Monthly Archives: February 2019

Feb
13
  • Darwin woman almost killed by faulty Takata airbag subjected to worldwide recall

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    The Takata airbag in a RAV4 SUV responsible for injuring a 21-year-old Darwin woman on Monday. Photo: NT Police
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    An n woman is fighting for life after becoming the first local victim of a global airbag recall crisis that has left drivers with gruesome injuries and affected millions of car owners.

    The 21-year-old Darwin woman was struck in the head by metal shrapnel propelled from her faulty airbag during a low-speed crash on Monday.

    The Takata airbag in her Toyota RAV4 SUV was one of about 100 million worldwide, including 2.1 million in , to be recalled.

    It’s believed tens of thousands of ns may be driving death trap cars capable of decapitating passengers by sending shrapnel flying through their car during crashes that may only be minor.

    Takata airbags have been attributed to 16 deaths worldwide including the near decapitation of American manCarlos Solis, who had​a piece of metal fly into his neck when the airbag in his 2002 Honda Accord deployed after a minor bingle in Texas.

    Florida driver Corey Burdicklost an eye when he crashedhis 2001 Honda Civic into another car at just 24 km/hr.

    Takata, a Japanese auto parts company,was fined $1.3 billion in Februaryfor deliberately hiding evidence that its airbag inflaters could explode with too much force, sending shrapnel flying.

    It has led to the biggest recall in automotive history.

    However, many n owners who have received recallnotices have also reported that local dealerships are out ofreplacementparts, with somepredictionsthat it willtake five years to complete the global recall.

    On Friday, Northern Territory police issueda warning following the near-death of the 21-year-old woman.

    Police said shewas driving a Toyota RAV4 SUV when another car turned across her path on a suburban street, resulting in a low speed collision.

    It is understood the woman was not at fault.

    She received serious head injuries and remains in Royal Darwin Hospital.

    Sergeant Mark Casey, a crash investigator with NT emergency services, said in a statement that “this type of crash, in normal circumstances, would not have caused this level of injury”.

    “Investigations have revealed the vehicle was the subject of a worldwide recall for faulty airbag manufacture in 2015,” he said.

    “The recall involved approximately 100 million vehicles around the world, including 2.1 million vehicles in .”

    Police have urged people to check theRecalls websiteto see if their car is affected, and to make sure vehicles with the issue are rectified as soon as possible.

    Toyota and Honda lead the local recall count, which includes 13 manufacturers and models ranging from city hatchbacks to four-wheel-drives and top-end Ferraris.

    A spokesman for Toyota said this is the first Takata-related injury in , and that the manufacturer is “cooperating with Northern Territory Police in their investigation”.

    Ammonium nitrate airbag inflators supplied by Takata are susceptible to moisture damage that can make them explode in an uncontrolled fashion, turning dashboard trim into lethal shrapnel.

    Fiat Chrysler Automobilies has stopped using ammonium nitrate airbags in its cars.

    n drivers frustrated by lengthy delays to airbag repairs have previously contactedDriveto say it is “wrong for us to be expected to drive potentially dangerous cars” while waiting for replacement components.

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Feb
13
  • Wary owner calls for muzzle use after vicious dog attack

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    MUZZLE UP: Elvis, a 14-week-old staghound-cross, and Cathy Southwell, who believes pet owners with large dogs should consider using muzzles. Picture: Les Smith A Wagga resident has called for large dog ownersto consider using a muzzlein the wake of a vicious dog attack which left afamily forced to watch their cat die in their arms.
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    Council’s manager of environment and city compliance Mark Gardiner revealed on Thursday there had been29 dog attacks in Wagga in the past three months, with an average of 150 dog attacks per year, ranging from small bites to full scale attacks.

    Owner of a 14-week-old staghound-cross, Cathy Southwell, said she intends on using a soft muzzle on her dog, having previously used one on her great dane.

    “You never know exactly what is going to trigger an animal to behave in a certain way,” Ms Southwell said.

    “Someone looking at a dog and making them feel threatened could be enough and that someone could be a three-year-old child.”

    Ms Southwell said she “couldn’t live with herself” if her dog attackeda child, after her great dane uncharacteristically bit her partner.

    “We took our previous dog to trainers, dog school and had specialists working with her,” Ms Southwell said.

    “She was a beautiful dog but you just never know.”

    Dog trainer Brydie Charlesworth, who services the Wagga area, said muzzles were a good management technique for fixing dogs behaviour, but not as a stand alone treatment.

    “There is no possible way a dogcan bite through a muzzle so it does keep the public safe,” Ms Charlesworth said.

    “It can be a great tool but must be used in conjunction with behaviourmodification.”

    Ms Charlesworth saidthe use of muzzels was becoming more prominent among dog owners.

    “I’m seeing an increase in people being responsible and using muzzles,” Ms Charlesworth said.

    “I guess people are becoming aware of the damage dogs can do when they’re not trained appropriately.”

    Both Ms Southwell and Ms Charlesworth emphasised that using a muzzle on a dog was not cruel.

    “I think dog attacks in Wagga are getting worse with people letting their dogs roam,” Ms Southwell said.

    “People are getting bigger dogs that they can’t control andthey need to understand not everyone likes dogs or feels comfortable with them.”

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Feb
13
  • Wheelchair users ‘lost’ in taxi industry deregulation

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    Empowering: Alex Reimers says she would be “lost” without Bendigo Taxis’ wheelchair accessible vehicles, which provide her with access to her community. Picture: NONI HYETT“Imagine if you were told you were not allowed out after 10pm on certain nights of the week.”
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    That is the situation facing Helen Reimers’ “engaging and wonderful”daughter, Alex, for whom she acts as unpaid carer, and whose freedom she says will be restricted by Bendigo Taxis decision to no longer offer its wheelchair accessible services after 10pm between Sunday and Thursday.

    But Ms Reimers does not believe the blame lies with the taxi operator, whose drivers she says provide “an amazing service”, without which she and Alex, who relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility, wouldbe“completely lost”.

    “There are so many Bendigo residents who rely on the Bendigo Taxi Association and their maxi-taxi service to enable them to have access to our community, the deregulation of the hire car industry is making it impossible for them to offer the necessary services for them to do so and it is only going to get worse,” she says.

    “Imagine what it is like to be told you can’t have this choice [to go out after 10pm] because you are disabled, and make no mistake this is what it says. This is our government forcing our disabled citizens to be out of sight, out of mind. This is discrimination.”

    Taxis Associated of Bendigo Co-Operative Limited manager Colin Wells agrees, saying deregulation has left the organisation with no choice but to reduce the hours the maxi-taxis operatein order to preserve the life of the aging fleet. He says the organisation can no longer afford to replacethree of itseight wheelchair-accessible taxis, now approaching the end of their life.

    “One of our vans hasblown a motor so that’s12,000odd dollars to repair it,” he says.

    “You wouldn’t bother putting anew motor in a vehiclethat’s got 750,000 kilometreson it when the gear box and everything else in it is exhausted. You’re better off putting thatmoney into a new van butwe don’thave the wherewithalto find the $80,000that we’d need to get another van on the road.”

    Mr Wells saysderegulation has meantrevenue from sedan taxis is no longer sufficient to subside the wheelchair fleet, putting in jeopardy the decades-old trade off industry players made between the profit-based sedan taxi services and the “essential service” of providing affordable transport for people with disabilities, which he says runsat a loss.

    “We want to providethe service, we just don’t have the capital funds to do so,” he says.

    “The whole crux of is it is we are being repeatedly and consistently told by the government that ours is not an essential service, we are merely commercial operators, that’sall we are, so they are saying ifa service is not viable then stop providing it.

    “I believe theyare 100 per centwrong, theycould not be more wrong,particularly withthe wheelchair fleet.”

    Mr Wells saysthe government’s changes have also meant the value of the association’staxi fleet as an asset hasbeen reduced, leaving it unable to borrow against it to pay for repairs to the wheelchair-accessiblevans.

    “If you can imagine we had $900,000worth of licences to run our wheelchair fleet, we’re going to get a $200,000payment for that, so therefore,when we go to the bank, the bank willseewe madea $700,000loss last year with the right down of the asset value so of course no one, in that situation, in their right mind is going to lend for that,” he said.

    “They’ve taken away our ability to borrow,they’vetaken away our ability to cross-subsidise, sothere’s nothing left but to shut services down and go off the road.”

    MsReimers believes the service provided by Bendigo Taxis is an essential one as “the only safe, accessible transport service”for wheelchair users in Bendigo which, for Alex, means the difference between playing an active role in her community and social isolation.

    “Living with significant disability presents her with economic and social barriers that already make social inclusion and achieving a reasonable quality of life more challenging than it is for the average [person],” she says.

    “If her only means of transport in and around Bendigo is taken away, then socially she will be completely exiled from her own community, from our community.”

    Mr Wells says the “unambiguous message” coming from the government is that taxi operators are not providers of “essential services” and should be moving towards an entirely commercial model –but he believes thatwill inevitably lead to higher prices.

    “The government has been warnedsinceAugust, 2015 if they got the deregulation incorrect it would have a massive impact on the wheelchair fleet,” he said.

    “Theykeeptelling me that commercial forces will dictate that someone will come in and replace us. Well they won’t – or theonly only way they will isifthey double the price.”

    For her part, Alex Reimers says the freedom afforded to her by the taxi service means “the world” and its loss would cost her her cherished independence and adversely impact her mental health.

    “I find it really empowering to be able to have choice in what I do and when. To be able to go out and about without my mother always having to be by my side has built my confidence. I couldn’t do this without the maxi-taxi service,” she says.

    “The maxi-taxis provide me with access to the community, events, education, appointments, shopping and socialising. I’d belost without them.”

    Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan saidthe government wasoffering the biggest industry assistance package in and helping wheelchair taxi operatorsby increasing the lifting fee and providing up to $40,000 for each new piece of equipment purchased.

    “Ultimately, these reforms will improve services to people with disabilities, by reducing the cost of operating a wheelchair taxi and encouraging new operators to offer accessible services,” she said.

    But Mr Wells says while five of the association’s eight maxi-taxis still have years of life left in them, if nothing changes it will only be a matter of time before the wheelchair accessible service disappears entirely.

    “We need help and we need help now and all I’m doing is recommendingthat all of our passengers who are impacted by this contact their local member and say ‘Hey listen, if they’re not an essential service, what essential services is the government providing to ensure that I can be transported around?’,” he says.

    “Idon’t think that’s an unreasonable question because in my mind we are an essential service.”

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Feb
13
  • Two crunch A-League semi-finals to be played this weekend

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    Grand final spots on the line Alex Brosque (left) and Bobo of Sydney FC pose ahead of their semi final match against the Perth Glory. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images
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    Sydney FC are presented with the A-League Premier’s Plate after the round 27 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets on April 15. Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

    Rhyan Grant of Sydney FC crosses the ball during the round 27 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium. Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

    Joshua Risdon of the Glory greets fans after Perth’s A-League elimination final win over Melbourne City FC last week AAMI Park. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

    Osama Malik of Melbourne City and Andy Keogh of Perth Glory contest the ball during the A-League elimination final last week. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

    Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas dives to make a save during a training session at Gosch’s Paddock on Thursday. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

    James Troisi and James Donachie pose with the Hyundai A-League Championship yrophy during a Melbourne Victory A-League media opportunity at AAMI Park. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

    Roar fans cheer during the A-League elimination final match between the Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

    TweetFacebookGAME DAY | It’s @ALeague semi-final day!!! Be at @AllianzStadium and back your Premiers! KO 7:50pm… #SydneyIsSkyBlue#SYDvPER#ALFinalspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/FYkPp1JDSq

    — Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) April 28, [email protected] are undefeated at home this season and Alex Brosque has credited much of that success to their fans. 🎫: https://t苏州夜场招聘/Te7nA1950Rpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/JbDQHqX5gD

    — Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) April 25, 2017We face the @ALeague Premiers this Saturday night.We go again. 💪💪#GloryIsOurspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/5y18xy8j7C

    — Perth Glory FC (@PerthGloryFC) April 23, 2017Tomorrow at @AAMIPark! An #ALeagueGF berth is up for grabs when we host @brisbaneroar. Preview: https://t苏州夜场招聘/DfWFxprGzl#MVCvBRIpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/fYD9zqVdTY

    — Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) April 29, 2017

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Feb
13
  • Harry Styles heading to China

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    Harry Styles performs at the American Music Awards. Photo: MATT SAYLESHarry Styles is heading to for his first solo world tour. But just over 4000 fans will be able to see him perform here.
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    The singer, and former One Direction member, announced the 30-date global tour on hisTwitter pageovernight, citing concerts in Sydney at the relatively small Enmore Theatre andthe Forum Theatre in Melbourne on November 26 and 30 respectively.

    The tour, which begins in San Francisco in September and also includesCanada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan, has ignited social media in two ways.

    Fans are thrilled, with many a swooning meme uploaded to social media, butire is highin countries the singer is not visiting.

    Styles’ devoteesin Poland, Brazil, Russia, South America,the Middle East and Africa posted images of flags and maps of their home countriesin response.

    His surprise choice of smaller venues in continues a trendfor big name actsperforming at “intimate” theatres.

    The Enmore Theatre has a capacity of2200 in concert mode in contrast to stadium venue Qudos Bank Arena at Homebush which has a total capacity of 21,000.

    In 2014Coldplayplayed a one-off show at theEnmore andBobDylanplayedthe 800-seat Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane. In2003the Rolling Stones also picked the Enmore Theatre for a performance.

    Styles, whoreleases his debut solo album on May 12, also makes his big screen debut in upcomingfilmDunkirk, which recreates the historic evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in France.

    Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film features Styles as Alex, asoldier, alongside actors such as Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and James D’Arcy.

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