Time to move forward with Russia: Trump

President Donald Trump is tweeting that “it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” after his meeting with Vladimir Putin.

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Trump says after returning from a world leaders’ summit in Germany he “strongly pressed” Putin twice over Russian meddling in the 2016 election during their lengthy meeting.

He says Putin “vehemently denied” the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

Trump is not saying, though, whether he believes Putin, tweeting that he’s “already given my opinion.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov first told reporters in Germany on Friday that Trump had accepted Putin’s assurances that Russia hadn’t meddled – an assertion Putin repeated Saturday after the Group of 20 summit.

“He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers,” Putin said.

US officials have not pushed back on that account, even when pressed directly.

Speaking briefly with reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday evening, both Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster punted when given the chance to correct the record.

“You know, we’re not going to make comments about what other people say,” said Mnuchin.

“President Trump will be happy to make statements himself about that.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who participated in the Trump-meeting, had suggested Friday that the two sides had, in effect, agreed to disagree on the meddling question so that they could move forward to address other pressing issues, like the civil war in Syria.

GPs overprescribing antibiotics: research

Australian GPs are overprescribing antibiotics for respiratory infections, even when their use is not recommended, research shows.

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Antibiotics are prescribed for acute respiratory infections (ARI) at rates four to nine times higher than recommended by national guidelines, the researchers found.

“The potential for reducing rates of antibiotic prescription and to thereby reduced rates of antibiotic-related harms, particularly bacterial resistance, is therefore substantial,” the researchers said.

“Our data provide the basis for setting absolute targets for reducing antibiotic prescribing in Australian general practice.”

The researchers led by Bond University public health professor Christopher Del Mar said antibiotic prescribing in general practice could be substantially reduced if GPs adhered more closely to national therapeutic guideline recommendations

Australians are among the biggest users of antibiotics in the world despite experts here and around the globe warning that excessive or unnecessary use helps more bacteria become resistant to the drugs.

The researchers said their findings, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, are the first to quantify the overprescribing of antibiotics for ARIs by Australian GPs.

They found an estimated mean of 5.97 million ARI cases per year were managed in general practice with at least one antibiotic.

Had GPs adhered to widely consulted antibiotic prescribing guidelines, they would have prescribed antibiotics for 650,000 to 1.36 million cases a year or 11-23 per cent of the current prescribing rate, they said.

The researchers found GPs are prescribing antibiotics in 85 per cent of acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis cases and 11 per cent of influenza cases, despite guidelines recommending they not be used.

Antibiotics were prescribed more frequently than recommended for ARIs such as acute rhinosinusitis and acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis.

The researchers said diagnostic uncertainty, or a concern by the treating doctor that a serious infection or complication might be missed, is one potential explanation for the oversubscribing of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are always recommended for community-acquired pneumonia and pertussis or whooping cough.

UK govt has no role in Charlie Gard case

The UK government won’t play a role in deciding the medical treatment of a terminally ill baby whose parents want to take him to the US for experimental treatment.

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Justice Secretary David Lidington said the decision on 11-month-old Charlie Gard will be made by judges acting “independent and dispassionately” based on the facts of the complicated case.

Charlie’s parents are protesting the decision by Great Ormond Street Hospital to turn down their request to bring him to the US for treatment.

The hospital has been backed by a series of court rulings, but the case is expected to be back in Britain’s High Court on Monday.

The hospital requested the hearing because of new medical information from researchers at the Vatican’s children’s hospital suggesting experimental treatment might possibly be useful.

Clinicians from the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital’s neurosciences department said tests in mice and patients with a similar, but not identical, genetic condition as Charlie had shown significant improvement is possible.

At present, the boy isn’t able to breathe unaided. He has a rare inherited mitochondrial disease that has affected many of his vital organs and left him with brain damage.

Unless the court hearing produces a change, the hospital is barred by a series of court decisions from allowing the baby to be taken elsewhere for treatment.

The parents have been backed by Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump in their quest to seek treatment.

Supporters say they will give the hospital a petition signed by 350,000 people backing the parents’ rights to take the baby from the hospital for treatment.

SIPG thrashed, miss chance to move to CSL summit

Missing former Chelsea playmaker Oscar as well as Brazilian forward Hulk and China international Wu Lei due to bans handed out by the Chinese Football Association, SIPG missed the chance to leapfrog Guangzhou Evergrande and move top for the first time since March.

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Evergrande had slipped up against Beijing Guoan on Saturday, losing 2-0 as Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side were defeated for the second game in a row to give SIPG an opening, but the Shanghai club fluffed their lines.

Three goals in seven first-half minutes put Changchun in command with Szabolcs Huszti scoring from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute before efforts from Jiang Zhe and Tan Long gave the home side a comfortable cushion.

An own goal by Zhang Xiaofei nine minutes after the restart gave SIPG a lifeline, but Odion Ighalo claimed Changchun’s fourth to leave Li Shenglong’s goal in the 66th minute little more than a consolation as SIPG lost for the third time this season.

“It was a disappointing match, we didn’t expect this result,” said SIPG assistant coach Daniel Sousa, who took Villas-Boas’ place on the bench due to the Portuguese coach’s own suspension.

“Our opponents were better in the first half, and we were better in the second half with more control and more opportunities. However, opportunities don’t equal goals, so we failed to level the score.

“Now we can only hope for a better performance in the next game, to come back strong. We had a bad start but I don’t want to blame anyone for it. It is the team’s problem.”

Evergrande presented SIPG with the opportunity with their defeat against an inspired Beijing side playing their first game under new coach Roger Schmidt.

The coaching change had an immediate impact, with Jonathan Soriano scoring twice to give Beijing only their second win in the Chinese Super League in seven games.

Third-placed Hebei CFFC also lost in a poor weekend for the leading trio as Manuel Pellegrini’s side slipped up against Henan Jianye, Ezequiel Lavezzi’s double not enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat.

Shandong Luneng picked up a 2-0 win over Tianjin Teda that enabled Felix Magath’s fourth-placed side to close their gap to the top to nine points while Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian also benefited from the struggles of the leaders thanks to their 2-1 win over Guangzhou R&F.

Fabio Capello’s Jiangsu Suning moved off the bottom of the table despite being held to a 2-2 draw against Shanghai Shenhua as Yanbian Funde’s 4-0 thrashing by Chongqing Lifan sent them to the bottom. Guizhou Zhicheng picked up a 1-0 win over struggling Liaoning Whowin.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Clean energy target will drop power bills

Power bills would fall significantly over the next decade if the federal government adopted a clean energy target.

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And they would fall even further if a more aggressive target was adopted, a new analysis has found.

According to the modelling from respected energy market analysts RepuTex, sticking with business as usual would lead to wholesale electricity prices of more than $100 per megawatt hour by 2030, largely because of a heavy reliance on gas-fired power with high fuel prices.

A clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel would encourage investment in new energy generation above the amount expected to close, leading to a more competitive market.

A CET in line with the Finkel report would lead to wholesale prices of $60/MWh.

With a tougher target more in line with an international agreement to limit global warming to two degrees, power prices would be just $40/MWh by 2030.

RepuTex’s energy and carbon market director Hugh Grossman has titled his report as a blunt message: “It’s the economics, stupid.”

He also says baseload-only generators – traditionally coal- and gas-fired power – will be too inflexible to compete in Australia’s future energy market.

Falling demand for electricity during the daytime and peaks in the evening mean generators that can cheaply and quickly ramp up production will be more competitive.

Traditionally newer gas generators have filled this demand but again, high gas prices have changed the equation, making wind or solar cheaper even with the added costs of storage.

“Renewables are a ‘lay down misere’ to out-compete traditionally fossil-fuel sources in Australia for the foreseeable future,” Mr Grossman said.

Under a clean energy target, generators create certificates based on how much below a threshold level of emissions their power is, with a number of certificates surrendered each year.

High-emitting generators can buy certificates from cleaner sources to surrender.

RepuTex says although there has been “much hand-wringing” over where that emissions threshold is set – to include coal or not – that was largely inconsequential because economics would ultimately drive the generation mix.

Even if all subsidies were removed from renewables, high-efficiency low-emissions coal power would still be uncompetitive.

“We do not envisage any appetite for HELE coal or other baseload-only facilities, such as nuclear, unless there is a major government distortion in the market,” Mr Grossman says.