Weekend News Tidbits from Australia (24 Jan to 30 Jan)

  It’s been quite an exciting week all over Australia, with memories of Australia Day festivities still pretty clear in everyone’s minds.   Aside from all the partying and the fireworks, quite a lot of other things happened around the continent this week. Here are some of them.  

Australia Day Google Doodle Remembers the Aboriginals

  Ineka Voigt, a student at Canberra High School, created this beautiful masterpiece entitled Stolen Dreamtime. She says that she believes Australia should not just be celebrating Australia’s achievements during this public holiday, it should also be recognizing the tragedies of the past.   Of course, she does not mean for it to be a call for anything negative, but rather, a symbol of reconciliation.   Google's Australia Day doodle   The Google Doodle featured three indigenous Australians, two children and a woman. A tearful eye was also used to illustrate the letter ‘e’ on the search engine’s name.   For a glimpse at Tuesday’s Google Doodle, you can check out the details here.  

Trials for the Opt-Out E-Health Site Start this Week

  The federal government introduced a bill that enables health authorities to automatically create online health accounts for Australians last year, and trials for the new system are commencing this week. An opt-out option is given.   As for the first Australians in line, the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network and the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network were first to sign up the locals for each of their own My Health Record.   These default accounts to be provided to each resident will contain their names, addresses, and health identification numbers. These pieces of information will be pulled out from their Medicare information.   As for those who choose to opt out of the system, their names will be removed before the national rollout.  

Bill Shorten Calls Out US Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz Misrepresenting the Success of Australia’s Gun Laws

  Texas Senator Ted Cruz is under fire for commenting that the gun legislation after a Port Arthur massacre showed that women are generally unable to defend themselves when in danger of being raped.   He was interviewed on the radio show of celebrated American host Hugh Hewitt earlier this month. Cruz further claimed that the rate of sexual assaults and rapes significantly increased after Australia did the gun buyback program.   Ted Cruz and Bill Shorten   Opposition Leader Bill Shorten immediately sent the senator a letter, saying that the latter’s claims were offensive and incorrect. He said that putting stricter gun ownership laws in place was the right thing to do, and that the move did not increase the rate of violent crimes as the Senator claims.   He also asked the Senator to stop misrepresenting the successful gun reforms in Australia as a misguided defense of their own gun laws in the US.  

Australian Travelers Returning from South America Found Positive with Zika Virus

  As global awareness about the Zika virus is increased, Australian travelers who came from South America were found to be positive with the mush talked-about virus.   However, it is still unsure whether there is a possibility of the virus spreading as it would still need the right kind of mosquito to act as a carrier. Such a mosquito, however, can be found in far north Queensland. Experts are still unsure how other Australian mosquitoes will impact the spread of the virus.   Aedes aegypti species mosquito   The Zika virus is linked to a fetal deformation known as microcephaly where babies are born with unusually small brains.   The carriers would often have no special symptoms that would alert them of the presence of the virus as its usual symptoms could be easily dismissed as a case of flu. Once the carrier bears a child and gives birth however, that’s where the worst is often confirmed.   Because of this, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a warning advising Australians to think twice before travelling to any of the 22 countries majorly affected by the virus. This warning is especially firmer for pregnant women.

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