Weekly News Round Up

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Making news this week: The Queensland Government announces ridesharing services will be legal as of next month, marriage equality gains momentum after public backing from Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory, WWF says governments will find it difficult to meet great barrier reef health targets, and paralysis has been partly reversed through the use of brain-controlled robots.

Uber legal in Queensland from September 5, Premier announces on Facebook

The Queensland government has announced it will legalise ridesharing services such as Uber across the state.

Fairfax Media understands that, while rideshare will be legal, drivers will face more regulations to match the established taxi industry, which will include background checks.

The Premier confirmed on Thursday morning via her Facebook page that her government would legalise ride-sharing services from September 5.

Tasmania and ACT back moves for marriage equality

THE momentum towards marriage equality is gathering pace with the legislature of the Australian Capital Territory joining Tasmania’s Parliament in publicly backing the move.

The ACT’s Legislative Assembly on Wednesday called for the planned plebiscite on the issue to be axed and the matter to be voted on in Parliament instead.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr called on the Federal Government to abandon its same-sex marriage plebiscite, describing it as expensive, unnecessary, and “divisive”.

Instead the assembly called for a “free, positive and respectful” debate on marriage equality to remain within the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Great Barrier Reef targets very challenging, WWF says

Conservation group WWF says governments will find it challenging to meet health targets set for the Great Barrier Reef.

The Queensland Government has released its response to the Water Science Taskforce’s May report, saying an extra $8.2 billion in public and private funding is needed to save the reef over the next decade.

That includes $6.5 billion to keep the State and Federal governments’ promise to halve sediment in the Fitzroy Basin by 2025.

The same target in the Burdekin would cost $1.1 billion.

Paralysis partly reversed in study using virtual-reality training and brain-controlled robotics

Patients long paralysed from spinal cord injuries have shown unprecedented gains in mobility and feeling through virtual-reality training and the use of brain-controlled robotics, scientists say.

Six men and two women who had completely lost the use of their lower limbs all made significant progress, scientists reported in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

In four cases, doctors were able to upgrade their status to “partial paralysis”, an unheard-of level of improvement using non-invasive techniques.

One of them — a 32-year-old woman paralysed for more than a decade — may have experienced the most dramatic transformation.


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