Daily News Roundup

January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22

A first-term US senator and former California attorney-general has put her hand up to challenge Donald Trump at the next presidential election in 2020.

Democrat Kamala Harris, 54,  is known for her penetrating questioning of Mr Trump’s nominees for top government positions.

Vowing to “bring our voices together”, Senator Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds.

Senator Harris, a daughter of immigrant parents who grew up in Oakland, California, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field.

“I am running for president of the United States,” she said on ABC’s Good Morning America program. “And I’m very excited about it.”

Senator Harris — who has joked that she had a “stroller’s-eye view” of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — launched her presidential bid as the nation observed what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

She is portrayed as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid.

“They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” Senator Harris said in the video.

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Australia’s Agriculture Department has been ordered to investigate into whether whistleblowers in the live export industry were paid to dob in ship operators and in some cases even stage scenes of cruelty.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud wants his department to investigate how the footage, taken on board the Awassi Express between May and October 2017, was obtained.

It comes after media reports published allegations that footage showing sheep in distress was paid for by animal activists as part of a campaign to ban the trade.

The ABC reported that it had not verified the claims or been able to contact the whistleblower at the centre of the campaign.

Footage showing dead and dying sheep onboard a ship bound for the Middle East made public in April last year has led to several reviews of the trade and a temporary industry-imposed ban.

Mr Littleproud said the Agriculture Department had already investigated more than 800 pieces of footage, “but it couldn’t hurt to investigate more”.

“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable,” Mr Littleproud said.

The decision to formally investigate the way in which the footage was obtained came after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Government would “look into it”.

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A new public health campaign has been launched to cut the amount of sugar laden soft drinks being drunk by young people resulting in horrendous tooth decay.

The thrust of the campaign is to mock the glamour of soft drink advertisements as it urges Australians to consider the impact of sugary drinks on their teeth.

The Rethink Sugary Drink health campaign features young people drinking red cans of a drink that appears to contain cola, before flashing smiles that reveal rotten teeth.

The online-only campaign will be shared on social media by health and community organisations.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA), Diabetes Australia and the Cancer Council are among eight groups using the campaign to call for:

  • A levy on sugary drinks to increase prices by 20 per cent
  • A government-supported social marketing campaign to highlight the health effects of sugary drinks
  • Restrictions to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugary drinks
  • Restrictions on the sale of sugary drinks in schools, government institutions and at children’s sport events
  • State and local government policies to reduce the availability of sugary drinks in workplaces, healthcare facilities and other public places
  • Promotion and easy access to fluoridated tap water

ADA Victorian branch CEO Matthew Hopcraft said the campaign was focused on dental health because the effect of sugary drinks on teeth can be “immediate”.

He said the campaign was designed to play on the marketing used by soft drink manufacturers, which associates their products with sport, fun and glamour.

“When we see people who are consuming up to 1.5 litres of soft drink a day we see dental effects, and some dramatic tooth decay,” he said.

“The impact it has on someone [is] not only through pain, but also difficulty eating, difficulty sleeping.”

He said he hoped the advertisements might resonate with younger people who may not respond to generic health warnings but are “image-conscious”.

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