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Pills no longer hard to swallow, with “natural drugs” in the making



Cancer and obesity among some of the health issues that Queensland researchers are trying to find a natural remedy for.

Natural medications derived from plants could be the future of medicine

Potato chips and edible plants are among some of the “plant cures” under the microscope in efforts to treat cancer and obesity.

The unlikely “natural drugs” are part of world-first research conducted by 35 scientists from the university of Queensland.

Led by Professor David Craik, the team are working to find a cure for cancer and diabetes through somewhat unorthodox, yet gentle methods.

Additionally, the study is also looking at creating sustainable medications that are safer to consume.

“We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines.”

Professor Craik told the ABC.

Professor Craik’s team is using the relationship between molecules and receptors in the brain to combat obesity-related illnesses.

As a result, appetite is reduced, with weight loss likely to occur.

“We have shown our molecules are very potent – a thousand millionth of a gram is enough to stimulate that receptor to effectively turn it off, so our appetite would be suppressed,” he said.

“So we want to put that molecule into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”

Plants the key to pain relief

Professor Craik has also discovered that venom from plants and animals can be a key ingredient in pain-relief medications.

“The molecule from a Queensland cone snail is about 150 times more potent than morphine.

With alternate methods of medications being explored, Professor Craik and his team are also helping combat opioid addiction.

Natural treatments will mean patients who choose not to take medication because of their addiction, now have a substitute.

Researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Sweden and Austria are also in on the project.

Clinical trials – which will see such cures tested on humans – are still five years away, but if successful could provide patients with cheaper and easier access to in-demand medications.

Written by Rebecca Borg


How the U.S. could respond to a Ukraine nuclear blast



As concerns grow over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling, what would a U.S. response look like?

While U.S. officials have stressed there are plans being developed to counter a range of moves by Moscow, they have thus far kept specifics under wraps.

Here are some of the options reportedly under consideration:

1. Economic sanctions: This is seen as the least provocative option, and one that would likely have the most international support. It would also be the easiest to implement, as the Treasury Department has already put together a list of high-profile Russian individuals and entities that could be targeted.

2. Military action: While not off the table, this is considered a last resort due to the risks involved. Possible scenarios include positioning additional U.S. troops and equipment in NATO countries bordering Russia, or carrying out precision strikes on Russian targets in Ukraine.

3. Cyberattacks: Stuxnet-style malware could be used to take down critical infrastructure inside Russia, or disruptive attacks could be launched against government websites and other online resources.

4. Forcefully breaking up Russia’s energy exports: This would involve using diplomatic and economic pressure to dissuade European countries from buying oil and gas from Russia, which is its main source of revenue.


5. Supporting regime change in Moscow: While this option is not being actively pursued by the Biden administration, some hawkish lawmakers have called for it. This would likely involve funding opposition groups inside Russia and working to foment popular discontent with Putin’s rule.


With tensions between the U.S. and Russia at their highest levels since the end of the Cold War, it’s clear that somethingneeds to be done to prevent further escalation.

The question is, what? economic sanctions, military action, cyberattacks, breaking up Russia’s energy exports, or regime change in Moscow?

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Biden says nuclear ‘armageddon’ threat is back



U.S. President says the nuclear ‘armageddon’ threat is back for first time since Cuban Missile Crisis

The president was speaking at a fundraiser event, where he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “not joking when he spoke about the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

U.S. officials have been warning that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.

But they believe there’s been no change to Russia’s nuclear forces for the time being.

It comes as the leaders of more than 40 European nations convened in Prague to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky spoke via video link.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss says the summit is “not about moving closer to Europe” but “about working with Europe”.

When pressed about her working relationship with Macron, Truss admitted he is a ‘friend’.

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Spectator dead following violent clashes at a football stadium



One person has died in clashes at an Argentinian football stadium

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to stop fans from pushing into the crowded venue.

But that wasn’t enough, with many fans squeezing through fencing to escape the violence and get onto the field.

The incident took place around 50 kilometres south of the nation’s capital

The game was suspended nine minutes into play.

A 57-year-old man experienced cardiac arrest while being transferred from the stadium to the hospital.

It comes five days after 131 people died in a stampede prompted by Indonesian police firing tear gas inside a stadium.

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