Air pollution could make you less intelligent, study finds

Scientists in China have conducted new extensive research showing air pollution could make you less intelligent.

Long term exposure to air pollution impedes individual cognitive performance, researchers found over a four year study.

Men were also found to be more at risk than women, BBC reports.

The research looked at the air pollution rate of dozens of cities in China, while monitoring the maths and verbal skills of 25,000 people in those places.

"People are having trouble with, for example, not focusing on their tasks or there's some chemistry that changes their brain and disturbs the functioning," said public health expert Xi Chen.

However, despite establishing a relationship between pollution and lower test scores, the study did not prove direct cause and effect.

While scientists previously found pollution particles damaging to the heart and lungs, evidence has shown these particles can even reach the brain, causing both physical damage and having a mental impact.

"It just adds to the weight of evidence that air pollution has a wide range of effects to your body," said professor Jonathan Grigg, a paediatrics respiratory expert.

Researchers believe the results have high global relevance, as more than 80 per cent of the world's urban population are currently breathing unsafe levels of air pollution.

Findings also showed the damage to cognitive performance was worst for people over 64.

The study concludes, "particularly on the aging brain, imply that the indirect effect on social welfare could be much larger than previously thought,"  Mr Xi told BBC.

Some pollutants have also been found to have a psychological impact, increasing the risk of depression.



Kidnap suspect accused of tying woman to pole at outlaw bikie clubhouse, assaulting her for days

A Sydney man has been charged after he allegedly kidnapped a woman, holding her prisoner and assaulting her for two days.

The 22-year-old woman told police she was walking in Cambridge Park in the city's west on Sunday when a man known to her forced her into his car and took her to an outlaw bikie clubhouse in Horsley Park.

She said she was tied to a pole and assaulted for two days.

The man allegedly forced her back into the car yesterday and drove to South Penrith. When he left the car, the woman managed to escape to a nearby property and call police, she said.

When police went to the clubhouse to arrest the 29-year-old man, he held officers off for two hours before surrendering peacefully.

He has been charged with kidnapping, assault and intimidation and is expected to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.

Sign on the top of an Australian police car in Sydney Source: istock.com


Trump says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh 'anxious' to testify over sexual assault allegations

President Donald Trump says it's "terrible" that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California didn't raise allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sooner but says he's "totally supporting" his nominee.

Trump says he wants everyone to have the chance to speak out and Kavanaugh is "very anxious" to testify in his defense. He says, "we want to hear both sides."

A psychology professor named Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied it.

Trump also says the FBI shouldn't be involved in investigating the Kavanaugh allegation "because they don't want to be involved."

He adds he's "totally supporting" and "very supportive" of his nominee, calling him an "outstanding" person.

Democrats have criticised the Kavanaugh nomination process.

The US president told media he is “totally supporting” his nominee, who he called “outstanding”. Source: Associated Press

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As Australia's strawberry scare expands to apples and bananas, police offer big reward hoping for clues

Almost two weeks after a Queensland man was taken to hospital after biting into a strawberry with a sewing needle inside, the hunt for those responsible goes on.

The contamination has spread nationwide, with West Australian police confirming on yesterday that they were investigating claims a primary school student had bitten into a strawberry with a needle inside.

Starting this morning, all fresh strawberries being exported from Australia must be metal-contaminant free.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced the interim control measure yesterday evening in response to the growing situation.

"In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, exporters will be required to provide assurance to the department that their consignment is free from metal contaminants," the department said in a statement.

The family of one grower has shared the heartbreak of having to dump truckloads of strawberries. Source: Donnybrook Berries/Facebook

"These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday's report was the fifth incident of needle-contaminated strawberries in WA.

The latest incident has led to the WA government following the Queensland government in offering a NZ $110,000 reward for information on the culprit or culprits.

"The motive appears unclear ... at the end of the day it's an act of treachery to the people of Australia," Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty told reporters, confirming NSW police were investigating at least 20 cases of needles being found in fruit including claims of needles being found in an apple and a banana.

The halt comes after needles were found in different brands in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

Det Supt Doherty said perpetrators, including copycats and consumers falsely claiming a discovery, could face up to 10 years in jail for food contamination.

No-one has been charged in relation to the tampering.

In Queensland, struggling growers have been boosted by the announcement of a NZ $1.1 million fund to assist them through the crisis.

Horticulture body Growcom has implored consumers to keep buying strawberries.

"Hang in there with us and our saying will be 'cut it up, don't cut us out'," Growcom chief executive David Thomson said.

The scare is expected to result in a review of fruit handling, storage and packaging following the police investigations, Mr Thomson said.

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast


Supporters call for fair trial for Sri Lankan university student held on terror charges in Australia

Family members, human rights activists and civic groups have gathered in Colombo to demand a speedy and fair investigation of a Sri Lankan student detained in Australia on suspicion of terrorism.

The New South Wales police website says Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney on August 30 for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Police say they found the alleged plans described in a notebook.

A support group, United for Kamer, planned a silent protest today to support their call for a fair trial for the 25-year-old student.

The group says Nizamdeen was working for the University of New South Wales and has been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

It says Nizamdeen denies what police say he wrote in the notebook.

A statement from the family read out at the protest said Kamer was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but thereafter denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The protesters silently held placards and banners with slogans about Kamer's innocence as well as the investigation.

Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney last month for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Source: Associated Press