Horror slump for Queensland home starts as units and houses dive

first_imgNew home construction at Mango Hill, north of Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledQUEENSLAND has copped a horror quarter for new home starts with major declines across both new houses and new units.The Sunshine State saw a sharp 31 per cent decline in total dwelling commencements in the March quarter this year compared to the same period in 2016 seasonally adjusted.Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics building activity data found that March quarter dwelling commencements were also down 10 per cent compared to the preceding three months to December.The value of work that began construction was almost a quarter less than the same period last year (-24.6 per cent) at $2.58 billion, and was also 10.6 per cent down on the December quarter.The value of new houses that started was $1.26 billion which was a 26.9 per cent fall on December quarter and 13.3 per cent down on the same period the previous year.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoLocal and national home builders inspecting the site of Harmony Display World, which is currently under construction at Palmview, Sunshine Coast.Other residential starts, which includes units, were valued at $1.31b, down by a third on the same period in 2016, and a 13.8 per cent drop on December quarter.WargentAdvisory chief executive Pete Wargent said unit commencements slumped 29 per cent nationally, mostly because of a Queensland slowdown.“The main driver of the drop has been Queensland, particularly Brisbane apartment starts which have dropped off a cliff since March 2016.”Housing Industry Association principal economist Tim Reardon said the last time building activity was at such declines was in mid-2014.“At the core of this drop in activity is primarily the slowdown in construction of new apartments and units, particularly on the east coast,” he said. “A record number of apartments are due to come onto the market this year and the next phase of investment is now not likely to occur until the apartments currently under construction clear the market.”But Mr Reardon said the slowdown was “not cause for alarm”.“We are coming down off the back of records levels of activity in recent years, particularly in apartments. The housing industry is well placed to balance cyclical changes in demand and HIA’s forecasts expect that we will return to a growth market before the end of the decade.”last_img read more

Preventing Leptospirosis

first_img Tweet 81 Views   no discussions HealthLifestyle Preventing Leptospirosis by: – November 22, 2017 Share Sharecenter_img Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.InfectionThe bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Many different kinds of wild and domestic animals carry the bacterium.These can include, but are not limited to:CattlePigsHorsesDogsRodentsWild animalsWhen these animals are infected, they may have no symptoms of the disease.Infected animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or every once in a while, for a few months up to several years.Humans can become infected through:Contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals.Contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.Signs and SymptomsIn humans, Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:High feverHeadacheChillsMuscle achesVomitingJaundice (yellow skin and eyes)Red eyesAbdominal painDiarrheaRashMany of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. In addition, some infected persons may have no symptoms at all.The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks. Illness usually begins abruptly with fever and other symptoms.Leptospirosis may occur in two phases:After the first phase (with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea) the patient may recover for a time but become ill again.If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.The illness lasts from a few days to 3 weeks or longer. Without treatment, recovery may take several months.TreatmentLeptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin, which should be given early in the course of the disease.Intravenous antibiotics may be required for persons with more severe symptoms. Persons with symptoms suggestive of leptospirosis should contact a health care provider.Risk of ExposureLeptospirosis occurs worldwide, but is most common in temperate or tropical climates. It is an occupational hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals, such as:FarmersMine workersSewer workersSlaughterhouse workersVeterinarians and animal caretakersFish workersDairy farmersMilitary personnelThe disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. As such, it is a recreational hazard for campers or those who participate in outdoor sports. The risk is likely greater for those who participate in these activities in tropical or temperate climates.In addition, incidence of Leptospirosis infection among urban children appears to be increasing. Share Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Extra Innings: MLB is becoming hitting dominant

first_imgSam Arslanian | Daily TrojanIn the 2017 MLB season, baseball fans witnessed the most home runs hit in a single season in the modern era. With 6,105 dingers tallied between April 2 and Nov. 1, the players shattered the previous season’s total by nearly 500 home runs. But that magnitude of an increase isn’t the first of its kind. The 2016 season saw roughly 700 more homers than the 2015 season, which recorded about 700 more home runs than its preceding season. There are a lot of variables that come into play when discussing trends in baseball. The game has a unique way of naturally balancing itself out. Pitchers discover new methods of pitching that batters aren’t comfortable with, or they find a new technique to add a bit more heat to their fastball. At this point it becomes a pitching-dominant game. It isn’t until the hitters adapt to these new forms that we see the game shift back to a more hitting-dominant game.Another element, one that the players can’t control, can have a significant impact on the game of baseball: Rule changes. In 2015 — the year we started seeing these massive increases in home run totals — the MLB’s “Pace of Play” rules were introduced. These rules limited the amount of time pitchers had between innings in an attempt to combat the increasing length of baseball games. While their intention is clear, perhaps the implementation resulted in the increase in home runs. Pitching at the  MLB level is no easy task. For many pitchers the break between innings is tough — their arm gets cold or they can get off rhythm. Rushing a proper warm-up at the start of an inning, via the Pace of Play rules, can definitely have a negative effect on pitchers.At the end of the 2017 season, pitchers like Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish made headlines — not for their performances but for their grievances over the baseballs the MLB provided. “I think the main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason,” Verlander told USA Today. “And even from the postseason to the World Series balls. They’re a little slick. You just deal with it.”At first, I was skeptical about this claim (and as a Tigers fan, when Verlander speaks, it’s the truth). Why would the MLB alter the balls for the postseason? It didn’t make sense. Then I watched a World Series with 22 home runs. That is ludicrous. Then, like wildfire, a slew of conspiracy theories overwhelmed the internet claiming that the MLB made the balls slicker to increase the home run count. At the time, I believed there was some weight to this claim. After all, historically, World Series ratings have been on the decline and home runs are fun to watch. I partially believed this theory until a couple of days ago when I read an intriguing article from Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci titled “Countdown to Liftoff: How Joey Gallo and Josh Donaldson Embody Baseball’s New Era.” The article focuses on a few select players who are beginning to break the norm and introduce a new approach when down in the count. “Hitting concepts were once passed down like stories at the Thanksgiving table, generation to generation,” Verducci said. “These outsiders have instead used technology not just to educate themselves but also to disseminate their message, guiding the celebrated midcareer breakthroughs of J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner, Josh Donaldson and Jake Marisnick — to name just a few.”I’ve experienced this phenomenon of passed-down techniques firsthand. Every coach I’ve ever played under has told me the same words when I faced a dreaded 1-2 count: “Choke up, shorten your swing, crowd the plate and put the ball in play.” I listened to those directions. Why? Since every coach was telling me the same thing, I assumed it was just how the game is played.Completely flipping the traditional approach, the early adopters, Donaldson, Gallo and Martinez, are now doing away with the passive approach and instead opting for a more aggressive two-strike approach. Someone else who has adopted this method is the Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Verducci quotes Turner’s frustration with the traditional method and decision to adopt a more aggressive approach from his teammate at the time, Marlon Byrd, saying, “‘Screw it. I’m going to start hitting the way [Byrd] told me.’ I go into Cleveland and I hit a home run off [Cody] Allen. Two days later, off [Danny] Salazar, I hit another homer. We go back home, and I hit some ropes off the wall in centerfield. I was feeling really good.”Game 1 of the 2017 World Series was a thriller. The score was tied at 1 entering the sixth inning when Turner launched a 2-run bomb over the left field wall to ultimately grant the Dodgers the 3-1 win. But what separates this from any other game winning dinger is that Turner was down in the count 1-2. If you look at his swing, you can tell he wasn’t thinking “put the ball in play,” he was looking to send a missile to the outfield and he did just that. All the aforementioned theories could be coincidence, perhaps even a perfect storm of variables that has led to this massive increase in home runs per year. But I think there is just too much that lines up to argue against this new hitting approach. With opening day just three days away, I am eager to enter the season as a spectator with an eye out for this new approach. If this proves to be the factor that has been the catalyst for this home run increase, it will be up to the pitchers to find a solution to restore the game of baseball to its balanced state.   Sam Arslanian is a freshman majoring in journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Mondays.last_img read more

West Indian commentator Tony Cozier dies aged 75

first_imgThe voice of West Indies cricket, Tony Cozier has died at the age of 75 in his hometown Barbados following an illness.Cozier, born in July 1940 in Barbados was regarded as one of the most respected figure in cricket commentary. He has covered almost every series since 1962 involving the West Indies.Apart from being a commentator, he was also one of the most higly regarded cricket writers, broadcasters and historians hailing from the West Indies.For the past few days he was seriously ill and undergoing treatment.So shocked and saddened by the news of Tony Cozier passing, a wonderful man and distinguished broadcaster. #RIP&; Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) May 11, 2016Go well Tony Cozier. You adorned our game. You loved it like a child and a parent. You had respect. You had dignity. And you had love.&; Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 11, 2016last_img read more