CAMPERVAN MOTORHOME CLUB OF AUSTRALIA RALLY

NEW TO TOURING: Marcia and John Holbrook, of Hobart, with furry friend. Pictures: NEIL RICHARDSON. (1/2)”I love everything about it because it’s all different,” she said.
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Mrs Collings has been in the State for four weeks and has enjoyed the club rally.

“This is our first time down here and we have enjoyed it very much. It has all been terrific,” she said.

Mrs Collings intends to do more sight-seeing in Tasmania with her husband after the rally before returning home to NSW.

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Danish duo follow tall order

TASMANIAN LINK: Danish travellers Nina Baron and David Enghuus are finding out all about their princess-to-be’s home State. Picture: TIM HUGHESMiss Baron, 20, and Mr Enghuus, 21, are on a working holiday in the State, helping out on the tall ship Windeward Bound at Low Head.
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“We both like to sail on tall ships, and we wanted to see the world,” Miss Baron said.

“We came to Tasmania after spending half a year studying and sailing on an educational tall ship called The Denmark in Copenhagen.”

A search on the Internet for information about other tall ships they could work on led the couple to Tasmania and the Windeward Bound.

Miss Baron said that the forthcoming royal wedding in Denmark between Prince Frederick and Tasmania’s Mary Donaldson was a big event and was figuring prominently in their news.

“My grandmother was excited when she heard I was coming to Tasmania, where Mary is from,” she said.

But “the royal family and wedding is more important to the older generation in Denmark than to the younger people”, both agreed.

They knew very little about Tasmania before their arrival but have spent time travelling and sightseeing.

“It’s beautiful nature down here. You can drive for two hours and be in the bush or a rainforest,” Mr Enghuus said.

“I’m amazed how friendly the people are. You meet people on the street and they just talk to you, which is really nice.”

Miss Baron will head home to Copenhagen in August to start university study but Mr Enghuus intends to spend a year travelling the world.

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Funding to boost radio services

Senator John Watson yesterday announced that funding up to $24,590 had been approved to upgrade reception of RG Capital Radio’s radio 7SD signal into the St Helens area.
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The funding will assist RG Capital Radio with capital costs related to equipment, installation, site establishment and licence fees.

Senator Watson said that the upgrade would improve the 7SD signal into the St Helens area, which is one of the fastest-growing population centres in the State.

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`People really are very sad about this’

Concerns: Karen, Scott and Ellie Rose relax at their Latrobe home.”The cutbacks at the Mersey affect every man, woman and child in this community.”
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The midwives at Mersey Community Hospital were there when Mrs Rose had her first baby.

They were there again last year when she lost a baby.

But they will not be there when Mrs Rose gives birth in three weeks’ time because a snap State Government decision means the next member of the Rose family will have to be born in Burnie.

Mrs Rose needed an emergency caesarean when she had Ellie, now four.

“That I will need another one this time around is our big concern. An hour could be the difference between life and death,” she said as Ellie put her head on her mum’s tummy and declared that the new bub “was snoring”.

“At the Mersey it has been a real family affair.”

This time her family will be an hour’s drive away and midwives Lyn and Judy – who have been part of Mrs Rose’s pregnancy from the start – will not be there.

“The day after the State Government announced that babies would no longer be born at the Mersey, the place was like a morgue. People really are very sad about this,” she said.

Mrs Rose was one of a dozen or so speakers who told Health Minister David Llewellyn in no uncertain terms on Thursday night that the people of the Mersey region had lost confidence in the hospital’s operator.

Yesterday the Latrobe mother said the only way Mr Llewellyn could earn back the community’s trust was to reverse the decision to close the Mersey’s obstetrics department and downgrade its emergency department.

“I am sure the midwives at the North-West Private Hospital are very good but they won’t know my history. They won’t know Ellie was stuck,” Mrs Rose said.

There is also no guarantee Mrs Rose will make it to Burnie on time.

What will happen in two weeks’ time, when the Government’s review of the changes is complete, is not yet known.

“It will be too late for us and this baby but the Government has to look at the big picture and get this right,” Mrs Rose said.

Another public forum on the Mersey Community Hospital’s future will be held in Roundhouse Park today.

¤HAVE YOUR SAY: Write a letter to The Sunday Examiner at PO Box 99, Launceston 7250, or e-mail [email protected]南京夜網.au

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Briefs

Police to probe rugby brawl
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[BB] SYDNEY – NSW police have formed a taskforce to investigate brawls involving rugby league fans during Friday night’s Bulldogs-Roosters match. Pursued by gang-rape allegations, the Bulldogs suffered further humiliation with a 35-nil loss to the Roosters at Aussie Stadium.

Two police officers were hurt and at least seven fans were thrown out of the stadium as simultaneous brawls erupted in the stands.

The game had to be stopped when supporters hurled water bottles and plastic cups into the in- goal area, where the Roosters were awaiting a video referee decision.

Police are reviewing security footage and hope to lay charges over the coming days.

Drink drivers hurt AFL’s image

MELBOURNE – The number of people caught drink-driving near the MCG during Friday night’s AFL season opener was disappointing, Victorian police said yesterday.

Police booze buses set up near the round one match at the MCG between Richmond and Collingwood caught 38 drink drivers over eight hours from 7pm on Friday.

A police spokesman said while it could not be assumed that all the intercepted drink drivers had come from the football, the results of the operation were not good for the game’s image.

“The AFL are trying to polish up their image and drink driving is just not acceptable, no matter where it is,” he said.

Victorian fires burn 122ha

MELBOURNE – Firefighters are confident of containing several blazes in Victoria’s south-east ahead of hot weather expected today.

Three fires, which started on Friday, have burnt about 122ha of mountainous forest in West Gippsland. The urgency to control the fires is high as today’s temperatures are expected to range from the low to mid-30s with gusty northerly winds.

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Council elections deferred

The deferral was confirmed yesterday by the minister assisting the Premier on local government Jim Cox.
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The move was condemned by Opposition Leader Rene Hidding as an exercise in incompetency and a disgraceful meddling in the democratic processes that in some countries would cause riots.

The deferral was granted at the request of the Local Government Association of Tasmania, which wanted more time to consider radical new legislation covering local councils.

Mr Cox said the association had argued that because of the complexity of the legislation it wanted the initial five-week consultation extended to 10 weeks.

This made it difficult to have the new bill in place in time for an election this October.

Half the State’s sitting aldermen and councillors and all mayors and deputy mayors would have gone to the polls this year seeking a two-year term.

Launceston aldermen who would have been up for re- election this October are Mayor Janie Dickenson, Graeme Beams, Robin McKendrick, Ray Shipp, Joan Walters and Ian Routley.

Now every elected member will contest an election in October 2005 for another three years in office.

Mr Cox said the Government had opted for a deferral rather than holding an election under the existing legislation this October because: “Last year I made public statements making it clear that the next local government elections would be held after acceptance of the new legislation.

“After all the work done over the past 15 months I’m sure that’s exactly what the community would expect.”

Mr Cox said delaying the election was the only commonsense solution and would give certainty to potential candidates and existing councillors.

However he conceded that some candidates who had already started their campaigns might have to re-think their plans.

Mr Cox also said that by deferring the election for a year there would be no clash of State and local government elections in 2006.

But Mr Hidding said the review was due by 2003 and that apart from the 29 mayors granted an unelected 12 months in office, there would be few supporters of the move. The new legislation provides for:

¤All-in, all-out elections every three years instead of half the council going to the polls every two years.

¤The terms of mayors and deputy mayors, now two years, extended to three years.

¤Increased transparency and accountability of local government.

¤Role clarification for councillors and general managers.

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First lady learning all about new role

She is a doting grandmother, keen sports fan and a dental therapist who would prefer her privacy to the media limelight.
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Her new role in public life since husband Paul Lennon was sworn in as Premier last Sunday still doesn’t sit comfortably. “I don’t really know what it’s going to involve,” she said.

“I don’t really know what’s expected of me. I’m not going to be a circus performer, though.”

At her second-ever interview, she is slightly guarded at first, and jokes about how she’s “not very good at posing for photos”.

But although she is a private person, Mrs Lennon has a down-to- earth, friendly manner.

“I’m a social person because that’s what I do for a living,” she said. “I spend all day waffling on to children.” And around two-year-old grandson Josh, she is at her most relaxed as she laughs at him throwing acorns in the park, and holds his hand as they cross the road.

A born and bred Tasmanian, the 46-year-old has spent most of her life in the northern suburbs of Hobart.

She has an older sister and brother but never felt she fitted the stereotype of the spoilt youngest child.

“My brother had asthma so he was the one that was looked after like the hothouse plant,” she said.

Her public school education took her through Glenorchy Primary School and Rosetta High School, then to Hobart College where she decided to pursue a career as a dental therapist.

“It was something I wanted to do for a long time,” she said. “I like the community work. I find it quite rewarding helping somebody.”

Her posting at Bridgewater for the past five years has seen her build a close rapport with her patients. “You consider them almost friends because you see them regularly,” she said.

But it was in her first position within the Health Department where she would meet the man she fell in love with at first sight.

Their first meeting was on Paul’s birthday, when mutual friends introduced them at Friday night drinks. Three days later, when Margaret rang to tell him he had left his cardigan in her car, Paul asked her out again.

“There wasn’t a day went by until I was posted to St Helens that we didn’t see each other,” she said.

Their common interest in sports, his quirky and sometimes silly sense of humour and a shared ideal of a strong family life attracted the couple to each other.

Almost 26 years since they got married, they have two adult daughters, Nicky, 22, who is a staffer with Education Minister Paula Wriedt’s office, and Danielle, 24, a nurse who is in the UK.

The new addition to the family is grandson Josh who is the apple of his poppy’s eye.

“It’s something that people don’t see because of his public image but Paul’s main focus is family,” Mrs Lennon said. “Up until now we’ve all enjoyed our privacy because it’s something that Paul is very good at protecting.”

His fondness of small children belies the hard-man image that the Premier has been notorious for.

“He’s always been a bit of a kid magnet,” she said. “If there’s a child in the room he tends to go for the child and have a bit of a game.”

The Premier is a self-confessed workaholic and with more than 20 years as a public figure and the job has at times taken its toll on his family life.

“At first when the children were small, it was difficult with the union work because there was a fair bit of travel and a lot of long trips away,” Mrs Lennon said. “I guess it’s been character-building because we’ve learnt to do our own thing.”

The family has also learnt to deal with the personal attacks that come with life in the political arena.

“I don’t worry too much about it if it’s not impacting on Paul personally,” she said. “Sometimes the children used to get a bit hurt, but there’s not much you can do about it.”

But when they’re at home together, Mrs Lennon says that politics stays in the office as she has no particular interest in it.

“I’m a bit of a failure in that department,” she said. “On some of the really big issues I have my say. But we don’t tend to talk about work much.”

She also doubts that Nicky or Danielle will follow in their father’s footsteps and enter politics.

“I think you have to be a good debater and a good actor,” she said.

Mrs Lennon reveals that her husband once trod the boards in the annual plays that the Health Department would put on.

“He wasn’t a bad actor, but he wasn’t much good at dancing, ” she said. On a serious note, she said that Tasmania was in good hands with her husband at the helm although the circumstances of the handover were distressing for everyone.

Former Premier and good family friend Jim Bacon was forced to resign to fight inoperable lung cancer. “There were mixed feelings at the swearing-in because Jim and Honey (his wife) were there,” Mrs Lennon said. “I was sad for them but also happy for Paul.”

The news of his close mate’s diagnosis has also resulted in the Premier’s resolve to give up smoking.

“I’m very proud of him,” Mrs Lennon said. “I gave up many moons ago so I know everything he’s going through.”

And she said that the hard work he put into everything he did would make him a formidable leader.

“I have every confidence in him because I know what he’s like,” she said. “He researches every subject and he’s very particular about everything he does.”

According to Mrs Lennon. that goes right down to helping around the house with chores.

“He’s very domesticated now,” she said. “He’s very fussy.”

And particularly so when it comes to his famous predilection for collecting dozens of silk ties.

“I’m not allowed to buy the ties,” she said. “I don’t choose very good ties, apparently.”

As the interview draws to a close Mrs Lennon laughs at a skinny little whippet being walked through the park. “I like little, fat, scruffy dogs,” she said. “A bit like me, really.”

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2000 in uproar

SEETHING MASSES: Health Minister David Llewellyn attempts to address the small part of the 2000-strong crowd that fitted inside the Latrobe Memorial Hall last night. Mr Llewellyn was drowned out by loThe rafters of the Latrobe Memorial Hall vibrated as the public were told to vote with their feet – and did so, stomping on the floor to drown out the minister after becoming unsatisfied with his statements.
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“I hope like hell your ticker behaves itself tonight Mr Llewellyn,” heavily pregnant Karen Rose said as she took her turn on the microphone.

“If it doesn’t – I hope you have a nice trip.”

More than 2000 people overwhelmed the town’s meeting hall, spilling into the main street outside, forcing organisers to connect a PA system so all could hear.

Petitions gathered over the past week containing 2560 signatures demanding the retention of services were handed to the Health Minister.

A motion of no confidence in hospital owner Healthscope was carried as was one to revert the hospital’s management and control to the Tasmanian and Federal governments and for it to become a training hospital.

Mr Llewellyn was told he would sink into “political oblivion” if the State Government did not move in, regain control of the hospital and restore its emergency and obstetric services.

Latrobe Mayor Mike Gaffney gave Mr Llewellyn credit for standing up in front of the crowd but when the minister claimed to be telling the truth on North-West health issues the people were not convinced.

“People who know me know I do not tell lies,” Mr Llewellyn said.

When the crowd jeered he responded: “There must be a lot of people here who don’t know me.”

Healthscope also took a battering.

“Healthscope is trying to concentrate its efforts in the private sector where it is most profitable,” Latrobe’s Betty Topkin said.

“The State Government is escaping its obligation to force Healthscope to honour its contract. There has been deliberate sabotage of emergency and obstetric services,” she claimed.

Mr Llewellyn repeated again and again that the Mersey Community Hospital would not close.

Maree Pearce, an ICU nurse at the Mersey Community Hospital, said the downgrading of obstetric and emergency services at Latrobe was part of a pre-determined plan.

“Will it take a lawsuit to get you to see that category one patients should not be taken to Burnie?” she asked the minister.

“Why should we believe the present situation is temporary?”

Kentish Mayor Ian Braid told an appreciative crowd that if Healthscope could not manage the hospital the Government must move in.

“Put up and shut up or pull out. If not you should learn a new phase: political oblivion,” a new resident to the area said.

Another public forum will be held in Devonport on Sunday.

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Briefs

Welfare rort
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crackdown

[BB] CANBERRA – A welfare rorts crackdown targeting drug dealers and international crime gangs could save Centrelink at least $5 million, the Federal Government said yesterday. Justice Minister Chris Ellison and Children and Youth Affairs Minister Larry Anthony yesterday announced the agreement, which would allow Centrelink investigators to access AUSTRAC’s database of 65 million transactions.

Workplace

harassment

CANBERRA – One in five Australians have been victims of sexual harassment at work, while two in five women have been sexually harassed some time in their lives, new research shows.

A national survey conducted for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found 28 per cent of Australians had experienced sexual harassment at some time, two- thirds of it at work.

Antarctica

tourism bond CANBERRA – Tourism operators heading to Antarctica will have to pay a bond to cover the cost of a possible emergency or accident under a plan by Australia to regulate visits to the frozen continent.

Under the plan, to be put to a special meeting of countries responsible for Antarctica in Norway this week, Australia also wants observers on ships heading to the area to ensure the environment is kept pristine and free from damage.

Carpentaria

native title

CAIRNS – Aboriginal groups and commercial fishing interests have welcomed a Federal Court decision that native title exists over areas of sea in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria.

In its decision handed down yesterday, the Federal Court recognised native title existed over areas of sea surrounding the Wellesley Islands in the gulf, but not over all areas in the original claim.

Costello `no’

to GST review

CANBERRA – Treasurer Peter Costello has dismissed demands by NSW for an overhaul of the division of GST funding between the states. NSW Premier Bob Carr has vowed to use tomorrow’s meeting of federal, state and territory treasurers to press for a rewrite of the Commonwealth Grants Commission formula for sharing GST revenue.

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Briefs

Rocket rocks
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Baghdad hotel

[BB] BAGHDAD – A rocket hit a central Baghdad hotel used by foreign contractors and journalists early yesterday, but caused limited damage and no injuries. The powerful blast, about a third of the way up the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel, shattered some windows and smashed concrete.

US-led occupying forces blame Saddam Hussein supporters and foreign Islamic militants for guerrilla attacks in the country since the former Iraqi President was toppled last April.

On Tuesday, guerrillas shot dead 11 Iraqi police and police trainees in two separate daylight attacks, the latest deadly strikes against Iraqis working with the US-led occupation.

Human trials set

for anti-AIDS gel

LONDON – British scientists are planning large-scale human trials of two new gels designed to prevent men and women from being infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

The gels, or microbicides, act like an invisible condom and could offer added protection against the virus that has infected 40 million people worldwide.

Life sentence for

Lindh assassin

STOCKHOLM – The self- confessed killer of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was sentenced to life in prison yesterday, after a court threw out his plea of insanity.

Mijailo Mijailovic, 25, said “voices” in his head had told him to carry out the frenzied knife attack on Ms Lindh, Sweden’s most popular politician who had been tipped as the next Prime Minister.

Navy alarm after

`blow up’ gaffe

MOSCOW – The head of the Russian navy rang alarm bells yesterday after being quoted saying one of the world’s most powerful nuclear warships might be about to blow up.

But Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov then denied making the comment and said he meant only that the Peter the Great, the pride of Moscow’s Northern Fleet, was being poorly maintained.

Russian military analysts said the incident may have had less to do with an imminent danger than with rivalries among the top brass of a navy struggling to stay afloat on a budget that has been dramatically cut since its Cold War heyday.

Al-Qaeda links kill

15 in Pakistan

WANA, Pakistan – At least 15 more soldiers were killed by al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Pakistan’s wild north-western tribal area, security officials said yesterday, as resistance to a massive operation against militants appeared to spread.

In the past two days attackers struck army bases as far as 150km from the scene of the week-long assault, reviving fears of a rebellion by the region’s fiercely independent Pashtun tribes.

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Briefs

Surveillance change
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[BB] CANBERRA – Police could soon have access to more spy devices to help them keep a step ahead of criminals under proposed new laws introduced to Parliament yesterday. The Government’s Surveillance Devices Bill 2004 allows police investigating crimes under Commonwealth laws to use optical, data and tracking surveillance devices.

They are now only allowed to use listening devices. Attorney- General Philip Ruddock said the new legislation was needed because current surveillance device laws were not up to the job of policing in the 21st century.

New classifications

CANBERRA – Films and computer games are set to operate under a new common national classification system, designed to make it easier for parents to decide what their kids should watch and play.

The Federal Government introduced new laws into Parliament yesterday as part of an overhaul of censorship classifications.

But existing criteria to classify films and games will not change.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told Parliament the changes would improve the classification system by putting in place a common national scheme for both films and games.

Robber felt guilt

MELBOURNE – Whenever he spotted a police officer or heard a patrol car’s siren, Matthew Griffiths was overcome with guilt for the only crime he ever committed, Melbourne’s County Court was told yesterday.

After 10 months of torment, the 26-year-old walked into a police station and confessed.

He told police he threatened a Hastings service station manager at knifepoint early on January 4 last year, escaping with just $130, a packet of cigarettes and a drink.

Commission demand

SYDNEY – About 200 people yesterday marched on the NSW Parliament, demanding royal commissions into the death of Thomas “T.J.” Hickey, and the policing of indigenous youth.

The Aboriginal protesters and supporters stopped traffic as they took the peaceful march from The Block, in the Sydney suburb of Redfern, to Parliament.

T.J. Hickey, 17, died on February 15 after falling off his bike and becoming impaled on a metal fence in Redfern.

His friends and family maintain he was chased to his death by police, but authorities have denied the accusations.

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Briefs

Latham insult defence
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[BB] CANBERRA – Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham yesterday defended his parliamentary insult against Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, telling Labor MPs that he promised no more crudity, but never promised to lose his passion. Mr Latham labelled Mr Downer a “lousy rotten disgrace” for suggesting Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty had made comments similar to al-Qaeda propaganda.

The Opposition Leader told the ALP party room the Government’s treatment of Mr Keelty was shameful and was a sign of political desperation.

He promised to maintain his passion and described Monday’s debate as lively.

PM admits poll position

CANBERRA – Prime Minister John Howard yesterday admitted his Government was behind in the opinion polls and warned it may remain that way for some time.

At a meeting of Coalition MPs, Mr Howard commented on the latest Newspoll.

The opinion poll found Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham was on par with Mr Howard as preferred prime minister while Labor had extended its lead over the Coalition Government.

No election before June

CANBERRA – Australians will not go to a federal election before the end of June, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday.

Mr Downer’s revelation came as he told parliament that the Government would not put a deadline on how long the 850 Australian troops and advisers would remain in Iraq.

This was despite plans revealed yesterday by Opposition Leader Mark Latham that a Labor Government would bring the Australian troops home.

Labor’s troop deadline

CANBERRA – Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham yesterday outlined a timetable to bring Australia’s 850 troops and advisers in Iraq back home by Christmas.

Under a Labor Government, the Australians working to rebuild Iraq would return home as soon as their responsibilities had been discharged.

Mr Latham said with a planned handover of power in Iraq to a new Iraqi government in June, that could clear the way for the Australians to be home by the end of the year.

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Briefs

Colourings dangerous in dish
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[BB] LONDON – Food colourings linked to hyperactivity, asthma, and even cancer, have been detected in chicken tikka masala, one of the UK’s favourite dishes, consumer chiefs warned. Random tests by trading standards officers suggested more than half of all Indian restaurants use “illegal and potentially dangerous” levels of dyes to give the sauce its orange-red hue.

Out of 102 curry houses sampled, only 44 were using the colourings within legal limits.

One restaurant, in Woking, was using four times the legal limit of colouring in its curry.

The tests focused on the use of three specific chemicals – Tartrazine (E102), Sunset Yellow (E110) and Ponceau 4R (E124).

A tipple a help for hypertension

CHICAGO – Men with high blood pressure can enjoy their favourite tipple in moderation with a clear conscience, according to a study that found the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption extend to men with hypertension.

Researchers who studied more than 14,000 male doctors found that the ones who drank moderately but regularly had a much lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than the non-drinkers.

The men who drank six or seven units of alcohol a week cut their risk of dying from heart disease at least 27 per cent compared with non-drinkers, and the risk reduction was even higher for the heavier drinkers.

HRT may be key to the male pill

LONDON – Hormone replacement therapy could hold the key to creating a male contraceptive pill, scientists revealed yesterday.

Researchers looked at compounds used in HRT and the female contraceptive pill and their effects on men when used alongside testosterone.

They found that tibolone and nomegestrol acetate – synthetic progestins used in HRT – appeared to have a contraceptive effect in men.

Trials are continuing to see if the compounds suppress sperm production as expected.

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    If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it's the best possible substitute for it - James A. Garfield, 20th U.S. President