Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.
Few Men Taking Paid Parental Leave
New figures show the number of men taking paid parental leave has barely increased in the last decade. In 2008, 220 dads took paid parental leave, totalling $661,631. Last year that number was 324, and the cost almost tripled to $1,769,550. When the number is compared with population growth it has increased only by a small amount. The monetary value has gone up due to leave rising from 14 weeks to 18 weeks over the 10 year period. The number of women taking paid parental leave increased from 25,676 in 2008 to 30,252 last year, with a monetary increase from $133 million to just under $273 million.
‘Jailbird Lawyer’ Arthur Taylor Takes Case to the Supreme Court
Prisoner Arthur Taylor is taking his case to the Supreme Court. Taylor believes he was unlawfully barred from voting in the 2014 election. The previous National government passed legislation in 2010 preventing all prisoners from voting, regardless of the length of their sentence. Taylor’s lawyers are arguing the law preventing all prisoners from voting needed 75 percent in favour to pass, and this did not occur when the bill was passed in 2010. They argue the law is inconsistent with legislation passed in 1993, which states that prisoners with a sentence of fewer than three years can vote.
Viagra Might Be Good for Stunted Babies
A major clinical trial conducted in New Zealand and Australia has found some evidence that mothers taking Viagra during pregnancy can help babies suffering from stunted growth in the womb. The researchers got the idea that Viagra might work for women by increasing blood supply to the placenta. Fetal growth restriction is when a baby cannot properly grow because of problems with the placenta. It affects 5-10 percent of babies, which is between 3,000 and 6,000 babies annually in New Zealand. In the worst cases, stunted growth can lead to stillbirth or to babies being born very small with a high risk of disabilities. The study did not find extra growth in the babies, but did note an 8 percent higher survival rate—but because of small sample size, that difference may be statistically insignificant.
Mt Albert NIMBYs Protest Government Housing Scheme
Mt Albert residents are up in arms about the Government's plans to build 4,000 new homes in the area. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford made the announcement, planned for a 29-hectare site which sits on the Unitec campus. One resident was concerned that the infrastructure would be insufficient, as well as the potential change in the character of the area. Mt Albert Grammar School Principal Pat Drumm is also concerned, with a current role of 3000 students not leaving space for more.
Nurses Move Towards Striking Action
Thousands of nurses look set to begin striking after they voted against a new pay deal last night. An announcement on the New Zealand Nurses Organisation website indicated that union officials will meet on the April 18 to begin discussing future action. Following that meeting, members of the NZNO will be asked to vote on whether or not to begin striking action. NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says that increased workloads, stress, fatigue and lack of job satisfaction means that strike action is likely.
Russian Diplomats Expelled from the US, EU
Eighteen countries are expelling Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK, in response to the Skripal attack. The UK is accusing Russia of attempting to murder two British citizens using military grade nerve agent poison. Theresa May is thanking all "allies", who are not allowing Russia to "continue to flout international law". The UK is so far expelling 23 Russian diplomats, Russia has responded by expelling the same number of British diplomats. This is the largest collective move against Russia by the West since the Cold War.
Project 84 Launches in Britain
84 statues of men have appeared on top of buildings in London, shining light on the alarming suicide rates in the UK. The life-sized sculptures are part of a campaign called Project 84. Every week, 84 men take their own lives in the UK. This campaign has been launched by a charity called CALM, which stands for Citizens Against Living Miserably. The idea is to give context to just how many suicides are happening and get the public talking to one another about how it can change.
Carles Puigdemont Arrested in Germany
The former Catalan president has been arrested and is awaiting trial in Germany after being arrested under a European arrest warrant. The arrest is causing protests from those in Catalonia who supported Carles Puigdemont’s separatist movement. It is being reported that there have been six arrests and 98 injured in Barcelona. Puigdemont has been in self-imposed exile in Belgium since his bid for Catalonian independence was foiled in October. He faces charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.
Facebook Under Investigation by the FTC
Facebook's privacy practices are officially under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to Tom Pahl, the acting director of the FTC's consumer bureau, the investigation will focus on whether Facebook's privacy practices resulted in "unfair acts that caused substantial injury to consumers". It is believed that the investigation could end in a fine for Facebook, who signed a consent decree with the FTC in 2011. The decree banned Facebook from selling and using certain sets of data. The news of the investigation comes shortly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw Facebook's shares dive last week.
Additional reporting by Leonard Powell, Grace Watson, Daniel Meech