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Monthly Archives: February 2013

ARE YOU AN ORGAN DONOR? IT’S DONATE LIFE WEEK

donate lifeAs you read this, some 1600 Australians are waiting for a transplant that will improve, possibly even save their lives. And some of them will, sadly, die waiting. The demand for organs always exceeds supply, even though more Australians, and Queenslanders in particular, are now registered organ donors.

This week is Donate Life Week – and there are activities all over far north Queensland to promote awareness of the need for more organ and tissue donors, and to encourage people to consider becoming a registered donor. You don’t need to be a perfect physical specimen, but there are a small number of medical conditions that could prevent you donating your organs after death.

All over Australia, there are people needing hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs or a pancreas. While they wait, they may need dialysis, oxygen tanks or long stays in hospital. And they live with the distress of knowing that the clock is ticking. Here in FNQ there’s a particular focus on encouraging more indigenous Australians to become organ and tissue donors. That’s because the chances of a successful transplant for an indigenous person are much better if the organ comes from an indigenous donor.

AUDIO Click the red arrow to hear Sonja Johnson and Loren Ginders talk about Donate Life week events in far north Queensland, and the reasons for encouraging indigenous Australians to become organ donors.

Sonja Johnson is the CEO of Regional Development Australia FNQ & Torres Strait. Loren Ginders is the clinical nurse consultant for organ and tissue donation with Donate Life Queensland. Loren is based in the intensive care unit at Cairns Base Hospital, where she often works with the families of organ donors. AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear Loren talk about what happens.

Details of Donate Life week events in far north Queensland at http://www.rdafnqts.org.au/index.php/rda-initiatives/donatelife-week

And details on organ & tissue donation and becoming a donor at http://www.donatelife.gov.au/

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Aboriginal, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, health, indigenous

 

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NEW MUSIC FROM MALI – TONY HILLIER’S WORLD OF MUSIC FEB 22 2013

TONY HILLIER CASTThis week, Tony takes us to the west African nation of Mali. It’s been in the news of late, and not for the best of reasons. But for decades now, the music of Mali has been winning fans among music lovers all over the world.

That probably began 20 years ago, with Salif Keita, and many other Mali musicians have followed in his footsteps. You’ll hear music that draws on very old traditional styles, and a strong hint of where the blues came from. Many a Malian guitar player is described as sounding a lot like John Lee Hooker, but truth is the sound was born in West Africa and was carried to the U.S when the slave trade began.

vieuxThis week we hear music from three Mali musicians about to tour Australia, beginning with Vieux Farka Toure. He’s the son of the late internationally acclaimed musician Ali Farka Toure, who discouraged his musical ambitions and instead tried to get him to join the army. Thankfully Vieux persisted with music – his guitar skills are astonishing and his singing a joy to hear.  Read more at http://www.vieuxfarkatoure.com/

Bassekou KouyateNext we hear Bassekou Kouyate, a master of the ngoni, a lute like instrument made of wood or calabash, with dried animal skin stretched over it. It lends itself to some very fast melodies, and has a magical sound. Bassekou Kouyate has been called the Jimi Hendrix of the ngoni.

Read more at http://bassekoukouyate.com/

Salif KeitaFinally, the best known Mali musician – Salif Keita. He comes from royal ancestry, is blessed with what has become known as “the golden voice of Africa”, and he has a keen ear for authentic African music and how Western audiences might appreciate it. Salif moved to Paris in the early 80s, and from there took his music to the world. He was one of the first major successes of the so-called “world music” boom of the 1980s. http://www.salifkeita.net/

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear this week’s episode of Tony Hillier’s World of Music

All three of today’s performers will appear at the Womadelaide music festival in March.

TRACK LISTING

Vieux Farka Toure –   Album: Fondo     Song: Diaraby Magni

Bassekou Kouyate – Album: Jami Ko    Song: Jami Ko

Salif Keita             –  Album: Tale          Song: A Demain

Tony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. Tony’s informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/ .

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music, PODCASTS, Tony Hillier's World of Music

 

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IS SCHOOL STILL RELEVANT IN THE 21st CENTURY?

educating-gen-wi-fiSchools as we currently know them go back to the dawn of the industrial age. Class-rooms, teachers delivering chalk and talk lessons, assigning homework. The students are somewhere safe while their parents were at work, being prepared for a work-force they would soon join and stay in till old age, probably with the same employer..

Times have changed, but schools have not, at least not enough to deliver the kind of education children need in the 21st century, says Australian educator Greg Whitby. He says the world is changing at an unprecedented rate, our schools haven’t kept up and so we’re missing opportunities to better equip our kids for a world that will change even more by the time they’re adults.

Greg makes a compelling case in his just-published book EDUCATING GEN WI-FI. While rapidly developing new technologies are a key issue, Greg says it’s not just about computers, smart phones and Youtube. Children currently at school may have many different jobs in their future working lives, and many of those jobs have not yet been invented. School was once seen as “preparation for life” but Greg argues that education is life, and the most important thing schools can do is teach children how to learn, so they can keep on learning long after they graduate.

Greg Whitby

Greg Whitby

And if, like many parents, you think Youtube and the Internet should just be for play-time and recreation, Greg Whitby says it’s time to reconsider your position. Like all things, the new technologies can be used well, or very badly. But they offer great opportunities to teach our children well.

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear Greg Whitby talk about the origins of our current school systems, and what a 21st century class-room should be.

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear Greg Whitby on the role of technology in 21st century schools and why Youtube could be as important as text-books and homework.

Greg Whitby has been an educator for 30 years – in the past 14 years he’s led a system of Catholic schools in the Dioceses of Wollongong and now Parramatta. Read about Greg and check out his blog at http://bluyonder.wordpress.com/about/

 

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FNQ BAT BITE FEEDS QUEENSLAND BAT CONTROL DEBATE

microA family at Innisfail here in far north Queensland faces an anxious wait over the next few weeks – after their son was bitten by a microbat on Monday night. Nicholas Shale was bitten in his bedroom – and has begun a course of injections to protect him from rabies.

His mother Sam is understandably worried – and has called for the Queensland Government to move bats away from suburban areas. Sam Shale says she’s been assured her son will be fine, but asks how certain doctors can be of that. She had just seen TV news reports of a Cairns boy who contracted lyssavirus from a bat bite. Sam Shale takes issue with scientists who say bats should be protected because they have an important role in our tropical environment. Click on the red arrow to hear Sam Shale describe how the microbat bit her son.

The debate about bat control is not new. Bats are an important part of our eco-system, but they can carry potentially deadly diseases like rabies, lyssavirus and Hendra virus. That possibility has some folk believing bats should be moved away, maybe even destroyed. But many believe we can live safely alongside bat populations. Jenny Maclean knows a lot about bats, from her work running the Tolga Bat Hospital. Jenny leads a team of volunteers who rescue and care for sick and injured bats at the hospital on the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. Jenny concedes microbats can carry dangerous diseases, but she says transmission to humans is rare. Click the red arrow to hear Jenny Maclean explain what a microbat is, and what to do if you find one in your home.

Read more about the Tolga Bat Hospital at http://www.tolgabathospital.org/

More about rabies at http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/InfectionsandParasites/ViralInfections/rabies_fs.asp

Details on lyssavirus at http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/InfectionsandParasites/ViralInfections/australianBatLyssavirus_fs.asp

Information about Hendra virus at http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/InfectionsandParasites/ViralInfections/hendraVirusInfection_fs.asp

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, health, wildlife and animals

 

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WOULD YOU LIKE MALARIA WITH THAT? RESEARCHERS INFECT VOLUNTEERS TO FIND BETTER TREATMENTS

Anopheles mosquitos can carry malaria

Anopheles mosquitos can carry malaria

Malaria has been making humans sick for at least one hundred thousand years. It’s caused by parasites with an astonishing capacity to develop resistance to drug treatments. The parasites are transmitted by mosquitos. Every year hundreds of millions of people in tropical regions of the developing world become ill with malaria. Recent World Health Organisation figures indicate upwards of two thousand people a day die of the disease.

The term malaria comes from the Italian mala aria – literally “bad air”. It was once known as ague or marsh fever, due to its association with swamps and marshland. Malaria was once common in North America and Europe – it’s thought to have been a major factor in the fall of the Roman Empire. These days, malaria occurs in or close to the tropics, primarily in developing nations.

world malaria zones

There are five known types of malaria parasite and they’re becoming increasingly resistant to current anti-malarial drugs. There’s been good progress reducing the incidence of malaria using repellents and mosquito nets, and the disease has been eradicated from some areas. But around the world, researchers continue to look for a vaccine, and for more effective treatments.

During World War Two, malaria was a major problem for troops on both sides in the Asia-Pacific theatre. It was quite common then to deliberately infect people with malaria as part of research looking for treatments and cures, particularly here in Cairns. That practice fell out of favour, but is now being used again by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

It’s a safer research method these days. Volunteers are injected with parasite-infected human blood, under careful medical supervision. They may experience some minor symptoms, but don’t develop malaria. Professor James McCarthy says this is one of the best ways to find new cures for malaria. Professor McCarthy is an infectious diseases specialist at the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital and leader of a research group at
the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. He researches human parasites including worms, scabies and malaria. He says there are some exciting developments in the field of malaria research. Click on the red arrow to hear Professor McCarthy explain his malaria research.

Prof James McCarthy

Prof James McCarthy

Professor McCarthy spoke in Cairns at the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance. Read more about the Alliance at http://www.qtha.org.au/

Read about Professor McCarthy’s work at QIMR http://www.qimr.edu.au/page/Our_Research/Research_Programs/Infectious_Diseases/Malaria/

More on malaria, prevention and treatment at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001646/

 

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TONY HILLIER’S WORLD OF MUSIC 14 FEBRUARY 2013

TONY HILLIER CASTEach week, we offer new music from around the world with Tony Hillier, one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. Tony’s informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/ .

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear this week’s World of Music – a Valentine’s Day special featuring three great songs on music’s favourite theme – love. We’re not talking slushy romance tunes – these are the real deal.

waitsbluevalentine

First up, the title track from an early gem of an album from Tom Waits – Blue Valentine. Waits weaves that astonishing voice around an intricate and breath-taking musical arrangement. The heart-strings are effortlessly plucked in one of Tom’s most memorable songs.

Chris-Smither-Hundred-Dollar-ValentineNext up, the title track from the new album by Chris Smither – Hundred Dollar Valentine. http://smither.com/

Chris grew up in Miami and settled in New Orleans. But he’s been on the road for the best part of four decades. He’s a very talented guitarist and song-writer – blessed with an eloquent lived-in voice.

easy clubWe go out with a rare gem – a traditional Scottish folk song done in swing! It’s The Easy Club doing Black is The Colour. The Easy Club formed in Edinburh in the early 80s – read more at http://www.linnrecords.com/artist-the-easy-club.aspx

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music, PODCASTS, Tony Hillier's World of Music

 

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NOT MUCH OF A WET SEASON SO FAR. FNQ WILDLIFE WITH MARTIN COHEN

CAPE YORK RIVER CROSSING AT END OF THE DRY. NOT A LOT WETTER YET

CAPE YORK RIVER CROSSING AT END OF THE DRY. NOT A LOT WETTER YET

It hasn’t been much of a wet season so far here in far north Queensland. We’ve had just one burst of the monsoon, which spawned cyclone Oswald. Most of the rain generated by Oswald fell much further south, causing flooding and major damage in central and southern Queensland.

Here in FNQ, some places got rainfalls upwards of 300mm, but most of our region is much drier and hotter than it would normally be at this time of year. And this after a long and hot dry spell late in 2012. The forecasters tell us it’ll be at least two, maybe three weeks, before we see the next surge of the monsoon – until then, any rain will come in the form of intermittent showers blown in from the Coral Sea on the south-easterly trade wind.

The late onset of the wet means our wildlife is having a tough time. Food is less plentiful, temperatures are higher. It’s affecting breeding, behaviour, and patterns of migration.

2 mart

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to hear our wildlife correspondent MARTIN COHEN explain the impact on the creatures of far north Queensland.

More about Dr Martin Cohen at http://www.wildaboutaustralia.com/

And a bursary has been established in memory of Martin’s life and business partner, the late Julia Cooper, who died of a rare auto-immune disease in 2011. The bursary will be available to post-graduate students at James Cook University. Read more at https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/the-julia-cooper-memorial-wild-life-research-bursary/

or make a tax-deductible donation at http://alumni.jcu.edu.au/new-site-2012/donations/julia-cooper-memorial-wildlife-research-bursary-information

We are setting up a podcast of Martin’s regular segment on ABC Far North. Search on your podcast app or via the iTunes store in the coming days.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, Coral Sea, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, People, PODCASTS, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals, Wildlife Martin Cohen

 

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