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Appeal over Indian woman’s murder in Sydney

(Transcript from World News Radio)

The family of an Indian woman fatally stabbed in a Sydney park has made a public appeal for information about her murder.

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Prabha Kumar was stabbed as she walked through a park in western Sydney on Saturday night and died.

The public appeal from her family comes after a candelight vigil for the woman last night.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

“It is so sad that we have lost … one of our India’s daughters.”

Vish Viswanathan, a member of Sydney’s Indian community, at a candlight vigil mourning the death of Prabha Kumar.

She died in a park in Sydney’s west-suburban Parramatta after being attacked as she walked through it on Saturday night.

The Indian national was talking on her mobile phone to her husband, who lives in India with their 10-year-old daughter, when she was stalked, then stabbed in the neck.

Ms Kumar had been working in IT in Australia but was planning to return to India in April.

Her husband, Arun Kumar, immediately flew to Australia and has told a media conference in Sydney he wants whoever killed his wife brought to justice.

“I’m a husband who has lost his wife and a father of a young girl who’s lost a beloved mother. I cannot describe to you the pain that I feel. My wife was a most caring and beautiful soul. Prahba, she was planning to buy a little penguin toy and send it to our daughter in India, but she will never be able to do that. I know that you can’t bring her back, but I want whoever killed my gorgeous wife to be brought to justice.”

Also at the press conference was Prabha Kumar’s brother, Shankar Shetty.

He says his sister was widely loved, and he urged the person who killed her to come forward.

“No-one deserves to have any of their family taken away from them in these horrible circumstances. My sister was loved by many. We don’t want any other families to go through the pain we are going through. Finally, I say this to the person who did this: You’ve taken my sister’s life. Please step forward, get help and get your life back.”

New South Wales Police Detective Superintendent Mick Willing says the investigation is still in its earliest stages and police have not identified a motive for the murder.

He says they are working with the Indian community in their attempt to solve the crime.

“The Indian community is working very, very closely with the New South Wales Police Force on this matter. The local area command is in constant contact with them. They are talking all the time. I think, last night, there was vigil that was held for Prahba. The police had a presence there and certainly were involved in that. And, again, it just shows how deeply that this crime has impacted not just on the Indian community, but the entire community as a whole. Again, we need members of all of the community to come forward and provide us with information that can help us solve this crime.”

Crime Stoppers can be contacted on 1800 333 000

 

 

 

Mortaza may miss New Zealand match after fine

The victory ensured Bangladesh advanced to the quarter-finals while England were eliminated.

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The Bangladesh captain, who is also suffering from a sore throat, takes extra time to complete his overs because of knee braces he wears after seven operations. If Bangladesh infringe again in Friday’s match Mortaza would be banned for the quarter-final, which is likely to be against India, and the team management may decide not to take the risk.

If Mortaza does not play all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead the team. Bangladesh bowling coach Ruwan Kalpage suggested this week that the team could use their spinners early in the New Zealand innings against Brendon McCullum, who has the highest strike rate in the tournament.

The New Zealand captain has been given licence to attack from the opening ball as part of a team policy which emphasises aggression in all facets of the game.

On Thursday coach Chandika Hathurusinghe said it was difficult to bowl against McCullum because he was playing without fear.

“But again we play to our strength and we have a few game plans that, if we execute like the plans that we have, it’s key to win this game. He’s one of the key players we need to get out early,” he told a news conference.

However Hathurusinghe also said the Seddon Park pitch was harder and featured more grass than the Adelaide track, which would mean less help for the spin bowlers.

Steady rain fell on Thursday and there were pools of water on the covers which will also help the New Zealand pace bowlers.

The forecast is for fine weather on Friday with the chance of a shower. Fast bowler Adam Milne has been suffering from a sore shoulder which has restricted him at practice this week and New Zealand will decide on Friday morning whether or not they will make their first team change during an unbeaten run in the tournament. Mitchell McClenaghan would be the obvious replacement although McCullum said the veteran Kyle Mills would also be an option. Asked if New Zealand would err on the side of caution in making a decision on Milne with the knockout stages starting next week, McCullum replied: “I think it’s fair to assume that.”

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Preventative HIV drug effective: study

A game-changing trial has shown that rates of HIV infection can be slashed by treating actively gay men with an anti-viral drug when they are healthy.

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The Proud study, conducted in England, provides the first evidence that prophylactic HIV treatment is highly effective in a real-world setting.

It showed that pre-exposure to the HIV drug Truvada can reduce the risk of infection in men-who-have-sex-with-men by as much as 86 per cent.

Previous research had suggested that prophylactic treatment might cut HIV infection rates but it was unclear whether such an approach would work in practice.

The new study of 545 participants divided the men into two groups, one of which was to be given Truvada immediately and the other a year later.

Comparing the two made it possible to assess the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men at high risk of HIV infection.

Of the 276 men treated straight away, just three were infected with HIV over the subsequent year.

During the same period, 19 of the men from the “deferred group” became HIV positive.

Chief investigator Professor Sheena McCormack said the results showed PrEP was highly effective at preventing HIV infection in the real world.

“These results show there is a need for PrEP, and offer hope of reversing the epidemic among men who have sex with men in this country.”

Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the HIV/Aids charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said “PrEP is, quite simply, a game-changer”.

“We know that most gay men use condoms most of the time, and that this has prevented tens of thousands of HIV infections since the epidemic began in the UK. However, we also know that condomless sex vastly increases the risk of HIV being transmitted.

“This research shows just how effective PrEP can be in preventing transmission of the virus in groups at greatest risk; offering another line of defence alongside condoms and regular testing. It is not a vaccine and it won’t be for everyone, but once approved, we expect it to significantly increase the momentum in our fight against the virus.”

More offers to Indonesia possible: Bishop

Australian officials are continuing to work on offers which they hope will convince Indonesia to spare the lives of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

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The behind-the-scenes diplomacy comes as an appeal for a Jakarta court to hear the case for sparing the pair from execution was adjourned to next Thursday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s earlier offer of a prisoner exchange deal was rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and her ministerial counterpart Retno Marsudi, who say there is nothing in Indonesian law that allows for such an exchange.

Ms Bishop is now awaiting a response from Indonesia of another offer, in which Australia would cover the cost of the ongoing life imprisonment of Chan and Sukumaran.

She says she will continue to put proposals to the Indonesian government, even if a date is set for the executions.

“I’ve offered to work with Indonesia to see if we can find regional solutions to drug trafficking … (and) better education programs, better law enforcement, rehabilitation programs,” Ms Bishop said.

She has also warned that Indonesia’s international reputation is at stake over the executions of the Australians and other foreign nationals.

Ms Bishop says other countries are also looking at Indonesia, equally worried about the fate of their citizens facing execution.

“I am concerned that Indonesia’s international reputation will be damaged,” she said.

Australia’s most senior Muslim leader has flown to Jakarta to make a personal plea for mercy for the duo.

The Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammed told Indonesian leaders forgiveness lay at the heart of Islam, and touched on the “heritage of mercy” in their shared religion.

The State Administrative Court will hear the appeal next Thursday, after lawyers for the president said they weren’t ready.

The Bali Nine ringleaders remain in on Nusakambangan island off Java awaiting the firing squad.

Condoms essential for prevention amid rising rates of HIV

Rates of HIV infections are rising, but fewer people are dying from AIDS, data from the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society says.

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which leads to death without treatment.

The Kirby Institute’s Professor Andrew Grulich said an HIV diagnosis was no longer a death sentence.

“Generally, people with HIV don’t get AIDS anymore,” Prof Grulich said.

The growth in HIV infections was 4 per cent for the average year during the decade ending 2013, compared to Australia’s average yearly population growth of 1.6 per cent the same decade.

Part of the reason for growing infection numbers included changing perceptions, Prof Grulich said.

Today HIV can be treated as a chronic manageable condition.

“In the old days a person who got HIV would die,” Prof Grulich said.

“New treatments are great. People stay alive for a normal life span.

Traditionally the HIV-AIDS cycle would consist of contracting an HIV infection, usually from unsafe sex, developing AIDS 10 years later and dying two years after that.

“[There] are more people living with HIV and [there are] changing perceptions of what HIV means, leading to increases in unsafe sex,” Prof Grulich said.

Traditionally the HIV-AIDS cycle would consist of contracting an HIV infection, usually from unsafe sex, developing AIDS 10 years later and dying two years after that, Prof Grulich said.

He said anal sex remained the most common way to contract HIV, and wearing condoms was important.

“Condom use remains the centre of HIV prevention,” Prof Grulich said.

Prof Grulich said gay men used condoms during casual sex at higher rates than heterosexual people with casual sexual partners.

When gay men have sex with a casual partner, they are more likely to use a condom with that partner than are heterosexual men, Prof Grulich said.

Among people who inject drugs seen at needle and syringe programs who were tested for HIV or hepatitis C, more homosexual than heterosexual men reported having used a condom during their last sexual intercourse in the same month, the Kirby Institute’s report says.

However, many gay men do not wear condoms and they are still the most at-risk group. 

Another statistic from the Centre for Social Research in Health said the proportions of homosexual men who always use condoms during anal sex had declined in the past decade.

However, Professor Grulich said men who had casual sex with men used condoms at a higher rate than hetoresexual men who had casual sex.

Tonight on SBS2 at 7:30pm, The Feed looks at why the number of HIV infections reached their highest point in 2012 for more than 15 years. The program takes a look at a new treatment, Truvada, which has been found to be effective at preventing HIV.

There are an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 men who have sex with men in Australia.

In 2013, men who have sex with other men accounted for 70 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV the same year.

While condoms and medicine can halt the spread, investment in prevention is also important. 

During the decade ending 2013, the largest growth in HIV infections was outside NSW, the data from the Kirby Institute’s report supplement said.

Prof Grulich said HIV infection numbers in NSW had remained flat.

“NSW has invested more heavily in prevention services,” he said.

The Feed airs at 7.30pm on weekdays on SBS 2.