The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise.

We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community.

NEWS BRIEFING: Space oddities: advances in Australian space research

Fri18Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEST TUESDAY 22 July 2014

NEWS BRIEFING – MONDAY 21 July 2014 at 11:00 AEST ONLINE

Exactly 45 years after the historic involvement of Australia’s Parkes Observatory in relaying the images of the moon landing to the world, Australian astronomers are set to unite again to discuss the future of space science at the Annual Scientific Meeting for The Astronomical Society of Australia, being held from Sunday 20th to 25th July in Sydney. Join us for this online media briefing where researchers from the meeting will discuss discoveries from current space research programs, including results from the galaxy and star imaging Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), the new Sydney Australian Astronomical Observatory Multi-object Integral Field Spectrograph (SAMI), as well as Australia’s involvement in future space research using the Giant Magellan Telescope, currently under construction in Chile.

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NEWS BRIEFING: Australian scientists clear the AIDS virus in two men

Thu17Jul
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Embargo lifted at 01.00 AEST Saturday July 19  

NEWS BRIEFING – 11:00 AEST Friday July 18

Two HIV positive men have been cleared of the virus and remain virus-free more than three years after bone marrow transplants in Sydney.

One of the two patients, treated at St Vincent’s Hospital in partnership with UNSW’s Kirby Institute, is the first known case of HIV being cleared without the use of bone marrow from a donor with a natural genetic resistance to the virus. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Carbon tax repealed

Thu17Jul
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The Carbon Tax, introduced in 2011 by the Gillard Government, has been repealed. The Senate voted 39-32 to end the carbon pricing scheme after the Coalition government secured the support of the Palmer United Party senators and other independent crossbenchers.

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Infographic on HIV diagnoses each year in Australia – by state

Wed16Jul
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Embargo lifted at 1am AEST on Thursday 17 July 2014

The following infographic provides a state-by-state breakdown of new HIV diagnoses using data provided by the UNSW’s Kirby Institute.

Media outlets are welcome to use this infographic as part of any coverage of this issue as long as you abide by the Creative Commons license and credit the AusSMC.  read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Is any lead too much lead? Release of the NHMRC draft review on lead exposure

Wed16Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 12:00 noon AEST Wednesday 16 July, 2014

Health authorities around the world are concerned by the potential effects of low lead exposure. While most Australians currently have lower lead exposure compared with previous generations thanks to public health initiatives that removed lead from household paints and petrol, there has been ongoing international debate as to whether there is a “safe” level of lead exposure. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: HIV Update – the latest Australian stats from UNSW’s Kirby Institute + HIV in indigenous communities

Mon14Jul
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Embargo lifted at 01.00 AEST Thursday July 17  2014 

NEWS BRIEFING – Tuesday July 15 at 10:00 AEST ONLINE

The University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute is releasing the latest surveillance report on HIV in Australia to coincide with its Annual Symposium on Global Challenges in Infectious disease, an official affiliated event of The 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Organic food higher in antioxidants and lower in toxic metals (British Journal of Nutrition*)

Mon14Jul
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

A UK meta-analysis of 343 studies has found organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60 per cent higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops. The study also shows significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals in organic crops including cadmium, which was found to be almost 50 per cent lower in organic crops than conventionally-grown ones. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Southern Australian drying likely our fault (Nature Geosciences*)

Fri11Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEST MONDAY 14th JULY, 2014

US scientists devised a new and improved computer model of the climate and say it confirms that southern Australia is drying out because we’ve changed the concentrations of greenhouse gases and ozone in the atmosphere. The model predicts that we could lose 40 per cent of our rainfall by the end of the twenty-first century. In an accompanying News and Views article, an Australian researcher says the new model adds to existing evidence suggesting future reductions in winter rainfall across southern Australia.

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EXPERT REACTION: Fireball over Australia as piece of Russian rocket re-enters atmosphere

Fri11Jul
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Last night parts of Eastern Australia witnessed a fireball shooting through the sky. Reports indicate it was a piece of a Russian Soyuz rocket stage that launched a satellite earlier in the week. read more