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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

IT WAS the moment the second Test slipped through Australia’s fingers – or at least Matthew Wade’s – but his mentor, and Australia’s most recent wicketkeeping great, are happy to see him pushing up to the stumps and taking the game on.
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Wade’s grassing of a Faf du Plessis edge in the last over before tea on Monday, while standing up to opening bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, has been bemoaned as the dismissal that could have sent Australia to Perth with a 1-0 series lead. Steve Rixon and Ian Healy prefer to give it the context of a chance that Wade had a big part in creating, if not taking.

”I’ve got no problems with it,” Healy said. ”If he [du Plessis] was batting outside his crease, that’s the best thing to do – go up there and drag him back, and hope that Hilfenhaus gets the lbw ball going well.

”If he was out of his crease [and Wade stayed back], who’s to say the nick would have come? The ball might have been perceived differently by the batsman and not nicked. By being up there, he created that chance, and he helped the bowler in enabling another chance. I’m very happy to see it.”

Rixon sat with Wade on Monday evening and reflected on his fifth Test, which with a missed stumping during Graeme Smith’s first-innings century wasn’t the happiest of the 24-year-old’s short career. Australia’s assistant coach said Wade knows exactly what he did wrong – coming up out of his crouch too early so that the ball hit the ends of his fingers rather than nestled in the palms of his hands.

”It was an error, but at the end of the day it’s only because of what it ended up [the hosts falling two wickets short of victory, with du Plessis South Africa’s unbeaten hero] that made it such an issue,” Rixon said.

”Everyone drops catches along the way, but we don’t rave on about them because it doesn’t often affect the game. It just happens this one did.”

While Healy saw Wade trying to bring leg-before back into the equation after du Plessis had taken guard outside his crease to mitigate against Hilfenhaus trapping him in front, Rixon noted that the ball had started to stay low, prompting a player who can change the game to take the initiative.

Making a stonewalling batsman think twice about letting balls go is another motive. Whatever the reasoning, the wicketkeeper’s mantra – ”stay low, stay low” – is put to its greatest test.

”Staying down is one of the key essentials of wicketkeeping, and [up] on the stumps, that’s where you get found out,” Rixon said, adding that hours of practice is put in with tennis and cricket balls to condition a keeper’s body to defy a natural urge to lift the head clear of the danger zone.

”It’s a skill, it’s the true test of wicketkeeping. If you’re keeping well to medium-pacers up on the stumps, you’ve normally got a fair idea that you’re in pretty good nick.”

Healy knows it’s a hard skill to master, fighting the natural tendency to ”flinch” and come up a fraction too early ”because something’s coming at you at 130ks, with a swinging bat in front of it”. He reckons they either stick or they don’t.

”That’s where you’ve got to drill your body height and train yourself to put natural instincts aside and stay with the ball. It’s extremely difficult,” he said.

Healy rates keeping to spin bowlers on wearing wickets as the greatest challenge, but this is up there. Failing to glove an early ball cleanly only added to the pressure. ”He [Wade] was just unlucky that the first one that got through, it had a nick on it.”

Bowlers who see themselves more as fast-medium than medium-fast sometimes take seeing their wicketkeeper in the batsman’s hip pocket as an insult. But Rixon says Wade’s move on Monday took place in concert with bowler and captain Michael Clarke.

”Bottom line, you’re trying to create something – that’s exactly what Wadey was doing, and I had no problem with it.”

Rixon says Wade is enjoying having someone ”who can talk the same lingo”, and understands how he feels and what he is trying to create as he beds down a demanding job. He saw many things he did well in Adelaide, too, which went largely unnoticed.

”We’ve got to move on. If he keeps thinking about something like that he’ll find the rest of the day gets very, very long and more errors will be made. We had a chinwag about that, and all good, he’s ready to rock and roll.”

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

Inquiry … Gardner Brook, a former senior vice-president of Lehman Brothers, arrives at the commission to give evidence.NOT only did they pay for his legal team, but the Obeid family also provided a witness with an elaborate spreadsheet to assist his ”recollection” before giving evidence at a private hearing, a corruption inquiry has heard.
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Giving evidence on Tuesday at the Independent Commission Against Corruption was Gardner Brook, a former senior vice-president of Lehman Brothers.

The commission heard that the family of the former Labor minister Eddie Obeid provided Mr Brook with highly confidential government information so he could sew up a deal between the Obeids and the mining company that would win a government tender.

The inquiry heard that the former mining minister Ian Macdonald was alleged to have provided the Obeids with inside information on a government tender for coal exploration licences in 2008. That information was used to secure the Obeid family with deals that had the potential to deliver them a $100 million profit.

Mr Brook, who now lives in Singapore, was introduced to Moses Obeid by Arlo Selby, a colourful financier with a criminal history. Mr Brook claimed that a five-page statement created by Mr Selby, which alleged corruption over the coal licences, was given to the Obeid family early last year. Mr Brook said it was part of an attempt by Mr Selby to blackmail him.

When Mr Brook was asked if the Obeid family had tried to contact him about giving evidence, Eddie Obeid’s barrister, Stuart Littlemore, QC, leapt to his feet saying, ”I object to the use of the word, Obeid family.”

Counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson, SC, shot back, ”It’s not a word, it’s actually a phrase.”

Mr Watson then asked Mr Brook if anyone ”with the surname Obeid” had tried to contact him.

Mr Brook said Moses Obeid, out of the blue, had recently sent him an email saying, ”What’s up, big fella.”

He also said one of the Obeids’ ”frontmen”, Andrew Kaidbay, who worked at the mortgage broking company Yellow Brick Road, had handed him a seven-page spreadsheet saying ”you better take a look at this”.

Mr Brook said this was given to him before he gave evidence at a private ICAC hearing in March. The Obeids picked up the bill for a barrister and solicitor to represent him on that occasion, the commission heard.

According to the Obeid spreadsheet, it was Mr Brook who was the mastermind behind the various coal deals. ”It’s a pretty self-serving document,” Mr Brook said, adding that much of it was false.

In earlier evidence, Mr Brook confirmed Moses Obeid had given him confidential, high-level ministerial documents that revealed proposed areas for coal exploration licences.

He also confirmed that Moses and his brother Paul had shown him confidential maps highlighting areas that would be open to a government tender. The commission then revealed that the same maps had been recovered from the office of Paul Obeid at Birkenhead Point during a raid.

The next witness is Mr Kaidbay, the Bankstown mortgage broker without any mining experience who won one of the coal exploration licences, allegedly on behalf of the Obeids.

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

NSW bowler Doug Bollinger bends his back during the Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland at Manuka Oval.Doug Bollinger had two wickets in his first three deliveries, the new ball hooping around and the old ball reversing.
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But the forgotten Australian paceman isn’t holding his breath for an international resurrection after dramatically falling down the pecking order of the country’s fast bowlers.

Bollinger (2-39) put on an impressive display for NSW as it took the upper hand after the first day of the Sheffield Shield game at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

The Bulls were on track to be bundled out cheaply when they slumped to 2-0 and 4-18, before half centuries to Nathan Reardon and Chris Hartley steadied the ship and took Queensland to 7-198 at stumps.

Bollinger has taken 50 wickets from 12 Tests at an average of 26, but the 31-year-old hasn’t donned the baggy green for almost two years.

Six other fast bowlers – Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings – have been selected in a 14-man squad for the third Test against South Africa at the WACA Ground, starting on Friday. Injured duo Pat Cummins and Ryan Harris have also been involved in the Test team while Bollinger has been overlooked.

”A little bit disappointed, but hopefully I can get another go and if not, that’s the way it is, I’ll just keep playing for NSW and taking as many [wickets] as I can,” Bollinger said.

”Good luck to the boys that got picked, especially Josh Hazlewood, he’s been bowling well, and I hope they get a go.”

With national selector Andy Bichel sitting in the grandstands, Bollinger made the most of swing-friendly conditions, dismissing Bulls opener Wade Townsend leg before wicket on the first ball of the day.

More joy came two balls later when Usman Khawaja got caught plumb in front, umpire Paul Reiffel having no hesitation in raising the finger.

Bollinger toiled hard when the shine went off the ball without any luck, with Reardon singing the paceman’s praises. ”If he keeps bowling like that I don’t think Test cricket will be too far away again for him,” Reardon said. ”He got it to start going reverse nicely at the end and he’s a quality bowler.”

Left-arm quick Josh Lalor (2-28) chimed in to have the Bulls in dire straits before Reardon and Hartley put together a valuable 117-run partnership. As they appeared to gain the upper hand, rookie leg-spinner Adam Zampa grabbed both wickets, dismissing Hartley lbw for 66 before Reardon top-edged a sweep shot to be on his way for 71.

”It was a bit of a rush of blood, that’s pretty common with me,” Reardon said of his dismissal. ”It probably wasn’t the situation or the time of the game to be playing it, but hopefully the bowlers can do a job with the bat for us.”

Ben Cutting (23 not out) and Cameron Gannon (four not out) will resume on Wednesday at 10am.

.

AT A GLANCE

SHEFFIELD SHIELD: Queensland 7-198 (N Reardon 71, C Hartley 66; J Lalor 2-28, A Zampa 2-30, D Bollinger 2-39) at stumps on day one against NSW at Manuka Oval.

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

PETER SIDDLE
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Case for: Victoria’s most famous vegetarian became Michael Clarke’s go-to man in Adelaide when the Test was on the line – and he delivered in spades. He was heroic on the final day, but it’s worth remembering it was his fiery spell two days earlier which turned the game in Australia’s favour.

Case against: After bowling 53 overs in Brisbane, Siddle headed into red flag territory with his 64 overs in Adelaide. Medical staff will be racing against the clock to patch him up for Friday, but there must be concerns he could be vulnerable to injury should he play.

BEN HILFENHAUS

Case for: The Tasmanian made good improvement in Adelaide and he’ll appreciate the WACA Ground even more, where the Fremantle Doctor should help his outswinger. The 29-year-old destroyed India in Perth last year and despite his technical troubles remains clearly Australia’s best swing bowler.

Case against: He is yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago and appears to be paying the price for a preparation dominated by Twenty20. Like Siddle, he’s also bowled plenty of overs this series and the short turnaround between Tests may count against him in any line-ball call.

MITCHELL STARC

Case for: He was close to playing in Adelaide so logic says he should come straight in for the injured Pattinson. A left-armer, Starc provides much-needed variation to the attack and will also be suited by the Doctor, which will assist his in-swinger to the right-handers. Has a knack of taking wickets even when not on song.

Case against: He is yet to hit his straps since returning from the Champions League and selectors may decide to back Johnson’s experience and proven track record in Perth and against South Africa. It’s hard to see two left-armers being selected.

MITCHELL JOHNSON

Case for: Seems to wear a cape whenever he wears the baggy green out west. His career-best 8-61 in Perth four years ago and his devastating spell at the venue in the last Ashes series will be hard for the selectors to ignore.

Case against: As difficult as it is to forget Johnson’s outstanding numbers in Perth, his waywardness and inconsistency towards the end of his last stint in the Test side is also hard to forget. Johnson says he has improved, and so too do many in the know. Are selectors game enough to find out?

JOSH HAZLEWOOD

Case for: Batsman around the country are impressed by the lad from Tamworth. He hits the deck hard, gets steep bounce with his height and will appreciate a lively surface. Former Test bowler Stuart Clark says he won’t let Australia down if given the chance.

Case against: The friendly giant is still finding his feet at shield level and his record of 43 wickets at an average of 32 hardly screams ”pick me”. If Siddle is passed fit to play, Hazlewood will most likely have to wait until Boxing Day to make his debut.

JOHN HASTINGS

Case for: He does not appear the most threatening bowler but keeps taking wickets. On the comeback trail after shoulder surgery, Hastings has collected 22 shield victims at 19 this summer, including a five-for in his last game. Also a handy lower-order batsman.

Case against: At around 130km/h, he is not overly quick, nor does he produce sharp movement. And if you were South African skipper Graeme Smith, would you rather face Johnson or Hastings?

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

AN INTERNAL police report into allegations of corrupt behaviour by some high-ranking officers will be kept secret after a review found it ”fundamentally flawed”.
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The decision to keep the almost decade-old report private has been criticised by the Police Association of NSW as ”disappointing and completely unsatisfactory”.

The Police Integrity Commission Inspector, David Levine, was asked by the NSW government to review whether the report compiled by Strike Force Emblems, written in 2004, should be made public.

The strike force examined complaints against officers, including the present Deputy Commissioner, Catherine Burn, while they were working in the Special Crime and Internal Affairs Unit.

The allegations include that the unit induced a criminal to breach his bail in a bid to gather evidence on a police officer and then influenced him to ”perjure” himself under oath.

The complaints were examined by Strike Force Emblems, which also found the unit may have engaged in criminal conduct” when it bugged 100 serving and former police.

The Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, on Tuesday said the Emblems report and its recommendations would not be released after Justice Levine found the report, and the investigation into the allegations, were of an ”unsatisfactory standard”.

”To say that [Mr Levine] has been critical of this Emblems investigation would be an understatement,” Mr Gallacher said. He would not publicly release Mr Levine’s review of the report, instead releasing the cover letter.

”This is not a question of the avoidance of public scrutiny but rather of the operation of a transcending public interest in the fair and considered protection of the good name of the NSW Police, of those who serve in it and of other members of the community,” the letter states.

Mr Gallacher would not disclose how Mr Levine found the investigation inadequate.

The allegations investigated by Strike Force Emblems are now being investigated by the NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour. Mr Gallacher will meet him on Wednesday to assess his inquiries.

The Police Association president, Scott Weber, said the officers who were allegedly victims of illegal bugging ”had the right to feel that the matter was not being taken seriously”.

”Quite simply, the PIC Inspector has failed to get to the truth of what is an extremely important issue about the actions of secretive oversight bodies that have extraordinary power,” Mr Weber said.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said Mr Gallacher had called for the report to be released when he was in opposition ”but now he is burying it”.

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

Andrew Wu examines the strengths and weaknesses of the six fast bowling candidates for the third Test in Perth.
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1. PETER SIDDLE

Case for: Victoria’s most famous vegetarian became Michael Clarke’s go-to man in Adelaide when the Test was on the line – and delivered in spades. The whole country saw his heroics on the final day but it’s worth remembering it was his fiery spell two days earlier that turned the game Australia’s way.

 Case against: After bowling 53 overs in Brisbane, Siddle headed into red flag territory with his 64 overs in Adelaide. Australia’s medical staff will be racing against the clock to patch him up for Friday but there must be concerns he could be vulnerable to injury should he back up in Perth.

2. BEN HILFENHAUS

Case for: The Tasmanian made good improvement in Adelaide and he’ll appreciate the WACA even more where the Fremantle Doctor should help his outswinger. The 29-year-old destroyed India in Perth last year and despite his technical troubles remains clearly Australia’s best swing bowler.

 Case against: Hilfenhaus is yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago and appears to be paying the price for a preparation dominated by Twenty20 cricket. Like Siddle, he’s also bowled plenty of overs this series and the short turnaround between Tests may count against him in any line-ball call.

3. MITCHELL STARC

Case for: He was close to playing in Adelaide so logic says he should come straight in for the injured James Pattinson. A left-armer, Starc provides much-needed variation to the attack and he will also be suited by the Doctor.

 Case against: The youngster is yet to hit his straps since returning from the Champions League and selectors may decide to instead back Johnson’s experience and proven track record in Perth and against South Africa. It’s hard to see the hosts having two left-armers in the XI.

4. MITCHELL JOHNSON

Case for: The mercurial Johnson seems to wear a cape whenever he wears the baggy green cap out west. His career-best 8-61 in Perth four years ago and his devastating spell at the venue in the last Ashes series will be very hard for the selectors to ignore.

 Case against: As difficult as it is to forget Johnson’s outstanding numbers in Perth, his waywardness and inconsistency towards the end of his last stint in the Test side is also hard to overlook. Johnson says he has improved in this area, so too do many in the know. But are the selectors game enough to find out?

5. JOSH HAZLEWOOD

Case for: First-class batsmen around the country have been impressed by the 21-year-old from Tamworth. He hits the deck hard, generates steep bounce with his extra height and will appreciate a lively surface. Former Test quick Stuart Clark is adamant he won’t let Australia down if handed the opportunity.

 Case against: The friendly giant is still finding his feet at Sheffield Shield level and his record of 43 wickets at 32 hardly screams ”pick me”. If Siddle is passed fit to play, Hazlewood will most likely have to wait until Boxing Day at the earliest to make his Test debut.

6. JOHN HASTINGS

Case for: He does not appear the most threatening of bowlers but he keeps taking wickets. On the comeback trail from shoulder surgery, Hastings has collected 22 Shield victims at 19 this summer, including a five-for in his last game. Also a handy lower-order batsman.

  Case against: At around 130km/h Hastings is not overly quick, nor does he produce sharp movement. Can you play Test cricket with such a repertoire? And if you were Graeme Smith, would you rather face Johnson or Hastings?

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

UNCERTAINTY in the market about recent manoeuvring around Qantas and its share register reflects the embryonic nature of the shareholder activism asset management class in this country. The emergence of Mark Carnegie and his $130 million Companion Fund on two share registers, Qantas and Washington H. Soul Pattinson, suggests, however, that we are now on a steeper learning curve.
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There’s always been big investors willing to buy into a company and agitate for change. Robert Holmes a Court was a classic example here in the ’80s. Shareholder activists have, however, become very active overseas since the global crisis, as traditional takeovers fail to win financing. A significant investment banking business providing reactive and pre-emptive defence advice to targets has grown up on the other side, dominated as is often the case by Goldman Sachs.

US investor Carl Icahn is the activist movement’s whale. He still mounts outright takeovers, but also deploys and recycles more than $US10 billion ($A9.5 billion) of gearable capital on shareholder activist strategies at a host of companies. Other prominent activist shareholders are Nelson Pelz, who has taken on groups including Heinz and

Cadbury-Schweppes, Third Point’s Daniel Loeb, who bought into and now sits on the board of Yahoo, Relational Investors’ Ralph Whitworth, and London-based Children’s Investment Fund, a 6 per cent shareholder in Australia’s QR National rail freight group.

Campaigns by aggressive players such as Icahn for break-ups, spin-outs, board changes and buybacks place shareholder activists broadly in the mergers and acquisitions business, but there are key differences between them and the takeover merchants that were active ahead of the global crisis.

Shareholder activism very rarely involves a full bid, and in that respect questions about the funding resources Carnegie’s group has behind it are wide of the mark: activism is a ”capital-light”, medium-term strategy that involves the acquisition of a seed holding, often using derivatives, and then an attempt to recruit other shareholders in what is, in essence, a political campaign for strategic change. Activist fund operators raise money from wealthy investors and institutions in much the same way other ”alternative investment” vehicles including hedge funds and private equity funds do, and charge similar fees, with bonus fees applying to above-market returns.

Their backers understand that successful plays will be outnumbered by ones that fail to gain traction, and invest in the belief that the average return will beat the market. They can fund specific corporate plays or a portfolio of activist positions, and the roll call of those reporting to be backing Carnegie’s tilt at Qantas reflects the mix, ranging from former chief executive Geoff Dixon and former Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg to more generally focused investors including Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey and advertising guru John Singleton.

In two of about half a dozen developing plays that have entered the public domain, Carnegie has used an equity swap with Credit Suisse to put his foot on about 1.5 per cent of Qantas, and has written an option with the Perpetual funds management group over a $30 million stake in Soul Pattinson and its stablemate, Brickworks. The option covers about 5 per cent of Perpetual’s total holding in those two companies, which are linked by cross-holdings. It will be exercised if the shares rise to undisclosed targets, perhaps as a result of Carnegie easing or unlocking the cross-holding structure.

Carnegie is telling institutions that they are heavily exposed to large Australian companies that are 30 per cent behind the rest of the world in capital productivity, and that they can close the gap by supporting activist strategies.

The task for him and any activist manager is not to pay the cheapest price for control, but to successfully lobby for structural change, usually initially behind closed doors and then, if the target resists, in public.

Retail shareholders can be recruited in campaigns, either through direct appeals (activists such as Loeb routinely publicise correspondence with target companies) or in Australia using shareholder meetings that actually see the target company financially subsidising the activist campaign.

Index funds are a less important vote catchment than their wholesale fund manager clients, who retain voting rights, quantitative funds that invest mathematically are difficult to sway and proxy advisers are important gatekeepers to traditional institutional investors.

Talks with Qantas shareholders appear to have led the Carnegie group to believe for example that the owners of about 14 per cent of the company including Capital of the US might be prepared back a campaign for board changes and asset disposals including the sale of half of Qantas’ lucrative Frequent Flyer program.

The unwritten rule of activist campaigns is that uncommitted shares will break two-thirds in favour of the incumbent board, however, and that means that Carnegie’s activist group needs to be backed by at least 26 per cent of the register to hope to carry a majority vote. Taking its own stake into account it needs another 10 per cent, and funds that might get it over the line including industry funds that own more than 10 per cent of Qantas all rely on proxy advisers.

Talks with Qantas shareholders and their own advisers do not appear to have accelerated, leaving the situation unresolved, and it may well stay that way in the run up to the Christmas break. Carnegie’s progress on the Qantas project in the New Year would depend on how much of register he gets onside, and also, perhaps on whether Qantas responds with initiatives of its own. A board shuffle is a standard defensive response to activism in the US market.

[email protected]南京夜网.au

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

SHARES in the region rallied and the dollar shifted higher after Greece reached a landmark deal to restructure its faltering debt bailout program.
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The eurozone and the International Monetary Fund thrashed out a series of compromises in Brussels, unlocking a long-delayed €43.7 billion ($A54.2 billion) payment and granting significant debt relief for decades to come.

The measures include reducing interest rates on Greece’s bailout loans to levels so low that other eurozone countries will likely incur losses on them, but will allow Athens significant breathing space to reduce its debt levels below current projections.

The agreement provided the Australian market with a shot of confidence, pushing shares to a two-week high, while the Australian dollar shifted closer to $US1.05, reaching a two-month high of $US1.0492.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas said the Australian dollar could continue to rise to $US1.08 in the next few months.

“Certainly we’ve had commodity prices no longer falling, particularly iron ore and others have actually moved well above the lows that we saw in October,” he said. ”We are getting job creation and unemployment is still below 5.5 per cent. There is evidence that housing construction is turning up.”

But Commonwealth Bank analyst Alex Stanley said the deal was just the latest of many and Greece had a long way to go before reaching sustainable debt levels.

”[The] forecast numbers appear to imply austerity, a significant surplus and a significant growth in GDP all at the same time – a combination which has proved very difficult to achieve up until now,” he said.

Mr Stanley said the deal did provide meaningful aid to Greece, mostly in the form of reduced and deferred interest costs. And while the deal falls just short of a direct debt write-down, parts of the plan ”seemed to be a write-down in disguise”.

”The European leaders continue to duck the question of what happens if [more realistically, when] Greece needs to default on some of the money it owes to the European Official sector,” he said.

The original bailout rewrite agreed for Greece in March was meant to reduce Greece’s debt to 120 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020.

The IMF is pushing for a so-called ”haircut” or write-down of debt by eurozone governments in the way banks wrote off most of the loans due to them earlier this year, but Germany has come out against this ahead of a general election next year.

Other AAA-rated states, though, have said they would ”not exclude” the possibility of a write-down of debt from 2015 onwards.

Greece has been waiting since June for a loan instalment of €31.2 billion, part of a €130-billion rescue granted earlier this year.

In exchange, Athens has pledged to implement a new series of radical austerity measures to cut its annual overspending.

“It’s been hard work,” said IMF chief Christine Lagarde of the negotiations.

Greece, where the eurozone’s debt crisis erupted in late 2009, is the currency area’s most heavily indebted country, despite a big ”haircut” this year on privately-held bonds.

Its economy has shrunk by nearly 25 per cent in five years.

The key question remains whether Greek debt can become sustainable without eurozone governments having to write off some of the loans they have made to Athens.

Jean-Claude Juncker, who chaired the meeting as head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, said: “This has been a very difficult deal.”

With AGENCIES

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

Gerry Harvey… retailers are feeling the pinch.HARVEY Norman executive chairman Gerry Harvey says industry conditions remain dire and he expects more retailers will go bust next year after the Christmas sales are over.
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”There are more retailers currently under pressure than I’ve ever seen … I’ve been in retail 50 years,” he told reporters after the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

His prediction comes less than a month after the collapse of discount chain operator Retail Adventures, which announced that 32 stores will close and 650 jobs go by the end of this month.

Mr Harvey warned that despite the wave of failures over the past two years, ”there’s plenty more to go because I have them all coming to see me [saying] ‘Will you take us over, will you buy a share in the company’ etc etc.”

He said many of these businesses were hanging on for the Christmas sales but they know the first half of next year will be ”extremely difficult”.

Many of these companies just needed a little push and they would be gone, he said.

”You’ve got so many companies out there in that situation.”

He told investors the long-term plan for Harvey Norman – which is the only retailer backed by a

multibillion-dollar property portfolio – was to outlast the competition.

”If anyone is going to be the last man standing it’s Harvey Norman,” Mr Harvey said.

Looking ahead to Christmas, Mr Harvey expected sales to be up on last year if the hot weather holds.

”If we have a really hot period across Australia and we sell a lot of airconditioners, then we’ll definitely beat last year,” he said. ”If it’s cold … then we’ll battle because airconditioners are a big part of our business in December.”

He defended the amount of financial support the retailer was giving its franchisees to maintain service levels in the lead-up to the crucial Christmas sales.

”Losing staff at this point in time … going into Christmas and going into the new year, is just unacceptable,” he said.

Harvey Norman chief executive Katie Page, who is Mr Harvey’s wife, said: ”We cannot have consumers going into our stores and not getting the best customer service.”

Mr Harvey confirmed that he was a ”passive” investor in Qantas but would not comment on whether he was part of a high-profile group of investors seeking to challenge the strategic direction of the airline.

”I’m not saying anything for, or against, the Qantas organisation,” he said. ”The Qantas share price at the moment is about half its asset backing, and if it’s half its asset backing I look at that and think, that’s a good buy, it could double in price. It’s like Harvey Norman, it’s 20 per cent below its asset backing. That’s a good buy.”

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Jun 11 , 2018 / By :

AN OFFICIAL review has found Australia is ”underperforming” in its bid to prevent foreign companies from selling their goods below cost on the domestic market, and has urged the government to set up a specialist ”anti-dumping” agency.
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Dumping involves foreign firms selling their goods to Australians below cost. Manufacturers say the practice is increasingly common, as the high dollar allows foreign suppliers to slash their prices to unsustainable levels.

With the number of complaints over dumping tripling in the past year, a review by former Victorian premier John Brumby has found there is a strong case for a dedicated agency to deal with the problem.

Australia’s efforts to combat the practice – currently led by the Customs Department – were ”under-resourced and underperforming” and this threatened to erode confidence in an open trade regime, Mr Brumby said.

Dumping was only likely to increase, he said, as the weak global economy meant a growing surplus of goods on international markets.

”The low profile and limited resources at a time of intense international competition has undermined public confidence in the system, especially from a manufacturer perspective,” Mr Brumby wrote in the report.

The formation of a specialised agency, if adopted by Canberra, would be welcome news to manufacturers, who have complained that alleged dumping incidents are being ignored by Customs.

The chief executive of Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said the recommendations were ”sensible”, as they would make it easier to resolve complaints, more quickly and cheaply. The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, said a dedicated anti-dumping agency would be ”major step forward” in giving the sector an opportunity to compete.

”We’ve seen examples of overseas companies backed by government subsidies who have dumped large quantities of goods or commodities on the Australian market at prices below the cost of production,” Mr Howes said.

But some economists are sceptical, saying that measures to combat dumping could end up being a form of protection for inefficient industries.

The chairman of the Productivity Commission, Gary Banks, said this month that governments should limit ”anti-dumping” policies because they could prop up less competitive firms at the expense of Australian consumers.

The government is expected to respond to Mr Brumby’s recommendations in the coming weeks.

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