8 Monday news bites (Sep 19)

Baby slings like these are 'risky'.

1. Carbon tax won’t hurt – except on power bills

The price of basics such as milk and other dairy products will rise by less than 10c a week under the carbon tax, the federal government claimed yesterday as it released figures to counter an opposition scare campaign claiming a carbon tax would impose a huge burden on struggling households. Treasury modelling also predicted meat and seafood to jump by just 10c a week, along with fruit, vegetables and alcohol. Takeaway food and restaurant meals will cost an extra 20¢ a week and rent an extra 40c. Power bills will rise the most at $4.60 a week, or $239 a year. Treasurer Wayne Swan said that overall, households would pay about $510 a year extra for a range of goods and services. Nine out of 10 families would be compensated in some way, he said.

2. Be careful with baby slings

The unexplained death of a two-day-old baby in South Australia while in a baby sling had led to the slings being labelled as a ‘risk factor’. Medical experts have warned parents to be vigilant, making sure their children are comfortable and able to breathe.

3. Number of Aussies working beyond retirement doubles in 10 years

Australians are working more than ever past the age of retirement (65 years for men) because they don’t have enough money saved. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said 334,000 workers were still in employment at that age. Workforce participation 10 years ago was at 140,000.

4. Labor’s asylum seeker attack

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The Federal Government has accepted the prospect that parliament may vote down its plan to resurrect the asylum-seeker swap deal with Malaysia. In doing so, Labor accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of recklessness and taking an “unconscionable risk” with the lives of boat people.

Mr Abbott will have discussions with Prime Minister Julia Gillard today about changes the government is proposing to the Migration Act. He is expected to reiterate the coalition’s view the proposed changes strip away human rights protections provided by a 60 year-old United Nations convention on refugees.

New anti-smoking images.

5.Anti-smoking warnings become more gruesome

Confronting images of a 34-year-old man dying from lung cancer and a premature baby struggling to breathe are among the new warnings that will cover the front of cigarette packs from next year.

Fifteen new pictures will replace the photographs that have been used since 2006 as the federal government steps up its campaign to reduce the number of smokers. A government committee recommended replacing the old pictures because they were becoming familiar and starting to lose their impact.

From July 1 next year the size of the pictures will more than double to 75 per cent of the front of a cigarette pack from the present 30 per cent.

Michelle Obama

6. Parental permission to get a serving of chips

An American restaurant operator is to introduce a ”PG” system for menus in the latest victory for the campaign against obesity by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama. Darden Restaurants, which owns several chains in the US, will require children to have parental permission when they order chips with a meal. Fruit or vegetable side dishes and low-fat milk will also become standard.

Amid growing calls for healthier options the restaurants in the group will also reduce calories and sodium in meals for children by a fifth over the next decade. Mrs Obama, speaking at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hyattsville, Maryland, said it was a ”breakthrough moment in the restaurant industry”.

7. Teen ‘lived in German woods for 5 years’ 

German police are trying to crack the mystery of a teenager who appeared in Berlin claiming to have lived for five years in a forest with his now dead father.

According to German media reports, the boy, aged about 18, calls himself Ray, speaks in English with only a few words of German, and knows nothing of his origins. Carrying a tent, a sleeping bag and a backpack, he walked into Berlin city hall on September 5, saying he had walked from the forest where he was living after his father was killed in a fall some two weeks ago.

A police spokesman said they were still trying to identify the boy, who was in good health and in the care of social services.

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8. Princess Mary to bring twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine on visit to Australia

Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary is expected to combine business and pleasure later this year, when she brings her twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine home to Australia for the first time in November.In their first official visit since 2005, she and Crown Prince Frederik will visit Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the royal couple would lead a business delegation on green technologies.

Today’s news bites were brought to you by Nat.

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