Commission lifts directive on use of funds

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THE Ombudsman Commission has lifted its directive on the use of public funds issues before the general election.
Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick said the directive was to protect public funds from being abused.
“We may not have accomplished 100 per cent result on our intentions but the commission is satisfied that it has performed its duty in the best interest of everyone,” Dick said.
“By this notice, the 49 MPs who have retrained their seats will long no longer seek clearance from the commission for their payments. They can now continue their business as usual.
“For our newly-elected  MPs, they need to organise their houses before we can lift the direction. We have decided to bring forward the deadline to September 6 instead of September 30,” he said.
He warned that anyone defying the directive could be prosecuted.
“If there are any payments made from the accounts which holds the funds for which our direction is focusing on, and have not come through the arrangements that we have in place, if such funds or payments are established, this would be a defiance of this lawful direction,” he said.


Source  :  The National


Baby saved, mum thankful

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A mother of a set of twin is thankful to a Chinese medical team and local doctors and nurses for a successful surgery to remove a large growth on the head of one of her baby girls.
Lucy Solomon, from Wabag, Enga, gave birth to twins but one of them had a growth at the back of head which was discovered in June.
Consultant neurosurgeon, Dr Huang Jingrui said the baby was born with congenital meningeal encephalocele and she would have died without this operation.
After the operation, the surgical incision did not heal very well due to poor nutrition.
However, Huang kept on cleaning the wound and changing the dressings for a month and the wound was healed and she was discharged last Friday.
The baby’s mother showed great gratitude to Dr Huang for his hard work and asked him to name the baby.
Huang gladly named the baby Mulan, the name of a Chinese ancient heroine who took the place of her father to fight against invaders and became a general in the end.
“She is a symbol of bravery and strength in the Chinese culture,” Dr Huang said.
“I hope the baby can defeat the disease bravely as Mulan.”
Huang is the member of the 8th China Medical Team comprised of a cardiologist and a team leader Dr Ke Dazhi, urologisits Dr Zhao Tao and Dr Xiao Weizhong, radiologist Dr Huang Xing Tao, anaesthetist Dr Yang Hongjun and surgical nurses Lu Jing and Tang Wanli.
He said the team was very happy that the name would be a connection to a Papua New Guinea family and many more connections in the future through better and quality healthcare given to locals.
The team arrived in April this year to share their experience, skills and knowledge in surgery in Port Moresby General Hospital and to work hand in hand with local doctors and nurses. Team leader and cardiologist Dr Ke Dazhi said it was an extensive cooperation and training partnership between the Chinese and the PNG governments, via the Department of Health and the Port Moresby General Hospital.


Source  :  The National

City residents will observe prayer day with gospel band

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PORT Moresby residents will be treated to a National Repentance Day concert at the Sir John Guise Stadium featuring Australian band Planetshakers.
The three-night concert starts tonight and ends on Sunday.
National Repentance Day will be observed tomorrow and is a pubic holiday.
Lead male vocalist Joth Hunt said the band would release a single called “We believe” which was dedicated to the people of PNG.
“We wanted to make it a song that would give the people of PNG something to grab hold of and sing and declare over this nation,” Hunt said.
The song will be recorded live during the concert and released on YouTube in a few months’ time.
“The song is full of positivity and that everybody can relate to,” Hunt said.
“We wanted to create a song that could be played on the radio which people who don’t know the Lord can really relate to the lyrics. The style of the song is current and modern.
“Our aim is to get everyone involved, every culture involved. We are not just targeting teenagers.
“We just want to write music that inspires people to praise God, have a good time, celebrate and have fun. That’s what we believe praising God should be.”
International director of the Planetshakers church and director of the Believe campaign to PNG Pastor Neil Smith said the concert was part of the campaign leading up to the National Repentance Day.
Smith, whose wife Leonie was born to missionary parents in Wewak, East Sepik said they were expecting a crowd of  between 60,000 and 100,000.
The 10-member band includes Hunt and Pastor Sam Evens as the lead vocalists.
Tickets are on sale at all Big Rooster outlets for K6.


Source  :  The National

The Shoe Project launches with 579 shoes to represent every suicide last year

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Empty shoes symbolising the 579 people who fell victim to suicide last year are making their way from the top and bottom of the country to end up on Parliament’s steps.

The Shoe Project will kick off on Sunday in Aotea Square, Whangarei and Invercargill with 579 pairs of shoes each.

The footwear will travel around the country before ending up on Parliament’s steps on September 10. A public meeting will be held the day after for bereaved families to talk about the change they want to see in the presence of politicians.

Recycle Boutique manager Lisa Wright has lost four young family members to suicide as well as her partner’s older brother. They were all young men and she’s passionate about speaking out to help them.

“It’s a horrible thing. So many people I know have ended their life.

“No one wants to talk about it, it’s such a taboo and stigma… There’s just not enough help out there to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

Wright’s workplace donated shoes to the project and Wright herself will be at the event on Sunday.

More than 200 families who have personally felt the devastation of suicide are involved in the campaign.

Project spokesman Simon Oosterman said they are campaigning for a suicide prevention target and an independent inquiry into the country’s mental health crisis.

“Not many people realise 579 people [committed suicide] in 2016, that’s a record number. When you see it it really hits you how many people we’re missing. It can be distressing for people but we need to talk about it.

“The majority of people who commit suicide need help and it’s not there.”

Three mums who lost their young sons to suicide have written an open letter in support of Yes We Care’s six election pledges. One of those mums, Patrice Harrex, lost her 25-year-old son Brad Anderson when he was released from hospital despite saying he wanted to take his own life. Two days later he was dead.

“If I was the health minister I would be hanging my head in shame and pulling my hair out thinking ‘what the hell are we going to do about this?,” Harrex said. “It’s time for action.”

The letter urged the Government to acknowledge there was a mental health crisis, provide support and do something about it.

Budget 2017 has set aside an extra $224 million for mental health, including $124m for new approaches.

Prime Minister Bill English recently advocated for online therapy to address the country’s high suicide rate.

The shoes will be set up for the project’s launch at Auckland’s Aotea Square, Whangarei’s Canopy Bridge and at the Gala St entrance to Queens Park in Invercargill at midday on Sunday. The footwear will be blessed at Bluff and Cape Reinga with the bereaved families in a private ceremony on Saturday.

Yes We Care’s six election pledges

​• Set a suicide reduction target
​• Hold a mental health inquiry
​• Restore $2.3b in health funding
​• Increase primary health, GP funding
​• Commit to safe staffing
​• Make every home healthy

Where to get help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.


Source  :  New Zealand Herald

Weird Science: A drug for exercise?

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Scientists have found a protein that’s able to detect a change in blood flow during exercise – and could point the way to a new Star Wars-inspired drug that offers a workout’s benefits.

During physical activity, as the heart pumps more blood around the body, the Piezo1 protein in the endothelium – or the lining of the arteries taking blood from the heart to the stomach and intestines – senses the increased pressure on the wall of the blood vessels.

In response, it slightly alters the electrical balance in the endothelium and this results in the blood vessels constricting.

In a clever act of plumbing, that narrowing of the blood vessels reduces blood flow to the stomach and intestines, allowing more blood to reach the brain and muscles actively engaged in exercise.

The research team behind the findings, based on mice studies, say this is a big deal because it identifies for the first time a key biomolecular mechanism by which exercise is sensed.

They believe the health benefit of exercise may be linked with the fact that blood flow is being controlled to the intestinal area.

“If we can understand how these systems work, then we may be able to develop techniques that can help tackle some of the biggest diseases afflicting modern societies,” said the study’s lead author Professor David Beech, of UK’s University of Leeds.

“We know that exercise can protect against heart disease, stroke and many other conditions.

“This study has identified a physiological system that senses when the mammalian body is exercising.”

The researchers also investigated the effect of an experimental compound called Yoda1 – named after the character from Star Wars – on the action of the Piezo1 protein.



Source  :  New Zealand Herald

Taskforce Ghost: Exposing Auckland’s underbelly

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Special investigation: How an undercover agent infiltrated the casino VIP lounge and led police to a sprawling underworld network flooding Auckland with drugs.

Felix Lim had fingers in lots of pies.

The businessman ran a decorating crew, painting and plastering homes around Auckland.
He bought and sold New Zealand wine.

He enjoyed gambling, either a flutter on the horses, or at one of SkyCity casino’s VIP rooms.

There he talked of importing expensive European cars cheaply from a bankrupt business in Malaysia and dabbling in the sale – and use – of sex pills made from ginseng and tiger testicles.

Police suspected the 55-year-old was on the periphery of a criminal network distributing pseudoephedrine, a Class B drug used to make methamphetamine, across the city.

But never in their wildest dreams could drug squad detectives imagine the wheeler-dealer would unwittingly help them dismantle a sprawling syndicate smuggling “pink”, as criminals call it.

Most of the individuals identified had never been in trouble with the police, or even on their radar.

Two inquiry teams under the umbrella of Taskforce Ghost worked their way up from Lim, who acted as a broker.

They listened to his phone calls to identify key players in each network and gather evidence against them.

Each team seized a cache of the pink granules weighing around 250kg.


Source  :  New Zealand Herald

Bugging at Christchurch Men’s Prison to be referred to police

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An investigation into unauthorised bugging at Christchurch Men’s Prison is being referred to police.

A report by Corrections is understood to have found that prison staff used covert listening devices to intercept private communications.

Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota told the Herald the report made “extremely serious allegations that will result in employment action” as well as the referral to police.

She said prison director John Roper and two other senior staff from the prison had been on special leave since the review got under way and had not returned to work.

“A review into compliance with specific security procedures began at Christchurch Men’s Prison in May, led by the department’s director of intelligence and operations, and police were made aware of this work,” she said.

“There was no suggestion that the prison’s security had been compromised in any way.”

She thanked the staff who came forward to contribute to what was “an extremely thorough review”.

“As part of this process some staff were recently given excerpts from the review which related to them, so they could provide comment,” she said.

“The report will also be referred to police.

“We demand a high standard of conduct and integrity from all employees, and if any staff don’t meet the standards required of them then we take appropriate action.”

Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander, confirmed tonight police were aware of the Corrections investigation.

“Should the information relating to this investigation be referred to police we will assess and review, then determine the next appropriate steps.”

Fairfax said a snapshot of the draft report found “clear evidence” security staff at the prison bought eight covert listening devices from October 2014 to August 2016 and used them to intercept private communications – described as a breach of the Crimes and Corrections acts and Corrections regulations.

“According to the report, 16 staff – the Site Emergency Response Team of elite guards and several dog handlers – told investigators they were instructed to use the devices by senior staff and a manager whose name is redacted,” the agency said.

“They did not consider the legality of their actions and assumed they were authorised.”

Fairfax reported that the covert operations extended to allowing prisoners access to cellphones and using covert listening devices, both of which are unauthorised in a prison.

It said the draft report found that “management of security operations was poor and in some cases unlawful”.

“The review team identified a lack of: record keeping, risk assessments, adherence to legislation, regulations, policy and procedure and a lack of accountability and oversight.”

The agency said the report also found that covert cameras were used, mainly in the area “outside the prison building perimeter and around the boundary fence”, to identify where contraband was being dropped at night.

“Legal advice showed no breach of legislation, but ‘the activity should have been better managed and higher approval sought,'” Fairfax reported.


Source  :  New Zealand Herald