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Dubbo women ahead of the rest in vaccinations

Dubbo teenagers and women have completed their three-dose course of the cervical cancer vaccine – unlike their national sisters.
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New data released by the federal government shows many young girls and women are failing to complete the full course of the cervical cancer vaccine. But the Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice says the response rate for women returning to complete the course in the Dubbo area was “good”.

“In the target age group of 18-25 years of age over 80 per cent are having all three doses of the vaccine,” Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice immunisation manager Anne Vail said.

“The response rates have been very good.”

Government data shows more than 80 per cent of girls aged 12 and 13 years had their first shot in 2009, but by the third dose only 73 per cent were taking part.

The data, which was released on April 4, showed 38 per cent of women aged 18-19 and just 30 per cent of women aged 20-26 received all three doses.

Pregnancy and moving away from an area were some of the reasons that may have caused a drop off rate, according to Mrs Vail.

Without all three doses, experts say, girls will have less protection against the two strains of human papilloma virus (hpv), known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

“It’s like any vaccine, some give protection once immunised but some need to be built up and gardasil needs to be built up,” Ms Vail said.

“What we’re concerned about is that there is a decline after each dose,” Cancer Council spokesperson Kate Broun said.

“We’re hearing, anecdotally, that people don’t realise three doses are required with this vaccine. Most states and territories are falling short of the minimum 80 per cent coverage health experts say we should be aiming for if we want to see a marked reduction in cervical cancer incidence”.

The free National HPV Vaccination Program was introduced by the Australian Government in 2007 for women and girls aged 12-26.

Gardasil and Cervarix are the two vaccines listed on the National Immunisation Program.

Extensive trials proved that vaccinating young women with the cervical cancer vaccine was likely to significantly reduce cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths from the disease, as well as a significant number of pap test abnormalities.

Last year the free program was only available to girls aged 12-13 in their first year of secondary school.

“The program is not free any more but we do encourage women to have it, it is still offered for girls at school,” Mrs Vail said.

The Cancer Council is calling on the government to release more information to find out why young girls are dropping out.

Ms Broun said the Cancer Council has set up an explanatory website that she hopes will rectify the lack of education about the cancer.

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Teenage lifesavers rescue 50-year-old from ocean pool

TWO teenage lifesavers have helped rescue a 51-year-old man who suffered a suspected heart attack in a pool on Sydney’s northern beaches.The man, seen floating face down in the ocean pool at Mona Vale after swimming laps about 9.30am yesterday, was dragged from the water by a female bystander.Surf patrol volunteers aged 16 and 17, accompanied by an older team leader, began resuscitation at the poolside and a defibrillator was used to restart his heart, Sydney Northern Beaches Surf Life Saving director Steve Faddy said.The swimmer was moved to Mona Vale hospital and put into a medically induced coma.Mr Faddy said doctors believe he will make a full recovery. ”They can certainly go home today knowing that they saved a life.”Another man in his 50s needed seven shocks from a defibrillator to restart his heart at Manly Beach, about 10.30am.A 20-year-old man drowned at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast yesterday. The man was swimming with his partner at Hyams Beach near the town of Vincentia when he died.
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Game over for adult players: ratings made for children, bemoan fans

THE average age of video game players in Australia is 30.But they say governments are treating them like children because state and federal authorities are failing to agree on a ratings system.The shooting game Aliens vs Predator, based on the film of the same name (which was rated M), was refused classification by national censors last week.It was the 74th video game to be banned in Australia since 1995.Most of these games have been refused classification because they include detailed instruction or promotion of violence, or rewards for drug use or sexual violence.Unlike the film rating system, which goes to R18+, the highest classification for games in Australia is MA15+, so games deemed inappropriate for older teenagers are banned outright for all players.Elsewhere in the developed world, including the US, the European Union and New Zealand, ratings can restrict games for use by â??matureâ? or â??adultâ? players only.Kane Theodore, 27, a Sydney IT worker and passionate gamer, said governments were stuck in the mindset that video games were played by children.â??They should understand that we’re not kids and we are part of an industry that is growing,â? he said.Aliens vs Predator is a â??first-person shooterâ? game, with players able to choose between killing space creatures or human soldiers.Many gamers blame South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson â?? a fierce opponent of adult classifications for games â?? for the delay in changing the laws.But Mr Atkinson said â??other attorneys-general who are opposed to introducing an R18+ classification are content to let me be the lightning rod for the gamersâ?.A federal discussion paper on the issue was initially touted for release in the middle of this year after the state and territory attorneys-general failed to reach agreement on the issue. That paper was still â??under considerationâ?, a spokesman for the federal Attorney-General’s department said last week.Shane Stockwell, merchandising director for retailer EB Games, said he was furious there was still no adult classification for games.He said another shooting game, Left 4 Dead 2, had been re-edited to remove the most violent content before being released in Australia. It sold millions of copies overseas but â??the numbers of games we sold you could probably count on one handâ?.â??That game was an unmitigated disaster for us,â? he said.
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Detained Americans in Pakistan ‘for jihad’

WASHINGTON: The five young American Muslims who were arrested in Pakistan travelled abroad hoping to work with jihadist groups and battle US troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials have said.The men contacted extremist organisations, including two with links to al-Qaeda, and proudly told their Pakistani interrogators: ”We are here for jihad”, Usman Anwar, the local Pakistani police chief, said.Mr Anwar said police recovered jihadist literature, laptops and maps of different parts of Pakistan when the men were arrested near Lahore.The maps included areas where the Taliban train. The men first made contact with the two extremist organisations by email in August, officials said, but the groups apparently rejected their overtures because they couldn’t find people to vouch for them.US officials said they are exploring possible criminal charges in a case that has morphed from a missing person’s investigation prompted by concerned family members in the Washington area, who contacted the FBI.The case has prompted concern about the growing threat of home-grown terrorism, but US law enforcement cautioned that they need to do a more thorough investigation. Some FBI agents are still en route to Pakistan. Philip Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said at least one agent from the FBI and an officer from the State Department regional security office had met the five detainees.Agents on the ground are continuing to review the computers and other evidence.Their families and spiritual advisers say the men offered no hints that this was coming. ”There are two things,” Ashraf Nubani, a lawyer for the ICNA Centre, the mosque where the men met in a youth group and some of them worshipped, said. ”Either they never did these things … or they kept this from everyone.”The Washington Post, Associated Press
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Car found dumped in the Macquarie

Neil Sturrock of the Volunteer Rescue Association searches the submerged vehicle for a body yesterday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEA partially-submerged car near the upper banks of Dubbo’s Macquarie River prompted a police and VRA investigation yesterday afternoon, with fears a body could be trapped within the waterlogged vehicle.
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Shortly after 4pm, rescue crews received a call-out to the old police paddocks on Bligh Street, where a Holden Sedan had seemingly been driven or rolled off the banks.

It was not known whether or not anyone was inside the vehicle until VRA diver Neil Sturrock entered the water and found just an abandoned car.

Mr Sturrock approached the vehicle and broke the rear glass, before using his feet to determine if it was occupied.

An underwater camera was also used to ascertain details, including the car’s unique code.

Following the Volunteer Rescue Association’s search, a tow truck was used to pull the vehicle out of the water.

A police spokesman said the car had not been reported as stolen and police investigations into the cause are continuing.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Dubbo Police Station.

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All that glisters is not gold as dowries adapt to India’s new wealth

NEW DELHI: For centuries Indian marriages have been sealed with gold. Each wedding season countless brides are given away wearing elaborate sets of golden jewellery including earrings, necklaces, bangles, rings and ”tikis” worn on the forehead. Gold has been an integral part of the dowry system, outlawed 50 years ago but still widely practised across the subcontinent.The ancient link between gold and dowries is one of the main reasons India is the world’s biggest consumer of the yellow metal. This national fetish has been lucrative for Australia. India imported $5.7 billion worth of Australian gold last financial year, which is more than Australia made selling coal to China.Even today some families start amassing gold as soon as a daughter is born in preparation for her eventual nuptials. In parts of south India, which has more gold per capita than anywhere in the country, wealthy families can be expected to send off a bride with at least a kilogram of gold as part of a marriage arrangement.The connection between gold and marriage is enshrined in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that when Venkateswara an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, wanted to marry the princess Padmavati he sought a loan of gold from Kuber, the god of wealth, to pay her father. Devotees still donate gold and jewellery at certain temples in a symbolic gesture to help Venkateswara win the hand of the princess.Along with its key role in weddings, gold is used to flaunt family wealth and signify social status. It has also been a popular source of retirement saving and insurance against calamity. No one knows exactly how much gold has been passed from generation to generation and is now stashed in safe deposit boxes across India. But bullion analysts estimate families are sitting on about 15,000 tonnes of gold worth more than $601 billion.Increasingly gold is being used as collateral for loans, especially by workers who have no documents to prove their income. When the Reserve Bank of India announced it was purchasing 200 tonnes of gold from the International Monetary Fund last month, many saw it as a symbol of India’s love affair with the precious metal.Demand for gold normally surges at this time of the year because of the wedding season. But this year’s batch of bridal couples will be receiving lower quantities of gold than they might have expected. A record spike in the world gold price has dampened demand and India’s 800,000 gold jewellery retailers are feeling the pinch.Amit Singh, whose family has traded gold jewellery from a small shop in Delhi’s bustling Chandi Chowk market for 75 years, says business is down more than 20 per cent compared with last year.”People are still buying gold but in smaller amounts,” he said. ”A family that last year would have bought 100 grams is going for 70 grams this year because the price is so high. They are going for lighter jewellery sets.”However, something more fundamental might eventually suppress India’s appetite for gold. India’s modernisation and industrialisation has helped create a wealth of alternative dowry options for the country’s rapidly expanding middle class. The dowry for a middle-class female today might include a Kawasaki, a laptop, a plasma television, a Blackberry and a mutual-fund investment along with some jewellery. For the increasingly wealthy and well-educated middle classes gold has shifted from being a rigid contractual requirement for marriage to being a symbolic wedding gift.”As the traditional dowry comes under pressure from social change so too the gold component in the dowry is under pressure,” says Gary Mead, a commodities analyst from the VM Group.Gold has traditionally been viewed in India as an important ”defensive asset”, but gold’s place as a form of saving is also under challenge.Rising middle-class wealth and improvements in India’s banking system have reduced the need for holding a defensive investment like gold.”India’s upper and middle classes are driven much more by fashion than necessity,” says Mead.”It’s not going to change over night but over the slow march of time – maybe the middle of this century – younger generations are going to start saying why are we holding on to Granny’s gold?”Suresh Hundia, the president of the Bombay Bullion Association, agrees that economic and social change will change the nature of demand for gold. But he believes the precious metal will always have a special attraction.”Indians will always be interested in gold,” he says. ”They worship it.”India’s multitude of gold traders will be hoping their country’s marriage traditions are so strong that brides will wear the traditional golden jewellery no matter what.
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Fuel spill as dog trailer, semi crash

About 100 litres of fuel was spilled onto Victoria Street yesterday when a semi-trailer and car towing a dog trailer collided. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEThree greyhound dogs will live to see another race after the trailer they were travelling in and a semi-trailer collided yesterday.
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The accident happened on Victoria Street about 9am when a white Subaru towing a dog trailer and a semi-trailer that was turning into the BP service station on Victoria Street crashed.

The incident caused the fuel tank of the Toll semi to rupture, spilling about 100 litres of diesel on to the road.

“There was the potential of 600 litres of fuel leaking out of the truck so we needed to pump it out,” NSW Fire and Rescue Delroy brigade captain Bernie Reid said.

The Dubbo HAZMAT team attended the scene and used four tonnes of sand to soak up the spilt oil from the road.

“We are using spag soil – a saw dust material with chemical in it that will soak into the oil.”

Traffic was stopped and delays occurred for about an hour and a half along Victoria Street.

The three dogs inside the trailer were unharmed.

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Air France inquiry after mayday call

PARIS: France’s accident investigation agency has opened an inquiry into an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, which ran into difficulties last month close to where another of its planes vanished in June with 228 people on board.In an attempt to ”shed light” on the crash of Flight AF447, which went missing while flying over the Atlantic, the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis said it was looking into what triggered Flight AF445 to issue a mayday signal flying the same route on November 29. ”We cannot ignore such a coincidence,” a spokesman said.The A330 airbus – the same model as the aeroplane which went down on June 1 – was four hours into its flight to Paris when it hit heavy turbulence, an Air France statement said. ”[The aircraft] performed a standard descent in order to avoid a zone of severe turbulence and get back to a less turbulent level of flight.”The airline insists the emergency signal was not sent because the pilots believed they were in danger. However, according to media reports, the jet descended by far more than 300 metres – the standard procedure for avoiding turbulence – causing panic on board.Le Figaro said the plane plunged from 11,000 metres to 9300 metres and quoted one passenger, who said the aircraft appeared to be ”no longer under control”.Guardian News & Media
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EU leaders pledge support for Greece to protect euro

BRUSSELS: Europe’s leaders admitted they fear a financial black hole in Greece could drag down the entire euro zone.At a two-day summit in Brussels the heads of the 27 European Union member states held talks that were meant to be about financing the fight against climate change.But with Greece facing ever-expanding public debts that have triggered market fears of national bankruptcy, economic problems overtook proceedings.The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, hinted at help for those in the ”greatest difficulty”, given ”everyone’s concern” was maintaining a stable euro.”We are agreed within the Euro group that we need to respect the criteria of European stability on budgetary matters,” she said, after warning that all EU states share ”common responsibility” for Greece.Sweden, which is holding the EU presidency, said that Greece’s €300 billion ($481 billion) debt albatross required ”support” from the EU ”family”.In an effort to assuage concerns, the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, vowed to ”revamp the Greek economy, to modernise the public sector, to fight chronic problems such as corruption … to make sure we have a sound, viable economy”.His Government’s credibility has been damaged by the revelation that public deficit is expected to surge to 12.7 per cent of output this year and that debt amounts to 113 per cent of gross domestic product.He sought to reassure financial markets and investors by stating that budget proposals to cut spending would be produced within six to seven weeks.One diplomat said the new Lisbon Treaty, which took force on December 1, left the field open for EU aid. ”Everything is possible,” apart from an European Central Bank loan, he said.”If France wants to give money to Greece there is nothing to prevent it. Bilateral loans are not banned by the treaty. If it develops into a full-blown crisis we would get everyone around the table and see how much cash we could get.”The ratings agency Fitch downgraded Greece’s credit rating this week, prompting fears of spillover effects for the 16 countries that use the euro.Agence France-Presse
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140 Jobs on Menu

A new retail development on Dubbo’s west side boasting a new Oporto fast food outlet and a cluster of other businesses will generate up to 140 jobs.
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Dubbo businessman John Nixon will put Bondi burgers back on the city’s menu and create 30 new jobs at the new Oporto outlet, to be built within the $3 million venture.

Oporto has announced it will open a store in Whylandra Street as part of John Nixon’s “exciting new convenience and food retail centre”.

Mr Nixon is confident the new Oporto will hold its own in a “competitive market” despite the closure of Dubbo’s first Oporto 12 months ago.

The development of the Whylandra Street site comes after supermarket giant Woolworths and fast-food restaurant McDonalds established a presence in the city’s western quarter. Dubbo City Council previously announced its intention to balance the residential growth of the city’s east on the western side.

Local firm David Payne Constructions is building the development that will eventually house seven new food and retail outlets. Site works are on schedule.

Together the stores will add 140 jobs to the city’s economy.

Mr Nixon, who was not the former Oporto’s franchisee, was more keen to talk about the restaurant’s opening – set for August – in the city than its past.

“I am really excited to be able to bring the great Oporto taste of fresh grilled chicken and burgers to my home town,” he said.

“I have no doubt that the people of Dubbo will embrace it.”

When asked about last year’s closure of Oporto, Mr Nixon was upbeat.

“Oporto is a very successful business model that has been trading for more than 20 years and has more than 140 stores in Australia and across the world,” he said.

“The original Dubbo store opened with exceptional sales and was extremely well received by the local community.

“We have every confidence that the new Oporto store in Dubbo will quickly re-establish its place in this competitive market.”

The first Oporto was on the corner of Cobra and Gipps streets, but a change of address may be the recipe for success.

“Prior to opening Oporto in Dubbo we undertook extensive market research in the area and found that all the major brands were well represented and trading extremely well,” Mr Nixon said.

“We believe there is real opportunity for Oporto as the industry continues to grow, specifically within the Whylandra Street precinct.”

Mr Nixon is a long-time Dubbo resident and has extensive experience in the retail sector.

Active in his community, he is also a pilot and has been involved in the Angel Flight program for more than five years.

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