Australia ups Afghan troop commitment

Australia ups Afghan troop commitmentSydney  - Australia on Wednesday answered a call from the US White House and pledged to increase its military personnel in Afghanistan from 1,100 to 1,550.

However, it may be disappointing for US President Barack Obama, who phoned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week, that most of those newly deployed will be there to help build bridges, guard installations or train the Afghan National Army rather than fight the Taliban militants.

Australia decrees powers to quarantine swine flu victims

Australia decrees powers to quarantine swine flu victimsSydney - Australians suspected of having swine flu could be forcibly detained under a new quarantine measure decreed by the government.

"It would also increase the powers of the chief health officer, who would have the ability to detain an infected person if they are putting others at risk," New South Wales Health Minister John Della Bosca said in a statement Wednesday explaining the new powers.

Five Austrians fall ill with possible swine flu

Five Austrians fall ill with possible swine fluVienna - One Austrian woman was "likely" infected with swine flu and four others are suspected of having the same illness, Austrian Health Minister Alois Stoeger said Tuesday. All of the five had recently been to Mexico, the centre of the outbreak, the minister said at a press conference.

The most likely case is that of a 28-year-old woman in Vienna, who returned last week from a trip to Guatemala and Mexico, Vienna's chief health official Karin Spacek said.

Scary anti-drinking ads don’t work, says leading expert

 Scary anti-drinking ads don’t work, says leading expertMelbourne, Apr 28 : Advertising campaigns designed to tackle problems such as alcohol among youngsters fail to work, says a prominent communications expert.

Noel Turnbull, adjunct professor in the School of Applied Communications at RMIT University, who is now a director of DrinkWise Australia, said that young people "think they''re immortal".

"They simply don''t believe the risks are as great as other people say," News. com. au quoted him as saying.

‘Is Your Sex Life A Bore’ leaflets get Florida church in trouble

 ‘Is Your Sex Life A Bore’ leaflets get Florida church in troubleMelbourne, Apr 28 : New Hope Church has infuriated officials at the school where they hold their meetings, after they mailed tens of thousands colourful fliers posing the question "Is Your Sex Life A Bore?"

The school is now contemplating to boot the congregation off its property, after it sent the fliers to residents in Melbourne, Florida, and also invited them to go to the school to "learn how to have the Great Sex that God created you to enjoy!"

Stress gives reef fish wonky ears

Sydney, April 28 : A new Australian study has suggested that reef fish, which are stressing about environmental changes, are creating irregular offspring that have wonky ears.

According to a report by ABC News, the study shows a clear link between mothers producing the stress hormone cortisol, and the development of asymmetrical ears in the offspring of the common coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis.

Most animals produce the hormone cortisol as a response to stress. Reef fish typically produce it in response to an encounter with a predator.

"Cortisol is needed for development," said study lead author Dr Monica Gagliano of James Cook University in Townsville.