Obesity ‘raises women’s cancer risk 40%’

Obese women are 40 per cent more likely to develop certain types of cancer, a British charity says.

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Being excessively overweight increases a woman’s risk of post-menopausal breast cancer as well as cancer of the bowel, gall bladder, womb, kidney, pancreas and gullet, said Cancer Research UK.

In a group of 1000 obese women, 274 will be diagnosed with a weight-related cancer in their lifetime, compared with 194 in a similar group of healthy weight woman, according to figures released by the charity.

Around a quarter of women in the UK are obese, as defined by their body mass index.

A BMI of 25 to 29 is categorised as “overweight” and anything above 29 as “obese”.

One way obesity could increase the risk of cancer is through the production of hormones by fat cells, especially oestrogen.

In the UK, it is estimated that 18,000 women develop cancer as a result of being overweight or obese each year.

Dr Julie Sharp from the charity admits losing weight isn’t easy.

“But you don’t have to join a gym and run miles every day or give up your favourite food forever. Just making small changes that you can maintain in the long term can have a real impact.

“To get started try getting off the bus a stop earlier and cutting down on fatty and sugary foods,” she said.

“We know that our cancer risk depends on a combination of our genes, our environment and other aspects of our lives, many of which we can control,” she said.

Helping people understand how they can reduce their risk of developing cancer is crucial in tackling the disease.

“Lifestyle changes, like not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on alcohol, are the big opportunities for us all to personally reduce our cancer risk.”

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UN panel to probe Dag Hammarskjold’s death

The United Nations has appointed an independent panel of experts to reopen an investigation into the 1961 death of UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold in a plane crash, a UN spokesman says.

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The panel of experts includes Kerryn Macaulay of Australia, Mohamed Chande Othman of Tanzania and Henrik Larsen of Denmark.

The Swedish diplomat, along with his UN team, was on his way to negotiate a ceasefire in Congo when his plane crashed in September 1961 in Ndola, then part of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

The original investigation by a UN commission, which was closed in 1962, failed to establish the cause of the crash. Since then, there have been various reports that his plane was shot down.

UN member states decided at the end of December to reopen the case after a commission of international jurists said new evidence could shed light on events surrounding the crash and give a definitive answer to claims that Hammarskjold was assassinated.

The jurists said in a report that records needed for the inquiry could be provided by the US. The US National Security Agency is known to have recorded information in the region, possibly including radio traffic from the Ndola airport on the night of the crash.

The panel will have three months to evaluate new evidence obtained in recent years about the circumstances of the crash and will present its findings to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the end of June.

Hammarskjold became the second secretary-general of the UN in 1953.

Various studies, including the 2011 book by A. Susan Williams, Who killed Hammarskjold, have made a case for sabotage, citing multinational mining companies and the governments of Britain, Belgium, the US and South Africa.

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Child predator suspects arrested in Vic

There have been arrests in Victoria following an investigation into 28 people suspected of preying on children in care and grooming them for sex.

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Details of the investigation, which began in 2013 and ends later this month, were outlined on Tuesday at a royal commission hearing in Sydney into child sexual abuse.

Katy Haire, deputy secretary of the department of health and human services in Victoria, said a joint exercise between police and her department to uncover child sexual exploitation has had significant results.

In this particular exercise, 28 suspects were investigated and nine matters resulted in arrests with charges laid for grooming, sexual penetration of a child under 16 and rape, Ms Haire said.

Twelve matters are still under investigation.

Ms Haire is on a panel of representatives from state and territory child protection departments being questioned by the royal commission on current policies and procedures to protect children in out-of-home care.

She said combining the expertise of a child protection worker with the police sex crimes unit in Victoria had made a big difference to the way they tackled sexual exploitation of children in out-of-home care.

In reply to the commission’s Gail Furness SC, she said the approach hadn’t created anything new but was using elements that existed in both systems in a new way.

She said none of those charged out of the 2013 investigation had yet appeared in court.

Ms Haire also said children targeted by the suspected predators were in out-of-home care but the sexual exploitation happened outside the placement by “people who were preying on the children and offering them some gain or enticing them into sexual behaviour”.

She said the joint exercise resulted in an effective outcome not just for the criminal justice system but also for the children involved.

“Safety of those children has been protected all the way through the investigation”.

Ms Haire and her counterparts across the country are in the second week of evidence to the commission which is examining foster care, care by relatives or care in small group residential homes.

These are collectively known as out-of-home care and have replaced institutional care for children who can no longer live safely in their own homes.

There are up to 50,000 children in Australia in out-of-home care and the number is increasing.

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Saints focus on hard work in AFL

Every struggling AFL club now wistfully looks at Port Adelaide’s 2013 season and thinks “if only .

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..”

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was the Power’s director of coaching when they dramatically transformed from 14th-placed rabble to fifth-placed boom team.

This year, Port should challenge for the flag.

Last year, the Saints finished bottom for the first time since 2000.

Richardson admits to reminding his players once or twice in this pre-season about what happened at Port.

And much more importantly, how it happened.

“As a coach, there’s a lot of storytelling that happens – and I don’t mean you’re making up stories,” Richardson told AAP.

“You’re certainly referring back to some of your experiences so that you can really make the message stick.

“I haven’t laboured the point, but I’ve spoken about the attitude of the group at Port Adelaide.

“Clearly, what did happen was there was a playing group over there that rolled their sleeves up and worked their backsides off and wanted to do something about the situation that they and their footy club found themselves in.”

There are obvious differences between the Port of two years ago and St Kilda’s current scenario.

Most glaringly, the Power had a much more balanced playing list and nothing of the Saints’ black hole between the veterans and youngsters.

Regardless of the circumstances, Richardson keeps coming back to two words – hard work.

Under Richardson and his predecessor Scott Watters, St Kilda have had the right outlook of smart drafting and putting as many games into those kids as possible.

No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin and defender Hugh Goddard lead the latest crop.

St Kilda showed signs of life last year, but all too rarely.

There was no continuity in the team as they went through 42 players.

There has also been a rash of hamstring injuries in the pre-season, with Farren Ray and Seb Ross to miss big chunks of games.

But whatever happens, Richardson will demand greater consistency of effort from those who are playing.

“The conversations have gone along the lines of, `if you can do it, you can do it’,” Richardson said of their pre-season.

“And that’s led onto `if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’.”

In the past three years, they have lost Lenny Hayes to retirement, plus Nick Dal Santo and Brendon Goddard to free agency.

Any team would suffer losing a trio of that calibre.

It puts even more emphasis on the few veterans who are left, such as captain Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna and Sam Fisher.

It cannot have been easy for players who went so close to at least one premiership in 2009-10.

In the blink of an eye, their focus has had to become about leaving the right legacy at the Saints.

“Certainly there are no conversations that we spend on what’s happened in the past and `woe is me’,” Richardson said.

The coach also admits to being careful about the season’s targets.

“It’s more about the way we want to play and what it means to become a consistent performer,” he said.

“As opposed to, `righto boys, out we go and we’re aiming to win X amount of games’.

“It’s not what this group needs.

“Having said that – playing to win – that certainly doesn’t get left behind.”

ST KILDA

Coach: Alan Richardson

Captain: Nick Riewoldt

Last five years: 2-7-9-16-18

Premierships: 1 (1966)

Key Five: Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Jack Steven, David Armitage, Jack Billings.

One to watch: Paddy McCartin. A No.1 draft pick will always attract a lot of attention, but when he’s a tall forward the level of interest only intensifies. With Nick Riewoldt well into the twilight of his career, the Saints are hoping to build a new forward line around McCartin.

Ins: Hugh Goddard (Geelong U18), Jack Lonie (Dandenong U18), Paddy McCartin (Geelong U18), Daniel McKenzie (Oakleigh U18), Tim Membrey (Sydney), Darren Minchington (St Kilda rookie), Cameron Shenton (St Kilda rookie), Eli Templeton (St Kilda rookie), Maverick Weller (St Kilda rookie).

Outs: Trent Dennis-Lane (delisted), Sam Dunnell (delisted), James Gwilt (Essendon), Lenny Hayes (retired), Clint Jones (delisted), Beau Maister (retired), Terry Milera (delisted), Rhys Stanley (Geelong).

Best line-up:

B: Hugh Goddard, Luke Delaney, Jarryn Geary

HB: Cameron Shenton, Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster

C: Jack Newnes, Jack Steven, Leigh Montagna

HF: Maverick Weller, Josh Bruce, Jack Billings

F: Paddy McCartin, Nick Riewoldt, Josh Saunders

R: Billy Longer, David Armitage, Luke Dunstan

I: Seb Ross, Tom Hickey, Tom Curren, Eli Templeton

Predicted finish: 18th

Betting (William Hill)

To win the flag: $501

To make the top eight: $14

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Defensive holes must be fixed: Crows coach

New Adelaide coach Phil Walsh bristles at his master tactician tag.

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“I hate it,” he tells AAP.

“I reckon there’s a little bit of people wanting to build you up to shoot you down in our industry.

“Most of the really good things that I have done in my coaching has come from the effect of being in a really good coaching group, not some individual idea that I have espoused.

“I have got a view on the game. People have got a different view on the game. Now I get the opportunity to see if my view can stand up.”

Walsh has spent the past two decades living in the AFL shadows, a highly-rated assistant coach.

Now, the 54-year-old is the spotlight as head coach of the Crows, replacing the sacked Brenton Sanderson.

A self-described career coach, Walsh had long been content in the background.

But in October 2012, he was hit by a bus in Peru and thought he would die.

A year later, his close mate and fellow AFL coaching identity Dean Bailey was diagnosed with cancer – he passed away in March last year.

“Dean Bailey. Peru … I had some things happen in my life,” Walsh said.

“I said to myself if I seriously got an opportunity to interview for a senior job I wouldn’t refuse.

“I’m getting close to the end of the coaching journey as well.

“So it was just nice timing.”

The Crows have made the finals just once in the past five seasons, finishing 11th last year, 10th the year prior.

But Walsh reckons he’s landed a plum job compared to other fresh coaches who need to rebuild a playing list.

“There’s some really good ingredients here. But a couple may be missing,” Walsh said, identifying defensive deficiency, inexperience and a lack of height as worrisome.

The Crows last season ranked third in attack but 11th in defence – and their backline has lost retired stalwart Ben Rutten, with Hawthorn’s Kyle Cheney recruited to cover.

“Although (fullback Daniel) Talia and (half-back Brodie) Smith are All-Australian, our back six is probably just a little bit young,” Walsh said.

“I think our midfield and our forwards are really good, we have got really good talent in those areas. But we just need to develop that back six and expose them a bit.”

Thirty of Adelaide’s 45 players have played less than 50 games – whereas Hawthorn’s premiership team averaged about 130 games a player.

“We probably won’t be in that (bracket) until 2017 … but that doesn’t mean that things can’t happen,” he said.

Of nine new recruits, only Cheney and fellow ex-Hawk Luke Lowden have played an AFL game – and Lowden just one.

The fresh faces replaced a host of discards who never really made an imprint, including Shaun McKernan, Lewis Johnston, Jared Petrenko and Luke Thompson.

But while defence has been Walsh’s priority, the Crows are solid in an attack headlined by new captain Taylor Walker, who has replaced Nathan van Berlo, and livewire Eddie Betts.

And the midfield remains their strength with prime movers Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson, Richard Douglas, Brad Crouch and ruckman Sam Jacobs.

The Crows will have to cope with speculation about whether Dangerfield and Sloane will reject free agency offers from rivals – but don’t expect Walsh to buy into that or other big-picture issues.

“I will probably want to keep my mouth shut just for a little bit, if that’s okay,” he said.

“I think I should just try and win a couple of games.”

ADELAIDE

Coach: Phil Walsh

Captain: Taylor Walker

Last five years: 11-14-3-11-10

Premierships: 2 (1997-98)

Key five: Patrick Dangerfield, Taylor Walker, Sam Jacobs, Daniel Talia, Rory Sloane.

One to watch: Taylor Walker. The 24-year-old spearhead was a surprise choice to replace Nathan van Berlo as Crows skipper, ahead of Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane. Adelaide’s hopes for 2015 rest largely on how well he handles his dual responsibilities as captain and the primary focus of the Crows’ attack.

Ins: Charlie Cameron (Adelaide rookie), Kyle Cheney (Hawthorn), Harry Dear (Sandringham U18), Jake Lever (Calder U18), Luke Lowden (Hawthorn), Mitch McGovern (Claremont WAFL), Harrison Wigg (North Adelaide SANFL).

Outs: Angus Graham, (delisted), Lewis Johnston (delisted), Shaun McKernan (delisted), Jared Petrenko (delisted), Jason Porplyzia (retired), Ben Rutten (retired), Luke Thompson (delisted).

Best line-up:

B: Ricky Henderson, Daniel Talia, Matthew Jaensch

HB: Nathan van Berlo, Kyle Cheney, David Mackay

C: Rory Sloane, Patrick Dangerfield, Brodie Smith

HF: Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, Brad Crouch

F: Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker, James Podsiadly

R: Sam Jacobs, Scott Thompson, Richard Douglas

I: Sam Kerridge, Luke Brown, Jarryd Lyons, Matthew Wright

Predicted finish: 9th

Betting (William Hill)

To win the flag: $26

To make the top eight: $1.90

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