Source: The Standard

Teenagers in Victoria’s south-west are abusing drugs and alcohol and engaging in risky sex at the state’s highest rates.

The state government report paints a disturbing picture with the Barwon South West region reporting the highest percentage of young people aged 12 to 14 who had drank alcohol in the last 30 days.

The region takes in Greater Geelong, Warrnambool, Surf Coast, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians and Glenelg local government areas.

The highest percentage among 15-17 year olds who drank in the last 30 days was in Loddon Mallee with 62.8 per cent and Barwon South West with 62.4 per cent.

Barwon South West also had the highest level of reported binge drinking across the state at 26.7 per cent.

The report, The State of Victoria’s Children, shows the teenage birth rate is two times higher for young women aged 15-19 years in rural Victoria. Among people aged 15-17, those in Barwon South West and the Grampians regions are the most likely to have had sexual intercourse.

The highest rates of sexually transmitted infections are in the Barwon South West region and across the state the highest and fastest growing rates are for chlamydia.

Brophy Family and Youth Services chief executive officer Francis Broekman said the report reflected what his organisation had seen in the past 10 years and it showed areas where there needed to be big improvements.

He said it was clear there needed to be greater linkages to school engagement and meaningful school curriculums. For some people it was a generational issue, he said, with many families not having a great experience at school.

Mr Broekman said it was clear that alcohol use was a key issue, which needed to be addressed, and more work directed at teen pregnancy.

“On the other hand, it does show that kids in a rural setting make stronger connections with their community and that their communities are more caring,” he said. “Rural communities are more likely to give kids a second chance.”

There were positives for the region which recorded the highest attainment rate for years 12s with 76.8 per cent in rural Victoria.

The region also had the lowest percentage of children aged 15-12 who had never been to a dentist at 3.3 per cent and it had the lowest percentage of children experiencing high levels of family stress at 11 per cent.The report states that while the majority of children and young people in rural and regional Victoria are faring well, there are clear disparities in health, well-being, safety and learning and development outcomes between rural and regional children and young people and their metropolitan counterparts.

Youth Affairs Council of Victoria chief executive Kate Colvin said the report was a powerful reminder of the work that had to be done to ensure that all young Victorians had access to a strong standard of health, education and well-being. “Growing up in a rural community should be a positive experience for a young person, not a source of disadvantage,” she said.

High rates of sex, drugs and alcohol abuse among south-west Victorian teenagers are the worst in the state.

Source: Newcastle Herald

Equine and viticulture areas identified as ‘‘critical industry clusters” will be off limits to new coal seam gasactivities, but will not have buffer zones around them.

Minister for Resources and EnergyChris Hartcher was this morning forced to make this clarification to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s statement about coal seam gas leases.

Two-kilometre buffer zones will be introduced around residential areas to prevent new CSG exploration,assessment and production activities for surface and underground works.

The Environment Protection Authority will be put in charge of regulating the environmental and health impacts of the growing industry, and the state’s Chief Scientist and Engineer will conduct an independent review of all CSG activities and their impact on water catchments.

‘‘We want a sustainable CSG industry in NSW but it must be developed safely and with the appropriate environmental protections in place,’’ Premier Barry O’Farrell said.

The Coalition party room will be briefed on the measures today.

The move follows the emergence of coal seam gas as a key federal election issue in NSW, where the state government had also been under pressure to adopt Queensland’s use of two-kilometre buffer zones for wells around housing.

Energy company AGL recently put a proposal for drilling under western Sydney homes on hold, and federal Environment Minister Tony Burke was criticised last week by environmentalists and residents for signing off on the company’s state government-approved plans for at least 110 wells at Gloucester.

AGL also holds an exploration licence over the Broke vineyards area, which was among 22 gas licences the state government renewed last year.

The company has been conducting exploratory drilling and proposed pilot wells.

The new exclusion zones would affect any CSG activity that has not yet been approved.

The buffer around housing would apply to existing residential areas and land earmarked for future growth such as Sydney’s north-west.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.Mr O’Farrell said putting the Environment Protection Authority in charge would end confusion in the community about which agency was responsible for monitoring and enforcing environmental and health conditions.

‘‘These actions clearly place public health and safety at the heart of all CSG activities,’’ he said.

An Office of Coal Seam Regulation would also be set up inside the Department of Trade and Investment.

Vineyards will be among the areas protected from coal seam gas exploration under new state rules.

The Chief Scientist would look at ways to manage the ‘‘interface’’ with residential properties in non-urban areas, with an initial report due to the government in July.

Died in Borneo … Michael Headley.An Australian man has died during a motorcross rally in Borneo during which riders were forced to spend the night in the jungle when heavy rain flooded the track.

An organiser of the 140-kilometre race said Michael Adrian Headley, 34, suffered a heart attack and died on Saturday, midway through the Balikpapan Two Days Enduro race.

“He had a heart attack and died instantly. He seemed to have forced himself beyond his physical ability,” race organiser Harin Tasmida said.

Mr Headley lived with his family, including his young son, in the coastal city of Balikpapan, where he worked for a mining company.

Mr Headley’s wife posted a message on her Facebook page farewelling her husband, a former Queensland resident.

“daer my lovely husband,happy b’day darling…I’alwasy love you so much,” she wrote.

“happy b’day dady..maeson miss dady so much..bye bye dady..maeson alwasy love dady very so much.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson confirmed the Australian man’s death.

“The Department is providing consular assistance to the family, in Australia and in Indonesia, of a 34-year-old Australian man who died on 16 February in Kalimantan,” the spokesperson said.

Twenty other riders had to be rescued during the race after they were forced to spend the night in the jungle when heavy rain made the track impassable.

“Many motorcycles broke down on the trail and riders had no choice but to stay overnight in the jungle without food and water, many suffering from fatigue,” local rescuer Trembli Vemberiyanto said.

Tasmida, however, denied the event was poorly organised, saying they responded as quickly as possible.

“Nobody went missing. They only got stuck in the jungle because of the muddy terrain as it was raining a night before. We sent them food and water,” he said.

The Balikpapan Two Days Enduro began on Saturday with around 800 participants in the city of Balikpapan. The event was part of the city’s 116th anniversary celebrations.

The organiser said Headley had undergone a physical examination in Singapore two months earlier and had been in good condition.

With AFP

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MOBILE phones and tablets have emerged as the preferred way to search online for shopping ideas, particularly over Christmas, while a new breed of consumers engaged in ”couch commerce” – shopping late at night when the kids are asleep – is also growing in popularity.

This meant that shoppers were ”always on”, and only a finger-stroke away from computers at work, iPhones on the train and tablets on the couch to access retail websites, search for the best offers, check prices and store opening hours.

Data collected by Google looking at online trends and behaviour over November, the peak time for online Christmas spending to ensure presents arrive in time, show for the first time a majority of shopping-related online searches were conducted away from a traditional desktop computer.

”It all boils down to the uptake in mobile and the centrality of mobile phones to people’s shopping decisions,” said Google head of retail, Ross McDonald.

He said Google figures revealed 53 per cent of online shopping searches came from these handheld devices, such as iPhones, iPads and tablets, the first pre-Christmas period in Australia a majority of this online activity was done away from computers and laptops.

”People are moving across the day from a laptop or desktop at work to a mobile when they are on the go or a tablet in the evening,” Mr McDonald said.

Mr McDonald said Australian shoppers are typically using a variety of devices to now access online retail information to make their decisions. ”It’s big screens versus small screens. Small screen is … often used to confirm a purchase or confirm the price … very much at the end of the shopping process.

”The big screen, which is laptops and tablets, is for ‘what type of product do I want to buy?’, so product comparison and therefore which retailer can help me with that.”

Mr McDonald also referred to a growing class of consumers doing ”couch commerce”.

”Some people call it ‘couch commerce’, where the kids are in bed, TV is on, glass of wine and let’s do a bit more of what [shopping] I was doing today or start looking for some shopping stuff.”

Google estimated that online sales for the year to November hit $12.6 billion, and was growing at an annual rate of about 27 per cent.

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Melting moments: Tears and fears for ‘Little Miss Cupcake’ Jenna, left, and sister-in-arms Joanna. Pink-faced: Jenna, left, doesn’t think she can pull through. Will this spell the end for Joanna as well?

It is the end for the second group of travelling diners on My Kitchen Rules and this episode promises the re-introduction of couples long since forgotten, such as Lisa and Stefano, Josh and Andi (the hipsters who aren’t really hipsters) and those others from Victoria who are a great deal older than everybody else. Their participation is inexcusable because apparently it’s only young and unwrinkled people who like to cook.

For this instalment, the teams travel to “Adelaide” and the travellers wonder why people choose to live in “Adelaide” which is unimportant to the rest of the country.

Jenna and Joanna, self-proclaimed domestic goddesses, are the hosts for the evening and for the 783rd time in just a few episodes, Jenna reminds us that she works in a “high-class patisserie”. For reference, an “Adelaide” “high-class patisserie” is the equivalent in Sydney or Melbourne of Donut King.

Jenna also declares that she is a self-taught cupcake artist, as though this is something to brag about. Jenna says her goal is to create an empire of sweetness. Joanna sees that her way out of this craziness is to open a dental surgery for all of Jenna’s customers.

Joanna says that to cook is to love, except if you are Jessie and Biswa, in which case to cook is to kill/maim/poison.

Jenna declares that she and Joanna are the most glamorous domestic goddesses you’ll ever meet. There are two problems here: one, the title is already taken and that is by Nigella, so just back off. The second is that they live in Adelaide. Glamour? Really?

As the shopping starts, Joanna hopes that Jenna will get through the day without crying. Has she not watched this show before? Crying is mandatory, with non-compliance resulting in elimination.

Joanna thinks using smaller fish for an entree means that the bones will disintegrate during cooking. Can anyone smell TROUBLE ahead?

She also predicts that Lisa and Candice will score strategically because this is their lost opportunity, being at the bottom of the leader board. Wow. She is so wise. Joanna and Jenna try to boost their chances and spirits by signing Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead. By sing, I mean sing badly. However, their alleged singing is infinitely preferable to Lisa and Candice’s “dancing”.

Speaking of those “dancers”, they live in hope that the stars align and send Jenna and Joanna to Pluto. This acerbic yet predictable slight from Candice has Lisa guffawing.

Jenna hopes the other teams like her pink restaurant as much as she and Joanna do. I think this is unlikely unless they’ve had a lobotomy in the past 24 hours.

Joanna starts by making the home-made bangers. Jenna is crystallising rose petals. Apparently this is a thing. The notification to the world that dead roses can’t rest in peace has clearly passed me by.

Jenna is feeling the pressure because of her passion for dessert. Maybe if she had shared less of her passion with the rest of the group, she wouldn’t have this rod for her back.

In a stereotypically blonde moment, Jenna leaves strawberry paste for her mousse on the stove top. Her resolve not to cry is severely tested. Then, by putting the crystallised rose petals in the oven, Jenna has stuffed that up too. Oh noes. Joanna has a heart-to-heart talk to her by the sink. “Don’t do it,” warns Jo, “or I’ll rip your head off and serve it with clotted cream for dessert.”

Remember earlier, when Joanna said the bones of the fish would disintegrate during cooking? Well, for part 861 of Famous Wrong Calls of History, here is Joanna. The fish are full of bones. The two gasp as though fish having bones is something they’ve not encountered before. They decide to hope for the best and that the bones will disintegrate.

The other teams arrive and are unsurprised to see pink everywhere. Unsurprisingly, Lisa looks far from impressed at the amount of sugar in the restaurant’s lolly bar. Hey, Lisa, sugar has carbohydrates. You know, that thing you demanded a couple of restaurants ago?

Dan thinks his masculinity is being challenged by all the pink. I think the button earrings will do that by themselves, Dan. Luke’s masculinity, though, is not such a problem and with a look, tells Jenna to “go hard”. Ooh, err.

Lightning strikes thrice for Jenna back in the kitchen when she realises she’s not made enough dessert and has to start again. Jenna’s third batch of mousse is not inspirated and she starts to cry. Again.

Manu and Pete arrive and agree that Jenna is obsessed with pink. Manu subtly mentions that he likes blue. This could mean something but the idea of Manu and Jenna finding a common/romantic bond through colours could make the world explode.

The menu is revealed. Candice was wanting cupcakes for dessert so that Jenna could display her talents “that she talks about, every single instant restaurant.” Well now, Candice, forget the mote in Jenna’s eye and behold the beam in thine.

Manu asks Lisa what she is hoping for at dinner, and with unflinching honesty, she replies “That you’ll all give them zeros”. Everyone laughs but they all know that there’s no chance of that, even if they die choking on fish bones.

Jenna and Joanna cook for some time but all seems to be going to plan. Nothing to see here except a really awkward impersonation of Manu’s catchcry: “Where is ze sauce?”

Entree is served. In the ultimate act of hypocrisy, Joanna dissolves into tears when Pete says her dish epitomises what My Kitchen Rules is all about – real people and real food. “This is the best dish I’ve had in the competition,” he says.

Candice, never far from the action, says hearing Pete’s praise is a stab in the heart. No, she does not mean that literally. But she is almost stabbed in the mouth when she finds a line of little bones and starts to faux choke.

The action returns to the kitchen and the main is started. Joanna is forensic about her salt – 18 grams per one kilo of meat. Evidently the same exacting weights do not apply to the sugar that lines the dining room.

Lisa is putting the pressure on in the dining room and slams the main as being a “Sunday night dinner … it’s not my idea of a gourmet meal”.

Joanna’s regrets? She’s had a few. And one of them now is cooking the sausages in a coil because every one of the 12 sausages looks like a dog doo-doo. In the end, she decides to keep the skewers in the sausage, choosing a potential eye-gouging over poor aesthetics.

Dan the Queensland sausage king thinks the dish doesn’t look particularly flash. Candice says it looks like a dog turd, which makes Lisa give her most animated expression of the show, with eyebrows going every which way.

Manu, though, puts dog-turd fears into the pooper-scooper. “I thought your sausage was to die for.” Lisa and Candice look as though their faces have been rubbed in dog doo-doo.

But the judging sausage splits over the issue of sauce: Manu is again about to jump down the contestants’ throat for no sauce with a main. Pete says no sauce was needed but the mash needed work. Candice gloats and the venom coming from her aura could make a poisonous sauce.

Scott and Luke declare undying allegiance to Team Manu and lobby for sauce. Scott is considering a Manu tattoo to sit with his squid tattoo.

Back in the kitchen, Jenna is on the verge of tears again when the dacqouise base for her mousse looks a lot like an elderly person – grey and cracked and wrinkly. Manu enters and, holding her hand, tries to help. Everyone say “awww”. Manu tells her there is nothing wrong and gives her a hug.

But the mousse? After some conveniently timed dramatic music, it’s largely OK. some are melting. Given the wicked witch nicknames for Lisa and Candice, maybe those mousse servings should be theirs. Candied rose petals go the way of the wicked witch and disappear.

Jenna, with some excellent skills in passing the buck (perhaps politics is a career if this dessert thing doesn’t work out), says that everyone has called her the dessert queen and she guesses that they have high expectations. I can’t imagine where they would have got those ideas from.

Jenna is crying. Again. Candice, with her usual diplomacy and tact, wants to tell her that she and Lisa aren’t crying and they’re on the bottom. I want to tell Candice to shut up, but I think the judges are about to do that, once and for all.

In the meantime, the judges deliver Jenna a cup of harden-up by telling her to stop complaining – the dessert is excellent. Sam thinks Jenna has lived up to her dessert queen billing.

Candice and Lisa show delusions again – with other teams scoring 7s, 8s and 9s, they score Jenna and Joanna a four and think that if the scores are fair, there is a chance they could squeeze through. The self-assuredness of these two is incredibly wearing.

Pete announces that there will be an announcement at the final judging. Lisa seems to think that there is now an air of belief around the table that she and Candice may not be going home. If the table has suddenly changed to just be one for those two, then I’d say that is a fair and accurate statement.

Jenna and Joanna score 87 from 110, putting them into second position. Sadly [maybe], it’s the end for Lisa and Candice. Pete activates a fake smile and tells them that it’s sad to see them go but he’s secretly relieved he won’t have to sit next to them at dinner again.

The five successful teams from group one return to the only building Adelaide has with a staircase for the shock announcement: not all of the 10 remaining teams will be going to kitchen headquarters, which is a relief to Matt and Mick and Ali and Samuel, whose Tasmanian passports have been exhausted from the constant travel to that far away fantasy land called “the mainland”.

Lisa and Stefano, Ali and Samuel and Dan and Steph are in immediate danger, not of having to remain in Adelaide forever, but of having to travel around the country once more for elimination with the gatecrashers.

Lisa, ever the rule-abider, says that normally with gatecrashers, “ya chuck ’em out”.

Joanna relishes the prospect of three new teams to hate as much as Lisa and Candice. The gauntlet is laid.

In the words of Jake: “Game on, moll.”

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