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August, 2018

Hunter group put Cup rivals on red alert

HUNTER-based syndicators Australian Bloodstock lookto already have two runners in the 2017 Melbourne Cup, including an early favourite, but they are on the look out for more.
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ON TRACK: Australian Bloodstock directors Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell. Picture: Getty Images

The Andreas Wohler-trained Red Cardinal won the group 2Oleander-Rennen (3200m) at Hoppegarten in Germany on the weekend to effectively secure his place in the $6.2 million Cup –a race Australian Bloodstock won in 2014 with Protectionist.

Last year, Red Cardinal was among Australian Bloodstock’s best hopes for the Melbourne spring carnival but he was forced to miss the first transport from quarantine in England because he had a virus.

He then missed the ballot cut for the second transport of overseas raiders.

This year, though, Red Cardinal is no danger of missing out after his 1 ¼-length win in the Oleander-Rennen (3200m) at Hoppegarten.

Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell believed Red Cardinal, an equal favourite for the Cup at $15 with TAB Sportsbet, could repeat Protectionist’s feat.

“I felt he would have run top three in theMelbourne Cup last year,” Murrell said.

“Before they had the chance to ballot him off, but they won’t have that anymore because he will be too highly rated.

“He’s guaranteed a spot as long as he gets here fit and healthy.

“He’s a really good horse, I think he can win it.”

Red Cardinal’s risefollows the impressive first Australian preparation of the Darren Weir-trained Big Duke, which was third in the Sydney Cup after five wins in eight starts, including three victories at group level.

The performance put the Irish-bred four-year-old gelding firmly in the picture for a start in the Cup.

“We’ve got Big Duke, who isgoing good, and maybe one or two others behind the scenes and I’ll try and get one more just in case,” Murrell said.

“Big Duke is the best of the locals. He’snot as good as Red Cardinal but I think he can run top five and he will only improve.”

Ormito and Raw Impulse are other Australian Bloodstock horses in the early Cup market.

Firstly for Red Cardinal is the $(US)400,000Belmont Gold Cup Invitational on June 9 in America. He secured an invitation and all-expense-paid trip to the new race with hiswin on the weekend.

Meanwhile, Newcastle trainerBen Smith was looking forward to In Her Time’s next crack at the Brisbane winter carnival after a pleasing first interstate trip.

In Her Time battled on for fifth first-up in the group 1 Doomben 10,000 on Saturday after running wide throughout from an outside barrier. Smith said In Her Time had returned home and recovered well.

“It was very good and she’s got a fair bit of improvement to come as well,” Smith said. “We left a bit of gas in the tank with her and obviously the Tatts Tiara is the main goal.

“We’ll definitely go back up. We’ll try to get a run in the Stradbroke Handicap, and if we miss out, there’s the Dane Ripper Stakes the sameday.”

“She’s travelled quite well and I’m very happy with her.

“We’re looking forward to getting back there and hopefully the track will dry out a bit and there’s a better surface and that will suit us better as well.

“She had a lot of things against her on Saturday and she still wanted to fight on at the end, and they were great signs.”

Bouncing banks help offset ASX Monday morning blues

An uninspiring start to the week’s trading on the ASX masked a solid bounce in the major banks, as weaker than expected Chinese economic data added to the broadly downbeat mood.
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While industrial metals and energy prices edged higher, weaker US inflation and retail sales weighed on global sentiment going into the weekend, which spilled into the Australian market on Monday morning.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index overcame early losses to nudge 1 point higher to 5838, while the broader All Ordinaries Index was a couple of points down at 5868.

A slew of Chinese data pointed to an easing rather than a sharp slowdown in the world’s second largest economy as policymakers push to rein in financial instability risks by cracking down on lending. The figures came following a weekend summit in Beijing to promote the country’s bid to revive the old Silk Road.

“The ‘One Belt One Road’ plan is still at a very premature stage,” Raymond Yeung, chief economist for greater China at ANZ told Blooomberg. “But domestically we’ve seen China increasingly shifting back to the original investment-led model, which means they will continue to boost the economy through infrastructure spending.”

“Infrastructure investment will continue to boom.”

Investors moved back into the banks, after a shocking week following last Tuesday’s budget, which saw $16 billion wiped off the big four’s combined market capitalisation, with the Big Four all gaining by between 0.7 per cent and 1 per cent. Macquarie Group, however, fell 0.9 per cent.

Telstra managed to find some buyers, adding 0.9 per cent. The big telco has suffered heavily in recent weeks as competition heats up in the sector. Investors shunned the major supermarket owners, with Woolworths losing 0.6 per cent and Coles owner Wesfarmers dropping 0.9 per cent.

In other equities news, sandalwood plantation company Quintis went into a trading halt, pending the release of an update on the company’s “expected financial results and strategic outlook”. Quintis has suffered two months of relentless selling after Glaucus Reserach released a scathing report.

Fairfax Media, publisher of The Australian Financial Review, was one of the best performing stocks on the ASX on Monday, jumping 6.5 per cent to a six-year closing high of $1.14. Private equity firm TPG came back with an improved offer for the business, proposing $1.20 a share for the entire business, rather than it’s previous offer of 95?? a share for the Domain property listing business and the three major mastheads. Stock Watch: Asaleo Care

Shares in personal care and hygiene company Asaleo slumped 11 per cent on Monday after chief executive Peter Diplaris on Friday evening announced he had sold almost half of his share holding citing “personal reasons including meeting family tax obligations”. Asaleo shares had rallied almost 40 per cent in recent months, and had been trending higher after plunging in July 2016 on a shock earnings downgrade. Not helping the investor mood was the fact broker Citi downgraded the stock last week to a sell, saying the company had become too expensive. The analysts also pointed to a loss of market share for Asaleo’s products due to Woolworths pushing its own higher quality private label ABC Tissue. Citi has a 12-month share price target on the stock of $1.50, still below the newly discounted price of $1.549 Property Loans

Total mortgage lending in April rose 0.9 per cent to $33.2 billion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Loans to owner occupiers – excluding the refinancing of existing loans – rose 1.7 per cent month on month to $14.1 billion. Total investor lending picked up 0.8 per cent from February to $13 billion. “All up the data was largely as expected,” Westpac economist Matthew Hassan said. “Note that the latest round of macro prudential tightening was only announced in late March with impacts likely to come through in coming months. “Latest auction market results suggests housing market conditions have steadied a touch in Apr-May after cooling earlier in the year from a very strong finish to 2016,” he added. Chinese data

Monday’s economic data suggests the world’s second-largest economy dialled back a gear in April as authorities crack down on the nation’s swelling financial leverage. Industrial output rose 6.5 per cent last month from a year earlier, compared to 7 per cent seen by economists and 7.6 per cent in March. Retail sales increased 10.7 per cent versus 10.8 per cent seen by analysts. Fixed-asset investment excluding rural areas expanded 8.9 per cent for the first four months, compared to a median estimate of 9.1 per cent. Economist were unfussed. “Overall, there is also no need to overreact to today’s weaker than expected growth data,” CBA’s Wei Li said. Oil

The price of brent crude bounced on Monday, to its highest level in two weeks, after the Saudi Arabian and Russian energy ministers said they are in favour of extending an output-cut deal for nine months. Brent crude was fetching $US51.57 a barrel in late afternoon trade on Monday. Russia and Saudi Arabia, the largest of the 24 nations that agreed to cut production for six months starting in January, are reaffirming their commitment to the deal amid growing doubts about its effectiveness. A recent increase in Libyan output, together with a surge in North American production and signs of recovery in Nigeria, may undercut OPEC’s strategy to re-balance the market and prop up prices. New Zealand tourism

New Zealand has slashed its forecast for Chinese tourist spending over the next six years, denting growth expectations for its biggest foreign-exchange earner. Spending by Chinese tourists will rise to NZ$3.73 billion by 2022 from NZ$1.65 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest annual forecasts. That’s 30 per cent less than the NZ$5.32 billion expected in last year’s projections. The downward revision indicates overall revenue from tourists won’t grow as quickly as previously expected, and that Australia will remain the biggest source of tourist dollars until 2021.

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

Uni in New bust up with union over jobs

Uni in New bust up with union over jobs LAUNCH:The university’s new brand was unveiled on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil
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LAUNCH: Professor Kevin Hall, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research and innovation launching the university’s new brand on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

LAUNCH:The university’s new brand was unveiled on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

LAUNCH:The university’s new brand was unveiled on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

LAUNCH:The university’s new brand was unveiled on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

LAUNCH:The university’s new brand was unveiled on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldrevealed the university’s leaderswere undertaking a review of professional –or non-academic –staff, union officials say consultation has “dried up” and there are no answers about what comes next.

“Recommendations from the external consultant hired to undertake the reviewwere due to be announced in April, but the review is seemingly in disarray:promisedweekly updates for staff dried up without explanation around six weeks ago,” the union’s Newcastle branch said in a statement. “UON hasrefusedto reveal the ongoing cost of the review [but]$25 million price tag for a recent similar review at the University of NSW is worrying.”

But the union’s decision to raise the review –and the likely job cuts –on the same day the university unveiledits new brand raised the ire of the university’s bosses.

LAUNCH: Professor Kevin Hall, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research and innovation launching the university’s new brand on Monday. Picture: Marina Neil

In a statement, a spokeswoman said it was “disappointing that yet again the NTEU has sought to diminish the pride of UON staff and students in their university”.

“The NTEU has raised a suite of disconnected issues in an attempt to detract from the great achievements of staff and students, which was the focus of today’s launch of UON’s new brand campaign,” the spokeswoman said. “The University of Newcastle has long been one of the world’s quiet achievers but it is time to tell our story.”

Tina Imig, a brand strategist on the university’s marketing and communications team, said Sydney agency Special Group had collaborated on the campaign that hinges on the word “New”, a play on the city’s name.

“Among students, academics and industry partners it’s been very powerfully received. It’s a call-to-arms,” Ms Imig said. “One of the things we’ve discovered is the power of this idea to shape perceptions of the university. We’ve been quite quiet [as a university] about our success and achievements.”

The university’s statement did not address the likelihood of job cuts, saying the university was in a “highly competitive environment” that meant it needed to “keep improving our processes”.

“As planned the new organisational design will be delivered in phases, with a further update to be provide to staff at the end of May,” she said.

She said that in the context of “recent changes to government funding for higher education” it was important the university was “proactive in managing change” to “ensure we remain competitiveand avoid having change forced on us”.

The advertising campaign –which also includes the slogan “New Needs You” –includes what the university called“creative lines” –slogans –with “online digital executions”, and plans to expand the campaign to public transport and cinemas.

Sara Connor’s sentence increased on appeal

Sara Connor transported back to prison after sentenced to four years’ jail, 13 March 2017. Photo: Alan Putra Photo: Alan Putra
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Bali: Australian woman Sara Connor has had her jail sentence increased to five years for the fatal group assault of a Bali police officer after the prosecution appealed to the High Court.

The increased sentence will come as a bitter blow to the 46-year-old from Byron Bay, who was not in court. She had faced an anxious wait for the ruling from Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

Wayan Sudarsa, a police officer in Bali for 35 years, was found dead on Kuta beach on August 17 last year with 42 wounds, including grisly head injuries.

Connor and her British DJ boyfriend David Taylor were found guilty of fatal group assault in the Denpasar District Court in March and sentenced to four and six years’ jail respectively. Both sentences were comparatively light given an on-duty police officer had been killed and the maximum penalty for fatal group assault is 12 years.

However prosecutors, who had requested that both serve eight years’ jail for the crime, appealed Connor’s sentence to the High Court.

They argued four years was not a deterrent and did not take into account the family of the victim or satisfy the sense of justice demanded by the community.

One of the High Court judges, Sudharmawatiningsih, said the District Court had ignored two aggravating factors in its earlier sentencing. She said the defendant had left the victim and didn’t try to help him even though he was still face down.

“The defendant also damaged Indonesia’s tourism image, specifically Bali tourism,” Ms Sudharmawatiningsih said.

Mr Sudarsa’s widow, Ketut Arsini, said she was disappointed because she had hoped for the maximum 12-year sentence.

“What can I say, I leave it to the system to punish her. But personally I am disappointed, of course,” she told Fairfax Media. “I wanted her to be punished to the maximum allowed. Even though the maximum is not nearly enough for what I believe she deserved.”

Connor, who maintained her innocence throughout the trial, did not lodge a counter appeal amid fears that appellate courts in Indonesia often impose harsher sentences on appeal. She was not represented by lawyers in the High Court on Monday.

However she wrote an impassioned six-page appeal to the High Court judges, begging them not to increase her sentence. Connor wrote she deserved a lesser sentence than Taylor because he was the one who hit Mr Sudarsa with a beer bottle, while she had merely tried to separate the pair as they fought on the beach.

“What I did at the time was defend myself from something I saw as a threat,” she wrote.

“Even though I was involved in the fight, the prosecutor has to see that nothing I did cause the victim’s death.”

She believed her four-year sentence reflected the sense of justice of the people of Indonesia, although she wrote it was difficult for her to accept it.

“I am a single mother with two children who need my attention as a parent,” Connor wrote to the judges. “The four years was something that was very hard for me and my children.”

She said she felt guilty, had learnt a lesson and the punishment imposed had been a bitter one that would last her whole life.

“Let me learn from my mistake to be a better person,” Connor wrote.

The judges in the Denpasar District Court rejected key elements of Connor’s defence. This included her claim that she was only trying to break up the fight between the two men sparked when Taylor accused Mr Sudarsa of stealing Connor’s handbag.

The court found Connor was not trying to break up the fight when she sat on top of the police officer but was trying to help Taylor and prevent Mr Sudarsa from fighting back.

The judges also did not accept her claim that she cut up the identity cards in Mr Sudarsa’s wallet, which Taylor had taken from him after the fight, in order to protect the police officer from identity theft.

In fact, they said, she had acted out of guilt.

The verdict will now be sent back to Denpasar District Court. Connor will have seven days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court once the District Court receives the ruling.

Lead prosecutor Agung Jayalantara flagged the prosecution may not appeal if the judges had considered all their arguments.

This was despite the fact Connor’s sentence was only five years’ jail, which is slightly less than two-thirds of the eight year sentence the prosecution had requested.

Prosecutors usually appeal if a sentence is less than two thirds of what they requested.

“First we have to report to our superior, it would be up to them whether we appeal or not to the Supreme Court,” Mr Agung said.

Australian barrister Peter Strain, who has assisted the family, said he would prefer not to comment on the increased sentence.

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

The HSC maths equation that doesn’t add up

Students who opt for the general mathematics course in the HSC are being rewarded with up to 6.5 marks more than those who study the 2-unit advanced maths course, creating a “loophole” that is pushing high-achieving students into the less challenging subject.
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The advantage, created by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) scaling system, ranged from 5.3 and 6.5 scaled marks or the equivalent of at least 1.3 ATAR points between 2009 and 2013, according to a new report by the NSW Department of Education’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE).

“The implications are that the scaling is not working as it is intended. Instead of rewarding students who tackle the higher-level course, it is rewarding those who choose the lower level,” CESE’s executive director Dr Jenny Donovan said.

The ATAR calculation system is at least partially responsible for a steady fall in enrolments in the calculus-based advanced and extension maths courses, according to the CESE report and president of the Mathematical Association of NSW John Meng, who described the trend as “really concerning”.

“It’s become a loophole. We see students who are doing very well in maths deliberately choosing general maths to achieve a band six, which contributes to a very high ATAR score,” Mr Meng said.

“Students studying calculus-based courses are reducing, making it challenging to study STEM subjects in universities.”

The number of students opting for the HSC general maths course has increased nine per cent between 2001 and 2015, while the proportion of students studying advanced maths has dropped by 10 per cent over the same period, according to the report.

The overall proportion of HSC students studying any level of maths has also dropped significantly from 95 per cent in 1986 to 77.6 per cent of students in 2016, suggesting a broader shift away from maths and a tendency for those still studying it to choose the easiest subject.

In turn, the number of students commencing maths and economics degrees at university has dropped by more than half between 1989 and 2015.

A spokesman for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) said the new maths syllabuses, to be introduced next year for the general maths course and in 2019 for higher-level courses, would address the issue.

“[The new] HSC mathematics syllabuses will feature common content and marking scales that allow direct comparison of students to taking the calculus and non-calculus based courses, and address concerns that ATAR scaling advantages students taking the non-calculus General Mathematics course,” the spokesman said.

“NESA will provide UAC with data related to questions which assess common content across adjacent courses for scaling purposes.”

However, the success of the common marking scale in addressing the scaling advantage will depend on the degree of common content between the general maths course and the advanced maths syllabus, which has yet to be finalised.

The Mathematics Association has been pushing for changes to the scaling system for years and welcomed the changes, Mr Meng said.

“It’s a very good practise that’s been in place for standard and advanced English for years,” he said.

In the meantime, the University of Sydney has become the first in NSW to set its own prerequisite of a band 4 or higher in advanced maths for entry into 62 courses across a range of disciplines from 2019.

“We have been concerned about falling participation in advanced level mathematics at the HSC level,” the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin said.

“We want to ensure the students we admit to our degrees are adequately prepared for their university studies.”

A spokeswoman for the Universities Admissions Centre, which calculates ATARs based on a combination of raw and scaled HSC marks, welcomed the move and said the perception that choosing general maths would help students gain entry to better university courses was “erroneous”.

“I know kids are looking to maximise their ATAR and in some cases when they’re looking at highly competitive courses, 0.05 points can make a difference, but they’re setting themselves up for failure by doing lower-level maths,” she said.

“Any advantage is completely swamped by the benefits of university bonus points, which generally reward higher-level maths. And some universities are setting their own prerequisites.”

Mr Meng also said university prerequisites were “a good rule”.

“Students with higher maths capabilities should do the right course rather than taking a short cut now, because it’s building a foundation for tertiary courses,” he said.

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

Coordinated Twitter storm exposes Greens tensions over Gonski

EMBARGOED FOR SUNDAY LIFE, FEB 12/17 ISSUE. FIFO MUMS STORY. ?? Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday 14 October 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe tweets started just after 9pm on Friday and kept coming relentlessly, in alphabetical order, for the next 48 hours.
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Over 2000 tweets in total – all aimed at Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young – listing how much each public school in NSW would lose unless the Turnbull government funds the six-year Gonski agreements in full.

The fusillade from the NSW Teachers Federation was a response to the Greens’ education spokeswoman’s comments, in an interview published by Fairfax Media just hours earlier, that it was time to seize the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to fix the nation’s school funding system.

“We have to face reality,” Hanson-Young said, signalling a willingness to do a deal with the government.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale had already indicated he was prepared to negotiate, but it was Senator Hanson-Young’s comments that lit a fire under the public sector teaching unions.

Hanson-Young’s colleague Lee Rhiannon joined the pile on, and now division within the Greens is threatening to derail the Turnbull government’s hopes of overhauling the school funding system.

Rather than wrangle the 12-person crossbench, the government has seen winning the Greens’ support as the most achievable way of passing its new school funding model into law.

But there is a split between Greens who want to do a deal with the government to secure more funding for public schools and those who say the party should stand on principle and block its school funding changes.

It highlights a deeper debate within the Greens under Senator Di Natale: should they be a party of protest or of pragmatism?

It’s a difficult decision for the Greens, which has been branded as “dirty” for doing deals with the Coalition on issues far less fraught than school funding.

The teacher unions, who are traditional allies of the Greens, argue Labor’s original Gonski agreements must be funded in full – something the government will not do.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) – the group behind the prominent “I Give a Gonski campaign” – will meet Senator Di Natale this week to lobby against supporting the government’s changes.

Senator Rhiannon showed her hand by tweeting her support for the “full Gonski”.

She retweeted a tweet saying it was “unbelievable” that Senator Hanson-Young would consider supporting the government’s proposals and another saying: “You can make the difference @leerhiannon. Don’t slash the budgets of NSW public schools. Stand up for what’s right.”

Senator Rhiannon declined to comment on Monday, saying school policy was not her portfolio.

While some social media users complained about getting “spammed”, the union barrage forced Senator Hanson-Young to issue a press release stating the party had yet to make up its mind.

Senator Hanson-Young on Monday stuck by her view that the current school funding model is “compromised” by special deals and needs to be fixed.

But she toughened her criticism of the government by saying it would have to offer more money to secure the Greens’ support.

“At first blush, I don’t think the government’s model is backed up by enough funding,” she told Sky News.

Asked about tensions in the party, the senator said she was “rock solid” with Senator Rhiannon on her desire to get more funding for public schools.

Blocking the government’s changes altogether would entrench funding increases for wealthy private schools and generous arrangements for Catholic schools.

Follow Matthew Knott on Facebook for more

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

China’s trade plan benefits to flow to Australia

Can you turn trade policy into a catchy children’s jingle? In its bid to sell its One Belt, One Road initiative to the world, the Chinese government has given it a red-hot go.
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In a video released to coincide with a launch of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative – which aims to build trade infrastructure and trade linkages from Africa to Oceana to rival the ancient Silk Road – children from various nations dance on a background of rainbows and industry. “When trade routes open up, that’s when the sharing starts. Resources changing hands, and shipping auto parts.”

It’s corny, but cute enough to get attention. And only one small part of a global marketing initiative to sell OBOR to the world.

If the videos are aimed at citizens, Sunday’s trade summit was aimed at the world’s policy elite.

Last weekend, China gathered 29 of the world’s national leaders – along with representatives from over 100 other nations and IMF head Christine Lagarde – to a summit at which President Xi Jinping announced a further 600 billion yuan ($117 billion) for various OBOR initiatives. It’s only a small portion of what’s already been spent on the plan since 2013.

OBOR has been compared by many to a new Marshall Plan, referring to the United States’ post-WWII development of war-ravaged nations in Europe. Like the Marshall Plan, it’s partly a “soft power exercise,” according to Hong Kong-based investment director of Fidelity International Catherine Yeung.

“It’s their way of dealing with overcapacity – that abundance of steel and other resources”, said Ms Yeung. “And their way to increase their soft power status. And that’s key to them.

“The president expects China to be the global leader by 2049 – which will mark 100 years of Communist Party rule. To get there, you can’t just be the world’s largest shoe manufacturer. It’s about climbing up the value chain.”

China’s infrastructure spending has already caused booms in countries such as Malaysia, where the main stock index is up 8.1 per cent since the start of the year, Ms Yeong said. A similar boom is in progress in the Philippines.

For Australian investors, the impact of the plan may be less dramatic, but still significant.

“Ultimately the biggest impact for Australian business will probably be indirect,” said University of Melbourne economist Dr Lauren Johnston. “Australia’s not a focus country at this point. However, if the initiative delivers on its promises, there will be new emerging trade relationships and investment relationships that Australian companies can nonetheless also take advantage of – and should be ready for.

“For me the most strategic companies won’t only be looking directly at opportunities with China, but will imagine what will happen to say, the Silk Road-attached railway in Kenya, the first leg of which opens later this year. Ultimately, that will connect to many east African countries and will in principle open up trade and investment opportunities in those countries.

“We can sit around all day staring at China, but the whole point of this is, it’s a global initiative.”

Because of the broad, global nature of the initiative, it can be tricky to pin down what companies in particular stand to gain. But infrastructure spending does provide demand for raw materials – the decade-long One Belt, One Road initiative could provide some healthy demand for the products of Australia’s major miners, Ms Yeung said.

The growth of the global middle-class, as a result of all the trade, is good for Australia too, she added.

As far as direct participation in the OBOR plan goes, Australia’s government has expressed caution. Trade minister Stephen Ciobo, who represented Australia at the summit, told the ABC any investment initiatives with China would be subject to “Australia’s national interest”.

This is appropriate, said Dr Johnston, given the unknowns that still exist. The United States and Japan, China’s main rivals, have not joined the list of countries signed up to the OBOR initiative.

OBOR has its critics, like Jorge Wuttke, the president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China. He wrote in the Financial Times that the ill-defined initiative needs trade to flow both ways to be successful, allowing foreign companies to invest in China as easily as Chinese companies are investing in the world, otherwise it may amount to little more than a massive waste of money.

The plan has also been criticised for seemingly giving preference to Chinese companies. These include Australian engineering company John Holland, now wholly owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise, which has been contracted to run Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway – one of the OBOR projects shortly due to open.

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

Hooper: Wallabies can get by without Pocock

Wallabies vice-captain Michael Hooper has “no idea” what life will be like without star back-rower David Pocock but is adamant he and his national teammates can wipe the slate clean on the back of a tumultuous year for Australian Super Rugby sides.
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Pocock is in the middle of a sabbatical from the game and has spent the year in Africa doing conservation work with his partner Emma.

Arguably the Wallabies’ most influential player over the past few years, Pocock’s absence from Test football in 2017 will be a big blow for Michael Cheika’s men.

Hooper is the only Wallaby back-rower guaranteed to be selected ahead of the June Test series and is not sure how the make-up of the pack will look this year.

Asked what affect Pocock’s absence would have on the team, Hooper replied: “No idea. As far as all the back-row stocks are concerned this year, we’ve just got to put our best hands up and best foot forward.

“There’s been guys that are doing well and guys who particularly during Wallaby time, are wanting to be there and pushing for a starting jersey.

“There’s plenty of back-rowers. It’s going to be different faces.”

The return of dynamic back-rower Sean McMahon will no doubt please Cheika, however there are reports the 22-year-old is considering a move to Japanese rugby.

Hooper said McMahon was a big chance of snaring a spot at the back of the scrum following on from his nine Tests in 2016.

“No one should walk back into the side, however, someone like Seany, who is a quality world-class player, will be able to get back to fitness and get back to form quick,” Hooper said. “I’m sure he’s been absolutely bursting all year to want to get on the field so his intent is just going to be awesome. His ball carrying is awesome.”

There will no doubt be constant debate about whether poor Super Rugby performances will translate into the Test arena in a year where the Wallabies will front up on 14 occasions.

Hooper is confident, like Cheika, a lean year, which has thus far resulted in just 13 Australian wins from 51 starts, won’t matter when the Wallabies come up against Fiji, Scotland and Italy in June.

“The ability to separate those is something the Wallabies have always been good at and something that the coaching staff are looking to do,” Hooper said. “It’s going to be a new thing for us to come in and a new challenge.

“It’s a quick turnaround from Super Rugby into the international stuff. It’s very much going to be come in there and leave that stuff behind.

“It’s a lot easier than you think [to put it behind you]. You’re coming into a new environment, fresh faces. There’s a lot of enthusiasm not to leave that stuff behind but take what you’ve learnt and pool it in together to go forward.”

While the decision to schedule the trio of Tests at 3pm has been well received by fans, there won’t be as much hype as last year when former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones brought a fearless England team to Australian shores.

The three-nil whitewash on home soil burned all Australian players involved and it was this embarrassment that might be extra ammunition in more home Tests they are expected to win.

“That was really tough to take to lose at home,” Hooper said. “It is a huge advantage to have [as motivation] and it really hits the jersey and the playing group hard when you’re not winning at home.

“We’ve got the advantage of being at home, we’ve got the advantage of knowing these cities in and out and playing together a lot. The other teams have got to take it away from us.”

Asked for his opinion of Australia’s 2019 World Cup draw – they have Wales and Georgia in their pool – Hooper said: “Georgia; never played them, they’ve got plenty of players that play Top 14. Really interested to see what that match-up will be like.

“It’s a good draw, exciting draw and the reality is to win the thing you’ve got to beat everyone. It doesn’t matter who you cop in the pools.”

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

Fox Footy’s Bounce called out for ‘racist’ segment on China

The AFL has long been debating how best to tackle racist comments from the sidelines and sledging on the field, but when it comes to footy shows the boundaries become even murkier as Sam Newman frequently proves.
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But it came as a surprise to some Fox Footy lovers that Bounce host Danny “Spud” Frawley would resort to antiquated racist humour on Sunday night when mocking the historic Shanghai AFL game between Port Adelaide and Gold Coast being broadcast in China.

The show’s chief host and AFL Hall of Famer Jason Dunstall introduced the segment by segueing from a discussion between Spud and Cameron Mooney about the Shanghai game by saying: “I’ll tell you what was interesting, they did cut a deal to televise the game locally and to listen to the local commentary made the game very interesting.” It then cut to vision of the game, with overlay commentary in an attempted Chinese-accented English, “No tackle, tackle over there, the pollock on the left”, that quickly descended into gibberish.

When it cut back to the studio, Dunstall, Mooney and Brian Lake were in peals of laughter, with Mooney trying to restore some dignity by suggesting “you can’t be serious”.

But that wasn’t the end of it, after revealing that it was Spud providing the so-called commentary, he then continued by holding up a Chinese menu saying: “I tell you guys, what about the Chinese footy record over there, it was absolutely outstanding and Moons how good was No.9 over there?” To which a confused Mooney answered: “Gaz [Gold Coast Suns’ Gary Ablett] wasn’t that great.”

“No, No.9 … the steak and black bean sauce, it was unbelievable,” Spud guffawed.

Viewers took to Twitter to question the humour of the segment. @FOXFOOTY#bounceWow, really? Bad Chinese accent by spud to the game… is it the 1950’s? Absolute pathetic “humour”??? Mr Awesome-O (@davidsffs) May 14, 2017Is there a worse show on tv than The Bounce @FOXFOOTY? #racism??? Wenger Out (@DrobsonKanu) May 14, 2017I only caught the end of it but it did seem that @FOXFOOTY just aired a piece of racism on The Bounce. How does this happen in 2017?!??? Adam Bishop (@AdaBish) May 14, 2017First AFL game in China and we get “jokes” on #[email protected] like passing off a chinese restaurant menu as an AFL record? *sigh*??? Christopher Johnson (@Dream_Brother_) May 14, 2017Really @foxfooty just some casual racism to start the bounce. Who the hell thought that was a funny idea???? Steve (@steviejvic) May 14, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Gig guide May 18

BIG TOP: The discotheque circus Velvet, starring Marcia Hines, opens on Thursday night in the Spiegeltent in Newcastle’s Civic Park. Picture: Karleen MinneyMUSIC5 SawyersFriday, AK Morris.
Nanjing Night Net

Adamstown Uniting Church Saturday, Salon Days:Music from the Golden Age of Palm Court Orchestras. Sunday, Carole, Joni & Carly –The Songwriters That Changed The World.

Albion Hotel SingletonFriday, Lennie Live.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, Mardmax.

Argyle House Saturday, Argyle’s 4thbirthday party.

Australia Hotel CessnockSaturday, Outerphase.

Bar Petite Friday, CrocQ.

Battlesticks BarThursday, Wesley’s Edge, Friday,Nicko.Saturday,Jade Lee Wright.Sunday,Nicholas Connors.

Beach Hotel Friday, The Buzzard Mix. Saturday, Trataka. Sunday, The V-Dubs.

Bellbird Hotel Friday, Gerda & Dave. Saturday, Dean Kyrwood. Sunday, Hendo’s Jam.

Belmont 16s Friday, Ryan Daley, Matchbox. Saturday, Cruzers, Matt Gaudry. Sunday, Backbeat Duo.

Belmore Hotel Friday, Nemo.

Beresfield Bowling Club Friday,Misbehave. Saturday, Defaced.

Blackbutt Hotel Friday, Sarah Christine. Saturday, Captain Risky.

The BradfordFriday, Arcane.Saturday, Witchery.Sunday, Tiali.

Burwood InnFriday,Dane Fitzsimmons.Saturday, DJ Dan Phelan.

Cambridge Hotel Thursday, Hey Lady!, This Way North, Tim Smyth & Holy Trash, Georgie Jones. Friday, Crawford Brothers.Saturday, Northlane,Hands Like Houses.

Cardiff RSL Club Friday, Kristy James. Saturday, Project X.

Catho PubSaturday, Layth Gunn.Sunday, Eye On You.

Central Charlestown Leagues Club Friday, Beth Gleeson. Saturday, Daniel Arvidson.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Ngariki.

Cessnock Leagues Club Friday, Jade & Willow.

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre Friday, The Australian Bee Gees Show.

Charlestown Bowling Club Friday,The DuoTones. Saturday,Hayden Johns.

Civic Theatre Thursday, Angela Hewitt.

Clarendon HotelFriday Matt McLaren. Saturday, Karen O’Shea.

Club KotaraSaturday, Paul Watters.

Club LemonTree Friday,Let Loose. Saturday, Joel Oakhill.

Club Maitland CityFriday, Kevin O’Hara.

Club Redhead Saturday, Viagro.

Commercial HotelBoolarooFriday, Arna Georgia.

Commercial Hotel MorpethFriday, Brenton Williams.Saturday, Zac & Ben.

Country Club Hotel Shoal Bay Friday, Nemo, Skoob. Saturday, DJ Ules.

Criterion Hotel Carrington Saturday,Roxy. Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, The V-Dubs.

Crown & Anchor HotelSunday,Zane Penn Duo.

Customs House Friday, Bonny Rai. Saturday,Jackson Halliday. Sunday, Chad Shuttleworth.

D’Albora MarinaSunday,Ben Travis.

Denman HotelSunday, Sarah Christine.

Duke Of Wellington Friday,Troy Kemp. Saturday, The DuoTones.

East Maitland Bowling Club Friday, 4 Letter Word. Saturday, Melbourne Street. Sunday,Norm Bakker.

The Edwards Saturday, The Owls, dave, Nicholas Connors, Mahala Williams, e4444e.

Exchange Hotel Friday, Big Night Out. Saturday, Hummingbirds.

Family Hotel MaitlandFriday, Mardy Leith.

Finnegans Saturday, Brooke Evers.

FogHorn Brewhouse Friday, Anyerin. Saturday, Melody Feder.

Gallipoli Legion ClubThursday,Gruve ft Marissa Saroca, DJ Tone.Saturday, Yes Commissioner.

Gateshead Tavern Friday, Purple Hearts. Sunday, The Way.

George Tavern Friday, Lauren Arms. Saturday, Banddits.

Grand Hotel Tuesday, Peter Koopman Trio.

Grand Junction Hotel Saturday, Frankenbok, Zombonimo. Sunday, Alby Pool. Tuesday, Variety Night hosted by William Crighton.

Great Northern Hotel Teralba Saturday,Chad Shuttleworth.

Greenroof Hotel Friday,Chad Shuttleworth. Saturday, Ben Travis.

Gunyah Hotel Saturday, Overload. Sunday, Shivoo.

​Hamilton Station Hotel Thursday,The Weight Of Silence,Eviscerate the Crown,Final Form, Convex. Friday,Underminer,Falcifer, Xile, Shut Out. Saturday, The Wildbloods,Magnus,Yours Alone.

Harrigan’s Pokolbin Friday, X & Y. Saturday, Gen-R-8, Greg Bryce, Dos Eager.

Honeysuckle Hotel Sunday, Lisa Hunt.

Hotel CessnockFriday, Lee Rolfe.Saturday, Bernie Ayrton.

Hotel Delany Friday,Sundays Record. Saturday, Code Red.

Hotel Jesmond Friday, Crawfish Stew.

The Junction Hotel Friday, Marissa. Saturday, Frets With Benefits.

Junction InnRaymond Terrace Sunday, Troy Kemp.

Kent Hotel Friday, Beau Hatch Band.Saturday,The Fedz. Sunday, Grant Walmsley.

Khartoum HotelSaturday, Brazillian Brothers.

King Street Hotel Saturday, Reecelow.

Lake Macquarie Tavern Friday, Tim Harding.

Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Sunday, Bernie.

Lambton Park HotelFriday,Custom Shop.

Lass O’Gowrie Thursday,Creative Creatures Open Mic.Friday, E4444e,Yev Kassem,Luke Dillon.Saturday,The No Such Things,The Fonzies.

Lizotte’s Thursday, Jeff Lang. Friday, Blackeyed Susans,J.P Shilo. Saturday, A Tribute To Woodstock. Sunday,Australian Dance and Talent Centre. Tuesday, UniMusic.

Lochinvar Hotel Saturday, Jason Ray.

Lucky HotelFriday, Max Jackson.

Mark HotelSaturday, Kim and Mik.

Mary Ellen Friday,Tre Soul. Saturday, The Cassettes. Sunday, Jon Schatz.

Mavericks On The Bay Friday, Jon Schatz. Saturday, Zane Penn. Sunday, Jason Bone.

Mavericks On Darby Friday,Jason Bone. Saturday, Dave Owen.

Merewether Surfhouse Sunday,Jerome.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend Diggers Friday, Snape Trilogy. Saturday, The Years. Sunday, Damien.

Morisset Country ClubSunday, Darren Rolling Keys.

Murray’s Brewery Saturday, Amy Fredes. Sunday, James Osborn.

Nabiac Hotel Friday, Deuce.

Nag’s Head HotelSaturday, Pap & That.

Neath Hotel Saturday, Reg Sinclair.

Nelson Bay Bowling ClubFriday,Karen O’Shea.

Newcastle DiggersSaturday, Smokin Rosie.

Newcastle Jockey ClubSaturday,Jordan Fleming.

Northern Star HotelFriday, Dean Kyrwood.Saturday,Mark Wood.

Pedens CessnockFriday, Kellie Cain.Saturday, The Bad And The Ugly.

Pelican RSL ClubSaturday, Whiskey Business.

Pippis At The Point Friday,Kim,Mick Jones. Saturday,Jon Schatz. Sunday, Ashley Knight.

Potters Brewery Friday, Pistol Pete.

The PourhouseSaturday, Sami.

Premier Hotel Saturday, Shivoo. Sunday, The Years.

Prince of Wales HotelFriday, Mark Wells. Saturday,Wesley’s Edge.

Queens Wharf HotelFriday,Ty,The Remedy. Saturday, Todd Schmoo, Troy Kemp. Sunday, Blues Bombers.

Railway Hotel Cessnock Saturday, Pistol Pete.

Raymond Terrace Bowling ClubSunday, Phil McKnight.

Royal Federal HotelBranxton Friday, Jade Holland Band. Saturday, Outlaw Ave.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday, 2 To The Floor.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoFriday, Sami.Sunday, Kelly Hope.

Rutherford Hotel Saturday, Dai Pritchard.

Seabreeze HotelFriday, Outerphase.Sunday, Sami.

Shenanigans at the ImperialThursday,John Larder.Friday,Aaron Hipwell.Saturday,Elisa Kate.Sunday, Heather Price.

Shortland Hotel Friday,Damien. Saturday,Scully.

Singleton DiggersSaturday, Dr Love.

Snake Gully HotelSaturday, Soundabout.

Soldiers Point Bowling ClubFriday, Kelly Hope.

South Newcastle Leagues ClubSaturday, Bonny Rai.

Stag and Hunter Hotel Friday, Tim Solly, The Wayward Henrys. Saturday, Tim Hulsman.

Star HotelSaturday, Frick N Orson.

Stockton Bowling Club Friday, Elisa Kate. Saturday, DJ Symon.

Stockton RSLClub Saturday, Voodoo Rhythm Shakers.

Sunnyside TavernFriday, Zane Penn. Saturday, Emily Rose.

Swansea Hotel Sunday, Karen O’Shea.

Swansea RSLClub Saturday, Bounce.

Tea Gardens Country ClubSaturday, Rock Oz.

Tea Gardens HotelSaturday, Phil McKnight.

Tilligerry RSLFriday, The New Cool.Saturday, Loose Bazooka.

Tomago Bowling ClubFriday, Mark Lee.

Toronto Diggers Saturday, John Noble.

Toronto Workers Saturday,Scratch. Sunday, Mick Jones.

Town Hall Hotel Saturday, Logan.

Victoria Hotel Hinton Friday,Reg Sinclair. Saturday,Kellie Cain. Sunday, Todd Schmoo.

Wangi District Workers ClubFriday, Duplexity.

Wangi Wangi RSLClubSunday, Lennie Live.

Warners At The Bay Friday,Jim Overend. Saturday,Wicked.

Warners Bay Hotel Saturday, Hell Rad.

Westfield Kotara Saturday, Tim Harding.

Wests New Lambton Thursday, Angamus. Friday,Gen-R-8. Saturday, Bowie: Ashes To Ashes, Loko. Tuesday, Angamus.

Wickham Park HotelThursday, Grant Walmsley Freebird Jam Night.Friday, Manana. Saturday, Plastic Voyage. Sunday, Greg Bryce, Fishfry + Pow Wow.

Windale Gateshead Bowling Club Friday, La Bomba Rock.

MOVIESA Dog’s Purpose(PG) A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners.

A Street Cat Named Bob(PG)The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. (Regal)

Alien: Covenant(MA 15+) The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination.

Disney Jr at the Movies: Mickey and the Roadster Racers(G) Mickey Mouse and his pals racearound the globe.

Don’t Tell(M)The story of a young woman who fought back after enduring sexual abuse at a prestigious private school.

Fairy Tale: Dragon Cry(M)Natsu Dragneel and his friends travel to the island Kingdom of Stella, where they will reveal dark secrets, fight the new enemies and once again save the world from destruction.

Fences(PG)A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life. (Regal)

Get Out(MA) A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

Going In Style(M)Three senior citizens in their 70s decide to rob a bank. (Lake Cinema)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(M)The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together.

Jasper Jones(M)On the night that Jasper Jones, the town’s mixed race outcast shows him the dead body of young Laura Wishart, Charlie’s life is changed forever. (Regal)

Hidden Figures(PG)The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. (Regal)

John Wick: Chapter 2(MA)After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword(M)Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

Loving(PG)The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose arrest for interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia began a legal battle that would end with the Supreme Court’s historic 1967 decision. (Regal)

Snatched(MA 15+)A young woman persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise.

The Case For Christ(PG) Ajournalist struggles with his wife’s newfound faith in Christ.

The Fate Of The Furious(M)A mysterious woman seduces Dom back into a world of crime that he can’t seem to escape.

The Met Opera: La Traviata(E)Sonya Yoncheva brings her acclaimed interpretation of the doomed courtesan Violetta Valéry to Live in HD audiences for the first time, opposite rising American tenor Michael Fabiano as her lover, Alfredo. (Event)

Their Finest(M)A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg. (Lake Cinema)

The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One(MA)Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all.

The Zookeeper’s Wife(M)Zookeepers Antonina and Jan Zabinski helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion.

Viceroy’s House(PG)Lord Mountbattenis tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence.

Whiteley(M) A visual journey into the life and legacy of one of Australia’s most celebrated artists.

THEATREAnyone for Breakfast? Husbands and wives who are having affairs (or trying to have them) are involved in a night and morning of amusing confusion in Derek Benfield’s comedy. Club 71, at St Peter’s Hall, Hamilton. Friday and Saturday; dinner and show from 7pm (final week).

Laugh Out Loud FestivalComedy sketches and amusing musical routines developed by Hunter Drama’s young students, aged five to 18. Civic Playhouse, Newcastle. Thursday, at 6.30pm.

Snugglepot and CuddlepieThe gumnut babies head through the bush on a journey and meet Mr Lizard, Mrs Snake, the big, bad Banksia Men and others; lively musical from May Gibbs’ book. Young People’s Theatre, at its Hamilton theatre. Saturday at 2pm and 7pm (final shows).

Two To Tango. Bright double bill: Last Tango in Little Grimley, in which a small town theatre faced with closure decides to stage a sex comedy; and Haiku, moving play with a mother revealing that her autistic daughter voices Japanese-style poetry. At DAPA Theatre, Hamilton. Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, until May 27, plus 2pmon Sunday and Saturday, May 27.

VelvetMarcia Hines leads a musical cast as it looks through disco, dance, music and circus at the problems of people in a nightclub. Organised Pandemonium and Strut & Fret, in the Aurora Spiegeltent, Civic Park, until June 4: Tuesday to Friday, at 7.30pm, Saturday at 5pm and 8pm, Sunday at 3pm and 6pm.

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