Baby deaths ‘cluster’ at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital prompts official review


Health authorities have launched a review into a “cluster” of baby deaths at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital after a parliamentary committee heard a lack of infant heart and life support services was to blame.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Professor John Svigos on Tuesday gave evidence that the deaths of three babies over the past month could have been prevented.

Doctors’ union official Bernadette Mulholland told the committee a fourth baby had died last week, also due to the lack of services.

Professor Svigos said the infants could have been saved if the right treatment were available at Adelaide’s central hospital for children.

He said Adelaide was the only mainland state capital city that does not offer heart surgery or external oxygenation machines (ECMOs) for babies and children, and the usual process of referring infants to a Melbourne cardiac unit was “no longer tenable” because of the COVID-19 situation.

SASMOA officer Bernadette Mulholland gave evidence to the committee.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Health Minister Stephen Wade announced this morning that SA Health would launch a review into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

“There has been a cluster of paediatric cardiac incidents in recent weeks, the deaths of children,” Mr Wade said.

“We’re very sad, our thoughts and prayers are with the families.

“I’ve asked the Chief Medical Officer [Dr Mike Cusack] … to work with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to review these cases, to see what we can learn.”

Dr Cusack said between six and 10 babies with significant heart abnormalities were usually born in SA each year, and that the deaths needed to be investigated.

“As a parent, whenever you read about adverse events in children, it’s always hard to read, and so my heart really does go out to each of the parents.

“Had we provided the very best available care for those children and their families? And what are the lessons learnt?”

But Dr Cusack said, from the information he had at this stage, there was no evidence of any “lapses in care or things that should have been done”.

He said the review would take between two and four weeks and would have a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19 on usual practice.

Business case warned of avoidable death

The State Opposition claims a leaked document shows the Government was advised to introduce cardiac surgery at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital for more than a year before the four babies died.

Labor spokesperson Chris Picton said a business case, prepared by doctors last year, also claimed the lack of cardiac surgery had contributed to at least one avoidable death and several near misses at the time.

The July 2019 business case, which the ABC has seen, stated that a heart surgery service at the hospital “is feasible, safe and cost-effective”.

The document warns of “avoidable mortality” as a result of the lack of an ECMO machine service there, and that “at least one avoidable death has occurred”.

The business case advises the hospital would have to recruit an experienced heart surgeon to establish the service.

It also lists “skill maintenance” as a potential problem, but argues that could be mitigated by having one surgeon perform all procedures and collaborate with adult and interstate surgical services.

Report found service ‘not viable’: Minister

But speaking on ABC Radio Adelaide earlier this morning, Mr Wade said an earlier review had rejected paediatric heart services for the hospital.

Stephen Wade wears a suit and tie
Mr Wade said an earlier review found a paediatric heart service would result in worse outcomes.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

However he said the review had recommended an ECMO machine at the hospital.

The Minister said there was a “diversity of views” among doctors at the hospital about how best to manage the issue and that the hospital’s board was capable of coming to the right solution.

He added that the board had respectfully engaged with the doctors who wrote the July 2019 business case.

He said the board was working to get “the best possible service for babies and children in South Australia”.

Mother joins call for services

Kylie Baker, who has travelled to Melbourne several times since her daughter Abby was born so she could receive life-saving heart surgery, joined the call for paediatric cardiac services to be set up in Adelaide.

A woman hugging a girl in front of playground swings
Kylie Baker and her daughter Abby.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

Ms Baker said the trips took a heavy emotional and financial toll.

“If it was in Adelaide, you’ve got family, you’ve got your friends, you’ve got a support network,” she said.

She said she was devastated to learn of the four babies’ deaths.

“It’s heartbreaking and it shouldn’t be happening. These are little babies,” she said.



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Top Council official tests positive for coronavirus – POLITICO



Council Secretary-General Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, the top civil servant who huddles with EU leaders during their highest-level summit meetings, has tested positive for coronavirus after a routine test conducted Tuesday, officials said.

Tranholm-Mikkelsen, a veteran Danish diplomat, has no symptoms of COVID-19, officials said, but will isolate, in accordance with medical guidelines.

Like other essential workers, and because of his routine proximity to leaders, Tranholm-Mikkelsen is tested on a regular basis. His most recent test prior to Tuesday, on October 14, was negative.

Officials said that Tranholm-Mikkelsen, 57, has adhered carefully to the Council’s strict health protocols, including social distancing in all meetings. While he was in meetings with Council President Charles Michel, the officials said all sanitary rules were followed and Michel was not considered at risk of infection because the two were not in close contact. Michel also tested negative on Thursday, officials said.

As infections have surged across Europe, a growing number of senior political figures have tested positive. Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès, 45, is being treated in intensive care after testing positive last week. German Health Minister Jens Spahn, 40, also tested positive this week.





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Japan’s Fukoku Life increasing FX-hedged foreign bonds – official


Article content

TOKYO — Japan’s Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance increased currency-hedged foreign bond investments in the half year to September as it is wary of a decline in the dollar, an investment planning official said on Monday.

The insurer plans to continue raising such holdings slightly in the current half year too, as it expects the dollar to weaken against the yen after the U.S. elections next month no matter who wins, the official said.

(Reporting by Daiki Iga, writing by Hideyuki Sano Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)



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‘Every Public Official’ Should Advocate Wearing a Mask



Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) released a lengthy public statement after he recovered from the coronavirus last week urging Americans to wear masks and for “every public official” to advocate wearing a mask.

He expressed regret for not wearing a mask to the White House during the announcement of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and when helping President Trump prepare for the debate in the following days.

“I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others,” he wrote in the statement.

However, he noted that Americans have not been treated as “adults,” and blamed the two “extremes” of those who advocate shutting down the country and those who think the coronavirus is “nothing.”

“Both are wrong,” he said.

“Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance, and to wash your hands frequently every day,” he said.

“At the same time, we should be reopening in every corner of this nation under those guidelines,” he added.

NBC News reported that Christie’s statement appeared an effort to “distance himself from the president.”

President Trump has struck a much more upbeat note on the coronavirus after his recovery, urging Americans not to let the fear of the virus domimate their lives.

After testing positive, the president checked into the Walter Reed Medical Center for four days, and did not require intensive care. He has now fully recovered.

Christie, on the other hand, said he spent seven days in the intensive care unit.

 

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.





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Top EU trade official exhorts lawmakers to reject Trump’s lobster deal – POLITICO


MEP Bernd Lange | Roman Pilipey/EFE via EPA

Bernd Lange says the US is not acting in the spirit of August’s deal on crustaceans.

Call it the EU’s pincer movement against U.S. President Donald Trump.

The European Parliament got its bite back in the transatlantic trade war against Trump when its trade chief on Thursday urged his colleagues to shoot down a deal on lobsters struck with Washington in August.

The European Commission’s agreement to slash EU tariffs on live and frozen lobsters from the U.S. was widely seen as a peace offering, but Bernd Lange, the chair of Parliament’s trade committee, complained that the Americans were not entering into the spirit of rapprochement.

Lange, a senior German politician from the center-left Socialists and Democrats group, argued the U.S. had gone too far by raising tariffs on aluminum again on Friday last week, and said he now wanted to reject the mini-deal on crustaceans. The deal is close to Trump’s heart in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election because he won one of out of the four electoral votes in the lobstering state of Maine in the 2016 race.

“To be honest, I am not really willing to de-escalate … again and again, when from the U.S. side we have only escalation,” Lange said. “I think we should give a clear answer to the United States.”

“Sometimes this patience … is limited. And this is the case now on the question of the United States” — Bernd Lange

The move represents a volte-face for Lange, who was Parliament’s point-man on the lobster deal and had, until Thursday, been a leading proponent of it.

Lange argued Trump’s latest tariff increase showed that repeated EU moves to de-escalate had been pointless, including the decision not to impose tariffs on nearly $4 billion authorized by the World Trade Organization over subsidies for Boeing.

Instead, Canada’s threat to retaliate had forced Trump to withdraw his tariffs on Canadian aluminum in September, Lange argued. “Perhaps this is the only answer the United States and the Lighthizer administration understand,” he said, referring to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“Normally, you see it in my report, I would say OK, let’s start de-escalating and go ahead with this lobster deal,” Lange told his colleagues on Thursday.

“But last Friday, the U.S. imposed new tariffs on aluminium … and Lighthizer and Mr. Trump in Ohio made it very clear that they wanted to protect their market.

“I think a lot of you know that I am from the north of Germany, and for [northern Germans] it’s typical that they have a lot of patience,” Lange said. “But sometimes this patience … is limited. And this is the case now on the question of the United States.”

Danuta Hübner from the center-right European People’s Party said her group had been completely “taken by surprise” by Lange’s change of heart. While she agreed it was “tempting” to reject the deal and stand up to Trump, Hübner said she would discuss it with her party colleagues before deciding.

MEPs from most other parties also said they would check with their colleagues whether to back Lange’s new position.

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Anthony Seibold ‘troll’ revealed as former part-time referees official in bush football


According to sources with knowledge of their identity, the individual’s connection to the NSWRL was as a part-time refereeing official in regional NSW.

NRL integrity unit investigators have spoken to the person. It is alleged the person forwarded on the rumours about Seibold, rather than instigating them, but their status in the game was so minor the matter was not taken any further by head office.

It was reported on Tuesday by The Australian that the European cybercrime firm Seibold has engaged had provided him with names of more high-profile figures said to have had some part in the rumour-spreading. As of Tuesday afternoon, though, neither Seibold nor his legal team had not passed on any additional names, according to league sources.

Contacted on Tuesday, Seibold said: “The NRL integrity unit have received the report given to my solicitor and [Broncos chairman] Karl Morris a number of weeks ago. I’ve nothing further to add to the matter as it’s been also handed to police.”

NRL sources say there have to date been no registered players or officials among the names given to them by Seibold and in any case are doubtful there is any way to properly get to the bottom of who started the rumours.

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It is why there is no active investigation into the Seibold affair at the NRL even though officials feel desperately sorry for what he had to endure in the final months of his tenure at Brisbane, which ended prematurely with the team en route ultimately to a first ever wooden spoon.

It has also emerged that NSW Police is not investigating the Seibold trolling and they are unlikely to, given there was no threat made to the safety of the coach or his family, as distasteful and hurtful as the tales being told about him were. The absence of cyber-bullying legislation in Australia also makes a police response difficult in Seibold’s case, although Queensland Police say they are investigating after a complaint from the 46-year-old.

Seibold told 60 Minutes on Sunday his last couple of months in particular had been “pretty tough”. “In some ways it’s like the wild west out there,” he said. “My situation went viral with defamatory comments. My reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.”

He said he would “like to see some people made accountable.”

The chances, though, of the former Dally M Coach of the Year obtaining the outcome he wants after this sordid affair are fading by the day.



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Poland readying legislation to encourage offshore wind farms, official says | The Budapest Business Journal on the web


 Energy Today

 Thursday, October 8, 2020, 16:10

Zbigniew Gryglas, deputy minister for state assets, told a business conference in Lublin, eastern Poland, that proposed new regulations to promote power generation in offshore wind farms were being given their final touches and on track to take effect by the end of the year, reported the Polish Radioʼs IAR News Agency.

Photo by TebNad/Shutterstock.com

Gryglas told the National Economic Summit conference that offshore wind power had the potential to lend “a huge impetus” to the Polish economy in the years ahead.

At the end of last month, a host of Baltic Sea countries led by Poland agreed to work together to harness wind power and develop new offshore energy projects. Climate Minister Michał Kurtyka said at the time that offshore wind energy, alongside nuclear power, was one of two “strategic and long-term” choices for Poland as it seeks to develop its renewable energy sector and achieve climate neutrality in the future.

Kurtyka also said that Poland was eyeing projects worth some PLN 120 billion (USD 31 billion) over the next 20 years to generate 8,000 to 11,000 MW (megawatts) of installed capacity on its Baltic coast.

 

 





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‘We need to up our game’ against China in Western Balkans, says EU official



A senior European Union official has said the bloc will “up our game” with China in the Western Balkans, after it earmarked a €9 billion (US$10.5 billion) fund for the region increasingly seen as a battleground in the EU’s systemic rivalry with Beijing.The latest financial boost by Brussels is aimed in part at countering growing Chinese infrastructure investments in the region, which Brussels said are less than transparent and counterproductive to the goal of these countries to meet good…



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China flies fighters, bombers to Taiwan border after US official visit


Fighters. Bombers. Flying missiles. China has sent more than 20 aircraft to breach its borders with Taiwan in recent days. Now Taiwan’s President warns of a “clear and present danger” to the whole region.

Late last week a US official visited Taiwan to attend the funeral of a past president and hold talks with its democratically elected administration.

Beijing responded by sending combat jets across the ‘median line’ – the halfway point between the island of Taiwan and mainland China.

Meanwhile, both of China’s aircraft carriers were also at sea taking part in an extensive series of live-fire exercises to the north and south of Taiwan.

“Every time a high-ranking US official visits Taiwan, the fighter jets of the PLA should be one step closer to the island,” warns an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times.

“The US and Taiwan must not misjudge the situation, or believe the exercise is a bluff. Should they continue to make provocations, war will inevitably break out.”

Another Global Times editorial declared the drills were “realistically combat-oriented and a rehearsal for a Taiwan takeover”.

RELATED: Standoff after China accused of bold move

AIR RAID WARNINGS

“Twelve J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 ASW crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ (identification zone),” Taiwan’s defence ministry tweeted Saturday.

In response, Taiwan “scrambled fighters and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the activities”

RELATED: What China could do with all your data

This was just the second day of a series of repeated violations by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

And there are disturbing indications this is just the start of further escalations.

Yesterday, the PLA declared on Chinese media that “there is no such thing as Taiwan Strait median line within PR China’s territory.”

This unravels seven decades of unsteady truce between the two nations.

Chinese state propaganda has been broadcasting the event, with its social media Wolf Warriors on message. One Twitter account, Eva Zheng (who declares herself to be an independent Chinese citizen, even though some Chinese citizens have been arrested for merely posting to Twitter) uploaded a government graphic detailing the incursions.

Others, such as the Chinese ambassador to ASEAN, declared: “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and we won’t allow any foreign power to interfere with China’s internal affairs. Those who play with fire will get burned!”

RELATED: War warning: Next 10 months are critical

PLA Air Force Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui said in a statement that the military manoeuvres were “necessary” to counter Taiwanese “separatist” acts. “Such actions are necessary measures to deal with the current situation in the Taiwan Strait, and will help improve the ability of theater troops to defend national unity and territorial sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Taipei is attempting to capitalise upon Beijing belligerence by warning South East Asian nations that China has revealed its true nature.

“I believe these activities are no help to China’s international image, and what’s more have put Taiwan’s people even more on their guard, understanding even better the true nature of the Chinese Communist regime,” President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday.

“Additionally, other countries in the region also have a better understanding of the threat posed by China”.

INDEPENDENCE FIGHT

US undersecretary for state Keith Krach was visiting Taiwan to mark the passing of former President Lee Ten-hui. It was he who led the island of 20 million people into democracy. The dictatorial Republic of China (ROC) administration had fled to the protectorate – placed under Chinese administration after World War II – after the Communist Party seized control of the mainland in 1949.

Both events were particularly irritating to Beijing’s Chairman-for-life Xi Jinping, who has recently been pushing a hard “reunification” line – even though Taiwan never surrendered to the Communist revolution. This was a point emphasised by Lee, who strove to establish Taiwan as its own independent identity on the world stage.

Serving President Tsai lauded Lee for succeeding in a peaceful transition from autocracy to democracy.

“We have a responsibility to continue his endeavours, allowing the will of the people to reshape Taiwan, further defining Taiwan’s identity and deepening and bolstering democracy and freedom,” Tsai said during the ceremony.

The US undersecretary is the second high-level official to visit Taipei in recent months. He dined with the President, while also meeting with the economic affairs minister and holding trade talks with business leaders.

“This kind of behaviour interferes with China’s internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and violates the norms of international relations,” China’s State Council spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said yesterday.

But the US adopted a different point of view.

“We have maintained constructive, unofficial relations with Taiwan for 40 years,” a Pentagon spokesman said in response to the air incursions. “The PLA’s aggressive and destabilising reactions reflect a continued attempt to alter the status quo and rewrite history.”

“This is another example of the PRC increasingly using its military as a tool of coercion with Taiwan and other neighbours. Taiwan’s security — and its people’s ability to determine their future, free from coercion — remains a vital interest to the United States and is integral to regional security.”

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel





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Letter addressed to Donald Trump ‘contained ricin’, according to official


An envelope addressed to Donald Trump that contained the poison ricin was intercepted before it could reach the White House, a law enforcement official said on Saturday.

The letter was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump, the official told the Associated Press. A preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans, the official said.

The official was not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Federal investigators were working to determine where the enveloped originated and who mailed it. The FBI, the Secret Service and the US Postal Inspection Service were leading the investigation.

In a statement, the FBI said agents were working to investigate “a suspicious letter received at a US government mail facility” and that there is “no known threat to public safety.”

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived.

Authorities said the man, William Clyde Allen III, sent the envelopes with ground castor beans to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, Adm. John Richardson, who at the time was the Navy’s top officer, and then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.



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