Why we must acknowledge human skills


Why are the words “hard” and “soft” rolled out to describe the skills that a manager needs to possess and execute to be successful in their day-to-day job?

Why is it that the more technical skills; the ones usually aligned to competence and easily measured, are labelled as “hard”, whilst the more behavioural skills that are a little more subjective are labelled as “soft”?

In particular, small-businesses managers often get bogged down in the “doing” and overlook the important skills that make us human.

To be human doesn’t mean being soft, hugging everyone and singing Kumbaya. That’s the old school way of looking at things.

The small-business manager who takes the path-building and practising their human skills is hardly being “soft”.

The human manager is being courageous, taking a different pathway and going down a different fork in the road to try and bring about sustainable success in a more human way.

It’s the manager who in their heart and gut knows the right thing to do, and has to be prepared to “hold their nerve”, as the results of their progress are far harder to measure in the short term on a KPI sheet or Performance Management System.

I would, in fact, challenge that premise by saying that the “soft stuff is the hard stuff” because it’s the “human stuff.”

Here are five human skills that will be critical for small-business managers to embrace in order to build sustained success:

  1. Communication – timely and clear communication will ensure that humans can make sense of what the business vision and strategies are. When we can make sense, we are happier, more engaged and productive.
  2. Listening – listening to learn trumps the old way of listening to respond with all the answers. This is a critical human skill that will build deeper connection with your team members, and uncover ideas you may never have imagined.
  3. Acceptence of diversity – with change being a constant and the pace quickening, it will be critical for managers to be open to challenging old norms about issues such as, gender, ageism, cultural nuances and educational qualifications.
  4. Collaboration – listening instead of telling your employees what to do will encourage innovation and productivity by connecting with employees and getting the best out of them for the company and their own personal development.
  5. Emotional awareness – starting with knowing yourself will ensure that managers will be tapping into what it is to be human. Focusing then on the individuals within a team and practising the human skills of empathy and vulnerability will encourage others to do the same.

Tapping into the human skills means creating an environment where all humans feel that they belong, contribute, are relevant, cared for, nurtured and developed. Additionally, you practice the art of duality – the skill to be able to hug another human and gently kick them in the backside at the same time!!

So, what is your conclusion? Should we interchange the terms “soft” and “hard” with “human” to better represent the work being done by a small business manager? Or, should we just find a better way of representing the important work necessary to achieve the very best outcome?”

The answer is right in front of us and it doesn’t involve hugs and renditions of Kumbaya. It’s about tapping into our human skills. They’re not “soft”, so stop being hard-headed and move into the future of human management.

A small change in words to have a big impact on small businesses.

What are you waiting for?

Mark LeBusque, Founder and Director, The Human Manager



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Australia condemns Uighur human rights abuses but stops short on sanctions



Australia and New Zealand have condemned human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. 

But they are not following international allies by imposing sanctions on Chinese officials.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her Kiwi counterpart Nanaia Mahuta issued a joint statement on Tuesday, reiterating grave concerns over “credible reports” about abuses committed by the Chinese government.

The pair cited restrictions on the freedom of religion, mass surveillance, extra-judicial detentions, forced labour and sterilisation.

They welcomed sanctions announced overnight by the United States, Canada, European Union and the United Kingdom, in what was the first such coordinated Western action against Beijing under new US President Joe Biden.

“We share these countries’ deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities,” Ms Payne and Ms Mahuta said in a joint statement.

“In particular, there is clear evidence of severe human rights abuses that include restrictions on freedom of religion, mass surveillance, large-scale extra-judicial detentions, as well as forced labour and forced birth control, including sterilisation.”

The trans-Tasman nations have called on China to respect the human rights of Uighur people and other religious and ethnic minorities since reports about the Xinjiang detention camps began to emerge in 2018.

“Today, we underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate our call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers,” the ministers said.

‘Crimes against humanity’

The coordinated effort by the US, EU, Canada and Britain on Monday appeared to be early fruit in a concerted US diplomatic push to confront China in league with allies, a core element of Mr Biden’s still evolving China policy.

Senior US administration officials have said they are in daily contact with governments in Europe on China-related issues, something they call the “Europe roadshow.”

“Amid growing international condemnation, (China) continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in statement ahead of meetings with EU and NATO ministers in Brussels this week.

Canada’s foreign ministry said: “Mounting evidence points to systemic, state-led human rights violations by Chinese authorities.”

Activists and UN rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations. China says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

The EU was the first to impose sanctions on Monday on four Chinese officials, including a top security director, and one entity, a decision later mirrored by Britain and Canada.

Those also targeted by the United States were Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and another senior official in the region, Wang Junzheng.

The US had already last year designated for sanctions the top official in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, who was not targeted by the other Western allies on Monday, to avoid a larger diplomatic dispute, experts and diplomats said.

The foreign ministers of Canada and Britain issued a joint statement with Mr Blinken, saying the three were united in demanding that Beijing end its “repressive practices” in Xinjiang.

Evidence of abuses was “overwhelming”, including satellite imagery, eyewitness testimony, and the Chinese government’s own documents, they said.

The EU has sought to avoid confrontation with Beijing and Monday’s sanctions were the first significant measures since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, although Brussels targeted two computer hackers and a technology firm in 2020 as part of broader cyber sanctions.

China retaliates

Beijing’s reprisal was swift.

Retaliation included sanctions on European politicians, the EU’s main foreign policy decision-making body known as the Political and Security Committee and two institutes.

German politician Reinhard Butikofer, who chairs the European Parliament’s delegation to China, was among the most high-profile figures to be hit. The non-profit Alliance of Democracies Foundation, founded by former NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was on the list, according to a statement by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Netherlands summoned China’s ambassador to The Hague after Beijing announced its measures on 10 Europeans, while the European Parliament, along with German, Dutch, Belgian and other foreign ministers, rejected the Chinese retaliation.

“As long as human rights are being violated, I cannot stay silent. These sanctions prove that China is sensitive to pressure. Let this be an encouragement to all my European colleagues: Speak out!” Dutch politician Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, who was put on China’s sanctions list, said on Twitter.

Restricted from entering China or doing business with it, Beijing accused its targets of seriously harming the country’s sovereignty over Xinjiang.

All 27 EU governments agreed to the bloc’s punitive measures, but Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, called them “harmful” and “pointless”. 

Additonal reporting by AAP and Jarni Blakkarly. 



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Brisbane Boys’ College students calls on peers to ‘stop being boys, be human’ in wake of national sexual assault conversation


Brisbane Boys College (BBC) captain Mason Black made the resounding speech in front of peers on Thursday, calling on them to “accept this injustice against women and stand up for what is right”.

It follows thousands of Australian students anonymously detailing harrowing accounts of rape and sexual assault on a viral petition calling for sexual consent to be taught earlier in schools.

The petition was launched by former Kamabala student Chanel Contos.

BBC was among the Queensland public and private schools identified on the petition in testimonies from young women.

A video of Mr Black’s speech calling for a change in culture at the college and broader society, has attracted about 260,000 views on Instagram and tens of thousands on Facebook.

In his speech, Mr Black revealed his mother had been sexually abused at just 10-years of age.

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Landmarks of human embryonic development inscribed in somatic mutations


Mutations provide an enduring record

Somatic mutations pepper our cells with change, but because they are not in the germline, they do not propagate to the next generation. Bizzotto et al. leveraged data on the distribution of somatic mutations in adults to take a backward look at the earliest moments of human development. Calculation of cellular lineages on the basis of shared somatic mutations shows the number of cells from which the body will develop when the human embryo gastrulates. The lineage for forebrain cells is identifiable, as are the asymmetrical fates spun out of many of the gastrula cells.

Science, this issue p. 1249

Abstract

Although cell lineage information is fundamental to understanding organismal development, very little direct information is available for humans. We performed high-depth (250×) whole-genome sequencing of multiple tissues from three individuals to identify hundreds of somatic single-nucleotide variants (sSNVs). Using these variants as “endogenous barcodes” in single cells, we reconstructed early embryonic cell divisions. Targeted sequencing of clonal sSNVs in different organs (about 25,000×) and in more than 1000 cortical single cells, as well as single-nucleus RNA sequencing and single-nucleus assay for transposase-accessible chromatin sequencing of ~100,000 cortical single cells, demonstrated asymmetric contributions of early progenitors to extraembryonic tissues, distinct germ layers, and organs. Our data suggest onset of gastrulation at an effective progenitor pool of about 170 cells and about 50 to 100 founders for the forebrain. Thus, mosaic mutations provide a permanent record of human embryonic development at very high resolution.

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Australian-led team of scientists use skin cells to create ‘human embryos’


An Australian-led team of scientists has used human skin cells to create an embryo-like structure, in a discovery that could spark debate on what constitutes life.

The team, led by researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University, reprogrammed skin cells into a 3D cellular structure similar to human blastocysts.

The structures, known as iBlastoids, will be used to model the biology of early human embryos in laboratory settings and underpin research on early miscarriages and IVF.

Previously, studies of early human development and infertility were restricted by the need to source scarcely available blastocysts from IVF procedures.

“iBlastoids will allow scientists to study the very early steps in human development and some of the causes of infertility, congenital diseases and the impact of toxins and viruses on early embryos,” research team leader Professor Jose Polo said.

It will accelerate the understanding and development of new therapies, he said.

However, the discovery could raise questions about what it means to be human and if iBlastoids can even be considered “human”.

The Royal Institution of Australia, a scientific non-for-profit that publishes Cosmos magazine, said it could also prompt a review of regulations governing stem cell and cloning applications.

“It needs to be understood that the Monash team has followed the existing rules concerning stem cell and embryonic research to the letter,” editor-in-chief Ian Connellan said in a statement.

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Australian scientists turn skin cells into human embryo-lookalike



Australian scientists have found a way to redesign human skin cells so they act just like a early-stage human embryo.

The skin cells are reprogrammed so they form a 3D cellular structure which acts remarkably like a human blastocyst, without the use of either an egg or sperm.

The skin cells look and act just like an early-stage human embryo.

Named iBlastoids, the breakthrough is hoping to revolutionise research into the causes of early miscarriage and infertility, as well as the study of early human development.


The breakthrough was led by
“iBlastoids will allow scientists to study the very early steps in human development and some of the causes of infertility, congenital diseases and the impact of toxins and viruses on early embryos – without the use of human blastocysts and, importantly, at an unprecedented scale, accelerating our understanding and the development of new therapies,” Professor Polo said.
The human skin cells are adapted using “nuclear reprogramming” before being placed on a “jelly” scaffold called an extracellular matrix.
From there, they develop into iBlastoids, which bear a remarkable resemblance in structure to early human embryos.
But unlike an embryo, the iBlastoid is unable to develop more than a few days.
“This is important because it will allow us to study the early days of human development without using human embryos,” Professor Polo said.

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Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 pseudovirus by BNT162b2 vaccine–elicited human sera


Vaccine protects against B1.1.7 variant

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) B1.1.7 (VOC 202012/01) variant that emerged in late 2020 in the United Kingdom has many changes in the spike protein gene. Three of these are associated with enhanced infectivity and transmissibility, and there are concerns that B.1.1.7 might compromise the effectiveness of the vaccine. Muik et al. compared the neutralization efficacy of sera from 40 subjects immunized with the BioNTech-Pfizer mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 against a pseudovirus bearing the Wuhan reference strain or the lineage B.1.1.7 spike protein (see the Perspective by Altmann et al.). Serum was derived from 40 subjects in two age groups 21 days after the booster shot. The vaccine remained effective against B.1.1.7 with a slight but significant decrease in neutralization that was more apparent in participants under 55 years of age. Thus, the vaccine provides a significant “cushion” of protection against this variant.

Science, this issue p. 1152; see also p. 1103

Abstract

Recently, a new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lineage called B.1.1.7 (variant of concern: VOC 202012/01), which is reported to spread more efficiently and faster than other strains, emerged in the United Kingdom. This variant has an unusually large number of mutations, with 10 amino acid changes in the spike (S) protein, raising concerns that its recognition by neutralizing antibodies may be affected. In this study, we tested SARS-CoV-2-S pseudoviruses bearing either the Wuhan reference strain or the B.1.1.7 lineage spike protein with sera of 40 participants who were vaccinated in a previously reported trial with the messenger RNA–based COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2. The immune sera had slightly reduced but overall largely preserved neutralizing titers against the B.1.1.7 lineage pseudovirus. These data indicate that the B.1.1.7 lineage will not escape BNT162b2-mediated protection.

In a phase 3 trial conducted in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, and Turkey, the BioNTech-Pfizer mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 through the data cutoff date of 14 November 2020 (1). The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lineage B.1.1.7 (variant of concern: VOC 202012/01) was discovered to have emerged in the United Kingdom in September 2020 (2), and it subsequently increased in prevalence, showed enhanced transmissibility, and spread to other countries and continents (3). B.1.1.7 has a series of mutations in its spike (S) protein: ΔH69/V70, ΔY144, N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H, T716I, S982A, and D1118H (H, His; V, Val; Y, Tyr; N, Asn; A, Ala; D, Asp; G, Gly; P, Pro; T, Thr; I, Ile; S, Ser). One of these mutations, N501Y, was of particular concern because it is located in the receptor binding site. The spike with this mutation binds more tightly to its cellular receptor, ACE-2 (4), and virus with this mutation has an increased host range that includes mice (5). BNT162b2-immune sera neutralized SARS-CoV-2 (USA/WA-1/2020 background strain) with an introduced N501Y mutation as efficiently as they neutralized SARS-CoV-2 without the mutation (6). Further, 19 pseudoviruses, each bearing a SARS-CoV-2 S with a different mutation found in circulating virus strains, were also neutralized as efficiently as nonmutant SARS-CoV-2 S–bearing pseudoviruses by BNT162b2-immune sera (7). However, it was still unclear whether a virus with the full set of mutations in the lineage B.1.1.7 spike, each of which may potentially interfere with antibody binding, would be neutralized efficiently by BNT162b2-immune sera.

To answer this question, we generated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)–SARS-CoV-2-S pseudoviruses bearing the Wuhan reference strain or the lineage B.1.1.7 spike protein (fig. S1). An unbiased set of sera of 40 participants in the previously reported German phase 1/2 trial (7)—drawn from 26 younger (aged 23 to 55 years) and 14 older adults (aged 57 to 73 years) at 7 or 21 days after the booster immunization with 30 μg of BNT162b2 (fig. S2)—was tested for neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan and lineage B.1.1.7 spike–pseudotyped VSV by a 50% neutralization assay [50% pseudovirus neutralization titer (pVNT50)]. The 50% neutralization geometric mean titers (GMTs) of the sera against the SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 spike–pseudotyped VSV for the younger adult group and the full analysis set were slightly but statistically significantly reduced compared with the GMTs against the Wuhan reference spike–pseudotyped VSV (Fig. 1 and table S1). GMTs were not significantly different for the older adult group. The calculated geometric mean ratio with 95% confidence interval (CI) of the B.1.1.7 pseudotype and the Wuhan pseudotype GMTs was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.68 to 0.89) for the younger group and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.65 to 1.1) for the older adults [0.80 (95% CI: 0.71 to 0.89) in aggregate] (Fig. 2). No statistical difference in the ratio was observed between the younger and the older vaccinated participants.

Fig. 1 50% pseudovirus neutralization titers (pVNT50) of 40 sera from BNT162b2 vaccine recipients against VSV-SARS-CoV-2-S pseudovirus bearing the Wuhan reference strain or lineage B.1.1.7 spike protein.

Sera from n = 26 younger adults (aged 23 to 55 years; indicated by triangles) and n = 14 older adults (aged 57 to 73 years; indicated by circles) drawn at either day 29 or day 43 (7 or 21 days after vaccine dose two) were tested. Statistical significance of the difference between the neutralization of the VSV-SARS-CoV-2-S pseudovirus bearing the Wuhan or lineage B.1.1.7 spike protein was calculated by a Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test. Two-tailed P values are reported. GMTs and 95% CIs are indicated.

Fig. 2 pVNT50 ratio of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 to Wuhan reference strain spike–pseudotyped VSV.

Triangles represent sera from younger adults (aged 23 to 55 years), and circles represent sera from older adults (aged 57 to 73 years). Sera were drawn on either day 29 or day 43 (7 or 21 days after vaccine dose two). Geometric means of the pVNT50 ratios of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 to Wuhan spike–pseudotyped VSV and 95% CIs are indicated. The difference in distribution of titer ratios between younger and older adults was tested for statistical significance with a two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test.

On the basis of experience from studying antibody correlates of disease protection for influenza virus vaccines, a 20% reduced titer does not indicate a biologically relevant change in neutralization activity (8, 9). The largely preserved neutralization of pseudoviruses bearing the B.1.1.7 spike by BNT162b2-immune sera makes it unlikely that the U.K. variant virus will escape BNT162b2-mediated protection.

A potential limitation of the work may be the use of a nonreplicating pseudovirus system. However, previous reports have shown good concordance between pseudotype neutralization and SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays (10, 11). Still, concordance may vary between different SARS-CoV-2 strains and remains to be demonstrated for the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage. Additional experiments will be needed to confirm efficient neutralization of B.1.1.7 lineage clinical isolates. This study has evaluated sera elicited by the recommended regimen of two doses administered 21 days apart and does not provide insight into neutralization if the recommended dosing regimen is not followed. The ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 necessitates continuous monitoring of the biological relevance of changes for maintained protection by the currently authorized vaccines. Unlike the protocol for influenza vaccines, the degree of reduction in neutralization that might indicate a need for a strain change has not yet been established for COVID-19 vaccines. A previous study demonstrated that BNT162b2 elicits both a polyepitopic CD8+ T cell response to the encoded spike protein and virus-neutralizing antibodies (7). Given the multiple potential mediators of protection elicited by BNT162b2, it is possible that vaccine efficacy could be preserved in the longer term, even with substantial losses of neutralization by vaccine-elicited sera. This view is further supported by the rapid onset of disease protection ~12 days after the first dose of BNT162b2, at a time when neutralizing antibody titers are still very low (1). Without an established correlate of protection, clinical effectiveness data will be needed to provide definitive assessment of vaccine-mediated protection against viral variants.

Although sustained neutralization of the current B.1.1.7 variant is reassuring, preparation for potential COVID-19 vaccine strain change is prudent. Adaptation of the vaccine to a new virus strain would be facilitated by the flexibility of mRNA-based vaccine technology.

References and Notes

  1. X. Xie, J. Zou, C. R. Fontes-Garfias, H. Xia, K. A. Swanson, M. Cutler, D. Cooper, V. D. Menachery, S. Weaver, P. R. Dormitzer, P.-Y. Shi, Neutralization of N501Y mutant SARS-CoV-2 by BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited sera. bioRxiv 2021.01.07.425740 [Preprint]. 7 January 2021. doi:10.1101/2021.01.07.425740

Acknowledgments: We thank the BioNTech German clinical trial (NCT04380701, EudraCT: 2020-001038-36) participants, from whom the postimmunization human sera were obtained. We thank the many colleagues at BioNTech and Pfizer who developed and produced the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate. We thank S. Jägle and N. Beckmann for logistical support. Funding: This work was supported by BioNTech and Pfizer. Author contributions: U.Ş., Ö.T., A.M., and P.R.D. conceived and conceptualized the work. K.A.S. and A.M. planned and supervised experiments. A.M., A.-K.W., J.M., B.S., H.C., W.C., and R.S. performed experiments. A.M., D.M., H.C., and K.A.S. analyzed data. U.Ş., Ö.T., A.M., P.R.D., and K.A.S. interpreted data and wrote the manuscript. All authors supported the review of the manuscript. Competing interests: U.Ş. and Ö.T. are management board members and employees at BioNTech SE. A.M., A.-K.W., J.M., B.S., and D.M. are employees at BioNTech SE. U.Ş., Ö.T., and A.M. are inventors on patents and patent applications related to RNA technology and COVID-19 vaccine. U.Ş., Ö.T., A.M., J.M., and B.S. have securities from BioNTech SE. K.A.S., W.C., H.C., R.S., and P.R.D. are employees at Pfizer and may have securities from Pfizer. Data and materials availability: A table of the neutralization titers is provided in table S1. Materials are available from the authors under a material transfer agreement with BioNTech. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. This license does not apply to figures/photos/artwork or other content included in the article that is credited to a third party; obtain authorization from the rights holder before using such material.

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SBS suspends Chinese-sourced news programming after receiving human rights complaint



SBS is suspending the broadcast of Chinese TV news services CGTN and CCTV after becoming aware of serious human rights concerns surrounding the channels.

CGTN, a 15-minute English service, and CCTV, a 30-minute Mandarin language service, are aired on SBS as part of World Watch programming.

World Watch is an SBS service that provides international news bulletins to Australians.

Human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders wrote to SBS after the UK media watchdog revoked the licence of CGTN due to “serious non-compliance offences”.

Safeguard Defenders said CCTV had broadcast the forced confessions of some 56 people between 2013 and 2020. 

“These broadcasts involved the extraction, packaging and airing of forced and false confessions of prisoners held under conditions of duress and torture,” Safeguard Defenders said in its letter to SBS.

“These offences involved the airing of ‘confessions’ extracted from suspects long before any indictment, trial or conviction, and in many instances while the victim was detained incommunicado, with no access to legal counsel, at secret locations,” the letter added.

“A significant number of these ‘confessions’ are broadcast not only in China, but internationally via CCTV-4 and CGTN.”

SBS will suspend the broadcast of both CGTN and CCTV while it reviews their services.

“SBS has received a complaint which it is currently reviewing,” a spokesperson for the broadcaster said. 

“Given the serious concerns it raises, and the complexity of the material involved, we have made the decision to suspend the broadcast of the overseas-sourced CGTN and CCTV news bulletins while we undertake an assessment of these services.”

For news in Mandarin and Cantonese go to sbs.com.au/Chinese.

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Human remains found on Mollymook beach confirmed as missing man


Human remains found on a beach on the NSW South Coast have been confirmed as belonging to a man who went missing from Sydney last month.

Initial investigations raised questions about whether the remains were linked to Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick.

However, NSW Police today said they have been determined to belong to a 37-year-old from Ingleburn, last seen in Kiama.

Human remains discovered washed up on Mollymook Beach in Shoalhaven have been linked to a missing Sydney man. (9News)

Kenneth Klees was reported missing on February 1 and his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The DNA profile of the was compared against the missing persons database, which contains the hereditary and genetic mapping of missing people in NSW, NSW Police said today.

“Earlier today the remains were confirmed to be that of a man reported missing from Ingleburn last month.

Kenneth Klees was last seen in February and his death is not being treated as supicious.
Kenneth Klees was last seen in February and his death is not being treated as supicious. (Supplied)

“The 37-year-old man was last seen at an ATM in Kiama about 1.30pm on Monday 1 February 2021, after he caught a train from Ingleburn to Kiama.

“Officers from Campbelltown City Police Area Command commenced inquiries to locate the man and will continue to lead investigations into the man’s final movements.

Melissa Caddick vanished without a trace in November, owing millions to her investors.
Melissa Caddick vanished without a trace in November, owing millions to her investors. (60 Minutes)

The death is not being treated as suspicious, and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

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UN human rights chief demands Myanmar’s military ‘stop murdering protesters’


At least 54 people have been killed and over 1,700 detained since Myanmar’s 1 February coup, the UN rights chief said on Thursday, demanding that the military “stop murdering” protesters.

The comments come after the deadliest day of protests in Myanmar, with at least 38 dead Wednesday in rallies where security forces were seen firing into crowds.

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged security forces to “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters”.

“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protesters,” she said in a statement.

“It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country,” she added.

People lighting candles to pray for protesters who have died in demonstrations against the military coup in Myanmar.

Sipa USA

Ms Bachelet added that she was “also appalled at the documented attacks against emergency medical staff and ambulances attempting to provide care to those who have been injured”.

The UN rights office said it had corroborated information that at least 54 people had been killed by police and military officers since 1 February.

“The actual death toll, however, could be much higher as these are the figures the office has been able to verify,” it stressed.

The killings have escalated sharply in recent days.

The rights office had verified 30 of the 38 deaths reported by other UN entities on Wednesday, saying the killings by security forces had taken place in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway and Mon.

Another person was documented killed on Tuesday and 18 people on Sunday, with five prior to that.

It said it was difficult to document injuries, but that “at a minimum, hundreds have been wounded during protests”.

Since the coup, more than 1,700 people have also been “arbitrarily arrested and detained in relation to their participation in protests or engagement in political activity,” the statement said.

At least 700 people were detained on Wednesday alone, with many of them reportedly swept up as soldiers and police conducted door-to-door searches.

End military ‘stranglehold’

Those arrested include parliamentarians, political and rights activists, election officials, teachers, healthcare workers, journalists and monks, it said.

“Many of the arbitrary arrests and detentions that have been carried out since February 1 may constitute enforced disappearances,” Ms Bachelet warned, calling for the immediate release of all those who remain arbitrarily detained.

The United Nations are pleading military in Myanmar to back down from harming protesters demonstrating against the military coup.

Anti-coup protesters stand by with wet-fabrics to counter tear-gas canisters during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar.

AAP

She also expressed alarm at the targeting of media workers, with at least 29 journalists arrested in recent days, eight of whom had been charged with crimes, including inciting opposition or hatred of the government and attending unlawful assemblies.

“I urge all those with information and influence… to support international efforts to hold military leaders accountable for the serious human rights violations that have been committed both now and in the past,” Bachelet said.

“This is the moment to turn the tables towards justice and end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar.”

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Thank you for seeing this news release about State and Federal news published as “UN human rights chief demands Myanmar’s military ‘stop murdering protesters'”. This news update is posted by My Local Pages as part of our local news services.

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