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State leaders arrive for COAG meeting

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has nominated productivity concerns and infrastructure funding as his priorities for a meeting of the country’s leaders.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott is hosting his first Council of Australian Governments gathering in Canberra on Friday.

The meeting is being held against the backdrop of a decision by US car giant General Motors to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017.

“Productivity and the need to improve productivity is the single greatest challenge this country faces,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters at Parliament House.

Lack of productivity risked the jobs across the country and state and federal government has to tackle the issue, he said.

Mr O’Farrell said it was important that Australian products were not priced out of global markets.

The premier said he was always after more Commonwealth funding for infrastructure in NSW and ensuring federal government red tape didn’t get in the way of state projects.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett agreed infrastructure funding would be an issue for the meeting along with the Abbott government’s planned parental leave scheme.

“And I’m sure there’s going to be some discussion about the car industry,” he told reporters.

Mr Barnett said there was no point blaming governments, workers, unions, the mining industry or the high dollar for the industry’s predicament.

“What we are seeing is significant structural change in the Australian economy.”

The discussion should be “where to from here” and pursue areas where Australia had a clear natural advantage such as minerals and gas processing.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said his priority was the Commonwealth’s response to the Holden decision.

“I’ll be fighting hard for an assistance package particularly for the affected workers and their families,” he told reporters.

A substantial transformation package was needed for Victoria to grow new job opportunities.

Mr Napthine rejected reports car maker Toyota had asked his government for more taxpayer assistance.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings is concerned about some of the items listed for discussion including the national disability insurance scheme, the GST and the national broadband network.

It was too early to talk about the future of the NDIS because trial launch sites had been operating for only about four months, she said.

“It needs to have at least 12 months before we get a firm idea as to how that model is working for Tasmanians,” she told reporters, adding those benefiting from the scheme were loving it.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says taxpayers cannot afford to prop up a car industry that was not competitive on the global stage.

His state’s sugar, grains, mining and tourism sectors were all exposed to world economic conditions without government assistance.

“And they are now doing well,” he told reporters.

Mr Newman rejected suggestions the taxpayer-funded diesel fuel rebate was a form of assistance for the mining and agricultural sectors.

It was not like the “massive” subsidies – estimated at $50,000 for each worker – given to the car industry.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the task of responding to the Holden decision deserved a national solution.

“This is more than just one car company, it is more than just one state,” he told reporters.

Mr Weatherill said there was broad acceptance that Australia should be more than a country which dug up and grew things.

Stripping the car industry’s capabilities and skills represented a massive threat to the whole of the nation, he said.

Perez signs on with F1’s Force India

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Mexico’s Sergio Perez completed his move to the Force India Formula One team on Thursday.


Perez was dropped after just a year at McLaren, but the British-based Indian outfit were quick to add him to their roster.

The 23-year-old’s switch leaves Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil, last season’s Force India drivers, facing an uncertain future in the sport.

Scottish driver Di Resta had expected to lose his seat and has expressed hope he may join Sauber, with a drive for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM touring car series also a possibility.

Guadalajara-born Perez completes Force India’s 2014 driver team, with Nico Hulkenberg last month confirmed as the other racer just months after quitting Sauber.

Perez picked up just 35 points during 2013, far less than his teammate Jensen Button, with 60, who early in the season often complained about his younger sidekick’s aggressive driving when they were directly racing each other.

The Mexican had said when leaving McLaren that he would look for the best possible package to fight for wins, suggesting perhaps he didn’t feel McLaren were capable of that.

But he believes he can thrive as part of Force India’s emerging team and he said: “Coming here was always my first choice and I’m really happy everything has now been confirmed.

“This is a young team with a lot of determination and they’ve produced competitive cars for the last few years. It’s all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014.”

Perez had earnt his move to McLaren, to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, by finishing three times on the podium for Sauber in 2012.

But the entire McLaren team struggled throughout 2013.

Perez will bring significant financial support to Force India as he is sponsored by Mexican telecommunications company Telmex, who just happen to be owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.

No easy answers to Tasmanian illiteracy

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

It’s an education horror story and it’s told by more than one Tasmanian community leader.


Michael Bailey, the head of the state’s chamber of commerce, is one.

He recounts a conversation with a year 11 school student, explaining much about Tasmania’s poor literacy levels.

“I said to her, ‘What’s the biggest barrier?'” Mr Bailey tells AAP.

“She comes from a pretty tough part of Tasmania and I was thinking it would be the cost of the uniforms, the cost of the books, that sort of thing.

“She said, ‘Actually getting out the door every morning. I get up, I walk out the door to my family teasing me about being up myself’.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show half of adult Tasmanians don’t have the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed to get by in the modern world.

The state is consistently ranked last on educational outcomes and has the country’s lowest year 11 and 12 retention rates.

A 2012 snapshot put Tasmanian school students below the average for Australia and the OECD in reading, maths and science.

The issue was highlighted again last month when the Australian Industry Group released a survey that found 93 per cent of businesses across the country are affected by illiteracy.

In Tasmania, the state opposition has branded it a crisis.

“The government is in denial over this,” says Liberal education spokesman Michael Ferguson.

Even at a conservative estimate, “functional illiteracy” is costing a state many consider to be in recession hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Tasmanian and Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake says a $20,000 difference between the island state’s per capita GDP and the mainland’s can partly be blamed on the problem.

Lower production and employment participation rates, both consequences of illiteracy, account for nearly $12,000 of that figure, he says.

“It would be wrong to say that if all Tasmanians had the same qualifications on average as all mainlanders that per capita GDP would be $12,000 higher,” Mr Eslake says.

“But it would certainly be higher than it was and there’d be a broader range of better paid jobs around.”

Mr Bailey, the CEO of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), agrees illiteracy is preventing an economy massively hit by downturns in forestry and manufacturing from dragging itself off the canvas.

“Back in the old days, people could fall through the cracks because they’d do a job that quite often they’d just be shown how to do and then they’d continue doing that job for a good portion of their life,” he says.

“You need to be numerate and literate to be able to do most jobs now.

“Until we can start to fix some of these problems we’re going to always struggle to get Tasmania’s economy really moving.”

Literacy levels are in trouble across the country and Tasmania’s are consistently the worst.

An ABS study in 2006 found 51 per cent of Tasmanians could understand and use information in “prose texts”, such as newspapers and magazines, compared with the national average of 53.6 per cent.

Just 49.3 per cent could find and use information in tables, schedules, graphs and maps – so-called “document literacy – compared with 53.2 per cent nationally.

Numeracy sat at 43.9 per cent for the state and 47.4 per cent for the nation.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) recently published 2012 figures comparing 15-year-olds across 65 countries.

Scores were given to each nation and each Australian state.

For reading, China came top with a score of 570.

Australia’s average was 512, higher than the OECD’s 496. Tasmania’s lagged at 485, which translates to 50 per cent not achieving the level considered satisfactory.

How the island state got to this point should not be surprising, says report author Sue Thomson.

“It is significantly higher than the other states, but it’s not unexpected given that Tasmania also has a lower overall level of socioeconomic background than other states,” she says.

It’s a theme repeated often.

“You can’t look at this as just an educational problem,” Mr Bailey says.

“It needs to be looked at as the really big picture.

“If you’ve got families collapsing in these communities, if you’ve got essentially communities collapsing in these areas, how do you draw a line in the sand to say, ‘Right, we need to change this’?”

Tasmania’s high school system has also come under scrutiny.

With the ACT, it is the only jurisdiction where most schools finish at year 10.

In a highly regionalised state, students need to attend a college, often in another town, to complete years 11 and 12.

“We remain one of the only places in Australia where leaving grade 10 is actually celebrated,” Mr Bailey says.

Then there’s the horror story, a generational tale of parents unwilling, or unable, to see further education as necessary.

Mr Eslake says its symptomatic of an island community.

“That kind of says, ‘I don’t really want my kids to go on to upper secondary and tertiary education because, if they do, they’ll have to leave the state to get a job,” he says.

“Then they’ll meet and marry someone on the mainland and I’ll never see my grandchildren.”

The state government argues the problem is not as pronounced if Tasmania is compared with other regional areas around the country.

It says it is making inroads after former premier David Bartlett launched an $11 million five-year Adult Literacy Action Plan in 2010.

Its centrepiece is the innovative 26TEN program, which uses 800 trained volunteers to help their peers one-on-one and is planned to reach 15,000 Tasmanians by 2020.

“They can approach people in their footy club or in their local community or in their workplace,” Education Minister Nick McKim says.

“That’s a far more sophisticated approach than simply trying to encourage people to come into a classroom or interact with a teacher.

“It is genuinely turning people’s lives around.”

Mr McKim says a new pre-school program is changing the attitudes of children and their parents, while Tasmania’s NAPLAN results are improving at a faster rate than in any other state.

The Liberal opposition says that’s not fast enough and will head to next year’s state election pledging children will meet benchmarks within six years.

But the opposition’s big promise is an extension of all high schools to year 12 within a decade.

It has pledged $45.5 million over four years to get the ball rolling.

“When you’ve got a government that doesn’t even believe that high school should go to year 12, why should you expect the parents to have any different opinion?” Mr Ferguson says.

Politics, though, are part of the problem, according to Ms Thomson.

The solutions are complex, she says, but the Gonski school funding reforms should be given a chance to address the socio-economic side of the problem.

Tasmania signed an agreement on Gonski before the federal election and both state parties support it.

Push for Rinehart trust to be ‘wound up’

2019年9月18日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Gina Rinehart’s legal team has criticised a “surprise” suggestion that the multi-billion dollar trust at the centre of her family’s long-running dispute be wound up.


In yet another twist in the case between the mining magnate and two of her children, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, the latters’ barrister Christopher Withers raised concerns on Friday as to what would happen if the Supreme Court cannot reach a decision on who will be the new trustee.

So far every proposal for a replacement trustee – including Bianca Rinehart, Mr Hancock and independent trustees – has been criticised by one or more parties during the lengthy court proceedings.

The longer the case “drags on, the more disputes there are” between Mr Hancock and Bianca Rinehart and their mother, Mr Withers argued.

He said the court may need to “face up to the fact that the only option is to wind the trust up”.

This would also act to appease any concerns over what would happen to a lucrative joint venture between Hancock Prospecting (HPPL) and mining giant Rio Tinto if a trustee outside the Rinehart family was appointed to take over the running of the $5 billion trust, he said.

“If the trust is wound up and my clients and other trustees become shareholders in Hancock Prospecting then this risk would go away.”

But Gina Rinehart’s barrister Bruce McClintock SC said an application to wind up the trust had nothing to do with the proceedings before the court and came as “something of a surprise”.

“I see no power to wind up the trust … your honour would not be entertaining it,” he told Justice Paul Brereton.

The latest turn comes more than two years after Mr Hancock and Bianca Rinehart lodged a claim against their mining magnate mother.

The pair allege Gina Hancock acted “deceitfully” and with “gross dishonesty” in her dealings with the trust, set up in 1988 by her father, Lang Hancock, with her four children as the beneficiaries.

The pair were previously supported by their sister Hope Welker, but she withdrew from the case last year.

Ms Rinehart, who is supported by her youngest daughter Ginia, has denied the claims but agreed to bow out as trustee last year.

Justice Brereton dismissed the newest proposal on Friday saying that he would not regard an application to wind up the trust as being within the scope of the present case.

I was ready to punch faces: Greste’s dad

2019年9月18日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The father of Peter Greste has spoken of the boiling rage that washed over him after the Australian journalist was denied bail in an Egyptian court.


Mr Greste, who’s been behind bars in Egypt for the past two months, will remain in prison after being refused bail at his first court hearing overnight.

The 48-year-old Al-Jazeera reporter and a number of his network colleagues are accused of “airing false news” and misleading outside viewers about the situation in Egypt.

They’ve also been accused of backing the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter’s father Juris Greste has told reporters of the dismay and anger that washed over him as his son faced court, particularly when he saw footage of the “fortress” surrounding his son, colleagues and the entire court process.

“I found myself on a fine hair-trigger,” he said in Brisbane.

“I was like a highly-fused suicide vest. I was ready to kick walls and punch faces.

“I couldn’t help but see my son inside there – a perfectly innocent person.”

In an emotion-charged press conference in Brisbane, the Grestes said they were enduring a terrible emotional ordeal.

“I’m not embarrassed to confess that I’ve had the worst 24 hours in my life,” Juris Greste told reporters.

Mr Greste’s parents said they had been overwhelmed by support.

“Parenting never ends. Parenting goes until your last breath,” Juris Greste sobbed.

Mr Greste’s mother Lois read out a consulate report of the court proceedings, which included messages he had yelled out for his family, including “I love them, stay strong”,”I’m OK” and “I feel your support”.

She said Mr Greste had been able to tell other reporters that public support was vital to his case and it was protecting them during their incarceration.

While the Grestes said they respected Egypt’s justice system, they were concerned their son’s rights as a prisoner were not being honoured, including the amount of time he was allowed to spend outside.

Juris Greste said he was disappointed he had heard little from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott about Peter’s case in recent weeks.

Prominent London-based barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC has said the government is not doing enough to help Mr Greste and should lodge a complaint with the UN as his detainment breached international law.

The federal government has sought assurances from their Egyptian counterparts that Grestes case will be handled fairly.

“The government regrets that Mr Greste’s detention period has been extended further and that his bail application was denied by the Egyptian court.” a DFAT spokesman told AAP in a statement.

“We seek assurances from the Egyptian government that Mr Grestes case will be handled fairly and expeditiously and will respect basic standards of justice.”

Mr Greste is among 20 defendants accused of belonging to and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation and threatening national security.

Of the 20, only eight were present in the courtroom. The rest are at large and will be tried in absentia.

The trial was adjourned until March 5 after a 40-minute hearing.

No pound for independent Scotland

2019年9月18日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

British finance minister George Osborne has reiterated Scotland won’t keep the pound if it becomes independent from the UK.


Scotland will in September hold a referendum on its future that could result in the breaking up of the 300-year union with the United Kingdom.

Osborne called it “a huge event” and said he “passionately” wants Scotland to remain part of the UK, while repeating a warning from earlier this month of the consequences were it to leave.

“Part of our job, for those of us who are not in Scotland, is to point out some of the consequences of independence,” he said in Sydney, where he was attending this weekend’s G20 summit of finance ministers and central bankers.

“One of them is this question of the use of the pound where the leader of the Scottish National Party says ‘well, we will have a currency union with the rest of the UK, we will share the pound’.

“That is not possible, a currency union will not be sustainable for very similar reasons as to why the euro has proved a difficult currency union.”

All three of Britain’s main political parties have voiced similar sentiments.

The latest opinion poll in Scotland found 34 per cent in favour of independence and 52 per cent against. Twelve per cent were undecided and two per cent said they would not vote.

“For me personally, I passionately want Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom, I think it will be not only good for Scotland but the rest of the UK as well,” said Osborne.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has branded warnings about a currency union as a “concerted bid by a Tory-led Westminster establishment to bully and intimidate”.

In another blow to Scottish independence hopes, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.

The Scottish government has previously said it will seek to negotiate Scotland’s EU membership in the 18 months after the referendum, should Scots vote in favour of leaving the UK.

Juve title bid feeling fixture pinch

2019年9月18日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Juventus coach Antonio Conte leads his side into Sunday’s derby against Torino fearing the champions’ bid for a third consecutive scudetto could be hampered by their Europa League ambitions.


Juve hold a nine-point lead over Roma in Italy’s Serie A, which could be cut to six if Rudi Garica’s men win their game in hand over Parma, with Napoli a distant third a further four points off the pace.

At just past the halfway point stage, it looks to be a two-horse race for the title but Conte has refused to rule out slip-ups along the way.

“It’s a crucial point in the season as regards the league and Europe so it’s now we should be concentrating most,” Conte said prior to a 2-0 first-leg win over Trabzonspor in the last 32 of the Europa League.

“My warning is simple: we have to be extra vigilant. We’ve got 14 games left, plus a 15th if you count the players who will be on international (friendly) duty.”

After a disastrous Champions League campaign ended at the group stage, Juve, as well as league rivals Napoli and Fiorentina, are in contention for Europa League glory.

But Juve’s next test on the domestic front comes against a Torino side that has lost only twice in their past 12 games, their last win a surprise 3-1 rout of Verona on Monday.

Along with Verona, Torino have been one of the surprise packages this season and club sporting director Gianluca Petrachi pointed to forward Ciro Immobile as one of the driving forces behind the club’s bid for a place in Europe.

“He’s making huge progress. Last summer (coach, Giampiero) Ventura were the only ones that could see his potential,” Petrachi told Tuttosport newspaper.

“No one would have bet anything on him but we did and so far we’re reaping the dividends.”

Fans own you: Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong’o

2019年8月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Actress Lupita Nyong’o thinks famous people are owned by their fans.


The 30-year-old actress is the star of the moment thanks to her turn as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, which has earned her an Oscar nomination.

She’s built up a big fan base – something which isn’t too foreign for Nyong’o as she grew up in Nairobi with a famous politician father.

“When you’re a public figure, people have an ownership of you in a way,” she told website dujour广西桑拿,.

“People would interrupt our dinners all the time to have a moment with my father, and we’d understand because it was their one moment to have with him. I grew up observing that dynamic.”

Competing against Nyong’o for the best supporting actress Oscar at the Academy Awards on March 2 are Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Hawkins and June Squibb.

The Kenyan star has a lot of backing from others in the industry, which she can’t quite get her head around.

“Actors will come up to me and they look so familiar – it’s killing me because I can’t remember,” she laughed.

“I spend all this time trying to place people, and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s the woman from [TV show] Luther, not the woman who did my hair last week.’ Some people have watched the film, so they acknowledge me, but I know I’ve never met them. Or I think I haven’t. It’s quite bizarre.”

12 Years a Slave was the first feature film for Nyong’o, who now also stars alongside Liam Neeson in the new action movie Non-Stop.

She should be celebrating her success, but the star is already thinking towards the future.

“That’s one of the concerns when you get lauded for something – can I do it again?” she said.

“One thing I learned at school was the value of failure, because once you fail you can get up and do it again.”

12 Years a Slave tells the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was sold into slavery in 1841.

Nyong’o is glad that his story is being told.

“I’m really fulfilled right now by the traction this film is getting. It was made to be seen, and that’s what’s happening – America is engaging with it and being moved and changed by it. It’s really rewarding to be a part of that. That’s more important to me than any award,” she said.

* 12 Years a Slave is in Australian cinemas currently.

Geneva car expo taps into niche market

2019年8月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

From the practical to the exotic, this year’s 84th car expo in the Swiss city of Geneva will witness a host of hot debuts.


With core models thriving, manufacturers hope to tap into some profitable new market segments after a period when many new ideas were put on hold while the industry went through its recent big, bad recession.

Prime examples of the trend are the ground-breaking new BMW van and the hard-core McLaren 650S, which the maker says offers “ultimate performance” with “dramatic yet beautiful styling.”

The event at the Palexpo convention centre comes only a couple of months after a fireworks display of new models in Detroit.

Geneva is one of the biggest and most important dates in the car manufacturing calendar. The doors open to the public on March 6 and the show runs until March 16.

As usual, the exhibition offers visitors a chance to see dozens of new cars for the very first time as they make their public debut in Switzerland. Some outlandish concepts hint at the future of the car.

Grabbing attention will be the face-lifted Volkswagen Polo, which looks more than ever like its big brother, the Golf, the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe and the production version of the opulent Mercedes S-class coupe shown in Detroit.

The sporty two-door Merc S-class is crammed with technology and boasts the ability to lean into curves. A slightly toned-down version of the preview car shown in Frankfurt, its exclusivity is underlined by exotic features such as an LED lighting system complemented by 47 Swarovski glass crystals.

Fledgling Chinese maker Qoros is bringing the neat five-door Qoros 3 hatchback after unveiling the saloon version at last year’s Geneva show. That car, designed by former Volkswagen and Mini designer Gert Hildebrand, is already selling in Slovakia.

Audi will be showing the third generation of its seminal TT coupe and a ballistic, four-wheel-drive version of the fashionable S1 hatch.

BMW continues to go boldly where it has not gone before with the 2-series Active Tourer, a people carrier.

Like last year’s all-electric i3 introduced in Frankfurt, it is not the kind of car buyers usually expect from the premium German brand.

The 2-series MPV is sprightly and surprisingly elegant to look at. It also offers all the useful features that van owners appreciate, such as plenty of room in a variable interior and a large boot for luggage.

The 4-series Gran Coupe is a five-door version of the standard car with two frameless rear doors. It squares up against Audi’s well-established A5.

The wraps also come off the third generation of Renault’s cheeky hatchback, the Twingo, which will feature an unconventional rear-wheel-drive layout.

Related technically to the Smart Forfour, the Twingo is now a four-door runabout with more than nod in styling terms to the Fiat 500 with an engine at the back, just like the Italian 1950s original.

Power comes from a new three-cylinder unit with either 70 or 90 horsepower. Renault revolutionised the European small-car market in the mid-1990s with the original Twingo. But the days when the French car maker shifted more than 200,000 units a year are long gone.

Another throwback to the heyday of the Gallic minicar are the four standard pop body colours – bright yellow, red, light blue and white.

Both the Twingo and Peugeot’s cute new 108 offer customers a lot of options so they can personalise these small cars in the same way as customers buying the more expensive Mini or Opel Adam.

Along with the McLaren 650S, the high-end market is catered for by the likes of the new baby Lambo, the Huracan, which replaces the Gallardo, the best-selling model in the history of the Raging Bull marque.

Already a hit, the Huracan has racked up 700 orders during Lamborghini’s global VIP preview sessions. The car’s 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine turns out an amazing 610 horsepower to catapult the supercar from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in about 3.2 seconds.

Skoda’s slinky five-door Visteon C Concept shows just how self-confident the traditionally conservative Czech member of the Volkswagen empire has become.

The Honda Civic Type R Concept is a wide-tracked beast designed to outrun VW’s GTR and GTI hot hatches, while South Korea’s Hyundai Intrado crossover show car features innovative fuel-cell propulsion and dramatic new styling.

Aussie 1500m star aims for Olympic medal

2019年8月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Rising middle distance star Zoe Buckman isn’t one to set any limits on what she can achieve in the coming years.


Last year, the 25-year-old was the nation’s surprise packet of the track when she became the first Australian female to make the 1500m final at a world championships.

Buckman was in the hunt for a medal before fading late to finish seventh.

Now, Buckman has set her sights on claiming gold at this year’s Commonwealth Games, and a podium finish at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“If you think of just getting any medal, then you’re setting yourself a ceiling,” Buckman says of her bid to win Commonwealth gold.

“Why should you sell yourself short?

“The best athletes are the ones that look confident. They don’t seem to be burdened by anything.

“I improved between the London Games and Moscow (world championships) because I got a bit stronger.

“In Moscow I was up there with a medal chance until about 150m to go.

“I think I genuinely didn’t have as much strength as the girls who stormed home to take the medals.

“With time, that will come with gradual improvements in training and my technique.

“Most female athletes peak in their late 20s to early 30s. I’d say my career will stretch until my early 30s.”

Buckman will be in action on Saturday night when she competes at the Perth Track Classic.

Olympic gold medal hurdler Sally Pearson is the headline act, while other high-profile Australians in action include Kim Mickle (javelin) and sprint queen Melissa Breen.

Breen set a new Australian woman’s record for the 100m with a time of 11.11 earlier this month, breaking Melinda Gainsford-Taylor’s 20-year-old mark.

Pearson will also compete in the 100m flat, and hopes to break the 11-second barrier at some point in the coming years.

Internationals on show at the Perth Track Classic include dual Olympic gold medallist Felix Sanchez (400m hurdles), Beijing Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt and mile specialist James Magut.

Facebook just bought ‘What’ for $19 billion?

2019年8月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

NEW YORK — Facebook just made its boldest business move ever, buying the mobile-messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth some $19 billion in cash and stock.


That’s six times what Google paid for Nest in January, and 19 times what Facebook paid for Instagram two years ago. It’s so much money that people found themselves reaching beyond the business realm for context. Development expert Charles Kenny compared the purchase price to the total annual lending of the World Bank.

The immediate reaction from the tech and business world was incredulity. “Do they also get the state of Florida?” one jokester asked.

As far as I can tell, Facebook does not get the state of Florida in the deal. What it does get is a five-year-old, Mountain View, Calif.-based startup that has become one of the world’s most popular communication services in just the past year. WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by a pair of ex-Yahoo-ers who set out to build a better alternative to standard, SMS-based text messaging. It allows you to chat and shoot texts, pictures and videos back and forth with friends over the Internet, like Apple’s iMessage, Microsoft’s Skype, BBM or Facebook Messenger. Not only does WhatsApp have more features than SMS, it’s far cheaper — free for the first year, and just $1 a year after that. It’s particularly useful as a way to chat with friends and family overseas without running up big charges. It also has no ads, although that seems highly likely to change under Facebook ownership.

The downside is that you’re limited to talking to other people who have downloaded the app. The upside is that, unlike iMessage, it’s available on Android as well, so you’re not limited to fellow iPhone owners.

For Facebook, part of WhatsApp’s luster is that it has emerged as the most popular of a cadre of similar mobile messaging apps, including Japan-based Line, China’s WeChat, Korea’s KakaoTalk and Canada’s Kik. Facebook likely sees it as the strongest bet to end up on top when the global mobile-messaging market eventually shakes out due to network effects. By the time it does, it may have subsumed a huge portion of the world market for text messaging. Right now WhatsApp has just 50 employees. With Facebook’s backing, it’s likely to have the resources to stay a step ahead of smaller competitors.

The speed of WhatsApp’s rise so far has been stunning. Last April, it had 200 million users. Since then, it has been adding some 25 million every month, and now boasts upwards of 430 million. Most of those are outside the United States, though it has a sizeable base stateside too. It’s said to be wildly popular in countries ranging from Spain to South Africa to Israel to India, boasting a reported 35 million users in India alone.

Within the U.S., it’s particularly popular among teens, a demographic that has famously soured on Facebook as a way to stay in touch. Teens clearly feel they can share things on WhatsApp, unlike Facebook, without their parents finding out about it. But the app’s appeal is hardly limited to young people. In a December blog post, WhatsApp co-founder, CEO, and soon-to-be-household-name Jan Koum boasted about some of the app’s more TED-talk-worthy uses:

Doctors in India are using WhatsApp to instantly send electrocardiogram pictures of patients who’ve suffered heart attacks, saving valuable time and potentially lives. In the mountains of Madrid, rescuers used WhatsApp to locate and save lost hikers. And today, as I follow the unfolding political crisis in Ukraine, the place where I was born and lived until the age of 16, I can’t help but hope that the next great WhatsApp story will be about people using the service to speak their mind and stand up for their basic rights.

So, sure, WhatsApp is a very promising and valuable startup. But is it really worth $19 billion? To most people in the world, no way. But if you happen to be running a company that’s valued at $173 billion and is terrified of losing its core business to mobile-messaging services, then you might start to think it’s worth just about whatever you have to pay.

Oremus is a Slate staff writer, reporting on technology and digital culture.

(c) 2014, Slate.

Troubled United need to start rebuilding

2019年8月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Manchester United will look to end a three-match winless run and get their sputtering top-four challenge back on track when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday.


United made the most of a blank weekend caused by their early exit from the FA Cup by heading to Dubai for warm weather training after last week’s goalless draw at Arsenal.

But even there United manager David Moyes couldn’t relax as he continues to reshape a squad which is in need of a major overhaul following a dispiriting start to the post-Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford.

United are closing on a new contract for Wayne Rooney, while Inter Milan claim they are on the verge of a deal for Nemanja Vidic, who announced earlier this month that he will leave Old Trafford when his contract expires in the close-season.

After the visit to Selhurst Park to face Palace, they re-start their Champions League campaign with a last 16 first leg tie at Olympiakos next week and with an 11-point gap to fourth-placed Liverpool, they may have to win the competition to get a place for next season.

With 12 league matches remaining they know they can not afford any more slips like the 2-1 loss at Stoke, which again halted the champions’ progress, at the start of the month.

Following that they were held to a 2-2 draw at home against Fulham before drawing at Arsenal.

Palace have endured an unexpected two week break since their last outing, the 3-1 home victory over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion that has left them two points clear of the bottom three.

Tony Pulis’s side had been due to face Everton at Goodison Park last week but the match was postponed because of adverse weather conditions.

Palace manager Pulis was grateful for the efforts of the Merseyside club in finding overnight accommodation and training facilities for his team.

But he insists the enforced lay-off came at the wrong time for his improving team who appeared destined to fall back into the Championship earlier in the season.

“It’s disappointing because we were on such a good run so to have so long not doing something is tough,” Pulis said.

“I have to say though, Everton were absolutely fantastic. They fed the players, found us a hotel and training facilities and paid for everything.

“I just hope the chairman has paid back what we owe them!”

Sugary drinks off the menu for ACT schools

2019年7月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The last drinks bell has rung in Canberra’s public schools with the government moving to ban sugary drinks by the end of the year.


Vending machines will be emptied of soft drinks, fruit juices and full-fat flavoured milks by the end of first term and canteens will have to phase them out by the end of 2014.

They’ll be replaced with water refill stations and reusable drink bottles.

Parents will be encouraged to send healthy drinks packed in their children’s lunch boxes.

However the ban won’t extend to drinks sold at fetes and fundraisers.

It’s all in the interests of tackling the ACT’s growing obesity problem.

“We must not allow the next generation of children to grow up with the same bad eating and drinking habits that some adults are now paying the price for,” Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said in a statement on Friday.

The fruit juice industry says the government’s decision to include its products in the ban is a misguided attempt to show leadership.

“The ACT government is jumping at shadows and is concerned about the sugar in juice which is naturally occurring and comes from the originating piece of fruit,” Fruit Juice Australia chief executive Geoff Parker told AAP.

“We don’t support a young kid drinking a litre of juice or a 600mL of juice but a small glass of juice a day as part of an overall balanced diet is perfectly fine.”

He said a blanket ban sent the wrong message to children when evidence showed kids who drank juice had a better quality of diet overall.

Ms Gallagher said canteens would follow the traffic light guidelines so juices that were 99 per cent fruit and sold in small quantities would be for sale occasionally, along with some cordials and flavoured mineral waters.

She said it was expected for industry to push back against the decision.