SYN News at 4: 26 June 2013

COURTNEY: Coming up in the next fifteen minutes:

  • The federal government commits to community radio
  • ALEX: ROB OAKESHOTT and TONY WINDSOR retire from politics
  • COURTNEY: The Gonski education reforms pass the Senate
  • ALEX: And more calls for the AFL to strip JOBE WATSON of his Brownlow

 Good afternoon, I’m COURTNEY BIGGS. ALEX: And I’m ALEX ROBINSON. Welcome to SYN News at 4. The top story on SYN today, The Federal Government has committed to a digital future for community radio, pledging six million dollars over three years. Today’s announcement by Federal Communications Minister STEPHEN CONROY follows months of campaigning by SYN and other community stations, which gained the support of more than forty-three thousand people. Labor Senator LISA SINGH says the government is excited that community digital radio will be be able to continue. “I just think that this is fantastic news. Nearly 4.5 million Australians tune into community radio every week, so that shows how important the public sees the community radio sector, and that’s why the government is proud to play it’s part in keeping community digital radio on air in those five capital mainland cities.” SYN’s Digital Content Developer, DECLAN KELLY, says there is a feeling of excitement and relief in the community radio sector. “The mood is better than it has ever been, I think. This has been a really stressing issue for the sector and people who have been involved in community radio for about a year now, and it’s just great to know that we made it. And good work for Senator Conroy for supporting community radio.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              COURTNEY: Independent MPs ROB OAKESHOTT and TONY WINDSOR will retire from parliament at this year’s federal election. MR WINDSOR says he is retiring due to family reasons and an ongoing health issue. “As much as I like election campaigns, my wife doesn’t… a health issue that’s currently being investigated… my family also want me not to stand.” Mr OAKESHOTT has also cited family reasons for his departure. “I’ve been in federal parliament five years, 17 years in public life, six elections with a very young family that you only get one crack at. The time’s right for me.” The two MPs from regional New South Wales have helped keep Labor in government, since the 2010 election resulted in a hung parliament. Prime Minister JULIA GILLARD has praised both MPs, saying she would miss MR OAKESHOTT’s smile and substance, and has enjoyed working with MR WINDSOR. MR WINDSOR’s retirement means The Nationals’ BARNABY JOYCE is now likely win the seat of New England.ALEX: The Gonski education bills have passed the Senate today, turning one of the Gillard government’s key policies into law.    However, the government has only struck a deal with three states and territories to deliver the needs-based funding reforms next year. PRIME MINISTER GILLARD has set a deadline of this Sunday for states and territories to sign up to the reforms. Victorian Premier DENIS NATHPINE has announced he will not sign up to the Gonski reforms unless the Federal Government contributes SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS over the next six years. The bill sets a base level of funding for each student, starting at more than nine thousand dollars for a primary student and just over twelve thousand dollars for a secondary student.  These amounts would then be supplemented by ”loadings,” which target categories of disadvantage such as disability and low socio-economic status. Greens’ Schools Spokesperson, SENATOR PENNY WRIGHT, has described the reforms as “a once-in-a-generation chance for a fairer funding system.”COURTNEY: Meanwhile, supporters of former Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD are reportedly circulating a ballot to force a spill of the Labor Party leadership. One-third of Labor MPs must sign the petition in order to call a special meeting of the Labor caucus, where the leadership would then be put to a vote. The Daily Telegraph reports that the petition has achieved the required number of signatures, and a leadership spill will be held tomorrow.ALEX: Monash University is conducting a major study of elderly drivers, in order to create a fast screening test to assess driving ability.    The study aims to create a quick screening test which can be used by GPs to monitor Australia’s ageing population of drivers.   Associate Professor JUDITH CHARLTON has expressed concern over our ageing population on the road, “We know that by 2030, one in four drivers is going to be over the age of 65.”  The cars are fitted with data boxes for the duration of the study, which record GPS information from trips to show which types of roads the drivers travel on, whether they avoid freeways or whether they choose not to drive at night.COURTNEY: Anaesthetists will ask smokers to quit before they undergo surgery, according to new medical guidelines. The new policy from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists means all elective surgery patients will be asked whether or not they smoke,  Patients will be offered referrals to help them quit four to six weeks before the procedure, but practitioners will not have the power to delay or cancel surgery.ALEX: ANDREW DENTON has announced his retirement from television, announcing he will sell his stake in production company ‘Zapruder’s Other Films.’ DENTON founded the company thirteen years ago, helping create the Gruen Transfer, The Chaser’s C-N-N-N-N, and Denton’s own show, Enough Rope. Fifty-three year old DENTON says he’s proud of everything he’s achieved in the TV industry.COURTNEY: In health news, Meningococcal Australia is urging parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date. The criteria for being fully immunised will change on July the first, and will now include two meningitis vaccines. LEANNE WEYMARK-COTTER from Meningococcal Australia says parents need to be vigilant. “Meningococcal Australia would like to parents to please check that their children’s vaccinations are up to date with the meningococcal C, and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. If they think their child has contracted the disease, please go to the hospital straight away.” You are listening to SYN News. Heading overseas now:ALEX: A Texas Senator was not able to block an abortion bill, despite standing for over 13 hours in Parliament.  Democratic state senator, WENDY DAVIS, used a parliamentary procedure called a filibuster, where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal. However Republicans cited rules to eventually force a vote to end the filibuster. Democrats chose MS DAVIS to lead the effort to block the bill because she had a child at 19 and still went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires that all procedures take place in a surgical center, forcing the closure of almost all abortion clinics in Texas.  COURTNEY: An American businessman is being held hostage in his own plant near Beijing.CHIP STARNES, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, is being held against his will by 140 workers, who claim they are simply settling a labor dispute.MR STARNES had visited the plant in order to announce the layoff of 30 workers whose jobs would be transferred to India. But the announcement sparked panic that the entire plant would be closed.MR STARNES has spoken out against local authorities who are not intervening in the matter.PRESIDENT OBAMA has announced a wide-reaching new plan to fight climate change PRESIDENT OBAMA has pledged to push new generation clean energy sources and calls for new restrictions on existing and new power plants to curb carbon emissions. US Officials say the plan will allow the US to meet a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.  MR OBAMA will also withdraw support for coal-fired power plants abroad, and offered to discuss new initiatives with big emitters like India and China.      COURTNEY: Closer to home, and Victorian students will now learn about digital citizenship at school. The Growing Up Digital program will educate students about digital footprints and reputation, privacy and communication, as well as cyber-bullying, creative credit and copyright.ALEX: Image sharing app, Snapchat, has been valued at EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION dollars by website AllThingsD. The smartphone app, which shares a picture or image for ten seconds or less before deleting itself, initially rose to popularity as a tool for sexting before becoming popular for sharing a wide range of photos. The app now shares approximately 200 million images a day and has survived competition from Facebook’s rival app, Poke. In more good news for the company, Snapchat recently raised SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS in new investment from American venture capital company, IVP.Staff at the Calgary Zoo had to stop the escape of two Hippo’s during a flooding crisis. The two hippos, Sparky and Lobi, were housed not far from the edge of the Bow River and attempted to swim through a public viewing area to freedom. The Canadian zoo is facing tens of millions of dollars worth of damage in wake of the massive floods. But officials at the zoo say they are lucky. Director of Animal Care, Dr. JAKE VEASEY said, “It’s frankly unbelievable we didn’t lose more than we did.” COURTNEY: And now here’s EDDIE WILLIAMS with sport.EDDIE: Thanks COURTNEY. More controversy has erupted after JOBE WATSON’S admission in taking anti-obesity drug, AOD-9604, with a number of prominent sports commentators calling for WATSON’S 2012 Brownlow Medal to be stripped. TIM LANE and JEFF KENNET have both called for the removal of Watson’s best and fairest title, claiming he had an illegal advantage. But Essendon coach, JAMES HIRD has stood behind his captain, despite being surprised at WATSON’S comments. “I’m never disappointed in Jobe Wastson. Jobe Watson is a man of the higest intergrity, highest character, great person for our footy club. I’m not concerned for Jobe, we have confidence in the AFL and ASADA investigation that the truth will come out.”Australia’s BERNARD TOMIC has asked Wimbledon organisers to lift a ban on his father and coach, JOHN TOMIC. TOMIC SENIOR is suspended from ATP Tour, following allegations that he assaulted his son’s training partner in Spain. TOMIC JUNIOR had a five-set win over SAM QUERREY last night, while Australia’s top-ranked player, SAM STOSUR, has moved through to the second round with a crushing straight sets win over Slovakian youngster ANA SCHMEDLOVA. Fellow Australians MATT EBDEN and JAMES DUCKWORTH both lost their first-round matches overnight.The YOUNG SOCCEROOS have suffered a setback in reaching the next stage of the under 20 World Cup after a 2-1 loss to EL SALVADOR in RIZE. Australia started well with a thunderous strike by Josh Brillante in the ninth minute. But goals to DIEGO COCA and JOSE ANGEL PENA before half-time made it too difficult for AUSTRALIA to recover. The win marked EL SALVADOR’S first victory in any FIFA tournament and has left AUSTRALIA one point from two games.———————————————————- And BLUE’s captain PAUL GALLEN isn’t worried about being hated by the MAROONS and their fans ahead of tonight’s second game in the State of Origin series. GALLEN found himself under heavy scrutiny after unleashing an attack on Nate Myles near the end of the first half of play. “There’s a big punch up in centre of ground, Nat Myles with a left and a right from Gallen and they both landed flush.” The NRL announced a new rule in response to the incident in which any player caught punching an opponent will be automatically sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. But GALLEN doesn’t believe this will completely eradicate this kind of violence in the series. “I think it’ll be a big deterrent, there’ll still be players in the heat of the moment where things will happen. It’s a game for grown men and in the heat of battle things happen.” New South Wales have a chance to break a seven year series drought if they manage to beat Queensland tonight at Suncorp Stadium.  And now back to ALEX with the weather. ALEX: Thanks EDDIETo the weather, Right now in the city, it’s seventeen degrees. We’re headed for an overnight low of six, before a partly cloudy day tomorrow, with morning frost patches and a top of sixteen degrees. COURTNEY: For those on public transport, there are minor citybound delays on the Werribee line, due to a track equipment fault at Laverton.ALEX: To recap our top stories this afternoon:

  • COURTNEY: The Federal government commits to community radio
  • ALEX: Gonski Education reforms pass the Senate
  • COURTNEY: Smokers encouraged to quit before having surgery
  • ALEX: And calls for JOBE WATSON to lose his Brownlow Medal

 COURTNEY: That’s all for our bulletin this afternoon. But when we’re off air, you can keep up with the news by following us on twitter at News SYN.Panorama’s coming up at 4.30 and we’ll be back with an update at 5pm.

June 26th 2013
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