City to investigate community consultation options on local traffic issues


Council will be presented with a report on a suggested process for engaging with the community
about local traffic issues in the Kardinia Ward.

This week, council requested the report from the City’s CEO to address community members’
concerns about pedestrian safety at the following locations:

  • Burdekin Drive, Highton (at or near the entrance to Christian College);
  • Highmont Drive and Charolais Court, Belmont;
  • Meadowvale Drive and Amarina Crescent, Grovedale; and
  • Carter Road, Armstrong Creek.

Community members have approached councillors over the years about these areas and believe
that pedestrian wombat crossings could improve safety.

An assessment will be undertaken to determine if statutory warrants for pedestrian safety
improvements are met at these locations.

Last night’s resolution was as a result of a Notice of Motion from Councillor Ron Nelson.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said council wants to engage further with residents about these areas and noted that Meadowvale Drive is an active project for the City.

Community members have identified that these areas could be reviewed for pedestrian safety improvements.

We want to know more about what some of the perceived issues are and look forward to receiving the CEO’s report on a suggested process for consultation.

Cr Ron Nelson thanked community members for raising potential safety issues in the Kardinia Ward.

The Kardinia Ward’s population continues to grow, which puts pressure on our existing
infrastructure.

Pedestrian safety is paramount, which is why I’ve raised a number of Notices of Motion on how to make improvements for community members on this very topic.

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Waratahs coach Rob Penney safe but NSWRU board to examine all options


“Now is the time for actually working very closely together. We are looking for improvement. But we have to come together. Now is not the time to be singling anyone out.

“It’s a young squad, it’s a developing squad and you have to chalk [the loss to the Brumbies] up, unfortunately, when you look at the [difference] in experience, we’re on the negative.”

The Waratahs may look at installing a director of coaching after a disastrous start to the Super Rugby AU season.

The Waratahs may look at installing a director of coaching after a disastrous start to the Super Rugby AU season.Credit:Getty

Penney’s job may be safe for the short term but Doorn concedes the NSWRU board will examine all potential steps to reverse the Waratahs’ calamitous trajectory.

That includes the possibility of a coaching director or any other sort of additional support.

“We are always interested in better ways of doing things. The board will look at all sorts of different options,” he said.

“But at the moment, we are quite comfortable. We changed our structure last year. We have three assistant coaches that are very capable working alongside Rob.

“I think what we have at the moment is a combination of the inexperience and the youth of the squad.

“Ultimately, every week you sit down, you examine, you assess and think about how we need to do things differently. Nothing is off the table.

“But it’s not something we are acutely focused on at this stage.”

Doorn has only been at the helm of the Waratahs organisation for just over a year. He replaced Andrew Hore, who appointed Penney but quit suddenly soon after to take up the CEO role at the Auckland Blues.

In the last year Wallabies Ned Hanigan, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper (who may return from Japan later this season), Kurtley Beale and Karmichael Hunt have all left the club.

Under-siege Waratahs coach Rob Penney.

Under-siege Waratahs coach Rob Penney.Credit:Louie Douvis

While the Waratahs wanted to keep one or two of those players, the majority were let go, and their departures exacerbated the problems created by a mass exodus of Wallabies talent the year before, including Nick Phipps, Sekope Kepu and Bernard Foley.

The Waratahs backed a talented young group of former Junior Wallabies stars, like Angus Bell and Will Harrison, but the one-way traffic of senior players leaving has left Penney with an incredibly inexperienced squad.

Against the Brumbies, just five players in the matchday 23 had played more than 20 Super Rugby matches. Six of NSW’s eight reserves had played three or fewer Super Rugby games.

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“We don’t like to suggest that we’re in a rebuilding phase but we’re in this position for a whole host of reasons,” Doorn said.

“Not a singular person or entity (is at fault). We have to work out where our strengths lie and then use this season to rebuild and look to next year to rebuild and to get people who will complement the youth and inexperience we currently have.

“It’s 12 months I have been in the job now and we are clearly looking at a long-term strategy here that’s great for players, great for coaching staff and will build us into the dynasty that we should be.

“But it’s not something you can just click your fingers on overnight. Particularly with the financial challenges that we’ve had as a business.

“There are multiple plans in play here to have us improve.

“What you’re seeing on the field right now is clearly the result of a whole heap of things that have happened in the past.”

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The case for diversifying housing options for older Australians


Taking time off work with her first child, young mum Kate Kirsten felt increasingly anxious about the prospect of leaving her tiny daughter in childcare when it was time to return to her office.

She confided her fears one day on the phone to her dad.

“Well, I do miss you,” he said. “And I’m lonely living here on my own. Why don’t I just move in with you, and give you a helping hand?”

The pair talked it over and decided to give it a try. Twelve years on, they can’t imagine ever living apart again.

Her dad, Len Parsons, helped her bring up her two children, Sienna, now 12, and Will, 11. He loves living with his family and his grandkids absolutely adore him.  

“It’s worked out so well for us,” says Kate, 46, who lives with the children in a house in Leichhardt, in Sydney’s inner west, which has a studio in the backyard where Len, 87, sleeps and retreats to when he wants a quiet refuge.

“We all genuinely like each other and we’re great housemates.”

“Dad loves having so much time with his grandchildren, and they love his sense of humour and that he’s around so much.”

“In addition, it’s much more economical living together rather than him going to a retirement home and me paying for childcare. And we all get on well, and treat each other with patience and respect.”

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Kate, her father Len and her two children are just one of the many families choosing to live inb multi-generational households. Photo: Peter Rae

Social researchers say that, with slower population growth and the drop in migration, our society is ageing rapidly, with older Australians making up a growing proportion of the total population.

With that change, we need to look at fresh ways of housing more mature people and keeping them as a valued, and integral, part of the greater community.

Latest studies from the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre shows more and more of us are taking that challenge into our own hands, with one in five Australians – just like Kate and Len and the kids – now living in a multi-generational household.

Another project from Corelogic and Archistar found that there are 583,440 properties in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that have room enough to build an additional self-contained unit of at least 60 square metres.

“Different generations of the same family living together is something that’s traditionally been strong in other cultures overseas, but less common here,” says Craig Christensen, principal at the award-winning urban planning and design practice Hatch RobertsDay.

“But, really, it should be an option for all of us.”

“We need to build bigger apartments with separate space for grandparents, or houses with a studio or granny flat where they can have their own private space. I think this is going to be a growing trend.”

Another change Craig predicts is the growth of mixed-use developments, with aged-care living integrated into the whole, either with separate blocks, or dedicated floors for older residents in regular buildings.

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Len lives in his daughter’s backyard studio where has his own personal space when needed. Photo: Peter Rae

His practice worked with Sekisui House Australia to design the new Ripley Town Centre south-west of Brisbane to include senior living and aged care.

In Sydney, the Crown Group is creating the mixed-use complex Eastlakes, in the city’s south, to include apartments side-by-side with 80 stores, cafes and restaurants as well as an 1800-square-metre emergency and medical centre that’s likely to appeal particularly to an older demographic.

In addition, some of the apartments are likely to be specially planned with bigger bathrooms, handrails, non-slip tiles and wider spaces throughout to accommodate wheelchairs.      

“We’re seeing a lot of multi-generational families moving into our Green Square and Waterfall developments because it means they can live close to all the facilities they need,” says Crown CEO Iwan Sunito.

“Some like to live together as it’s part of their culture, or kids might be trying to save money after losing their jobs during COVID-19, while other family members might have separate apartments on the same floor or in other buildings in the same complex. But I also think that COVID made us all value our closeness to family more. And at Eastlakes, with that medical centre and being so close to the Prince of Wales Hospital, it’s going to be ideal for older members of the family.”

Another rapidly emerging trend is to have aged living above shopping centres, public transport hubs, restaurants or cafes.

In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, developer Lendlease bought, and completely refurbished, a vertical village of independent living units, the Ardency Trebartha, which now sits above one of Elizabeth Bay’s busiest, and most fashionable, cafes, Shuk. 

“I’m a regular, and go down to get coffee and food and meet my grandchildren there,” says resident Zandra Stanton, 82, who’s also chair of the residents’ committee.

“Some people get their meals delivered up to them too from the cafe, which is nice.”

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Zandra Stanton is an active member of her community within Ardency Trebartha as residential chairperson. Photo: Peter Rae

“We have one 98-year-old man in the building who goes down every morning for coffee and cake. I think getting together with other people there, and having a social life in the building, keeps a lot of people alive!”  

Lendlease managing director retirement living Nathan Cockerill says it’s a great way of avoiding the loneliness and isolation that older Australians often feel.

“They want to stay local and connected to their community, loved ones and require different services and amenities to complement their lifestyle,” he says.

“Ardency Trebartha is a great example of what we’re planning for the future – it’s a multi-storey apartment building that’s located in the inner city with harbour views. It has a popular cafe on the ground floor, and within the building, there’s a hair and beauty salon, bar and lounge, library and cinema. The building is integrated with the surrounding area rather than being a closed community so that residents can stay connected.”

One of the main difficulties at the moment for older Australians is that they simply don’t have enough housing options, believes Professor Bruce Judd of the University of NSW, who’s currently collaborating with Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, on research on population ageing and housing issues. 

“A lot of people really want to live in single-level houses with two to three bedrooms, no stairs and a small courtyard,” he says. “But while those sorts of villas were built in the 1960s and 1970s in places like Rockdale and Kogarah, they’re not really available now.

Villas are usually single level homes in a small complex.
1970s style villas are usually single level homes that are accessible to older residents requiring mobility assistance.

“We talk about downsizers moving into smaller houses, but they still need space. They want bedrooms for their grandkids to come and stay and to use for hobbies, or an office, or for sewing or exercise. In one project, we found only nine per cent of over-55s had actually downsized to a smaller number of bedrooms.”

Many of them are nervous about apartment living, too, Judd believes, as they’re worried about noise from their neighbours next door, below and above, have an aversion to dealing with the owners’ corporation and, since they’re usually on fixed incomes, don’t like the possibility of strata levies increasing.

“But some builders are now building three-generation homes with private areas so grandparents can have their own space, and there are more dual-key apartments [apartments that can be divided into two] coming onto the market.”

Dr Debbie Faulkner, director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute at the University of Adelaide, is carefully watching the development of more innovative models of housing for older people. These range from special units of public housing, to co-operative housing, to friends getting together, buying land and building housing for them all.   

“But we need to make it easier for these models in terms of the planning and financial systems,” she says. “It can be very onerous in the current situation.” 

Even if 20 per cent of new houses in Australia included features like grab-rails and step-free entrances, it would allow many more older people to age in their own homes, says Craig Christensen.

“Building more liveable housing could reduce the need for care and could promote greater independence in the older age group,” he says.     

Making society generally more age-friendly can also do a lot to help. The growth of community gardens often offers older people the chance to participate in a pastime they may have grown up with.

Peter Ives, secretary of the Addison Road Community Garden in Marrickville, and himself in his 70s, says it can prove a great way to mix.

Many community gardens accept compost donations.
Volunteering in public initiatives such as community gardens is one way older Australians remain connected within their local communities. Photo: Supplied

“Some older people may attend for exercise and to socialise and for amusement,” he says. “Others might come to grow the food they like to eat, as well as for the company.”

Having company is, indeed, one of the most important requirements of healthy ageing. Isolation, loneliness and depression are the real killers.

Happily, Len Parsons, surrounded by the love of his family, considers himself in an ideal position. So many of his neighbours know him too, from his volunteering at the local playgroup and church. 

“They all say we’re so lucky to have him with us,” says Kate Kirsten, the editor of magazine Take 5. “And we think so too.”

Sienna agrees. “It’s good having family around all the time,” she says. “I never have to remember to carry keys on me!”

Will grins. “And he tells good jokes,” he says. “He’s very funny – even though he barracks for the wrong footy team …”

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Victoria examining alternative quarantine options, with Avalon Airport flagged as possible location


The Victorian government is looking at alternatives to the current hotel quarantine model, including setting up purpose-built facilities on land outside of the CBD.

The hotel-based quarantine system has come under scrutiny in the past week after a fresh outbreak that stemmed from the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport sparked a five-day snap lockdown.

Premier Daniel Andrews said senior government officials were “actively” examining the construction of a purpose-built quarantine centre that could partially replace inner-city hotels.

He said it would be based on the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs model, which involves a disused worker’s camp 25 kilometres outside the Darwin CBD being used as a quarantine facility.

“People would be in the same location but would not be sharing the same spaces, so they’re not under the same roofline,” Mr Andrews said at a press conference.

“It would be a cabin-style, village-style environment, where there would be fresh air, where there would be not zero risk, but lower risk.”

Melbourne’s famous lanes were all but deserted during the five-day lockdown.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)

A team of Victorian government officials will investigate using parcels of land near the Melbourne and Avalon airports to construct standalone accommodation hubs.

The planning work is “well advanced”, and a delegation will travel to the NT to see how the Howard Springs facility is set up.

“It’s just a matter of exactly how big it is and the more precise details of where, but Avalon and Melbourne Airports are stand-out candidates.”

The government said the design of any hub would need to include flat, spaced-out structures, individual rooms, separate staff facilities and designs that allow for easy cleaning and strict infection prevention protocols.

Facilities which meet those requirements could also be used for bushfire emergency accommodation, the government said.

On Monday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said one of the benefits of a Howard Springs-style model would be open-air space between rooms, “which is great for welfare issues”.

“If we had that — wouldn’t that be fantastic. But we’ve got the infrastructure we’ve got,” Professor Sutton told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“But there’s no question an open-air setting with a real distance between rooms is kind of infrastructurally what we’d all love to see.”

The federal government is considering a proposal from the Queensland government and the Toowoomba-based Wagner Corporation to build a facility near the company’s Wellcamp airport.

Linfox-owned airport in talks on new facility

Avalon Airport is owned by the Linfox Group, run by billionaire Lindsay Fox.

The airport’s chief executive Justin Giddings has been in talks with the state government about the construction of a purpose-built quarantine facility.

The departures sign at Avalon Airport.
Justin Giddings said the could be built on 1,700 acres of vacant airport land.(ABC News: James Oaten)

Mr Giddings said the government approached him late Monday night about the idea, and he had been having discussions with politicians and Geelong City Council earlier that day about how the facility could work.

“I think this is a really good idea. No-one has said no, everyone has been really receptive. Everyone I’ve spoken to has been very positive,” Mr Giddings told the ABC.

“We are 10 kilometres from any residential towns. This area would be located well away from other passengers and is a secure environment.”

Mr Giddings said the facility would ideally be made up of up to 400 caravans or cabins that would sit on 1,700 hectares of vacant land owned by the federal government and leased to the airport.

“I think it would be a good system and one that might complement the hotel quarantine system,” Mr Giddings said.

Mr Giddings said he had not yet spoken with any experts from within the government about what would be required to build a facility.

“We will take guidance from them, but the scope of the works, the location, how it works, will all be a matter for the Victorian government.

“Right now we are fielding a lot of calls, and we will wait for the Victorian government to reach out. We will meet with them as soon as we can, very soon no doubt, it’s very urgent, we will be clearing our diaries.”

Mr Giddings said he was looking forward to hearing more about how the facility at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory was working.

“We can understand fully what’s involved and talk to the operators there about lessons learnt,” he said.

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said the main issue with hotel quarantine was the government’s inability to run the current program safely.

“The problem isn’t that we’re doing it in Melbourne, the problem is we’re doing it incompetently in Melbourne and that’s why the virus is getting out,” he said.

“This is a distraction by a government that is rightly embarrassed by a third lockdown.”

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Xinja shareholders call for more options


The shareholder push is being led by two little-known investors, Mackellar Capital International and Singapore-based Jade Minerals Investments, who own 1 per cent and 16.5 per cent of Xinja’s stock respectively.

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Mackellar Capital has invested around $3 million in Xinja and its chief risk officer Michael Lynch said he was “shocked” when the company abruptly announced it would return its banking license.

“The license is the most valuable asset the bank has,” Mr Lynch said.

The investors have now launched a website called Xinja Action Group calling on shareholders to boycott the online poll and demand the company “work hard” to retain the banking license.

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Mr Lynch said he was aware of new investors who are keen to provide additional capital but added the company would need to be restructured.

“This presents an opportunity to refresh the board and management team with industry recognised executives in the financial services sector,” he said.

Xinja said it had not received a recapitalisation proposal from either MacKellar Capital or Jade Minerals.

“Xinja very much welcomes, and is willing to consider and fully explore, all recapitalisation proposals, however the retention of its banking license following the return of deposit process is not a feasible option for Xinja at this point in time,” a spokesman said.

Public relations specialist Tim Allerton, who represents five major shareholders from China, Hong Kong and Singapore, said Xinja had forced its investors into a corner.

“Unfortunately the shareholders have two barrels of a gun at their head in relation to the two options,” Mr Allerton said.

“We want to help the company and shareholders restore value but we believe there needs to be a broader, more viable strategy than the one proposed.”

Xinja was granted an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority-regulated license to accept customer deposits in September 2019 and began offering customers a high interest savings account, despite not offering revenue generating products to balance its books.

The neobank has not yet finalised the return of its license – a process which normally takes a few days after APRA is satisfied the revocation is not contrary to the national interest or interest of depositors.

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Mr Allerton added the group had made efforts to alert the federal government about their frustrations and called for the shareholder meeting to be postponed until their proposal had been considered.

Senator Andrew Bragg, who chairs the government’s financial technology committee, said he was aware of the shareholders’ concerns but had not received any formal letters from the Xinja Action Group.

“If there are aggrieved shareholders, they can write to me. I’ll look at their issues. But they need to go through the proper channels,” Mr Bragg said.

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ACT government looks at options to lock up more cats across Canberra | The Canberra Times


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The ACT government is considering options to extend cat containment across Canberra, including the possibility of locking up all cats across the national capital. It is also promising to review existing laws and clarify whether or not cat owners in suburbs already declared cat containment areas can exercise their cat outside on a leash. That assurance from City Services Minister Chris Steel on Friday came after a campaign by Wright resident Emerson Riley who has started a change.org petition seeking a change to the Domestic Animals Act 2000 to allow cats to be walked on a leash in Canberra’s containment suburbs. Close to 1500 people had signed Ms Riley’s petition by Friday afternoon. Mr Steel also confirmed the government was considering the issue of extending cat containment. The government has already declared 17 new suburbs in Canberra cat containment areas in an effort to protect native wildlife. It also maintains the strategy protects cats from being injured. Other new suburbs in Gungahlin and the Molonglo Valley are likely to be declared in the future, according to the directorate. Residents within cat containment areas are required to keep their cats confined to their premises at all times or else risk a $1500 fine. The Draft ACT Cat Plan 2019-29 says about a quarter of Canberra households own cats. The draft plan says cat containment is “a key policy for reducing the impact of cats on the environment”. The government’s “initial preferred approach” is to gradually extend cat containment areas to certain established or new suburbs close to wildlife areas, according to the report. But the draft plan also considers a grandfathered approach where all cats acquired after a certain date would have to be contained throughout the ACT. Cats owned before that date would not have to be contained (unless they live in an existing cat containment area). The third option being considered by the government is a blanket approach with all established suburbs declared as cat containment areas at a set future date, with a transition period of “say 5, 10, or 20 years”. “While the blanket approach of Option C would be simpler to administer and give all residents the same transition period, the Government recognises this could negatively affect cats use [d] to being outside, and have flow on issues for their households,” the report says. Mr Steel said on Friday “the issue of cat containment is currently being considered by the ACT Government including community comments on the draft Cat Plan”. “Any potential changes to relevant legislation will be made in the interests of animal welfare and environmental protection grounds,” he said. Ms Emerson moved to Wright last year knowing it was a cat containment suburb but had been told by Domestic Animal Services she could walk her cat Mimi on a lead because she was “contained”. That advice from DAS later changed to the cat needed to stay inside or else Ms Riley would be fined $1500. Ms Riley said Mimi, nearly 10, had loved going on walks on a lead. She said cats in containment areas deserved that mental and physical stimulation of being outside on a lead “sniffing and eating grass and rolling in the dirt”. “Being outside makes her really happy. It stimulates and enriches her. It’s not necessarily about the walking, it’s about the sights and the sounds and the smells,” she said. Ms Riley agreed that cats were predators and that was why she kept her cat on a lead, even when she lived before in Phillip, which was not a cat containment area. “We’re animal lovers, we’re not just cat lovers,” she said. “I don’t want her ever to be hurting wildlife. I love birds and lizards. I grew up in the bush. There’s no way I would ever want her hurting an animal.” Ms Riley believed the government’s agenda was to lock up all cats and if that was the case, they had to come up with options to allow them outside in some capacity. “It’s going to be disastrous otherwise, the behaviour problems. I think this is the solution to allow them out on a harness or leash,” she said. Mr Steel on Friday acknowledged there was confusion around the issue. “The current wording of the Domestic Animals Act may be interpreted that cats cannot be walked on a lead in containment suburbs, which was not the intention,” her said. “We are considering changes to the Domestic Animals Act to clarify this issue later in the year following the finalisation of the Cat Plan. During this interim period, DAS rangers will be taking an educative approach on this issue.” The ACT Government would “consider amendments to the Act to clarify that cats may be walked on a lead and harness in all suburbs, including containment suburbs”. “Cats currently can be walked on a lead or harness in non-cat containment suburbs,” Mr Steel said. Ms Riley said she would continue with the petition until the laws were changed despite the minister’s assurances. “It does give me hope but I want to make them accountable and make sure they do it,” she said. The other issue for residents in containment areas was keeping in their cats. Ms Riley said she needed to spend $3000 to put up mesh barriers in her apartment courtyard, but that plan had not yet been given the green light by her body corporate. The ACT suburbs already declared cat containment areas are Bonner, Crace, Coombs, Denman Prospect, Forde, Gungahlin Town Centre east, Jacka, Lawson, Macnamara, Molonglo, Moncrieff, Strathnair, The Fair at Watson, Throsby, Taylor, Whitlam and Wright.

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What Are the Different Treatment Options?


Microtia NYC: What Are the Different Treatment Options?

Microtia NYC: What Are the Different Treatment Options? Microtia is an ear abnormality where the external part of a child’s ear is usually malformed or underdeveloped. This can affect one or both ears, and in about 90% of the cases, it occurs unilaterally. The estimated source of microtia NYC is about 1 in 10,000 live births per year, while bilateral microtia occurs only in 1 to 25,000 live births per year.

Microtia NYC: What are the causes of microtia?

Microtia NYC occurs in 4 different grades or levels, which include the following:

  • Grade 1 – In this level, a child has an external ear that appears small. And while this is mostly normal, the ear canal is either narrowed or missing.
  • Grade 2 – In this level, the bottom of the child’s ear, as well as the earlobe, look normally developed. However, the top two-thirds are malformed and small, and the ear canal is either narrowed or missing.
  • Grade 3 – This is the most common type that is observed in children and infants. The child has underdeveloped ears, with small parts of an external ear present. With grade 3 microtia, the ear canal is usually missing.
  • Grade 4 – This is the most severe case of microtia, and is also known as anotia. In this level, a child has no ear or ear canal present and can be either unilaterally or bilaterally.

But what causes microtia?

Microtia doesn’t seem to be genetically-inherited for the most part. Mostly, children with microtia don’t have any family members with the same condition. It just happens randomly. And while this condition isn’t hereditary, in the small percentage of inherited microtia, this condition can skip generations. Plus, mothers who have one child born with microtia can have another child with the same condition.

Microtia NYC usually develops during the first three months of the mother’s pregnancy. The causes are mostly unknown, but sometimes, they’re linked to alcohol or drug use during pregnancy. They’re also linked to environmental triggers, genetic changes, folic acid, and a diet low in carbohydrates.

One identifiable risk factor is the use of Accutane (isotretinoin) during the mother’s pregnancy. This medication has been associated with multiple abnormalities, including microtia.

Microtia NYC: What are the different treatment options?

Some families prefer not to intervene with the condition with surgical approaches. For infants, it wouldn’t be a great idea to go for reconstructive ear canal surgery. So, if your child was born with microtia, and you’re not comfortable with surgical options, you can wait until your child is a little older. Microtia NYC surgeries tend to be a lot easier for older children, especially since there’s more cartilage available to graft.

Some children born with microtia may resort to using non-surgical hearing devices. Depending on the level or grade of the child’s microtia, they may be a candidate for this type of device, especially if they aren’t old enough for surgery yet, or if the parents are postponing it. If an ear canal is present, then hearing aids may be used.

Hearing devices

Children may benefit from a cochlear implant if their condition affects their hearing. With this, the attachment point is implanted into the bone, just above and behind the ear. Once it’s healed, children will receive a processor that will be attached at the site. This processor stimulates the nerves in the inner ear, which helps children hear sound vibrations.

Vibration-inducing hearing devices can be very helpful in enhancing a child’s hearing. They are worn on the scalpand connect to surgically placed implants magnetically. These implants are connected to the middle ear – they send vibrations directly into the inner ear.

While hearing devices that are surgically implanted require minimal healing at the implantation site, children may experience the following side effects:

  • Hearing loss
  • Leaking of the fluid that surrounds the brain
  • Nerve injury or damage
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo

Children may also be at risk of developing skin infections around the implant site.

Medpor graft surgery

Medpor graft surgery can be done on children as young as 3 years old. This procedure is a type of re-construction that involves implanting a synthetic material instead of rib cartilage. It can be completed in one procedure and uses scalp tissue as a covering to the implant material.

The results of this surgery are more consistent than rib graft surgeries. However, some pediatric surgeons don’t offer or perform this type of surgery because the risk of infection is high. And since it isn’t incorporated into the surrounding tissue, there’s a higher risk of loss of the implant due to injury or trauma.

Prosthetic external ear

Prosthetic external ears can look very real. Children can wear them with an adhesive or through a surgically-implanted anchor system. The procedure to implant anchors is minor, and the recovery time is minimal. This is a good option for children who haven’t been successful with ear re-construction, or for those who haven’t undergone re-construction at all.

While this may be a better option for some children, some may find it difficult to have a detachable prosthetic. Some children may experience skin sensitivity to medical-grade adhesives.

Rib cartilage graft surgery

Rib graft surgery is best for children aged 8 to 10 years old. This surgery involves four procedures in a span of up to 12 months. In this surgery, the rib cartilage is removed from the child’s chest – this is used to create the shape of an ear. And then, it’s implanted under the skin at the site where the ear would be located. After the new cartilage is incorporated at the site, more surgeries and skin grafts will be necessary to position the ear better.

Rib cartilage is durable and strong, and the tissue from the child’s own body is less likely to be rejected. However, this surgery may involve possible scarring at the graft site and pain. Also, the rib cartilage that is used for the implant may feel firmer and stiffer, compared to the ear cartilage.

Children who are born with microtia can lead full lives, especially if they have the needed lifestyle modifications and appropriate treatment. If your child has this condition, talk to your medical care team about the best course of action.

 

 

 

 

 

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The left-field options who could take Hooper’s Waratahs No.7 jersey


Halfback Jake Gordon has been appointed captain in Hooper’s absence but the more intriguing element to Hooper’s time away is who will occupy his No.7 spot.

With just over three weeks before the Waratahs face the Queensland Reds in round one of Super Rugby AU, there are a handful of options – some conventional and others more experimental.

As traditional No.7s, by way of having more of an on-ball presence, Carlo Tizzano and Charlie Gamble appear frontrunners for the role.

Tizzano, 20, has eight minutes of Super Rugby to his name but is tipped to have a bright future, while Gamble, a former Crusaders academy product who plays for Eastern Suburbs, is uncapped.

“It’s a good opportunity for Carlo and Charlie,” Whitaker said. “Both have trained really well. It’s another opportunity for other back-rowers though if you decide not to go with a traditional No.7.”

Which is where someone like 14-Test Wallaby Jack Dempsey comes in. Throughout his career, Dempsey has predominantly played No.6 and a bit at No.8 but used to play occasionally as an openside breakaway when he was younger.

Charlie Gamble is also an option for the No.7 jersey this year. Credit:Getty Images

Whitaker said a shift to No.7 could be on the cards for Dempsey, or possibly even new Wallaby Lachie Swinton, youngster Will Harris or even Hugh Sinclair, depending on how the Waratahs want to play.

Out of position, sure, but Whitaker believes they can fill the void effectively.

For a player like Dempsey, who wasn’t included in any Wallabies squads last year, it could add another string to to his bow if he’s on the other side of the scrum in a slightly different role.

“We’re lucky in that we’ve got guys like Dempsey who can play No.7,” Whitaker said. “We’re lucky we’ve got two very good openside breakaways [in Tizzano and Gamble] but there are guys who can fill in if they want to. You’ve got the ability to switch and change how you want to play.

Carlo Tizzano has only played eight minutes of Super Rugby but is a highly rated youngster.

Carlo Tizzano has only played eight minutes of Super Rugby but is a highly rated youngster. Credit:NSW Rugby

“There will be an opportunity in a trial against Queensland in Narrabri (on February 5) so it’s up for grabs.”

Despite losing a number of high profile players, Whitaker doesn’t want to dwell on the past and is confident another young group can challenge for the title.

The Waratahs won just one of their six matches in Super Rugby before the competition was abandoned due to COVID-19.

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In Super Rugby AU, the team chalked up four victories from eight starts and finished fourth out of five teams.

“This year we’ve got about 11 guys who made their debuts last year, so we’re expecting some exciting things from some of the players,” Whitaker said.

New recruit Izaia Perese, a Wallabies squad member for the spring tour of 2016 who then defected to rugby league, has impressed NSW coaching staff and will push for a start in round one.

“He’s been really good and adds a lot of excitement,” Whitaker said. “He is the type of guy who just loves playing footy and he gives us a lot of energy. Foot-wise, you can see why he got a taste of being in a Wallabies squad when he was very young. He’s a very talented player.

“He’s still learning the systems here and how we do things but I expect some positive things from him this year.”

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Kenney wants ‘reprisals’ for blocking Keystone — but what are Canada’s options?


When U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the presidential permit enabling construction of the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney suggested the future of this project could still be up for negotiation, if only the federal government would get tough.

And if U.S. Democrats want to move on and not continue what Kenney called “a constructive and respectful dialogue” about the energy and environmental issues the project raises?

“Then it is clear that the government of Canada must impose meaningful trade and economic sanctions in response to defend our country’s vital economic interests,” he told reporters. “Not doing so would create a dangerous precedent.”

In an interview Thursday with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Kenney said he was worried about the precedent that could be set for other pipeline projects if the Americans start retroactively repealing permits.

“The Biden administration refuses to give this country sufficient respect to hear us out on this pipeline. In that policy context then, yes, there absolutely must be reprisals,” he said. “We need to stand up for ourselves.”

WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa ‘folded’ on Keystone

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the federal government ‘folded’ in response to U.S President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline. 2:14

But what does Kenney mean by “reprisals”? What’s legally possible? And what’s wise, at this point in Canada’s relationship with a new administration?

Let’s start with the most obvious legal path: seeking damages under Chapter 11 of the original North American Free Trade Agreement.

New NAFTA protects ‘legacy investments’ 

After the Obama administration blocked Keystone’s permit, its owner — then called TransCanada — used NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process to seek $15 billion in damages.

The company later dropped its case when U.S. President Donald Trump reversed the decision. 

Critics of Chapter 11 proceedings say governments should not be constrained in their ability to regulate in the public interest by the threat of lawsuits from corporate investors.

The new NAFTA tried to address this, with stronger measures on the environment and weaker investor protections.

Canada and the U.S. agreed, however, that their ISDS process would continue for three more years, offering “legacy investors” like TC Energy some continued protection.

Because of its $1.5 billion equity stake, the province of Alberta could join the company’s action and try to recoup its own losses. Kenney told Power & Politics he believes Alberta’s case is strong.

But it isn’t a slam dunk. Both TC Energy and the Alberta government could have anticipated that Trump would lose the election and their permit could be revoked. Democratic pledges to block the pipeline should have factored into their investment risk calculations.

On the other hand, Biden wasn’t deterred by the risk of re-igniting a legal case by re-revoking the permit.

“It does set an unfortunate precedent and possibly even has a cooling effect on this type of investment, so I do think Canada should fight hard for this,” trade lawyer John Boscariol told CBC News.

A settlement that compensates for costs and future lost profits could be pricey for the American taxpayer, but it would not reverse Biden’s decision.

Biden acted on ‘climate imperatives’

Chapter 31 of the revised NAFTA also has a state-to-state dispute settlement process — for the times when one country feels another isn’t keeping its commitments.

The U.S. recently initiated a Chapter 31 consultation on Canadian dairy import regulations. Could this executive order on Keystone trigger a Chapter 31 complaint by Canada?

When President Barack Obama made his move, TransCanada argued that Congress, not the president, has the proper constitutional authority to regulate pipeline projects.

Since Democrats will control both the Senate and the House for the next several years, it’s not clear there’s any point in reviving that argument now.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, meeting with Joe Biden in Ottawa in 2016. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

Has the U.S. violated anything in the new NAFTA? That’s also unclear, especially since one of the goals of its do-over was to give governments more power to regulate or legislate in areas like the environment.

Biden’s executive order said the pipeline “disserves the national interest” because the U.S. and the world are facing a climate crisis, and domestic efforts to reduce harmful emissions “must go hand in hand with U.S. diplomatic engagement” as it exercises “vigorous climate leadership.”

“Leaving the Keystone XL permit in place would not be consistent with my administration’s economic and climate imperatives,” it said.

Reacting to the executive order, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t mention any perceived violations of U.S. trade commitments and made no threats.

“While we welcome the president’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the president’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” the prime minister said in his statement Wednesday evening.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng’s office said Thursday that stands as the federal government’s official response.

So what about ‘sanctions’?

Punishing countries that threatened American industries was a feature of Trump’s trade policy.

His administration’s use of “national security” as justification for tariffs on sensitive global commodities like steel and aluminum was denounced as an abuse of measures intended only for emergency situations, such as wars. 

Protecting domestic companies from harm may be important politically, but it’s not “urgent” in a way global trading rules allow.

Retaliation is sanctioned as a remedy following the successful arbitration of a dispute. Even then, it’s meant to be proportionate to the damage done.

When the Trump administration was lashing out with tariffs, Canada joined other countries in demanding a return to “rules-based trade.” 

Canada has tried to play a leadership role on reforms to make the World Trade Organization more effective in resolving disputes.

So it’s difficult to imagine the Trudeau government striking back at Biden’s order with sanctions, however strongly Alberta’s premier insists on retaliation.

While Kenney may resent the fact that steel and auto workers were supported with retaliatory tariffs, while oil and gas workers apparently won’t see the same, the United States’ behaviour in the two cases isn’t really comparable. The steel tariffs were condemned as illegal under global trading rules. Biden’s executive order is not.

Any improvised tariffs Canada could consider now would amount to more taxes on Canadian consumers, at a time when the government wants the economy to grow, not recede further. Lashing out in some other tit-for-tat regulatory fashion to harm the U.S. would most certainly be called out and punished.

Trade wars are not — as Trump once famously suggested — easy to win. Particularly with a much-larger neighbour you need to work with on other files.

“We are going to focus on all of the areas of cooperation,” Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau told Power & Politics Wednesday. “When you develop a relationship with somebody, you take into consideration everything, and there are going to be areas where we have a difference of opinion.”



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Exclusive: Hedge fund Third Point urges Intel to explore deal options



FILE PHOTO: The Intel logo is shown at E3, the world’s largest video game industry convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

January 4, 2021

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Activist hedge fund Third Point LLC is pushing Intel Corp to explore strategic alternatives, including whether it should keep chip design and production under one roof, according to a letter it sent to the company’s chairman on Tuesday that was reviewed by Reuters.

Were it to gain traction, Third Point’s push for changes could lead to a major shakeup at Intel, which has been slow to respond to investor calls to outsource more of its manufacturing capacity. It could also lead to the unwinding of some of its acquisitions, such as the $16.7 billion purchase of programmable chip maker Altera in 2015.

Third Point Chief Executive Daniel Loeb wrote to Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak calling for immediate action to boost the company’s position as a major provider of processor chips for PCs and data centers. The New York-based fund has amassed a nearly $1 billion stake in Intel, according to people familiar with the matter.

Intel shares rose 6.1% to $49.95, the most in more than eight months on the news, giving the company a market value of more than $200 billion. The stock had declined about 21% this year, compared with a 43% rise in the Nasdaq Composite Index.

Intel’s most urgent task was addressing its “human capital management issue,” as many of its talented chip designers have fled, “demoralized by the status quo,” Loeb wrote in the letter.

Intel has lost its pole position in microprocessor manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Loeb wrote in the letter.

Intel is also losing market share in its core PC and data center markets to Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Loeb added. NVIDIA Corp is dominating computational models used in artificial intelligence applications, while Intel has been largely absent in this nascent market, according to the letter.

“Without immediate change at Intel, we fear that America’s access to leading-edge semiconductor supply will erode, forcing the U.S. to rely more heavily on a geopolitically unstable East Asia to power everything from PCs to data centers to critical infrastructure and more,” Loeb wrote.

In a short statement, the Santa Clara, California-based company said, “Intel welcomes input from all investors regarding enhanced shareholder value. In that spirit, we look forward to engaging with Third Point LLC on their ideas towards that goal.”

Loeb asked Intel to retain an investment adviser to evaluate strategic alternatives, including whether it should remain an integrated device manufacturer and the potential divestment of failed acquisitions, according to the letter. Third Point believes that Intel should consider separating its chip design from its semiconductor fabrication plant manufacturing operations, according to the sources. This could include a joint venture in manufacturing, according to sources.

Intel customers, such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, are developing their own in-house silicon solutions and sending those designs to be manufactured in East Asia, Loeb wrote. He suggested Intel must offer new solutions to retain these customers rather than have them send their manufacturing away.

Third Point, which has $15 billion in assets under management, has experience in pushing companies to pursue deals, including at Prudential Plc, Yum! Brands Inc, Dow Chemical and United Technologies. The firm’s Third Point Offshore fund was up 19.9% for the year through the middle of December, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Loeb said in the letter that Third Point reserved the option to submit nominees for election to Intel’s board at its next annual meeting, should it sense “a reluctance to work together to address the concerns” it raised.

OUTSOURCING MANUFACTURING

The COVID-19 pandemic has given Intel a boost in the form or surging laptop sales, as employees and students work and learn from home. But the company has failed to capitalize on strong demand for semiconductors more broadly, needed to power everything from smartphones to artificial intelligence.

This is because Intel’s in-house manufacturing capabilities have often struggled with the customized chips its clients want. The ability of its rivals to use a wide network of suppliers also results in many of its offerings lagging its rivals in speed and energy consumption.

Splitting its design and manufacturing operations could help it produce better chips at a lower cost by tapping outside vendors to make its most advanced central processors, a step executives have long resisted.

But selling Intel’s factories, or even opening them up more to contract manufacturing, could pose a challenge because they are geared toward its own design process, rather than broader industry standards that other companies follow.

U.S. national security concerns could present another obstacle to a potential divestment. Intel’s most formidable manufacturing rivals – TSMC and Samsung – have their manufacturing base overseas, and it is unclear whether regulators would approve a sale of any of Intel’s chipmaking operations to a foreign entity, given its central role in the supply chain.

Intel named its former chief financial officer, Bob Swan, chief executive last year. In June, it lost one of its veteran chip designers, Jim Keller, over a dispute on whether the company should outsource more of its production, sources said at the time.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Jonathan Oatis)



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