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  1. Dollar ‘spooked’ to six-week low

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    December 10, 2018 by admin

    Concerns about the cancelling or mothballing of some of Australia’s biggest mining projects have begun to take their toll on the Australian dollar, with the currency hitting a six-week low today against the greenback.
    Nanjing Night Net

    That’s the view of some of Australia’s most respected currency strategists, who also believe that an improved outlook for Europe has reduced demand for the dollar’s so-called safe haven status.

    The dollar fell to $US1.0241 this morning, down from $US1.0258 yesterday, a figure not seen since July 25.

    It comes as the trade-weighted index fell to 76.6 overnight, the lowest since June 29. The index is a measurement of the dollar’s value when compared to a basket of currencies of Australia’s most important trading partners.

    “There are a number of factors but I think the most potent is this quite intense focus in the financial press on mining projects being cancelled or delayed,” Robert Rennie, Westpac chief currency strategist, said.

    “Then [European Central Bank president] Mario Draghi turned around overnight, in what was supposed to be a closed meeting, to say that the ECB could buy one-year, two-year, or even three-year bonds, and that there’s very little monetary financing effect at all in what they’re doing.”

    Mr Draghi’s comments were a sign that there are positive developments afoot in Europe, which weakens the case of those who believe the Australian dollar has become a haven, Mr Rennie said.

    “What’s the Australian dollar becoming a safe haven from? If it’s Europe, then why do you need a safe haven if Europe is about to address its issues?”

    Commonwealth Bank foreign exchange economist Peter Dragicevich said the focus on falls in commodity prices and global concerns about the Asian growth story, particularly China, were having an effect.

    “You’re also getting a lot of headlines about Australia’s capital expenditure story, and concerns about that. So I think the market sentiment is just a little bit negative,” Mr Dragicevich said.

    “[But] we don’t think the fall in the dollar is overly bearish. Our forecasts have been for the Aussie to be at $US1.03 by the end of September for a number of months, so we did expect it to come under some pressure.”

    Mr Draghi told the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament overnight that the ECB would not be breaking European Union law if it bought bonds from member states.

    His comments come just days before the ECB meets on Thursday.

    “There is a lot of expectation in the market ahead of the ECB meeting,” Mr Dragicevich said. “[Markets are hoping] the ECB will provide a lot of detail about what they plan to do, and how they plan to buy those bonds.”

    It comes as the Moody’s rating agency moved the EU’s triple-A credit onto a negative outlook overnight.

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


  2. Road to nowhere: NSW transport plan falls short

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    December 10, 2018 by admin

    A NEW plan for the state’stransport system confirms regional NSW needs new roads, bridges, buses and trainsbut fails to reveal when the projects will be rolled out or how they will befunded.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The draft plan, releasedtoday, has been largely devoted to strategies to alleviate congestion stranglingthe Sydney transport network.

    However, a small part of the 370-pageplan outlines future transport needs for growing regional cities, as well as thechallenges small towns will face to retain viable public transport services.

    Most metropolitan or regional projectsare listed as medium-to-long-term aspirations (list below), meaning they willnot be built for at least five or possibly up to 20 years from now.

    The report recommended thepreservation of land for the proposed Bells Line Expressway over the BlueMountains but stopped short of listing the project as even a long-termpriority.

    It also highlighted the needto replace dozens of timber bridges before roads could accommodate heavyfreight vehicles.

    A fund reserved for roadimprovement projects that would improve travel times and reliability has been floatedfor the Hunter region, the Central Coast and the Illawarra.

    In Sydney, the plan endorsedfour major motorway projects: the M5 East freeway expansion, the M4 extensionfeaturing a tunnel under the inner west, the F6 to the Sutherland Shire, andthe F3 to M2 link in northern Sydney. A second harbour rail crossing would be a‘long-term’ initiative.

    As for how projects would befunded, the plan advocates “efficient public sector operatingmodels”, “smarter project procurement”, “consideration ofthe benefits of more efficient road user charges” for trucks and motorwayusers, unspecified “value capture” from major transport investments,and “identifying future funding opportunities by working with NSW Treasury”.

    The draft NSW Long TermTransport Master Plan will be followed by a final plan in November. A separateplan, the State Infrastructure Strategy, will be presented to the governmentthis month by its advisory body, Infrastructure NSW. It is unclear how theplans will relate.

    Nearly 2.9 million people live in regional NSW.

    Each day, people in regional area make around 7.5 milliontrips – 90 per cent by car.

    Regional buses carry over 5.7 million passengers a yearwhile CountryLink transports about 1.9 million rail passengers a year.

    WHAT THE PLAN MEANS FOR YOUR AREA

    NORTHERN RIVERS

    Short-term

    Complete duplication of thePacific Highway and widening works and upgrades on the Bruxner Highway. Completethe Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor investigation.

    Medium-to-long-term

    Additional crossing of theClarence River at Grafton. Tabulam Bridge across the Clarence River identifiedfor replacement.

    MID-NORTH COAST

    Short-term

    Complete duplication of the Pacific Highway through theregion. Complete upgrades to sections of the Oxley Highway between PortMacquarie and Wauchope.

    Medium-to-long-term

    Bridge over Sportsman Creek Bridge at Lawrence upgraded. ConstructCoffs Harbour bypass.

    NEW ENGLAND

    Short-term

    Upgrade the New England Highway near Tamworth.Complete upgrades to New England Highway at Bolivia Hill south of Tenterfield. Additionalovertaking lanes on the Newell Highway. Complete pavement reconstruction of theNewell Highway between Narrabri and Moree. Deliver stage two of Moree Bypass. Planfor the Tenterfield bypass. Tulludunna Bridgeon the Kamilaroi Highway at Wee Waa and the Gunnedah rail bridge on the OxleyHighway at Gunnedah replaced. Replace the New Street Bridge over the rail lineat Gunnedah.

    HUNTER

    Short-term

    Upgrade link between the F3 Freeway/Hunter Expresswayinterchange and Broadmeadow in Newcastle.

    Medium-to-long-term

    Continue delivery of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass. Consider extending the F3 to Raymond Terrace.Consider best way to reduce the impacts of freight movements on Muswellbrook,Scone and Singleton. Plan for construction of strategic rail freight corridorat Fassifern and the Hexham rail bypass. Glennies Creek, Williams River andPatterson River bridges upgraded or replaced.

    CENTRAL WEST

    Short-term

    Upgrades to Newell Highway and Great Western Highway to addresscongestion in Blue Mountains, Bathurst and Orange. Complete study into theBells Line of Road and protect corridor. Construct a heavy vehicle bypass of WestWyalong.

    Medium-to-long-term

    McKanes Bridge over the Cox River and Warroo Bridgeacross the Lachlan River upgraded.

    ILLAWARRA

    Short-term

    Upgrades to the Princes Highway between Gerringong andBomaderry. Upgrades to Picton Road.

    Medium-to-long-term

    Investigate bypasses of Foxground and Berry.

    MURRUMBIDGEE

    Short-term

    Complete the remaining bypass at Holbrook.

    Medium-to-long-term

    Additional overtaking lanes and heavy vehicle rest areason Newell Highway, Sturt Highway and the Mid Western Highway. Improve walkingand cycling infrastructure in Wagga Wagga.Kapooka Bridge on the Olympic Highway replaced.Bridges at Tooleybuc over the Murray River and Swan Hill over the Wakool Riverreplaced or upgraded.


  3. Missing women met with foul play, coroner finds

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    December 10, 2018 by admin

    Two women with links to a house south-west of Sydney, who disappeared within days of each other in 1991, most likely met with foul play and are dead, a coroner has found.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The cases of Karen Gilbody, 30, and Valerie Howell, 41, have this morning been referred to the Unsolved Homicide Team after police investigating the case said there was insufficient evidence to charge the person of interest, Michael James Cook.

    Mr Cook has denied he had any involvement in the women’s deaths.

    Ms Gilbody was living in a de facto relationship with Mr Cook at 8 Avoca Street, Yagoona, when she went missing about July 1, 1991.

    At the Coroner’s Court in Glebe today, Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon said there was evidence Ms Gilbody planned to leave Mr Cook and this could have been the motive to harm her.

    Ms Gilbody was reported missing on July 3, her 30th birthday, when her brother and parents were unable to get in contact with her.

    She spoke to a girlfriend on June 30 and Mr Cook told police he last saw her on July 2, when she left their house to go on a holiday. He also said he spoke to her by phone on July 4.

    Ms Gilbody’s niece Renee told the court her aunt doted on her and her two brothers, and regularly rang and visited them. However, they had not had any contact with her since she was reported missing.

    “My grandparents have had to live with this for 21 years,” she said.

    Ms Howell visited the Avoca Street house with a female friend on July 3 to inspect some leather goods Mr Cook had for sale.

    Later that day, she told that friend Mr Cook had rung her and asked her to return to the house as the goods were ready to be collected.

    She has not been seen since. Her car was found doused in petrol but not set alight at Seven Hills 10 days later.

    Mr Cook told police he had rung Ms Howell but in fact told her the goods had been sold and not to come to the house.

    Mr MacMahon found Ms Gilbody died at or near Yagoona on or about July 1, 1991.

    Ms Howell, who was described as a “woman of independent means” died at or near Yagoona on or about July 3, 1991.

    Mr Cook remains a person of sufficient interest but police do not have enough evidence to charge him, Mr MacMahon said.

    In February last year, NSW Police announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the disappearance and suspected murders.

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


  4. Detective ‘fed answer’ to officer who fired fatal shot: inquiry

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    December 10, 2018 by admin

    The senior homicide detective who headed the investigation into the police shooting of mentally disturbed Sydney man Adam Salter has admitted that he asked a series of leading questions during a crucial interview with the officer who fired the fatal shot.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Detective Inspector Russell Oxford exonerated all officers involved in the 2009 shooting of Mr Salter, 36, finding that one of them had been under threat from the victim.

    The Deputy NSW Coroner later rejected these findings and described aspects of the investigation a “failure” and a “disgrace”.

    During the Police Integrity Commission hearing into the matter today, the commission was played a recorded “walk-through” interview, which Inspector Oxford conducted with the shooter, Sergeant Sheree Bissett, to re-enact what occurred.

    Inspector Oxford is seen to ask a series of leading questions on crucial aspects of the incident, including why Sergeant Bissett called “Taser, Taser, Taser” before pulling her Glock pistol and firing the fatal shot.

    “Even though you yelled ‘Taser, Taser, Taser’, there was no mistake that you were grabbing your pistol … You had decided that the pistol was the best option,” he said.

    After playing part of this interview to Inspector Oxford, counsel assisting the commission, Geoffrey Watson, SC, asked him: “Who was giving that evidence, you or the interviewee?”

    Inspector Oxford replied: “That would be me.”

    When questioned further, Inspector Oxford conceded that he “asked some leading questions a bit more than I should have”.

    Mr Watson said: “You saw the purpose of that interview as conforming to an idea you already formed – that the police were not guilty of any culpable act.”

    “No,” Inspector Oxford replied.

    The hearing continues

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


  5. Hunt launched for life-changing medical devices

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    December 10, 2018 by admin

    Devices of the calibre of the cochlear implant are being sought.Science guru and breakfast radio presenter Adam Spencer has described it as “The New Inventors meets The Apprentice meets ER”.
    Nanjing Night Net

    It may sound like the latest reality TV venture, but Spencer is referring to the new Medical Devices Fund being launched by the NSW government, with scientists, researchers and inventors invited to submit their ideas for new medical devices and technologies.

    The government has committed $8 million to the fund until the end of its first year in 2013 – with $5 million committed each year after that – in the hope of finding proposals for major medical innovations in line with past breakthroughs like the cochlear implant.

    Spencer, who will be part of an expert panel chaired by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, said the panel would be looking for innovations that could change the lives of patients and their families.

    “I plan to play devil’s advocate as the panel goes through the submissions, while being blown away by some of the very clever proposals I’m sure we will receive,” he said.

    Applications should support the development as well as the commercialisation of devices, which Spencer said provided a unique opportunity.

    “I’ve never met a researcher or scientist who said there’s many opportunities for this kind of stuff,” he said. “This is an opportunity for innovations that will make a genuine impact.”

    The NSW Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, said the fund would allow individuals, public and private hospitals, medical research institutes, universities, other public-sector research organisations and the medical devices industry to take their innovations to a worldwide market.

    “I’ve been blessed to have been with families when their child’s cochlear implants were turned on for the first time,” she said.

    “It’s these kinds of life-changing innovations that we want to see created, developed and supported.”

    Project applications for the Medical Devices Fund will open today.

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