Monthly Archives: June 2019

2019
06/15

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No Australian Open ticket for banned John Tomic

The Bosnia-born former taxi driver was sentenced to eight months in prison by a Spanish court last month for head-butting Frenchman Thomas Drouet in the face and breaking his nose.

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Tomic was not required to serve jail time because his sentence was under two years in length.

The ATP banned Tomic’s accreditation for all tour events earlier this year and will decide whether to lift the ban next May.

“The grand slams as well as the ATP work together on this,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told reporters at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

“The rule is he’s not accredited and does not have permission to purchase a ticket.

“And the systems we have in place – John (or) anyone else who is banned, they are not allowed on the grounds and our security personnel will take care of that appropriately.”

Bernard Tomic has stood by his father throughout the controversy, and criticised the ATP for being quick to impose the ban.

At Wimbledon, the 20-year-old said he would ask tournament officials to allow his father to be courtside at his matches but the ban remained in place.

Tiley said any similar request from the local favourite would be given short shrift.

“It still falls within the one-year ban so regardless of what happens at the Australian Open our position will hold,” he said.

Tomic, ranked world number 55 but touted a future top 10 player, broke through for his maiden ATP title in Sydney in January, but has struggled for fitness and form during his father’s exile.

Apart from an encouraging run to the fourth round at Wimbledon, Tomic was knocked out at the first hurdle at Roland Garros and the second at Flushing Meadows.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

2019
06/15

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Soft drink demand behind land grabs: Oxfam

Communities in third world nations are being evicted from their land by sugar growers who supply food and drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, charity group Oxfam claims.

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And the industry leaders are not doing enough to stop the land grabs, the international non-governmental organisation says.

A new report released on Wednesday pinpoints examples of land grabs and disputes between local populations and suppliers in countries such as Brazil and Cambodia.

The report, Nothing sweet about it: How sugar fuels land grabs, links the suppliers to some of the world’s biggest multinational companies, including Coca-Cola.

In one example, Oxfam believes it has evidence that a fishing community in Brazil is fighting for access to their land and fishing grounds after being kicked out in 1988 by a sugar mill.

Oxfam claims another 200 families in Cambodia are fighting for land they were evicted from in 2006 to make way for a sugar plantation, which supplies a company that sells sugar to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s manufacturers.

Oxfam Australia acting public policy manager Kelly Dent said it had gone largely unnoticed the $50 billion a year sugar trade was fuelling the land grab issue.

“Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are the worlds biggest producers and buyers of sugar, but they are doing little to ensure the sugar in their products is not grown on land grabbed from poor communities,” she said.

“We are calling on them to join us in demanding that Coke, Pepsi and Associated British Foods act now to stamp out land grabs.

“If they act, they could transform the industry.”

Oxfam says global sugar production is forecasted to increase by 25 per cent by 2020.

2019
06/15

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Grab Indonesian opportunities, HSBC says

An international bank has warned Australian businesses they risk missing the boat if they don’t seize investment opportunities in Indonesia.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a business forum in Jakarta this week that Australia’s two-way trade with New Zealand – with just four million people – is greater than with Indonesia with its 250 million people.

“Obviously, there’s plenty of room to improve,” he said.

HSBC head of commercial banking in Indonesia Amanda Murphy says it’s significant that the prime minister chose Jakarta as his first official overseas trip.

“Australia is still not in the top five trading partners for Indonesia,” she told a briefing on Wednesday.

Indonesia is one of the five key markets highlighted by the Australia Asian Century taskforce.

Ms Murphy says Indonesia sees infrastructure as a key driver for its economic growth.

“Ports, rail, roads, while they have improved or are improving, all require development to be able to reach its full economic potential,” she said.

At the same time, consumer spending has held up well, even though economic growth is expected to have slipped to five per cent by the end of 2013, down from 6.2 per cent at the the of 2012.

She blamed weaker export values from lower commodity prices for the slower growth, although HSBC expects gross domestic product to recover to six per cent by the end of 2014.

She says as Indonesia’s middle class continues to increase its purchasing power, there will be more money floating around for better health care, education and food.

HSBC head of Australian commercial banking James Hogan says it’s important that Australia embraces these opportunities.

“Given the huge potential for Indonesia and how attractive it is to many countries, if Australia doesn’t engage we can be sure others will,” he said.

He said that while there has been an improved involvement in the country, Australia has “punched below its weight both in terms of investment and trade”.

However, Ms Murphy warned that doing business in Indonesia was different to anywhere else because it is entirely relationship driven.

She said you can’t just go to Indonesia, handover a business card and return home, send emails and think everything will be OK.

“It won’t work,” she said.

“Come often, come more than you thing you ought to, and then come a bit more than that.”

2019
06/15

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Uranium miner making further cuts

Uranium miner Paladin Energy is cutting more jobs and reducing executive pay and other spending in response to continued falls in the price of the nuclear energy source.

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The Perth-based company, which operates two uranium mines in Africa, says it will reduce the number of head office staff in the current financial year, and cut the base salaries of managers by 10 per cent.

The announcement sent its shares higher, gaining five cents, or 10.4 per cent, to 53 cents.

Paladin already had made 14 head office staff redundant, in 2012/13, leaving 45 in administration roles.

No number has been given for the latest round of job cuts.

Executive pay was also reduced in 2012/13, with managing Director John Borshoff’s remuneration of $2.5 million less than half the amount he received in the previous year.

Paladin made a loss of $US420.9 million in 2012/13, due to massive writedowns on the value of its assets caused by the weak uranium price.

Its corporate and exploration costs are to be reduced by 24 per cent in 2013/14, or $US10.8 million ($A11.53 million).

Discretionary capital expenditure will be cut by $US12.4 million ($A13.23 million) in the next two financial years.

Costs at the Kayelekera mine will be slashed by 22 per cent over the next two financial years, while costs at Langer Heinrich will be reduced by 15 per cent, Paladin said.

The new cost reductions “have now become even more pertinent” the company said on Wednesday, due to “further incremental weakening of the uranium spot price”.

But the price falls do not detract from the very strong fundamentals of uranium in the medium and long term, it said.

Paladin is also negotiating the sale of a minority stake in the Langer Heinrich mine.

2019
06/15

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Wild Tassie weather blacks out 10,000

Ten thousand people have been left without electricity after wild storms lashed northern Tasmania, blowing trees onto power lines and causing flash flooding.

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A cold front has brought heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 140km/h, leaving many with a lengthy wait for power to be restored.

At one point 16,000 customers were affected, while winds and lightning forced energy company Aurora to stand down crews for safety reasons.

With conditions easing late on Wednesday, crews were scrambling to attend 800 jobs logged throughout the day.

“There is the possibility that some customers will be without power tonight,” spokesman Ben Lohberger told AAP.

“There’s not much we can do about it with the weather and safety issues and the volume of calls we’re getting.”

Flights were grounded at Devonport’s airport and delays experienced at Launceston due to unsafe cross-winds.

The Spirit of Tasmania ferry docked an hour and a half late after seasick passengers had to wait for a lull in conditions that produced winds of more than 50 knots and five-metre seas on the approach to Devonport.

The fourth stage of the Tour of Tasmania cycling race was cancelled due to safety concerns after an initial delay when competitors were unable to make it to the start.

Several roads were blocked, including the arterial Bass Highway, and the state’s rail freight was suspended, while the State Emergency Service attended dozens of callouts.

“They’re ranging from minor flood inundation to trees down over driveways and roofs and damage to things like sheds that have been blown about in the wind,” spokesperson Mhairi Revie said.

Late on Wednesday, the SES had issued a minor flood warning for the Huon River in the state’s south.

Severe weather warnings remained in place for much of the state’s north but the Bureau of Meteorology said conditions were set to ease.

“The rain band should clear out past Flinders Island by about 10 o’clock tonight,” forecaster Anna Forrest said.

“So (there will be) a gradual improvement but it will get cold.

“What little shower activity is around could actually be falling as snow (to 800m).”