FFA set for showdown talks with active fans and A-League chairmen

Under fire: Football Federation chief executive David Gallop and chairman Steven Lowy. Photo: James BrickwoodWednesday is D-Day for Football Federation as the governing body comes face-to-face with their biggest adversaries: A-League chairmen and active fans.
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In what rates among the most important 24 hours in A-League’s recent history, the FFA will be steeling itself for a brutal grilling from two of the sport’s key stakeholders.

Both the men in suits and fans from the stands will come armed with a suite of complaints and it promises be an enormous test of will for new FFA chairman Steven Lowy and the chief executive David Gallop.

The meeting between the FFA and the A-League chairmen is a scheduled part of their ongoing dialogue but the roundtable with the active fan leaders is an unlikely, extraordinary development.

It is the first time active fans have collectively met with the FFA on such a large scale, with representatives from all 10 A-League clubs. The presence of the fans is being funded by an unspecified “third party”.

While the FFA is confident it can placate active fans and avoid the continuation of a boycott that marred last weekend’s round of matches, various fan groups have promised to stand their ground should their requests not be met.

What originally began as a response to the naming of 198 banned fans in a Sunday Telegraph article a fortnight ago has evolved into a league-wide movement, led by those who are lobbying for the better treatment of active supporters.

In a shared statement on their official Facebook pages this week, the Western Sydney’s Red and Black Bloc and Sydney FC’s The Cove, outlined how they have repeatedly let the FFA know about their concerns for many years but had failed to see a response.

“The FFA has been aware of these issues for a number of years and we have only reached this point with the support of every fan who has supported the cause,” it read. “We will continue to stand up for our rights and the rights of every single person who attends a FFA-sanctioned event. The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, and subsequent actions will be dependent solely on FFA’s willingness to address those issues fully.”

The statement confirmed that the various fan groups were united on the issue of how active fans should be treated.

“We have been communicating with leaders of the other active supporter groups in order to go into this meeting with clear objectives and expectations of what is required from the FFA in order to end our protests,” it read. “These objectives are consistent across all fan groups as is our commitment to co-operating with everyone involved in order to find a solution.”

While some believe that the movement has been about freeing banned fans who have committed illegal acts, the groups confirmed this was not the case.

“One thing is certain. Change will only come about through unity of the fans. This is not about avoiding punishment for those who do wrong. We don’t want or expect special treatment, simply fairness,” the statement said.

In a statement on Melbourne Victory’s North Terrace page, they confirmed that three of their representatives would be present.

“We urge people not to raise their expectations,” it read. “This is a first step in a long journey.”

Raising the GST to 15 per cent is far harder than it seems

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught with danger for Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesEverything is on the table’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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The agenda paper prepared for Thursday’s treasurers’ meeting ought to come with a big red stamp that reads “danger”.

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught. Each requires “compensation”.

If the GST was lifted to 15 per cent, households earning up to $100,000 would need to be completely compensated. Households earning up to $155,000 would need to get back “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

It would end up costing “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

The real danger is that “at least half” would be only the beginning. If the treasurers so much as mention compensation in public, they run the risk of being heard to make commitments.

“Making commitments now risks overcompensation for households and adding significantly to the cost of household assistance,” the paper warns.

Lifting the GST to 15 per cent would raise $32.5 billion, the Treasury says. But $16 billion to $17 billion of it would be given back in compensation, which would be messy.

Some ns would get increased cash benefits: pensions, family payments and the like. Others would get tax offsets. The retirees who neither pay tax nor get get benefits would get a seniors concession allowance. Others who missed out would get a “transitional payment”.

And this time it would be harder to convince people the compensation would last. When the Howard government introduced the GST in 2000 it pushed up family allowances to compensate. Fifteen years on, the Turnbull government is planning to wind back those increases because it faces budgetary problems.

The only option for boosting GST revenue that wouldn’t need compensation is extending it to financial services. It wouldn’t raise much either, but the people it would hit most would be too well off to need compensation.

Victoria’s option of lifting the Medicare levy from 2 to 4 per cent of income is simple by comparison. It would raise $15 to $16 billion, about the same as would the GST rise after compensation, but because the low-income earners are already excluded from the levy, it could be done without paying anyone anything.

It’s looking like a long meeting.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.

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Everything is on the table: leaked COAG agenda reveals GST changes being considered

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesRaising GST to 15 per cent harder than it seems’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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Massive increases to the GST that would raise up to $45 billion annually will be on the table when Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers meet on Friday, according to a leaked document obtained by Fairfax Media.

The Council of n Governments document, marked “for official use only” and titled “Reform of the Federation”, reveals modelling prepared by the federal treasury at the request of the states in July, and will help frame the crunch tax meeting, which will be led by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mr Turnbull.

Eight options for tax reform – including six GST options and two Medicare Levy proposals – are canvassed in the paper, which sets out four previously unpublished tax options that have been costed by the federal Treasury, and four more that will be costed as the federal and state governments pursue tax reform.

Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull said everything – including a consumption tax rise – was on the table as his government pursued tax reform.

The document confirms that a rise in the goods and services tax remains a live option and raises the prospect of a federal election in 2016 fought over the issue if the federal government adopts a plan to hike the GST and can strike a deal with the states, whose support will be needed for any increase.

The leak also comes as former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello warned “hot heads” in his party not to raise the GST to 15 per cent, and as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promised to oppose a GST rise.

The first four options include lifting the GST to 15 per cent, raising $32.5 billion; lifting the GST to 12.5 per cent and expanding the base to include all food and non-alcoholic drinks, raising $25 billion; and raising the Medicare Levy from 2 per cent to 4 per cent in one hit, which would raise $15 billion. The fourth, and most radical option would be to raise the GST to 15 per cent, expanding it to include food and non-alcoholic drinks, water and sewerage. This would raise $45 billion annually.

The second set of four other options being considered are expanding the GST base to include health services; including education services; introducing a GST-equivalent financial sector tax; and raising the Medicare Levy to 4 per cent over eight years.

In 2014, it was estimated that extending the GST to health, education services and introducing a financial sector tax would each raise about $4 billion annually if implemented.

The Turnbull government has already indicated, however, that health and education are likely to be exempt from any GST changes, whereas fresh food and financial services are considered fair game.

The paper also hints at the difficult public debate that will accompany any rise to the consumption tax, warning “public commitments about which households will be fully compensated should be avoided” because “making commitments now risks over-compensation for households”.

Offsetting GST price rises for households earning less than $100,000, and half of the price rises for households earning less than $155,000, would use “at least” half the extra GST revenue, it states.

The $15 billion that would be raised by increasing the Medicare Levy, without assistance for households, is about the same amount left over if the GST is increased to 15 per cent and households are compensated.

That means, in effect, some people would be worse off under a Medicare Levy rise than a straight increase in the GST.

The increases in pensions, family payments, concessions for seniors and a rise in the low income tax offset were used to compensate households after the introduction of the carbon tax in 2010-11 and served as a “useful example of the form that compensation could take for a change in the GST”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and his state counterparts will meet on Thursday in Sydney, the day before the leaders meeting, with reforms to state taxes to dominate discussions.

Last week, Mr Morrison played down the significance of the Treasury modelling, which has not been released, arguing it had been “done based on the request from the states”.

Mr Morrison said on Monday the “idea that we should be raising taxes to pay for higher levels of expenditure” by the states did not appeal to him, or the Prime Minister.

Mr Shorten said on Tuesday: “I don’t believe that the case has been made that , in order to make sure that we are a successful, fair country needs to have a GST where you put everything up to 15 per cent”.

Mr Costello wrote for News Corp that “if the Coalition goes ahead with that proposal [a rise to 15 per cent], you can put down the glasses and stop worrying about other policies … it will swamp everything”.

Mr Shorten said he didn’t always agree with Mr Costello “but he is stating the obvious, isn’t he? Putting up a GST to 15 per cent, it’s lazy”.

NSW and South have led the case, among the states, in pushing for a GST rise.

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Travel related gifts: The best (and worst) Christmas presents for travellers

Get ’em a Go Pro: Tiny and takes great pictures, making it a great gift for travellers. Photo: Danielle Smith Backpackers at Bondi beach.
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IS your favourite traveller going on holiday soon? Buy them a splurge.

Guidebooks are only a good gift if they’re digital. Photo: iStock

‘Tis the season to be jolly, which means ’tis also the season to go through the hell of trying to figure out what to buy everyone for Christmas. What do they all want? Who knows? You’ll probably get it wrong.

If your family or friends are keen travellers, however, it’s easy. With this handy little list you’ll be able to knock over your present buying in no time, and get back to the beer and prawns. These are the best – and worst – gifts to buy for a traveller. BESTPhoto fridge magnets

It’s a little conceited, but travellers love looking at their own photos, so why not have some of their snaps turned into fridge magnets? There are several websites now that do this (and will post them out to your house when they’re done), and it’s a great way to help travellers keep in touch with their memories. A GoPro

Anyone in the slightest bit techy, or who has some creative flair, or who just likes carrying a selfie stick and recording their every move, will absolutely love a GoPro. They’re small, sleek, and the footage they capture, particularly of anything action-related, is amazing.   Photo of the Day! Greetings from 4,500 feet with @na34te of @beyondballooning as they soar high above the clouds during an n #sunrise. Share your best moments with us by clicking the link in our profile.A photo posted by gopro (@gopro) on Sep 14, 2015 at 10:20am PDTA Leatherman

There are about a million jobs a Leatherman pocketknife can do on the road, from running repairs on things like backpacks and hiking shoes to getting the cork out of a bottle of wine. About the only thing they can’t do is go in your hand luggage. A portable charger

Phone battery deaths are pretty much the bane of the modern traveller’s existence. You can solve this with a portable charging pack, or, for the really hardy explorer, a solar-powered phone charger. A Turkish towel

This is more a stocking filler than anything else, but it’s a handy one. Turkish-style towels look good, they pack down small, and they’re easy to get dry before they go back in your bag. And, like a sarong, they have loads of different uses.   A Friday Classic #style #stripes #hammamas #turkishtowel #theclevercottontowel #bathtowel #beachtowel #travellight #classicrange #friyay!A photo posted by Hammamas -Uk (@hammamas) on Aug 6, 2015 at 4:50pm PDTSmall digital camera

You don’t need to lug around a gigantic DSLR these days if you want really high quality photos. Brands such as Canon, Panasonic and Sony have now released pocket-sized cameras with full manual controls and excellent image quality. For travelling photography fans, it will change your life. Carry-on sized toiletries

Plenty of high-quality toiletries makers now sell their products in sizes that will allow you to take them onboard a plane with you – the perfect gift for anyone who does a lot of business travel, or just likes to look nice when they arrive somewhere. A splurge

Is your favourite traveller going on holiday soon? Buy them a splurge in their next destination – the kind of thing they’d never think to spend their own money on. Get them a night in a fancy hotel, or a meal at an expensive restaurant, or a massage, or a hot air balloon flight, or anything they’d never normally do. Trust me, they’ll enjoy it. Qualifications

For travellers, the world opens up even more when they’re licensed to do new things. So this Christmas enroll your family or friends in a scuba-diving course, or pay for them to get their boat license, or do their solo sky-diving certificate, or get a motorbike license, or take a photography course. All will come in handy on the road. World scratch map

These are made for kids, but they’ll also work for colossal travel dorks – they’re world maps covered in gold foil, allowing you to scratch off each country as you visit it. You then stick the map on your cubicle wall at work and sit there waiting patiently for people to walk past and say something like, “Wow, you’ve been to Cuba?” A voucher

This might be for something like Airbnb, or Viator, or Uber, or Expedia, or Red Balloon, or Eurail – whichever you choose, a voucher from a travel provider will definitely go down well. Money

This might just be the ultimate gift. As a Traveller staffer so beautifully put it: money weighs nothing, and it can be used for everything, anywhere. It’s not very imaginative, but it sure is useful. WORSTA chunky travel diary

Many well-meaning relatives will bequeath upon you a gigantic brick of a book that you’re expected to lug around the world for a year to record your memories. It’s not a terrible idea as such, but fairly impractical. Especially since the invention of blogs. Guidebooks

Go for the digital ones! Or a gift voucher for Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Hard-copy guidebooks are quickly becoming a thing of the past. They might be good for research before you leave, but they’re a nightmare to carry on a long trip, and an unnecessary one. Travel clothing

Unless your gift-ee is heading to Everest base camp, or trekking for weeks through the Amazon jungle, they’re probably not going to need specialty travel clothing. No mozzie-proof shirts, no zip-off pants, no micro-fibre towels, and no wide-brimmed hats. This stuff is all completely unnecessary. Luggage

In and of itself, this is not a bad idea at all. Great luggage is something you’ll value for years. But choosing the backpack or suitcase you love is such a personal thing that it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it right for someone else. If you really insist on this, it’s best to take them down to the store with you.

What do you think are the best and worst Christmas presents for travellers?

Email: [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au

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​See also: The cheapest day to fly over Christmas

See also: Why I’ve stopped buying fake handbags overseas

Borderforce Act is inhumane in its secrecy

In July this year the government introduced the Border Force Act containing Secrecy Provisions (Section 42) making it a criminal offence for Departmental staff and contractors, (including healthcare providers and teachers) to disclose knowledge acquired in their capacity of working within the immigration detention system.
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The legislation prohibits any worker from speaking out about conditions of detainment or the treatment of asylum seekers in our care.

I felt compelled to start a petition to repeal the Secrecy Provisions because without the ability to speak out workers lose the capacity to fulfil their duty of care. Healthcare providers and teaching staff are legally mandated to report incidents of child abuse but healthcare providers are also called upon to be a voice for vulnerable adults too.

When I worked on Christmas Island, adult clients were often so traumatised that the detention environment exacerbated their trauma symptoms. Grown men started bed wetting, men and women became too frightened to sleep due to horrific nightmares.

Flashbacks became so common that people existed in a numbed vacate void, closed off from their new reality. Incidents of self-harm and suicide attempts were common.

The detention centre did not offer safety and sanctuary but rather an imposed persistent purgatory.

I often prepared clinical recommendations for these people; these human beings; my clients, using my clinical findings. Over my five years on Christmas Island I spoke up for many men, women and children.

When the department of immigration failed to address the recommendations, I would be forced to advocate elsewhere. It was never easy; there were always veiled threats, but not the threat of two years imprisonment.

As a mental health clinician I was duty bound to my clients, morally, ethically and legally, the new Secrecy Provisions now challenge these professional duties.

The public are now informed due to information released by whistle-blowers, the n Human Rights Commissions National Inquiry into Children in Detention Report and the government’s own Moss Report.

We all know conditions within Immigration Detention are unsatisfactory, at times inhumane and definitely cruel, however the situation remains unchanged.

On November 23, the Senate voted to pass four key amendments to the Migration and Maritime Powers Amendment Bill (No.1) 2015 put forward by The n Greens’ Immigration spokesperson SenatorSarah Hanson-Young.

One of the amendments is the reversal of the Secrecy Provisions, and makes it clear that disclosures of matters that are in the public interest are lawful, despite any law or contractual provision to the contrary.

The Bill is now before the Government-controlled House of Representatives, which means it is now up to the Government to support the Bill. But until these provisions are repealed or reversed, I will continue to campaign to end them. Because to put it simply, legislation that defies safe, ethical practice is wrong and the current conditions of detainment are inhumane.

DETENTION: Christine Cummins was duty bound to her clients, but she argues the new Secrecy Provisions now challenge these professional duties.

The Justice for Asylum Seekers Forum is onFriday,7pm at WestsNewcastle. Visit facebook杭州龙凤论坛m/events/1093742400649476/ for information.- Christine Cummins isa credentialled mental health nurse who worked in immigration detention

David Warner prepares for Hobart Test match -with a visit to Tasmanian distillery

FLYING VISIT: n cricket vice-captain David Warner visits Hellyers Road Distillery. Picture: Grant Wells.
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GEARING up for ‘s first Test against the West Indies in Hobart, batsman David Warner took a break from the training pitch and headed for a brief visit to Burnie by private helicopter.

Mr Warner’s visit was to take his first look at the distilling process of his new venture, 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka, which is prepared at Hellyers Road Distillery.

Helicopter aside, the affair was a brief, low-key event with a small throng of diehard, mostly female, fans keen to grab a signature and photo with the cricket star.

Mr Warner was met at the helicopter, which landed in the distillery car park, by fellow 666 owner Jeremy Ferguson, as well as master distiller Mark Littler, before taking a 45-minute tour of the distillery.

Mr Warner said his heart was “100 per cent” behind the product and that he was very excited to be doing something a “a bit different from cricket”.

“I am not drinking any more but I will be back on board soon,” he joked.

Mr Warner said he was proud of the product and wanted to get behind it on a global stage.

Mr Warner said his last visit to the North-West was marred by rain, but he was impressed with what the region had to offer.

“I know it’s a nice, quiet place,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said his friendship with Mr Warner extended back four or five years, when the international cricketers celebrated in his former bar in Melbourne.

Mr Ferguson said Mr Warner was previously a “Grey Goose man” but was converted to 666.

“He offered to help out with social media and I asked him if he wanted to be our ambassador,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Warner went one better and offered to buy a part of the company six months ago.

“His name is gold and it makes a big difference,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson said Mr Warner was an enthusiastic part of the team, regularly attending meetings.

The Advocate, Tas

Sexual harassment rife in Victoria Police

MORE COVERAGE
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Commissioner Graham Ashton pledges compensation for victimsJohn Silvester: Can police culture change?’Boys will be boys’: toxic, sexist police culture haunts victimsComment: Fear keeps victims silentVictoria Police: Sexist from the start’I kept thinking, I am going to get raped in a police car”The next thing I knew he was inside my house’Abuse in Victoria Police: The”charismatic” senior constable’Just some lesbian drama’: ex-policewoman ‘bullied’ by colleaguesThe sexual harassment figures that shame the forceSenior police will apologise and offer compensation to staff sexually harassed and assaulted by fellow officers after an independent investigation uncovered hundreds of cases where victims were too frightened to complain.

The damning Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report to be released on Wednesday found Victoria Police has a culture of cover up, acted unlawfully and is riddled with unreported sexual discrimination and harassment cases.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s recommendations. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the commission’s 21 recommendations that will result in the biggest structural changes in the police force in more than 40 years.

As part of the investigation nearly 500 responders to a confidential survey said they had been sexually harassed by colleagues in the past five years, with a small number (less that10) saying they were victims of assault, including rape and attempted rape.

“Of extreme concern was the number of people who reported thoughts of suicide,” the inquiry found.

The harassment includes sexually suggestive comments, unwelcomed physical contact, leering, indecent exposure, repeated advances, abuse of social media and requests for sex. Some victims reported assaults inside stations and police cars, with one threatening to use pepper spray to protect herself from a colleague.

Sexual harassment rife in Victoria Police TweetFacebook

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Last month Boulton learned that one of hermockumentary projects had received a grant from Screen NSW to allow further development. Classy n production company Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (Bondi Rescue, Gruen Planet, Go Back To Where You Came From) is on board with the concept, based on Boulton original idea.
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Kelly BoultonGrow project, a puppet-driven children’s show about life on a compost heap, she revisited the mockumentary idea.

“He said ‘that is too good for Tropfest –make it a show. He came over with a grocery bag full of mockumentaries. He said ‘watch these, go away and write a show.’ That was three years ago. Finally, I wrote it and took it to SPA [Screen Producers ’sannual conference where writers pitch ideas to networks and production companies].’’

Because of her advertising agency background, Boulton has producedscripts, storyboards anddirector’s treatments for others. It was just another step to start doing them on her own work.

“I’ve got about 20 of them,” she says of her scripts and concepts. “I’ve got a bunch of kids’ one that are floatingaround at the moment.’’

What if one of them catches hold?“I would be happy if that happened. I am realist. I don’t know, I’m not banking on it, put it that way.’’

What if more than one goes into production?“Whatever it takes, I’ll do it. I’ll do the one I want and get a writer for the other. I’m not a seasoned writer. I’ve got a lot to learn.

“I don’t want to do everything, sometimes you just have to. I’m hoping the next thing I work on I just have one role.”

Among the many ideas she is working on is a music video featuring an international women’s rollerskating star who is coming to Newcastle next year.

She also has big plans for the 2016 Newcastle animation festival, which is supported bythe University of Newcastle.

She’s keen to support the University of Newcastle and encourageyoung talent in creative fields.

Our interview takes place ahead of aspeaking engagement where she was to talk about career paths for graduatesat an event sponsored byBehance, an online platform for showcasing creative talent to the marketplace.

She was almost reluctant to tell them how she works, and how she has succeeded.“It has been extremely risky,” she says of her own approach. “I don’t know if I can encourage people to do it.”

Boulton is an independent as they come.

“I have this very strange approach to my work, which scares some people,” she says. “But I’m not afraid. I don’t do a job and then panic about what the next one’s going to be, because I know something will happen.”

But when you’re holding so many aces –the ability to write, produce and direct –your chances of winning must be higher.

Talking about the profitability of B is for Baby, done on a tight budget to a high standard, Boulton does not flinch about her commitment.

“This one was not lucrative. But it is very lucrative in terms of being able to send it out and get a commercial job straight up. That’s what I’m always about. This one has to be better than the last one.”

Left: A still photo from the B is for Baby Sesame Street segment filmed at Sawtooth Studios in Newcastle.

Top: Pizza Face, the educational how-to-make-a-healthy pizza segment was Boulton’s first Sesame Street project.

Above: A still from the Going on 16 Daniel Johns music video produced for the Newcastle International Animation Festival.

need2know: ASX to open lower as oil slumps

Local shares are poised to fall at the open as iron ore continues to slide lower.
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What you need2know

SPI futures down 26 pts at 5083

AUD at 72.12 US cents

On Wall St, late, S&P 500 0-0.5%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq flat

In Europe, Stoxx 50 -1.9%, FTSE -1.4%, CAC -1.6%, DAX -2%

In London, BHP -5.5%, Rio -8.4%

Spot gold up $US2.57 or 0.2% to $US1073.91/oz at 2.43pm NYC

Brent crude down 2 US cents to $US40.71/bbl at 2.19pm NYC

What’s on today

consumer confidence, housing finance; China factory gate prices, consumer inflation; UK Bank of England Financial Policy Committee publishes the record of its November meeting

Stocks in focus

UBS has a “buy” recommendation on Integral Diagnostics and a price target of $2.30 a share.

Bell Potter raised Catapult Group to a “speculative buy” recommendation from “hold” and has a $2.10 price target on the stock, up from $1.80 previously.

Currencies

Oil’s rout led commodity currencies lower. Norway’s krone paced declines, tumbling to its weakest since April 2002 against the dollar, while Canada’s dollar slumped to a 11-year low. South Africa’s rand slid to a record.

The euro climbed with the yen on demand for haven assets. Europe’s 19-nation shared currency added 0.5 per cent to $US1.0896 and the yen strengthened 0.4 per cent to 122.90 per US dollar.

Bets the Federal Reserve will end the era of near-zero borrowing costs at its December 16 meeting have climbed to 78 per cent, with better-than-expected payrolls data from last Friday evidence the US economy is probably strong enough to withstand higher rates.

Commodities

Crude oil erased a decline in New York after sinking to a six-year low following the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision to all but abandon any limits on its production. Oil has slumped about 40 per cent since Saudi Arabia led OPEC’s decision a year ago to maintain output and defend market share by pressuring higher-cost producers.

The Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex has tumbled 29 per cent this year as economic expansion cools to the slowest pace in a generation in China, the world’s top consumer. Industrial metals declined as the exports in China, the world’s largest consumer of raw materials, fell for a fifth month.

Iron ore fell to a record low as producers press on with expansions to cut costs and defend market share. Benchmark 62-per cent grade iron ore for delivery to China’s Tianjin port fell 0.3 per cent to $US38.80 a tonne on Tuesday, according to The Steel Index (TSI), falling for an eighth straight day. It was the lowest on record by TSI since it began collecting data in 2008.

United States

Wall Street was lower in afternoon trade on Tuesday as oil prices steadied but remained close to a seven-year low and weak Chinese trade data reignited fears of a global economic slowdown. Caterpillar, Exxon and Boeing led the Dow lower.

Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan sank 6.4 per cent to its lowest level since November 2002, leading raw-material shares lower. Alcoa fell 5 per cent. The Bloomberg Commodity Index declined for a second day to a 16-year low.

Morgan Stanley will take a $US150 million severance charge in the fourth quarter related to a workforce reduction, a company spokesman said on Tuesday. The charge will cover the cost of cutting jobs of 1200 workers worldwide, including about 470 front-office employees in its fixed-income business, a source familiar with the matter said.

Europe

Tumbling resource-related companies led European stocks to their lowest level in almost seven weeks after worse-than-expected Chinese data cast further doubt on the health of the world’s second-biggest economy. A gauge of miners posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, falling to its lowest level since 2009, as commodity prices slid. Anglo American plummeted 12 per cent after suspending dividends for the second half of 2015 and next year. BHP Billiton retreated 5.5 per cent and Rio Tinto Group lost 8.4 per cent. Seadrill dropped 9.5 per cent, leading energy-related stocks lower, after Canaccord Genuity slashed its price target by 97 per cent.

The Stoxx 600 fell 1.8 per cent to 365.75 at the close of trading. A slump in Asian shares set the tone today, after Chinese data showed exports fell in November more than forecast, while imports slumped for a record 13th straight month. Germany’s DAX Index slipped 2 per cent, with Volkswagen contributing most to the drop. Greece’s ASE Index fell the most among western-European markets, sliding 4.4 per cent as Piraeus Bank and National Bank of Greece lost at least 20 per cent.

“China is moving more toward consumption and, in this transition, it is the miners that get hurt the most,” said Andreas Nigg, head of equity and commodity strategy at Vontobel Asset Management in Zurich. “As long as economic data disappoint you are going to have reactions like this.”

What happened yesterday

Led by a 6.35 per cent slide in the energy sector and a 3.4 per cent drop in materials, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index shed 0.9 per cent to 5108.6, and the broader All Ordinaries lost 0.9 per cent to 5158.0. Falls in other sectors were much more moderate and industrials, health care and telcos even posted small gains.

The X-Files: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in thrilling new season trailer

FBI agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) are estranged in the new X-Files series. The series was the longest-running sci-fi show in television history.
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Mitch Pileggi returns as FBI assistant director Walter Skinner.

The X-Files makes a dazzling debut at CannesFirst look at The X Files remakeX-Files stars tease fans with set photos

X Files fans, the truth is still out there, and you’ll finally get a taste of it in this gripping new trailer.

More than 13 years after the original series concluded, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back investigating paranormal activity, and the stakes appear higher than ever before.

The first 90-second trailer released by Ten on Tuesday shows the return of favourite characters, as well as all the drama and suspense which earned the show 62 Emmy nominations.

Fox has revived the series for a limited six-episode run, leaving fans surely wanting more.

In the new season, an older and estranged Mulder and Scully are dragged back into investigating the FBI’s secretive X-file cases which involve unexplained paranormal activity.

“Are you ready for this Scully?” Mulder asks his old partner in the clip.

“I don’t know there’s a choice,” she answers breathlessly.

The series, which stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, was the longest-running science fiction show in television history, inspiring two movies and a spin-off series.

The new trailer shows the return of Mitch Pileggi as Mulder and Scully’s long-suffering boss, FBI assistant director Walter Skinner, as well as primary villain, the Smoking Man.

Community star Joel McHale will also join the cast, playing Tad O’Malley, the anchor of a conservative television network.

It appears little has changed between Mulder and Scully, with the colleagues and one-time lovers still harbouring opposing views about extraterrestrial life.

“I have seen this before. You’re on fire, believing that you’re onto some truth, that you can save the world,” Scully chastises Mulder in the clip.

“This is my life,” he says. “This is everything I believe in.”

Those hoping for a love story of epic proportions may be disappointed however.tThe show’s creator’s Chris Carter told The Hollywood Reporter the pair will be broken up in the new series.

The X-Files series premieres January 24 on Fox.#mondaymotivation#TheXFilespic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/rOjlef6qCc— The X-Files (@thexfiles) December 7, 2015

Katherine GP throws support behind NT Speaker’s push for RU486

OPTION NEEDED: Katherine GP Dr PJ Spafford says the suggestion that the availability of RU486 will lead to irresponsible use by Territory women is “bullshit”.A PROMINENT Katherine general practitioner says debate about providing Northern Territory women with access to so-called “abortion pill” RU486 should be based onmedical, not philosophical, arguments.
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Member for Goyder and parliamentary Speaker Kezia Purick introduced a private member’s bill calling for the drug, also known asmifepristone, to be made available in the NT during the final sitting of 2015 earlier this month via changes to theMedical Services Act.

The drug allows for a non-surgical termination during the early stages of the first trimesterand Ms Purick said it was about time the NT caught up with the rest of the country to provide a “basic human right” for women.

Abortion remains a divisiveissue both in parliament and the community, but Dr PJ Spafford, who runs Gorge Health, said he believed women “totally needed” access to RU486 in order to provide an alternative to a traditional termination.

“Currently, ladies here have to travel to Darwin to have a termination,” he said.

“I’m absolutely without a doubt that having [RU486] available would lead to better health outcomes, because they wouldn’t have to leave their support base or have invasive surgery.”

Dr PJ Spafford

About 1000 surgical terminations are carried out in NT public hospitals each year, according to Department of Health figures.

Critics of Ms Purick’s bill have suggested that access to RU486 would lead to misuse and some women seeing it as an easy solution to pregnancies, a claim slammed as “bullshit” by Dr Spafford.

“It’s not going to make any difference to the rate of conception,” he said.

“I don’t believe anyone wants to make that decision to abort an unborn child but, sometimes, that hard decision needs to be made.

“Having this drug available will not make it any easier an option.”

Ms Purick echoed Dr Spafford’s sentiment and said there was an urgent need to “dispel the myths” surrounding the drug.

“There’s no way for it to be abused,” she said.“A woman has a right over her own body to use medically-approved options.”​

Katherine TImes

Cyclist killed in crash with car in Maroubra

Police at the scene of a fatal crash between a cyclist and a car in Fitzgerald Avenue, Maroubra. Photo: Dallas KilponenA cyclist has died in a crash with a car outside a high school in Sydney’s east, police say.
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The male cyclist was on an organised ride with the Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club when he was involved in a collision with a car on Fitzgerald Avenue in Maroubra just after 6.30am on Wednesday.

Paramedics tried to treat the critically injured rider, but he died at the scene.

The crash occurred near Fitzgerald Avenue’s intersection with Walsh Avenue, outside the Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood.

One man who was riding with the group at the time described it as a “terrible, terrible accident”.

“Devastated for the poor guy’s fiancee, friend and family,” he wrote online.

Douglas Kirkham, the president of the Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club, said club members were on their regular Wednesday morning ride to La Perouse when the crash occurred.

The group of riders had met in Marrickville at 6am and were riding east along Fitzgerald Avenue when the man, who is believed to have been a relatively new member of the club, was involved in the collision.

Other cyclists who saw the crash were “devastated”, Mr Kirkham said.

“Our thoughts are with the rider’s family and friends, and all involved in this terrible incident,” Mr Kirkham said.

“The other riders are devastated and it’s still quite raw.

“We pride ourselves on safety. Its something that’s very, very important to us and it’s something that we take really seriously.”

The Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club, which is one of the oldest cycling clubs in and has about 500 members, also released a statement saying it was “greatly saddened” by the rider’s death and would co-operate with the police investigation.

“As club members know, [the club] prides itself on safety and will of course review its practices in the wake of the incident. As more facts come to light, the club will provide more information,” the statement said.

“For now, our thoughts are with the deceased rider’s family. The club will offer whatever assistance possible at this terrible time.”

Police said the driver of the car was not injured and will undergo mandatory drug and urine testing.

No further details were available about the circumstances of the crash.

Officers from the Eastern Beaches Local Area Command closed off the area early on Wednesday and erected a tent in the middle of the road.

Anyone who saw the crash and has not already spoken to police has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. \n”,colour:”green”, title:””, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap201511975248);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams ‘ignorant’ of refugee crisis before Lebanon visit

“I know no-one knows me over here, but there’s a few people that know me in Australasia and I just thought, people are naturally good people”: Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: TwitterAll Black Sonny Bill Williams says spending time at a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon has made him realise how “ignorant” of the refugee crisis he was.
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The sporting superstar is currently visiting a temporary settlement in Faida, Bekaa Valley, working with Unicef to bring awareness to the conditions Syrian children and families are living in after escaping their war-torn country.

After spending the first day of his whirlwind visit to the camp with refugee children and seeing the reality of their lives, the cross-code sportsman spoke about the life-changing experience.

“I came here and what I’ve heard, what I’ve seen, I’ve just been shocked and it’s just made me realise how ignorant I was,” he said.

“The thing that really touched me was, coming here, I didn’t really know what a refugee was.

“I mean, I knew what a refugee was but did I really know? No, not until I came here.

“It kind of hit home, how ignorant I was.”

Lebanon, which shares a border with Syria, has given shelter to more than 1.2 million refugees since the Syrian conflict began five years ago.

Williams met with some of the children affected by the crisis who had been forced to flee their homes amid the violence.

He spent the majority of his day with a 12-year-old girl named Fatima, learning about her life at the camp and visiting her school at the settlement which is a temporary structure made from tents. Sonny Bill Williams @[email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m/VIfej8Hyfn— UNICEF New Zealand (@UNICEFNZ) December 8, 2015

Fatima escaped to Lebanon from Syria with her family two years ago.

She had been left traumatised after seeing her best friend die in a bombing while they were walking together back in Syria.

Music has helped her overcome the horrific experience, and she has since created a support group with other girls in the community.

“We kind of clicked straight away,” Williams said of the girl.

“Half-way through the day, she told me she loved having me here and she really opened up about a few of the stories she had encountered. SBW talks with teenage boys at Beyond Association Lebanon about sport @[email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m/2rE2WBuwfo— UNICEF New Zealand (@UNICEFNZ) December 8, 2015

“It would shock me if a normal 12-year-old back in New Zealand or would tell me these stories, but based on the situation that she’s in, it didn’t.”

Fatima took Williams to visit the temporary structure she calls home, where she lives with her parents and four brothers.

The camp is set up on private property and the family told Williams they have to pay $US250 ($347) in rent each month for their land and tent where the kitchen doubles as the toilet.

Williams also spoke with Fatima’s teenage brother, who labours long hours each day to earn money for the family as their father is too sick to work. See how children live. @SonnyBWilliams goes inside an informal settlement in this frank video diary: https://t杭州龙凤论坛/RoMAOJHRMa#SBWforUNICEF— UNICEF New Zealand (@UNICEFNZ) December 8, 2015

The experience left Williams, father to one-year-old daughter Imaan, feeling emotional.

“It’s conditions you wouldn’t want your worst enemy living in,” he said.

But despite the family’s circumstances, what surprised Williams most was the resilience the family showed.

“The amazing thing through all of this, I could relate to the similarities, how they are as human beings and how we are,” he said.

“You can see how much the father and the mother love each other, and how much they love the kids and vice versa.

“You could see the kids just wanting to be kids, joking around, laughing, but you could see how much they miss their actual home.”

Williams said hearing the stories and seeing the camp up close had shown him how out of touch the rest of the world was with a crisis that had forced more than two million people to become refugees.

“We’re so lucky where we live, but we’re so out of touch,” he said. “Everyone’s mindset is made to feel that refugees are a problem, but it’s more than that.

“They’re human beings too. They were forced from their homes.

“Everyone is fighting over who has to take them on, it’s like everyone’s reluctant to do that.”

He hoped exposing the realities of life in a refugee camp with the following he has gained from his sporting success would help change the perceptions of refugees.

“I know no-one knows me over here, but there’s a few people that know me in Australasia and I just thought, people are naturally good people.

“People have goodness in their hearts … surely those people who see [the situation here] back home in and New Zealand, it would change a few of their mindsets, how they see refugees.” Please watch tv3 at 7pm to hear the story of these young men struggling with life as refugees @TheStoryNZpic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/yuBZvsVbPC— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) December 8, 2015

To donate visit https://www.unicef杭州龙凤论坛.nz/sbw.

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