Political storm erupts over Holden pullout

Source: News.com.au

GENERAL Motors blamed a “perfect storm”, but Labor threw responsibility squarely at the federal government for Holden’s decision to stop making vehicles in Australia.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott called it a “sad, bad day” for Australian manufacturing and pledged a strategic response to help workers affected by Holden’s decision to stop making cars in Australia from 2017.

The government will in coming days release a “considered package” of measures to rebuild confidence in the long-term future of manufacturing and the regions of Adelaide and Melbourne where Holden operates, he told parliament.

“I don’t want to pretend to the parliament that this is anything other than a dark day for Australian manufacturing,” Mr Abbott said.

But there had been hard times before and Australian industrial centres had come through, he urged.

“It is not the time to play politics, it’s not the time to indulge in the blame game, it’s not the time to peddle false hope,” he said.

But Opposition leader Bill Shorten didn’t hold back in blaming the government for losing a high stakes game of poker.

“A major company who has been building motor cars in this country since after the Second World War has effectively been goaded to give up on this country,” he told parliament.

The opposition was “appalled” by the government’s handling of the crisis.

Something had changed between Holden and the government in 24 hours, Mr Shorten said.

“They were told by the federal government of Australia, who were elected to govern for all, that there would be no more support, no more investment, and I believe, that Holden were pushed,” he said.

Mr Shorten called on Mr Abbott to urgently deal with the mess and chaos that has occurred while both leaders were in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

“We understand that structural change happens in the Australian economy, what we don’t understand is when the Australian government tries to sabotage its own industry,” Mr Shorten said, prompting Treasurer Joe Hockey to storm out of the parliament.

Earlier, parliament erupted during question time with Labor blaming the Abbott government for the loss of the 2900 jobs in Victoria and South Australia by 2017, while Mr Hockey angrily rejected Labor’s “confected anger”.

An emotional Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek later castigated the coalition for withdrawing $500 million of car industry support and not properly engaging with Holden’s US owner General Motors since it won the September election.

“It was Joseph Benedict Chifley who watched the first car roll off the production line at Fishermans Bend and it will be Joseph Benedict Hockey who sees the last car roll off the production line,” she told reporters.

She said Mr Hockey has got his way after “goading and daring” Holden to withdraw from Australia.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss rejected the claims, saying he had been told by Holden the government’s actions had little influence on GM’s decision.

Mr Hockey said GM was right when it cited a “perfect storm” of “the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world”.

But he did add the former Labor government’s carbon tax, its now scrapped plan to alter the fringe benefits tax arrangements on cars and high labour costs to the mix.

Αυστραλία: Ελληνίδα δώρισε ένα εκατομμύριο δολάρια στο Νοσοκομείο της Καμπέρας

Το ποσό του ενός εκατομμυρίου δολαρίων, το οποίο θα δοθεί σταδιά στα επόμενα πέντε χρόνια, δώρισε στο Νοσοκομείο Παίδων και Γυναικών της Καμπέρας, μια Ελληνίδα φιλάνθρωπος, η Σωτηρία Λιάγκη.

Η οικογένειά της είναι γνωστή στην Καμπέρα για το φιλανθρωπικό της έργο αλλά η ίδια δεν θέλει να μιλά για αυτό.

Η κ. Λιάγκη, με τον αείμνηστο σύζυγό της, μετανάστευσαν στην Αυστραλία από την Ελλάδα στην δεκαετία του ’60. Ε
κείνος ήταν υποδηματοποιός, αλλά αργότερα έκανε επενδύσεις σε ακίνητα. Μετά το θάνατό του την εταιρεία ανέλαβε η σύζυγό του με τον γιο τους Γιάννη.

World-first Melbourne-led clinical trial reports stunning results in people with advanced leukaemia

Source: PeterMac

Researchers and clinicians from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research are leading an international trial of a new therapy, for people with advanced leukaemia for whom no conventional treatment options are available, which has completely cleared cancer in 23 per cent of patients.

Reporting preliminary results of the ongoing first-in-human clinical trial of the novel compound to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in New Orleans today, Professor John Seymour: Chair of the Haematology Service at Peter Mac, revealed 84 per cent of patients experienced remission, despite participants’ disease having failed an average of four prior treatment regimes.

Professor Seymour says the results of the trial are unprecedented in the quality of the disease responses.

‘Patients on the trial were typically incurable, with an average life expectancy of up to 18 months, so to see complete clearance of cancer in nearly one quarter of these patients, after taking this single therapy, is incredibly encouraging.’

‘By comparison, the phase I study of ibrutinib, now hailed as a game-changer in CLL, reported cleared disease in only two per cent of a similar group of patients.’

Professor Andrew Roberts: head of clinical translation at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Metcalf Chair of Leukaemia Research at The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, says the therapy works by overcoming the action of a key survival signal within leukaemia cells which allows them to avoid dying.

‘Although CLL cells are slow to proliferate, they accumulate inexorably because they fail to die, creating large tumours that standard treatments have not been able to adequately combat.

‘This novel compound selectively targets the protein-to-protein interaction responsible for keeping the leukaemia cells alive and, in many cases, we’ve seen the number of cancerous lymphocytes simply melt away.’

To date, the phase I study has involved 67 patients, whose cancer was resistant to up to eleven cancer treatment regimens.

Professor Seymour says a further promising aspect of the phase I results is the presence of the same survival instinct in malignant cells of other cancer types.

‘Pre-clinical studies at Peter Mac and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have shown this protein interaction can keep cancer cells alive in other haematological malignancies and breast, lung and prostate cancers — and we have already seen extremely exciting effectiveness of this compound in laboratory models, when combined with other anti-cancer treatments.

‘We certainly feel there is potential for therapies similar to this to enter clinical development as complementary therapies for these diseases.’

The final phase of this study in leukaemia is expected to complete accrual around the end of the year.