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Quadriplegic Gold Coast spinal doctor is Queensland’s Australian of the Year

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The 36-year-old founder of Doctors with Disabilities Australia is Queensland’s 2021 Australian of Year.

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM is senior resident at the Gold Coast University Hospital, a recent law graduate as well as the doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby league team.

Dr Palipana has built an international profile through his speeches with TEDx talks and has contributed immensely to spinal research in Australia.

He was named by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at a special presentation on Tuesday night, ahead of the national Australia Day awards in January.

“Dr Dinesh Palipana knows no barriers,” Palaszczuk said on Tuesday night.

“He is a truly inspiring person and a much-deserved recipient of the Queensland Australian of the Year Award.”

Dr Palipana is the first quadriplegic medical graduate and medical intern in Queensland.

“As co-founder of Doctors with Disabilities Australia, he helped create national policies for inclusivity in medical education and employment,” Palaszczuk said.

“He speaks, writes and advocates for the equitable treatment of people with a disability and has contributed significantly to the advancement of treating spinal cord injuries and restoring functions for people with paralysis.”

Dr Palipana was seriously injured in a car crash on Brisbane’s Gateway Bridge in 2010 that robbed him of the use of his legs and left him with limited use of his arm.

In 2019 he began research on equipment that could – in the future – help people with disabilities walk, or even ride a bike again.

Dr Palipana and fellow researchers are working on a BioSpine which reads brain patterns, bypasses the spine and sends electrical signals to a patient’s legs.

Torres Strait Islander elder Aunty McRose Elu was named Queensland’s Senior Australian of the Year for her community advocacy and work in climate change management.

She negotiated to legally recognise the traditional customary adoption practices of Torres Strait Islander families, which led to the introduction of a landmark Bill to the Queensland Parliament.

Since 1980, McRose has been drawing global attention to the impact of climate change on the Torres Strait, including speaking at the United Nations and to business and political leaders.

Brothers Daniel, 24, and William Clark, 22, were named Queensland’s Young Australians of the Year for their work and fundraising efforts to protect endangered orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.

Since 2008, they have highlighted the species’ plight and raised more than $900,000 to help protect the animals.

The funds have supported orangutan care centres and enabled investment in veterinary equipment.

Together they have also sponsored more than 50,000 hectares of orangutan habitat and adopted more than 100 animals.

Natasha Johnston, 47, the founder and director of Drought Angels, a group which supports drought-stricken Queensland and New South Wales’ families, was named Queensland’s Local Hero.

Drought Angels is described as a “personalised lifeline for farmers”, who often don’t reach out for help.

“Natasha’s work plays a vital role in reducing rates of depression and suicide, as well as helping to keep farmers on their land,” the judges said.

National Australia Day Council chief executive Karlie Brand congratulated the Queensland award recipients.

“The contributions of the 2021 QLD Australians of the Year are inspirational,” Brand said. – Brisbane Times

 



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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