Govt sure of passing youth internships law

The government says it can persuade parliament to pass legislation backing a youth internship program that’s already started, despite staunch opposition from Labor and the Greens.

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If the legislation doesn’t pass, the young jobseekers taking part in the PaTH program could lose up to $42 out of the $200 fortnightly dole top-up in tax.

“We are very confident of being able to take this through the Senate based on our record of getting things through the Senate,” Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

The program, announced in the 2016/17 budget, seeks to encourage jobseekers under 25 to do four-week to 12-week internships by paying them $200 a fortnight on top of income support payments and giving the employer a $1000 upfront payment.

It began on April 1 despite the backing legislation yet to pass the Senate.

The legislation is needed to ensure the $200 payment, which comes on top of a young job seeker’s social security payments, is not taxed as income for work.

It will also mean anyone who drops out of the program for whatever reason can have their social security payments restored without having to make a new claim.

Employers say the PaTH program is a practical plan to help address youth unemployment.

Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott said the scheme would give young people practical work experience and the support and skills to stay in work.

But unions say it will undermine jobs.

“If employers can legally employ people on $3.22 an hour and the government pays, why would they hire a young person on the minimum wage?” ACTU secretary Sally McManus said.

Labor spokesman Ed Husic said the 30,000 subsidised interns would be forced into a weak labour market already suffering from record high under-employment and record low wages growth.

Mr Morrison said Labor should put its stop sign away and help attempts to get young people into jobs.

“Whether it’s trying to get businesses growing, whether it’s trying to get young people into work they are constantly saying stop, stop, stop,” he said.

“That’s no way to grow an economy.”

Prove Brexit ‘no deal’ is an option: MPs

British Prime Minister Theresa May must prove that “no deal is better than a bad deal” by offering an economic assessment on the impact of leaving the European Union with no agreement, a parliamentary committee says.

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Just days after May triggered the formal divorce procedure with the European Union, the committee made up of MPs, also called on the government to publish its contingency planning for failing to strike a deal after two years of talks.

May enters the unprecedented talks with an ambitious game plan, wanting “frictionless” trade and good co-operation with the bloc while gaining control over immigration and returning sovereignty – a wish list EU officials have baulked at.

But she has also said she is prepared to walk away from the talks without a deal rather than accepting a “bad” one, a term her government has so far declined to elaborate on despite fears among manufacturers over new trade barriers if Britain has to revert to World Trade Organization rules.

“Without an economic impact assessment of ‘no deal’ and without evidence that steps are being taken to mitigate the damaging effect of such an outcome, the government’s assertion that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ is unsubstantiated,” said Hilary Benn, chairman of the Committee on Exiting the EU.

“Parliament must be in an informed position to decide whether a proposed deal is, in fact, better or worse than no deal,” he added in a statement.

May has been reticent about what she hopes to achieve in the talks so as not to give her hand away. But government officials, MPs and analysts say privately that she believes she has some strong cards to play, while also hoping that EU officials will favour pragmatism over punishment.

Willett out to cause another Masters shock

US Masters champion Danny Willett is hoping to slip under the radar once again as he bids to retain his Augusta crown this weekend.

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While American Dustin Johnson surged to the top of the world rankings and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama enjoyed a good run of form before recent struggles, Willett has experienced a quiet start to the year.

“We might be able to slip under the radar, which would be quite nice and hopefully let the result take its course,” the 29-year-old Briton told reporters.

“There’s obviously going to be a few commitments and stuff through the week but in terms of going under the radar, I think it will probably be very similar to last year, even as defending champion.”

Willett has not won a tournament since slipping on the Green Jacket 12 months ago a few weeks after winning the Dubai Desert Classic.

His best recent results were sixth at the Hong Kong Open in December and fifth in the Maybank Championship in February.

“The game is not far away,” the world No. 17 said.

“Our run of form obviously has been nowhere near what it was last year and nowhere near what some of the other guys are playing.”

Willett shot a bogey-free final-round 67 to win last year’s Masters by three shots, taking advantage of a spectacular meltdown by American Jordan Spieth who made a quadruple-bogey on the 12th hole.

Spieth took partial revenge at the Ryder Cup as the United States beat a European team including Willett but the pair have never discussed the Masters.

“Obviously, it wouldn’t be in my nature to bring it up,” Willett said.

“I’m pretty sure it was a very difficult time for him. He really is one of the classiest guys out there, especially at his age, it’s quite astounding in terms of how well he took it.”

Willett admitted he struggled to maintain his form last year as he coped with the extra demands of being a major champion.

“Toward the back end of the season the game wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” he said.

“Being tired means you can get frustrated a little bit easier and that leads you to hit more balls and practise harder and in actual fact all that does at times is make you more tired.”

Now fully refreshed, he cannot wait to return to the scene of his greatest triumph.

“I’m pretty sure that as I get even within the area of Augusta, there’s going to be a big Cheshire smile on my face,” Willett said.

“I’m going to be able to slip my shoes on in the champions locker room upstairs and to be able to go back to Augusta National and defend your first major is going to be something pretty special.”

Malcolm Turnbull hits back at Tony Abbott’s criticism of Senate deal

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a thinly-veiled insult to his predecessor, Tony Abbott, by reeling off a list of his government’s achievements since coming to office.

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Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott criticised the way the Turnbull Government negotiated with the Senate last week to pass its company tax cuts package. 

Although Mr Abbott hasn’t looked at the specifics of deal with key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon, he said he didn’t approve of the horse-trading which took place last Friday.

“I do want to make this point, you should never agree to do something which is wrong to get something which is right,” the former prime minister told Sky News.

Asked whether he found it taxing to have a predecessor criticising the government at every opportunity, Malcolm Turnbull said people should “think about what we’ve been able to do since the election”.

Watch: Government strikes a deal to pass company tax cuts

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“We’re getting stuff through the Senate. We’re delivering, we’re governing, we’re proving that if you’re prepared to negotiate, you can get things done in the 45th Parliament,” Mr Turnbull said.

“So what we’re demonstrating is that we know how to govern, we know how to deliver, we’re delivering on our promises. That’s what the public want us to do, it’s what they’re entitled to expect, and we’re doing it for them.”

“We all want to be a part of club sensible.”

Mr Abbott also hit out at Malcolm Turnbull’s weekend speech to the party faithful, in which he said the Liberal Party should sit “squarely in the centre of Australian politics”.

“We all in a sense want to be in the sensible center, we all want to be a part of club sensible, who wouldn’t want to be there?” Mr Abbott said. 

“But you’ve got to have things that you’re fighting for.” 

Malcolm Turnbull said both double-dissolution bills are now law, and a raft of other bills are set to be delivered in this term of parliament.

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‘Un-diagnosing’ Autism Spectrum Disorder

The number of Australian children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder may have skyrocketed but many will be “un-diagnosed” in adulthood.

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Early diagnosis and programs are helping those with Asperger syndrome – now known as high functioning autism – deal with social deficits and other challenges.

“We are now getting people who become what we technically call sub-clinical,” autism guru Dr Tony Attwood told AAP.

This means they’ve reached a “level of expression” that doesn’t need specialist services or support.

“It is something that you can actually achieve,” added Dr Attwood, a Queensland-based clinical psychologist and world-leading expert on Asperger syndrome.

The proportion of adults diagnosed with ASD in childhood who go on to be sub-clinical is estimated to be 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

“It’s not that the ASD is cured. What it means is that certain skills have been learned and the person is much more able to function in society,” said Dr Attwood.

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 164,000 Australians had an autism diagnosis in 2015.

But unfortunately too many girls still miss out on early intervention, Dr Attwood said.

“Girls are diagnosed later, often in the teenage years, and by the time they are diagnosed their length of time with intensive intervention programs is very limited.

“They’ve usually camouflaged their symptoms and social confusion until the wheels fall off at high school.”

Some evidence suggests ASD is about 4.5 times more common in boys than in girls.

UK professor Simon Baron-Cohen – cousin of actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen – argues autism is the expression of the “extreme male brain”.

But not everyone is convinced, including Dr Attwood.

He says the “true ratio” is 2:1 – two boys to one girl.

In primary school the ratio can be 5:1, but this is because girls are better at hiding ASD.

“It is more conspicuous in boys but girls are smarter and more creative with how they cope with it,” Dr Atwood said.

“But it means at a terrible cost for potential low self-esteem and depression.”

World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated on April 2 this week.

Dr Attwood – who has worked in the field for four decades – would like to see more follow-up studies done and says there is still a greater need for acceptance.

It’s also important, he says, to recognise the extreme difficulties teenagers with ASD face at high school where they are “forced every lunch time into intense social interaction with toxic teenagers”.

“The intensity of inclusion and engagement amongst teenagers is horrendous for those with Asperger’s,” Dr Attwood said.

Neo-Nazi threats force Jewish centre to shut down in Sweden

A Jewish centre in Umeå, a town in northern Sweden, has voted to shut itself down after ongoing threats from neo-Nazis.

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The neo-Nazi group Nordfront reportedly sent threatening emails and vandalised the centre with swastika graffiti, Nazi stickers and messages like ‘we know where you live’.

Spokeswoman Carinne Sjöberg told local media the group reluctantly made the decision because they felt vulnerable to the threats.

“Too many things have happened recently which mean that Jewish parents do not feel safe to have their children in schools,” she told regional news program SVT Vasterbotten.

“I have also been visited in my home and we receive threatening emails all the time.”

Ms Sjöberg said she found the ordeal very upsetting.

“This is not the Umeå I know, something has happened. When incidents occur where Jewish children are threatened because of their origin, then it’s gone too far.”

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In 2015 the town made headlines when it failed to invite the Jewish association to a “Umeå against Nazism” – organisers reportedly thought the association would be too scared to attend.

Local politician Peder Westerberg said it was “surreal and creepy” to have neo-Nazis in Umeå, a city of 122,000 people.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s important that the association is getting the support they need. I won’t let the Nazis win, and I know that there are many that stand up against these undemocratic forces, ” he said.

Mathias Sundin MP, Chairman of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, said the news was “disgusting and despicable.”

“Nazism stands for the darkest chapter in human history. It is completely unacceptable that people today in Sweden can be intimidated into silence.”

Watch: 75 years since Australia joined the effort to stop the Nazi March

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Wanted: 20,000 Australians for depression study

Scientists are seeking 20,000 Australians who have been treated for clinical depression to take part in the world’s largest genetic investigation into the devastating illness.

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The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is designed to detect genetic factors that contribute to clinical depression, in order to develop better treatments and ultimately find a cure.

Currently people with clinical depression are often blindly prescribed medication in the hope it will work and have few side-effects.

But their effectiveness is often not known until weeks later and in many cases treatment is successful for some people and not for others for unknown reasons.

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Understanding the “genetic architecture” of depression will help to solve this problematic situation, says co-investigator and mental health campaigner Professor Prof Ian Hickie, AM from the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.

“In psychiatry we have really suffered because we’ve been stuck with clinical categories that don’t predict very well the response to treatment,” Prof Hickie told AAP.

“Bipolar depression is a great example of that because within that group you have people who do really well with anti-depressants and some people who do hopelessly and only have severe side-effects.”

Professor Nick Martin, Head of the Genetic Epidemiology group at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, is co-leader of the study and says they’re seeking volunteers aged 18 and older who are currently being treated or have been treated in the past for clinical depression.

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Volunteers will need to complete a 15-minute online survey and donate a saliva sample that will be screened for hundreds of DNA variants through a process known as ‘genome-wide association scans’ (GWAS).

GWAS will allow researchers to look for genetic similarities and differences, which will help find more personalised treatments, says Prof Martin.

“All the known medications that we’ve got are working on fairly limited knowledge of the biochemistry behind susceptibility to depression, so what GWAS does is lay bare all of the different pathways that are involved.”

But in order for the study to be successful they need a huge number of people to volunteer.

“Study volunteers will be making a genuine contribution to better understanding and helping us to solve this devastating illness,” said Prof Hickie.

Clinical depression will affect one in seven Australians in their lifetime.

It is a severe pathophysiological syndrome that changes the body’s whole physiology.

“It isn’t a simple reaction to an unfortunate life event or difficult circumstance, so it’s not transient period of low mood,” said Prof Hickie.

“The amount of disability and impairment and loss of employment and impact on family is very high right now, so that’s really what we want to change through more effective treatments,” he said.

To volunteer for the Australian Genetics of Depression Study or to learn more, head to: Web:长沙桑拿,geneticsofdepression长沙楼凤,长沙夜网,

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WATCH: Therapy dogs help veterans with PTSD

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Trump warmly welcomes Egypt’s president

Not once in the eight years of former US President Barack Obama’s leadership did an Egyptian president visit the White House.

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And only months in to Donald Trump’s presidency, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been welcomed, with the US President declaring his strong support of his Egyptian counterpart’s leadership.

“I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi, he’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt and the United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”

It would appear the feelings are mutual, with President Sisi praising Mr Trump.

“Your Excellency since we met last September I’ve had a deep appreciation and admiration of your unique personality especially as you’re standing very strong in the counter-terrorism field to counter this evil ideology that is claiming innocent lives, that is bringing devastation to communities and nations and that is terrorising innocent people. Your Excellency, very strongly and very openly you will find Egypt and myself always beside you in this, bringing about an effective strategy in the counter-terrorism effort.”

The two presidents established a strong relationship when they first met in New York last September, during Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I will tell you President al-Sisi has been someone who has been very close to me from the first time I met him, I met during the campaign and at that point there were two of us and we both met and hopefully you’ll like me a lot more.”

The latest one-on-one meeting signals a new era in the relationship between the two countries.

In 2013, then-US President Barack Obama briefly suspended military aid to Egypt after Mr Sisi, an army general at the time, led the overthrow of the country’s first freely-elected Islamist leader, Mohammed Morsi.

The relationship remained tense, with Barack Obama repeatedly criticising President Sisi’s human rights record.

But it would appear President Trump is seeking to strengthen his country’s ties to Egypt.

On a number of occasions, he’s spoken of the need for the US to forge a good relationship with Egypt.

And he’s reaffirmed this intention to President Sisi, urging cooperation to combat terrorism.

“We will fight terrorism and other things. We’re building up our military to a level that will be the highest, probably the highest, that we ever had – plane orders, ship orders, aircraft carrier orders – we are rejuvenating our military to the highest level, I think, in these times, probably more than ever before or certainly almost more than ever before.”

 

 

Melania Trump’s new portrait divides public opinion

Trump is shown from the waist up, standing with arms crossed, dressed in a black jacket with a black bow around her neck.

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She’s wearing a very large diamond ring on her left hand, and a more subdued sparkler on her right.

Shot by Belgian-born photographer Regine Mahaux, who has previously worked with the Trump family, the first lady is smiling slightly, with a perfectly flawless visage.

Official Portrait of First Lady pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/K1DUVE5kSI

— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 3, 2017

“I am honored to serve in the role of first lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years,” Trump said in a short statement accompanying the photo’s release.

While some commenters gushed that the first lady was “beyond beautiful” and “gorgeous,” others mocked the image as highly airbrushed and compared the gauzy background — a window in the White House residence — to 1990s school portrait settings. 

[email protected] Instagram just released a new filter called Soft-FLOTUSed pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/zHufvUT5IM

— Archie’s Brown Roots (@DiscreetLatino) April 3, 2017Anyone know why Melania Trump’s portrait was taken in front of the Muppet Babies Window? pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/EOLfwfBggE

— Sasha Stewart (@ArtfulStew) April 3, 2017Melania releases her first official portrait as First Lady. It’s meant to evoke the catalogue he picked her out from.

— Gary Janetti (@GaryJanetti) April 3, 2017Melania Trump’s official White House photograph was taken on the set of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me” video. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/yXZZGKZ79H

— Tim Duffy™ (@TimDuffy) April 3, [email protected] Was this taken at the Glamour Shots studio at the Montebello Mall?

— Kristina Wong ❄️ (@mskristinawong) April 3, 2017Melania looks like she’s about to drop the most 🔥 ballad of 1987 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/pvMrqvfCJ6

— We take the stairs (@NoEscalators) April 3, 2017that melania trump portrait is as airbrushed as adam sandler on the cover of click pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/rVBrGmYH6V

— 12 days (@BurntToastLord) April 3, 2017White House releases first lady Melania Trump’s official portrait and announces a 3 episode guest star role on The Bold and the Beautiful. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/k5BVtuS74v

— Scott Dooley (@scottdools) April 3, 2017

Other critics jumped on a line in the White House statement that said the portrait was taken in Trump’s “new residence at the White House.”

While every other modern first lady has accompanied her husband to Washington, the 46-year-old Trump has remained at her luxury triplex penthouse in Manhattan and not made many public appearances.

Trump has said she would remain in New York until son Barron finishes the school year.

It’s not the first time that a first lady portrait has stoked controversy. Michelle Obama was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress in her first official portrait in 2009, with some saying the bare arms were too casual.

WATCH: Trump meets Egyptian president at the White House

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Three gay men dead and over 100 arrested in Chechnya, Russian newspaper reports

More than 100 gay men have vanished from the streets of Chechnya and several may have been killed, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has reported.

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The Moscow-based newspaper – known for its investigative reporting – said it had confirmed rumours which had been swirling for a week about mass round-ups, detention and violence against gay men in the southern Russian territory.

The crackdown appears to include vigilante violence and a wave of arrests – at least three people have been killed so far, the paper reported.

One Chechen from the capital of Grozny told SBS he was having trouble sleeping and was scared for his life.

“People disappear without a trace,” the gay 28-year-old said.

“If people find out someone is gay – since it is not allowed in the Caucasus and is tangled in shame – they are simply killed and the relatives stay silent,” he said.

Sometimes the violence came at the hands of friends, he said, and it was difficult to know who to trust.

“I just want to leave Chechnya myself – all relationships have to be conducted in secret.”

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Novaya Gazeta said that an “unprecedented” number of government, legal and intelligence sources had confirmed that an official crackdown on LGBT+ individuals was underway in Chechnya, a territory ruled by Vladimir Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov.

But a spokesperson for Mr Kadyrov blasted the newspaper in a phone call with Russian news agency Interfax.

“You cannot detain and oppress someone who simply does not exist in the republic,” Mr Karimov said.

Human Rights Watch has reported concerns over authorities turning a blind eye towards violence and murders targeted against LGBT+ individuals – a phenomena Mr Karimov appeared to allude to in his statement to Interfax.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” he told the agency.

Russian LGBT+ activist Mikhail Tumasov said on social media that he was outraged by the reaction of officials in Chechnya.

“No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being,” he said.

“Any references to ‘traditions’ to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal.”

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Novaya Gazeta reported that men had been arrested from across the territory, not just in the capital of Grozny.

Detained men included two well-known broadcasters and some close to religious leaders in the Islamic territory, the paper reported.

The report characterised the crackdown as a ‘preventative’ measure after LGBT+ activists filed for permission to hold several gay pride events in early March.

News of those applications sparked protests, homophobic threats on social media, and calls for LGBT+ individuals to be ‘cleansed’ from the country.

Mr Tumasov said that activists in Russia were working to confirm the details of vulnerable individuals in Chechnya and help get them out of the territory.

“People’s lives are endangered and the only way to help is the evacuation,” he said.

Novaya Gazeta is known for its criticism of the Kremlin and the Russian establishment.

Since 2001, several of its journalists have been killed.

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