Thousands of patients with a previously incurable strain of hepatitis C will be disease-free, with two new drugs that provide the first breakthrough in treating the chronic condition in a decade being included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

For patients unsuccessfully treated by existing drugs, hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, liver failure and the need for a liver transplant.

But more than 130,000 patients will benefit from two drugs, boceprevir and telaprevir, which the federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek announced on Tuesday would be subsidised by the government.Patients would otherwise pay up to $78,000 for the drugs.

”More than 40 per cent of people seen needing liver transplants have had chronic hepatitis C, these drugs, in combination with existing treatments, will lead to a much better cure rate,” Ms Plibersek said.

”Over the next few years we hope 9000 cases of liver damage will be prevented and we will stop the need for liver transplants for 870 people.”

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood transmission and is a significant public health issue in Australia, with about 220,000 Australians living with a chronic form of the disease in 2011.

The head of the liver transplant unit at Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, Professor Geoff McCaughan, said the drugs would cure up to 75 per cent of patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C – the most common strain of the disease. Current treatments cure half of those patients.

”Treatment time will also be cut in half for many patients, from one year to six months,” Professor McCaughan said.

Hepatitis C is one of the most commonly reported notifiable diseases in the country and there is no vaccine.

Warren Fahey has had the disease since 1979 after he received blood transfusions following a motorcycle accident. He had two unsuccessful treatments and said he has been ”buying time” ever since.

”I adopted a healthy lifestyle, I exercise, eat well and drink minimal alcohol, all to buy time after the treatments did not work,” he said.

”So I’m euphoric about these new drugs that might cure me and that they are being subsidised, otherwise they would be out of reach for most people.”

He urged people with the condition to see their doctor to see if they were eligible for the treatments.

The government will provide more than $220 million over five years to subsidise the medicines, which are expected to be available in the next few months at a maximum cost to patients of $36.10.

Other newly subsidised drugs include an oral contraceptive, levonorgestrel, a treatment for Parkinson Disease, rotigotine, and a drug for type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, sitagliptin with simvastatin.

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A crime thriller being shot in Western Australia and starring Ewan McGregor has raised eyebrows by issuing a casting call that does little to challenge racial stereotypes.

On February 10, the producers of Son of a Gun issued an urgent casting call on starnow苏州美甲美睫培训 seeking extras to portray the roles of “prisoners/gangs”, “hired muscle/henchmen”, “tactical response group” and “Chinese people”.

While the last of those was necessarily limited by ethnicity, the others were not. In theory at least.

But while the police extras were not limited by gender, acting experience or even age, so long as they were a fit adult who could handle a gun, the demands for those on the wrong side of the law were more specific.

For the hired muscle, the producers wanted “Australian, Italian and European gang member/organised crime types”. For the prisoners, they were “mainly looking for Aboriginal, Islander, Maori and Middle Eastern males”, though there was room too for “tough-looking guys of other nationalities”.

Does this amount to a subtle form of racism? According to Gary Paramanathan, director of the Colourfest Film Festival, which focuses on “migrant and diasporic” stories, yes.

“I understand the characters were written this way and the casting director was just following instructions, but the problem lies in the fact it’s only the extras and the villains who are from these backgrounds and there’s nothing to offset that,” he says.

“You never get to find any redeeming qualities in them, they’re always relegated to being people you never have any attachment to – and I think that can be projected into reality.”

While conceding that many white writers legitimately express reservations about trying to write characters from a non-Anglo background, Paramanathan said that it only highlighted the need for more diversity in terms of the creative talent in the industry.

“Otherwise you risk the stories being exoticised because you don’t really have an insight into the true experiences of those characters,” he said.

The production company behind the film acknowledged criticism of the perceived racism, saying in a statement: “The casting call was unfortunately worded and needed proper context.

“It is an unfortunate fact that a high proportion of WA prisoners are of Aboriginal descent.

“When the advertisement was placed we had already sourced our prison extras of ‘Caucasian’ descent (who form the majority of prisoners) … Finally, it should be noted that overall there are a broad range of nationalities portrayed in Son Of A Gun and practically every character in this film is ‘crooked’.”

Controversy aside, hopes are high for Son of a Gun, which is the first feature film from writer-director Julius Avery, whose 2008 film Jerrycan won best short at the Australian Film Institute awards and the Berlin Film Festival and collected a jury prize at Cannes.

According to filmink, the feature film “contains all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy”, with McGregor playing a criminal who returns to the underworld for one last job.

In announcing funding support for the film in November 2012, Screen Australia summarised it as “a psychological thriller about a young man sent to prison who becomes the apprentice to public enemy number one”.

Brenton Thwaites (Home and Away’s Stu Henderson), Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (currently in Kiera Knightley’s Anna Karenina) and the veteran Polish-Australian actor Jacek Koman also star.

The film is expected to be released next year.

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Renovation… the backyard auction. Photo: Jacky Ghossein. The inside of the house. Photo: Jacky Ghossein.

With the TV show My Kitchen Rules gaining popularity, home entertaining seems to be on the mind of house hunters.

That was the case at 54 Samuel Street, Tempe, on Saturday. The property’s free-flowing kitchen and outside entertaining deck were drawcards and the house sold for $872,500. It was initially passed in at $830,000 after a vendor’s bid of $825,000.

The auctioneer, George Kazanis, from Under The Hammer Auctions, coaxed the five shy registered parties in the crowd of about 50 people to vie for the three-bedroom home. The bidding opened at $750,000 and went up twice in $10,000 increments before halting and forcing the vendor’s bid.

After five minutes of negotiation, the property was sold, to the delight of vendors Nick and Polly Lambert who had been watching the backyard auction via Facetime from inside.

The couple bought the once-derelict deceased estate for $465,000 at auction in 2004 and renovated it. ”Even in 2004, Newtown and Erskineville was too expensive for us and now others are moving out to Tempe to get more for their dollar,” Mr Lambert said. ”When we first moved into this house there was no functional kitchen or bathroom, so we did renovations slowly.”

Agency By Glenn Regan agent Louise Mitchell said people who liked to entertain and families wanting to upsize were drawn to the 283-square-metre property.

The freestanding home has three bedrooms, two with feature fireplaces. The loungeroom has a functional Jetmaster fireplace. The property has original features including floorboards and light switches as well as a renovated extension at the back with a contemporary bathroom and wetroom shower.

The CaesarStone kitchen has a gas stove, red glass splashback and stainless steel appliances. A bi-folding window that leads onto the covered attached bar and decking area is the main highlight of the house. The deck has inbuilt seating and storage. A manicured garden trims along the perimeter. The garden also has a small laundry/shed and a nook for a barbecue.

There is no carport or driveway but plenty of angle parking on the street. The property is close to the airport but not directly under the flight path. If you stand at the front door, you can see the planes come in to land.

Rental appraisals suggest the property can fetch between $750 and $800 a week.

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Source: Bunbury Mail

A West Australianpolitician has called forcyber safety to form part of the national curriculum.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino told Fairfax Regional Media cyber safety was a national issue and that students needed bettereducation on the subject.

“They (students) need to be able to enjoy what they do but they also need to be safe,” she said. “I think education is the key to that which is why I believe that cyber safety should be and must be made a part of the national curriculum.

“It is not okay when a child suffers abuse because they did not know how to protect themselves from an online sexual predator, who was pretending to be another 13-year-old girl.

“It is not okay that a teenager takes their own life because they did not know how to protect themselves from cyber bullying.”

Mrs Marino is on parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety and has delivered a number of cyber safety presentations to schools and community groups in her electorate in the past three years.

“This year I have been asked to provide sessions from preschool through to year 12…this is how I know that there is a need and what the answer is.

“The number of online friends on social websites for eight-to-10-year-olds I meet I find to be extraordinary andfor them all, issues such as sexting and the risks associated with geo-tagging are ones they face on a daily basis.”

The principal at one of the schools where the Liberal MPhas conductedcyber safety presentations said he supported thecurriculumproposal.

“I think it’s an initiative that’s been a long time coming,” Georgiana Molloy Anglican School (GMAS) principal Ted Kosicki said.

“I think it’s a great that Nola (is)raising the issue and I feel something should be introduced into the national curriculum to support online learning by students.”

Mr Kosicki said students at GMAS were online daily and even Year 1 students used iPads in class as a learning tool.

He said the school had a social media policy which covers internet usage and being online at school, but believed education on cyber safety was still important.

“With the advent of mobile devices, students can be online 24/7 and it’s very difficult for us to control that environment outside of school hours,” he said.

Mrs Marino said there was precedent for a national education approach.

“In the United Kingdom online safety is a compulsory part of the national curriculum for children aged five and upwards,” she said.

“We need an Australian population that is cyber-savvy, much more aware and alert than we are now.

“I understand very well the challenges that this presents in relation to the National Curriculum but I believe this is a conversation we all need to have.”

“I’m not rushing out a gimmick robot” … James Dyson.Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire industrial designer who invented the dual cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, has derided today’s competing robot vacuums as “pathetic” with poor suction and no navigating skills.

In Sydney on Tuesday to launch his latest product, a tap that can also dry your hands in 12 seconds, Dyson, whose eponymous company has grown to nearly 4000 staff and $1.5 billion in annual sales, said he would only launch a robot vacuum when he got it right.

“When we do one we want it to clean properly,” he told Fairfax Media. “The present ones are pathetic with no suction at all – they just sweep with a rather feeble brush and they also don’t navigate they just bounce around.”

Robot models launched in Australia recently include the $399 Robomaid, LG’s Roboking range ($549-$1149) and Samsung’s $999 Navibot. Dyson didn’t name names but he was dismissive of the current lot, criticising their navigation and efficiency which meant they offered poor battery performance and cleaning ability.

“They’ve got whiskers sticking out of them – whiskers don’t clean anything they just disturb the birds,” he said.

“It’s a difficult job and I’m not rushing out a gimmick robot to pretend to people we’re cleaning the floor, we’re not doing that we’re doing it properly.”

Dyson, 65, said the most exciting trend in technology is the development of advanced new materials. He had a swipe at companies such as Google or Facebook who he believes aren’t really making things.

“Google … helps us but for me it isn’t a substantive exporting thing,” he said.

Despite coming up with his vacuum cleaner breakthrough in the late 1970s, it only reached the British market 10 years later, and Dyson is now a global market leader. A third of British homes now have a Dyson.

The company has also launched other innovations such as bladeless fans and an “Airblade” hand dryer that uses jets of air to scrape the water off the hands. The same sort of technology but with a far more advanced motor (“three times faster than any electric motor has gone before”) powers the new hybrid dryer-taps.

Dyson has fought for years to prevent companies copying his designs, winning a $5 million damages award from Hoover in 2000. Now, the problem is coming out of Asia and Dyson believes intellectual property protection is weaker because people are getting away with copying.

“Koreans and the Chinese are copying things and I think it’s very bad,” he said. “It’s said by certain people that that increases competition, actually it decreases competition because all they’re doing is copying the market leader.”

He said the copycat companies could produce cheaper products because they haven’t incurred all the development costs and associated risks.

“It’s morally wrong, I think it’s legally wrong and I think it hurts the consumers because the consumer doesn’t get a choice,” he said. “Intellectual property should be supported better; the law should be made stronger.”

In October last year Dyson filed a lawsuit alleging a “spy” employee stole the blueprints to a £100 million ($149.7 million) technology and passed them to rival Bosch.

Dyson said western countries such as Australia and Britain need to focus on educating more scientists and engineers, as they are increasingly being overtaken by countries in Asia.

“40 per cent of all graduates from Singapore are engineers,” he said. “For Britain, Australia, the US and other European countries to compete in any way they’ve got to heavily arm themselves with technology.”

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