News in 5: Price's awkward pill-testing argument; teacher faces deportation for grooming; Facebook's "feel" technology.

With AAP.

1. Steve Price’s awkward stoush with pill-testing campaigner on The Project.

Video by Channel 10

Steve Price found himself the centre of an awkward stoush on with a harm minimisation expert on The Project on Monday night, in the wake of the country’s first pill-testing trial in Canberra at the weekend.

As the panel interviewed Matt Noffs, a drug expert from Harm Reduction Australia, the conservative radio host took over the line of questioning after Noffs commended the ACT’s “enlightened” police force who were willing to trial pill-testing at the Groovin’ The Moo festival in Canberra.

“We know how many young people are out there using drugs like ecstasy, but what are we doing about it?

“In ACT, you’ve got police who are enlightened and want to try a new approach so they were really happy about this as well,” Noffs said, before Price jumped in with this own commentary.

“I’d hardly call police ignoring drug use enlightened but if that’s what you want to stick with, that’s fine,” he said.

Nearly 130 participants of the festival took advantage of the service with the medical service testing 85 samples, according to the Ted Noffs Foundation.

When pressed by Price as to “how many” people who found their drugs to be “clean” threw them away, the duo’s exchange grew tense.

“Sorry Steve, I don’t know how many ‘clean’ illicit drugs you’re taking, but I’ve never found a clean illicit drug on the black market,” Noffs said.

“That’s ridiculous, you know I’m not taking any drugs,” Price replied.

“You do take drugs, Steve,” Noffs came back. “You might enjoy a beer, but that’s sold over the counter and you’ve got some sort of quality control around it.”

The interview finished with Price refuting Noffs’ claim that parents couldn’t stop their kids taking drugs, saying it “worked with [his] children [who] don’t take drugs”, and Noffs calling Price a “liar” for saying he had never taken drugs in his life.

2. Private school teacher found guilty of grooming male students for sex could be deported from Australia.

A former Adelaide private school teacher who groomed one of her male students for sex could be deported after being given a suspended jail sentence.

In the South Australian District Court on Monday, Bettina Schmoock was jailed for 22 months with a non-parole period of 11 months.

However both terms were suspended with the 42-year-old placed on a three-year good behaviour bond.

In sentencing submissions last week the court was told while no sexual activity ever took place, Schmoock had booked a cottage for an encounter with the boy and that her actions could not be considered “mere fantasy”.

Defence counsel said she had been affected by a four-month-long hypomanic episode, as part of her undiagnosed bipolar disorder, at the time of the offending.

In sentencing, Judge Gordon Barrett said he took into account Schmoock’s mental health at the time and that she was unlikely to be able to teach again.

He said he also gave some weight to the apprehension and anxiety caused by her possible deportation with the mother of two not being an Australian citizen.

But he said it would be wrong for him to speculate on the likelihood of her being returned to her native Germany.


“It would be wrong for me to distort the penalty that I should otherwise impose,” the judge said.

“It would be wrong for there to be a two-tiered system by which migrants are to receive a lesser penalty because of their liability to deportation.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court last week, the boy said his contact with Schmoock was initially comforting and described her as his best friend.

But he said their relationship became too toxic to maintain, leaving him feeling trapped and alone.

3. Three mortgage brokers banned for life after ‘using fake documents’ to finance $17 million in home loans.

Image: Getty

Three former Sydney mortgage brokers have been banned for life after allegedly using fake documents to get Westpac to finance more than $17 million in home loans.

The corporate watchdog found Xiaoyi "Jeff" Zhao, Jun "Leo" Ma and Liang "Victor" Zhang were knowingly or recklessly involved in providing false employer letters and pay slips to the bank to support 21 loan applications between 2015 and 2016.

The companies nominated in the letters and pay slips were based in China and did not employ the customers concerned, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said on Monday.

The pay slips also showed the customers were being paid much more than they actually earned.

"As a result of that conduct, Westpac financed over $17 million in home loans in reliance on false documentation," ASIC said in a statement.

The trio has been permanently banned from engaging in credit activities but has the right to appeal.

4. South Korean President says Donald Trump deserves Nobel Peace Prize.

Image: Getty

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says US President Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, a South Korean official says.

"President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace," Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media.

Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday pledged to end hostilities between the two countries and work towards the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula in the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

Trump is preparing for his own summit with Kim, which he said would take place in the next three to four weeks.

That upcoming meeting was the main subject of a private walk and chat that Kim and Moon had during their meeting at the border, the official said.

In January, Moon said Trump "deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks. It could be a resulting work of the US-led sanctions and pressure".

Moon's Nobel Prize comment came in response to a congratulatory message from Lee Hee-ho, the widow of late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, in which she said Moon deserved to win the prize in recognition of his efforts, the Blue House official said.

Moon responded by saying Trump should get it.

Kim Dae-jung championed the so-called Sunshine policy of engagement with North Korea, and won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize after engineering the first inter-Korean summit with former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.


During Monday's meeting, Moon called for a joint study with the North of economic projects that could be resumed without violating international sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

"The study is to set in motion the programmes that are not subject to sanctions, while exploring what the two Koreas could do when the sanctions are lifted in the future," the official quoted Moon as saying.

The Trump administration has led a global effort to impose ever stricter sanctions on North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Trump would maintain a "pressure campaign" of harsh sanctions on impoverished North Korea until Kim scraps his nuclear weapon program.

Late Saturday, Trump told Moon in a phone call that he was pleased the leaders of the two Koreas reaffirmed the goal of complete denuclearisation during their summit, South Korean officials said on Sunday.

The White House said Trump and Moon had "emphasised that a peaceful and prosperous future for North Korea is contingent upon its complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation".

A senior adviser to Moon told Reuters last week that the South Korean government had a "comprehensive roadmap" that it was sharing with the United States ahead of Trump's meeting with Kim.

5. You may soon be able to feel your Facebook messages. As in, through your skin...

Facebook researchers are developing a device to allow users to feel messages through their skin.

The sleeve-like prototype translates words into vibrations delivered by pads onto the arm.

A paper published by Facebook points out "it can be devastating to miss important call, text, or notification from a loved one".

Researchers say their invention is needed to receive messages in situations when users cannot check their smartphones, such as during a meeting, when in the cinema, or while attending church.

The device, called a transcutaneous language communication (TLC) system, could also be used when running, driving or carrying shopping bags in both hands.

Cambridge Analytica and the whole ‘data hacking’ scandal explained. Post continues.

Developers say it "transmits a tactile representation of spoken or written language to the arm" so users "receive messages without looking at their smart devices, and feel them through their skin".

"We use the forearm as the medium because it has a better tactile sensitivity than most body parts, less likely to disrupt daily activity compared to the hand, and more socially acceptable than the forehead or feet," researchers said.

"The users can receive meaningful messages on their arms by feeling the vibrotactile stimuli, instead of inconveniently taking out and looking at their smart devices."

The team behind the project has also developed an application to help users get to grips with the system, allowing them to learn words within minutes.

A separate study published by Facebook found volunteers were able to remember 20 simple words a day after receiving 26 minutes of training.

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