Daily News Roundup

July 3, 2018

Tuesday, July 3

Starving and terrified as they sat together in the dark, 12 Thai schoolboys and their coach had not seen the outside world or another human being in 10 days.

But amazing new footage, shared by the Thai navy who entered a flooded Thamg Luang cave to rescue the kids, shows the incredible moment they were found safe and well.

Gazing across at their rescuers as a bright white torch flashed onto their faces, one of the divers begs the group to stay calm.

He reassures them “many, many people are coming … we are the first”.

Sat in their baggy football kits on a bank with their legs bent in front of them, the trapped children didn’t know what day it was or how long they’d been missing.

“What day is it?” one of the boys asks. “What day you come help me?”

“Monday. One week and Monday,” one of those behind the camera says. “You have been here 10 days. You are very strong, very strong.

“Navy Seals will come tomorrow with food, doctor and everything.

Today you have a light? We will give you more lights.”

One of the boys, noticing the camera and hearing words they don’t immediately understand, says in Thai, “Oh, they want to take a picture; tell him we’re hungry. I haven’t had anything to eat.”

Then the boy breaks into simple English, saying, “Eat, eat, eat,” to which another voice responds in Thai that he already told that to the rescuer.

It was fortunate end of a desperate search that drew international help and captivated the nation.

Jubilant families celebrated the news and jumped for joy as the incredible images were beamed to them, but Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said the 13 were in the process of being rescued, but he cautioned that they were not out of danger yet.

“We found them safe. But the operation isn’t over,” he said in comments broadcast nationwide, referring to the complicated process of extricating them.

Family members of the missing hugged each other as they cheered the news.

Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, smiled and hugged her family as news of their discovery spread.

She said she would cook her son a Thai fried omelet, his favourite food, when he returns home.

Rescue divers had spent much of Monday making preparations for a final push to locate the lost soccer players, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.

They disappeared when flooding trapped them after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai on June 23.

Narongsak said the divers located the missing about 300-400 metres past a section of the cave that was on higher ground and was thought to be where the team members and their coach may have taken shelter.

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VIRGINIA Trioli and Senator David Leyonhjelm have locked horns in a fiery exchange on the ABC’s 7.30 with the independent Queensland politician accusing Trioli of calling him a liar, the ABC reports.

Responding to questions about his latest parliamentary stoush with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Mr Leyonhjelm told acting host Trioli, “No woman in my family would accuse all men of being sexual predators”.

Trioli: “Neither did Sarah Hanson-Young. You can’t produce that quote and you are denying it.”

Mr Leyonhjelm: “So you are calling me a liar. Thank you very much.”

He also said: “Do I have to remember every word precisely for it to be true?” To which Trioli replied: “In order to justify a pretty strong comment, yeah, I reckon you do.”

The exchange continued with Trioli accusing Mr Leyonhjelm of being “bitchy when women take you on”.

The feisty interview came after both Ms Hanson-Young and Mr Leyonhjelm criticised one another on Channel 10’s The Project, and the stoush spilt over onto the ABC.

A defiant Ms Hanson-Young declared on The Project she would “not be bullied”, and vowed to take a stand against Mr Leyonhjelm over “hideous” and “hurtful” comments made towards her in parliament.

Ms Hanson-Young said she had sought the advice of lawyer Rebecca Giles. There are reports Ms Hanson-Young sent legal letters to Mr Leyonhjelm over him telling her last week in the Senate to “stop shagging men”.

“I’m standing up. I’ve decided as a matter of principle, I am not going to take this,” she told The Project.

“I am not going to be intimidated, I am not going to be bullied and I’m in a very principled and privileged position. There are many women out there, whether they are on the factory floor or they are stewards on an airline or they work in the hospitality industry, many women cop sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and don’t have the ability. I’m doing this for them.

“These comments are offensive, they are inflammatory, and they are all based on a lie. They need to be called out.”

Appearing on the same program, Mr Leyonhjelm denied making comments about Ms Hanson-Young’s private life.

“I am not apologising for anything. I stand by it. I am opposed to double standards,” he said.

“I made no comment whatsoever on her private life, other than that there were two standards being applied.”

He claimed Ms Hanson-Young had said “word to the effect that all men are rapists”, and went on to repeat claims about Ms Hanson-Young’s private life.

In her interview, Ms Hanson-Young denied she had made the statement about men, saying, “I just want to put it really clearly that I never said those comments, I never inferred them, I do not believe them.

“What is clear and what is consistent is his total disrespect. And that’s why I’m standing up.”

Ms Hanson-Young said she had also been motivated to take action because of her daughter Kora.

“I am trying to show her a very clear lesson here. That is that women don’t deserve to be disrespected like this. And especially, not by a member of the parliament. Our parliament should be better,” she said.

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Munching on eucalypt leaves would kill most other mammals, but koalas have a large number of genes that enable them to tolerate their toxic diet.

However, the same genes also play a role in making some drugs used to treat sick and injured animals almost useless ABC Science writer Genelle Weule reports.

This double-edged sword is just one of the discoveries to come from an Australian-led project that has sequenced the entire koala genome.

The genetic blueprint is on par with the human genome, according to Rebecca Johnson of the Australian Museum Research Institute.

“We’ve found over 26,000 genes,” said Professor Johnson, who co-led an international consortium of scientists from seven countries.

“We have sequenced and assembled the entire koala genome … 3.5 billion base pairs, which is actually a little bit larger than the human genome.”

The genome provides insights into the koala’s highly specialised diet, immune system, biodiversity and evolution, Professor Johnson and her colleagues report in the journal Nature Genetics.

They said the information would guide conservation of the iconic animal, which is vulnerable to habitat loss, climate change and disease.

“It’s such an important animal for our country, it’s an important ambassador for understanding why habitat needs to be protected,” Professor Johnson said.

“It literally can not live if it doesn’t have somewhere to eat.”

Koalas are notoriously fussy about where they live and what they eat.

In the couple of hours a day they are not asleep in the crook of a tree, they eat their way through about 600–800 grams of leaves.

But not any leaves. They graze on only about 20 out of the 900 known species of eucalypt.

They also almost exclusively rely on the leaves for water, seeking out leaves with at least 50 per cent water content, Professor Johnson said.

“Understanding how koalas choose their trees and why they choose their trees at the molecular level is linked to ensuring they have something to eat and live in,” she said.

Analysis of the genome shows koalas have lots of bitter taste receptors, as well as a duplication of what is known as a “water taste” gene.

“This might be … a way they sense water in the trees,” Professor Johnson said.

They also have a large number of genes that produce enzymes that detoxify terpenes and phenolic compounds.

“Everything needs detox [genes] but koalas seem to have them in much higher quantities,” Professor Johnson said.

But there is a downside to this gene family, known as cytochrome P450 monooxygenase or CYP 450 genes.

The same enzymes that detoxify substances in the leaves also rapidly break down anti-inflammatory pain relief drugs.

“So giving [koalas] pain relief that uses these pathways is almost useless,” Professor Johnson said.

The enzymes also effect the metabolism of antibiotics, said Peter Timms, of the University of the Sunshine Coast, who was also involved in the study.

“They break down antibiotics faster than we can give them. Then as we give them higher doses we then upset their gut flora bacteria,” Professor Timms said.

Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia, a bacterial disease that can cause blindness, sterility and urinary tract infections.

This news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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