Daily News Roundup

August 2, 2018

Image: The West Australian

THURSDAY 2 AUGUST

Coles has set a deadline for its extended free plastic bags handout, after bowing to customer pressure in backing down on reusable bags, ABC News reports.

On Wednesday, Coles said it would continue handing out thicker reusable plastic bags for free — which had previously been sold for 15 cents each — as customers make the transition from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags.

That handout will now end on August 29.

In a statement, Coles managing director John Durkan said the transition had been difficult for customers.

Coles’ backdown infuriated environmental lobby group Greenpeace, which said the supermarket’s decision was bad for the planet.

“Coles have caved in far too quickly to a small but vocal minority and there is absolutely no doubt Coles will be punished for this decision by customers who don’t want to see plastic bags littering their beaches and killing marine life,” Australia Pacific campaigner Zoe Deans said.

Single-use plastic bags take years to break down, and many end up in the environment polluting oceans, rivers and beaches.

However, if reusable plastic bags reach the oceans and other habitats, they could cause as much if not more damage than single-use bags currently do.

The peak Australian body for waste also warned that Coles’ decision would create major confusion for consumers.

“It’s just messy,” Waste Management Association of Australia chief executive Gayle Sloan said.

“The key for us, where we produce 64 million tonnes of waste annually, is to work out ways to avoid the creation of waste and this kind of flip-flopping gets really confusing for the public and it gets really confusing for industry.”

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Australian scientists have taken a “major step forward” in the world of cancer research with the discovery of a new type of drug that can put cancer cells in animals into a permanent state of sleep.

The drugs, which have been nearly a decade in the making, are the first of their kind: they stop cancer cells from reproducing without the harmful side effects caused by conventional cancer therapies, ABC News reports.

“We are extremely excited about the potential that they hold as an entirely new weapon for fighting cancer,” said Associate Professor Tim Thomas from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, who co-led the study.

The research, published today in the journal Nature, found the drugs were effective in halting the progression of blood and liver cancers in mice, as well as in delaying cancer relapse.

The researchers now hope the drugs may be effective in halting the progression of cancer or delaying its recurrence in humans.

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ACCC issues fresh warning to replace ‘ticking time bomb’ Takata airbags.

The consumer watchdog hopes new figures on the recalled Takata airbags will put manufacturers on notice to replace “ticking time bombs” as quickly as possible.

There are 1.6 million cars that have not been fixed and 19,000 of them have the potentially deadly Alpha airbag.

For the first time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed where the cars are and the rate at which manufacturers are replacing the faulty devices.

New South Wales has the highest number of vehicles yet to be fixed at 448,000, closely followed by Victoria at 400,000.

Between those two states nearly 10,000 of the affected cars have the Alpha Airbag, which ACCC chairwoman Delia Rickard said should not be on the road.

“If you have one of these cars don’t drive it … there’s a one in two chance that if there is a collision those bags could explode [and] spray metal shrapnel all over the car,” she said.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said manufacturers had gone to extreme lengths to try and track people down.

Toyota (which includes its luxury brand Lexus) has been hit the hardest with 582,000 cars affected, followed by Honda at 436,000 and Holden with 330,000.

Mazda has the highest replacement rate at 84 per cent, followed by Honda.

The FCAI launched a multi-million-dollar awareness campaign this week, which included a website that helps motorists check if their car has been affected, and the site has already had more than 500,000 hits.

This daily news roundup has been curated with stories from the ABC News

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