Human-monkey embryo created in bid to learn how cells communicate



Commenting on the research, Dr Anna Smajdor, lecturer and researcher in biomedical ethics at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said: “This breakthrough reinforces an increasingly inescapable fact: biological categories are not fixed – they are fluid.

“This poses significant ethical and legal challenges.”

She added: “The scientists behind this research state that these chimeric embryos offer new opportunities, because ‘we are unable to conduct certain types of experiments in humans’.

“But whether these embryos are human or not is open to question.”

Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and co-director of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford, said: “This research opens Pandora’s box to human-nonhuman chimeras.

“These embryos were destroyed at 20 days of development but it is only a matter of time before human-nonhuman chimeras are successfully developed, perhaps as a source of organs for humans. That is one of the long-term goals of this research.

“The key ethical question is: what is the moral status of these novel creatures? Before any experiments are performed on live-born chimeras, or their organs extracted, it is essential that their mental capacities and lives are properly assessed.”

Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust, said that while “substantial advances” are being made in embryo and stem cell research, which could bring equally substantial benefits, “there is a clear need for public discussion and debate about the ethical and regulatory challenges raised”.



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Retired Carlton Blues player Kade Simpson in shock comeback bid


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“Everyone is like, ‘It’s good to retire with a little bit left in the tank’ and I think … ‘What?’ That makes no sense to me, I want to run that thing dry.

“That’s like dying with money in the bank.

“Even with the way the game is played as well, this year is very different to last year which would again suit me as well.”

When asked directly whether Simpson would be open to playing again, he said: “Yeah I think I’d consider it. I wouldn’t play just for the sake of playing … [it would need to be] a team that’s going to be challenging, that are looking like they’re going to play finals.”

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While Simpson said the decision to retire at the end of last season was ultimately made by the club, he said coach David Teague and the list management team were very respectful of the process and he felt no bad blood towards the Blues.

“If they knew they were getting [Adam] Saad and [Zac] Williams, I would’ve given me the arse too!

“I’ll always be a Carlton person, whether I came out of retirement or coached somewhere else, but I still feel like I’ve got something left.

“I still have the desire to compete and that hasn’t gone away.”

If Simpson was to play again at AFL level, he would follow in the footsteps of Hawthorn legend Luke Hodge, who was lured out of retirement by Chris Fagan and the Brisbane Lions.

Hodge retired on 305 games when he was chaired off in his final game for Hawthorn alongside Western Bulldogs great Bob Murphy in round 23 of 2017.

He went on to play 41 more games for the Lions – including two finals – to finish on 346 games, four more than Simpson has now.

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Bid to help Pacific rugby’s ‘sleeping giants’ wins praise


World Rugby received widespread support on Thursday for backing plans to include two Pacific island teams in the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition, with claims it could change the face of the international game.

Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo said the concept could transform rugby in the Pacific, where there is immense playing talent but scarce financial resources to prevent top stars moving overseas.

“This will be massive exposure playing against some of the world’s best on a constant basis… a sleeping giant will be awoken!!” Nadolo tweeted.

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare estimates about 20 percent of all professional players come from islander backgrounds.

But major hurdles remain before World Rugby’s push to add the Pacific islands to the southern hemisphere tournament from next year become reality.

The island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga all boast a rich rugby heritage and a wealth of playing talent, but have battled to overcome financial hardships and geographic isolation.

Players are often lured to foreign clubs and in order to receive lucrative contracts are quietly discouraged from playing for their national teams.

The islanders also lack exposure to top opposition outside of World Cup years and head offshore to develop their playing skills, often switching allegiances to an adopted homeland once they meet residency requirements.

World Rugby said including Pacific teams in Super Rugby would allow top talent to play professionally while remaining in the Pacific region.

“I’m lost for words… this will go beyond improving Pacific island rugby – it will change lives,” said Ben Ryan, the Englishman who coached Fiji’s sevens team to Olympic gold at the Rio 2016 Games.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama called it “fantastic news”.

“Our boys have proved they belong in the Super Rugby circuit. I know I speak for every Fijian when I say it’s time we get this effort over the try line!” he tweeted.

Powerbroker NZ

The fate of the two Pacific teams – the Fiji Drua and Moana Pasifika – will ultimately be decided by New Zealand Rugby, which has emerged as Super Rugby’s de facto powerbroker in the coronavirus era.

The New Zealanders have made clear in the past that any Pacific teams in Super Rugby must be commercially viable and well governed.

Crucially, these are areas in which World Rugby has offered to help the Pacific bidders.

The governing body will provide 3.2 million pounds (US$4.9 million) over three years to help cover costs, as well as supplying administrative and high-performance expertise.

But the World Rugby money alone will not be enough to get the bids over the line financially.

The Fiji Rugby Union last month estimated it needed at least NZ$10 million (US$7.0 million) to be viable.

It said costs included paying for a 37-man playing squad, plus another 28 in coaching and administration, as well as a contingency fund “if we have a bad year or two”.

That will require corporate backers with deep pockets, which are scarce in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, where the combined population is only about 1.5 million.

NZR has shown in the past that it will not allow changes that weigh on its bottom line, scuppering plans to include a Pacific team in this year’s Super Rugby because the numbers did not stack up.

The competition’s previous governing body, Sanzaar, did the same in 2018 after weighing up the costs.

‘Work to be done’

NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said he was confident all criteria could be met this time around.

“There’s still work to be done, finances can’t be pulled together overnight, legal agreements can’t be agreed overnight and there’s obviously still the issue of contracting players and coaches, but we remain really positive,” he said.

Lendrum said NZR was in discussions with Rugby Australia and hoped to confirm plans for the 2022 season “in a few weeks”.

The Pacific bids, should they succeed, offer a glimpse of how Super Rugby could look in a post-pandemic world.

South Africa has already said it wants to move its four Super Rugby teams to Europe’s PRO14, and there is no room for Japan’s Sunwolves or the Jaguares of Argentina.

If borders reopen, there will be five Australian teams – including the Western Force – and five from New Zealand, along with the two new Pacific franchises.

The Fiji Drua would be Suva-based and Moana Pasifika would be based in New Zealand, probably Auckland, focusing on attracting players from Samoa and Tonga.

Source: News24

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Supreme Court bid to keep murderer Graham Edward Mailes under psychiatric order | The Border Mail


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A MAN who was handed a 25-year term as a forensic psychiatric patient after he murdered a teenager in the mid-1990s will face additional testing as the NSW Attorney-General seeks to extend orders controlling his living arrangements. Graham Edward Mailes was found to have murdered Kim Meredith, aged 19, in central Albury as she walked to a licensed venue to meet friends on March 23, 1996. The sentence was handed down after numerous legal battles over whether Mailes was fit to stand trial due to his mild to moderate intellectual disability and mental health issues stemming from an abusive childhood. Mailes, originally from the Forbes area, was itinerant at the time of the murder and had previously been admitted to Wagga Base Hospital on multiple occasions. The limiting term on Mailes had been due to expire on Saturday but the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday granted an interim order while it considered an application to keep Mailes as a forensic psychiatric patient for another three years. Supreme Court Justice Peter Hamill on Friday granted an interim order to extend the limiting term for another three months starting from Sunday. “Although Mr Mailes has made substantial progress under his current conditions, the seriousness of the [murder] and his history of violence and aggression indicate that there may be a significant risk to the community if the level of support changes,” Justice Hamill stated. Mailes murdered Ms Meredith by inflicting two deep cuts to her throat with a knife, which Justice Hamill described as “offending of a very serious and disturbing kind”. IN OTHER NEWS: Mailes, now aged 48, currently lives in accommodation monitored by Disability Service Australia staff 24 hours per day, with one hour of unsupervised leave per day, after being granted conditional release to supported accommodation in October 2017. He was granted similar release in May 2014 but returned to live as a psychiatric inpatient after he absconded from his residence in November 2015. Mailes told his Legal Aid NSW solicitor that he neither consented to nor opposed orders for him to remain as a forensic psychiatric patient for at least the next three months and to face additional testing by two qualified mental health professionals. Justice Hamill noted that Mailes opposed spending another three years as a forensic patient and had a long-term “desire to live in a private rental home with his own dog and is keen to engage in cleaning work” with a disability employer. Mailes’ solicitor and the Attorney-General were ordered to provide written submissions by the end of May. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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Work dog training program in Victoria tooling farmers with resilience in a bid to improve mental health


Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, and a new program being run in Victoria’s south-west is utilising this bond to bring farmers together.

Dunkeld’s Working Dog Training School not only improves farmers dog handling skills, but also breaks down the social barriers farmers can face when it comes to discussing their mental health.

Kelly Barnes is behind the program and was last year given $10,000 to run the training school when she was awarded the 2020 Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

Ms Barnes said the inspiration for the working dogs training school was how her pooch Dugald helped her in times of need, especially after needing to give up physical labour due to developing chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

“Going through this experience made me realise how much of a benefit my dog was to me on the farm, but also as a support tool and company when I’m at home.”

But due to COVID-19, her vision was put on pause until this year as social gathering restrictions made holding the monthly event impossible.

“That was quiet crushing because we were ready to get up and running,” Ms Barnes said.

Ms Barnes said she was excited when she could finally run the program, with the help of working dog trainer Ian O’Connell.

‘We’ve got an awesome bunch of people here, we have 14 participants ranging from an 18-year-old to a guy in is 60s, a really diverse group of people.”

Jo Ward is a livestock vet who attends the program, and she said although it’s a stereotype, farmers aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings.

“Doing this course opens the doors for these conversations, but even if they don’t want to talk about it, it’s giving them an outlet to get off farm and meet like-minded people,” she said.

Dr Ward said the participants bond over their connections to their K9 friends.

“I know that no matter how bad of a day I’ve had, that I’ll get home and they’ll be happy to see me.”

Dunkeld station hand Dylan Dyer credits his dogs with saving his mental health, after struggling to cope with the passing of his father.

“It’s been quiet hard not to have that person you can ring and just let them know how you’re going, he played a big part in my life.”

Mr Dyer said getting the opportunity to meet new people has improved his confidence, and he got a feeling of accomplishment when he and his dog Swindle learn a new skill, which benefitted his mood.

“It’s good to get out and get out of that [on farm] rut, you just never know the opportunities that might come out of it.”

The rate of suicide for male farmers is significantly higher than for non-farming rural males.

In 2008, a study showed that 34 in every 100,000 male farmers die by suicide, significantly more than the 24 per 100,000 among rural men generally.

Hamilton psychologist Katrina Malin said in addition to farmers being exposed to stressful situations and isolation, a lack of resources in regional and remote communities was also damaging.

“Often farmers won’t even go to the GP to check on their physical health let alone their mental health, so it definitely is a major problem.”

Giving farmers a day off from working the land to train their animal companions provides a good distraction from any burdening mental health issues, Dr Malin said.

“There’s lots of research into dog therapy and equine therapy, that looks at blood pressure, heartrates, and dopamine and simple benefits that we can get [from animals],” she said.

“It’s such an untapped resource, especially in areas where people are isolated it can be of great benefit.”

Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health agrees.

“We can already see the benefits just even in the early days of people coming to the dog school and having conversations.”

“I think it’s always a challenge to weave mental health into anything when working with farming communities, so if we can take new opportunities to bring mental health into other activities it’s a real bonus.”

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Facebook fails in bid to derail US$15 billion privacy suit


The US Supreme Court declined to consider an appeal by Facebook earlier this week, that would have derailed a US$15 billion lawsuit over whether it illegally tracked users about a decade ago.

The nation’s top court issued an order denying a request by the leading social network to review a California federal court’s decision to allow the litigation accusing the social pioneer of violating wiretap laws. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

It had argued in court filings that it was a legitimate “party” for exchanges involving digital content received from software tools such as ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ buttons plugged into other websites.

“Rather than eavesdropping on a separate communication, the communication with Facebook contained distinct content intended for Facebook,” the leading social network said in a legal filing. US wiretap law makes it illegal to snoop on electronic communications unless one is a party to the exchange.

The suit accuses the social media giant of wrongly tracking users away from the social network, then making money from the data by selling it to marketers for targeting ads.

The class-action lawsuit consolidated more than 20 related cases filed in an array of US states in 2011 and early 2012 and seeks more than $15 billion on behalf of members of the world’s largest social network.

Facebook has since changed the way it uses software snippets such as ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons that gather information about users’ internet activities. The Silicon Valley tech giant added that allowing the case to proceed would have “sweeping, and detrimental consequences.”

Critics and regulators have repeatedly taken aim at Facebook over user privacy.

 

 



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MARCH “BID BLAST” HAS MULTIPLE GRANTS ON OFFER


The March bid blast focuses on a selection of grant and program opportunities under the categories of:

1. Business Grants: 5 Opportunities

2. Community Grants: 5 Opportunities

3. Infrastructure Grants: 3 Opportunities

4. Disaster Recovery Grants and Funding:  5 Opportunities

     : 4.1 Storm and Flood Assistance: 1 Opportunity

     : 4.2 Bushfire Assistance:  2 Opportunities

     : 4.3 COVID-19 Assistance:  2 Opportunities

To view the March 2021 Bid Blast, click here: https://gleninneshighlands.com/26-march-2021-bid-blast.html

Links to further information and eligibility are provided at the end of each category listing which will direct you to the appropriate website for full details and how to apply for that grant or program.

Hurry! The Destination NSW Tourism Development Fund – Refresh and Renew Fund and Experience Enhancement Fund close on 30 March 2021. The Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Program closes on 31 March 2021.

Glen Innes Severn Council currently has 12 grant applications submitted, as of 12 February 2021, that are awaiting decision for a total of $22,802,745 in potential grant funding. There has been 12 approved applications that were submitted by Glen Innes Severn Council for 2020/2021 so far for a total of $4,648,866 in grant funding.

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Swanbourne high-density apartment bid confirmed just six days after election


A secret bid to build a high-density development in the middle of a western suburbs anti-highrise heartland has been revealed, six days after the state election and eight days after the government refused to confirm the bid’s existence.

Two days before the election, WAtoday revealed listed property developer Cedar Woods had lodged plans for the development on land near Swanbourne station through the contentious market-led proposals process.

Rita Saffioti refused to confirm the bid before the election.

WAtoday understands the proposal includes up to 300 apartments in a 10-storey development. But public announcements were put on hold until after the election to avoid questions about Labor’s closeness with developers.

Both Cedar Woods and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti refused to confirm any details about the bid last week and on March 11, Ms Saffioti scoffed at suggestions the company had been given an early indication its bid would be approved.

In an ASX release late on Friday, less than a week after the election, the company confirmed the bid’s existence and that it had progressed to stage two of the process, where it becomes public and a business case is required to be submitted to the government.

Cedar Woods said it had come up with and put the concept of a development near the Swanbourne train station to the government.

Its successful bid now gives it a ‘first mover advantage’ in the process to select a builder for such a development.

“Should both of the baseline due-diligence and masterplan processes confirm development is feasible, the state will invite proponents to express their interest in the development, with the proponent receiving a first-mover advantage in the assessment of proposals,” the Department of Finance said on its website.

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Cats launch 2021 flag bid


Cats coach Chris Scott has cautioned against overconfidence ahead of Geelong’s season opener against Adelaide on Saturday, despite a strong recruitment drive in the offseason.

Like any season, the Cats could contend ‘’if we get a lot of things right and we get a bit of luck”, he said.

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Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin passes big test in comeback bid, as club bloods prized trio


The Swans are increasingly confident Franklin will be back for at least one of those games. The four-time Coleman Medallist has played in just one of the Swans’ past 26 matches due to a series of soft-tissue injuries, the latest being a calf complaint which is delaying his start to the year.

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“He continues to progress well and completed a 13-kilometre football session on the weekend,” the Swans’ head physiotherapist Damian Raper said. “He continues to train fully with the group and will look at a return to play early in the season.”

Reid had his right elbow in a brace last week but the Swans expect him to be available to lead what will be an inexperienced forward line.

Prized picks from last year’s draft, Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden will all make their senior debuts against Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.

The Swans last named three first-year players to make their debut in a season-opener in 1990 when future champion Paul Kelly, Brad Tunbridge and Shane Fell all came through.

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McDonald is the club’s long-term successor to Franklin in the goal square while Gulden, a forward, and young gun Campbell are both highly rated graduates from the Swans’ Academy. Swans coach John Longmire broke the news to the players at a team meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s a bit surreal and also a bit of a shock, I think,” McDonald, the No.4 pick from last year’s draft, said. “I’m just over the moon. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Campbell, the No.5 selection, also comes with a big reputation as a silky-skilled midfielder though he has been earmarked to play across half-back in his rookie season.

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