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Comments Off on WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

Worleyparsons said it had received a “confidential, highly conditional” proposal for all its shares in November. Photo: James AlcockShares in WorleyParsons surged to a two-year high after a Dubai-based consulting group emerged with a 13.35 per cent holding and confirmed it had made an indicative bid for the engineering contractor last year but was knocked back.
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WorleyParsons confirmed on Tuesday it had received a “confidential, highly conditional indicative proposal” on November 14 from Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners (Dar Group) to buy all its shares for $11.80 each.

But after reviewing the proposed scheme of arrangement with its advisors, the board came to the view that it materially undervalued the company and wasn’t in the best interests of shareholders.

“The proposal was highly conditional in relation to financing, due diligence, process, regulatory and other conditions, which created significant execution risk and uncertainty for the company,” WorleyParsons said in a statement.

“The board’s view on value took into account the quality and global platform of the WorleyParsons business, the current low point in oil industry activity, the historical trajectory of previous cyclical recoveries, the cost reduction program that had not yet been fully reflected in earnings and the low operating risk profile of thr WorleyParsons business.”

Dar Group, a privately owned global network of architecture and engineering firms, said its exposure to WorleyParsons comprised of physical shares of 8.61 per cent and a cash-settled equity swap exposure of 4.74 per cent.

WorleyParsons’ shares closed 31.97 per cent higher at $10.65 on Tuesday.

It had bought the stake with a “long-term strategic perspective” and looked forward to being a “supportive shareholder”.

There had been no further discussions between Dar Group and WorleyParsons since the latter rebuffed its proposal in November and Dar Group had “no present intention of initiating discussions with WorleyParsons [over] a change of control transaction”. ​

The company last week posted a $2.4 million interim net loss – its first ever – due to declining sales, restructuring charges and late-paying government clients, sending its shares on their biggest decline in nine months.

Revenue fell to $2.7 billion from $4.2 billion, a result chief executive Andrew Wood said was “in line with market conditions and comparable with our peers in our market sectors”. It said the full impact of cost reductions and improving market conditions were not reflected in current earnings.

‘s mining contractors have been hit by a downturn in the prices of iron ore and other major commodities which has seen major resources firms curb spending.

with Reuters

Comments Off on State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

A VISITING British planning expert and the state’s chief planner have both described Newcastle as a place on the verge of great things at a planning workshop at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.
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London-based Professor Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White spoke at length about the opportunities and challenges facing Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region at the workshop, hosted by Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Brendan Nelson and attended by about 80 people.

On his first visitto Newcastle, Professor Clark said he was surprised by what he’d seen, compared withwhat he’d heard beforehand.

“I thought I was coming to see a city in decline, full of challenges, but when you look at all of the things that are happening right now, it’s already full of opportunities,” Professor Clark said.

Brendan Nelson, NSW Planning and Environment

Mr White, who took the top planning job in NSW after a long career in local government in Queensland, said Newcastle was in effect the opposite of Canberra. Whereas Canberra had been “planned to death, Newcastle had no metropolitan plan”.

Both men talked about a need to develop long-term plans that could be broken down into phases, and which took notice of change as it happened.

Mr White said planners had done quite well until about 10 years ago in managing cycles of change, but the big “structural disruptions” caused by digital technology were creating “change on a scale we have never seen before”.

IMPRESSED: British planning expert Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White extolling Newcastle’s virtues at a workshop on the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.

Both men said the old method of planning, where industry, residential, health, education and retail were each concentrated in their own zones was no longer working.

There were limits to what planning could achieve but a Greater Newcastle Metropolitan plan –together with a single regional voice to backit – was a necessary first step in promoting the region to governments and employers, as well as potential residents and visitors.

The workshop heardProfessor Clark would return to Newcastle later in the year as work on the metropolitan plan continued.

Asked about better rail links to Sydney, he said there was a risk they might initially suck jobs out of Newcastlebut the benefits would eventually work in both directions.

Light rail and theCBD university campus meantNewcastle was already on the path to renewal.

Comments Off on Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

WAIT OVER: Rocky Jerkic at Steel City Boxing in Hamilton North. Picture: Michael Parris n champion Rocky Jerkic will end a long and frustrating wait when he fights for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title in Melbourne on Friday night.
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The Newcastle-trained boxer from Brisbane will have the chance to “open doors” to bigger fights if he overcomes unbeaten Victorian Anthony Buttigieg at The Melbourne Pavilion.

The 28-year-old mandatory challenger won a purse bid last year to host a Commonwealth title bout againstLiam Williams, but the Welshman relinquished his belt instead of travelling to .

Jerkic has a 15-0 record, including 12 knockouts, and scored a celebrated comeback win over Shannon King to win the national title in late 2015.

He has struggled to find willing opponents in since then, but trainer Rob Fogarty said a win on Friday would help establish him in the international arena.

“I don’t think Williams wanted to take the risk on an undefeated kid,” the Steel City Boxing trainer said on Tuesday before flying to Melbourne with his charge.

“No one else in wants to fight him.

“We’ve put the challenge out to Mundine, everyone, and they’ve all knocked it back.

“At least Buttigieg, you’ve got to give him props for stepping up.

“I know for a fact he’s primed, ready to go.

“This is the first guy in well over 12 months who has even put his hand up to fight Rocky.”

Fogarty said he had watched Jarrett Hurd score a ninth-round technical knockout of fellow American Tony Harrison to win the IBF super-welterweight world title last weekend at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, and said Jerkic was “definitely on a par” with both fighters.

He said Jerkic would challenge Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Yutaka Oishi if he beat Buttigieg.

“Without a doubt this is the biggest fight of Rocky’s career. This will open some doors for him,” he said.

“Within 30 days we’ll know if we fight the guy in Japan or we can bring it back here.

“After that, that should put him in the top 15 in the world in the WBC.”

Buttigieg, at 171cm, is giving away 12cm in height to Jerkicbut has won all 12 of his fights, three by knockout.

He has won four of those fights by split decision, but Fogarty said Buttigieg had taken two months off work to prepare for the 12-round fight.

“He’s short, nuggety, got a walk-up style. Good defensively,” Fogarty said. “I’ve watched plenty of tape on this kid. He is strong.”

Comments Off on Minerals Council survey finds mining contributes $4.8 billion to Hunter Region

Minerals Council survey finds mining contributes $4.8 billion to Hunter Region

Minerals Council survey finds mining contributes $4.8 billion to Hunter Region

A new Minerals Council survey shows the contribution of mining to the Hunter economy unchanged at 4.8 billion. A SURVEY of 23 mining companies has shown the industry is contributing $4.8 billion to the Hunter’s economy–nearly a quarter of the annual gross regional product.
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The fifth NSW Minerals Council expenditure survey, which will be released in full in coming weeks, shows the same expenditure($4.8 billion) as the year before, but this was still more than any other region in the state.

The contributionincreased by 3 per cent to 45 per cent of all spending by mining in NSW, the survey found.

The $10.8 billion in direct spending by the mining industry in NSW in 2015/16 included $2.6 billion in wages to 20,999 full-time employees, with $6.9 billion spent in the supply chain. About $1.3 billion was spent in taxes to the state government.

The NSW Minerals Council said despite the survey being conducted in a cyclical downturn, direct spending was only only slightly down on the previous year.

Chief executive of the minerals council, Stephen Galilee, said the Hunter was a standout in the state’s mining sector.

“While total spending is down slightly on the previous year, it’s still higher than when the so-called mining boom started in 2011-12. Over the past three years mining has directly spent $35.7 billion in NSW,” Mr Galilee said.

“And with the dramatic improvement in commodity prices since the survey was taken, and record exports of coal from the Port of Newcastle, mining will continue to make a strong contribution to NSW…”

The survey found mining contributed to 24 per cent of Gross Regional Product in the Hunter; 10.5 per cent in the Central West; 9.6 per cent in the north west; and 7.1 per cent in northern NSW.

Comments Off on Pop-up glamping: a new pitch takes off

Pop-up glamping: a new pitch takes off

Pop-up glamping: a new pitch takes off

Enjoy the great outdoors with a group of family and friends.I’m luxuriating in a full-body exfoliation, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
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In a verdant valley on the Gold Coast Hinterland, millions of fry – baby fish – surround us in a sparkling dam.

Initially, it’s disconcerting: What is this smooth slick moving across my skin?

Then it starts to tickle, prompting the kids to squeal with delight. Finally I’m floating on my back, surrendering to the free beauty treatment.

This is one of the many unexpected pleasures of camping – or, in our case, the hipster version: pop-up glamping.

Last year, hubby’s cousin created a music festival to celebrate his wedding, which coincided with New Year’s Eve. He and his fiance hired an Airstream caravan, which served as a bar for cocktails in jars. By the end of the event, guests were covered in glitter, face jewels, and metallic tattoos.

The location, in the Numinbah Valley, is so lush and otherworldly, I expect to see fairies flitting between flowers.

Glamping Days has set up dozens of bell tents, which look like tipis. They’re ideal for the 35-degree days, constructed of cotton, with mesh lining on the windows. The company pitches these beauties – complete with a queen-sized air bed, luxury linens, small side tables and fairy lights – before packing it up at the end. There are also self-inflating mattresses for the kids. The double pole tents are large enough to sleep four adults and four children.

It’s clear that ”flash camping” is no flash-in-the-pan.

Now there are dozens of companies, including Flash Camp, Soul Camping, Happy Glamper and the Avant-Garde Camping Co., creating villages using lotus, safari and Bedouin tents, some with outdoor ovens and hot tubs. Others offer toiletries and daily ”room” service. Then there are the catering options, with everything from BYO to deliveries from paddock-to-plate specialists, Three Blue Ducks.

What a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors, with a group of family and friends.

Blink, a new ephemeral holiday service, takes it a step further. These fabulous folks will find you a parcel of land then build a customised ”hotel” camp. You choose everything, from decorations to bed linen and contents of the pop-up cellar. Their aim is to leave no trace, hence the name: blink and you’ll miss it.

The kids adore the down-to-earth nature of this holiday: doing bombies in the waterhole; snagging sausages off the barbie; and inspecting new and exciting water bugs.

Forget about electronic devices: the happy couple insists on no technology for the 48-hour festival.

Instead, the half-a-dozen kids who are staying at the campground spend hours sitting in the creek, throwing rocks at a log. I am not making this up. Apparently it’s the best fun they’ve had in years. I loll nearby, sipping a G&T, as the cool clean water bubbles over my legs. (Think of it as nature’s bathtub …)

Pop-up glamping is a quirky fusion of hipsterism, immersion, and ”slow travel”. It combines the pace of an old-style family holiday with modern creature comforts. As long as you don’t mind the occasional creature nibbling at your toes …

[email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Comments Off on Don Harwin’s arts start has been a relative breeze

Don Harwin’s arts start has been a relative breeze

Don Harwin’s arts start has been a relative breeze

Now, Voyager is a flowery film about an ugly duckling come good, starring Bette Davis as a hand-wringing spinster in a high-lace collar, who blooms after meeting an unhappily married Frenchman with good hair. She finds love, heartbreak and love again with her leading man, before settling for something in between.
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“Will you be happy?” he asks her. “Don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars,” she replies.

The 1942 black-and-white drama – a romantic comedy without chuckles – is NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin’s favourite film. “You’ve got to see it,” he tells me. “The total transformation of this totally withdrawn person into someone who just blossoms is just brilliant.”

It’s tempting to draw a parallel with the career politician’s own rise to a starring role in state politics after 18 years in the wings.

He’s been a minister for such a short time that he’s still counting. “Twenty-six days. No, it’s 24. Or 25,” he says, while touring Carriageworks arts centre in inner-city Sydney last Friday.

Today is his 31st day as State Minister for the Arts, Resources, Energy and Utilities. His first month in cabinet has been dominated by heatwaves, electricity shortages and suggestions people turn down their airconditioning to 26 degrees.

By comparison, his arts role has been a relative breeze. We meet for coffee at the end of his first sitting week in Parliament as a minister. He’s wearing a baggy blue checked blazer and oversized mustard-yellow chinos – testament to his recent weight loss regime.

“It is a very exciting time to be the Arts Minister,” he says repeatedly, echoing Malcolm’s Turnbull former catchcry.

Harwin is in the happy position of being a man with money to spend and no shortage of takers. The government promised $600 million in cultural infrastructure funding before the 2015 election and still has about $250 million in the kitty (after allocating $202 million to the Sydney Opera House and $139 million to the Walsh Bay precinct).

He says he will make an announcement about funding before the June budget, but cites Western Sydney and regional NSW as “high priorities”.

“There are a few areas where we need to do better and I think there has been, frankly, under-investment in our cultural infrastructure.”

He backs the government’s controversial plan to move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta – despite reports that the relocation could cost up to $2 billion.

“We are absolutely committed to having an iconic cultural institution in western Sydney and the one that makes sense is moving the Powerhouse,” he says. “It’s a collection that appeals to many audiences and it should be at the heart of the city, in Parramatta.”

Harwin, 52, grew up in Peakhurst, some 21 kilometres south of that heartland. His father, Don snr, was a high school maths teacher and headmaster. “He would always come home at night and read me a story,” Harwin says, his eyes filling with tears. “I have always had a love of reading, from the earliest age.”

Growing up gay in south-west Sydney in the 1970s made him the target of bullies at the local public school (a topic he spoke about in parliament in 2014). “It was a difficult experience for me,” he says now. “But I got through it and it made me a stronger person, and it probably helped equip me for what I am doing now.”

He studied economics and law at the University of Sydney, while dabbling in amateur theatre – including a rendition of “Tit-Willow”, from The Mikado. In 1987, he went straight from university to a research job with an MP and has been working in the Macquarie Street precinct ever since, including a stint running a consultancy business.

In late 1998, he was preselected by the Liberal Party to stand for the Legislative Council – forcing him to abandon a lively thesis on an “historical institutionalist interpretation of how political parties develop”.

Much of his time in politics has tended towards seemingly mundane matters, such as electoral boundaries. He is said to be very good at interpreting lines on maps. His library of political and historical tomes rivals that of federal Attorney-General George Brandis (“They’re all my books – and my shelves,” Harwin notes.)

He was credited with helping secure the numbers for Gladys Berejiklian to become Premier in January, prompting suggestions that his elevation to cabinet was designed to reward as factional ally.

Indeed, his time in office offers few hints of an arts pedigree – apart from hosting exhibitions of the parliament’s art and cultural artefacts, while president of the Legislative Council.

Under “special interests” in his parliamentary biography, he lists (in order): political history, psephology (the statistical study of elections and voting), film and rugby league (his maternal grandfather once played for St George).

But he’s keen to talk about his new arts role and so we do.

“The arts inspire us to do great things,” he says. “To listen to a beautiful piece of music or to look at a magnificent painting or to read a great work of literature just uplifts you.”

He nominates literature – particularly, historical non-fiction – as his favourite art form and notes that he has written chapters for several titles, including books on social justice and state elections. He also likes opera and regularly buys n Ballet subscriptions for himself and mother Evelyn, who took dancing lessons when she was young.

His Spotify playlist is a love ballad to 1980s and 1990s pop music, including Pet Shop Boys, Elton John and Freddie Mercury (his favourite Queen song is Radio Ga Ga).

He’s spent much of his first month as a minister trouping about Sydney’s arts institutions to find out where funds are needed most. Among those in the queue is the Art Gallery of NSW, which wants some $450 million to build its Sydney Modern extension.

“There’s no doubt they have got a strong case for consideration,” he says. “They’re in the mix, as are many other people. I have got many people knocking on my door right now.”

On Friday night, he revisited the gallery to open its Andy Warhol exhibition and was welcomed like an old friend. Board of trustees president David Gonski, who has seen several arts ministers in his time, told the crowd that “this one loves the arts”.

Harwin’s own gushing speech about the arts went down well with attendees, particularly when spruiking this Saturday’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. “Happy Mardi Gras to all of those present who are looking forward to a big week, including me,” he said.

But he tells me that his ideal Friday night is staying at home in Vincentia, on the South Coast, and walking by Jervis Bay in the evening, before watching a film. “Politics is a pretty hectic life, so a good Friday night when you haven’t got something on is to just do nothing,” he says.

“But there won’t be too many of those for the next little while.”

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Comments Off on Ron Medich murder trial witness sings judge ‘I’m a little teapot’

Ron Medich murder trial witness sings judge ‘I’m a little teapot’

Ron Medich murder trial witness sings judge ‘I’m a little teapot’

Ron Medich has pleaded not guilty to ordering the 2009 shooting murder of his former business partner Michael McGurk. Photo: Daniel MunozHis right arm bent into the shape of a spout, his left placed on his hip to form a handle, the witness stood defiantly to sing the judge “I’m a little teapot”.
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No steam rose from Justice Geoffrey Bellew. But the murder trial had taken an unusual turn.

Sitting in the NSW Supreme Court dock on Tuesday was Ron Medich, the wealthy property developer who has pleaded not guilty to ordering the 2009 shooting murder of his former business partner Michael McGurk.

The key witnesses in the trial, Lucky Gattellari, arranged the murder and has received a shorter sentence in exchange for his testimony against Mr Medich.

But Gattellari has recently been charged with fraud, accused of trying to fleece Mr Medich of millions of dollars in an extortion plot involving his evidence at the murder trial.

Which is where the witness acting like a teapot comes in.

Shayne Hatfield, a cocaine importer, had been a cell mate of Gattellari at Long Bay Jail in 2013 and has also been charged with conspiracy to defraud Mr Medich.

The court had heard from Gattellari the plan was to lure Mr Medich into paying $30 million for his silence at trial, then renege on the deal and testify anyway.

It was Hatfield, he said, who tried to conscript former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara to contact Mr Medich about the proposed deal.

Before beginning his evidence, Hatfield was given an instruction by the judge, to which he responded with song. In his shorts and green prison smock, he began “I’m a little tea pot short and stout”, and concluded “tip me over, pour me out”.

The jury were sent out. On their return, Hatfield was asked by Mr Medich’s barrister Winston Terracini, SC, about the alleged extortion plot.

A short time later, after Justice Bellew instructed Hatfield to answer questions directly, yes or no, Hatfield began answering every question with the words “yes or no”.

Mr Terracini persevered through the disjunctions to press for more details. But eventually he asked to make an application to the judge in the absence of the jury, who were sent home.

Earlier in the day, the trial heard from the mother of Hatfield’s daughter, Linda Monfrooy, who has also been charged with conspiracy to defraud Mr Medich.

Ms Monfrooy described visiting her former partner in jail and delivering messages on his behalf to the former detectives Rogerson and McNamara.

Ms Monfrooy said she knew of Rogerson’s reputation, claiming “I was terrified”. But she denied she knew anything about a plot to extort millions of dollars or expected to receive any money herself.

She also told the court she honestly believed Hatfield at one point had been operating with the authority of the police. “Please forgive me, I’m a bit dumb,” she said.

Her lifts to the jail from McNamara ended when he was arrested over a separate murder. Her contact with Rogerson broke off after he, too, was arrested, Ms Monfrooy said.

The trial continues.

Comments Off on Antarctic sea ice ‘obliterates’ previous record in remarkable reversal

Antarctic sea ice ‘obliterates’ previous record in remarkable reversal

Antarctic sea ice ‘obliterates’ previous record in remarkable reversal

Antarctic sea ice swings from record large extent to record lows in just two and a half years. Photo: Ross Norton Adult humpback whale breaching in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica: More room to move than in any previous year on record. Photo: Michael Nolan
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Melting moments: sheets of ice adrift along the Antarctic coast. Photo: Kylie McLaughlin

There is about 10 per cent less sea ice in Antarctica this year than the previous record minimum – a stunning reversal after new highs were set in 2014.

The sea ice extent around the southern continent has shrunk to 2.1091 million square kilometres on Tuesday, Jan Lieser, a sea ice scientist at the Hobart-based Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, said.

The area covered by sea ice has been tracking below the previous record low of 2.32 million square kilometres set in February 2011 for most of the past three weeks, and is now about 10 per cent lower. (See chart compiled by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for ice coverage.)

“One would probably say that the old record was obliterated,” Dr Lieser said.

An increase in sea-ice extent earlier in the week that appeared to have signalled an end to the melting phase now looks premature, with even smaller ice coverage still possible.

The switch from a sea-ice maximum around Antarctica to its annual low is “one of the biggest natural cycles we see in the world”, with as much as 90 per cent of the ice only a year old at the most, he said.

Reliable satellite records only go back to 1979, and it’s harder to access ice thickness compared with the North Pole, with Arctic ice mostly accessible from above or via submarine below.

In the southern winter of 2014, sea ice around Antarctica reached a record large extent. At the time, climate change sceptics were keen to highlight the increase in the south as a counterpoint to the more steadily decreasing Arctic ice.

Last winter, though, ice around Antarctica began thawing about a month earlier than normal. Minimum air temperatures have been breaking records daily since about early November in a region of the planet where global warming has been amongst the most rapid, Dr Lieser said. ‘Along came 2016’

“[Sea-ice] variability was typical of what we’d seen for the whole period [since 1979], but then along came 2016,” said Ian Simmonds, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. “It’s remarkable.”

The average ice coverage around Antarctica last year shrank 1.2 million square kilometres – or about the size of NSW, Tasmania and Victoria – compared with 2015, he said.

(See chart below from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, showing how rapidly ice coverage anomalies shifted.) Arctic too

Sea ice is now at record lows at both ends of the planet, exposing more of the dark seas to solar radiation, rather it being reflected back to space.

The lack of ice will likely add to the build-up in heat in the oceans that could hinder ice recovery in the south and accelerate the melt in the north as seasons shift towards winter and summer, respectively. Current #Arctic sea ice extent is a record low for the date (JAXA, 2/26) –> 36th new record low so far in 2017.

(https://t苏州夜场招聘/yI6Sgd5QoY) pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/3cSXW46y1x??? Zack Labe (@ZLabe) February 27, 2017

Comments Off on Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Oscars 2017: Moonlight won best picture (eventually), but is it actually any good?

Andre Holland as Kevin and Trevante Rhodes as Black on Moonlight. Alex Hibbert (left) as Chiron and Mahershala Ali as Juan.
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Mahershala Ali poses in the press room with the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Photo: Jordan Strauss

By now, the entire Western world knows they gave the best picture Oscar (briefly at least) to the wrong film on Monday. But what about the flipside of that equation? Did they eventually give it to the right one?

Most cinemagoers can’t answer that question because Moonlight is one of the least-seen best picture winners in Oscar history.

In , it has taken barely $1 million since opening on 26 screens a month ago. With the average n ticket costing $13.60, that’s about 74,000 paying customers.

In the US, it had taken $US23 million ($A30 million) by Oscar day. Their average ticket price is $US8.73, suggesting an audience of 2.63 million or so. Even so, that’s just 0.82 per cent of the population.

Only one best picture winner – The Hurt Locker, in 2010 – had done less business than Moonlight at the time of its win, a shade under $US15 million (worldwide, and mostly post-Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War film eventually crawled to $US49 million). La La Land, by contrast, has so far taken $US369 million.

In all the confusion and excitement over Monday’s stuff-up, it was easy to lose sight of how significant Moonlight’s win really was – and not just because of the money.

This is a morally and formally challenging movie about a young gay black man journeying from bullied child to troubled teen to gangsta. How many gay black men have you seen on film before? How many gay black gangsters?

The central character, Chiron (pronounced Shy-rone), is played by three different actors at three different ages: as a boy of eight or so, nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert); as a teenager (Ashton Sanders); and as a grown man who has taken the name Black (Trevante Rhodes).

All three performances are remarkable, though it was Mahershala Ali who won the best supporting actor Oscar for his turn as Juan, the Miami drug dealer who becomes a kind of father figure and, eventually, role model for the fatherless and near-enough motherless Little after rescuing him from a gang of neighbourhood bullies.

The story is structured in three acts (the screenplay was adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue; McCraney and director Barry Jenkins also won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay) but it is totally filmic, playing with framing, focus, light and sound to create a picture of dislocation, disorientation, fractured identity. The very structure of the thing helps us understand Chiron never had a chance to become whole.

Moonlight doesn’t glamorise the drug life, but it does probe beneath the cliches to suggest that sometimes a dealer may be something other than a monster (it is, though, a lot less forgiving of addicts, presumably because its crack-addicted mother is drawn so closely from McCraney’s and Jenkins’ own life experiences).

To return for a moment to the messy business of money: Moonlight reportedly cost just $1.5 million to make. It could hardly be at a greater remove from the bloated budgets and empty effects of so much Hollywood moviemaking. And at that price, it’s already looking like a canny bit of business for Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B, which has just collected its second best picture Oscar in four years (after 12 Years a Slave in 2014), and its fourth straight nomination in the category.

After two years of #oscarssowhite controversy, there was a whiff this year of an over-correction. Certainly the presence of Hidden Figures – crowd-pleaser though it is – among the best picture nominees was a surprise, and Fences was more deserving of a Tony than an Oscar (Viola Davis’ win was thoroughly deserved, though).

But there was nothing tokenistic about Moonlight’s success. It’s as bold, brave and innovative a piece of filmmaking as you’re likely to see this year.

All that’s left now is for people to do just that. See it.

Karl Quinn is on facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on twitter @karlkwin

Comments Off on The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

The new investment strategy that’s better than index funds

Core plus satellite could be a winning investment strategy. Photo: AP Photo/ESA/HOYou’ve probably come across the term “index tracking” – I’ve written about it extensively in this column.
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At its simplest, it’s buying the returns of the market cheaply. The idea has been around for a very long time, but it’s the advent of exchange traded funds (ETFs) that has made index investing popular.

ETFs track the returns of all sorts of markets and are listed on the n sharemarket with units in them bought and sold just like shares.

And they are cheap with management fees a fraction of a per cent.

However, there is a danger that anyone who buys an ETF that tracks the n sharemarket, for example, ends up investing in the 10 or so largest stocks by market capitalisation – the stocks that dominate our market.

The n sharemarket is top-heavy by international standards; a few large stocks at the top with a long tail of minnow stocks.

Investing in an ETF tracking the largest 200 n-listed companies means investing in the big banks and the big miners – hardly a diversified investment strategy.

But there is an idea called core plus satellite – where there’s a core of low-cost index trackers with satellites added – that may give investors the best solution of all.

The satellites could be those active managers who have a good chance of more than earning their fees as study after study shows that most don’t earn their fees.

They could be shares themselves – growth shares for those who are still accumulating their savings and want share price growth, or income stocks, the big dividend payers for those who need income.

I asked Tim Murphy, director of manager research at investment researcher Morningstar, how the strategy could work in practice.

He says the actual splits between core and satellite will depend on the asset class and the growth versus defensive split based on investors’ personal circumstances, which is why financial advice is recommended.

Murphy says, in terms of the satellites, funds that invest in smaller n companies have a better track record than other types of share funds in adding value after fees.

Most trustees of self managed super funds prefer to use direct investments, and especially listed investments rather than unlisted managed funds.

Of the n shares component, there could be a core of, say, 70 per cent and satellites worth 30 per cent, Murphy says.

Instead of ETFs, the core n shares exposure could be one of the big listed investment companies (LICs), such as n Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) or Argo Investments.

These big LICs pay fairly steady dividends. And while they are active managers, these older LICs are managed conservatively with costs that are comparable to ETFs.

Sometimes LIC share prices can get out of whack with the value of the underlying portfolio.

That means that the share price can move above or below the value of the portfolio holdings and so care has to be taken when buying and selling shares in them.

Follow John Collett on Twitter.

Comments Off on James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

James O’Connor stood down by Toulon over cocaine bust

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal. Photo: Dan MullanToulon owner Mourad Boudjellal says troubled former Wallaby James O’Connor has “problems” and will be suspended for testing positive to cocaine but does not want to “prolong” the process of deciding his future at the club.
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Early on Wednesday, it was announced that O’Connor had been stood down for a week by the club following the incident that resulted in O’Connor and former All Black Ali Williams being arrested for an alleged drug deal outside a Paris nightclub.

The 26-year-old met with Boudjallel on Tuesday (local time) and was informed of the decision with his future to be decided by the Top 14 club next week.

Reports translated from French newspaper Le Figaro quoted Boudjellal as saying he was not going to “renew” O’Connor’s contract, however the actual word he used was “prolong” and in the context of contract negotiations.

“Let’s say that for its extension of contract, it has relaunched the debate. We are not going to prolong it,” Boudjellal told Le Figaro. “We’re already going to try to manage this season. But I do not want to overwhelm him.”

Boudjellal’s interview suggests he has not a made final decision as to whether O’Connor will depart Toulon, but made it clear he was unhappy with the incident that may have spoiled any chance of a Wallabies comeback.

“He is a kid who has problems, who is 26 years old,” Boudjellal said. “I will not kill him either. Whatever decision I would take, I will consider everything. I’m not here to destroy him.

“He will not escape a lay-off, of course. Then we’ll make a decision. There are two different cases. On one side we have a 36-year-old (Ali Williams) whose career is over, and on the other a 26-year-old whose career, I hope for him, is not over.

“James made a mistake, and it is difficult to defend. What shocks me most is that we have a Saturday game that is very important ??? and I have a player who was in a nightclub in front of the Arc de Triomphe at 3 o’clock in the morning with I do not know how many grams of alcohol in the blood and who, in addition, consumes cocaine.”

Boudjellal said he would make it his mission to get to the bottom of what happened as well as suggesting that cocaine was being preferred by players in the French provincial competition to alcohol.

“I still want to know who knew the dealer,” Boudjellal said. “I really feel, and it is only me, that in many clubs, cocaine has been invited a little in the festive environment. And that’s a bad thing. We had the alcohol stage, now it’s a step up because cocaine is festive, it disappears easily. It has to stop. So I want to know if it is an isolated case or if there are other players who like to party.

“It’s my personal feeling. I do not have any proof, but I feel that it has been a bit of a challenge in the rugby world because alcohol is perhaps not enough. I do not know.

“I would remain surprised if this is an isolated case.”

Meanwhile on Tuesday night, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika weighed in on the issue on Fox Sports’ Super Rugby: Kick & Chase programme, saying: “It’s disappointing for him.”

“(But) we’ve got to take the football out of it for a second and say ‘he’s obviously a good lad deep down. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in this game.

“If he wasn’t, he’d be off doing other stuff. He wouldn’t want to play footy, be in a team sport, have the camaraderie around him being in that.

“So there’s a good lad in there somewhere and you’ve just got to leave the footy out of it for a minute and let the guy get the assistance he needs to get back personally first of all and then see what happens with that with footy.”

Comments Off on National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017YOUR PHOTOS

National Red Balloon Day 2017 | YOUR PHOTOS centralschoolofdance Today our Summer School students visited the Charlestown Fire Station to take some photos to prepare for #nationalredballoonday What a worthy cause to support- our friendly Fireys are so amazing! #csod #ballerina #love #dance #dancer #gorgeous #firefighter #amazing
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primechildrensdentalcare National Red Balloon Day 🎈🎈🎈#thankyoufireys #nationalredballoonday2017 #firefighter #thankyouforyourservice

jennakate_b Happy Red Balloon Day 🎈 #redballoonday #tohonourourfirefighters #youngestrecruit #offtochildcare #bitcute

kate_hodgson Thank you #nationalredballoonday #nrbd #simplewaytosaythanks #thankyoufireys

jwimbs Massive shout out to @glenw and all the #firies for their tireless work for the community #nationalredballoonday 🎈🎈#qfes

evergreenemily #thankyoufireys #qfes #nationalredballoonday #firefighter #myniecelily 😁🚒💦🔥

kimbadistrictcouncil Today is National Red Balloon day🎈🎈🎈a day to say thank you to our fireys and also to our local businesses who support their volunteer efforts during work hours. Our community thanks you for your service and encourages any community members that would like to know more about volunteering to speak with a CFS member. #nationalredballoonday2017 #thankyoufireys #thankyoulocalbusinesses #countryfireservice #cfs #redballoons

thepurpleempire Red balloon day 🎈🎈🎈#redballoonday #thankyoufireys #thebasin #cfa #99redballoonsgoby

elizabethleecanberra Today is #redballoonday🎈a day to say #thankyoufireys for your bravery and service when we need it most

luc11e Happy National Red Balloon Day 🎈 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈#thankyoufireys #boxhillnelsonrfs #thankyou #volunteers #morningsinthehills #nswrfs #nswruralfireservice

ambogeoff Well today I’m thanking all the great people I have met over the last 12 months! What an awesome bunch of people who are my 2nd family! Last year was a fun ride – bring on 2017! #redballoonday #thankyoufiries #nationalredballoonday 🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒🎈🚒

luc11e Morning shout out to my fellow RFS volunteers on National Red Balloon Day 🎈 #thankyoufireys #volunteers #thankyou #boxhillnelsonrfs #nswrfs

justkath4 It’s #nationalredballoonday2017 today – February 28 !! Shouted myself a stubby holder – ordered last week and arrived in the post today – just in time !!! Cheers to all the #Fireys ❤️️ Love your work !!! More #CFSVolunteers are needed always.. have a think about signing up ✨👍✨

lego_qfes Happy Red Balloon Day to all those firefighters out there! #qfes #rfs #rfbaq #rfsq #qldfire #lego #lego_qfes #redballoonday @qldfire

annamayde Happy face! Messy moosh and all 😜 (She enjoyed that red velvet cupcake!) Celebrating Red Balloon Day – thanking our local firies for all that they do! #redballoonday #thankyoufiries #messymoosh #happyface #redvelvetcupcakes #proudofdaddy #localheroes

thepurpleempire Red balloon day 🎈🎈🎈#redballoonday #thankyoufireys #thebasin #cfa #99redballoonsgoby

cfa_district20 🎈🎈National Red Balloon Day February 28th 2017🎈🎈 A day that thanks our heroic Aussie Fire Fighters. Please join us in saying THANK YOU FIREYS. 100% of profits go directly back to Fire Services 🚒 #nationalredballoonday #firefighters #thanks #cfadistrict20 #every1comeshome

noica_x I was gonna post this tomorrow when February kicks in, but today is just as hot and windy as next month will be. National Red Balloon Day is on 28 Feb. If you enjoy heroes and dancers as much as you enjoy staying safe and alive, please support our brave firewomen and men! You can buy red balloons 🎈 from www.nationalredballoonday苏州模特佳丽招聘 and learn more. These delightful ballerinas from @centralschoolofdance visited their local fireys to spread the word and also remind you to stay hydrated in this ridiculous summer! PS: My birthday is on the 6th, buy me a red balloon! Or maybe give your valentine one. #dance #ballet #nationalredballoonday #firefighters #ballerinas #summer

TweetFacebookNational Red Balloon Day is held annuallyto honour the work of n professional and volunteer firefighters.

Those who wish to say ‘thanks’ are encouraged to put up red balloons on letterboxes, fences and business windows on February 28 each year.

Scroll through the gallery above to see how people paid tributeto their local fireys in 2017.

Comments Off on NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

NRL concussion: James Graham changes tune on head knocks

James Graham after being knocked out against the Roosters in 2015. Picture: Getty ImagesBulldogs captain James Graham says players will continue to be frustrated when they are forced from the field with head knocksbut believes the NRL should be laudedfor trying to protect them from themselves.
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The handling of concussions is a major talking point after James McManus began legal action against former club Newcastlefor allegedly breaching its duty of care to him in a series of incidents.

Graham has been a vocal critic of the NRL’s concussion protocols, believing players rather than club medicos are in the best position to make a call on whether they return to the fray. The English international said in March 2015: “Why does a doctor tell me I can’t go back on? Why can’t that be my choice?”

But he has been reading the latest medical and scientific literature and evolving his perspectives on concussion. Hesaid much of the research was ambiguous and incomplete, but the NRL should be praised for protecting players whose instinct was to stay onthe field.

He said players “possibly” needed to be protected from themselves.

“Fundamentally I support the NRL’s stance on it and the protocols that are in place now, but I would like to see certain aspects of it improve in terms of the testing to get back on,” he said.

Some experts have publicly urgedhead office to appoint independent doctors to screen concussed players, but Graham said it could be difficult for unfamiliar doctors to tell if a player was behaving unusually.

“One of the things with concussion is the personality change,”Graham said. “So if you’ve got an independent doctor who has no relationship with that player, how are they going to make a judgement call on if their personality has changed?

“The doctor at the Bulldogs, I have a good relationship with. He knows my personality, so I think he can make a call more on that than, ‘Can you balance on one foot for 20 seconds [with your eyes closed]?’I couldn’t do that [now].”

In a quest to garner more data on concussions, the UKRugbyHealthproject, led by Leeds Beckett University, is expanding to . Concussion researchers includingHeadsafefounder Dr Adrian Cohen are encouraging retired players to become part of the research project.

“The long-term effects of participation in sport need to be understood and acknowledged in order that we can care for players today and into the future,”Dr Cohen said.

Graham said there were many grey areas when it came to research into grey matter.

“There is so much we don’t know about concussion,” Graham said. “Someone will see that movie with Will Smith in it and they all of a sudden become an expert on concussion when a lot of facts in that movie [are in dispute].

“Not many people know about the genetic side of being predisposed to concussions, so it’s hard to label everyone the same. It’s not black and white, concussion.I personally don’t believe it’s as easy as that.

“Having said that, you’ve got to have safety first, otherwise you’re going down a slippery slope. What’s good for the goose is not necessarily what is good for the gander. You have to protect all the players.

“I’d like to see it case by case, but I don’t think it’s as easy as that. It’s a very difficult subject for people to tackle.It’s a difficult situation to get right when the stakes are so high.

“We all know about the recent press about Canterbury and the stakes and the pressure that brings. Then you have a player who may or not be concussed.

“If you bring in certain protocols that stop certain things happening, that’s got to be a good thing.”