Serotonin keeps mice waiting longer for food, depending on where in the brain it’s released — ScienceDaily


We’ve all been there. Whether we’re stuck in traffic at the end of a long day, or eagerly anticipating the release of a new book, film or album, there are times when we need to be patient. Learning to suppress the impulse for instant gratification is often vital for future success, but how patience is regulated in the brain remains poorly understood.

Now, in a study on mice conducted by the Neural Computation Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), the authors, Dr. Katsuhiko Miyazaki and Dr. Kayoko Miyazaki, pinpoint specific areas of the brain that individually promote patience through the action of serotonin. Their findings were published 27th November in Science Advances.

“Serotonin is one of the most famous neuromodulators of behavior, helping to regulate mood, sleep-wake cycles and appetite,” said Dr. Katsuhiko Miyazaki. “Our research shows that release of this chemical messenger also plays a crucial role in promoting patience, increasing the time that mice are willing to wait for a food reward.”

Their most recent work draws heavily on previous research, where the unit used a powerful technique called optogenetics — using light to stimulate specific neurons in the brain — to establish a causal link between serotonin and patience.

The scientists bred genetically engineered mice which had serotonin-releasing neurons that expressed a light-sensitive protein. This meant that the researchers could stimulate these neurons to release serotonin at precise times by shining light, using an optical fiber implanted in the brain.

The researchers found that stimulating these neurons while the mice were waiting for food increased their waiting time, with the maximum effect seen when the probability of receiving a reward was high but when the timing of the reward was uncertain.

“In other words, for the serotonin to promote patience, the mice had to be confident that a reward would come but uncertain about when it would arrive,” said Dr. Miyazaki.

In the previous study, the scientists focused on an area of the brain called the dorsal raphe nucleus — the central hub of serotonin-releasing neurons. Neurons from the dorsal raphe nucleus reach out into other areas of the forebrain and in their most recent study, the scientists explored specifically which of these other brain areas contributed to regulating patience.

The team focused on three brain areas that had been shown to increase impulsive behaviors when they were damaged — a deep brain structure called the nucleus accumbens, and two parts of the frontal lobe called the orbitofrontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex.

“Impulse behaviors are intrinsically linked to patience — the more impulsive an individual is, the less patient — so these brain areas were prime candidates,” explained Dr. Miyazaki.

Good things come to those who wait (or not…)

In the study, the scientists implanted optical fibers into the dorsal raphe nucleus and also one of either the nucleus accumbens, the orbitofrontal cortex, or the medial prefrontal cortex.

The researchers trained mice to perform a waiting task where the mice held with their nose inside a hole, called a “nose poke,” until a food pellet was delivered. The scientists rewarded the mice in 75% of trials. In some test conditions, the timing of the reward was fixed at six or ten seconds after the mice started the nose poke and in other test conditions, the timing of the reward varied.

In the remaining 25% of trials, called the omission trials, the scientists did not provide a food reward to the mice. They measured how long the mice continued performing the nose poke during omission trials — in other words, how patient they were — when serotonin-releasing neurons were and were not stimulated.

When the researchers stimulated serotonin-releasing neural fibers that reached into the nucleus accumbens, they found no increase in waiting time, suggesting that serotonin in this area of the brain has no role in regulating patience.

But when the scientists stimulated serotonin release in the orbitofrontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex while the mice were holding the nose poke, they found the mice waited longer, with a few crucial differences.

In the orbitofrontal cortex, release of serotonin promoted patience as effectively as serotonin activation in the dorsal raphe nucleus; both when reward timing was fixed and when reward timing was uncertain, with stronger effects in the latter.

But in the medial prefrontal cortex, the scientists only saw an increase in patience when the timing of the reward was varied, with no effect observed when the timing was fixed.

“The differences seen in how each area of the brain responded to serotonin suggests that each brain area contributes to the overall waiting behavior of the mice in separate ways,” said Dr. Miyazaki.

Modelling patience

To investigate this further, the scientists constructed a computational model to explain the waiting behavior of the mice.

The model assumes that the mice have an internal model of the timing of reward delivery and keep estimating the probability that a reward will be delivered. They can therefore judge over time whether they are in a reward or non-reward trial and decide whether or not to keep waiting. The model also assumes that the orbitofrontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex use different internal models of reward timing, with the latter being more sensitive to variations in timing, to calculate reward probabilities individually.

The researchers found that the model best fitted the experimental data of waiting time by increasing the expected reward probability from 75% to 94% under serotonin stimulation. Put more simply, serotonin increased the mice’s belief that they were in a reward trial, and so they waited longer.

Importantly, the model showed that stimulation of the dorsal raphe nucleus increased the probability from 75% to 94% in both the orbital frontal cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex, whereas stimulation of the brain areas separately only increased the probability in that particular area.

“This confirmed the idea that these two brain areas are calculating the probability of a reward independently from each other, and that these independent calculations are then combined to ultimately determine how long the mice will wait,” explained Dr. Miyazaki. “This sort of complementary system allows animals to behave more flexibly to changing environments.”

Ultimately, increasing our knowledge of how different areas of the brain are more or less affected by serotonin could have vital implications in future development of drugs. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are drugs that boost levels of serotonin in the brain and are used to treat depression.

“This is an area we are keen to explore in the future, by using depression models of mice,” said Dr. Miyazaki. “We may find under certain genetic or environmental conditions that some of these identified brain areas have altered functions. By pinning down these regions, this could open avenues to provide more targeted treatments that act on specific areas of the brain, rather than the whole brain.”



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As summer arrives, Sydney’s flying foxes are waiting for their sprinklers


Flying Fox Supporters Australia founder Jillian Snell is concerned about the time it has taken to modify the plan. “I don’t want thousands of bats to die this summer because of bureaucratic red tape,” she said. “The sprinklers sit on the surface of the trees. It’s improbable they’ll have any effect on the landscape.”

It is estimated about 100,000 Australian bats perished in the last bushfire season due to the extreme heat, fire, and depleted food supply. There are just 300,000 grey-headed flying foxes left nationwide and they are endangered.

In December 2019, 5000 of Victoria’s Yarra Bend Park’s 30,000 flying foxes perished in a single heatwave. Within three months, the park responded by erecting canopy sprayers so the bats could keep cool.

Scientists estimate up to 30 per cent of the flying-fox habitat was destroyed in last year’s east-coast bushfires.

The grey-headed flying fox plays a pivotal role in Australia’s biodiversity by pollinating the land and regenerating our forests. Unlike smaller pollinators such as birds and bees, flying foxes can spread large seeds and transport pollen over vast distances.

Grey-headed flying foxes at Melbourne's Yarra Bend Park. The mammals are among the many threatened or endangered species in the midst of our biggest cities.

Grey-headed flying foxes at Melbourne’s Yarra Bend Park. The mammals are among the many threatened or endangered species in the midst of our biggest cities.Credit:Joe Armao

The University of Sydney’s School of Biological Sciences associate Dr Kerryn Parry-Jones said “water sprinklers placed up trees is an extremely efficient method of spraying flying-foxes during a heat stress intervention”, and “considerable” death happens when intervention does not occur.

Although Parramatta’s flying foxes roost in trees on either side of the river, in extreme heat they are not able to successfully cool themselves by skimming the body of water without getting heatstroke.

Despite their similar make-ups, Yarra Bend and Parramatta Park have different flying-fox protection mechanisms. Yarra Bend’s sprinklers cover 20-30 per cent of the park. It has ground sprayers to dampen vegetation and lower the ambient temperature, mid-level canopy sprayers to cool the non-juvenile flying-foxes, and over-canopy sprayers which allow the bats to fly through and cool off during the day.

Ms Snell cannot reconcile why Parramatta has not been similarly proactive but acknowledges there are multiple stakeholders affected by the sprinkler plan.

“It’s not that Parramatta Park doesn’t want the sprinklers but they’re not the only body who has land where the colony roosts, there’s Parramatta Council, there’s the Park Trust, there’s Cumberland Hospital, there’s Infrastructure NSW. I understand they must all be consulted but we need to act fast,” she said.

A spokesperson for Parramatta Park’s Trust said it is looking closely at a range of sprinkler systems, including the Yarra Bend system and intends to “mimic” the way it works upon completion of their investigation.

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The rookie list can’t become football’s waiting room


In 2021 four-time premiership Lion Grant Birchall, Gold Coast games record holder Jarrod Harbrow and Sydney premiership player turned Giant Shane Mumford will triumph too, with their persistence paying off with a spot on their club’s rookie list.

These ridiculous anomalies came about on Wednesday because the AFL decided at the last minute to allow clubs to transfer two players previously on their primary list to their rookie list. As a result, clubs sent players south to the rookie list like migratory birds.

The affect on the experienced players is minimal as those who were already signed for 2021 as primary list players – such as Betts – earn the same money as they would have regardless of which list they sit on. Others being re-rookied might be on minimum wages as they take the only option available.

Giving Betts the chance to become the first player to graduate directly from a rookie list to the Australian Football Hall of Fame is not what anyone in the game wants.

Shifting players from list to list is not without risk for clubs, as other clubs can poach the players involved and sign them as delisted free agents until December 1. If no one comes knocking the players will automatically become rookies without having to be drafted via the rookie draft.

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Everyone involved knows the shift makes a mockery of the word rookie and runs counter to the original intent of the rookie list, which was introduced in 1997 to “encourage the development and recruitment of players from outside normal player pathways”.

It also diminishes the romance of the rookie who overcomes a tough start to flourish, with players such as Dean Cox, Brett Kirk, Aaron Sandilands, Matt Priddis, Stephen Milne and Nick Maxwell all emerging from a rookie list, and Melbourne supporters chipping in to get Aaron Davey a spot on their club’s rookie list.

But it is a rule change clubs have wanted, lobbying the AFL to alter it for at least the past five years.

They finally won an agreement from the AFL because of the reduction in list sizes, brought about by the drop in revenues caused by COVID-19, and the difficulty in balancing the books with commitments made when the salary cap figure was expected to be higher.

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The rule means clubs can have a maximum of six rookies and therefore $480,000 ($80,000 per player) sitting outside their TPP. This gives more spots to more players and increases the wages of some players.

It also stops the rookie draft becoming full of recycled players. Some estimate that without a rule change 90 per cent of players called out in the 2020 rookie draft would have been re-rookied players, with the rookie draft in recent years being clogged with re-rookied players.

But there is a cost to following such logic that doesn’t show up on list lodgement forms.

Clubs will be hardly doing what Maxwell used to do when he was Magpies skipper and sitting the wide-eyed rookies down and telling them they had as much right to play senior football as the top 10 draft picks on the list.

In 2010 he won a premiership alongside former rookies Heritier Lumumba, Alan Toovey, Jarryd Blair, Sharrod Wellingham, Brent Macaffer and Darren Jolly.

They are more likely to hand out a pair of slippers.

Fans want hope so the word rookie is shown some respect, symbolising new players in a hurry to get somewhere rather than players sitting in football’s waiting room.

Pragmatism rules in 2020 but the AFL knows the issue needs to be addressed and will review it next year. Giving Betts the chance to become the first player to graduate directly from a rookie list to the Australian Football Hall of Fame is not what anyone in the game wants.

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Recounts across the country waiting to be certified


U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a homecoming campaign rally at the BB&T Center on November 26, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:50 PM PT – Saturday, November 21, 2020

Several battleground states are preparing to certify election results for the 2020 election.

Georgia’s governor certified the state’s election results Friday, but did not endorse them.

During a press conference, Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state had finished their count and requested him to certify, which he did. However, he did not endorse those results, but instead called for another hand recount.

The Trump campaign will have until Tuesday to request a recount in Georgia as the vote is within a half-percent.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s most populated county finalized its election results. On Friday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the results of this month’s general election after counting every legal vote.

The county notably saw a massive volume of mail-in ballots. According to reports, nearly half of Maricopa County’s total of 2 million votes were sent by mail.

The Republican-controlled board said it worked with election officials to verify the results as well as answer any questions related to voter fraud or other integrity concerns. Observers from both the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign reportedly oversaw the count.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is expected to certify the results of the state’s votes in early December.

In the meantime, a partial recount is finally underway in Wisconsin. On Friday, election workers took an oath to uphold the Constitution before getting to work on a partial recount in both Dane County and Milwaukee County.

To ensure a fair election, officials will count ballots by hand in the state’s most populous counties as part of a request by President Trump.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is seeking to remove any ballots with mismatching signatures or those with incorrect voter information. Election officials have until December 1 to count the ballots.

RELATED: Trump Campaign Slams Wis. Election Officials Over Recount Fraud





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What you need to know about booking and waiting for results



The pilot scheme has been well received by the people of Liverpool, proven from the long queues outside testing centres.

Liverpool City Council have also announced that testing will be extended to pupils aged 11-18 in 12 secondary schools and one special school.

During a Downing Street press conference on November 9, Mr Johnson urged people in Liverpool to take part in a pilot scheme of mass coronavirus testing in the city.

The Prime Minister told its 500,000 residents to “do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community” in a bid to “drive the disease down”.

And he said the Government was distributing “hundreds of thousands” of rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests to local authorities right across England and the devolved administrations.

Lateral flow tests, with a turnaround time of under an hour, have been available since 6 November for people who live and work in the city and do not have symptoms.

His comments were echoed by Brigadier Joe Fossey, who is coordinating mass testing in Liverpool.

He told the press conference: “Our message to the people of Liverpool is clear: we are set up and ready for you to come and get tested.

“Please do not hesitate.

“Make the most of this opportunity.

“What we are trialling now is a possible route out of lockdown and a way to get on with our lives.”

The call came as the city’s mayor Joe Anderson said 23,170 people have been tested for coronavirus in the city since midday on Friday, with 0.7% testing positive.

Overall, the infection rate in Liverpool as seen a decrease in it’s infection rate – from 700 cases per 100,000 people in mid-October to 300.4 cases per 100,000 people on November 6.

How do I book an NHS test?

The NHS says that from day one to day four of showing symptoms people are able to be tested at a site or at home. 

“If you’re ordering a home test kit on day four, do it by 3pm. On day five, you need to go to a test site. It’s too late to order a home test kit,” the NHS explains.

It says that people are able to order tests for others in their household: “If other people you live with have symptoms, you can order tests for up to three of them.

“If you’re applying for a test for someone else, and the person is aged 13 or over, check they’re happy for you to get a test for them.”

Apply online at www.gov.uk or phone 119 if you have problems using the internet.

How long does the test result take?

A text or email will be sent when results are ready, with most people receiving results the day after the test.

“Some results might take longer, but you should get them in 72 hours,” the NHS says.

“There are three types of results you can get: negative; positive; and unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive.

“If you do not get your result, call the coronavirus testing contact centre on 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland). The contact centre is open from 7am to 11pm.”

What are antibody tests, and can I get one in the UK?

An antibody test is a blood test that checks if someone has had coronavirus. Free antibody testing is not yet widely available.

“It’s currently offered to NHS and care staff, as well as some hospital patients and care home residents,” according to the NHS.

Here’s what the NHS says about the test:

  • An antibody test checks for antibodies in your blood
  • Your body makes antibodies when you get an infection. They help fight the infection
  • If you have coronavirus antibodies in your blood, it’s likely you’ve had the virus before
  • It’s not known if having antibodies stops you getting the virus again

​In late July, The Telegraph reported that the hunt for a “game-changing” antibody test could be over after a version backed by the UK Government passed its first major trials with flying colours.





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AFL guns left waiting on final-day trades


High-profile stars Jeremy Cameron and Adam Treloar headline a host of players left in limbo ahead of Thursday night’s looming AFL trade deadline.

A steady stream of deals were processed on the penultimate day of the annual player exchange period, most notably Adam Saad’s switch from Essendon to arch rivals Carlton.

But Geelong and Greater Western Sydney remain at loggerheads over the asking price for Cameron, with the Cats’ offer of two first-round draft picks not yet considered enough to satisfy the Giants.

Contracted gun Treloar is resigned to leaving Collingwood amid the club’s salary cap squeeze and has met with the Western Bulldogs, but his playing future remains unclear.

Meanwhile, fellow Magpie Jaidyn Stephenson, Josh Dunkley (Bulldogs), Orazio Fantasia (Essendon), Ben Brown (North Melbourne) and Jack Higgins (Richmond) are on a long list of players still waiting to learn if they will land at new homes.

Most clubs are active in negotiations as Thursday’s 7.30pm AEDT deadline draws nearer.

On Wednesday, Saad became a Carlton player after protracted negotiations finally resulted in the Blues and Essendon agreeing on a trade for the dashing defender.

The Bombers received Carlton’s prized pick eight as well as a fourth-round selection for Saad, who wanted out after three seasons at Essendon.

Along with the 26-year-old, the Bombers packaged up pick 48 and 78 to send to Carlton.

“Few in the competition are better to watch when in full flight than Adam and we can’t wait to see his electrifying pace added to our backline,” Blues list manager Nick Austin said.

Essendon are boasting about having picks six, seven and eight after not having used a first-round selection since 2016.

But they may have to use one or more of those if they are to secure Dunkley, who has formally requested a move to the Bombers, or GWS youngster Jye Caldwell.

“We now have three top-10 draft picks for this year’s AFL national draft, which is a very strong position to be in, particularly with the calibre of this year’s draft class,” Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro said.

In other moves, Port Adelaide secured versatile Sydney tall Aliir Aliir for a future second-round pick and Geelong added classy midfielder Shaun Higgins in exchange for pick 30.

A dual best-and-fairest winner at North Melbourne, Higgins lands at his third club and will help the Cats’ push to go one better after losing this year’s grand final to Richmond.

The former Western Bulldog will be 33 by the time the 2021 season begins and joins Hawthorn premiership hero Isaac Smith as veterans to have arrived at Kardinia Park during this off-season.

“Shaun is a very talented and accomplished player and he can fill a number of roles,” Geelong list manager Stephen Wells said.

“We are looking forward to seeing him in Geelong colours.”

Geelong also settled speedster Nakia Cockatoo’s trade to the Brisbane Lions for a future third-round pick and fringe player Lachie Fogarty’s move to Carlton.

The Bulldogs picked up Stefan Martin from Brisbane as a ruck partner and mentor for emerging star Tim English.





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UK’s Sunak says no longer waiting for EU on post-Brexit finance rules



FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attends a news conference amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Downing Street in London, Britain, October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool

November 9, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain set out on Monday how it would let European Union financial services firms operate in Britain after a post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31, saying it was no longer waiting for Brussels to decide access to its markets in return.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said it was clear that there were “many areas” where the EU was not prepared to assess Britain’s requests.

“Of course we will always want a constructive and engaged relationship with the European Union,” Sunak told parliament.

“But after four years. I think it is time for us to move forward as a country and do what’s right for the UK to provide certainty and stability to industry and deliver our goal of open, well-regulated markets.”

London and Brussels are still locked in talks about a broad trade deal less than two months before the scheduled end to the transition period.

Access to EU markets for Britain’s huge financial services industry is being treated separately under the bloc’s equivalence system.

Brussels grants access to its markets if rules for foreign financial firms in their home country are deemed to be equivalent or as robust as regulation in the bloc.

Sunak said Britain would grant a package of equivalence decisions across a range of financial activities to the EU and member states of the European Economic Area, regardless of what the bloc eventually decides.

The finance ministry said it was not ruling out further equivalence decisions if they were in Britain’s interests and it remained open to further dialogue with the EU.

“Where others might wish to use equivalence as a political weapon, that won’t be our approach,” Sunak said.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Huw Jones)





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Bus company folds, patients stuck waiting as Mildura remains cut off from its closest capital city


Elderly patients and businesspeople in a regional Victorian community are frustrated at remaining cut off from Adelaide, their closest capital city, even as other travel restrictions begin to be lifted.

While South Australian Premier Steven Marshall this week indicated his state’s hard border with Victoria could be softened in a fortnight’s time, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in South Australia could scotch hopes of an immediate return to normality for those who commute between Mildura and Adelaide.

A backlog of patients in north-west Victoria awaiting medical treatment has been gradually building in the months since South Australia closed its border earlier this year, with visiting specialists refused exemptions from mandatory quarantine requirements on their return home.

Patients in limbo

“More patients are now suffering because of those policies than [COVID-19] itself, and that’s not right,” Dr Arthur Karagiannis, an Adelaide eye surgeon who has been treating people in Mildura since 2004, said.

Many patients with glaucoma, diabetes and cataracts have waited weeks or months to see him; some unable to drive in the meantime.

“The reality is even before COVID, [many of these patients] can’t travel,” Dr Karagiannis said.

“Your postcode should not determine the access of treatment.”

Dr Karagiannis’ applications to be exempt from South Australia’s mandatory quarantine requirements have been rejected, despite including a COVID-safe plan whereby he would stay on the New South Wales side of the Murray River on trips to Mildura, change gowns between patients, and avoid contact even with other clinical staff during break times.

He said medical specialists would “present no material risk to the people of South Australia if we go [to Mildura]”.

“The reason why we’ve become a lot more upset about the decision is we know that an orthodontist has been granted an exemption but not the rest of us and that is just completely outrageous,” Dr Karagiannis said.

“And we can’t get a reply as to why one health professional can go to Mildura and not self-isolate, whereas the rest of us have to self-isolate.”

A spokeswoman for SA Health said: “Exemptions are considered on a case by case basis and take account of local epidemiology including evidence of community transmission,” she said.

Adelaide resident Michael Scheiffers and his partner Claire Aberle say the 14-day quarantine doesn’t work for them as a family.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Christopher Testa)

Quarantine ‘won’t work’ for many

It’s not only medical patients who feel isolated by South Australia’s stance on treating Mildura like the rest of Victoria.

Michael Scheiffers began commuting to Mildura each week from his home in the Adelaide suburb of Aberfoyle Park when he took a job at a motor dealership in the regional centre in July last year.

He hasn’t been able to return to South Australia since authorities revoked his essential worker permit just as Victoria’s second wave began to take hold mid-year.

“I’ve got a 12-year-old daughter in Adelaide, so I haven’t seen her for basically six months out of 10 this year,” Mr Scheiffers said.

Mr Scheiffers described the border block as “incredibly frustrating”, given Mildura has had just one case during Victoria’s second wave.

His partner Claire Aberle decided to join him in Mildura in late August fearing they would otherwise be separated for months.

Staying together away from their Adelaide home has proven costly for the couple, who had to rent a unit in Mildura and buy new whitegoods.

Having now “run out of money”, Ms Aberle will return to Adelaide once the hard border is lifted, even if that means completing 14 days in quarantine.

But Mr Scheiffers’ day job means he has to wait for a fully open border to join her.

“Fourteen-day quarantine doesn’t work for lots of us that work across the border and the more people you talk to, the more people you realise actually do do that,” Mr Scheiffers said.

an elevated shot of the Mildura CBD at dusk with palm trees and the T&G building in the skyline
The regional Victorian city of Mildura is about 150km closer to Adelaide by road than it is to Melbourne.(ABC Mildura-Swan Hill: Sarah Tomlinson)

Bus company pulls pin

Mildura’s only privately-operated bus link to Adelaide, Tambray Coaches, announced its closure mere days before Mr Marshall’s announcement, unable to afford to continue operating amid heavy restrictions.

It was a blow that prompted Mildura’s state MP Ali Cupper to declare her region needed better transport links to Melbourne because it could no longer rely on its historic links to South Australia.

More buoyant is Qantas, which is understood to be preparing to launch direct flights between Mildura and Adelaide once restrictions end.

But Tambray Coaches’ 34-seater bus can only fit 12 passengers under social distancing rules, and South Australia’s requirement for mandatory quarantine when the border does reopen would prevent people making day or weekend trips, at least initially.

“It’s not profitable to be able to run unless there is free travel, no restrictions, between Victoria and South Australia,” coach operator Tony Prowse said.

“All this sort of stuff is still just not enough to be getting excited about for me, and it’s probably too late for me to say I have the reserves to get the business up and running again.



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Quadriplegic pilot still waiting for $5.6m compensation from PNG helicopter company Hevilift


A Victorian man, rendered quadriplegic after a horror helicopter crash in Papua New Guinea, is accusing an international aviation company of failing to pay him millions of dollars in damages.

Bruce Towers now lives in a tiny demountable trailer on a property near Geelong, unable to work and struggling financially due to his disability.

The 69-year-old former pilot suffered spinal injuries in 2006 when the helicopter he was flying crashed into a mountain, killing three passengers on board.

In April this year, the Cairns Supreme Court ordered aviation company Hevilift to pay Mr Towers $5.6 million for failing to provide him with proper flying instruments and warn him about dangerous weather conditions that led to the crash.

Mr Towers said he had not received a cent of what he was owed.

“They have fought me tooth-and-nail all the way to the end … I am peeved off, the fact that they can’t accept it,” he said.

Mr Towers is unable to walk and now requires a wheelchair.

He said the compensation, which he spent 14 years fighting for, would help with medical expenses and allow him to pay back friends he had borrowed money from over the years.

“Money to do things and get by and live life a little bit better. I would like to leave something for people,” Mr Towers said.

His solicitor, Tim Lucey, said Hevilift had ignored correspondence requesting Mr Towers’ compensation be paid.

“We are very concerned that he may not receive any compensation,” Mr Lucey said.

Hevilift declined to comment on the matter because it was appealing to the Supreme Courts to have the damages reduced.

A Bell 206 helicopter owned by the transport company Hevilift sits on the ground.(Supplied: Hevilift Group)

But Mr Lucey said the appeal process did not exempt Hevilift from having to pay the compensation.

“It just calls into question whether they are a fit and proper person — or people — to fly people around,” he said.

Hevilift Limited is a Papua New Guinean company with subsidiaries that operate in Australia, India, Singapore and Thailand.

Mr Lucey said further action would be taken against Hevilift if it did not pay Mr Towers.

“If someone doesn’t have the money to pay due and owing, debt administrators can be appointed to the company to sell assets, to wind it up,” he said.



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