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SA ambos call for more funding and resources

Rina Latuperissa

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A South Australian paramedic has spoken out about the dangerous impacts of being underfunded.

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Jim Murchland fronted the media on Sunday and said patients had died because there weren’t enough ambulances on the road to get to them all in time.

He told of a recent shift where he worked more than 12 hours without a break.

“I just went from job to job to job,” Mr Murchland said.

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“Towards the very end of the night, myself, my partner and another ambulance crew were all too fatigued and short of equipment to attend a life-threat case.

“I’m actually at risk of just crashing into a tree if I go.”

Mr Murchland slammed the state government for underfunding the service.

“Multiple patients have died. Nothing’s done and it’s getting worse,” he said.

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There are around 1500 full-time staff working for the South Australian Ambulance Service, but that number needs to increase by another 400 to ease the current conditions, according to the union representing paramedics.

The Ambulance Employees Association of SA (AEA) released an open letter over the weekend, claiming its members were becoming “increasingly concerned” for the lives of South Australians because of the increased demand for ambulances and the lack of resources to respond.

AEA senior industrial officer Rob Leaney said the union heard of two occasions within a week where there were up to 15 emergencies waiting with no ambulance to respond.

The state of the ambulance service has deteriorated to catastrophic conditions,” he said.

“Our members are at breaking point.

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“Our hardworking ambos cannot do their job properly and keep the community safe unless the government urgently provides more funding.”

The AEA has started a petition, calling on the government to better resource the ambulance service and fix ramping, which requires paramedics to care for patients rather than hand them over to an emergency department.

The union said Health Minister Stephen Wade and Premier Steven Marshall were “well aware of the risk” to the community but have “done nothing” to address safe staffing levels needed for timely ambulance responses.

Mr Wade said it was “a bit rich” for the unions to blame the state government, claiming “industrial awards” were “holding back” reform.

“We’re very keen to sit down with AEA to talk to them about reformed resources for the ambulance service so it can meet the challenges of the future,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“The whole process has been stalled by their industrial tactics.

“It’s not just a matter of putting more money into the services, it’s making sure the money we spend is targeted so it can be effective of meeting a need.”

Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said the state government “turned its back” on paramedics’ warnings for years, and their pleas should not be ignored.

“This unprecedented step of an open letter to the South Australian public is a clear sign the situation has become dire,” Mr Picton said.

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LIFESTYLE

Boys dies after inhaling pin

Rina Latuperissa

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Ayla Rutherford was getting her eldest son’s birthday cake ready when she stopped to have a shower – and her life changed forever.

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Her boys had been running around “being crazy kids” and when her husband woke up on January 9, she decided to go have a shower after a busy morning preparing.

Ms Rutherford said all of a sudden she heard her family screaming downstairs that something was wrong with her four-year-old son Axel.

“I came downstairs to see my husband doing the Heimlich on Axel,” she posted on GoFundMe.

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READ MORE: The ball that caused boy to choke to death

The US mum said she watched as her little boy went limp before paramedics arrived and rushed him to hospital.

“We waited for hours. It felt like days,” she said.

“When finally around 4pm the doctor told us they found out Axel aspirated a tack. A thumb tack. Ones you hang pictures on the wall or posters.

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“And it had punctured his right lung and blocked the other. They told us because he was without oxygen for more than 20 minutes that he would be brain dead.”

READ MORE: Toddler undergoes major surgery after swallowing button battery

The family’s prayers were answered in hospital when, after the third day and as they were preparing to say goodbye, Axel twitched and tried to gasp for air.

“So they could not declare him brain dead,” Ms Rutherford said.

“I thank god for the extra days to be with him even though he couldn’t do anything.”

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But days later the family got a call from a doctor to say that new tests showed Axel was brain dead.

“Our baby was gone he was only breathing because of life support,” she said.

“Daddy and I held our baby one last time.”

Ms Rutherford said she wanted to raise awareness for other parents to remove all thumbtacks from their homes.

“A thumb tack did so much damage to his little body,” she said.

“I want anyone – a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend to remove tacks. There are other ways to hold things up that wont hurt or kill a child.

“I just want to save other babies or children and their parents from this pain.

“This stupid accident. Tacks are not worth your children.”

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LIFESTYLE

What to Watch This Weekend: Best Movies & TV Shows on Netflix, HBO & More

Rina Latuperissa

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Andra Day stars in The United States vs. Billie Holiday

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Andra Day stars in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a Lee Daniels film about the effort to stop the powerhouse singer from performing her controversial and heart-wrenching ballad, “Strange Fruit.” Takashi Seida/Hulu

If your streaming wells are running dry this week, Observer Entertainment has curated a fresh batch of newly released movies and tv shows available right from your living room. With options ranging from troubled historical portrayals of singer Billie Holiday and director Woody Allen to an edgy Gilmore Girls clone and a New York mob action flick, this week’s list offers something for everyone. Check out the guide below for movie and tv options and which platforms to stream them from.

The list below is not comprehensive, but it is curated. Here are some of the finest offerings available to stream online or watch on TV right now.

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The United States vs. Billie Holiday

In The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Director Lee Daniels revisits the harassment Billie Holiday faced from the FBI after releasing her anti-lynching protest song, “Strange Fruit.” Breakout star Andra Day’s striking performance as Holiday is nominated for a Golden Globe in the best actress category, after giving a performance that Observer critic Oliver Jones called “subtle and enchanting.” Watch The United States vs. Billie Holiday on Hulu today. 

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry 

Award winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler juxtaposes the glamor of Billie Eilish’s music career with the normalcy of her home life in Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, released today on Apple TV. The trailer depicts the struggle of Eilish’s balancing act as she tells a crowd of fans, “Are you guys okay? You guys need to be okay because y’all are the reason I’m okay.”

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Another noteworthy streaming pick on Apple TV is For All Mankind. Famed screenwriter Ronald D. Moore (Startrek: Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) depicts an alternate reality in which the 1970s space race never ended, starring Shantel VanSanten and Joel Kinnaman. Watch Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry and For All Mankind on Apple TV+. 

Allen v. Farrow

Episode one of Allen v. Farrow, released February 21, revisits Dylan Farrow’s 1992 child molestation allegations against her father, Woody Allen. The series critically examines the public’s lackluster efforts to hold Allen accountable in the wake of Farrow’s battle against the Hollywood behemoth. If you’re looking for something lighter, however, you can check out the live-action Tom & Jerry, newly available on the platform today as well. Watch Allen v. Farrow and Tom & Jerry on HBO Max. 

Ginny & Georgia

Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia, released Wednesday, presents a rather familiar plot line: introverted fifteen year old Ginny and her vivacious young mother Georgia move to a small Massachusetts town after the death of Georgia’s husband. Georgia even addresses the elephant in the room herself, stating, “We’re like the Gilmore Girls, but with bigger boobs.” Unlike Gilmore Girls, however, Ginny and Georgia’s more fast-paced rhythm also depicts scenes of mystery, sex and self-harm. Watch Ginny & Georgia on Netflix. 

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Myth: A Frozen Tale

Frozen fans can revisit the world of Arendelle with Disney Plus’ newest short film Myth: A Frozen Tale, released today. The film explores the lore behind the Frozen 2’s magical spirits of air, fire, water, earth and the human spirit. Nearly 100 artists collaborated on the film, combining elements of animation and music while drawing upon the graphic style of pop up books. Watch Myth: A Frozen Tale on Disney+. 

The Informer

In The Informer, former special operations soldier Pete Koslow is hired by the FBI to take down a powerful New York crime boss. After finding himself caught between the mob and the FBI, Koslow has to escape from the mob to save himself and his family. Starring Joel Kinnaman, Ana de Armas, Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen, The Informer combines token elements of action and crime. Watch The Informer on Amazon Prime.

Minari

Finally available on demand today, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari is a film we have described as being about the “messy truth of the American dream.” A personal story for the writer and director, it’s a semi-autobiographical story about an Asian-American family eking out a living in the Midwest. Rent Minari on Amazon Prime.


Keeping Watch is a regular endorsement of TV and movies worth your time.

The Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream This Weekend



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LIFESTYLE

’Neighbourhood Karen’ leaves nasty note on man’s stolen package

Rina Latuperissa

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A Sydney man is fuming after he was delivered a “passive aggressive” note from an anonymous neighbour.

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The Quakers Hill man said he was returned the empty remnants of a package after it was stolen from him. He said a “neighbourhood Karen” found the empty packet and assumed he’d littered.

“Use a bin next time! Some people care about the environment,” was scrawled on the empty parcel.

RELATED: Unexpected response to rude parking note

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“I’d just like to thank the passive aggressive tree hugging piece of sh!# that so kindly returned the remains of our stolen package and to also add such an informative note about their opinions on environmental protection … oh … by the way … go to hell,” the outraged man wrote in a post on a Facebook community group.

“What would have been more helpful would be to assist with information on where … the package was found … but no, not from our friendly neighbourhood Karen.”

The post attracted attention in the noticeboard, with one commenter calling the author of the note “spiteful” and “idiotic”.

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“What a coward haha, leaves a nasty note instead of knocking on the door to address the person,” another said.

“Why can’t people just get out of other peoples’ business,” another wondered.

“Sadly there’s a lot of hero’s in Quakers Hill that feel obliged to police people on a day to day,” another woman said. “Any Karen or male Karen out there can you try just going with the flow….. like shut your mouth for example.”

But some commenters came to the note-writer’s defence, saying it was an easy mistake to make.

“Can’t blame old mate for it. How did he know it was stolen he only found the remains,” one woman wrote.

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“That’s what I thought. There are more litterbugs than mail thieves in the world,” another agreed.

“Well said Karen,” a third commenter joked.

What do you think? Is this note fair? Let us know in the comments.

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LIFESTYLE

Comparing COVID-19 Vaccines By Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer

Rina Latuperissa

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Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is just around the corner. On Friday, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee endorsed the vaccine after a full-day meeting to assess its safety and efficacy data. The FDA usually issues an official authorization within 24 hours of the committee endorsement, meaning that J&J’s vaccine could start shipping as soon as Saturday.

Public health experts have high hopes for the J&J vaccine to help ramp up total vaccine supply in the U.S. because of its single-shot structure and less strict storage requirements than those made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.

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J&J plans to ship 20 million shots in the U.S. by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses before the end of June. Combined with the 300 million doses promised by Moderna and 200 million doses by Pfizer, there will be more than enough to inoculate the entire U.S. population by summer.

While J&J’s single-dose structure has a strong appeal, some people have questioned whether they should get it due to its low efficacy rate. J&J’s global trial data show that the vaccine is only 66 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Its average efficacy rate in the U.S. is slightly higher at 72 percent, still lagging far behind the 95 percent rate achieved by Moderna and Pfizer. Still, for less vulnerable populations, it is far superior than no vaccine at all.

Here’s a rundown of the J&J vaccine’s key metrics compared with Pfizer and Moderna:

Dosage

J&J: One dose.

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Moderna: Two doses, given on month apart.

Pfizer/BioNTech: Two doses, given three weeks apart.

Efficacy Rate

J&J: 72 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection in the U.S.; 85% effective at severe cases.

Moderna: 94.1 percent at symptomatic cases after the second dose; slightly lower efficacy in people 65 and older.

Pfizer/BioNTech: 95 percent against symptomatic cases after the second dose.

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Target Population

J&J: People age 18 and older.

Moderna: People age 18 and older.

Pfizer/BioNTech: People age 16 and older.

Side Effects

J&J: Headaches, fatigue and muscle pain are the most common side effects, according to an FDA report released Wednesday.

Moderna: Chills, fever, headache, shortness of breath and pain in the arm, according to trial data and some participants sharing experience on social media.

Pfizer/BioNTech: Chills, fever, fatigue, redness and swelling, according to trial data.

Price (per dose)

All three vaccines will be provided to the public for free (at least for now). But the prices at which they were sold to the federal government under the Operation Warp Speed program vary. Vaccine price is not a major concern to consumers. Yet, it could matter down the road when government programs phase out and if renewal shots are needed.

J&J: $10

Moderna: $15

Pfizer/BioNTech: $20

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Supply

J&J: 100 million doses ordered to ship by the end of June; 20 million promised by the end of March.

Moderna: 300 million doses ordered; 100 million promised by the end of March; 41 million already administered in the U.S.

Pfizer/BioNTech: 200 million doses ordered to ship by the end of July; 100 million promised by the end of March.

Comparing Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine With Moderna, Pfizer’s Now That It’s Approved



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Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Shot, Dogs Stolen: What We Know

Rina Latuperissa

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NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 19: Singer Lady Gaga is seen with her dogs Miss Asia (left) and Koji (right) in Midtown on February 19, 2016 in New York City. Michael Stewart/GC Images

Lady Gaga put out a $500,000 reward after two men shot her dog walker and took her two French bulldogs, Gustav and Koji, on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Police Department is reportedly investigating surveillance video from the scene, in which two young men shot Gaga’s close friend and dog walker, Ryan Fischer, and took off with the pets.

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Fischer is heard screaming for help after the attackers approached in a light colored sedan, opened fire and fled the scene.

“We came back out and the guy was literally bleeding out as the cops and the paramedics were coming, and our neighbor was compressing his chest,” neighbor Rachel Mason told CNN.

Currently, Fischer is in stable condition in the hospital.

While Gaga herself has yet to speak publicly about the situation, her father Joe Germanotta spoke with CNN this morning. “We are hoping for an act of kindness so we can get the dogs back,” Germanotta said. “We are upset about [the dog walker]. It’s very appalling that someone would shoot somebody to steal some dogs. Hopefully, they’ll be caught so we can get the dogs back safely.”

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Gaga herself is reportedly shaken and dismayed. She is currently staying at a five star hotel in Rome, filming a new flick. She released a $500,000 reward and set up the email address KojiandGustav@gmail.com in an effort to track down the dogs. Gaga has a close relationship with Gustav and Koji, whom she has taken on tour and called “her babies.” She is also “completely devastated and sickened” and praying for her friend in the wake of the assault.

Gaga is not the only recent victim of such an attack. In January, People Magazine reported that a San Francisco woman, Sarah Vorhaus, was held at gunpoint as her 5-month-old French bulldog was kidnapped. Similar to Gaga, she is offering a $20,000 reward for the individual who finds her pet.

On Instagram, Vorhaus implored her followers to pitch in on the search. “Friends, family, strangers — please, please keep sharing,” Vorhaus said. “We’re getting closer. We have to keep searching. You’re out there somewhere, baby girl. We haven’t given up.”

Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Was Shot and Her Dogs Were Stolen: What We Know





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Secrets to a clean, sustainable home

Rina Latuperissa

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Aussies are snapping up sustainable home products in never-before-seen numbers in 2021, as our desire to protect the environment hits a pricing sweet spot.

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The vast majority of Australians have been keen to purchase ethical and sustainable products but our enthusiasm has often tempered somewhat by high prices.

Not any more.

Changes in manufacturing and product types, and the surge in popularity of online shopping has brought prices, and subsequently demand for, sustainable products back to the field.

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At the same time there has been a sharp emphasis on home cleanliness as a direct result the COVID-19 pandemic

Australia’s green cleaning market was predicted to grow by 300 per cent by the end of the decade, but those estimates might now fall well short.

“Increasingly more and more people are putting their money where their mouth is, said Jon Dee, Planet Ark co-founder and the managing director of Do Something.

“Sustainable products are becoming far more mainstream and the quality is just as good.

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“People are increasingly looking at the impact these products are having on themselves, their homes and the environment in general.”

In many ways the beauty industry with its emphasis on sustainable, plastic free, toxic free and animal cruelty free products has led the way, with home care products now following suit.

Australian-made 100 per cent based plant powered cleaning product Resparkle has tripled year-on-year sales thus far in 2021, after the launch of their powder-based home care range.

The company’s probiotic cleaning replaces bad bacteria on surfaces with good bacteria, instead of using corrosive ingredients.

Pearl Chan launched Resparkle in 2015 with a focus on using less plastic. It has enjoyed 20 per cent year on year sales growth. But since relaunching to become toxin-free and waste-free this year, sales have boomed.

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“Because of our reusable bottle and refill pod model, we built a loyal customer base with 65 per cent of customers returning for our refills,” Ms Chan said.

“Although based on feedback, the main reason why our customers loved Resparkle was because of the cleaning performance it delivered whilst being powered by natural ingredients.

“There’s no doubt COVID was a catalyst for a spike in interest around cleaning and cleaning products, and the take up of eco-friendly products.”

Venus Landero of Northmead in Sydney’s northwest said more and more people like her were embracing a ‘whole of home approach’ in their attitude towards sustainability.

“What cleaning products we use impacts upon us and our home and our flatmates or family but also on our waterways and the environment,” she said.

“It can have such a wide ranging, harmful effect so I wanted to to what I could to minimise that or eliminate it.

“I’ve made that commitment, I’m not there yet. I’m doing it in small steps. And I think that’s the way a lot of other people are doing it or looking to do it.”

For more visit Resparkle.

Get At Home magazine with your metro paper every Saturday or visit us online At Home.

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