News: Energy drinks should come with age limits

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Energy drinks are dangerous for kids

The Australian Medical Association has said energy drinks like Red Bull and V should come with age restrictions because they are ‘poisoning’ young people. News.com.au reported: AMA Victoria vice-president Dr Stephen Parnis said people did not realise the serious health repercussions of energy drinks – some of which had the same amount of caffeine as 10 or 20 cups of coffee. “Warning labels would be the very bare minimum that should be done,” he said. “I would think that preventing sales of these drinks to people under 18 is something that we need to look at very seriously. Poisoning is not too strong a word to use for the effects of these drinks on some people. I have seen teenagers present in emergency with heart rates of 200 beats per minute or so stimulated that their behaviour is extremely distressing to their parents and the people around them.” But the Australian Beverages Council said problems only arose in ‘0.00001 per cent’ of the population and that common sense should be applied so the few don’t ruin it for the many. Thoughts?

Jenny Craig to sponsor Kyle and Jackie O show

Little more than two years after Kyle Sandilands said Magda Szubanski should be put in a ‘concentration camp’ to lose weight, the company who hired Magda as a celebrity endorser is sponsoring the Kyle and Jacki O show. Jenny Craig, which has rebranded to ‘Jenny’, has signed on as the show’s first sponsor since a major backlash over Kyle’s other comments, calling News Limited journalist Alison Stephenson a ‘fat slag’ for a critical review of his Channel 7 show with Jacki O.

Does porn lead to ‘oversexualised’ kids?

Providers of specialist programs to address sexually abusive behaviour in children say porn is most likely responsible for a ‘drastic’ increase in cases of children needing an education about what is appropriate. Fairfax reported on cases in Victoria: “In 2010-11, there was funding for 237 places in 13 locations across the state in problem sexual behaviour programs provided by the Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA). But demand far outstripped funded places – the programs had 414 participants. CASA statewide convener Carolyn Worth said the problems had worsened in the past year and many areas, particularly rural centres, needed more funding.

The younger children (aged five to nine) were often – but not always – referred to the program because they were victims of abuse, Ms Worth said. Many of the program’s participants were boys, Ms Worth said, but there were some girls, including an 11-year-old who was sexting (where a person sends sexually explicit picture messages of themselves). ”Clearly it [pornography] desensitises you, it probably gives them a strange idea of what’s an appropriate way to interact with, mostly, women,” Ms Worth said. ”If they’ve spent a lot of time watching it, they don’t have any idea of how you actually negotiate having sex with somebody. They just don’t understand it.”

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The Costa Concordia

They went to save their marriage, then saved each other

Stories from the keeled-over cruise ship Costa Concordia continue to emerge as rescues remain underway. The ship ran aground on a reef off the coast of Tuscany on Friday night killing three people and leaving 38 unaccounted for. Rob Elcombe and Tracey Gunn had set sail to ‘put the romance’ back into their marriage but three hours after boarding they were desperately searching for a way off the ship. Mr Elcombe described hearing, and feeling, a sudden shudder. Objects were thrown across the room. The ship’s captain originally claimed it was simply an ‘electrical problem’ but minutes later an abandon ship announcement was made. News.com.au reported: “The captain of the packed cruise ship and his first officer were arrested by Italian police yesterday on suspicion of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning passengers. Divers yesterday also recovered the bodies of two Frenchmen and a Peruvian crew member. The 23 Australians among the 4324 people on board the ship were confirmed safe yesterday.”

Are you an in-store haggler?

Apparently haggling is in vogue. Or maybe it always was? Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said shoppers needed to pluck up the courage to ask about price, because businesses wanted to make the sale. “Business are increasingly becoming more open to you having a haggle (so) be confident in doing so,” she said. “In Australia we have grown up with a culture where we don’t haggle. Yet if we hop on a plane and go to Bali or go shopping through the bazaars in India then it’s standard practice, so take that approach with you when you go shopping here. “But don’t just haggle for your items like shoes, washing machines, fridges and televisions. Try it with your car insurance and mortgage, because you’ll be surprised at the discounts you can get.”

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Childcare benefits aren’t means tested … but some think they should be

Around $260 million is spent each year on providing the childcare rebate and other related benefits to households with a combined income of $150,000 or more. The Government decided when the schemes were introduced not to means test them but now some are calling for the money to be targeted better. The chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie said: “We need to ensure our financial expenditure is well targeted to those who are most in need.” The Government originally argued women receiving the benefits at the higher income scale might drop out of work altogether if a means test was introduced. But Ms Goldie rejected the idea. “The factors that influence decisions on who does paid work in these households are complex – the financial implications are only one part of that,” she said. ”When you talk about cost-of-living pressures, it’s all relative. In higher income households there is a level of discretion about expenditure which there simply isn’t in low income households.” More than $1 billion is spent on those earning up to $60,000 for the same benefits. Do you use childcare? Should there be a cut-off those those eligible for the rebates?

Sex offender registry growing by 500 a year in Victoria

Figures released for the first time in Victoria show the sex offender registry has reached almost 4000 in number. “Four thousand (registered sex offenders), by anyone’s standard, is a large number, so it is a concern,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright said. “These people, I suppose, are like a nuclear waste dump or a waste dump in a suburban area … no one wants them in their backyard. These people will live in our community, it’s just a question of how we best manage that to protect our vulnerable people.” Mr Cartwright said the rapid growth in the number of convicted offenders on the register had to do with people becoming more confident in reporting assaults and adults reporting historic attacks against them. But no word on what percentage of those registered were teenagers caught out by ignorance regarding sexting explicit images while in school relationships.

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