“We can’t put a woman out there and hang her out to dry on rumour and innuendo when we have got behaviour that is clearly outside at least some standard of basic integrity going on [by men].”
A Four Corners report last week accused Attorney-General Christian Porter of displaying misogynist attitudes and being amorous toward a junior staffer in a Canberra bar, which he denied. Porter also said in a statement that the woman involved had denied the ABC’s version of events.
Acting Immigration Minister Allan Tudge has admitted to having a consensual affair with a staffer, Rachelle Miller, who has filed a formal complaint accusing him of bullying her. He has apologised for the affair but not commented directly on the bullying claims beyond saying they would be investigated by the Department of Finance.
Porter and Tudge were alleged to have had inappropriate relationships but there were no allegations of any sexual misconduct.
Dialling in from the Netherlands, the historian Rutger Bregman said the issue typified a troubling distinction at play in modern life. Politics was bedevilled by the “survival of the shameless where somehow the people who don’t really feel shame any more come out on top”, Mr Bregman said.
“Almost always, you know, they are men,” he said.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who infamously lost his party leadership after his relationship with staffer Vikki Campion was splashed across tabloid front pages, did not argue that there was moral failing attached to an affair.
However, he said relationships and flings at work happened. Any shame was private, not for the public.
Calls for bans on sex between bosses and subordinates in workplaces and politics were the tendrils of the state reaching where it had no right to go.
“You can’t have the state as the determinate of whether two people like each other or not,” Mr Joyce said. Where there was an issue about consent, Mr Joyce said, that was a different matter.
Barrister John Whelan’s review of Ms Husar’s alleged conduct commissioned by NSW Labor in 2018 upheld complaints of subjecting staff to unreasonable demands but found claims of lewd behaviour were, on the balance of probabilities, not substantiated.
In a defamation settlement, the former Australian news wing of online outlet Buzzfeed apologised to Ms Husar for the “hurt and distress” of a since-deleted article it published about leaked allegations.
Ms Miller, for her part, was due to start a new job at a defence contractor on Monday but Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan, who reported Ms Miller’s allegations, said her employer was now taking time to “consider” her contract after she spoke out.
Nick Bonyhady is industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based between Sydney and Parliament House in Canberra.
They were one of the defining bands of the 90s rave movement. From the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury to nightclubs in Ibiza, Faithless played in front of tens of thousands of fans, selling more than 15 million records.
Now they’re back with an album called All Blessed.
Warning: this report contains flashing images from the start.
It’s not easy to define “good medicine.” When I think of “good medicine,” I think of medical care that isn’t reactive, ponderously slow and inefficient. Good medicine is efficient, impactful, proactive, empowering and curative. Much of medicine treats illness, but good medicine heals it. Much of medicine is based on science but good medicine is based on trustworthy science. Good medicine teaches patients to take better care of themselves, and requires time and effort by providers. It is not easy, but it’s worth every penny invested in it.
We in medicine have a wonderful opportunity to provide good medicine to young men who are, by any measure, medically underserved. This is so because much of young men’s medicine is sexual health or fertility-related and therefore couched in silence or shame. Although not always life-threatening or painful, these issues matter a lot because they greatly affect quality of life. On a grander scale, they also provide an opportunity for medicine to get its “foot in the door” in caring for men so much earlier in their lives than we currently are.
Filling a Void
Here’s how the care of young men can be very good medicine:
We can catch things early. Bad habits (drugs) and risky behaviors (STDs, accidents) kill many a young man. Taking a deep interest in the lives of young men encourages responsibility and better behavior.
We can change life trajectories. It’s clear that bad habits when young (food choices) can lead to illness (obesity, diabetes) when older. Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices is key to longevity.
We can cure what bothers them. Sexual health issues are quite curable. And many treatments require attention and effort from patients. That is a healthy model for empowering men in the future.
We can predict future health. Fertility and erection issues are now known to be “biomarkers” of future health. Thus, there is an incredible opportunity for providers to practice the holy grail of care: preventative medicine!
We can get them to trust medicine. Delivering good care to young men leads to trust in the healthcare system later on and to more healthy behaviors.
We can imbibe a sense of mortality. Young men are not immortal, but simply more robust than older men. The sooner they realize this, the longer they’ll live.
Health is their best investment. Young men need to know that keeping a body healthy takes attention and work, but it’s also a priceless investment in their future.
Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.
Online gamblers are blowing more money during the pandemic, with a new study revealing one in three signing up for new betting accounts in June and July.
New research shows young men are spending significantly more on online betting
The rise comes despite widespread job losses during the pandemic
Bookmakers said the rise in online spending came as revenue dipped at bricks-and-mortar betting venues
Men aged 18 to 34 made up 79 per cent of new account holders, with the same group increasing their median monthly spend from $687 to $1,075, according to a study released by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) today.
The centre, which surveyed more than 2,000 gamblers, said the number of participants who placed bets more than four times a week increased from 23 per cent to 34 per cent.
The survey period included the months in which the NRL, AFL and England’s Premier League football competition rebooted their seasons with condensed schedules featuring more midweek games.
The racing industry, which commands close to 75 per cent of the local betting market, continued to operate while other sports were halted.
Researcher Rebecca Jenkinson said isolation, boredom and betting promotions were among the key reasons young men gave when explaining their increased gambling spend.
“They reported being heavily exposed to ads and promotions, and that was often a motivation for them to gamble,” she said.
Dr Jenkinson said among the total cohort surveyed, about 78 per cent now gambled online as opposed to 62 per cent before the pandemic.
“This is still a real time of uncertainty for a lot of people. A lot of people have lost jobs and some of the motivations for online gambling, particularly among young men in his sample, haven’t gone away.”
‘My finger automatically opens the app’
The ARGC’s research showed the median amount gambled actually dropped for men and women older than 34.
More than half of all gamblers surveyed said their physical and mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic.
While most betting was on recognised sport, there was a slight increase in money spent on “novelty” markets like the weather and reality television shows.
Several participants shared their stories of online gambling with the study’s authors:
“Whenever I am bored my finger automatically opens the app now … I knew my limits, now I can’t stop.” — Man aged 23
“I found that due to being so bored in isolation that my friends and I would put stupid bets on horses/dogs/overseas sport with little to no knowledge of the sport just to get a thrill out of it.” — Man aged 18
“Done appropriately it can be a fun activity. But it can be easy to become addicted.” — Man aged 25
Profits soar for online bookies
Australia’s online betting companies warn users to gamble responsibly, and offer deposit limits and self-exclusion systems.
The industry has also backed a federal national exclusion register, which would allow problem gamblers to effectively ban themselves from all Australian-licensed wagering services.
Responsible Wagering Australia, the peak body that represents bookmakers, has previously played down suggestions that an increase in online gambling reflected an increase in total gambling activity.
“With over-the-counter betting and gambling outlets closed by COVID restrictions, people have migrated to online platforms, as with nearly every retail business in the country,” chief executive Brent Jackson said in July.
Financial reports released by some of Australia’s most popular online betting companies show they have been raking it in during the pandemic.
Tabcorp’s digital wagering turnover grew by 3.8 per cent in the 2019–20 financial year to $7.1 billion, while its retail turnover tumbled 27.9 per cent to $5.4 billion.
Sportsbet’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment, reported that its Australian operating profits were close to $200 million in the six months to June 30, with online net revenue up 45 per cent in the first half of the year.
Ladbrokes parent company, GVC Holdings, also recorded a 43 per cent lift in profits over the same period.
“Online gaming trends remain ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels,” the company said earlier this month.
The locus of male sexual desire has been uncovered in specific regions of brain tissue where a key gene named aromatase is present, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study in mice.
The gene regulates sexual behavior in men, and thus can be targeted by drugs to either increase its function for low sexual desire or decrease its function for compulsive sexual desire, scientists said. Aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen in the brain, which drives male sexual activity.
The study was published Sept. 10 in the journal Endocrinology.
Aromatase’s full function in the adult brain had not previously been known.
This is the first key finding to explain how testosterone stimulates sexual desire. For the first time, we demonstrated conclusively that the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain is critical to maintain full sexual activity or desire in males. Aromatase drives that.”
Dr. Serdar Bulun, senior author, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine
When Northwestern scientists knocked out aromatase selectively in the brain, sexual activity in male mice decreased by 50%, despite their having higher levels of blood testosterone levels (compared with control male mice).
“Male mice partially lost interest in sex,” said corresponding study author Dr. Hong Zhao, research associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg. “Aromatase is the key enzyme for estrogen production. Estrogen has functions in males and females. Testosterone has to be converted to estrogen to drive sexual desire in males.”
If a normal male mouse is put with a female one, Bulun said, “it would chase after her and try to have sex with her. If you knock out the aromatase gene in the brain, their sexual activity is significantly reduced. There is less frequency of mating. The male mice are not that interested.”
The finding can contribute to new treatments for disorders of sexual desire, the scientists said.
Low sexual desire, clinically known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is a common condition and can be a side effect of widely used medications such as a category of antidepressants known as SSRIs. A treatment to boost aromatase in this disorder could heighten sexual desire, Bulun said.
On the flip side, compulsive sexual desire is another condition that can be treated by an existing systemic aromatase inhibitor, but that treatment has side effects such as osteoporosis. Now, new selective drugs that suppress only the brain promoter region of the aromatase gene can be developed, Bulun said. These new selective medications would not cause the side effects of the currently existing aromatase inhibitors.
A SURVEY by the Finnish Centre for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS) has found that almost one in three female athletes and one in five male athletes have experienced sexual harassment in sports in Finland.
The probability of sexual harassment was high especially for 16-year-old female athletes competing at the senior national level, according to YLE.
More than 9,000 over 16-year-old competitive athletes from almost 50 sports federations and organisations responded to the online survey. Almost 700 of them had represented their country at a junior or senior level.
The perpetrator was another athlete in over a third of the sexual harassment cases, their own coach or the coach of another athlete in roughly a fifth of the cases, and a spectator, fan or social media follower in fewer than a fifth of the cases. Female victims were harassed by a man in 55 per cent of the cases and male athletes by a man in 67 per cent of the cases.
Experiences of sexual harassment were frequent especially among 20–25-year-old respondents.
The most common forms of harassment were offensive or sexually coloured remarks, inappropriate remarks about the bodies of athletes and offensive jokes about sexual minorities.
Four per cent, or 360, of the female respondents and one per cent, or 90, of the male respondents also reported experiences of physical harassment and sexual violence. An additional 70 respondents stated that they had experienced sexual pressure and 14 that they had been the victim of a rape or attempted rape.
YLE on Tuesday highlighted in its report about the survey that as many as 59 per cent of the respondents were unable to tell whether their sports federation or organisation had intervened or taken action to prevent sexual harassment.
“Intervening creates a safe environment that concretely shows that harassment will not be tolerated,” Annukka Lahti, the lead author of the study, stated in a press release from FINCIS.
“The respondents considered intervention a key method for eliminating harassment. In an environment where harassment is intervened in, everyone can use their resources on the essential part: the sports.”
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Erik Thomson is one of Australia’s best known on-screen dads, but fans might find his latest role a little less palatable.
Aftertaste stars Thomson and Rachel Griffiths, and will hit screens next year
The comedy-drama tells the story of a disgraced celebrity chef’s attempt to rebuild his career
Filmed throughout the Adelaide Hills, it created much-needed jobs for an industry battling coronavirus
The award-winning actor stars in upcoming ABC comedy series Aftertaste as celebrity chef Easton West, who disgraces himself on the international culinary circuit.
“He’s the kind of guy who says what’s on his mind. He’s got no filters, he’s got issues with anger,” Thomson said.
“He’s been brought up in that classic French kitchen scenario of hierarchy and doesn’t suffer fools.
West returns home to the Adelaide Hills for a taste of humble pie, reconnecting with his alcoholic father and pastry chef daughter.
Described by producers as a “story of family, food and fame”, the six-part series — which will premiere next year — follows White’s endeavours to “rebuild his career and restore his reputation”.
Thomson, whose own distinguished career includes the popular paternal role in drama series Packed to the Rafters, said he enjoyed portraying the character despite his abrasive personality.
“I’ve had a lot of fun doing that because I’ve never done that before on screen.”
Jobs created in time of need
Aftertaste was shot at locations across South Australia, including Stirling, Kangarilla and Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills, a region known for its fresh food and agriculture.
Producers said the project — which also stars Rachel Griffiths — created more than 300 jobs for local creatives and generated business for other providers during trying economic times.
It also breathed new life into Patch Kitchen and Garden, a well-known Stirling cafe that shut its doors at the start of the pandemic.
It was reopened as a fictional restaurantowned by upstart Ben Zhao, played by Remy Hii.
Thomson said food and drink were central to most scenes in the series — sometimes serving as metaphors for connection and conflict, but always showcasing the South Australian industry.
“When I saw the material, I saw South Australia. It’s a great marriage,” he said.
SA ‘uniquely positioned’ for resumption
Production of Aftertaste was postponed for three months after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first major television production to go ahead in South Australia since then, and Thomson said the on-set culture was different.
“Gratitude for being able to work is foremost in our mind. These hours have been pretty gruelling, the weather hasn’t been great,” he said.
Producer Rebecca Summerton said the production set the standard for a “new normal” for the nation’s film and television industry.
A full-time onsite coronavirus health officer was employed to ensure cast and crew observed hygiene and distancing measures.
“That’s a big change for the film industry,” she said.
“Usually if someone’s unwell you soldier on through but it’s very important for all of us all over the world, especially on a film set, if you get a little bit sick you head home and get tested and get well.”
Summerton said the project would not have gone ahead without the support of the State Government and SA Health, which granted exemptions for some interstate actors — including Griffiths, Wayne Blair and Peter Carroll — and crew to enter the state.
“We’re very lucky at the moment to have a little or no community transmission, which as a producer helps you sleep at night, to know that if everyone is following the processes, the chances of someone on the crew getting sick are reasonably small.”
Summerton said while audiences should probably expect less locally made content, the industry was bouncing back.
“We’re moving into quite a busy period towards the end of the year here, which is really exciting,” she said.
For every 1,000 people infected with the coronavirus who are under the age of 50, almost none will die. For people in their fifties and early sixties, about five will die — more men than women. The risk then climbs steeply as the years accrue. For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected, around 116 will die. These are the stark statistics obtained by some of the first detailed studies into the mortality risk for COVID-19.
Trends in coronavirus deaths by age have been clear since early in the pandemic. Research teams looking at the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in people in the general population — in Spain, England, Italy and Geneva in Switzerland — have now quantified that risk, says Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“It gives us a much sharper tool when asking what the impact might be on a certain population that has a certain demographic,” says Kilpatrick.
The studies reveal that age is by far the strongest predictor of an infected person’s risk of dying — a metric known as the infection fatality ratio (IFR), which is the proportion of people infected with the virus, including those who didn’t get tested or show symptoms, who will die as a result..
“COVID-19 is not just hazardous for elderly people, it is extremely dangerous for people in their mid-fifties, sixties and seventies,” says Andrew Levin, an economist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, who has estimated that getting COVID-19 is more than 50 times more likely to be fatal for a 60-year-old than is driving a car.
But “age cannot explain everything”, says Henrik Salje, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, UK. Gender is also a strong risk factor, with men almost twice more likely to die from the coronavirus than women. And differences between countries in the fatality estimates for older age groups suggest that the risk of dying from coronavirus is also linked to underlying health conditions, the capacity of health-care systems, and whether the virus has spread among people living in elderly-care facilities.
Older men more at risk
To estimate the mortality risk by age, researchers used data from antibody-prevalence studies.
In June and July, thousands of people across England received a pinprick antibody test in the post. Of the 109,000 randomly selected teenagers and adults who took the test, some 6% harboured antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. This result was used to calculate an overall IFR for England of 0.9% — or 9 deaths in every 1,000 cases. The IFR was close to zero for people between the ages of 15 and 44, increasing to 3.1% for 65–74-year-olds and to 11.6% for anyone older. The results of the study have been posted to the medRxiv preprint server1.
Another study from Spain that started in April, and tested for antibodies in more than 61,000 residents in randomly selected households, observed a similar trend. The overall IFR for the population was about 0.8%, but it remained close to zero for people under 50, before rising swiftly to 11.6% for men 80 years old and over; it was 4.6% for women in that age group. The results also revealed that men are more likely to die of the infection than are women — the gap increasing with age.
“Men face twice the risk of women,” says Beatriz Pérez-Gómez, an epidemiologist at the Carlos III Institute of Health in Madrid, who was involved in the Spanish study. The results have also been posted to the medRxiv server2.
Differences in the male and female immune-system response could explain the divergent risks, says Jessica Metcalf, a demographer at Princeton University, New Jersey. “The female immune system might have an edge by detecting pathogens just a bit earlier,” she says.
The immune system might also explain the much higher risk of older people dying from the virus. As the body ages, it develops low levels of inflammation, and COVID-19 could be pushing the already overworked immune system over the edge, says Metcalf. Worse outcomes for people with COVID-19 tend to be associated with a ramped-up immune response, she says.
The study in England also compared results from different ethnic groups. Mortality and morbidity statistics suggest that Black and South Asian people in England are more likely to die or to be hospitalized. But the analysis, led by Helen Ward, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, found that although Black and South Asian people were much more likely to have been infected than were white people, they were no more likely to die of COVID-19.
Researchers note that there is a marked difference in IFR estimates between some countries, especially for people aged 65 and older3. For instance, an antibody-prevalence study in Geneva estimated an IFR of 5.6% for people aged 65 and older4. This figure was lower than were estimates in Spain, which comes to about 7.2% for men and women aged 80 or more, and in England, which found an IFR of 11.6% for people aged 75 or older.
There could be many explanations for the differences, says Andrew Azman, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, who was part of the Geneva study.
Countries with higher rates of co-morbidities, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, will have a higher IFR. However, nations with health-care systems that are better able to deal with people who are severely ill with COVID-19, or where hospitals were not overwhelmed at the peak of the epidemic, will have better survival rates, he says.
Some of the differences could be attributed to how the different studies were conducted, say researchers. For example, differences in the reliability of antibody tests used in the different studies, how COVID-19 deaths were recorded and how researchers chose to divide populations by age.
There is some uncertainty in the data, so the estimates between studies might not be as different as they might seem, says Lucy Okell, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, who was involved in the English study.
But a big factor in the different death rates reported between countries seems to be whether the virus spread in nursing homes or elderly-care facilities, says Salje.
In these places, people in fragile health live in close-knit environments where the virus can spread rapidly. When the English study took into account care-home deaths, the IFR in people aged 75 or older jumped from 11.6% to 18.7%. Salje estimates that the IFR for Canada, where some 85% of deaths occurred in nursing homes, would be significantly higher than that for Singapore, where nursing homes accounted for only 8% of deaths.
Although fatality estimates are important for understanding the risk of viral spread to people in different age groups, they don’t tell the full story of the toll COVID-19 takes, says Kilpatrick. “There is a fascination with death, but COVID-19 appears to cause a substantial amount of long-term illness,” he adds.
Female priests outnumbered males in Sweden 50.1% to 49.9% in July, and there are already more women in the country studying to become priests than men.
It comes 62 years after women were allowed to be ordained in the Swedish Lutheran Church and over a hundred years after Anna Howard Shaw, an American Methodist suffragist pastor, first preached in Sweden, in 1911.
In the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which has almost 6 million members in a country of 10.3 million, women “are here to stay”, says priest Sandra Signarsdotter.
She was ordained in 2014; in the same year, Antje Jackelén, another woman, became Primate of Sweden.
However, despite changes in the church’s demographics, Signarsdotter argues that women “have not yet achieved equality” in the Swedish church.
They earn on average €213 less per month than their male counterparts, according to the specialist newspaper Kyrkans Tidning.
Also, women hold fewer top jobs than men. Only four bishoprics are led by women of 13 in total.
“The way is still long,” Signarsdotter continues. “One day, a colleague told me ‘You have a beautiful butt'”.
“Even being a priest, I am first seen as a body,” she regrets, as she hopes the church will one day get rid of “the patriarchal structures of society”.