Archive Month: March 2019
Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano model the Brumbies’ 2013 playing kit. SPORT: L-R Brumbies players, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano wearing the Brumbies 2013 playing jersey that includes the centenary logo at Canberra Stadium, Bruce.

The ACT Brumbies’ on-field resurgence has delivered the richest playing kit in the club’s history with $1.8 million of sponsorship unveiled on their new strip on Wednesday.

In a big financial boost less than a year after the Brumbies were searching for a naming rights sponsor on the eve of the season, the two-time Super Rugby champions have declared their lucrative strip an ”historic milestone” in their rebuilding.

The club plans to celebrate the capital’s centenary with a one-off 100th birthday playing jersey for their match against the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium in March.

A design for the jersey is being finalised and they will be auctioned off after the match against the Brumbies’ arch-rivals.

It is expected to feature the centenary colours and have a ”strong alignment” with the celebrations planned by the ACT Government.

The Brumbies have broken with tradition by removing the ACT Coat of Arms and replacing it with the centenary logo.

But it is the addition of car company Land Rover to the sleeve of the jerseys which has given the Brumbies’ financial coffers a boost.

Land Rover’s deal is for the next two years and part of the $1.8 million sponsorship which is largely made up of the University of Canberra’s contribution with two other shirt and shorts partners.

”The jersey and the shorts as a package are worth as much as we have ever had,” Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

”It’s a great thing that it’s worth more than it has been in the history of the organisation and reflects the standing we have here in Canberra and the Brumbies brand internationally.”

The Canberra Raiders have also secured one of their most lucrative jersey sponsorships.

A year ago the Brumbies risked starting the Jake White era without a major backer when Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei pulled out of a deal.

But the club linked with the University of Canberra and has secured a deal to move its base to the Bruce campus at the end of the 2013 season.

The university, the Brumbies and the ACT government will build a new $15 million base next year with designs expected to be finalised in the coming months.

White has transformed the team on the field, lifting it to within one game of ending an eight-year finals drought.

Fagan said the Brumbies had a responsibility to ”keep our fans engaged” with strong results on the field.

And White is confident his developing team can deliver with the experience of last season adding depth for the 2013 campaign.

”Having the most money on our jersey sends a statement to everyone,” White said.

”We are the younger brother in the community and to get a sponsorship like this and the money and everyone wants to be a part of the Brumbies, you know you’re selling the right product.

”I concentrate on the rugby and if the rugby is right, then all these other things fall into place … there’s been a massive change and the people in Canberra are loving that the Brumbies are back.”

They will begin the season against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on February 16. There are only slight changes to the playing kit with the Brumbies to wear white shorts with their alternate strip.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Mark Bowyer, second right, and teammate Duncan Miller with the cast of The Block All Stars.Production of Channel Nine’s reality series The Block All Stars has been disrupted after a contestant collapsed at the show’s Bondi building site and was rushed to hospital.

Mark Bowyer, 55, who with best mate Duncan Miller formed the team known as ‘The Two Fat Tradies’ in The Block’s third season, had been at one of the new homes when he started feeling ill, a series insider said.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to Prince Of Wales hospital for examination.

“Block All-Star (contestant) Mark Bowyer, who was conducting an interview early on Monday morning, complained of dizziness and feeling “not quite right”,” a spokesman for Nine confirmed.

“Immediately, foreman Keith (trained in first aid) saw to him and ordered an ambulance.

“Minutes later he was taken to hospital where they performed a series of tests. He was released that afternoon with orders to rest.”

Bowyer and Miller became instant fan favourites when they took part in The Block in 2010 – marking the show’s return after a six-year absence – for their laid-back attitude and the fact they brought a pie warmer with them into their Vaucluse unit.

During the series the pair often complained of the stressful workload brought on by the hectic pace of 24/7 restoration, amplified by the fact they were older than most other contestants.

They eventually came third in the competition when their unit sold for $907,000, from a reserve of $860,000.

Since then, they had used their fame to promote a footpath safety campaign for Guide Dogs Australia, offered renovation tips on Nine’s website and were part of the construction team that built XXXX Island, a mini-resort on a small island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a promotion for the eponymous brewers.

Filming of The Block’s sixth season, the tenth anniversary of the renovation franchise, began on October 12 with Bowyer leaving 45 days into the shoot.

In his absence the show’s host and experienced builder Scott Cam has stepped in to assist Miller with their current rebuild, as has Jenny, Miller’s wife.

Nine has said that if possible, father of four Bowyer will not be permanently replaced if possible.

“We are of course first and foremost concerned about his health and are waiting to see if and when the doctors say he can come back to the show,” a spokesman said.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Legal first … Philip Leung has been found guilty after three trials.Sydney jeweller Phillip Leung has been found guilty of killing his male partner after three trials spanning four years – a first in NSW’s legal history.

Leung, 51, sobbed uncontrollably in the dock as the jury found he was guilty of manslaughter over the death of his long-term partner Mario Guzzetti – a crime for which he had previously been acquitted.

“This is wrong, just wrong,” Leung said, through tears.

The trial in the NSW Supreme Court had heard that on the morning of April 7, 2007, a row erupted between the couple over a tiler’s bag of cement that was obstructing access at their home in Alexandria.

About the same time, neighbours heard a loud noise, like a shelf falling. After several minutes’ silence, Mr Leung was heard wailing hysterically.

The first witnesses at the scene found him at the foot of the stairs, rocking back and forth while cradling his blood-stained partner, who had sustained head injuries. Mr Guzzetti, 72, had stopped breathing by the time ambulance officers arrived.

At his original trial in 2009, Mr Leung was acquitted of murder after a judge directed the jury to find him not guilty.

The Crown, however, used NSW’s controversial double jeopardy laws, introduced in 2006, to have the verdict quashed.

Mr Leung then faced court on a manslaughter charge last April, but became the first person in Australian legal history to be acquitted twice by a judge’s directed verdict. As he left court that day, he said he was “finally free” to move on.

He was wrong.

In March this year, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal upheld a second appeal by the Crown and ordered that Mr Leung again be tried for manslaughter.

Leung appeared to be in a state of shock as the jury foreman delivered the verdict today after two days of deliberations, shaking his head slowly before breaking down. At least one member of the jury also appeared to be crying.

Leung’s barrister, Winston Terracini, SC, made a last ditch effort to keep his client out of jail, asking that he be granted bail.

But Justice Derek Price refused bail, telling court sherrifs to “take the offender into custody”.

Leung, still protesting his innocence, removed his jewellery and his glasses and descended the stairs to the cells below.

Mr Leung, 51, is the first person in NSW legal history to be tried three times over the same homicide investigation.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Holden Entertainment SystemThe new iPhone 5 and the Holden Commodore aren’t speaking.

But Holden says it is working to fix a communication problem between its Commodore and the latest iPhone, one of the best-selling handsets in Australia.

Hyundai has also received complaints from customers about iPhone connectivity.

Melbourne resident Ashley Hall says he bought an iPhone 5 in November but the handset “failed every time” to connect in his Commodore.

“I am unable to receive calls, everything goes silent when I take a call,” Mr Hall said. “The best-selling phone and one of the best-selling cars in Australia … [and the companies] are unable to sort this out.”

Mr Hall says his dealer told him it could be 12 months before a fix is found.

The glitch has created heated discussion in various forums online, with users raising the issue on Apple discussion boards as well as the Australian Whirlpool and Mactalk sites.

Owners with various makes of car say they are having problems connecting to the new phone.

Holden says car manufacturers and phone companies have to work together. “When new phones come on to the market they need validation to ensure compatibility with existing in car systems,” a Holden spokeswoman said.

“We now need to undertake that validation to see where the iPhone 5 and new operating system are not compatible with the HoldenIQ system.

“This is an area where car companies and phone companies need to work more closely together and something we are focused on.”

Holden engineers are examining why the handsets can’t talk to its IQ touchscreen infotainment system, she said.

The company says next year’s Barina Spark and VF Commodore will work with Siri, the voice-activated assistant in all new iPhones.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the problem, and would say only that “both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S support Bluetooth 4.0”.

Manufacturers looking to woo tech-savvy buyers are all too aware that they expect their phones to work flawlessly with in-car entertainment and communication systems.

In all Australian states, using hand-held mobile phones while driving is illegal – but using a hands-free mobile is allowed.

In NSW, loudspeaker features on phones cannot be used unless the phone is in a secure cradle.

Drive tested the hands-free and music functions of an iPhone 5 with the latest software updates this week and found it worked flawlessly with new cars made by Audi, Kia, Mazda, Peugeot and Toyota.

Ford says there have been no reported problems between its new electronic Sync system and the iPhone 5.

But a spokesman for Hyundai said that some customers had experienced smartphone connection problems.

Some contributors to online forums say they have solved hands-free problems with the iPhone 5 by upgrading to Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 6.01, but Ashley Hall tried this, with no success. “It definitely won’t work,” he said.

Apple sold more than 2 million iPhones worldwide each day in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung’s Galaxy S III outsold Apple’s iPhone 5 globally in the same period, but Apple is expected to retake first place in the sales race by the end of the year.

Analysts have predicted that the iPhone 5 will be the best-selling gadget in history.  Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Buyers are walking away from sales and losing their deposits.Melbourne’s outer-suburban property market is facing a serious slump as distressed buyers and builders cancel one in every three new home purchases.

The collapse in sales could have serious repercussions for the state economy and the building industry, which employs more than 250,000 Victorians.

“We’ve never seen this before, so it’s a very strong signal that the fundamentals are wrong,” said Colin Keane, director of analyst group Research4, who compiled the new research.

He said the current cancellation rate of more than 30 per cent compared to an average two years ago of about 5 per cent.

Developers have had nearly 1800 lots returned to them this year as buyers have aborted plans to build homes in the city’s housing estates, according to the National Land Survey Program.

While buyers who walk away from sales are losing their deposits, developers are left trying to re-sell the land as demand wanes.

The cancellation rate on land deals hit more than 30 per cent in the September quarter, up from an average of 5 per cent before the 2009-2010 property boom ended. It had been averaging about 23 per cent over the past year.

Driving the problem were sales policies that allowed buyers to put down only a $500 or $1000 “holding deposit” on a block, industry operators say.

“It’s the developers who were taking these holding deposits that are really experiencing the problem,” said Rory Costelloe of Villawood Properties.

“It also doesn’t help that the prices being charged for the land rose way too high, too fast when these blocks were being sold 12 or 18 months ago.”

Others buyers have had to walk away from settlements – and much larger deposits worth up to 5 per cent of the purchase price – after failing to get financing on blocks of land that have lost 10 to 20 per cent of their value since they signed the contract.

The problem has worsened despite some developers reportedly offering big cash hand-outs in a bid to help buyers make up the difference between what they initially agreed to pay and the land’s current value when qualifying for a loan.

“The developers are basically trying to buy their settlement. It’s easier to pay them the difference than to try to sell the block again,” said a valuer, who asked to remain anonymous.

Mr Keane said builders were also having to return land to developers when buyers backed out, and it became clear they couldn’t settle on the house and land packages they were selling.

“The dramatic increase in lots being returned to developers highlights the pressure the Melbourne new home building industry is currently under,” he said.

Housing estates in the city’s west and north are experiencing the highest cancellation rate, the research shows.

Melbourne’s new-home market has been weathering a downturn since late 2010, which has seen construction activity and land sales fall well below historic averages.

The value of residential building is expected to fall by 20 per cent this financial year, shedding $4 billion worth of construction spending, according to the Australian Construction Industry Forum.

Developers have been frantically trying to prime the pump with hefty buyer incentives that include cash rebates, cars, and furniture and landscaping packages.

Industry lobby groups have also been calling for a boost to the First Home Owners Grant for new homes, which was slashed from $20,000 to $7000 in July.Comment at BusinessDay

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Conspiracy theorists might believe otherwise, but AFL boss Andrew Demetriou stresses that the major football code in the country did not attempt to scupper Australian efforts to bring the major football code in the world Down Under.
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It could be equated to Daniel stepping into the lions den but Demetriou did not bat an eyelid as he took centre stage at a Melbourne Victory In Business lunch at Crown, in which he fronted over 900 corporate supporters of the FFA’s biggest club.

And he moved quickly to assure some of his biggest critics that the AFL had not schemed to undermine Australia’s bid to bring the World Cup to these shores as it recognised the sporting and economic value of bringing the world’s biggest event here.

“We were not popping champagne corks. We were as disappointed as everyone else that this country and this state was not going to be able to host games,” he said.

Demetriou said that as a young man he had always tuned in to television coverage of the English game in pre-Premiership days, marvelling at the intensity of the Liverpool-Manchester United clashes and at the skills of players like Leeds winger Eddie Gray and Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish.

Given that his background was Greek-Cypriot he had always kicked a round ball as well as an oval ball around the yard behind his parents fish and chip shop in Coburg “or in Woolies car park”, he reminisced.

But the former North Melbourne Australian rules winger who has since made his reputation on the back of some of Australian sport’s biggest TV deals admitted that if anyone had told him that one day the Premiership “would be worth over $7.5 billion to broadcasters I would have told you you were mad”.

Demetriou praised Victory for the inroads it had made on the social, business and sporting landscape and suggested that competition — from within and from rival codes — was good for a sport. The advent of West Sydney Wanderers had pushed the AFL’s Giants to lift its efforts in that region, he said.

Any sport or business that rested on its laurels was doomed and the AFL embraced all new challenges and opportunities, Demetriou said.

“If it ain’t broke, then fix it anyway,” was the organisation’s motto, he said.

And purists in the room would have been delighted to note that the AFL supremo referred to his own code as “Aussie rules” and the round ball game as football.

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Mar 01 , 2019 / By :

Smartphones are the latest weapons in the campaign to save abducted children in Australia following the launch of a new app.
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US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich hosted the launch of the phone app, developed by the Australian Federal Police with the support of the FBI, at his Canberra residence a short time ago.

It allows parents to store crucial data, including pictures of their children, on their phones ready to be shared with police in the event tragedy strikes.

Ambassador Bleich said America’s campaign to save abducted children had really begun on May 25, 1979, when Etan Patz, a six-year-old from New York, disappeared.

The case had sparked national outrage. Patz was the first child to have his face posted on milk cartons.

The smart phone app is an extension of that thinking. With 75 per cent of abducted children murdered by their captors within the first three hours of being taken it is essential to get as much information out as quickly as possible.

May 25 has now been designated missing children’s day internationally.

Using the app, which can be downloaded by Googling ‘child ID’ or through i-tunes, parents can preload photos, contact details, descriptions and other information onto their smart phones.

The information stays on the phone until, in the event a child disappears, they share it with the authorities so it can be circulated as widely as possible.

The data base can be updated with new photos and information as the child grows.Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Tony Negus, said the system, already operating with considerable success in the US, was totally secure.

“The information is stored on your phone until it is needed,” he said. “I encourage all Australian families to download the app.”

He said more than 130,000 Americans had downloaded the US version of the software already with the FBI indicating it had been of assistance in a number of cases.

“Almost 20,000 Australians under the age of 18 go missing each year,” he said.

“This can be for many different reasons and, thankfully, most are located in one week – but imagine the anguish of that week for their families.”

Ambassador Bleich said the US decision to make Australia the first country it shared the “sophisticated and sensitive” source code that made the app possible with underlined the strength of the alliance between the two nations.

He said that as a parent of teenage children himself he was “particularly grateful” for a new technology that would make them safer.

“I would like to hope it could make them do their homework too, but we may have to save that for another day.’’

In addition to allowing parents to pre-load information in an easily accessible and shareable form, the app also contains information and safety tips including check lists and contact numbers.

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is also working on a phone app to help protect children.

“The two (apps) will be complementary; they will not be in competition with each other,’’ Commissioner Negus said.

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Mar 01 , 2019 / By :

Miami: It wasn’t long ago that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women couldn’t get security clearance from the CIA. Now the US national spy agency is actively recruiting them.
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The CIA and Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night will sponsor a community-wide networking event at the LGBT Visitor Centre in South Beach.

“This is the first one ever,” said Michael Barber, the CIA’s LGBT community outreach and liaison program manager. “This is the first of what I hope will be similar networking events with LGBT chambers across the nation.”

A second networking event is scheduled for Thursday night in Orlando.

Mr Barber, “a straight ally”, along with gay CIA employees engineering development chief Bill French and technical information officer Tracey Ballard will speak to prospective employees about the benefits of joining the agency.

“I look at my job as informing and educating about the CIA’s mission. And in the LGBT community, debunking those myths,” Mr Barber said, referring to the widely held assumption that gay people are unwelcome.

In 1989, a federal appeals court found evidence that the CIA routinely denied security clearances to gay people.

“There was a history of discrimination against LGBT persons in the federal government,” Ms Ballard said. “The process was extremely difficult for LGBT people to get security clearance prior to 1995.”

That year, president Bill Clinton signed an executive order stating: “the United States government does not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, disability or sexual orientation in granting access to classified information.”

Clinton’s order opened the door to gay employees coming out at the CIA, said Ballard, who in 1996 founded ANGLE (Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Employees and Allies), an agency-sanctioned employee group.

ANGLE, which Ms Ballard still co-chairs, has more than 230 “known members”, she said.

“There were a number of LGBT people at the agency prior to 1996,” Ms Ballard said. “We’ve always been there. But at that point of time, a small handful of us began finding each other and talking. We did informal networking among ourselves.”

The presidential order “allowed our LGBT officers to be more comfortable in the workplace and to be themselves”, she said. “It allowed conversations among our peers. True conversations. We didn’t have to hide any more. That’s a cultural shift, to allow our peers to be seen as equal, based upon the work they do.”

More than 50 people have signed up for the free networking event. Many are bringing resumes “and seriously thinking of the CIA for employment”, chamber president Steve Adkins said.

The CIA proposed the event. “They obviously had a lot of LGBT employees,” Mr Adkins said. “They want to make sure we know their stories and, in addition, make people aware that they’re an open and inclusive employer. Who knew?”

Miami Herald

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Mar 01 , 2019 / By :

The Australian dollar has become a matter of ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ with the you being Australian exporters. Bad global news provides a reason for the Aussie to remain strong and good global news provides a reason for it to get stronger.
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The bottom line is that our dollar remains elevated and there’s nothing much that can be done about it. Thus wise managements have simply got on with the business of adapting to the reality of a strong currency, leaving the whingeing and complaining to those with the time for pointless pursuits.

At this stage it would be a little cruel to point out all the people who were bravely and foolishly forecasting the Aussie would be sliding below parity now, so as there’s not a fly handy to have its wings removed, let’s just finger a few who stuck their heads up back in July. NAB at that stage was briefly enjoying a spell of reasonably successful currency guessing, but it tempted fate by predicting we’d fall below parity for Christmas and they were not alone.

The only way to be able to claim a record of successful currency forecasting is to stick to a very wide band, so to suggest the Aussie is likely to trade between about US95¢ and US115¢ might be the way to go. Most forex forecasts are just extrapolations of whatever the latest trend might be. Thus there are plenty of suggestions that the Aussie’s current rally will continue.

And it might or it might not. Whichever ends up being the case, there’s little chance of our dollar becoming cheap again.

If you want to concentrate on the gloomy side of the equation, “the ongoing North Atlantic crisis and Japan’s miserable outlook”, it’s a good argument to hold Australian dollars as the Americans, Europeans and Japanese continue to try to debase their currencies. Why would anyone want to hold greenbacks when the Fed has promised to keep printing billions of them every month until American unemployment magically falls?

What is constantly missed in the usual discussion of the exchange rate is that it’s not all about us. The other side of the equation has to be considered and that other side is not a pretty picture.

On the more optimistic side, the gathering confidence that China’s growth rate is growing again is a reason for the world to look more fondly on the Aussie. A strengthening China restores the commodities story, which on top of strong national accountants, sound institutional governance, low government debt, AAA ratings, and a resurgent cricket team means the Aussie looks pretty good.

Yes, it’s higher than we’d like, but sometimes it would be nice if the sun rose in the west for a little variety as well. The good operators accept it and get working harder and smarter to deal with it. It’s all part of the uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding process of being pushed up the value chain.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

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Mar 01 , 2019 / By :

.Frank Farina will be announced as the new coach of Sydney FC later this afternoon. The announcement will be made by the club’s chief executive Tony Pignata at their Macquarie University headquarters.
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The former Socceroos and Brisbane Roar manager is understood to have accepted a short-term offer that will see him take the reins of the Sky Blues until the end of the season.

Farina, 48, will take charge immediately and is expected to arrive in Sydney tomorrow as Ian Crook’s replacement. He will take charge of the team in Sunday’s match against Melbourne Heart at Allianz Stadium.

Negotiations with Farina have been stalled as a result of his inaccessibility at times, for he is currently in Papua New Guinea, where he is coach of the national team.

Farina most recently coached in the A-League with Brisbane Roar and took them as far as a preliminary final in 2008-9 before being dismissed for being caught for drink-driving.

Prior to that he was coach of the Socceroos between 1999 and 2005, a role he took on after impressing in his first two coaching stints at Marconi Stallions and Brisbane Strikers in the NSL. He famously guided the Strikers to their one and only championship win as player-coach in 1997.

His playing career was highly decorated, scoring 14 goals in 67 appearances for the national team. He also starred in the NSL with Canberra Arrows, Sydney City and Marconi before embarking on a successful career in Belgium and France.

Farina already has a close relationship with Sydney’s assistant coaches Zeljko Kalac and Steve Corica, who he played with and later coached during his time with the national team.

The Sky Blues are currently last on the A-League table with two wins from their first eight games. However, they are only four points off sixth place, meaning there’s plenty of time for Farina to turn the season around.

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