Aussie teen headbutts his mum for trying to stop him playing Fortnite, leaves her with concussion

A teenage boy who is addicted to the video game Fortnite left his mum with concussion after headbutting her for trying to take away his PS4.

The mother of 14-year-old Logan Ford, Britta Hodge, told Australia's 60 Minutes her son is constantly playing Fortnite, only leaving his room to eat or use the bathroom.

If the school holidays meant kids at your place are vying for time on the couch you’re not alone. Source: 1 NEWS

The Sydney teenager's addiction is so severe he stopped attending school over two years ago and Ms Hodge has been assaulted and forced to call the police if she attempts to remove Logan's games console.

"It's not as simple as taking the cord away and going, 'Oh well, bad luck, you haven't got the internet'.

"Because the repercussions from that – angry, aggressive – we've had to call the police. I have been headbutted, I've had concussions," Ms Hodge told 60 Minutes.

However, Logan wasn't always this way his mum explained.

"He's completely different. I miss my boy," she told 60 Minutes. "I keep on saying to him, 'I miss the boy I used to have.' It's not the boy I know.

"I mean, he'd be the one to hook up his fishing rod, would be the first to go camping, or play soccer. Now I can't get him outside.

"An addiction is an addiction. It doesn't matter if it's drugs, sex or online gaming. We've been to doctors who have said 'I don't think we've seen such a chronic case'."

Critics of Ms Hodge's parenting skills were quick to voice their opinion on 60 Minutes social media pages.

"You are the one who brought them the console, you are the one who introduced them to video games in your home, you are the one who buys them the games and allows them to play them," one woman posted.

"You are the problem. Stop trying to blame video games for your lack of parenting," wrote another.

Logan told 60 Minutes he used video games as a coping mechanism during his parents' marriage breakdown.

Gaming addiction was listed as a mental health condition for the first time by World Health Organisations earlier this year. 

Dr Vladimir Poznyak of WHO tells Breakfast the reasons why gaming addictions have been declared a Mental Health Condition. Source: Breakfast

Could remote Marshall Islands nuclear wasteland become the 'next Hong Kong'?

More than 5,000 kilometres away from his home in the Marshall Islands, the Mayor of Rongelap atoll, James Matayoshi, addressed hundreds of entrepreneurs, government officials and politicians in Hong Kong.

There, at the Asia World Expo in April, he unveiled his grand design for Rongelap, a remote coral atoll of 61 islets that sits just 3 metres above sea level.

It would become the "Rongelap Atoll Special Administrative Region", a utopia for foreign investment with relaxed tax and visa requirements.

But its attractiveness to wealthy businesspeople would also fuel Mr Matayoshi's own dream - a new city rising out of a former nuclear wasteland, providing local jobs, housing and elevation from the encroaching waters of climate change.

'There is nothing here'

Rongelap was twice evacuated after extensive nuclear tests by the United States from 1946-1958 covered its people in clouds of radioactive white ash, burning them and poisoning them for generations to come.

The US Department of Energy has since given the green light for resettlement but many residents are reluctant to return, wary of a country which said it was safe to return in the 1970s despite lingering contamination.

Most of Rongelap's former population - along with other evacuated atolls in the Marshall Islands - is found in the capital Majuro, or nearby Ebeye, in the Kwajalein atoll.

"Right now, there is nothing here in the Marshall Islands, especially in the outer islands," Mr Matayoshi said in an interview.

A special status for Rongelap would bring it out of isolation and into the "globalised economy", attracting former residents as well as foreign investors, he said.

The proposed legislation is only in draft form and has yet to go before the country's Nitijela, or parliament.

A copy seen by the Marianas Business Journal said the bill will introduce tax incentives, a new tax-free shipping port and services for offshore companies registered in Rongelap.

Crucially for potential investors, the region would also be exempt from two financial provisions of Marshall Islands law, which would streamline funding for projects but has raised concerns it will lead to money laundering.

The proposed laws were confirmed to RNZ Pacific by Mr Matayoshi and John Masek, an attorney working on the project, but they declined to provide a copy of the draft bill, saying it was subject to changes.

Mr Matayoshi and Mr Masek denied that it would enable money laundering or other financial malpractice.

But their proposal - which was to be financed in part by the sale of gold until an investor recently pulled out - follows warnings last week from the International Monetary Fund against the adoption of a legal tender cryptocurrency in the Marshall Islands, after its parliament passed a law in February.

In March, the Marshall Islands was lifted out of an European Union tax haven black list to a "grey list", meaning it is still on notice to change its ways.

Citizenship for sale

The plans have sparked talk of passports for sale and an easy way to access the United States, through its Compact of Free Association agreement with the Marshall Islands.

The Marianas Business Journal reported the US Embassy in Majuro has raised concerns with the Marshall Islands government about the plan, after it received questions on whether the US government would recognise the region. The embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Environment Minister David Paul told the Journal that he had received requests to buy passports because of the bill. "This needs to be exposed. It is getting out of hand," he said. Mr Paul did not respond to interview requests.

Online advertisements on Chinese websites claimed as many as 1,000 houses pitched to investors in the proposed scheme have been "sold out".

"For [those] who has successfully ordered the houses, what you get is not only a house but to share the policy benefits of Rongelap Atoll Digital Special Administrative Region," one advertisement said.

Mr Matayoshi and Mr Masek said there were no plans to offer citizenship to visitors and nothing would be for sale until the bill had been passed by parliament.

"Any other speculation about us selling passports or trying to promote passport schemes is all fake news. All we're trying to do is make a more visitor-friendly environment," said Mr Masek.

The project's backers have teamed up with Chinese businessman Cary Yan, who is a Marshallese citizen and is helping to find investment partners, Kenneth Kedi, the parliamentary speaker, and Kessai Note, a former president of the Marshall Islands.

Together, they claim to want to replicate the success of commercial hubs like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong in Rongelap, which spans 8 square kilometres of mostly ocean.

For Mr Kedi, Hong Kong is a blueprint for Rongelap in more ways than one.

"Through the unique 'one country, two systems', Hong Kong has become China's re-export base and a global financial center in opening up the economy," he told the April expo in Hong Kong, according to the China Daily.

"Hong Kong's success model offers a good reference for the Marshall Islands."

- Reporting by RNZ's Mackenzie Smith

Rongelap Island, one of the Marshall Islands group. Source:



Child predator jailed for luring Australian girl to US

An American child predator who built a relationship with a 16-year-old Australian girl over Facebook and then enticed her to fly to Los Angeles so he could sexually abuse her has been sentenced to 35 years' jail in New York.

Sean Price, 40, from Queens, New York, began communicating with the girl in 2016 on Facebook, and in their daily messages he openly discussed the girl's young age and expressed his desire to have sex with her.

Price initially discussed obtaining a fake passport for the girl so she could fly to the US without her parents' knowledge, and talked about imitating her father to get her through airport security.

When the girl told him she did not need parental permission to fly internationally Price responded in a chat they would soon be laughing at her parents and asked: "So you coming to papa?"

US Homeland Security Investigations special agent-in-charge Angel Melendez said Price took advantage of the girl.

"Now a convicted sexual predator, Sean Price admittedly lured a teenage girl from Australia to Queens, taking advantage of her young spirit and susceptibility," Melendez said.

In March, 2017, Price wired the girl more than $US900 (NZ$1,346) to purchase a plane ticket, and a few weeks later the girl flew on a round trip ticket from Sydney to Los Angeles.

Price was waiting for her in Los Angeles and they hired a rental car and drove across the US to Price's home in Jamaica, Queens.

Price admitted they had sex during the cross-country trip and while in New York until a search involving NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and US authorities tracked the girl down four weeks later at his home in Queens.

The girl's mother recounted in a submission to the US District Court the trauma her daughter suffered and how her family continued to struggle with the aftermath of Price's actions.

Price was found guilty at a December 2017 trial in New York of charges including interstate and foreign enticement to engage in sexual activity and attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

Richard Donoghue, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, expressed his appreciation to NSW Police, the AFP and NYPD for their assistance in the investigation and recovering the missing girl.

"Sean Price preyed upon the vulnerabilities of a young teenage girl, luring her across the world and away from her home for his own illicit purposes," Donoghue said.

The new courts in Auckland and Whangārei have been active for the past 18 months.
Source: 1 NEWS


Octopuses given ecstasy become more social and try to hug each other, new study finds

Octopuses given the drug ecstasy become more social and try to hug each other, a new study has found.

US Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say the drug affects the creatures in a similar way to humans.

Scientists say the way they behave on the drug may give insights into how their social behaviour has evolved.

Ecstasy also known as MDMA is a powerful mood changing drug which affects the human brain with a chemical called serotonin.

Serotonin is a drug that makes people more sociable.

Gul Dolen, a neuroscientist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study, designed an experiment with three connected water chambers.

One containing a trapped octopus and the other a plastic toy.

Four other octopuses were placed inside the tank to test their response.

The researchers measured how long they spent with the other animal and how long with the toy.

They were then exposed with the liquefied version of MDMA, which they absorbed through their gills and placed in the chambers again.

The study found that all four spent more time in the area with the other octopus than they had before the drugs.

"They tended to hug the cage and put their mouth parts on the cage," Professor Dolen told the BBC.

"This is very similar to how humans react to MDMA; they touch each other frequently."

The findings suggest brain chemicals may be key to social behaviour across very different species.

However, other researchers have raised questions about the study.

Professor Harriet de Wit from the University of Chicago, who has studied how ecstasy affects animals, said it was "innovative and exciting" - but that we can't be certain the drugs were fully responsible.

Ideally, the experiment would be repeated on a larger scale, the researchers agreed.

And some of the octopuses would be placed in the tank for the first time after absorbing ecstasy, and others would not.

Prof de Wit said that would help rule out the idea that they were friendlier the second time because they'd got used to the tank, or the other octopus.

ecstasy being handed over at a house party..


Drink is the drug of choice for baby boomers, new study reveals

Up to 40 per cent of older New Zealanders are engaging in hazardous drinking, a study has found.

Researchers from Massey University and the University of Auckland explored the prevalence of hazardous drinking in 4000 New Zealanders aged 50 years and over.

Hazardous drinking was defined as alcohol consumption that puts the person at risk of immediate harm, such as hospitalisation, or long-term harm such as cancer.

About half of older males and a quarter of older females were hazardous drinkers.

Research co-leader Dr Andy Towers said he wasn't surprised by the results.

"What we know from around the world is that we have a cohort of baby boomers that are drinking much, much more than any previous generation of retirees before.

"Drink is the drug of choice for baby boomers."

While awareness campaigns mainly focus on binge drinking in young people, little is known about harmful alcohol consumption in older adults.

"Our discussions about alcohol use shouldn't just be about binge drinking or whether someone has a problem... hazardous drinking is about how much you're drinking and whether - even it's a low amount - whether it's appropriate if you have medication use and [if] you have certain health conditions."

There are greater risks for older drinkers as their bodies become more sensitive to alcohol, Dr Towers said.

"We're not down to the point where we can provide really nuanced information or guidelines, we just say, in general, if you have this and you have this and you're taking medication, you really shouldn't drink."

The research team is now working with the Health Promotion Agency with the intention of developing a GP alcohol screening tool.

"One of the big problems we have is that a lot of GPs, a lot of practice nurses, feel uncomfortable talking to older adults about alcohol.

"We need to start talking about alcohol use with our parents and our grandparents."

The study reveals that New Zealand youth drinking culture is actually a "New Zealand culture" issue, Mr Towers said.

But advocates say the service will only exacerbate New Zealand's binge-drinking culture.
Source: 1 NEWS