PM - Individual Items

PM - Individual Items

Australia

ABC radio news and current affairs afternoon program reporting on Australia and the world.

Episodes

Australian scientists rejects criticism from British researchers over carp herpes plan  

Australia's chief scientific research organisation has launched a fierce defence of plans to release a herpes virus into the nation's waterways to control feral carp, after claims that the project could lead to a 'catastrophic collapse of the ecosystem'. Two British scientists penned a letter to the editor of the scientific journal, Nature, claiming the virus can't be controlled in the wild and could affect people with weak immune systems. But one of the CSIRO's leading researchers into invasive species says the comments are a gross exaggeration of concerns Australian scientists are already aware of.

Endangered Carnaby's Cockatoo population could soon be halved: green groups  

The population of the endangered Carnaby's Black Cockatoo has been dwindling for decades, but there are now fears the number of remaining birds could be imminently halved. That's because of plans to clear a large pine plantation which has become a big source of food for the birds.

New study indicates back pain could be an indicator of death  

A new study indicates that back pain may not just be well, a pain, but could also be an indicator of death. Researchers examined the health and death records of thousands of older sets of twins in Denmark. They found that those who reported lower back pain had a significantly higher chance of dying.

Ocean Agency launches 50 Reefs initiative to try and save the world's coral reefs  

In the last 30 years, half of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed, according to the Ocean Agency. Their new global initiative, called 50 Reefs, launched today and aims to save coral reefs worldwide. Scientists estimate if action isn't taken now, only 10 per cent of coral reefs will survive past 2050.

What constitutes cyber war?  

We've heard a lot about cyber attacks and cyber security, but what exactly would constitute a cyber war? The United States intelligence community has said unequivocally that it believes the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton officials' emails was directed from the very top of the Russian Government. But was that run-of-the mill espionage, or an act of war? It's a question with big consequences, because a cyber war could lead to real guns and missiles being fired. PM speaks to Michael Schmitt, an expert on international law and cyber security and a Senior Fellow at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Report shows illegal phoenixing practice remains largely undetected by regulators  

Depending on which government report you believe, the illegal business practice of phoenixing costs the economy between one and three billion dollars a year. A new report into phoenixing behaviour in Australia concludes that the practice is too easy, too cheap and too profitable and remains largely invisible to the general public and corporate regulators. The University of Melbourne report suggests a series of changes to help ASIC and the ATO better detect phoenixing and hold the directors responsible to account. Dan Oakes reports.

Catholic Archbishops to go to Vatican for confession clarification  

The evidence of five of Australia's Catholic Archbishops has revealed conflicting views of whether a priest can report child sexual abuse to police if the child has told them about it at confession. The bishops have agreed to seek clarification on the issue from the Vatican.

Reserve Bank governor weighs into tax reform debate and housing affordability  

In a remarkably frank exchange before a Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has taken aim at the tax incentives that are driving Australian real estate prices higher. Dr Lowe has said that altering negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions would take some heat out of the housing market. The central bank governor also gave his strongest indication yet that there would be no more official interest rate cuts in this easing cycle.

PM and Ministers unload on former leader Tony Abbott  

The latest public spray from the former prime minister Tony Abbott has drawn a sharp rebuke from the Prime Minister and a range of senior ministers. Mr Abbott has suggested the Government cut immigration, taxes and spending to stop a 'drift to defeat', but the Leader of the House Christopher Pyne says Mr Abbott often did the opposite as leader. One senior conservative, the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has described Mr Abbott's decision to speak out as self-indulgent, destructive and sad.

Nerve agent VX used to kill estranged half-brother of Kim Jong Un  

Malaysian Police say the nerve agent VX was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in last week's murder in a busy Kuala Lumpur airport. Kim Jong Nam died after being assaulted by two women who wiped the toxic chemical on his face as he prepared to board a flight to Macau. Police arrested the two women - one Vietnamese and the other Indonesian - and a North Korean man last week. They are also seeking seven other North Koreans wanted in connection with the case, including a diplomat at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

New urine test could track progression of motor neuron disease  

There's a small ray of possible new hope for treating motor neuron disease. Motor neuron disease attacks the nervous system, often with frightening speed. Average life expectancy after diagnosis is one to five years. The advance comes in the form of a new urine test developed by experts from Flinders University and the University of Miami. The new test measures a key protein in the urine of MND sufferers as the disease progresses.

Major battle for western Mosul could displace 400,000 civilians  

It's morning in Iraq, and as we go to air the country's army is moving into a new phase of its bid to retake Mosul from the so-called Islamic State. A BBC reporter travelling with them has just tweeted a photo indicating that the army's begun its attempt to take Mosul airport, a key tactical goal. Up to 400,000 civilians, men women and children could be displaced.

World-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar launched  

An Australian consortium has launched a world-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar. The Decentralised Energy Exchange, or deX, will allow consumers, businesses, communities and utilities to trade of energy generated by solar panels and stored in battery packs. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is funding it. It brings together network operators, an energy retailer and tech start-ups, with pilot projects in the ACT and Victoria planned for June.

Julalikari corporation under special administration after community criticism  

One of Australia's largest Indigenous corporations has been put into special administration after ongoing community concern that it's failing to deliver services. The corporation's also been under scrutiny this month about asbestos housing it brought into the town. The Aboriginal corporations watchdog says administrators will focus on restoring community confidence in the organisation.

Essendon DFO crash brings back terrible memories for long-time residents  

The plane crash that killed five people in Melbourne earlier this week has brought terrifying memories for residents who live near the airport. Four American citizens and their pilot were killed on Tuesday when the charter jet they were in suffered catastrophic engine failure only moments after leaving the runway at Essendon Airport. It's the worst aviation accident in Victoria in three decades and the fourth crash to have happened with a two kilometre radius of the airport. Residents say it's only a matter of time before history repeats itself again.

Catholic Archbishops admit ‘catastrophic failure’ at child sexual abuse Royal Commission  

At the child sexual abuse Royal Commission five Australian Archbishops have agreed the Church's reaction to clerical sexual abuse has been a 'catastrophic failure'. They have told the Commission their priests, parishioners and the public would never let them get away with the autocratic behaviour of their predecessors.

Ex treasury boss warns political games are robbing Australia's economic future  

Former treasury secretary Ken Henry says virtually nothing's been achieved to address Australia's economic future over the last 10 years, and he blame the modern political process. Observing how today's politicians now choose to frighten rather than explain, he's warning the living standards of all Australians are being threatened by inaction in Canberra.

Small business owners welcome penalty rates decision but workers disappointed  

Small business owners welcomed the penalty rates ruling, saying it could see them stay open longer and take on more staff. But retail and hospitality workers slammed the decision as unfair and disappointing, arguing it will make it harder to make ends meet.

Sunday penalty rate reduction triggers fresh political row  

The Federal Opposition is promising to use parliament and the courts to fight today's ruling which reduces Sunday penalty rates for some workers covered by retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy awards. The Fair Work Commission has acknowledged some workers will be worse off, and it'll hold a new round of hearings on transitional arrangements. The Government says the commission is independent, but it's confident the ruling will boost employment and the economy.

Ahmed Fahour an 'easy target' for outrage about excessive executive pay: corporate governance expert  

The question of how much money company CEOs should be able to take home is as complex as it is controversial. Why should board members take home millions of dollars when ordinary wage earners are struggling for even the most basic of pay rises?

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