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Neanderthals used plant-based painkillers
Neanderthals, cleverly made plant-
based painkillers and antibiotics to treat
aches and illnesses, new University of
Adelaide research has found.
A new study published in Nature journal
analysed ancient DNA found in dental
plaque of Neanderthals to learn more
about their lifestyle, behaviour and diet.
The researchers compared samples
from four Neanderthals found at the
cave sites of Spy Cave in Belgium and
El Sidron in Spain.
University of Adelaide’s lead researcher
Professor Alan Cooper says one of
the most surprising finds was that our
extinct ancestors could make natural
The jawbone from one Neanderthal in
Spain had a painful dental abscess, while
plaque showed he had an intestinal
parasite that caused diarrhoea.
The ancient man was clearly sick,
Prof Cooper said, but he was receiving
“He was eating poplar, which contains
the painkiller salicylic acid, the active
ingredient of aspirin,” he said.
“ We could also detect a natural
antibiotic mould. ”
said it showed
knowledge of the medicinal properties of
plants and seemed to be self-medicating.
He said the findings contrast with
the views many people hold that of our
ancient relatives were simplistic and
“This is more than 40,000 years before
we developed penicillin,” he said.
Neanderthals in Belgium ate a meaty
diet that included woolly rhinoceros
and wild sheep, while those in Spain
appeared to have a largely vegetarian
The study was a collaboration between
University of Adelaide’s Centre for
Ancient DNA, the university’s dental
school, and the University of Liverpool
in Britain. — A AP
San Jose Pinula (Guatemala)
A fire which killed 19 girls at a home
for abused teens in Guatemala early
today started when some residents set
mattresses ablaze, police said, after an
overnight riot and attempt to escape
from the overcrowded government-run
A crowd of relatives, some wailing
with grief, gathered outside the Virgen
de Asuncion home for children up to 18
years old, in semi-rural suburb San Jose
Pinula, some 25km south-west of the
capital Guatemala City.
Nery Ramos, the head of Guatemala’s
national police, said at the scene that 19
people, all girls, were confirmed dead.
Local hospitals reported at least 40
others being treated for burns.
“This is a painful situation,” Ramos said,
adding that the fire started when a group
of young people set light to sleeping
mats. He said a group of residents were
isolated by authorities at the centre after
an escape attempt on Tuesday night, and
that police were investigating if the two
events were connected.
Plagued by Latin America’s highest
rates of child malnutrition and street
gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha which
often prey on minors, Guatemala
can be a traumatic place to grow up.
Conditions in public institutions
are often dismal with widespread
Burned bodies partially covered in
blankets were strewn across the floor of
a blackened room in the home, pictures
posted to Twitter by the firefighters
Earlier, riot police were sent in to quell
unrest over the crowded living conditions
at the home. Some 40 residents escaped
but were recaptured and isolated, Ramos
The Virgen de Asuncion home had
previously suffered from overcrowding,
with Guatemalan media reporting that
more than 500 people were crammed
into the centre designed to house 400.
Distraught relatives said abuse was
common at the centre, which is run by
the Ministry for Social Welfare.
Domestic worker Alicia Lopez, 50, had
been outside the home for hours trying
to find out what happened to her autistic
12-year-old son who came to the centre
with a drug addiction. She said he had
been raped there last week.
“I still don’t have information . . . I
want justice for him,” L opez said at
the home, which takes in abandoned
children as well as victims of abuse and
Andrea Palomo told reporters in tears
that she had brought her 15-year-old
son to the home to discipline him.
But he told her he was mistreated and
complained that gang members there
tattooed the children, she said.
Guatemala’s ombudsman for human
rights decides whether children are
placed in the home or not and some
parents praised the centre.
Businesswoman Cristina Puac, 59, said
her adopted teenage daughter Gladys
was placed there for being rebellious and
aggressive, and stealing things.
“ When I came to see her, everything
seemed fine,” she said. “S he never
complained about anything.” — Reuters
19 girls die in
Daniel, 16, a sur vivor of the fire, leaves the Virgen de Asuncion home in San Jose Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala
A mother had to make at least three
turns before she drove into a Melbourne
lake, killing three of her children, a court
Akon Guode, 37, faced a plea hearing in
the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday.
She pleaded guilty on January 16 to the
infanticide of her one-year-old son, Bol,
and the murders of her four-year-old
twins, Hanger and her brother Madit.
She also pleaded guilty to the attempted
murder of her six-year-old daughter,
Alual, who sur vived the crash into Lake
Gladman in Wyndhamvale on April 8,
Prosecutor Kerri Judd, QC, said Guode
would have had to make at least three
turns or steering inputs to end up in the
She later told police she had not been
to the lake that day and did not know
where it was.
She gave another version that she was
feeling dizzy, missed a turn and went
straight instead of turning.
The hearing before Justice Lex Lasry
continues. — AAP
turns before lake
Police blame arson after riot
Wikileaks’ CIA hacking revelation
sends tech firms scrambling for fixes
Tech companies must rapidly step up
information sharing to protect users
from prying eyes, a security software
executive said overnight after Wikileaks
released a trove of documents detailing
the Central Intelligence Agency ’s
capacity to hack all manner of devices.
Dozens of firms rushed to contain
the damage from possible security
weak points following the anti-secrecy
organisation’s revelations, although
some said they needed more detailed
information on what the United States
intelligence agency was up to before they
can thwart suspected, but previously
Sinan Eren, vice president of Czech
anti-virus software maker Avast, called
on mobile software makers Apple and
Google to supply security firms with
privileged access to their devices to offer
immediate fixes to known bugs. “ We
can prevent attacks in real time if we
were given the hooks into the mobile
operating system,” Eren said in a phone
inter view from Silicon Valley, where he
“ If we can drive a paradigm shift where
mobile platforms don’t shut off access,
we’ll be better able to detect when
hackers are hiding in a mobile (phone)”,
Avast, which counts more than 400
million users of its anti-virus software
worldwide, was named in the Wikileaks
documents as one of the security
vendors targeted by the CIA in a leaked
page labelled “secret ” but with no further
The leaks — which Wikileaks
described as the biggest in the CIA’s
history — had enough technical details
for security experts and product vendors
to recognise widespread compromises
exist. However, they provided few
specifics needed to offer quick fixes.
The 8761 leaked documents list a
wealth of security attacks on Apple and
Google Android smartphones carried
by billions of consumers, as well as
top computer operating systems —
Windows, Linux and Apple Mac — and
six of the world’s main web browsers.
Apple said in a statement that nearly
80% of iPhone users run its current iOS
software with the latest security patches.
“Many of the issues leaked today were
already patched in the latest iOS, we will
continue work to rapidly address any
identified vulnerabilities,” it said. The
statement made no reference to attacks
on its computer software.
Google did not respond to a request
for comment, while a Microsoft
spokeswoman said: “ We’re aware of the
report and are looking into it.”
Widely-used routers from Silicon
Valley-based Cisco were listed as
targets, as were those supplied by
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE
and Taiwanese supplier Zyxel for their
devices used in China and Pakistan.
Cisco security team members said in
a blog post that because Wikileaks has
not released any of the actual hacking
exploits “the scope of action that can be
taken by Cisco is limited”.
Omar Santos, a principal engineer
in Cisco’s security response unit, said
malware appears to be targeting whole
families of Cisco devices but is designed
to remain hidden so as to steal data
unnoticed. He said Cisco assumes
Wikileaks will eventually disclose the
hacks, allowing it to fix them.
Huawei declined to comment. ZTE
and Zyxel were not available to respond.
Messaging apps protected by full
software encryption also appear to be
vulnerable to hacking of the smartphones
provider Telegram said in a blog post.
But one positive outcome may be that
device and software makers will be able
to close up these holes, it said.
“This is not an app issue. It is relevant
on the level of devices and operating
systems like iOS and Android,”
Telegram stated, adding that: “ The good
news is that for the moment all of this is
irrelevant for the majority of Telegram
users. If the CIA is not on your back, you
shouldn’t start worrying just yet.”
The Wikileaks collection contains a
mix of copious data and empty files
marked “secret ” that promised more
details to come on attacks against more
than 15 security software firms.
US cyber security expert Robert
Graham said Wikileaks provided
enough detail to recognise some known
“One anti-virus researcher has told me
that a virus they once suspected came
from the Russians or Chinese can now
be attributed to the CIA, as it matches
the description perfectly to something
in the leak,” Graham said in a blog post.
doctors kill 30
in hospital raid
Gunmen dressed as medics attacked
a hospital in the Afghani capital
overnight and battled security forces for
hours, killing more than 30 people and
wounding dozens in an assault claimed
by Islamic State.
A suicide bomber blew himself up at the
rear of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad
Daud Khan hospital, across the road
from the heavily-fortified United States
embassy, providing the signal for three
attackers with automatic weapons and
hand grenades to open fire inside the
complex, according to witnesses.
Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat
Waziri said the attack was suppressed
with all three gunmen killed.
As security forces swept the hospital
buildings, another ministry spokesman
said they found more than 30 dead and
50 wounded, including doctors, patients
and hospital staff. Earlier, a spokesman
for the public health ministry said three
dead and 66 wounded had been taken to
other hospitals in the city.
The gunmen, dressed as medical
personnel, had taken up positions on the
upper floors of the hospital and engaged
special forces sent to the scene.
Security forces blocked off the area
around the hospital, near a busy traffic
intersection, and special forces soldiers
descended on to the roof of the main
building from helicopters.
Sporadic gunfire could be heard for
several hours and, as fighting went on,
there was a second explosion, which a
spokesman said was caused when a car
inside the hospital complex blew up.
A statement from Islamic State’s
Amaq News Agency said its fighters had
attacked the hospital, while an Afghani
Taliban spokesman denied responsibility,
saying the Islamist insurgency had “no
connection” with the attack.
The raid on the hospital followed
warnings by government officials that
high-profile attacks in Kabul were likely
to escalate this year.
With US President Donald Trump yet
to announce his policy for Afghanistan,
where the top US commander has said
thousands more international troops
may be needed to maintain stability, the
attack also pointed to Islamic State’s
The movement, whose local branch is
called Afghanistan Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria-Khorasan province (ISIS-K)
is opposed to both the western-backed
government in Kabul and the Taliban.
The movement is based in the Middle
East but has established a solid presence
on the border with Pakistan.
It has also mounted several high-profile
attacks on civilians in Kabul over the
past year, including several on prominent
The attack on a hospital treating military
casualties from around Afghanistan
drew wide condemnation and President
Ashraf Ghani said it “trampled on all
“ In all religions, a hospital is regarded
as an immune site and attacking it is
attacking the whole of Afghanistan,”
he said in impromptu remarks during a
speech for International Women’s Day
The United Nations Assistance Mission
in Afghanistan said the attack on
hospital staff and patients not involved
in the conflict amounted to a war crime.
Young men taking their place in the world
www.nelsoncollege.school.nz P: 03 548 3099 E: email@example.com
BOARDING ROAD SHOW 2017
WHATAROA - Monday 3 April, 5pm - Whataroa School Library
WESTPORT - Tuesday 4 April, 5pm - Buller District Library
GREYMOUTH - Wednesdy 5 April, 5pm - Rimu Room, Ashley Hotel
BOARDING OPEN DAY - NELSON COLLEGE
Saturday 13 May, 10am TO 12.30pm
• ‘Nelson College is a high-performing boys’ school with
SPACES STILL AVAILABLE FOR 2017
Enquiries for all year levels welcome
at its Best
Nelson College for Girls
For more information visit
03 548 1332 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Our boarders enjoy academic success, make lifelong
friendships and build strong connections within the
school and its community.
Nelson College is NZ’s oldest state secondary
school and can be described as ‘a boys school
with traditions not a traditional boys school’.
Traditions establish a strong sense of belonging
and community amongst the students and the
staff, but they don’t prevent the College from
innovating and responding to the changing social
and educational needs of boys in the 21st century.
The diversity of our options structure with its
multiple pathways enables students to reach their
potential in whatever field they have a passion for.
Alongside the classroom, Nelson College runs a
unique student leadership programme, champions
performing arts and provides an endless selection
of co-curricular activities including 85 sports
teams. This combination allows the full breadth
of development for the widest possible range of
Excellence through robust self-review and a
determination to improve lie at the heart of the
College’s everyday practice. We have a clear goal,
to be the best we can be for all of our students.
This goal provides the focus for developing and
challenging our most able students as well as
providing extra support for those who need it.
A recent (2016) ERO report said, “Nelson College
is a high-performing boys’ school with traditions.
Boys show a strong sense of belonging and pride.
They achieve very well in their learning and in
sporting and cultural activities. Teachers take many
innovative approaches, providing responsive
learning opportunities that engage boys well
in their learning. Strong, visionary professional
leadership provides a highly inclusive environment
for the increasingly diverse range of students.”
The College is also pleased to announce that
the refurbishment and modernisation of Barnicoat
House has recently been completed and invite
prospective parents to come and see the difference
that boarding at Nelson College can offer.
Nelson College for Girls offers high quality,
affordable education for young women in a very
supportive environment. Our boarding hostel,
Clarice Johnstone House, is a very important part
of this. It offers excellent accommodation for up to
150 students, from New Zealand and overseas. This
accommodation provides quality for our young
women but is priced competitively. For many of
our boarders, there are significant opportunities
for them to be involved in sporting and cultural
activities that would not otherwise be available to
Our boarding students are part of a very large
family, proactively supported by our senior
students through a wide variety of student led
activities. Nelson College for Girls has a strong
house system and all of our boarders are members
of the same house, Whangamoa. They are
passionate participants in all house activities in the
school and revel in the ‘purple’ house succeeding
Our Year 9–12 students live in Clarice Johnstone
House while our Year 13 students are in the Levels
building. This modern accommodation provides
them with a more independent living experience,
while still ensuring our most senior students play
a pivotal role in creating the family atmosphere of
the boarding community.
Our boarders enjoy academic success, make
lifelong friendships and enjoy strong connections
within the school and its community.
contact Jo Purcell on 03 548 1332
Email: email@example.com or visit our website
A tradition of innovation and progress
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