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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 September 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 7 NEWS City of Whittlesea residents staying put Dog ownership helps address social isolation in pet owners. PHOTO: AP/JONATHAN BRADY. Dog ownership linked to human health University study sheds light on benefits of man’s best friend University of Sydney professor Manos Stamatakis has linked the benefits of dog ownership to positive impacts on human health. Research being undertaken at the university's Faculty of Health Sciences considers aspects of ownership and its effects on physical activity, disease prevention, behavioural changes and interaction between humans and canines. "We know that dogs can be not only a catalyst for physical activity, which is a major health issue in our society, but dog ownership can also address social isolation; the lack of connection between humans," said Professor Stamatakis. "What we want to understand is why these benefits occur. Is it because of the ownership itself, or because there is another mechanism that mediates this, like walking or companionship?" Approximately 39 per cent of Australian households own a dog, which, according to Stamatakis, have encouraging physical and psychological outcomes on humans, especially amongst the elderly. "We know that with older age comes increasing isolation, and with that comes loneliness. It's a major cardiovascular disease risk factor, it's a major cancer risk factor, and it's a major risk factor for depression," he said. "One aspect of human isolation can be addressed simply by owning a dog, because of their companionship, unconditional acceptance and love that humans often do not get from other people." PM’s compassionate first step on Syrian refugees applauded The Refugee Council of Aus- tralia joined with Australians across the country in welcoming the commitment of the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to immediately offer shelter and protection to 12,000 Syrian refugees. Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning said: "We applaud the leadership of the prime minister on acting so promptly once community concern became apparent, for the people fleeing conflict and persecution in Syria." "We want to also applaud the Australian community who have demanded that our government act to assist the Syrians who are in such great need. In recent days our office has been inundated with offers of support from the general public to assist in whatever way they are able," It may not have broadband, but Michael Kouranos isn’t swapping his lot for inner Melbourne anytime soon ZOE THOMAÚDOU With less than five per cent of its residents having moved out of the area in 2013-2014, Whittlesea Council appears to be the place you never leave once you get to know it. Michael Kouranos is an example, having stayed in Beveridge ever since he settled there with his family 28 years ago. "There was an opportunity to get a nice block of land. I think it was also a throwback to the village mum and dad came from in Greece, the country-like atmosphere," Kouranos, 36, told Neos Kosmos. He once moved to Thomastown until he realised the grass was greener back in Beveridge, 40 kilometres north-east of Melbourne's CBD. "The city of Whittlesea def- initely looks after its residents. The roads are clean and the area we live in is looked after well. It's peaceful and tranquil compared to suburbia," he says. According to recent data compiled by Australian Bureau of Statistics, Whittlesea Council has the lowest departure rates in Melbourne at 4.8 per cent, and its population grew by 8,130 over the past 12 months, placing the locality among the ten fastestgrowing local government areas in Australia. For Michael's father, the family have the perfect refuge, away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city. "We own a 20-acre block. I never liked traffic and the noise, it was better for my kids to grow up in a place where they had room to play," says John. "Whittlesea for me is one of the best councils and we love the area. It's magical in terms of natural beauty," But before you rush to join the Kouranos family you should be aware of one downside", says Michael. "In this day and age, where connecting with people is so important, we still do not have broadband services, so we have to rely on mobile data, but the mobile reception isn't perfect either." said Mr Glendenning. "Allowing protection for 12,000 refugees is an important first step and shows to the world that Australia is willing to support those who are in great need. "More than 11.6 million people are affected by this crisis in Syria. Over 4 million have fled into neighbouring countries and 7.6 million remain in danger within Syria; the world must act to support them," said Mr Glendenning. Australia should prioritise the most vulnerable for resettlement said Mr Glendenning, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or religion. “We also welcome the decision by the government to continue to the long-held practice of choosing those who are in the greatest need of urgent protection" said Mr Glendenning. John (L) and Michael Kouranos. PHOTO: HRYSOULA KOURANOS. Cypriot diaspora pledge commitment to reunification The 18th International Conference of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK-PSEKA) and Executive Council of the Organisation of Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK) wrapped up in Nicosia last week. The main subject addressed during the conference was the ongoing Cyprus problem, with members united in welcoming the progress of negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. Satisfaction with the current climate was expressed across the board, with talks seemingly moving in a positive direction thanks to Mr Akinci's recent election and the sentiment he has publicly expressed in moving forward on the issue. According to a statement which was issued after the conference, the various committees expressed their determination to work tirelessly "with firm commitment and in a result-oriented manner towards a solution to the Cyprus problem, which will reunite Cyprus and its people, secure the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, as well as their common future within the EU". During the deliberations, the Pancyprian Coordinating Committee (PSEKA) also took the opportunity to elect its leadership, which resulted in the re-election of Philip Christopher as committee president.
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