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NZ dollar falls from two-month high

Written By kemala yuspita on Selasa, 24 Juni 2014 | 13.24

THE New Zealand dollar has fallen from a two-month high amid speculation the European Central Bank will keep interest rates low for an extended period.

THE kiwi rose as high as 87.48 US cents overnight and was trading at 87.19 cents at 5pm in Wellington, from 87.12 cents at 8am and 87.32 cents at 5pm on Monday. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 81.08 from 81.16 yesterday.

ECB president Mario Draghi told Dutch newspaper Telegraaf the central bank will continue to stimulate the regional economy until at least the end of 2016.The prospect of low European rates for longer than previously anticipated sapped demand for currencies such as the kiwi, which had been fuelled by upbeat Chinese manufacturing data on Monday."Yesterday we had a China PMI report which was quite strong and that caused the Aussie and the kiwi to rise against the US, and that rise for New Zealand lasted until about 6pm yesterday and then it stopped as you had some negative news out of Europe," Imre Speizer, senior market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp said."The kiwi still looks quite strong in the near-term, so I'd be picking it to break above 87.50."The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 92.48 Australian cents at 5pm from 92.50 cents on Monday and at 64.14 euro cents from 64.17 cents, but slipped to 88.89 yen from 89.01 yen.

13.24 | 0 komentar | Read More

Qld bikies can fill out 'resignation' form

QUEENSLAND bikies and their associates can fill out a form to declare they are no longer part of an outlaw group.

THE Queensland Police Service website has a questionnaire asking people to describe the steps they have taken to "disassociate".

The form asks participants to circle yes or no boxes to indicate if they have returned or destroyed their club colours, if they have a club tattoo, and whether it's been removed.They are also asked to declare if they are an office holder, general member or associate of a bikie chapter.New laws are coming into effect from July 1 banning bikies from working as used car sellers, security guards, locksmiths, tow truck drivers, bookmakers, pawn brokers, tattoo artists and bar workers.More than a dozen lines on the form are set aside so people can describe their future intentions with an outlaw group and the steps their organisation has taken to disassociate from them.A declaration section asks participants to give an undertaking to provide documents to the police within 10 business days.Earlier this month, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced the government would delay a controversial plan to ban people with bikie links from working in the building industry.This means plumbers and electricians with suspected bikie links won't be banned from having a trades licence until July 2015, after a federal royal commission into unions.But new licensing requirements will apply to other industries under the Tattoo Parlours Act 2013.Bikies can call a police hotline for help on filling out the form, which is subject to the Information Privacy Act.The Queensland police website promises that applications to disown bike membership would be assessed "in a timely manner".But participants are advised that delaying a response to a letter could jeopardise their ability to hold an industry licence.The form has to be witnessed by another signature.

13.24 | 0 komentar | Read More

Abbott vows to keep intervening for Greste

Tony Abbott (pic) says he is bewildered by an Egyptian court's decision to jail Peter Greste. Source: AAP

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to keep lobbying Egypt's government to free jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste.

THE federal government on Tuesday summoned a senior Egyptian diplomat to express outrage over the seven-year sentence handed to the Al Jazeera reporter in Cairo.

It was the latest diplomatic overture from the government to Egyptian authorities about the case, including from Mr Abbott who twice contacted the country's leadership to lobby for Mr Greste."The Australian government will continue to make intercessions at every level with the Egyptian government and elsewhere to try and ensure that Peter Greste and his colleagues are swiftly released," the prime minister told parliament on Tuesday.He said the government understood and supported the Egyptian government's crackdown on extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, but couldn't comprehend why those reporting on the group were jailed.Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Greste's harsh treatment as a journalist stirred "something elemental in the spirit of all free people".But he supported the prime minister's call for cool heads to prevail."These are the times when passions run high but the best interests of Peter and his two colleagues will not be served by inflammatory rhetoric," Mr Shorten told parliament.The government sought to summon Egypt's ambassador to the meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but discovered Hassan El-Laithy is in Cairo.Egyptian Charge d'Affaires Sherif Bedeir Hussein was called instead, and he refused to speak to journalists after leaving the half-hour meeting in Canberra.Attorney-General George Brandis said the government would make a formal request to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeking his intervention.

13.24 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jodhi Meares charged with DUI

Written By kemala yuspita on Senin, 23 Juni 2014 | 13.23

Jodhi Meares is heading to court after allegedly being caught drink driving in Sydney's east. Source: AAP

JAMES Packer's ex-wife Jodhi Meares will face court in August on drink driving charges after crashing into three parked cars in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

THE 43-year-old had to be rescued from her Range Rover, which rolled after the smash in upmarket Bellevue Hill on Saturday night.

The fashion designer, who is engaged to rocker Jon Stevens, was given a roadside breath test before being taken to the local police station.Police say she recorded a 0.181 blood alcohol reading, almost four times the legal limit.She was charged with drink driving and driving while suspended and is due to appear at Waverley Local Court on August 5.It's reported Meares could face the possibility of 18 months in jail and a fine of $3300.After a long engagement, Meares and Stevens were reportedly planning to tie the knot in September.

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jobs could go, Qld health minister says

Queensland's health minister concedes jobs could be lost as local health boards take over staffing. Source: AAP

QUEENSLAND'S health minister has conceded jobs could be lost as local health boards gain control of staffing from a centralised bureaucracy.

FROM July 1, eight of the state's 16 regional Hospital and Health Services (HHS) boards will take control of staffing from Queensland Health.

The other eight HHS boards will gain staffing control in July 2015.Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the transfer of staffing power from Queensland Health to local health and hospital boards could lead to job losses in the department."That's the simple reality. I think everyone understands those sorts of things," he told ABC Radio on Monday."As you put more of the focus into efficient management at a local level, there's ultimately going to be transfer of some of those resources as well, and positions may not ultimately be needed."The government established the HHS boards in July 2012 in a bid to decentralise the health bureaucracy.From July, three HHS boards take ownership of land and buildings.Another six boards will own these assets in December, with the remaining seven HHS boards taking control of infrastructure from July 2015.Opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller said Mr Springborg was shirking his portfolio responsibilities by offloading them to health boards."Make no mistake, the Newman government is trying to dodge responsibility for cuts to the health service, responsibility for its management and the possible future sale of assets," she said."We see a health minister who is running scared from the health portfolio and becoming the minister for buck passing."The state's public sector union estimates thousands more jobs could go in health."All that will change is how the government defines the jobs it cuts - not that jobs will be cut," Together Union secretary Alex Scott said."They cut jobs in health and then redefine them to say they weren't frontline services."

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Vic firies will be paid for mine fire: MFB

Victorian firefighters have begun legal action to recover wages owed since the Hazelwood mine fire. Source: AAP

FIREFIGHTERS involved in battling Victoria's mine fire will be paid outstanding entitlements for their efforts this week, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) says.

THE United Firefighters Union (UFU) has started Federal Court action against the brigade to recover wages owing since the 45-day fire at the Hazelwood coal mine began on February 9.

The legal action concerns 240 MFB firefighters, who are each owed an average $4000 out of a total overtime bill of more than $6 million.The MFB says all outstanding payments it is aware of will be paid this week."We have provided assurances to staff that everyone will be paid all of their entitlements," acting deputy chief officer David Bruce said in a statement on Monday.The UFU says firefighters worked up to 20-hour days on their days off during the Hazelwood coal mine fire but that the MFB is unable to account for who was there.However, Mr Bruce said it had taken considerable time and effort to recognise and verify attendance records, given the size and nature of the incident.The summer's fire season involved the largest deployment of firefighters outside the MFB's immediate area of responsibility, he said."Understandably, the MFB's focus at that time was to provide assistance to the community through efficient and effective deployment of resources across the state," he said.The UFU's Peter Marshall said the legal action for firefighters' entitlements would continue despite the MFB's assurances they would be paid this week."They've been saying that every week. Show me the money is the response to that," he said."If in the interim period they pay, that's good. but to date we ain't see the money despite many assurances."Firefighters shouldn't have to wait that long and the MFB should meet their legal requirements."

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Smart glasses' hope for blind

Written By kemala yuspita on Minggu, 22 Juni 2014 | 13.24

BRITISH-DESIGNED "smart glasses" that provide a new set of eyes for the visually impaired are being tested in public for the first time.

THE devices, which use a pair of video cameras to enhance residual vision, have the potential to transform the lives of thousands of registered blind people in the UK.

The glasses are being trialled by 30 visually impaired volunteers at testing venues in Oxford and Cambridge.Dr Stephen Hicks, of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University, who led development of the glasses, said: "The idea of the smart glasses is to give people with poor vision an aid that boosts their awareness of what's around them - allowing greater freedom, independence and confidence to get about, and a much improved quality of life."We eventually want to have a product that will look like a regular pair of glasses and cost no more than a few hundred pounds - about the same as a smart phone."The device consists of a pair of video cameras mounted in a headset, a pocket-sized computer processor, and software that projects images of close-by objects onto displays in the see-through eye pieces.The software interprets nearby surroundings to make important objects such as kerbs, tables, chairs or groups of people stand out more clearly.In some cases, details such as facial features can become easier to see.Of the more than 300,000 severely sight impaired people in the UK, it is believed about a third could benefit from the technology.Twenty volunteers with a range of eye conditions and levels of vision took part in preliminary tests of an earlier version of the glasses conducted last year by the Oxford team.The new trials are being conducted with support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

13.24 | 0 komentar | Read More

Carbon tax revisited in final Senate week

IT may by the current Senate's final hurrah, as its sits for one last week before the new senators take their place.

BUT even before it begins what amounts to a farewell lap, attention is focused squarely on the Senate that will replace it.

The Abbott government will on Monday reintroduce its carbon tax repeal laws into the parliament, in readiness for the new, more conservative upper house that take effect on July 7.The legislation has already been knocked back once by Labor and Greens in the Senate, but the host of conservative crossbenchers are expected to pass the legislation."This week the government will bring the carbon tax repeal bills back to Parliament to get rid of this dodgy tax once and for all," Environment Minister Greg Hunt says.While signature policies such as the carbon tax are expected to be waved through by the likes of the Palmer United Party, others such as the GP co-payment face continued resistance.Assistant infrastructure minister Jamie Briggs is confident the new senators can be talked into supporting the co-payment and reform of universities fees - two changes opposed by the PUP."I'm not at all sure that the positions some of the new senators have outlined will necessarily be their position in a month's time," Mr Briggs told Sky News on Sunday."When they're in Canberra and they've had the discussions with the relevant ministers ... I'm very confident people will understand this is the right direction."Environmentalists also had their minds turned to July 7, with the Climate Institute bringing two life-size dinosaur replicas to Parliament House in a last-ditch attempt to save the carbon tax."There are dinosaurs in politics and business who want to hold back progress," chief executive John Connor told reporters."This is an appeal to all parliamentarians, particularly the new senators, not to be rushed into a vote literally when they haven't even got their feet under their desks in parliament."

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Political blame game over childcare costs

Childcare costs have rocketed 150 per cent in the past decade, a report shows. Source: AAP

WORKING mothers are losing 60 cents of each dollar they earn to rising childcare costs but Australia's politicians haven't found a way to ease the situation for now.

INSTEAD they're blaming each other for the worsening crisis in childcare affordability.

Childcare costs have skyrocketed 150 per cent in the past decade, with only electricity and tobacco prices rising at a faster rate, a new report claims.Parents returning to full-time work after having a child can now expect to lose up to 60 per cent of their gross income to childcare fees, loss of benefits and higher income tax rates.Mums from low income families who return to full-time work may take home as little as $4.55 an hour, the research from financial services firm AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling found.Assistant education minister Sussan Ley regularly meets women juggling childcare with returning to work."There is crisis and struggle and desperation when you talk to mums who just don't know what to do with the work-family balance," she told reporters in Melbourne."It's not fair for families to have to live within a system that is as unsustainable as the one that Labor has left us with."The Productivity Commission is due to deliver its initial report on childcare to the government next month and the final version in October.Ms Ley expects the government will have some solutions for parents in early 2015.But the opposition says the government can do one thing to help right now: abandon plans to freeze childcare payments."They cannot justify standing up and attacking low and middle income families time and time again and this report shows that Australia can't afford it," opposition childcare spokeswoman Kate Ellis said.Labor was worried many women wouldn't return to the workforce after having children because of the difficulty of finding and paying for childcare.The AMP-NATSEM report said 630,000 Australian families pay for "long day" childcare, which can cost up to $170 a day per child.The national average childcare fee has risen 150 per cent since 2004. Childcare generally costs more in cities compared to regional areas and more in wealthier suburbs than less affluent areas.Fees have risen faster than petrol, education and healthcare costs.While the number of children in childcare has risen steadily over the past decade, about 60 per cent of children from working families are still cared for by grandparents, relatives or friends.

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

GM could face another fine

Written By kemala yuspita on Sabtu, 21 Juni 2014 | 13.23

AN old email from a General Motors employee warning of a "serious safety problem" could help trigger another government fine against the automaker.

THE email, dated August 30, 2005, surfaced Wednesday during a House subcommittee hearing on GM's delayed recall of 2.6 million small cars with ignition switch problem. This email outlined a similar issue with a larger car.

Employee Laura Andres wrote that she was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Impala home from work when she hit a bump and the engine stalled on a busy road near Detroit. The car behind her had to swerve to avoid a crash. A GM mechanic told her the cause was likely a faulty ignition switch."I think this is a serious safety problem ... I'm thinking big recall," Andres wrote in an email to 11 GM colleagues.Yet it wasn't until Monday that GM recalled the Impalas, Buick LaCrosses and other models with the same switch, almost nine years after Andres' email. Safety regulators received dozens of similar complaints about the cars during that time.GM said that excess weight on a keychain could cause the ignition switch to move out of the "run" position if the car is jarred, like when it hits a pothole. The engine stalls, and the drivers loses power steering and power brakes.Under federal law, automakers must notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five business days of determining a safety defect exists. A maximum $35 million fine is possible if the agency finds an automaker took too long to report a problem.GM paid a $35 million fine last month for its 11-year delay in reporting defective ignition switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt and other small cars.Multiple fines are not without precedent. From 2010 through 2012, NHTSA fined Toyota Motor Corp. four times for a total of $66 million due to safety-related violations.GM wouldn't comment Thursday on the possibility of another fine. NHTSA also wouldn't comment on the Impala case, but said it reviews all recalls to make sure they comply with the notification law and it takes "appropriate action" when it finds problems.Andres's e-mail alone isn't enough to trigger the five-day rule, because it only suggests the ignitions are unsafe. But it's proof that some GM employees knew about a potential problem for almost a decade. GM has not yet submitted a required timeline to NHTSA that will say when it officially determined the Impala switches were defective.Andres, who still works for GM in design and engineering, could not be reached for comment. But in her 2005 email, she urged engineers to build a "stronger" switch.Andres' warning was brushed off by GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio, who replied that he had recently driven a 2006 Impala and "did not experience this condition." He also noted that the Impala had "a completely different column/ignition switch" than the one that was causing problems in GM's small cars.DeGiorgio is a central figure in the small-car recall saga. GM says he approved using the switches even though they failed to meet company specifications, and then took actions that hid the defect for years.Andres's email wasn't the only indication of problems. NHTSA's Web site lists more than 100 complaints about stalling for 2006-2009 Impalas alone. Those are complaints GM would have had access to.In one 2012 complaint, an Impala stalled in the middle of a large intersection. The owner took it to a dealer four times but couldn't get it repaired."I'm fearful I will be the one causing a fatal pile-up," the driver wrote.

13.23 | 0 komentar | Read More
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