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  1. Why doesn’t Sydney have a subway network?

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    April 10, 2019 by admin

    One of Sydney’s underground tunnels, dug by convicts.Sydney’s transport plan long on hopeAnalysis: little change
    Nanjing Night Net

    Why doesn’t Sydney have a subway system like London or New York? According to transport experts, the city doesn’t need one. While Sydney has a tightly packed central area, it’s much less dense in its suburban areas than, say, New York or Paris, they say.

    “In terms of the origin and destination profile of Sydney, it’s fairly low density,” said Professor David Hensher, the director of the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney.

    “Although the Bradfield plan from years ago clearly suggested a more expansive underground network than we currently have, there are good reasons why it didn’t continue. Clearly, if money was no object, we would have done it.”

    *Read more about the Bradfield Plan, which was first mooted in 1916.

    So what could work for Sydney? A more integrated network that connects origins and destinations, with rail services in higher density areas and buses servicing lower density areas, the experts told the Herald.

    A better public transport system would also have to be coupled with changing the behaviour of Sydneysiders.

    “It’s all very well to build lots of public transport, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough – in terms of costs – to make a difference on congestion. All the while, the car remains a fairly attractive mode of transport,” Professor Hensher said.

    “Despite the concern about traffic congestion being bad in Sydney, many people say it’s not bad enough for me to get out of my car … People will complain because it’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s not bad enough to make a difference.”

    Professor Hensher said it would take only 6 per cent of car users (85 per cent of trips in Sydney are by car) to make a switch away from driving during peak hours to make a difference to congestion levels.

    “If we price the use of the car in the peak where the congestion’s bad, they’d switch to the off-peak rather than use public transport, because they can do that.”

    Professor Hensher is one such commuter. He works from home from 7am to 9.15am to avoid the peak and then drives to work after that.

    “It’s much more enjoyable and it’s much more productive. Lots more people could do it. They don’t even bother to think they could do it,” he said.

    Another way of reducing congestion in Sydney’s city centre was to minimise car parks in office buildings and tax car spaces, Sydney transport expert Dick Day said. The City of Sydney council already restricts parking, but more could be done, he said.

    “The thing that dissuades people from using cars in the end is often congestion. London is a good example and Hong Kong’s the same.

    “Having said that, once you get out into suburbs where the industrial areas are … a lot of people have to use cars because the places that they work at are not readily accessible by public transport and never will be.”

    Further reading:The Bradfield Plan

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


  2. Minister to face inquiry into Cronulla Fisheries closure

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    April 10, 2019 by admin

    The NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, is to face a parliamentary inquiry into the closure of the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, after earlier refusing a request to appear.
    Nanjing Night Net

    She will table a cost-benefit analysis of the government decision to close and decentralise the centre next Monday, almost a year after the decision was announced.

    Ms Hodgkinson initially told the inquiry chairman, the Reverand Fred Nile, she could not attend due to ministerial meetings.

    Premier Barry O’Farrell appeared to criticise that decision during an interview with Alan Jones on 2GB radio last Wednesday.

    “When I am invited by upper house inquiries I go,” Mr O’Farrell said.

    “I expect my ministers to go.”

    The Premier’s office declined to say whether he had directed Ms Hodgkinson to go to the inquiry, but a spokeswoman for Ms Hodgkinson said this was not the case.

    “The reason for her appearance is to table the cost-benefit analysis of the decentralisation of the Cronulla Fisheries site,” said Ms Hodgkinson’s spokeswoman.

    “The minister has not been directed by the Premier to attend the inquiry.”

    The Herald revealed the decision to close the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, announced on September 8 last year, was made without a business case, costings or cabinet submission.

    A number of staff members gave evidence at the penultimate hearing of the inquiry yesterday.

    Peter Brown said more than half of the staff at the centre were classified as temporary, and were receiving severance payments up to 70 per cent less than they would have before the introduction of the government’s stricter excess employees policy, which came in to effect shortly before the decision on Cronulla was announced.

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


  3. Sharks have sixth sense to find prey – but not humans

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    April 10, 2019 by admin

    Kate Lee releases a captive-bred juvenile wobbegong shark into Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly. A juvenile wobbegong shark, born in captivity at Sydney Aquarium as part of Sea Life Conservation Fund’s breeding program, is released into Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Sharks are very misunderstood animals and receive a largely undeserved reputation as vicious animals, although they have a unique “sixth sense” that allows them to locate their true, much smaller, prey.

    These are some of the findings from research conducted by the Sydney Aquarium into shark behaviour.

    There are more than 350 species of shark, but only four or five are considered to be dangerous to humans, the aquarium says.

    For most sharks something as big as a human would not be considered as prey as we are too large, it says.

    Instead they may think of us as a threat and prefer to stay as far away as possible.

    Attacks on humans in the wild are not as common as the media would indicate, and deaths are even rarer, the aquarium says.

    No shark is thought to target humans as prey.

    In most cases where a person is bitten, it is a case of mistaken identity, the aquarium says.

    For the most part, sharks are generally placid animals and not to be feared.

    This month, the Sydney Aquarium is relaunching as the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium following a $10 million overhaul.

    The aquarium will become home to the largest variety of sharks and rays in the world.

    In conjunction with its conservation arm, the Sydney Aquarium Conservation Fund, the attraction has completed research on the grey nurse and wobbegong sharks.

    Among the findings:

    – Sharks have a sixth sense, called electroreception. The underside of the grey nurse shark’s snout is dotted with pores. Each of these leads to an organ (ampulae of Lorenzini) that can detect electricity.

    – The electroreception capabilities of sharks gives them the ability to detect and attack prey at close range without needing to see the prey as well as navigate using the earth’s magnetic field.

    – The grey nurse shark’s reputation as a maneater is undeserved as they cannot eat anything as large as a human and are placid sharks that will not bite defensively unless severely provoked.

    – The grey nurse’s name comes from its ability to “nurse” (or round up) small fishes into a tight school, for feeding.

    The aquarium’s oldest shark is Josephine, who is estimated to be 25 years old and has been at the aquarium for almost 20 years.

    – In Australia in the ’70s, grey nurse sharks were hunted almost to extinction due to fear of attack. The release of the movie Jaws in 1975 is thought to have had a huge influence on this. There are thought to be as few as 500-1000 left on the east coast of Australia.

    – When the NSW government declared grey nurse sharks a protected species in 1984, they became the first protected sharks in the world.

    – The freckles of a grey nurse shark are the equivalent of a human fingerprint, or the spots on a wobbegong shark.

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


  4. Should we worry about high-frequency trading?

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    April 10, 2019 by admin

    Ever since the meltdown at the US firm Knight Capital last month month, the debate over high-frequency trading has exploded.
    Nanjing Night Net

    In short form, high-frequency trading is a flavour of trading that leverages computers and the speed of super-fast data connections to make lightning-quick trades, and lots of them. This means that, often, the trader’s servers are situated in the same data centre as the exchange’s servers.

    While there’s no single strategy of a high-frequency trader – they might be acting like a market-maker, or playing index arbitrageur – the common thread is that they all rely on speed to succeed.

    So, the billion-dollar question is: is this type of trading a major risk for markets, or closer to a non-factor?

    At the end of the day, if you’re buying a piece of a company to own it for a long period of time, your primary concern should be the dynamics of the business, not the technical stockmarket action. Most readers have likely heard the Warren Buffett quote: “I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

    Do we want the market shut down?

    Keeping in mind the fact that we’re ideally buying companies and not just tickers, we should still want a healthy, properly functioning market that allows us to transact. And there are some signs that high-frequency trading is doing a lot to gum up the markets and cause some serious problems.

    The US market data-collector Nanex has been on a warpath against bad practices among high-frequency traders. Specifically, they’re concerned about the proliferation of quotes by high-frequency traders.

    When you log on to a broker’s site to make a trade, what you see listed under the bid and ask are quotes – that is, somebody offering to buy or sell at a certain price.

    As the high-frequency trading industry has grown, the number of quotes has exploded – and, mind you, we’re talking just quotes here, because actual trading has not grown anywhere near as much. The reason that high-frequency traders are putting out this many quotes isn’t entirely clear.

    In some cases, it may simply be offering and cancelling quotes the same way any market-maker would; but in other cases, it may be programs sending out odd quotes in an effort to mislead other market participants – think Muhammad Ali pulling a rope-a-dope. In some cases, Nanex has even suggested that high-frequency traders send out a barrage of quotes to create a sort of informational fog of war that gives them a brief trading edge over other participants.

    The problems created by this quoting aren’t just in the abstract. Here are a few concrete potential outcomes from this flood of quotes:

    Cost: Exchanges and brokers need to process, manage, and store market data, so as the volume of quoting activity rises, that increases the data-processing burden. That means costly servers, routers, switches, and storage devices. While computerised trading has done much to reduce the cost of trading, there’s a concern that this data overload threatens to reverse that trend.

    Scaring away liquidity: High-frequency and many other types of traders are, understandably, reluctant to trade when they believe they’re getting a bad data feed. When a rush of quotes hits the market, it has the potential to slow everything down, create corrupted feeds, and cause liquidity providers to bow out.

    Figuring out what the heck is going on: In the wake of the Flash Crash, it took US regulators months to put together the forensic trading data from just a single day. Technology is clearly a boon to the markets but, when things go wrong – and they will, regardless – it’s essential that we have a system that regulators can quickly and easily navigate.

    THE DISAPPOINTING ANSWER

    It would be nice if there were an easy, pat answer to this issue like “ban high-frequency trading” or “high-frequency trading is a non-issue”. Unfortunately, there’s not.

    What we need is for regulators to dig into the problem, figure out what’s going on – who’s playing by the rules and who isn’t – and set rules that will allow us to take advantage of the latest technologies in the financial markets without the threat from ne’er-do-wells who abuse those technologies.

    Government regulators, however, aren’t known (and lack the budgets) for swift manoeuvring. In a race between traders who work in microseconds, and regulators who work in weeks, months, and years, it seems reasonable to worry that regulators might remain a step behind.

    FOOLISH TAKEAWAY

    There are a couple of issues at work here. From the perspective of fairness and to ensure nothing untoward is happening, it’s vital that our regulators get a handle on what’s going on. After all, anything that tilts the game further against individual investors should be anathema to investors and ASIC alike.

    Secondly, though – be Foolish. Take Buffett’s quote to heart. Trade less frequently and only buy or sell when you get the price you’re after. You don’t have to play the high-frequency traders at their own game.

    You think Warren Buffett worries about high-frequency traders? Me neither. That’s a pretty good yardstick in my book.

    Are you looking for attractive dividend stock ideas? BusinessDay readers can click here to request a new free report titled Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks.

    Scott Phillips is a Motley Fool investment analyst. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFGilla. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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


  5. ACP poised for foreign takeover

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    April 10, 2019 by admin

    To be sold … ACP is likely to bought by Bauer Media Group.Some of Australia’s most popular magazines, including the Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day and TV Week, are set to fall into German hands with the debt-laden broadcaster, Nine Entertainment, expected to soon announce the sale of its magazine portfolio to the privately owned Bauer Media Group.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Hamburg-based Bauer, which publishes Grazia, FHM and Zoo in the UK, is expected to pay up to $600 million for Nine’s Australian Consolidated Press (ACP) and help the private equity-owned business avoid breaching its debt covenants, which would lhave left it at the mercy of its banks.

    The two parties are understood to be working on the final details of an agreement, which is to be made public either later this evening or tomorrow morning.

    Nine executives were not available for comment.

    The magazines division featured in the popular ABC production Paper Giants, which focused on the launch of Cleo magazine by Ita Buttrose and Kerry Packer in the early 1970s.

    Kerry Packer’s son, James Packer, severed the family’s long-standing links to the media assets in 2007 when he sold most of Nine and its related assets to CVC Asia Pacific. The private equity firm paid $1.46 billion cash and took on $3.6 billion worth of debt.

    CVC has now lost all of the $2 billion it injected into the Nine group, which has struggled with a high debt load, bad conditions in the media industry, and Nine losing its ratings crown to Seven.

    CVC must repay $2.8 billion of debt by February and a further $1 billion a year later.

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