Fairfax weakness could attract predators

27/07/2018 // by admin

With the Fairfax Media share price slumping 8 per cent after a set of results that was largely expected, but an outlook statement that didn’t inspire confidence, it will be a race against time to complete the transformation of the media group before a predator emerges.
Nanjing Night Net

Fairfax posted an earnings before interest and tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $506 million ($607 million in 2011), but there are heavy depreciation/capital expenditure charges.

The feeling is the group’s 2013 EBITDA will be closer to $400 million given the structural decline. And the way the structural changes are gathering momentum it might be lower again the following year. The upshot is it is hard to imagine hard copy newspapers surviving seven days a week.

Private equity predators

Fairfax is targeting cost-savings of $235 million, and is in the process of reducing its workforce by 20 per cent over the next three years, as it moves to a digital first platform. It is early days.

There has been strong speculation that a few private equity groups are looking at the company with a view to breaking it up. Fairfax’s enterprise value, which is the market cap plus debt is a tad over $2 billion, which looks good against an EBITDA of $506 million. There have also been a few analyst reports postulating a similar theme. The company can also decide if it continues in its current form or breaks itself up.

Facing facts

The brutal reality is traditional media is going through massive structural changes and blaming it on cyclical issues is a stretch; this downturn in revenue is structural. That’s why there are $2.9 billion of asset writedowns and impairment charges. It is also why News Corp made more than $2 billion of writedowns two weeks ago, most of which was from the Australian newspaper mastheads.

The pattern is this: digital revenue is up, audiences continue to fragment and advertisers are therefore putting more of their dollars into the digital space. This structural change explains why the digital side of the business experienced an increased in advertising yields.

Seek, Realestate南京夜网 and CarSales all have market caps well above Fairfax and their earnings and stock prices keep going up – structural tailwinds.

When the cycle turns there is no doubt the shift will continue to digital with more advertising revenue poured into that space.

Industry-wide challenge

Newspapers are not alone in this, they are merely ahead of the curve in terms of bearing the structural pain as audiences increasingly move online. SevenWest revealed TV revenue was up 3 per cent, newspaper revenue was down 5 per cent and magazine revenue fell 6 per cent. Digital joint venture Yahoo!7 lifted revenue 27 per cent.

In the US, which is a good indicator of things to come in Australia, figures show that internet protocol TV (IPTV) is rising at the expense of television.

Recent figures out of the United States indicate that people are increasingly turning from TV to IPTV. Comcast showed a drop of nearly 400,000 TV subscribers in the past year, Time Warner Cable lost 169,000 residential video subscribers and DirecTV reported a loss of 52,000 subscribers in the second quarter. US cable TV is actually free-to-air (FTA) as there is no FTA without a cable connection so to see cable connections being dropped in these numbers is more like people turning off FTA than people turning off cable. Internet customers are on the rise across provider. Time Warner Cable increased it broadband subscribers by 59,000.

Gina Rinehart, the company’s biggest single shareholder, will undoubtedly be watching the results with interest. They could be a trigger for her to call for two board seats.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Can semen treat depression and morning sickness?

27/07/2018 // by admin

Mood lifter … Semen contains anti-depressant properties, according to a team of psychologists.Ah, semen. We know it can make babies, but does it have other medicinal properties?
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Researchers from SUNY Albany say that women who have frequent exposure to semen are happier than those who don’t – and that the sperm is the anti-depressant at the root of it all.

Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the study included a survey of around 300 “college-aged” women. Using the Beck Depression Inventory to monitor the women’s levels of happiness, the team of psychologists found that the women who had oral sex and intercourse without a condom were happier than those who practiced safe sex.

The women who weren’t having sex and the women who used condoms had similar depression levels.

The psychologists believe the anti-depressant qualities could come from minute amounts of hormones in the sperm, including oxytocin, known as ‘the love drug’, serotonin, which promotes feelings of happiness, and cortisol, a stress alleviator.

Head of the research team, Gordon Gallup, previously suggested that morning sickness can be eased through exposure to semen, through either oral sex or intercourse.

Gallup believes that morning sickness is a woman’s body reacting badly to the foreign DNA – that of the baby’s father – in her body. He suggests that getting more exposure to the male’s DNA, via his sperm, could improve the nausea. His theory has yet to be proved in an scientific setting.

Gallup previously discovered that women who fall pregnant with unfamiliar semen – for example, from a sperm donor – are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia than those who are impregnated with familiar semen.

We’re not sure where to start with all the reason that women having unprotected sex might be happier. They’re probably more likely to be in a committed relationship and perhaps trying for a baby, for starters. And I’m pretty sure that most women with morning sickness would rather stick to dry toast than start the morning with a semen latte.

What do you think? Is this guy just having us on, or might he be on to something? Comment below or join the conversation in the Essential Baby forums.

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Dallas reboot fails to strike it rich

27/07/2018 // by admin

The cast of Dallas redux. Chris (Jesse Metcalfe) and John-Ross (Josh Henderson) don’t see eye-to-eye.
Nanjing Night Net

DallasWednesdays, 9pm, Nine

What’s it all about?

A reboot of the prime-time soapie that ran over 357 episodes from 1978 to 1991 and gave us the immortal cliffhanger-cum-ad-campaign ‘‘Who shot JR?’’ as well as the world’s longest dream sequence (all 31 episodes of the 1985 season).

Our view

OMG, it’s as if the last 21 years never happened. One minute I’m in the shower, the next I’m watching that familiar title sequence and hearing that old theme music again. I guess all those Dallas-deprived years must have been nothing but a terrible dream.

The boys are back in town: there’s Bobby (Patrick Duffy), and there’s JR (Larry Hagman), both looking a little old and haggard. But since I thought he was dead, I guess Hagman isn’t looking too bad, really, all things considered.

Here comes Sue Ellen (Linda Gray); ooh, has she ever had some work done. Here’s lil ol’ Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) too, as top-heavy as ever.

But this ain’t the ’80s no more. The world has moved on. Oils ain’t just oils, Sol – they’re atmosphere-polluting carbon-rich non-renewables. And even the Ewings – well, some of them – have caught on.

While JR’s son John-Ross (Josh Henderson) is itching to get back into the oil business, secretly drilling on uncle Bobby’s ranch, Southfork, Bobby’s adopted son Chris (Jesse Metcalfe, the spunky gardener from Desperate Housewives) is making a play in what passes for the clean energy business in Texas.

John-Ross has struck the mother lode (cue obligatory scenes of him and his hot girlfriend rubbing oil into their already-glistening young bodies), but Bobby doesn’t want a bar (or barrel) of it. He’s sick of oil, sick of the way the Ewings have been torn apart over money, and just plain sick. Yep, he’s got stomach cancer and time is running out, fast. No biggie. He’ll get round to that chemo just as soon as Chris has married Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo). And right after he’s given the ranch away to a wildlife trust. But first he needs to get a haircut and tidy his room. And have a shower, of course.

Meanwhile, Chris reckons he’s learnt how to extract methane from the ocean, in easy-to-transport ice form (is it just an accident that it looks like a big block of crystal meth?) It’s clean. It’s green. It’s the future. But whoops. It also causes earthquakes. What the frack?

All of which is enough to rouse JR from his depression – and drug-induced catatonic state (who shot-up JR?) just in time to get back to what he does best: being a bastard. Yay!

So far, so familiar. And that’s the problem with Dallas redux. Its thunder in the glamodrama stakes has been stolen by Revenge, a smart reboot of the genre that brilliantly married its debts to the original (Conrad Grayson hides out at the South Fork Inn, for instance) with a really smart and of-the-moment take on compromised morality.

By comparison, the Dallas cowboy (re)boot looks kind of tired and predictable, the producers largely satisfied with the tactic of stuffing fresh young actors into a well-established format, and surrounding them with the old-stagers to ease the transition.

Still, there’s plenty of promise in JR playing dirty all over again, even if Hagman is looking so haggard that you’re torn between rooting for him to shake things up a bit and asking if he’d like a nice hot cup of tea and a Ginger Snap before shuffling off to bed.

In a sentence

It may not make shoulder pads fashionable again (dear God, no), but Dallas does its best to prove that bad behaviour never goes out of style.

Best bit

JR’s eyebrows. They deserve a show of their own.

Worst bit

Linda Gray’s “work”.

Worth watching again?

From the point JR rouses himself from his chair of death, just about.

Grade: B-

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The supersoap where only the eyebrows have grown

27/07/2018 // by admin

The cast of Dallas redux.Dallas reboot fails to strike it rich
Nanjing Night Net

Everything is bigger in Texas. Bigger still in Dallas. Remember Sue Ellen’s hair? JR’s Stetson hat? Southfork Ranch? Gazing back into the ancient history of the small screen, all three seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see.

Dallas, the television soap, is one of popular culture’s great icons. It is an eternal monument to the epithet that if you build it, they will come. Particularly 25-54 year old women, whom the network’s network’s advertisers love above all others.

Indeed, Dallas was no mere TV show. It was the soap opera that gave birth to its own genre: the 1980s “supersoap”.

From Dallas’s deep well sprang Knots Landing, knock offs in Dynasty and The Colbys, and many more: Falcon Crest, Flamingo Road and Bare Essence. The list goes on. Each show a little more ridiculous than the show before it. Each title slightly more absurd.

But through it all there was Dallas, indefatigable, immortal and untouchable, as timeless as the sky and ancient as the soil of Southfork Ranch, ancestral home of the rich and rotten Ewing family.

This was a world of sex and power. And big hair. Of lust and betrayal. And big hair. Of oil wells and cattle stations. And really, really big hair.

Dallas redux, which launched on Channel Nine last night, picks up the story some two decades after we left it.

J.R. and Sue Ellen’s son John Ross (Josh Henderson), and Pam and Bobby’s son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) are all grown up and, in the best Ewing tradition, at each other’s throats.

Watching from the sidelines, the freshly exhumed J.R. (Larry Hagman), his do-gooder brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), no longer an alcoholic, but in possession of the biggest hair in Dallas.

But it must be said, time does strange things to all of us. J.R. has, inexplicably, turned into John Howard, an angry, easily excitable small man with enormous eyebrows.

And Sue Ellen, curiously, looks more like Miss Texas than she did in 1978. This is partly because, thanks to the miracle of modern beauty products, she actually looks younger than she did in the 1978 iteration of Dallas, but mainly because after years of eye-rolling and jaw-clenching, it appears she finally has her hair under control.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Dallas redux is that it is filmed in 16×9 widescreen. That’s bad news for the set builders who need to build bigger sets. But it’s good news for the director who can, finally, get all of Sue Ellen’s hair in the one shot without panning.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without punch. Cue the arrival of Lucy Ewing, former fashion model, saucy niece of Uncle J.R. and Uncle Bobby, and daughter of Ewing family back sheep Gary and sister-in-law, that no-good hussy Valene.

They moved to Knots Landing in the early years of Dallas but, smelling the possibility of a coveted People’s Choice Award – remember, it’s special because it’s from “the people” – Lucy was smart and opted to stay in Dallas.

The upshot of that is that she gets a cameo in Dallas redux, while poor old Gary and Valene have to content themselves with royalty cheques from a hit TV show which, ultimately, ran longer than Dallas itself.

Of Lucy we can say only this: age shall not weary her, nor the years condemn. Actually, let’s rethink that last point. The years haven’t been kind.

Back in 1978 Lucy was four foot tall and the least likely working model in Dallas. In 2012 she’s four foot wide and, well, let’s leave it at that.

What made Dallas unique was its unflinching belief that no matter how ridiculous the plot, the audience would buy it.

Lucy had a torrid affair with ranch hand Ray (Steve Kanaly) until he was revealed to be grandpa Jock Ewing’s long-lost son, and therefore, technically, her uncle. There were three Jenna Wade’s, two Kristin Shepard’s and two Pamela Ewings. Who could keep up?

J.R. was shot by his wife’s sister Kristin, Bobby was shot by his wife’s sister Katherine, who later returned, ran him down and killed him. A year later Bobby came back from the dead in a shower – best line in the show’s history: “Mornin’ Pam!” – and the audience discovered an entire season of the show had been a dream.

No, you did not mis-hear that. A dream. A flipping dream. Not that we’re still carrying scars from that one, no.

Love it? Oh yes. Hate it? Sometimes. (Hello. Dream season.) But no matter who did what to whom, there was nothing like Dallas. It was soap, glorious, soap.

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Sydney records third warmest August day on record

27/07/2018 // by admin

Twenty nine degrees.
Nanjing Night Net

No, you didn’t misread that: that was the maximum temperature in Sydney city today, the third warmest August day on record, meterologists say.

At 1pm it was 29 degrees across most of the city, Bureau of Meteorology spokesman David Barlow said.

The temperature at Sydney Airport reached 30 degrees at the same time.

Mr Barlow said it was the third warmest August day on record, with days in 1995 and 1954 peaking at over 30 degrees.

But he said it was unlikely to reach the 1995 August record of 31 degrees.

“It is above average for August. It is late August, but 18 degrees is the average for Sydney and even in September the average is 20.

“We do get some mid to low 20s most years but then above 25 is unusual for August.”

At 12.45pm the temperature hit 29.4 degrees at Sydney Airport, 28.5 at Observatory Hill and 28.3 at Sydney Olympic Park, the bureau’s website said.

Bondi lifeguard Dean Gladstone said the beach was quiet this morning, but afternoon crowds were expected.

“With the warmer weather [earlier in the year] over the last few years we find people do come down when it hits.”

Mr Barlow said the warm weather was being caused by northerly winds.

“They’re warm and gusty northerly winds and that’s bringing down a lot of warm air from the north of Australia.

“[But] a cold front is moving across the state today.

“It’s due to reach Sydney later in the day and it will be windy when it does arrive, but basically once that passes over, you’ll get back towards average from tomorrow.”

The front, expected to hit Sydney this evening, may cause thunderstorms, and the bureau issued a coastal waters wind warning, predicting swell up to three metres.

A maximum of 20 degrees is predicted every day until Monday, before rising to the mid-20s later next week.

Sydney weather statistics can be seen here.

Weatherzone南京夜网.au is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website. Follow Environment on Twitter

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Woman in wheelchair loses Jetstar appeal

27/07/2018 // by admin

Sheila King … fought against Jetstar’s policy.A wheelchair-bound woman has lost her appeal against Jetstar’s policy of allowing a maximum of two wheelchair passengers to fly on its smaller planes.
Nanjing Night Net

Sheila King claimed Jetstar unlawfully discriminated against her by refusing to allow her to travel on flight JQ769 from Adelaide to Brisbane on September 23, 2008, because two other wheelchair passengers had already made bookings.

This year, Mrs King lost her case in the Federal Court after a judge found that although Jetstar did discriminate against her because of her disability, the airline had a defence of “unjustifiable hardship”.

This morning, the full Federal Court upheld that decision.

On appeal, Mrs King argued that the primary judge erred by assessing the question of hardship in relation to the “worst case scenario”, whereas he should have looked at the impact of one extra wheelchair passenger on flight JQ769.

The three-judge appeal panel rejected Mrs King’s grounds of appeal, finding Jetstar would have run a different case based on the particular flight, and not its operations as a whole, if she had indeed bought her case that way.

But Mrs King had sought a court order that Jetstar cease enforcing its two wheelchair policy on all A320 and A321 narrow body aircraft.

Jetstar had argued that its low-cost business model was based on quick turnaround times and low cost airport operations.

It gave evidence that in September 2008, the average demand for wheelchair assistance was less than 0.5 passengers per flight. Removing the two-wheelchair policy would necessitate an increase in the 30-minute turnaround time by five to 10 minutes for every flight.

This, Jetstar argued, would result in 10 to 20 domestic flights per day being cancelled, leading to a substantial impact on profits: a five-minute increase would reduce profits by more than 48 per cent, while a 10-minute increase would see profits drop by 72 per cent.

The primary judge accepted Jetstar’s evidence that a substantial number of flight delays were caused by passengers requiring wheelchair assistance and that delays on one flight caused a domino effect throughout the day.

Justices Bruce Lander, Geoffrey Flick and Jayne Jagot said the finding didn’t mean budget or low-cost services could simply disregard disability discrimination laws. The question was whether there was a defence.

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DFAT ‘ignored’ Assange requests: lawyer

27/07/2018 // by admin

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after speaking to the media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in west London earlier this week. International human rights lawyer Baltasar Garzon Real is representing Julian Assange.
Nanjing Night Net

Australian authorities appear to have ignored requests by Julian Assange for diplomatic assistance, including a letter sent as recently as 15 days ago, his lawyer said this morning.

Judge Baltasar Garzón Real also revealed key information relating to the rape allegations facing Mr Assange had been kept secret and would be a “big surprise” when the defence team was able to reveal them.

The Spanish lawyer, who was addressing an archivist conference in Brisbane today, spent four hours in a briefing with Mr Assange on Sunday discussing his legal strategy.

The veteran international lawyer, who ran a case against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, was critical of Australian authorities for failing to provide consular assistance to Mr Assange.

Mr Garzón said the Australian Government’s response to requests for assistance had been “entirely negative”.

“A letter has been sent on the part of the defence [of Mr Assange] to diplomatic authorities and the Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia requesting a number of guarantees as well as information,” he said through an interpreter.

“The response has been entirely negative for each and every one of the requests and some 15 days ago we have channelled another communication and request to the Australian authorities and for the time being we have not received a response.

“Not at any point in time have consular authorities visited Mr Assange.

“And I understand that to be an obligation for all citizens of Australia men and women of Australia who happen to find themselves in a similar situation have the right to consular assistance and they should not be in a position of having to request it.”

Mr Garzón refused to divulge the contents of the letter sent to Australian authorities 15 days earlier.

“It’s a letter in which a number of issues are being raised in relation to Mr Assange’s situation and on the procedure itself,” he said.

But he suggested it related to Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen not being recognised.

“Although Mr Assange has had his passport withheld and he is a refugee at the Ecuadorian embassy, he is indeed a citizen of Australia and has therefore all his rights, although however seemingly they aren’t being adhered too,” Mr Garzón said.

When asked about the specific rape allegations facing his client, Mr Garzón declined to go into specifics but said there was “fragmented knowledge” about the matter.

He said the defence was in possession of a number of fundamental elements about the rape allegations, that when made public, would be surprising.

“We cannot divulge them right now but we have requested that the prosecution take a statement from Mr Assange,” he said.

Mr Garzón speculated the reluctance of Australian authorities to help his client was because “relations are not good with Mr Assange quite likely given the entire WikiLeaks affair”.

Mr Garzón said the defence had requested the possibility for a prosecutor from Sweden to travel to London to take a statement from Mr Assange.

“I think that will be a very good option and later on of course we will be willing to listen to the other requirements,” he said.

Mr Garzón said Mr Assange was in perfect health, but the living conditions in the embassy were not ideal.

“The treatment is good but a prolonged situation such as that where he has limited space with practically no access to natural light does limit the physical well being of the person and can be deemed a rather concerning humanitarian situation,” he said.

Comment has been sought from DFAT.

Mr Assange, the 41-year-old founder of WikiLeaks, has been facing extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

The allegations relate to rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion made by two Swedish women known as woman A and Woman B, whom Mr Assange met in Stockholm in August 2010.

Mr Assange, a former computer programer, has been granted political asylum by Ecuador on the grounds that he feared persecution and the possible death penalty in the United States in connection with leaked top secret government information published by WikiLeaks.

He sought asylum after the British Supreme Court rejected his last appeal in June. He has been living in the Ecaudorian embassy in London ever since.

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Nicole Kidman bares all for V

27/07/2018 // by admin

Nicole Kidman in full swing for her smouldering V Magazine September issue shoot with Mario Testino.It’s Nicole, we are certain, but it’s not Nicole as we have seen her before.
Nanjing Night Net

Reminiscent of her BMX Bandit days – when it comes to the big hair and unmistakable 80s styling that is – Nicole Kidman smoulders in front of Mario Testino’s lens for the September issue of V Magazine, her modesty protected by nothing more than a peplum.

Topless, bottom bare, the tousle-haired actress screams 80s revival, working neon brights and oversized chunky hoop earrings for the fashion magazine and accompanying behind-the-scenes online video.

The 45-year-old mother-of-four looks anything but mumsy – the lens focused on her cleavage in one shot and on a hand wandering between her thighs, wearing nothing but a tangerine lace bra and knickers in another.

A pencil skirt featuring a comic acid face is as theatrical as her make-up and platinum hairdo. The shoot is neatly timed with the launch of forthcoming The Paperboy and the news that actress is to be honoured at the New York Film Festival.

The alabaster-skinned Sydney girl – who revealed that as a child she was not allowed into the sun between 10am and 3pm – suggested that the guise may be tapping into a side of her personality she’d more often like to explore.

“I would be more outlandish if I could,” she told V magazine. “A lot of times you just don’t get the chance.”

The shoot channels the strong character of The Paperboy’s nyphomaniac Charlotte, a role that saw Kidman urinating on Zac Efron.

“The peeing thing, I didn’t think was that weird, because I was in character,” she said. “That was for the jellyfish. And for me it said so much about Charlotte. One, she’s protecting him. Two, she’s tough as nails and no one else is going to pee on this guy. All of that made total sense to me. I just went for it and didn’t overthink it.”

But the Testino photos may also tap into the lesser-known, steamier side of the actress. “I probably had a strong sexuality as a child … the hormones that are running through you at a really early age — they all started to surge because of the things I was reading.”

It was those hormones that have informed some of her other work, too. She describes falling for film director Stephen Daldry — a move that saw her throw herself into filming The Hours as she split from Tom Cruise.

“If you’re being completely drained in your personal life and you’re never being nourished there, it’s very hard to make it work,” she revealed. “But sometimes, if you meet the right person who will mine it, and you’re open to being mined, it can really work. Stephen was able to mine me. I was crazy in love with him, and so I was like, I’ll do whatever, because I love you. I gave him every part of me that I could give him.”

Kidman is now married to singer Keith Urban, while the ink is barely dry on Cruise’s divorce papers, his split from actress Katie Holmes finalised on Tuesday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Fortescue rebounds on 53% profit jump

27/07/2018 // by admin

Fortescue Metal shares advanced after the company raised its net profit by 53 per cent even as iron ore prices slumped.
Nanjing Night Net

Full-year net profit came in at $US1.56 billion and built on the $800 million profit posted for the first half. The result topped the $US1.487 billion predicted by analysts.

Net profit for the six months to June rose to $US758 million from $US705 million a year earlier, as calculated by Reuters off full-year figures. Analysts had expected a second-half profit of US$716 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Fortescue shares were recently up 10 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $4.25, recovering an early loss.

The company will pay a 4-cent final dividend, adding to the interim dividend of 4 cents. Fortescue’s 8 cent full-year dividend was up from the 7 cents paid for the previous financial year – the first time the company had returned cash to shareholders.

Fortescue will increasingly have to rely upon bigger volumes of exports to make sure its profits stay high, given that iron ore prices are already significantly lower than last year.

The benchmark iron ore price was down to $US104 per tonne this morning, more than 40 per cent lower than last year’s record highs around $US190 per tonne.

Fortescue plans to have increased its export capacity to 155 million tonnes per year by June 2013, and the market will eagerly listen to chief executive Nev Power around midday, AEST, for indications of how that ambition might be affected by BHP Billiton’s decision to mothball plans for an expanded outer harbour at Port Hedland.

The market will also be eager to hear Mr Power’s views on the outlook for iron ore prices, after BHP boss Marius Kloppers gave a down-beat view yesterday.

“We probably don’t see really dramatic price movements in iron ore to the upside,” Mr Klopper said.

More to come

BusinessDay with Reuters

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Agius jailed for nine years in Wickenby tax case

27/07/2018 // by admin

Vanuatu-based accountant Robert Agius jailed for almost nine years.The promoter behind a tax evasion scheme, Vanuatu-based accountant Robert Agius, has been sentenced to nearly nine years in jail.
Nanjing Night Net

In the NSW Supreme Court this morning, Justice Carolyn Simpson imposed an eight year and 11 month sentence, and noted Agius, 62, would be eligible for parole in March 2019.

Agius was a high-profile target of the multi-agency task force Project Wickenby, and was charged over conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth between 1997 and 2006. The scheme only ended, Justice Simpson said, after the Australian Federal Police executed search warrants on companies and an accountancy firm owned by now deceased Owen Daniel.

Agius’s co-accused, accountant Kevin Zerafa, 37, was described by the judge as falling into a different category. Justice Simpson ordered that Zerafa serve a 500-hour community service order, and imposed a three-year jail sentence, which she suspended.

Justice Simpson noted testimonials from Agius’s supporters that he had been a generous contributor to Vanuatu society.

“That perception of him is false,” she said, as while at the same time he had had embarked on “the systemic fraud of the entire Australian society.”

A jury last month convicted the pair, but was unable to reach verdicts on two other accountants at Owen T Daniel and Co. who were also charged.

The five-month trial dealt with eight companies involved in the scheme, and the judge noted that some $5 million in tax had been evaded. Directors associated with those companies had pleaded guilty, and many had received custodial sentences.

She said in Zerafa’s case, as a young accountant he had been led “by the unscrupulous, amoral and overpowering employer”, Owen Daniel, who had mounted a one-man “war against the tax office.”

She said she was satisfied that Agius had received a financial benefit from his involvement as the promoter of the scheme, though there was limited evidence to its extent.

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