Archive for October, 2018

USA win would surpass Australia II

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Oracle Team USA Oracle Team USA
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2013 America’s Cup: Team Oracle USA makes it 8-8Sport’s greatest chokesAmerica’s Cup a billionaire’s game, John Bertrand says

If Australian James Spithill and his crew on the America’s Cup defender, Oracle Team USA, win tomorrow’s decider on San Francisco Bay after tying the series this morning (AEST), their comeback would better that of Australia II in their historic win in 1983.

That was the view on Wednesday of veteran Australian sailing campaigner Syd Fisher.

It was Fisher, 86, who gave fellow Sydneysider Spithill, now aged 34, his first break in the America’s Cup when he appointed Spithill, who was then aged 20, as the youngest ever helmsman for an America’s Cup on Young Australia for his 2000 campaign.

Fisher, a veteran of five America’s Cups (1983, 1987, 1992, 1995 and 2000), has been as surprised as anyone by how Oracle Team USA have clawed their way back from the brink of losing the Auld Mug when 8-1 down to draw level at 8-8 with Team New Zealand. More remarkable, to do so Oracle Team USA have had to win 10 races after starting at minus two points as a penalty for an infraction in the 2012 lead-up series.

Fisher said a victory by Oracle Team USA in the 19th and deciding race scheduled for Thursday morning (AEST) would surpass the feat of Australia II in 1983 when – on the very same day 30 years ago, September 26, 1983 – the Australians fought back from being 3-1 down to beat American Dennis Connors’ Liberty 4-3 in the seven race series and become the first non-American Cup winners in its then 132 years existence.

“That’s a comeback, isn’t it?” Fisher told Fairfax Media on Wednesday morning after Oracle Team USA won the 17th and 18th races to take the Cup to its one-off decider.

“Spithill and the boys have got the boat moving This is really a comeback …

“[Winning the America’s Cup now] would beat the 1983 comeback, after coming back from the deficit they had. It was unimaginable actually, that they could do it.”

With so much now at stake after the emotional and physical toil of having won the last seven races to draw level, how does Fisher believe Spithill will prepare his crew?

Fisher, who says one of Spithill qualities is that he is “cool and has a lot of common sense”, will know they can’t bank on their momentum of success getting them home.

Momentum is on the side of Oracle Team USA that has forced the Dean Barker skippered Team New Zealand crew to sit agonisingly on match point for one week.

But come the final race, says Fisher, all that will matter is performance on the day.

“You just have to tell the crew to take one thing at a time,” Fisher said.

“You might be having a bit of trouble, but you have to deal with each thing as they come up. What I think he will do is get the crew to realise, ‘This is a race. This is the one we have got to win. We won’t worry about the past, and we won’t worry about the future. We have to win this race, the one that we are in right now.”

Twitter: @rupertguinness

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

BMX champ Caroline Buchanan hints at track cycling switch

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

World BMX champion Caroline Buchanan returned to a welcome-home surprise at Canberra Airport on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied Caroline Buchanan shows off her newest World Championship gold medal. Photo: Charles Robertson
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She’s a five-time world champion at 22, winning her two most recent titles in different cycling disciplines in the space of 56 days.

But Canberra’s BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan has signalled her long-term ambition to become Australia’s fastest woman on two wheels, teasing she may switch to track cycling after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Buchanan returned to Canberra on Wednesday morning to be greeted by friends, family and supporters after a hectic and successful two months overseas.

Last weekend’s victory at the mountain bike four-cross world titles in Austria – her third after wins in 2009 and 2010 – came after she won her maiden BMX crown in Auckland in July.

Crammed in between was a fifth place at the world mountain bike downhill titles in South Africa.

Buchanan was world BMW time trial champion last year, making her a gold medal favourite at the 2012 London Olympics, where she finished fifth.

While Buchanan’s focus is on Olympic redemption and gold at Rio in the BMX, she wants to continue challenging herself across various disciplines in a bid to become one of the greatest Australian riders of her generation.

Buchanan revealed she was contemplating a future switch to track cycling, currently dominated by Australia’s London Olympics golden girl Anna Meares.

‘‘I’m definitely hungry for Rio [BMX] since London and that’s still the ultimate goal, but there’s a lot more goals,’’ Buchanan said.

‘‘To win these two world titles and to get fifth in the downhill and be so close there … there’s many other cycling disciplines I could have a go at.

‘‘I’d love to be able to dominate cycling in general, not just one event.

‘‘My dad comes from a track cycling background, so that may be something I do in the future.

‘‘As you get older your endurance abilities get higher, so that would be something more I could look to, less explosive events and more endurance based.’’

Buchanan was blown away to see about 50 of her most loyal supporters on hand to welcome her back to Canberra.

‘‘I walked down the stairs and I normally don’t get nervous, but I got pretty nervous and was blushing,’’ Buchanan said.

‘‘There was a whole wall of people in green and yellow balloons and my little French bulldog Diesel ran through the doors at the airport and almost up the escalators.

‘‘Now that I’m home and have two weeks here, everything’s sinking in a bit more.’’

Buchanan’s next event is a BMX race in the Caribbean in October as the countdown to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics begins.

‘‘The the biggest thing I’ve learnt is not to limit myself by the norm or what I should be doing,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s almost crazy for me to look at now, let’s do three separate sports, completely different in 56 days at opposite ends of the world and fit another race in Canada in between.

‘‘I have learnt that I’m capable of more than I know.’’

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

Koala detection dog killed

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Source: Merimbula News Online
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Jim Shields, of Tura Beach is mourning the death of his friend and co-worker, Oscar who was killed after being hit by a car as he worked to save a koala population in Port Macquarie, NSW.

To most people Oscar, was just another lively black Labrador, albeit a very adorable one, but to the few people who had seen him at work, he was very special, and truly one of a kind.

Oscar could smell a koala at 200 metres and when he did he let his owner, Jim, know without attacking or chasing either the koala or any other wildlife.

As far as Jim knows, Oscar was the only dog trained to find koalas and as people become more concerned about the plight of koalas, Oscar had more and more work from Rural Fire Service groups, prior to a burn, developers, prior to building and councils wanting to expand housing areas.

It was in this latter capacity that Oscar had been employed at Port Macquarie.

Jim said: “We were working in Port Macquarie, finding koalas or “Katies” in front of the excavators and harvesting machines making a new housing development. This was one of the conditions of approval from council – actually, they only required an ecologist to stand by for a run to the Port Macquarie Koala hospital – I was determined we would find them all before the machines did.”

It was while Oscar and Jim were attempting to remove a koala caught in a road way near their accommodation at the Hastings River that tragedy struck. The koala was blinded by the headlights of oncoming cars.

Jim said: “When Oscar picked up the scent of the koala, he ran onto the road way and barked once. The koala ran back to the roadway and escaped up a tree. He probably couldn’t see it in the glare because he put his nose down and did a perfect bend toward the koala. He raced straight forward much faster than I ever could have. He barked once as he hit the road way and the koala ran back to the roads edge. The approaching car hit Oscar – the driver truly didn’t have time to react. The following car stopped and I ran out to Oscar. He was still alive and tried to get up when he saw me. I stroked him and held his head; he barked twice more and died.”

Jim started training Oscar when he was eight weeks old.

“We started with detection. All his toys had koala scent on them, thanks to help from Potoroo Palace so the smell was associated as a good smell every time we played with Oscar.”

The training took over three years and included help from Gary Jackson, the Brisbane dog trainer who became world famous when he discovered a dog could detect cancer at an early stage.

Jim said: “He was more than just a dog, to me and everybody he met. I try to model my human relations and work ethic on Oscar – he was always glad to see you, and he was always ready to go to work.

“I could go on and on about the marvellous things he did and the fine dog he was. Oscar imprinted on me, wanted nothing more than to hang out with me, and was my constant companion.”

Oscar was buried privately under an old growth tallow wood tree, a primary feed tree of the koala, Jim said.

Oscar, believed to be the only dog trained for koala detection.

Diocese acted on wishes of clergy abused victims: special inquiry hears

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

MAITLAND Newcastle Catholice Diocese officials should not be ‘‘unfairly’’ criticised for their handling of clergy abuse when they always acted in accordance with the wishes of victims, who did not want to report priests to the police, an inquiry in Newcastle has been told.
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Lachlan Gyles, SC, for the Diocese, told the Special Commission of Inquiry this morning no adverse findings should be made against it as officials had not obstructed police inquiries nor actively discouraged victims of Father Denis McAlinden or Father James Fletcher from reporting their abuse.

There was no clear evidence as to why McAlinden had moved about 30 times between parishes and overseas over several decades, Mr Gyles said.

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen SC interjected to question whether the moves were made because McAlinden feared his ‘‘indiscretions with children’’ were about to be exposed.

But Mr Gyles said other possible explanations for the moves, and for claims he was ‘‘run out of town’’ from Forster-Tuncurry, were that McAlinden was known to be restless, had a temper, old-fashioned doctrinal beliefs and may well have been ‘‘disliked’’ in the communities he resided.

‘‘[There] seem to be very few redeeming features,’’ Ms Cunneen said of McAlinden.

Mr Gyles said the reluctance of victims to report abuse to police meant the Church dealt with their complaints internally.

Even today, abuse victims were reticent to come forward and ‘‘expose one’s self to public scrutiny’’, he said.

As well, ‘‘one could not underestimate’’ the capacity for abusers like McAlinden and Fletcher to ‘‘ingratiate themselves with persons both in and out of the Diocese’’ and ‘‘hide what they were up to’’.

Mr Gyles warned the commission against seeking to find ‘‘scapegoats’’.

He also said the abuse matters before the commission had occurred within the diocese at a time other institutions in society were also grappling with internal abuse allegations, as observed from the recent hearings of the national Royal Commission.

The Catholic Church ‘‘does not have a mortgage’’ on child abuse, Mr Gyles said.

The inquiry is continuing.

China at the crossroads

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

China once evoked mysteries of the orient: opium, corruption and the ineffable other. Today it is more substantial, its economic might visible in the endless ream of steel it rolls out for itself and the world, as well as in the massive iron ore developments of the Pilbara.
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Yet it remains a conundrum. How long can it sustain its extraordinary rise? How long can it keep churning out infrastructure and housing? And, perhaps most particularly for us over here, how long can it keep buying Australian bulk commodities hand over fist?

The bearish school, led by Professor Michael Pettis of Peking University, argues that to keep its high growth rates going China has had to engage in a form of long-term “financial repression”. By that he means that interest rates have been held at artificially low levels for a very long period to enable banks to keep lending to unproductive enterprises and governments, especially those engaged in building infrastructure.

This has led to surging investment and very high levels of growth. But ultimately it’s unsustainable, and evidence for its eventual undoing can be found in the declining growth on each borrowed dollar that China receives.

The more optimistic school of thought sees China’s high investment as the natural course for an economy in the early stages of capitalist reform. High rates of urbanisation and infrastructure investment, the bulls argue, will moderate as the economy moves up the value chain.

Turning Japanese

So who’s right, and what does it mean for Australian investors? Let’s start by taking in some history.

The rise of China began in the ’70s with the embrace of capitalism. The reform era, as it is known, brought private sector dynamism from the West together with the most abundant and cheap labour in the world. What followed was an explosion of economic growth that persists to this day.

This was not some miracle, however. In fact, China simply followed a script written by Japan and then Korea decades earlier. Open up to trade and inwards investment, allow labour to be mobilised by foreign capital, and invest heavily in urbanisation and infrastructure to modernise the economy and unleash its productivity potential.

In short, it is not difficult to evoke powerful growth in an underdeveloped economy. Many nations have succeeded at various times, including much of South America, Southern Africa and most of Asia. But after a certain point, when labour supply gets tight and incomes have risen materially, it gets much harder to keep things going.

Rising wages reduce competitiveness and formerly dynamic but labour-intensive export industries begin to wane before the economy has made the jump to the more sophisticated value-adding activities in exports and services that are the hallmark of developed economies.

Secret sauce

Far fewer nations have made the leap from fast early-phase development economics to fast post-middle-income development. Japan and Korea are outstanding examples, but many more have failed.

The secret sauce for those that made a successful transition was that they liberalised capital markets. These in turn prioritise returns on investment, shifting it to soft infrastructure like education and health, thereby driving labour to higher value-adding industries.

Returning to our central question then, the two schools of thought are much closer together than they appear. Whichever way you look at it, the next phase of Chinese development requires the same basic reforms – most particularly liberalised finance and a shift to soft infrastructure investment.

The difference lies in how well people think it will work. The China bears see growth falling quickly to developed economy levels, while the bulls see growth at 7 per cent or more for another decade.

Importantly, however, for Australian investors, the outcome is more clear cut. If the pessimists are right, Chinese growth will slow along with infrastructure investment and commodity prices will fall. If the optimists are right, fixed asset investment will still fall, to be replaced by other forms of less commodity-intensive growth.

Either way, China will need less commodities; and, either way, Australia and its miners will lose.

Mixed signals

So, is it a no-brainer to sell miners? Not quite. China is sending very mixed signals about when it intends to seriously embark on the reform process. The nation appears to be bitterly divided between the reform-minded new government of Li Keqiang and those interests aligned with former President Jiang Zemin. Zemin is heavily associated with the Shanghai elite that benefited spectacularly from the old development model and will lose if economic liberalisation is embraced.

If the reformers win and the rebalancing project begins in earnest, China may continue to enjoy high or moderate growth, but (combined with the existing supply deluge already pushing prices down) we’re likely to see large falls in bulk commodity prices from mid-2014.

If the reformers lose, China will lurch from stimulus to stimulus, supporting demand and prices for bulk commodities for another few years, before it ends in a Chinese financial crisis.

Be prepared

Predicting the timeline for these events is impossible. If China postpones its adjustment, earnings for the miners could still be good for another few years and, given low valuations, a decent rally is possible if markets focus on the cyclical over the structural. The Australian dollar may also stabilise at current levels until China’s structural challenge reasserts itself.

But over the medium and long term, the probable outcome is that the Chinese reformers will prevail – either that or crisis will ensue sooner or later. Either way, the outlook doesn’t look bright for our mining industry, our economy and our Aussie dollar.

As always, though, economic strife can be the source of opportunity rather than disaster for your investment portfolio, so long as you take appropriate precautions – as we’ve been recommending to our members.

We can’t put it better than the legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius, who said: “Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”

This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 282288).

By David Llewellyn-Smith of Macro Business, in conjunction with Intelligent Investor Share Advisor. BusinessDay readers can enjoy a free trial offer to Intelligent Investor Share Advisor, with access to 18 current Buy recommendations and four special reports featuring stock picks from some of Australia’s best fund managers, such as Kerr Neilson, Geoff Wilson and Erik Metanomski. For more Intelligent Investor articles click here.

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