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News from China
Honey probe could get extra sting after local samples deemed 'fake
4th October 2018

 Australia's largest honey producer has rejected the findings of a scientific study that found almost one in five samples of local honey were adulterated, which has sparked expectations the consumer watchdog will broaden its probe into "fake" honey.

 
Fairfax Media and the ABC on Wednesday revealed that tests by Macquarie University scientists found adulteration in 18 per cent of 38 samples of Australian honey bought at supermarkets and markets.
It followed revelations last month that a German lab discovered adulteration in several leading imported and blended honey products, including Capilano's Allowrie branded honey, and IGA's and Aldi's private brand products.
 
That sparked an investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has previously taken companies to court for selling "honey" that actually consisted of plant sugars.
 
The ACCC declined to comment on Wednesday, but federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the investigation could now be expanded.
"I expect the ACCC will broaden their investigation but obviously that's a matter for them," Mr Littleproud said.
 
"Substitutes of any product can erode confidence in a category or brand - they're a serious matter".
 
The German lab that raised questions about the imported honey used a testing method called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), which it claims is more thorough than other tests.
 
The Australian industry, on the other hand, uses C3 and C4 sugar tests, which are also used by the federal agriculture department to test imported honey for purity.
 
And while Macquarie University's study - which did not identify individual brands - used the C3 and C4 method, Capilano, Australia's largest honey seller, said its results were "at odds" with its own tests.
 
"Capilano is concerned that the samples tested in this study are not a true representation of the volume of honey produced by the Australian honey industry," a company spokesman said.
 
"Capilano has contacted a range of experts to assess the veracity of the reported research, which was only made available to the industry late yesterday."
The federal government is considering whether to adopt the NMR test, and Capilano has offered to help pay for an NMR facility. The company says the NMR test needs a reference database that is "appropriate" for Australian produce.
 
Karen Constable, principal consultant at Food Fraud Advisors, said that while there were clear rules and laws in place to keep adulterated products off our shelves, "the enforcement is the problem".
State-based food health and safety agencies are responsible for enforcing the Food Standards code, which states that anything sold as "honey" must be "the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees".
 
"It’s not usually considered a super high priority because something like honey fraud doesn’t present a massive food safety risk to consumers," Ms Constable said.
 
"If you’re going to shut down a milk factory for not doing the pasteurisation properly, where people might die, or investigate a little bit of syrup in honey where nobody is going to die, you can see where their resources are going to go."
 
The other avenue to pursue "fake" honey is for the ACCC to take action against companies for breaching Australian Consumer Law if they have misled consumers about what is in their products.
 
Ms Constable said the ACCC should do more fidelity testing on the products that are for sale, while companies selling honey should publish the origin of their products and what tests they do to verify its purity.
 
"That sort of transparency from the brand owners is going to a long way," she said.
 
Source: Canberra Times, October 4, 2018
"Fossil fuels protect us': Liberal backbencher tells party not to worry about climate
3rd October 2018
Craig Kelly, a prominent Liberal Party backbencher, has told party members in Sydney they should not worry about climate change and that fossil fuels were among the reasons "we are so safe".
 
Addressing a gathering of members last week at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Mr Kelly said "we've always had dangerous weather" and that "even the climate has changed in space".
"The reality is today, we live in a time where our generation has never ever been as safe from the climate at any time in human history," Mr Kelly told the group on Wednesday, according to a recording of his speech.
 
"The climate was always dangerous. We didn't make it dangerous, [and] it's fossil fuels that protect us from that climate."
 
Mr Kelly's comments come as scientists from around the world gather in South Korea before next Monday's release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report into the effects of a 1.5-degree warming. 
The report is expected to detail likely impacts, including that as much as 90 per cent of the world's coral reefs will die at that threshold.
The Bureau of Meteorology and other international agencies estimate the planet has already warmed more than 1 degree in the past century. The Paris Climate accord, signed in 2015 by almost 200 nations including Australia, agreed to cap warming to 1.5-2 degrees to avoid dangerous climate change that would include more extreme weather.
 
Mr Kelly, though, told his audience - that he numbered at about 100 people - "30 years ago, the temperature was the same globally about where it was today".
 
For its part, the bureau says all of the 10 warmest years on record have happened since 1998. 2016 was the warmest, with 2015 and 2017 "effectively indistinguishable" in second place.
 
'Empirical evidence'
Mr Kelly, who is chair of the backbench energy committee, told Fairfax Media his argument "was not something I've made up - it's based on empirical evidence". Droughts had not got worse, nor had tornadoes, cyclones or other extreme weather, he said.
 
Among his sources was a 2011 report by the US-based Reason Foundation, "Wealth and Safety: The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010".
 
"The decreases in the numbers of deaths and death rates reflect a remarkable improvement in society’s adaptive capacity, likely due to greater wealth and better technology, enabled in part by use of hydrocarbon fuels," the report said.
 
The foundation has close links to David H. Koch, one of the billionaire Koch brothers who have been big backers of the fossil fuel industry, according to climate action advocacy groups such as DeSmog.
 
Mr Kelly said Australia's Paris target was "the most onerous of any nation in the world because of our high rates of population growth".
 
"The vast majority [of nations] have only signed up [to Paris] because they want to get their hands on a pile of cash," he told the group.
 
Mr Kelly cited a 2015 report by climate sceptic Bjorn Lomborg in Global Policy journal, that argues if all the nations acted on their Paris pledges, global warming would be just one 20th of a degree by 2100.
 
Critics of Mr Lomborg's paper, though, responded that the Danish economist's results were "almost entirely due to the assumptions he makes", and failed to acknowledge temperature projections will be "determined primarily" by the effect of emissions that accumulate after 2030.
 
Senator Jim Molan, who was also present, described Mr Kelly's speech to party members as "absolutely fabulous".
 
Source: Canberra Times, October 3, 2018
Woman who allegedly attacked ACT nurse sent back to hospital
2nd October 2018

 A woman who allegedly assaulted a mental health nurse at Canberra Hospital has been taken back to that hospital for a psychiatric assessment.

 
The woman appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning facing charges related to the alleged assault and property damage, as well as new unrelated charges for negligent driving and drug driving.
The woman allegedly assaulted a nurse in the hospital's adult mental health unit in September. The new charges related to a driving incident in July.
 
She told the court she had struggled with her mental health in recent years as her children had been taken into protective care and their father had been in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
She said she had not had care of her children for five to six years, and in the past year she had had another baby and was still coming to terms with that child being taken into care.
 
The woman told the court she believed she had been given the wrong anti-depressant medication by police on Monday night and asked to be released on bail so she could go home and collect her medication, pledging to abide by any bail conditions.
 
Special Magistrate Kenneth Cush ordered the woman be taken to the hospital for a psychiatric assessment and for arrangements to be made to ensure she received the right medication for her condition before a decision could be made as to how to deal with the case.
Source: Canberra Times October 2, 2018
Subaru recalls more than 40,000 vehicles over potentially faulty brake
1st October 2018

 More than 40,000 Subaru vehicles have been recalled over potential brake issues.

 
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a national recall for Subaru Liberty and Outback vehicles with the model years 2010-2014, due to possible defects to the electronic parking brake
If the electronic parking brake (EPB) circuit board fractures, the warning light will illuminate and the EPB cannot be applied or released," the ACCC recall notice said.
 
"If this happens, the vehicle may be in breach of the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for motor vehicles."
 
The ACCC warmed if the electronic parking brake could not be applied or released it could lead to an "increased risk of injury to the vehicle occupants and other road users".
Affected vehicle owners will be contacted by mail and should return their vehicles to their local Subaru dealer to be fixed for free.
 
Subaru drivers who own either a Subaru Liberty or an Outback model from 2010-2014 can also check if their vehicle is subject to the recall via the Subaru website.
 
The recall comes amid a nationwide recall of vehicles fitted with potentially deadly Takata airbags.
 
Almost 2 million vehicles still had airbags that needed replacing in August, while more than 1 million had already had their airbags replaced.
 
At the time, ACCC chairwoman Delia Rickard said drivers should not delay getting their airbags replaced.
 
"The airbags degrade over time and can become lethal by misdeploying and firing metal shards at the car's occupants."
 
For concerned drivers, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has an online portal where vehicle owners can enter their vehicle's registration to see if it is affected by the airbag recall.
 
Source: Canberra Times, October 1, 2018

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