September, 2019

New York hospital homecoming for Aust boy

James O’Leary weighed barely half a kilogram when he was born by surprise, a world away from his home in Australia.

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His mother was nearly six months pregnant when she went into labour on a vacation that became an anxious four-month sojourn, with James in intensive care at Bellevue Hospital, his survival at stake.

Nearly six years later, the healthy, typical kindergartener bounded into a balloon-lined room at Bellevue with his father on Wednesday for a homecoming of sorts with the doctors, nurses and other staffers who became a surrogate family when the O’Learys were far from their own.

“It’s great,” he said, then spotted a screen where a photo slideshow of his first few months was playing: “Look.”

Now raising four children in Sydney, Brett and Jennifer O’Leary didn’t know she was pregnant with twins until after booking an August 2009 jaunt to New York.

Jennifer’s doctor okayed the trip, planned for about the 22nd and 23rd weeks of her pregnancy, her husband said.

Airlines typically allow women carrying multiple babies to fly through the 32nd week of pregnancy, the World Health Organisation says.

Jennifer O’Leary’s contractions started 10 days into the trip. Doctors gave her medications to slow the labour and help the tiny twins develop and told the O’Learys to expect the babies to stay in the hospital through their original due date – in December.

James and Thomas were born at 24 weeks and a day, their father said. It would be about 30 days before their parents could take James out of an incubator and snuggle him against their skin – a practice known, to the couple’s delight, as kangaroo care.

By then, Thomas had died of infections at 18 days old, his father said. It wasn’t clear whether James would ever get to go home.

“For the first 50 or 60 days, you were really walking on eggshells,” Brett O’Leary said. “It’s just a feeling of helplessness. … You’re sort of in the hands of the gods.”

At the start, James couldn’t breathe on his own or feed, but he “was a fighter”, neonatologist Dr Pradeep Mally recalled.

While spending their days at the hospital, the new parents scrambled to find an apartment nearby.

The Australian consulate helped them arrange to stay legally in the US. Brett O’Leary’s then-boss at his engineering job continued his salary, sent him a mobile phone and gave him a loan (Jennifer O’Leary, a lawyer, gave up the part-time job she then had). Travel insurers covered medical bills and many living expenses.

Bellevue staffers tried to make the Australians feel at home, even inviting them to holiday parties: “We really felt for them,” physician’s assistant Donna Hennessy said.

After four months, James was about 2.04 kilograms and finally ready to go home, flying in an incubator that took up 13 seats in a commercial plane.

Crossing the international date line along the way, the family lost a day – December 12, James’s due date, his father said.

“It’s kind of like a day that he was never due to have.”

Rinehart backs India’s cuts to red tape

India is known for widespread poverty but mining billionaire Gina Rinehart says Australia should copy it when it comes to cutting red tape.

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Australia’s richest person promoted her second book during a function at the home of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi overnight, praising him for doubling the country’s economic growth.

The book, titled From Red Tape to Red Carpet, features Mr Modi on the cover and is named after his policy.

Mrs Rinehart railed against the amount of red tape that companies face in Australia, including approvals, permits, licences and compliance costs, to a VIP audience including Mr Modi and Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

In Australia, compliance was more important than performance, but India recognised that red tape can lead to corruption, she said.

“Australian politicians are genuinely surprised when I ask them how many approvals, permits and licences were required by government to get to construction,” she said.

“They guess around 100 or so, but Roy Hill (Mrs Rinehart’s iron ore mine) has faced more than 4,000 government approvals, permits, and licences – and that doesn’t count many, many more for construction.

“Layers of red tape just keep pushing up costs in Australia and frankly Australia can’t afford this.”

Mrs Rinehart said she would never have gone ahead with her career in mining if she had known how much red tape was involved.

India, on the other hand, was being turned from a country where enterprise was stifled to one where red tape was being reduced by Mr Modi, she said.

“In less than a year of office, approximately doubling its economic growth, to the great benefit of its citizens, and in fact now leading the world with its economic growth,” she said of Mr Modi.

Mrs Rinehart is part of a coal joint venture in Queensland with India’s GVK.

Wayne Bennett feels for Manly

It’s not something heard often but Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett feels sorry for Manly.

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Bennett came out in support of Manly and their coach Geoff Toovey on Thursday in the wake of the “ludicrous” situation involving Sea Eagles star Kieran Foran’s Parramatta deal.

Foran could walk away from his deal to join the Eels from next year after that club attempted to rework the $4.8 million contract he signed three months ago.

Barely a month ago his Sea Eagles halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans backflipped on a Gold Coast deal and agreed to stay at Manly.

“My biggest concern would be for the (Manly) club,” said veteran Brisbane coach Bennett on Thursday.

“I can’t believe the turmoil that Manly has had to go through in all this.

“And you see criticism of Geoff Toovey, he’s the last guy people should be criticising.

“What has happened to that club is just horrific.

“Losing your two star players and then (potentially) getting them back again and we are halfway through a season – it is ludicrous.”

Bennett’s call comes days after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the Foran saga made the NRL “look like amateurs”.

“Of course there is a solution. As Craig (Bellamy) alluded to the other day it doesn’t happen in other sports,” Bennett said.

“There are other codes who can manage it. From the top right down it is just not being managed (by NRL).

“This has only happened in the last four, five or six years. Somewhere in that period of time we haven’t addressed it well enough and don’t look like we are going to in the short term.”

Bennett said a solution to the code’s contract sagas was possible and consideration of the the game’s fans should be foremost.

“First thing I would do is make some decisions that wouldn’t please everybody, and give the game back to the fans,” he said.

“So at least they know that players are contracted and can’t do the things we are seeing right now. We owe that to them.”

Bayliss believes in-form England can target Ashes win

Australian Bayliss, appointed coach last month, left his homeland on Wednesday but has clearly been keeping tabs on England from Sydney, even if he has not yet swapped the “they” for “we” when referring to the team.

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England split a test series 1-1 with the Black Caps before recovering from a 2-1 deficit to win a thrilling one-day series, finishing with a flourish with a win in the sole Twenty20 match.

“It’s been quite exciting, the series against New Zealand, the tests and the one-dayers… got some new, young players in there with plenty of skill, plenty of enthusiasm,” he told Fox Sports TV at Sydney airport.

“So it sounds like they’re in a good place, looks like they’re enjoying themselves out in the field and that’s the main thing.”

Bayliss, the former coach of New South Wales, said his first task in the pre-Ashes training camp in Spain would be to get to know the players and then put together some plans for the series against Australia, which begins in Cardiff on July 8.

“Looking forward to it, to be involved in an Ashes series will be some good fun, I think,” he added.

“I will be just doing the things I normally do with any of the cricket teams I’ve been involved with, and hopefully that means England will be playing some good cricket.

“I’m confident of putting up a good show and if they play some good cricket they’ll be a chance of winning.”

As always, much pride is at stake in the five-test Ashes series with Australia looking for a first triumph on English soil since 2001 and the hosts hoping to erase the memory of their 5-0 humiliation Down Under in 2013-14.

Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are among the Australians to have played under Bayliss at New South Wales but he does not think that his inside knowledge will prove decisive.

“I don’t think it will mean winning or losing for either team,” he said. “I think these teams play each other quite a bit, they know what the opposition can do and obviously the Aussies know what England can do.”

Bayliss was inevitably asked about the position of batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out of participating in the series by England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss because of “trust issues”.

“Look, apparently, he’s unavailable for selection, so that’s all I know at this stage,” Bayliss said.

“He is a good batter but at this stage he is unavailable, so that’s all I know.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O’Brien)

Scann3D adds dimension to property market

You can walk through your dream home before it’s been built, and without having to move from your couch.

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You can check out the set-up for your wedding at a hotel, or visit a famous heritage site or museum – all thanks to new 3D technology being developed for smart phones and computers.

Melbourne tech start-up Scann3D is creating 3D models that people can look at on a flat screen or using a virtual reality mask, making them feel like they’re actually there.

It saves time, effort and money and engages the viewer.

Scann3D’s initial focus is on the property market, where the old house photo in the newspaper or the floor plan for the new apartment doesn’t really give you a feel for what you’re looking to buy.

“We’ve become accustomed to 2D photographs which give you quick impressions, but it does not give you a sense of the actual spatial layout of the house,” chief executive Trent Clews-De Castella said.

“And so there’s a huge reliance on having to physically inspect a space, which takes a lot of time and making arrangements – it’s a pain.

“We can provide a service that quickly scans the house and creates a spatially-accurate model of that home and gives the buyer the ability to walk through it as if they are physically there.”

Scann3D uses 3D photos and 3D artists’ sketches that are knitted together to enable a home buyer to look at a property in detail from every angle – left, right, up, down, around, close view, long view, view from above.

Potential buyers can also “walk through” the interior of the property, down the hallway, from room to room, or look out the window, just by using the controls on their mobile phone or computer.

Potential buyers also can experience “augmented reality”.

They hold their smart phone in front of them with the property displayed on screen. As the buyer takes two steps from the spot where he or she is located, two steps are taken simultaneously through the area of the 3D model displayed on the phone.

Virtual reality property inspections are also possible.

Potential buyers can don the virtual reality head-mounted mask whilst standing in the office, for example.

The buyer now sees nothing of the office but does “see” the interior of the house or apartment.

The scene changes according to where the person turns their head or shifts position. The vision is not flat; it has depth.

Scann3D started making 3D models of existing spaces but can now also make 3D models of spaces that don’t exist yet, such as off-the-plan apartments or renovations.

The company recently linked with Australia’s biggest property portal, realestate杭州桑拿会所,杭州桑拿网, and property developer BPM to launch the 3D experience in the Australian property market.

Mr Clews-De Castella said early feedback showed that potential buyers were spending a longer time engaged with a particular property when using the 3D models.

The next step is to enable potential buyers to “customise” the 3D model, for example, making changes to a benchtop in the kitchen while they are looking at it.

“It’s become really clear that content is king. Consumers are constantly seeking out more interactive and engaging and immersive ways to explore the world around them, online,” Mr Clews-De Castella said.