Uma Thurman’s ex Arpad Busson sues for custody of daughter

Uma Thurman appears to have moved on.
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Uma Thurman’s ex fiance has filed an emergency order to gain custody of the couple’s two-year-old daughter.

Hedge fund manager Arpad “Arki” Busson is suing the actress for custody of Rosalind, in an action filed at the Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The court documents are sealed, according toPage Six, and neither party has commented publicly.

Thurman and Bussonended their engagement in Aprilthis year, the second time the pair has called it quits on their relationship.

TheKill Billactress first dated 51-year-old Busson in 2007, but theyended their first engagementin 2009.

After reconciling their relationship in 2011 they became engaged for a second time in 2012 and had a daughter, whose nickname is Luna.

If the French-born financier wins custody of Luna, it’s likely Thurman won’t be able to see her regularly.

Thurman, 44, is based in New York, and she’s said in the past she can’t move because the father of her two older children, Ethan Hawke, lives there as well.

Thurman married Hawke in 1998 after they met on the set of sci-fi filmGattaca, and the pair have two children: Maya Ray, 15, and Levon, 12.

Busson is based mostly in London, where his former partner Elle Macpherson and their two children lived until recently.

The Australian model and Busson became a couple in 1996, and lived together in London until they separated in 2005.

They have two children, 16-year-old Arpad Flynn Alexander and 11-year-old Aurelius Cy Andrea.

Macpherson and Busson said their split was amicable at the time, but the supermodel has recently moved to Miami to live with her new husband, billionare Jeffrey Soffar.

Multimillionare Busson has apparently moved on from his relationship from Thurman already.

The New York Post reports he has begun datingThe English Patientstar Kristen Scott Thomas.

A source told the publication while the pair had been together for only a short time, “they are madly in love, it is very serious”.

Thurman has also reportedly moved on since her split from Busson. She was spotted at a favourite Hamptons hangout of her ex with hotelier Andre Balazs, in August.

Thurman was seen lunching with a friend at Sunset Beach, and sources told Page Six Balazs met her privately.

They were previously together for three years, and said after their 2007 split that they would remain close friends.

Meantime, rumours that Thurman has been dating director Quentin Tarantino were shot down.

Another source told Page Six: “They are longtime friends, and that is it”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Truss sees infrastructure tenders at half the price

“Windows of opportunities:” The time is right to invest in infrastructure projects as construction companies have slashed prices to gain work, says Minister Warren Truss. Photo: Andrew Meares “Windows of opportunities:” The time is right to invest in infrastructure projects as construction companies have slashed prices to gain work, says Minister Warren Truss. Photo: Andrew Meares
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“Windows of opportunities:” The time is right to invest in infrastructure projects as construction companies have slashed prices to gain work, says Minister Warren Truss. Photo: Andrew Meares

“Windows of opportunities:” The time is right to invest in infrastructure projects as construction companies have slashed prices to gain work, says Minister Warren Truss. Photo: Andrew Meares

The federal government believes now is a good time to invest in infrastructure because the cost of building projects has fallen by up to 50 per cent as construction firms desperately seek work after the end of the mining boom, says Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss.

“What we have found is that when we have been calling tenders for projects over the last 12 months or so, we are getting prices sometimes as low as half the cost that we were being asked to pay three or four years ago, or maybe two or three years ago,” he said at the Citi Investment Conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “This provides us with a windows of opportunities in the pricing to get really good value for money.”

The government has announced plans to invest $50 billion in critical transport infrastructure. The projects include Sydney’s Westconnex and NorthConnex, Melbourne’s East-West Link, Brisbane’s Gateway Upgrade North, Adelaide’s South Road, Perth’s Gateway and Port Freight Link and Darwin’s Tiger Brennan Drive.

Mr Truss said construction contractors had been competing intensely to gain work.

“There are construction companies that don’t actually have their next job in the bag, which wasn’t the case a little while ago,” he said. “Almost universally now tenders are coming in under our estimates and projects are being completed under our estimates.”

Mr Truss said the estimates had been based on the sort of prices being paid two or three years ago, during the peak of the mining boom.

“We have been able to build bigger projects or do more with the money than was anticipated, or have savings that could be moved into other projects,” he said, citing the recent case of a $200 million ringroad around Townsville.

Mr Truss said the federal government and the Queensland government thought they would be able to fund only two-thirds of the project, but were able to fund the entire project because the tender price was lower than expected.

He said the government was looking to take advantage of pricing opportunities while it could, with further pressure on contractors expected when three large liquefied natural gas projects at Gladstone are completed over the next 12 months.

“Now, we do want our construction companies to make a profit too,” he said. “We want them to be viable. But they want to be around as well for the next boom. Therefore they will be particularly competitive over the weeks and months ahead.”

He said there was “no better time in Australia to be building infrastructure than now.” But he also warned the time might come eventually where the government will have to step back from such investments, due to pent-up demand from the private sector that would rightly take place when economic conditions allowed.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Interview with Pravda columnist Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey about Tony Abbott’s ‘shirt-front’ comment

1. Are you a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin? 
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Well, I am not an official mouthpiece but I would say I represent the feelings of most Russians, yes.

2. Did anyone in the Kremlin authorise your last opinion piece? 

No, they don’t have to. I have been working with the Russian media for many years. I place my pieces directly into Pravda.Ru English version, I have written for Russian foreign ministry publications, I am director of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru and place my pieces directly, and never have I been subjected to any restrictions or censorship.

3. Why is Russia so sensitive to Australian’s requests for co-operation regarding Moscow’s role in Ukraine and the downing of MH17?  There is evidence of a Russian missile being used and taken back over the border shortly after the plane came down.

Well, is there? What evidence is that? When that question is answered or not, we can then see why Russia is sensitive.

4. Do you accept that Australia has a right to demand justice over MH17? 

Well, obviously, as Russia has done and did from the beginning.

5. You keep attacking (Australian Prime Minister Tony) Abbott personally, and you seem to take great offence at Mr Abbott’s comments about Mr Putin, are you oversensitive? 

Well to be honest, if someone made those threats to me I’d say bring it on and call the person responsible a shit-faced, pig-headed arrogant piece of crap. The fact that a head of government makes such thuggish statements about a visiting head of state just about puts the perpetrator at the bottom of the pile. So I don’t think I am being over-sensitive. No, in fact I wish I had been more vociferous.

6. Will President Putin come to Australia and what will his message be for Australians? 

Well that’s up to him and his office. There has been no indication he won’t come, and anyway he is going to Australia not to meet Abbott but to participate in the G20 Summit. His preoccupation is economic issues not the infantile and puerile drivel of a wannabe political lightweight.

– Interview by Latika Bourke

Animation: Rocco Fazzari

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

SA Liberals push for submarines to be built in Australia

There is debate over where the submarines that replace the Collins-class should come from. Photo: Petty Officer Photographer Damian Pawlenko There is debate over where the submarines that replace the Collins-class should come from. Photo: Petty Officer Photographer Damian Pawlenko
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There is debate over where the submarines that replace the Collins-class should come from. Photo: Petty Officer Photographer Damian Pawlenko

There is debate over where the submarines that replace the Collins-class should come from. Photo: Petty Officer Photographer Damian Pawlenko

A trio of South Australian Liberal backbenchers are pressuring the government to back away from an expected decision to purchase the next generation of Australian submarines from overseas.

Senators Sean Edwards, Anne Ruston and David Fawcett are calling on the government to heed the advice of an expert witness to a Senate committee examining the future of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry and open the process to a tender.

The Abbott government is on the brink of making a decision which submarines will replace the Australian-built Collins class fleet, and sources have indicated that they firmly prefer an off-the-shelf Japanese boat.

Doctor John White is a key advisor to the government on shipbuilding and in his submission to the Senate inquiry calls for the establishment of a Submarine Construction Authority to oversee the acquisition of new submarines.

Dr White argues “such a process must seek comparative pricing for overseas build … versus an all-Australian build,” including maintenance and refit costs.

Senator Anne Ruston told Fairfax Media: “I think the government needs to acknowledge the evidence given by expert witnesses at the inquiry about an open tender for our submarines, and give it due consideration in the development of the next defence white paper”.

“This is a massive defence acquisition no matter which way you look at it. The decision – regardless of what it is – will have a big impact on South Australian industry so let’s not be hasty about coming to a decision in the first place. I will support any decision which creates more jobs in the defence space in South Australia.”

Senator Sean Edwards said: “Dr White has emphatically suggested that this is within our capability and all I’m asking my colleagues is to ensure we’re equitable and give the opportunity for shipbuilding in Australian the chance to tender.”

He said it would then be up to stakeholders to prove their claims that they can deliver “world class productivity standards”. Senator Edwards said: “I know that the Defence Minister is a strong supporter of domestic industries and will be doing everything within his power that is prudent for taxpayers and meets defence capacity requirements to keep as much business in Australian as he can.” Earlier this month a third South Australian, Liberal David Fawcett, told the Senate that Australia needed a submarine “fit for purpose” but also the “sovereign ability to be able to maintain it” and that contrary to the critics the “most cost-effective way to do that is most likely to do it here”. Senator Fawcett said on Tuesday “an open tender is a normal process and that’s what I would expect for a project of this size”. But he said: “Governments have made decisions in the past without on open tender, and some of those have worked well, but I think the important thing here is that we get the right outcome and that is we get a submarine built in Australia because I think that’s the most cost-effective way to get a submarine that will be fit for purpose and can be effectively maintained and certified through its life.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott again refused to commit to building the submarines locally when asked about his backbencher’s comments on Tuesday.

“We should make decisions on the next generation of submarines based on defence logic, not based on industry or regional policy,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“We want the very best submarines and we want them at the best possible price. They are the criteria that we should look at as we finalise decision making in this area.”

Labor has said the government would be breaking a pre-election promise if it wasn’t to build the subs in South Australia.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said: “Labor, if elected, will build submarines in Australia – unequivocally.”

Labor’s defence spokesman Stephen Conroy said the trio of Liberal senators has belatedly signed up to the opposition’s policy.

“I welcome the fact that Liberal party senators nave listened to the evidence and are responding appropriately,” he said.

“But they are being dragged screaming and kicking to this position and we still get no acknowledgment from Tony Abbott, no acknowledgement from David Johnston that they’re prepared to even hold an open tender process.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

2014 Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan hits out at Abbott government

2014 Man Booker prizewinner Richard Flanagan told the BBC after his win: ” I don’t understand why our government seems committed to destroying what we have that’s unique in the world.” Photo: Colin MacdougallFlanagan wins 2014 Man Booker PrizeJason Steger: How Flanagan kept Man Booker’s Commonwealth heart beating
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The winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for literature, Richard Flanagan, has criticised the federal government’s environmental policies saying they have made him “ashamed to be an Australian”.

Mr Flanagan was named on Wednesday morning local timethe winner of the prestigious award for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North which is set during the construction of the Thai Burma railway in World War 2.

Mr Flanagan, who lives in Tasmania, is a long time campaigner for the preservation of the state’s old growth forests.

“I’m very saddened because Australia has the most extraordinary environment and I don’t understand why our government seems committed to destroying what we have that’s unique in the world,” Mr Flanagan told the BBC.

When asked about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comment earlier this week that “coal is good for humanity” Mr Flanagan said: “To be frank, I’m ashamed to be Australian when you bring this up.”

Mr Flanagan was also critical of the Tasmanian government’s recent decision to abolish a forestry peace deal between environmentalists and forestry companies that was four years in the making.

The end of the deal meant 400,000 hectares of native forests that were to have been protected were instead reclassified for potential future logging.

“I genuinely believe that people of Australia want to see these beautiful places, these sacred places, preserved, [but] the politics of the day is so foolishly going ahead and seeking to destroy them when there isn’t even an economic base to it, when there is no market for the woodchips that would result from the destruction of these forests,” Mr Flanagan said.

“I think it’s unnecessary and I think it’s just politics being used to divide people that could otherwise be brought together on all that is best and most extraordinary in our country.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Marubeni gives Glencore, Rio tie-up the thumbs down

Foreign investors continue to covet new projects in the Galilee Photo: Glenn Hunt Foreign investors continue to covet new projects in the Galilee Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Foreign investors continue to covet new projects in the Galilee Photo: Glenn Hunt

Foreign investors continue to covet new projects in the Galilee Photo: Glenn Hunt

A significant partner in Rio Tinto and Glencore’s Australian coal mines has given the prospect of a merger of the mining giants the thumbs down because of concerns about what it would mean for competition.

Marubeni has stakes in the Australian operations of Rio Tinto and Glencore and would be involved if Glencore’s wish to merge coal assets with Rio in NSW came to fruition.

Rio knocked back such an approach this year but Glencore is still circling the Anglo-Australian miner and is keen to arrange a full or partial merger.

Shinichi Kobayashi, chief operating officer of Marubeni’s metals and minerals division, said such a merger would clearly create efficiencies and cost savings for Rio and Glencore, particularly in terms of the distance travelled between Hunter Valley mines and processing facilities.

“It is apparent that there would be synergies,” he said.

But when asked if Marubeni, as an equity holder in the mines, would like to see the joint venture go ahead, Mr Kobayashi said it would not be good for Japanese buyers and would attract the ire of competition regulators.

“From a Japanese customers’ point of view maybe not so good, less competition for the supplies,” he said.

“I think their share of the coal exports from NSW is too big at this time and I believe that some authority may say something because their share would be more than 70 or 80 per cent”

Marubeni metals and minerals division managing executive officer Shinji Kawai said coal prices were sufficiently depressed to ensure that about 60 per cent of Australian and Canadian coal miners were losing money

“If this level of the price continues it is a big problem. The demand side is growing but the supply side is much bigger,” Mr Kawai said.

China recently placed a tariff on coal imports, raising fears of further headwinds for Australian exporters.

Mr Kawai said the tariff was hard to understand in the context of regional trade agreements which were supposed to unify trade structures across Asian and Pacific nations.

In comments that put him at odds with Glencore, Mr Kawai said the five-year outlook for coking coal was better than for thermal coal, but he said Australian thermal coal would remain an important source of energy for Japan and the rest of Asia.

Glencore said recently it expects thermal coal to have better five-year fundamentals than coking coal because of growing demand for power in India.

When asked about the attractiveness of Australia as an investment decision, Mr Kawai said he did not like to see rapid change in policy settings, such as the recent ructions over mining taxes and the carbon tax.

“Stability is very important I think,” he said.

But he said Marubeni was keen to invest in gas projects in Australia if an attractive project could be found.

Citi have forecast coal to move to an average of $US75 ($85) a tonne for 2015 because of a more bullish interpretation of market fundamentals including the new Chinese quality regulations.

The regulations require for local Chinese coal to be washed if it travels a certain distance and falls under a certain threshold.

The result is producers incur more domestic costs for lower grade local coal that has to travel to the coast and thus makes imports more competitive.

For several reasons liquefied natural gas (LNG) utilisation in China is increasing significantly, not least of which are the environmental benefits for LNG-fired power stations as opposed to coal-fired.

Citi commodities strategist Ivan Szpakowski said LNG has been replacing traditional fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas for residential usage for quite some time.

The biggest jump and relative surprise recently has been the significant demand increase for fuels such as diesel and fuel oil, largely used for heatersh.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Banks cannot ignore bitcoin, warns Labor senator Sam Dastyari

Labor senator Sam Dastyari has warned Australian banks not to “act like a bunch of ostriches” with their “heads in the sand” when confronting the rise of bitcoins, as he urged ­companies to provide feedback to a ­Senate inquiry into how to regulate the highly volatile digital currency.
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National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia number among 74 organisations that have been approached by the inquiry’s committee, which is chaired by Senator Dastyari.

The list of companies, which was seen by Fairfax Media, also included the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Federal Police, and international firms such as lobby group Bitcoin Foundation in the United States, and online payments behemoth PayPal.

“The fact is the banking sector can’t act like a bunch of ostriches and stick their heads in the sand and ­pretend these digital currencies aren’t a real thing that’s heading their way – it is,” Senator Dastyari told the ­Financial Review.

“Too often you find the banking ­sector has a tendency to try and pretend that change isn’t coming down the pipeline, in a bid to protect what is their own market position,” he argued.

He did, however, concede there were certain parts of the banking sector that realised they had to address the rise of digital currencies, because “it’s the future”.

Australian banks have been highly sceptical and cautious in dealing with bitcoins. Earlier this year, NAB retreated from digital currencies including bitcoin, arguing they were too risky.

Westpac and CBA declined to comment. A spokesman for ANZ said: “We are still considering whether we will be making an individual submission or contribute a submission through the [Australian Bankers’ Association]”.

A NAB spokesman said the bank was considering the terms of reference in the inquiry. “NAB does not bank or trade in unregulated currencies, or have any plans to do so,” he said. A spokesman for the ABA said it was “too early to comment” as they are developing their position on the issue.

The inquiry will evaluate the appropriate definition of crypto-currencies under local tax laws, as well as how Australia will build a regulatory framework that balances the needs of a growing digital currency industry and the broader financial services sector and economy.

It comes after the Tax Office defined bitcoin as an “intangible asset” in August, rejecting the industry’s calls for it to be categorised as a currency.

Bitcoin investments and trading remain largely unregulated across the globe, and has burnt its fair share of investors. The currency has soared as high as over $US1000 ($1150) a unit from less than $US1 just two years ago.

High profile investors such as ­Virgin’s Richard Branson have forked out more than $US300 million for bitcoin ventures, while local companies such as Melbourne’s Bitcoin Group are hoping to cash in on the meteoric rise of the currency by planning a public listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Ron Tucker, the chair of the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association, previously said the inquiry was a critical step in putting Australia on the front foot over virtual currency ­regulation.

“We’re in touch with a whole bunch of leaders, particularly out of Silicon Valley and the bitcoin space, who are really interested in participating,” ­Senator Dastyari said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

I’m home, so the Aussie dollar goes up

Viewed from a distance, Australia’s problems aren’t much. And in a curious sort of way, the bitsy nature of the world economy isn’t going too badly for us at the moment. Viewed from a distance, Australia’s problems aren’t much. And in a curious sort of way, the bitsy nature of the world economy isn’t going too badly for us at the moment.
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Viewed from a distance, Australia’s problems aren’t much. And in a curious sort of way, the bitsy nature of the world economy isn’t going too badly for us at the moment.

Viewed from a distance, Australia’s problems aren’t much. And in a curious sort of way, the bitsy nature of the world economy isn’t going too badly for us at the moment.

I was on flight QF2 from Dubai this morning, so I expect the Australian dollar to recover from its recent lows.

Well, my travelling has proven about as reliable as any other method for forecasting the Aussie –  which means it isn’t. Yet even tourist travel can help swing the forex possibility pendulum if it’s done with eyes open.

Watching Australia from afar over the past three weeks has not been a bad way to escape the daily noise and have one’s perspective sharpened by the contrast of Australian news with that of the wider, much wilder world. When your local papers for a while have been the Jordan Times, Gulf News and Hurriyet Daily News, what happened to the Batchelor, the Block and Beale really don’t add up to much.

Shocking as it may seem, even Australian house prices aren’t terribly important in the greater scheme of things. Our problems remain those the rest of the world would like to have.

Oh the Prime Minister’s Abbottism, saying “shirtfront” when he only meant “front” (he’s a rugby man, knows nothing about aerial ping pong), was good for a little international laugh if anyone cared, while the domestic political competition to be the most outraged over the MH17 tragedy is, well is – bordering on something.

From a distance, it’s no wonder this wonderful, spoilt little rich country has a strong currency, despite the Reserve Bank’s strong wishes.

There is more to Australia’s relative position than iron ore prices and Chinese tariffs on coal. We tend to lose sight of that, as well as the volume of iron ore and coal shipped.

Ask yourself: “If I had a hot squillion or two, where would I feel safe parking a fair whack of it?” Australia has to feature in your answer.

It’s one of those rare stable countries with obvious assets, educated people, low government debt and a central bank that has kept some ammunition dry. They will even pay some interest on deposits.

Despite efforts by some (obvious) parts of the media and politics to beat up security threats and buy into conflicts, the country is safe. The island continent thing works well for us. We’re a long way from the Balkans and Middle East. Thanks to our travel patterns and infrastructure, we’re less likely than many to cop ebola in a meaningful way.

Millions of well-off people would like to live here, never mind those who aren’t well off but would risk absolutely everything to do so. We have a tap that can turn on people of motivation and drive at will.

Yes, if China proved to be less pragmatic in the South and East China Seas than several thousand years of history suggest, we would be affected, but so would the rest of the world. As for economic growth rates, remember that China wants to slow to a sustainable pace. GDP growth there of 7-point-anything is nice now and 5 will be good not too far down the track.

Elsewhere in the big league, as the US ceases printing money, the greenback naturally recovers and the American economy has been getting a lift from cheap gas. There aren’t many short-term unemployed in the global growth bright spot.

But economics is always a relative game with constantly moving goal posts. It is interesting that Saudi Arabia is making noises about not cutting production in the face of weak oil prices. And within the US is a population more like that of a developing nation than the world’s richest. With Americans continuing to kill each other faster than anyone else can manage to, plus a renewed and open-ended war to finance, Washington continues to have plenty of problems even without a Republican in the White House.

In Europe, now the German economy is suffering doubt and consternation. They do consternation well there – the next two biggest European economies could do with more consternation. Further down the European scale, even with good times it will take a decade to get unemployment down to a merely bad level. And Europe’s demographics aren’t flash.

Mention demographics and there’s Japan. For Abenomics to be more than a flash in the mega-debt and free money pans, the third arrow overturning hundreds of years of social structure has to hit its target – Japanese women have to want to stage a revolution and succeed in doing so, changing Japanese men in the process. How long did ours take, arguably starting from an easier position?

So, relatively speaking, our problems aren’t much. And in a curious sort of way, the bitsy nature of the world economy isn’t going too badly for us at the moment. That was noted over the weekend by AMP’s Shane Oliver – someone who does a nice line of perspective:

“A downgrade to the IMF’s outlook for global growth is clearly weighing on sentiment. The downgrade was only modest, taking its global growth forecasts down by just 0.1 per cent to 3.3 per cent for 2014, and down by 0.2 per cent to 3.8 per cent for 2015, but it nevertheless highlighted the softness in global growth momentum outside the US.

“However, it was hardly new news, as weakness in Europe, Japan, Brazil and Russia is well known, and is just a repeat of the pattern seen in the last few years where stronger global growth is forecast in the year ahead only to be revised down as we get closer to it.

“In some ways the uneven, ‘not too hot, not too cold’ global economic expansion is not bad as it means we remain a long way from overheating, higher inflation and aggressive monetary tightening.”

Ah, the silver lining. Oliver had been warning for a couple of months that we were about due for a correction and that September/October tended to be good months for such things, but he only views it as a normal correction providing some buying opportunities ahead of a Santa rally.

Big institutional investors quite like a correction. While small investors tend to gnash the odd tooth over softer share prices, the big players see a chance to employ some of the cash pile they started building up as soon as the market was hitting new highs – a chance to do something other than hugging the index.

This is a country where even bad news provides opportunity.

So, yes, there is a very strong and well-put argument for the Australian dollar to weaken further – but there also are arguments for money wanting to stay here.

It would be a nice thing overall for our economy if the Aussie did fall a bit more. But it probably won’t happen until the next time I’m overseas.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Reject Shop makes a slow start for new chief Ross Sudano

Weak consumer sentiment and a warm winter have contributed to a slow start to the new financial year for discount retailer The Reject Shop. Weak consumer sentiment and a warm winter have contributed to a slow start to the new financial year for discount retailer The Reject Shop.
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Weak consumer sentiment and a warm winter have contributed to a slow start to the new financial year for discount retailer The Reject Shop.

Weak consumer sentiment and a warm winter have contributed to a slow start to the new financial year for discount retailer The Reject Shop.

Discount variety chain The Reject Shop has reported a subdued start to the new financial year as same-store sales in the three months ending September fell 5.4 per cent and total sales rose just 2.7 per cent.

The worse-than-expected decline in same-store sales followed a sharp deterioration in trading conditions in the last two weeks of August. Same-store sales in the first six weeks of fiscal 2015 were down slightly, continuing the trend in the second half of 2014, when sales slipped 1.2 per cent.

The drop in sales highlights the challenges ahead for new Reject Shop managing director Ross Sudano, who took the helm late last month after the departure of Chris Bryce this year.

In a trading update before the annual meeting on Wednesday, Mr Sudano, the former chief of boutique brewer Little World Beverages, said comparable store sales had improved considerably” over the last five weeks and were flat for the first two weeks of October.

Mr Sudano said new strategies aimed at addressing the decline in sales were starting to take effect.

He blamed the sharp drop in same-store sales on weak consumer sentiment and the after-effects of an unseasonably warm winter, which depressed demand for seasonal products offerings and forced the company and its rivals to slash prices to clear stock.

Mr Sudano said fire sales during July and August by Reject Shop’s main rival, Discount Superstores – which owns about 200 outlets of Sam’s Warehouse and Crazy Clark’s – added to the pricing pressure. About 70 Sam’s Warehouse and Crazy Clark’s stores were in direct competition to Reject Shop stores.

Trading in Reject Shop stores was also disrupted by the “accelerated re-lay of all stores during a two-month period” starting in mid-July, Mr Sudano said.

Reject Shop reported a 26 per cent fall in net profit to $14.5 million for the 12 months ending June as costs associated with the opening of 46 new stores outweighed a 15 per cent rise in sales to $711.5 million.

The company is hopeful that an aggressive store opening program over the past two years will soon start to bear fruit. Reject has opened about 90 stores, almost half of which were previously owned by Discount Superstores, which collapsed in July for the third time in five years.

Discount Superstores’ owner, former Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron, has agreed to pay almost $14 million to settle an insolvent trading claim and head off potential legal action following the collapse of the group two years ago.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Mega day of trades complete

Sources said the Giants were not finished trading and were positioning for further activity on the last day of trades.
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Dayne Beams thanked Collingwood for giving him the opportunity to live his “dream” but insisted his shift to the Brisbane Lions was for the best, after confirmation finally came that he was part of a mega-trade.

After days of wrangling, the much-debated deal featuring five clubs and centred around Beams, Mitch Clark, Travis Varcoe, Heritier Lumumba and Levi Greenwood was completed on Wednesday at AFL House.

Beams, one of the league’s premier midfielders, became a Lion in return for picks five and 25, while Lions youngster Jack Crisp joined Collingwood.

Beams had sought a trade to be closer to his ill father, while his brother, Claye, is also a Lion.

“Would like to thank the collingwood football club for the past 6 years. You gave me the opportunity to live my dream . Thankyou,” Beams said on Twitter.

“The decisions I’ve made are for what I think is best for myself, partner and family and that is all that matters to me at the end of the day.

“Lastly I’m looking forward to continuing my career with the lions and my best mate and my brother.”

As part of the deal, pick 25 was traded by the Pies to North Melbourne in exchange for Greenwood, while ex-Melbourne forward Clark joined Geelong in a three-way swap – with no draft choices – for Varcoe, who joined the Pies, and Melbourne-bound Lumumba.

The contractual terms with the players had been agreed in principle. Varcoe received a three-year deal with the Magpies and Greenwood four years. Lumumba has signed a four-year deal with Melbourne. Pick 67 went from Brisbane from Collingwood, a pick that the Pies would not have used.

The Clark-Varcoe-Lumumba deal, while separated from the Beams trade, was linked because Collingwood could not have traded Varcoe in without trading Beams out and would not have let Beams go unless Varcoe came in. And this required the release of Lumumba.

After nine days of negotiations, the parties eventually agreed the terms and did the five-way deal together.

The central part was Collingwood’s acceptance that it would receive pick 5, 25 and Crisp (in effect, 5, Greenwood and Crisp) for Beams.

Collingwood’s head of list management Derek Hine said it was crucial the club remained in finals contention next season.

“With Dayne and Heritier leaving, our objective was to make sure the team remained in a position to play finals in 2015 while continuing to build a critical mass of elite talent. I think we have achieved that,” he said.

“Levi Greenwood is a hard-nosed midfielder who moved into serious centre-square company this year.

“He found his niche this year and we feel he will be a multi-dimensional player for us. He’ll have some run-with roles as well, with the injury to Brent Macaffer.

“Travis Varcoe has speed, carry, a fine kick and big game success in his repertoire and we managed to get hold of Jack Crisp, who is an emerging 190-centimetre midfielder with good speed and endurance, a good inside game and a developing outside game.

“On top of that, we will be heading to the draft with two selections inside the top eight.”

Hine said the Magpies would use Varcoe as an outside runner.

The Pies’ director of football Rodney Eade said there were no hard feelings about premiership players Lumumba and Beams leaving.

“Collingwood was good for Heritier and Dayne and they were good for Collingwood,” Eade said. “They leave with records to be proud of and the club’s best wishes.”

Lions talent manager Peter Schwab was delighted Beams and Allen Christensen had joined the club.

“Dayne is one of the competition’s premier midfielders. He is an elite player and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Lions family,” Schwab said.

“Dayne expressed his desire to come to our footy club and, naturally, we were very keen to make that a reality. With Jack [Crisp] expressing a desire to relocate back to Victoria it enabled us to get a deal done that satisfied all parties involved.

“This trade period we have made a real effort to attract A-grade talent to our football club and with both Dayne and Allen coming on board this week I think we have been successful.

“With the likes of Rich, Rockliff, Redden, Hanley, Christensen and now Beams running through the midfield, you can’t help but get excited about the future of our football club.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.