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August, 2018

Mike Gallacher quits parliament

Former NSW police minister Mike Gallacher has resigned. Photo: Jessica HromasThree years after being forced to resign from cabinet amid a corruption inquiry, former NSW police minister Mike Gallacher has announced he is quitting parliament.
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Mr Gallacher visited NSW Governor David Hurley on Thursday to formally resign.

Ahead of the release of the Operation Spicer report, Kate McClymont delves into the way ICAC will frame its findings.

The 55-year-old said it was his privilege to serve as a member of parliament in the NSW upper house, something he never dreamed he would be able to do.

“A short time ago I visited the New South Wales Governor David Hurley and tendered my resignation as a Member of the NSW Legislative Council,” Mr Gallacher said in a statement.

“I have always given my utmost to fulfil the roles and duties entrusted to me to serve our community with the highest distinction and determination, no matter how challenging.”

Mr Gallacher was a public servant for more than 37 years, including 21 years as a member of parliament and 16 years as a police officer.

Heresigned as police minister and was one of 10 Liberal MPs banished to the crossbench in 2014during the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Spicer, which investigated the Liberal party’s fundraising rorts before the 2011 state election.

In its final report in August last year ICAC said Mr Gallacher was one of a number of Liberal MPs who sought to evade election funding laws that banned donations from property developers.

The report also said ICAC believed Mr Gallacher was not always a truthful witness. However, Mr Gallacher denied this. Most recently,on Sky News in February, he said ICAC is a “discredited organisation” who “got it so terribly wrong”.

Then-premierMike Baird said that he would not reinstate Mr Gallacher to the cabinetand said he was not welcome to rejoin the parliamentary Liberal Party.

After Mike Baird’s resignation as Premier in January, Mr Gallacherstarted attending Liberal Party room meetings once again.

Premier Gladys Berejiklianacknowledged Mr Gallacher’s “many years of service” to the Liberal Party and NSW parliament.

“Mike was a key member of the team which returned the Coalition to power in 2011 and served as a minister in the O’Farrell and Baird governments,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

Mr Gallacher said his career in policing, including time as anundercover officer targeting corrupt police, a detective and a highway patrol officer, helped him see the challenges and rewards of a career serving others.

“As a Member of Parliament, I have been privileged to serve as the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Ports, Transport, and Police and then as Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council,” he said.

“My objective has always been to do the best and make a positive impact to the lives of others and it has been a privilege and an honour to serve and make a difference.

“As the son of migrants growing up in Mount Druitt, I never would have dreamed that I would one day lead the Liberal Party in the Upper House and become Minister for Police.”

Mr Gallacher said reflecting on his achievements made him realise the time had come to “look beyond public life”.

He outlined that he already has another job waiting. It is understood to be with a national industry advocacy association.

“I am looking forward to a truly exciting opportunity to use my skills and experience to lead an organisation advocating on behalf of its members and the sector,” Mr Gallacher said.

“I leave Parliament today, proud of what I have achieved, confident that many of the tough decisions I led in Government will continue to serve this State and its people into the future.”

Hunter BreakfastApril 7

Morning Shot: @iynx/Instagram
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Good morning here areyour headlines from around regional Australia and beyond. Scroll down and refresh for weather, road reports and more.

Weather:Partly cloudy in Newcastle (22 degrees), Wallsend, Toronto and Raymond Terrace(23 degrees). Showers clearing in Nelson Bay (23 degrees). Partly cloudy across the region Saturday, with fog and clearing showers on Sunday.

Traffic: No major incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Trains:Good service on the Newcastle and Hunter lines.

Beachwatch:As we head towards the weekend the beach weather is certainly on the improve and it’s looking pretty good for today. The wind will be light from the north-west early before heading to east with the swell from the east-south-east around 1 to 1.5 metres. Wave conditions will be a bit uneven but most breaks will be looking good. Around town try the reef breaks at Nobbys, the Cowrie Hole, Newcastle, The Cliff, Merewether, Dudley and Redhead. To the south try Hams, Catho and Soldiers. At Port Stephens try Samurai, One Mile and Birubi. A few rips and tricky edges will persist so only swim in the flagged areas. There’ll also be some bluebottles around the high tide mark. The water temperature is 21 degrees

Hunter headlinesFORMER Newcastle Anglican Bishop Roger Herft’s response to child sexual abuse allegations was “weak, ineffectual and showed no regard for the need to protect children from the risk that they would be preyed upon,” counsel assisting the royal commission has found in a final submission. Read more.

Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie has laughed off rumours of retirement and has indicated he will indeedrun again for the top job in 2017. Read more.

THE University of Newcastle has given more clarity aboutitsmove to the city campus in July, includingpark-and-ride optionsfromCallaghan, a shuttle bus service and the introduction of a ride-sharing app. Read more.

It has been a cracking start to the 10thanniversary Sail Port Stephens, organisers have said. Read more.

THE man accused of the “one-punch” assault of former professional surfer Jake Sylvester outside a Newcastle West hotel in Februaryhas pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless grievous bodily harm. Read more.

PHOTOS:As this year’s graduates prepare for the next stage in their lives, we celebrate our past graduates. Read more.

ONE of four Nomads bikies charged over a wild brawl at the Honeysuckle hotel – in which two men were allegedly headbutted, bashed, stomped and glassed –has had a charge of reckless wounding dropped, Newcastle Local Court has heard. Read more.

WILLIAMTOWNresidents have voiced their despair as Defenceconfirmed on Thursdaythey can no longer consumefruit, vegetables, poultry or beef grown ontheir properties. Read more.

ONLINE SHOW: JOIN Tony Butterfield and Josh Callinan for a quick set of the week’s big rugby league issues. Watch now.

A MAN accused of supplying MDA andMDMAon more than a dozen occasions across the Hunteris facing the possibility of life in jail after being charged with selling 25 grams of a powerful synthetichallucinogen known as “N-bomb”. Read more.

SYDNEY and Hornsby, you are on notice. The people of Lake Macquarie are coming to shake things up on the state’s Top Recycler podium. Read more.

EDITORIAL: If there were plans to mark the 170thanniversary of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle in a celebratory mood in June, they’ve probably been quietly shelved. Read more.

A NEWCASTLE of University research team is trying to fill a “major gap” in skin cancer therapy foranimals. Read more.

Regional news► ILLAWARRA:It’s perhaps the only issue that has the Greens calling for more shooting, and shooters preferring the existing restrictions.

The problem of a feral deer population which has“exploded” acrossNew South Wales could be dealt with by a simple change in the law, environmentalists told MPs yesterday. Full story.

► RAYMOND TERRACE: Policesay a significant drug supply network, which allegedly included making its own ecstasy and “blue scissor” pills, has been dismantled following a six-month investigation by crack Newcastle City drug squad detectives. Full story.

The hunter: Culling deer would be easier if the animal was classed as a pest, MPs were told by representatives from the Illawarra on Thursday.

► MURRAY BRIDGE:The victim of a home invasion in Murray Bridge this week fought back at two men who have since been arrested over the break-in. Full story.

►TASMANIA:Almost 2000 men drowned in the past decade and one in four of those victims hadbeen drinking.That is the message being spread through a confrontingnew campaign, launched by the Royal Life Saving Society. Full story.

►DALTON:Energy company AGL walked into a world of hostility when it hosted a public information night at Dalton on Wednesday. Full story.

The Royal Lifesaving Society has launched the ‘Don’t Let Your Mates Drink and Drown’ campaign.

►BALLARAT:Ballarat tourism campaigns have been named among the best through a national award for the Marketing Team of the Year. Full story.

National news►SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW:Stockman Murray Wilkinson has developed his own secret language of whistles that he uses to direct as many as nine working cattle dogs at the same time.

“One dog can do the work of six to eight men,” he said. “And I have never had a dog call in sick on Monday. They are available rain, hail and shine, and they work for a bit of kibble, a few pats and affection.” Full story.

►ANZAC DAY: Travellers making the annual trek to Gallipoli for Anzac Day are being warned that authorities have “received information” to indicate terrorists want to launch an attack on the commemoration. Full story.

►CANBERRA:Liberal Party campaign operatives are dismayed that Tony Abbott has taken little part in the defence of two state seats located inside his federal electorate of Warringah, both of which are up for byelections on Saturday. Full story.

►SYDNEY: On Thursday, the cameras were flipped on A Current Affair’s Ben McCormack, when the 42-year-old became the highest profile arrest yet of a NSW police taskforce that uses undercover stings to catch alleged online predators. Full story.

National weather radarWorld news►WASHINGTON:He has the economic power and the military might of the US behind him, but as Donald Trump receives Chinese leader Xi Jinping at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, worries persist that the US president hasn’t done his homework. Full story.

►BANGKOK:Myanmar de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the ethnic cleansing of her country’s Rohingya Muslims, contradicting the findings of United Nations investigators who have cited evidence of atrocities by security forces. Full story.

►PHILIPPINES:Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered troops to live on up to 10 unoccupied islands and reefs in the South China Sea in a dramatic reversal of policy on the flashpoint waters. Full story.

On this day 1994 – Civil war erupted in Rwanda between the Patriotic Front rebel group and government soldiers. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in the months that followed.

1985 -Wham!became the first Western act to play in China.

1997 – An Amsterdam university began offering a course entitled “Madonna 101.”

1998 – Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono, won a special election to serve out the remainder of her husband’s congressional term.

1998 – George Michael was arrested in a public restroom in Beverly Hills for lewd conduct. He was sentenced to community service for the incident.

2000 -U.S. President Clintonsigned the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits.

2006 -The Boeing X-37 conducted its first flight as a test drop at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

Faces of Australia:Kelvin MaddenA 50-year career with an ‘average of 120’would be consideredamazing stats in any sport or profession. But when it comes to something as taxing on the human body asshearing, it’s almost unbelievable.

Kelvin Madden started shearing sheep at age 16. Now 65, he’s going to retire ‘fit’ after bringing up hishalf century, having shorntens of thousands of rams, ewes and wethers on farms and stations across the east coast of Australia. Full story and video.

SHEAR HARD WORK: Kelvin Madden shearing a ram at a Tallimba farm this week. He started shearing sheep at age 16. He retires at age 65, in peak fitness, still managing to shear 120 sheep a day.

Banks are lending too much to property buyers

Real estate continues to dominate the headlines in tandem with speculation on the future of the housing market as the banking regulator’s crack down on interest-only loans begins to bite.
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Bank of Queensland chief executive John Sutton was front-page news last week when he revealed that some of his competitors were offering maximum loans of up to 30 per cent more than his bank was prepared to write. He finished with a timely warning: “This will end in tears.”

To test the veracity of that statement I spoke to a friend who works for one of the major banks. I asked him to run the numbers to let me know how much his bank would lend to a couple earning $85,000 a year each, with an adequate deposit and no debts. I was astounded to learn they could qualify for a loan of $1 million.

Let’s do the calculations with the figures rounded for ease of reading. Income tax including Medicare Levy on an $85,000 a year salary would be $21,000. Therefore, our hypothetical couple should be receiving combined take-home pay of $128,000 a year.

The repayments on a $1 million loan at 4.5 per cent a year would be $5100 a month, or $61,000 a year, leaving just $67,000 a year for all other expenses. Obviously, personal discretionary expenses can vary enormously between households, but a recent study on retirement showed that a retired couple could expect to spend about $54,000 a year. Those figures were certainly not based on an extravagant lifestyle, with clothing costs estimated at $58 a week, and leisure at $173 a week.

However, for the sake of the exercise let’s assume our working couple live fairly frugally, and spend $60,000 a year. That leaves just $7000 over for contingencies such as holidays, house maintenance and vehicle replacement.

You could take an optimistic view and argue that a couple could get by quite reasonably in this situation, but all borrowing examples need to be stress tested. The obvious first question is: what happens if interest rates rise to 6 per cent? If that happened, their repayments would jump to $6000 a month, taking $12,000 a year from their cash flow. Just that relatively small rate rise could put them under water.

We must also think long-term, and accept the fact that many couples aim to have children. The repayments I have used are based on a 30-year term – this means the mortgage does not reduce much in the early years. In fact, at 4.5 per cent, after five years of payments totalling $306,000, the debt would still be $912,000. Even at today’s low rates of interest, this couple could not cope if one of them had to give up their job – and they might have to do so for a range of reasons other than starting a family, such as ill-health or lay-offs.

The lesson here is that anybody considering buying a property should base the amount they borrow on their personal circumstances, and not on some hypothetical figure the bank’s computer spits out. You need to prepare a simple budget, leaving some room for the unexpected items that are bound to come up, and then calculate how much of your take-home pay would be available for loan repayments. You should also allow around $4000 a year for the ongoing non-mortgage costs of home ownership.

Once you have determined a monthly mortgage payment that seems comfortable, you then figure out the amount you could borrow using a factor of $600 per $100,000 loan per month – this would repay a loan in 30 years at 6 per cent. For example, if you worked out you could afford to repay $3000 a month, the maximum you should borrow would be $500,000.

If a loan of that size won’t buy the house you want, you need to review your options. Save for longer, rent instead of buy, or choose a cheaper house. Any of these are better than suffering mortgage stress, or worse, the stress of a forced sale.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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

Scarlett Johansson says Ivanka Trump’s silence is ‘cowardly’

Scarlett Johansson has doubled down on her characterisation of Ivanka Trump as “complicit” in her father’s actions and administration, saying the first daughter’s silence on a range of social issues and choice to only advocate “behind the scenes” was old fashioned, uninspired and “really cowardly”.
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Johansson played Ms Trump in a March skit on the sketch show Saturday Night Live, in an advertisement for a new fragrance called ‘Complicit’.

“Complicit: for the woman who could stop all this, and won’t,” the ad’s voiceover stated.

Ms Trump, who professed feminist, socially liberal beliefs and claims to be a political independent, has been quiet on controversial policy moves by her father’s administration, such as withdrawal of aid for international non-government organisations that offer counselling or information about abortions. She recently became a federal employee as assistant to the president.

Ms Trump responded to the SNL skit in an interview on Wednesday, saying she “didn’t know what it meant to be complicit.”

“If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” said Ms Trump.

Ms Trump also addressed critics of her silence on her own administration’s actions, saying she was an advocate behind the scenes.

“I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” Ms Trump told CBS’ Gayle King. “In some case it’s through protest and it’s through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue in which you disagree with. Other times it is quietly, and directly, and candidly.”

Ms Johansson, speaking at the Women in the World summit in New York on Thursday, said that explanation didn’t hold water.

“It was really baffling,” she said during an on stage interview with Arianna Huffington.

“I think you can’t have it both ways right? If you take a job as a public advocate you must advocate publicly.”

“[Ms Trump] said something I which I found particularly disappointing, which is that she felt that… the biggest influence she would have or change she would make, would be behind closed doors…

“I thought ‘well that’s empowering’,” said Johansson to much laughter.

“How old fashioned??? this idea that behind a great man is a great woman. What about being in front of that person or next to them?” said Johansson.

“Powerful women are often concerned they’re going to be seen in an unforgiving light and screw that, it’s so old fashioned, it’s so uninspired and actually, I think, really cowardly. I was just so disappointed by that interview that she gave.”

Johansson, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary last year and spoke at the anti-Trump Women’s March in January, went on to say she realised Ivanka Trump was in a very complicated situation and that she had met her several times when they were both younger, finding her to be a smart and engaging woman.

Johansson was not asked during the session about a controversy of her own – accusations of whitewashing over her casting in the film the Ghost in the Shell, which is based on a Japanese manga classic. Anger over her casting is believed to have contributed to the film’s poor performance at the box office.

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

Donald Trump prepares to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, but has the US president done his homework?

Washington: He has the economic power and the military might of the US behind him, but as Donald Trump receives Chinese leader Xi Jinping at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, worries persist that the US president hasn’t done his homework.
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Since assuming office in January, Trump has become versed in the school of hard knocks – the courts said ‘no’ to his immigration and refugee crackdown and Congress said ‘no’ to his ‘repeal and replace’ of Obamacare. This week he advanced to foreign policy, with a horrendous gas attack in Syria and yet another North Korean missile test serving as timely lessons on the impotence of rhetoric in the face of seemingly intractable global crises.

Trump might surprise his critics, but head scratching and questions abound.

Viewed as a sports encounter, how might Trump win? Can he make it a ‘win-win’ for himself and the Chinese leader? What if Xi gets the better of him, and walks off with the trophy? What if Trump walks off the field, in a fit of pique?

Just as importantly, who is Trump playing for? The rank and file Trumpists for whom his anti-China rants during last year’s election campaign were a blood sport, or the US foreign policy establishment which has a more nuanced grasp of the three-dimensional interconnectedness of global issues?

“It’s very hard for anyone to say what are the definitive answers to any of these questions,” IMF veteran and Wilson Centre policy expert Meg Lundsager told Fairfax Media.

She’s at a loss too, to understand why the administration wanted this meeting so early in Trump’s presidency.

And in a phone interview, China scholar Robert Daly fretted about Trump’s homework: “I’m of the school that Xi comes to this meeting better prepared – he knows what he wants and we’re flailing. We haven’t done a policy review; Trump doesn’t even have a China specialist on his staff.”

As they size each other up, each leader will appreciate the domestic standing of the other. Xi’s authority is unchallenged, though he needs to look good ahead of a vital, upcoming party conference.

Trump’s natural habitat is in a quagmire – can’t shake off the Russia investigations; frustrated by congress and the courts; approval ratings in the toilet.

They come from such different worlds – Trump runs America by tweet; the Chinese are denied access to Twitter. Trump shoots from the hip with the last advice he heard – even a Fox News headline will do; Xi comes over as stitched-up – very formal, meticulously scripted.

American allies – Japan, South Korea and Australia among them – will be looking for assurances and certainty. But US administration officials send mixed signals on what to expect of their meeting.

Far from it all being the “difficult” confrontation envisioned in Trump’s fore-play, they suggest variously – a cordial, informal getting-to-know-you session, after which officials will go away to do the heavy-lifting; a nitty-gritty “results-based” encounter – “sort of level the playing field on trade, talk about global challenges, how we can work together, but, basically, how we can bring home results for the American people out of the US-China relationship;” and even expansive, over-the- horizon stuff – “setting a new course for US-China relations for the next 40 to 50 years.”

Trump’s capacity to hurl himself from the frying pan into the fire, is undiminished.

But if he gets into his claims that China still manipulates its currency – in the past yes, but today, no; or if he whacks Xi with his bellicose tariff talk, the Chinese leader reportedly is ready with his own bag of nasties – a cocktail of threat to halt China’s hugely valuable purchases of US grain, aircraft and microchips and cell phones.

Last week, Trump seemed ready for a bit of biffo, tweeting: “The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one, in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives.”

And days later he told The Financial Times: “When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, [the Chinese] are world champions. And our country hasn’t had a clue, they haven’t had a clue. The past administration ???I don’t want to say only Obama; this has gone on for many years ??? They haven’t had a clue. But I do.”

Yet this week, administration officials have been attempting to row back expectations of Trump unleashing the virulent, anti-China persona that became a feature of last year’s campaign.

Matt Pottinger, the senior director for Asia at the National Security Council, hosed down reporters who asked if Trump would resurrect his threat to use Taiwan as a stick to hit Beijing, as he did earlier this year, after which he pledged Washington to the long-standing One China Policy.

And Pottinger soothed them on Trump’s oft-threatened trade war and punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, promising a longish-term dialogue – “the spirit of this summit is for the two to develop a relationship, to really establish a relationship, and to lay out the key concerns that each side has about the relationship and to then begin moving toward some kind of a formal series of dialogues that will aim to address those issues.”

So the potential fly in the ointment is North Korea, with Trump demanding that Xi apply sufficient economic pressure to the erratic Kim Jung-un, to make the North Korean dictator abandon his pursuit of a nuclear missile capable of striking the US mainland.

Lundsager: “Trump has to ask Xi – ‘you are Kim’s patron or benefactor, can’t you stop this guy? Aren’t you worried – depending on which way the wind is blowing, China could be hit with a radiation cloud from one of his missile tests?’

“In how Trump plays this one, and how Xi responds ??? it’s hard to see a win-win, but you don’t want a lose-lose, because neither side has an effective way of stopping Kim short of marching armies into North Korea – and no one wants to do that.”

And that’s the intractability of the North Korea crisis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared during his recent visit to Seoul that “strategic patience [with Pyongyang] has run out;” and in his The Financial Times interview, Trump warned that Washington would take unspecified unilateral action if China doesn’t “help us with North Korea,” just as he threatened unilateral action against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday.

These are the kind of threats that focus some minds on those interconnected elements of global crises – military strikes on North Korea would almost certainly see reprisal attacks by Pyongyang on South Korea, where thousands of US troops are stationed; China doesn’t want a war-driven tidal wave of refugees over its border with North Korea; Kim would likely lash out at Japan, where thousands more US troops are stationed; China already is discomforted by the US deployment of THAAD anti-missile systems on its doorstep, in South Korea; and is horrified of being left abutting a unified Korean peninsula that, inevitably, would be tied to the US.

Resorting to a turn of phrase that was more diplomatic that Trump’s tweets on the issue, Pottinger suggested that Beijing knows the deal: “Of course we’d like to see China working closely with the US to address the menace emanating from North Korea – their weapons programs, the provocations that we’re seeing every week; missile launches, including one that we just had not too many hours ago.

“There is an opportunity for this to be an area of cooperation and to grow that. I think it’s in Beijing’s interest. I think that North Korea long ago ceased to be a strategic asset for China. It is now quite clearly a strategic liability, and it is one that is having an impact on the region.”

Acknowledging the sheer American power that Trump represents, Lundsager concludes nonetheless, that Xi tries to position himself more as a global leader – “Trump is inward looking; Xi is more the globallist, more statesmanlike and more sensitive to global institutions.”

She’s troubled too by a “kind of American silence” in the Asian region, particularly since Trump walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, to which Australia was to be a signatory – but not China.

“Countries in the region worry about Chinese dominance, but Washington is not really reaching out. If the US walked away from the TPP, can it be relied on? And if the US is seen to be uninterested in the region, some countries will seek to protect their interests by leaning towards China.”

The China scholar Daly will be placated if Trump and Xi remain in the realm of getting to know each other, “but if they get into deal-making it will be dangerous and premature – and because of all his rhetoric, Trump is under pressure to get a deal.

“If he plays to the DC crowd, he won’t go for deliverables and deals; instead, he’ll start trying to reconcile his contradictory positions on China, and begin the critical work of managing a difficult relationship.”

On the Syria and healthcare-like complexities of North Korea, Daly tells Fairfax Media that the stage has been set as though Trump and Xi need a strategic break from each other. But in the absence of sound policy and deft diplomacy, there’s a wild card possibility that relationship will be managed by crisis – “and that’ll put distrust at an all-time high.”

Daly invokes a Chinese saying -‘throwing aside a watermelon to pick up sesame seeds’ – to lay out a dynamic he fears could take hold at Mar-a- Lago. In the absence of a clearly thought-out American China policy, Xi will offer deals on secondary matters that are important to Trump, in the hope that China can gull the US into an indefinite postponement of the development of a seriously considered strategic response to China’s rise.

For Xi, the watermelon is global influence. Trump’s sesame seeds could be new Chinese factories to create jobs in the US, a commitment to a bilateral investment treaty, or a crackdown on Chinese corporations doing business with Pyongyang, all of which Xi reportedly will put on the table.

Daly explains: “Xi is ready for the summit. Trump can’t possibly be. There are no Asia experts in his inner circle, he has not done completed a review of China policy, and he hasn’t made appointments to the departments of State and DefenCe that are vital to effective management of the relationship.

“Most importantly??? and like Barack Obama before him???he has not conducted an audit of America’s ability to uphold its commitments in Asia in light of China’s economic and military rise and the of US strategic distractions, it’s costly domestic agenda, and its looming structural budget crisis.

“Without that audit, bluffing Xi is out of the question. If Washington won’t do its math, Beijing will.”

In the absence of American understanding and judgment based on a considered China policy, Daly worries that Xi will run rings around Trump – China has moved beyond its reliance on Washington for economic and institutional advancement, and now simply wanted to be left alone, to get on with the less-catchy Chinese iteration of “make America great again” – “the great revitalisation of the Chinese nation.”

Xi’s offering of a few deals to Trump would focus American minds on gradual progress instead of on hard, long-term strategic questions – questions like US security if China dominates the Asia-Pacific, and the cost to Washington of preventing that dominance.

“If Trump thinks that America’s greatness depends on its alliances and its leadership of a liberal global order, Xi may have to recalibrate his push into the Western Pacific and Eurasia,” Daly writes in an article expanding his analysis.

“But if Trump views America only as a mechanism for the aggrandisement of its citizens, Xi will conclude that China’s ‘period of strategic opportunity’ may last longer than previously thought and pursue his international agenda more aggressively.

“The danger in Trump’s approach to China is not that he will push too hard at Mar-a-Lago, offend Xi, or make bad deals. It is that, despite his campaign rhetoric, China may be the thing Trump never quite gets around to. Immigration, health care, tax reform, a controversial budget, ISIS, and the Russia scandal are all higher up on his to-do list.”

The China test for the US, as Daly sees it, is that the Chinese Communist Party, its propaganda organs, multinational corporations, military, universities, and a good many ordinary Chinese believe the country is destined to recover its rightful status as the greatest nation on Earth – and that requires weakened US influence in Asia.

“The China challenge, while broadly understood, is historic, not immediate; it seems remote in time and space and is so damnably difficult that Americans and their government are unlikely give it the attention it requires unless there is a threat of war,” he writes.

All this is heady stuff for the Palm Beach set – in their Tommy Bahama shirts and flip-flops at week’s end.

The choice of venue, the informality of a Trump resort over the formality of the White House, has raised eyebrows. But administration officials say “relaxed” is the way to go as these leaders get to know each other.

And there’s always golf as an ice-breaker – yes?

Um, no. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might have gifted Trump a $US3755, gold-plated golf club while visiting Mar-a-Lago in February, but Chinese officials who have played what Mao Zedong vilified as a “sport for millionaires,” have ended up in jail.

“It’s possible they’ll walk around a bit as the mood strikes, but nothing formal and nothing involving golf clubs,” a US official assured a press briefing this week, when asked how informal the schmoozing might get at Mar-a-Lago.

But was there a risk that Trump might follow his own advice, tweeted to the world after a “logistical flap” that some read as a calculated Chinese snub of Obama on his arrival in China last year, upon which Trump urged his predecessor to turn around and come home? Could an angered Trump stage a walkout?

Not going to happen, the Asia adviser Pottinger assured Wednesday’s briefing: “President Trump is an extremely gracious host.”

Fairfax Media

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

ARU’s winter of discontent threatens to drag on

The Australian Rugby Union could be forgiven for thinking its darkest hour had arrived after respected and much-loved former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer called for the heads of chief executive Bill Pulver and his board on Thursday.
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Dwyer said faith in the sport’s leadership had dropped to its lowest ebb on the back of poor Super Rugby performances and the state of paralysis over the future of the competition.

He is not wrong. Pulver’s stocks have been at rock bottom for some time among the game’s grass roots in Sydney and NSW. The Rugby Union Players’ Association petition, which has attracted 4000-plus signatures in support of a five-team national footprint, suggests the players’ union has had enough of negotiating in good faith, and there are strong indications Pulver has failed to win over new provincial administrations after freezing them out of the consultation process on the future of Super Rugby.

But the killer blow in Dwyer’s comments is his assertion that antipathy towards Pulver and chairman Cameron Clyne is old news. “I guarantee you, if we get a Morgan Gallop poll on this, you’ll get 5 per cent support for the leadership,” Dwyer said. “It’s got to the stage where people are just sick of talking about it.”

Antipathy has turned to apathy and it’s catching. That’s an alarming enough state of affairs for any sport, which, by its very definition, is supposed to inspire and excite.

But far from this being Australian rugby’s winter of discontent, to be followed – as William Shakespeare wrote it – by a “glorious summer” once the ARU can announce and sell its plan for the future of the professional game, the governing body’s troubles threaten to drag on well into the back half of this year.

First, there is still no clear end to the confusion on Super Rugby. The ARU remained reasonably comfortable on Thursday that the SANZAAR plan, agreed in London last month, would be discussed at some level by South African Rugby overnight and Fairfax Media understands their broadcaster, SuperSport, is willing to give up the ghost on the six-team model. But there are worrying delays at home. The ARU is understood to be in discussions with home broadcaster Fox Sports, which suggests the SANZAAR grand vision has not been a straightforward sell.

The mess will be resolved at some point, even if that now looks like happening during the week following the ARU annual meeting next Monday, which will be concerned with playing down the $3.5 million profit Fairfax Media foreshadowed two weeks ago.

Even then,the sport faces protracted ugliness through the process to decide which franchise will be sacrificed here. The real worry is that not one of the three in the firing line is making noises that indicate it could be willing to take one for the team. Instead the Force, the Brumbies and the Rebels are readying for a fight.

On a separate front, RUPA has indicated it will not stop at an online petition. Talk of a strike is dramatic but beyond doubt is that a new collective bargaining agreement must be thrashed out before the current one expires on December 31. If Australia’s players have just copped a 20 per cent cut to the workforce, how comfortable do you think they will make those negotiations?

Then there are the four franchises left standing if SANZAAR agrees to the 15-team format. They want a say in the future of the business and high-performance environment in which they must operate. They are getting tired of asking nicely.

Where does that leave Pulver by the end of this year? Bloodied, at the very least. His contract does not expire until February next year and it is not clear whether he will seek an extension. Chairman Cameron Clyne, who has trumpeted his determination to make an impact in the role, has some tough decisions to make. Dwyer’s comments are on the money. Sports and their administrators can survive antipathy, but apathy they must avoid at all costs.

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

A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack suspended from Nine after child porn arrest

In a 25-year career, A Current Affair’s Ben McCormack built a reputation as a textbook tabloid reporter, doggedly chasing down suspected welfare cheats, tax dodgers and busting rip-off retailers.
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Regarded as one of the Nine Network show’s most senior journalists, he tracked down former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes in Singapore and led their investigation of child abuse allegations against the former actor.

McCormack went on air to describe Hughes’ acts as “horrific” and “disturbing” when the actor was finally convicted of 10 charges relating to sexual and indecent acts against four young girls dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

But on Thursday, the cameras were flipped on McCormack, when the 42-year-old became the highest profile arrest yet of a NSW police taskforce that uses undercover stings to catch alleged online predators.

McCormack was stopped by Sex Crime squad detectives at 7:30am Thursday on Driver Avenue at Moore Park, just outside Sydney’s CBD, as he drove to work at Nine’s headquarters in Sydney’s north.

He was arrested and taken to Redfern police station where he was later charged for allegedly sending child abuse material and engaging in explicit conversations about children with another man online.

A search warrant was executed at his Alexandria apartment, in the city’s inner-south, and at the office of A Current Affair at Channel Nine’s headquarters at Willoughby. The program’s staff were asked to leave the premises while officers searched for evidence.

Police said they seized computers, a mobile phone and electronic devices.

McCormack’s arrest was captured on video by NSW Police and then a large media pack awaited him as he left Redfern police station on bail on Thursday night, charged with using a carriage service for child pornography material.

Details of his arrest led his employer of more than two decades’ 6pm news bulletin. Stand in A Current Affair host Leila McKinnon started Thursday night’s show saying the program intended to cover the story of McCormack’s arrest “without fear or favour”.

It was also revealed that McCormack had been suspended by the network immediately.

“Tonight one of our most senior reporters is facing serious charges involving child pornography offences,” McKinnon said. “And while justice must take its course, given the serious nature of the allegations, Nine has taken a strong position and immediately suspended Ben McCormack.

“A short time ago McCormack was released from police custody. A Current Affair has a long history of pursuing offenders in these type of cases, and we intend to cover this story without fear or favour.”

Earlier, a Nine Network spokesman said A Current Affair staff are cooperating fully with the investigation.

“The matter is a personal one and not related to a story or the program,” the spokesman said.

McCormack is due to appear in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on May 1.

He has retained the services of high profile solicitor Sam Macedone, who regularly appears on A Current Affair, where he is often seen commenting on legal matters.

Mr Macedone describes himself on Twitter as a “regular” on A Current Affair, Today and Today Extra, all Channel Nine programs.

The police investigation into McCormack followed a tip-off from the Joint Anti Child Exploitation team – a joint-agency taskforce that cracks down on crimes against children.

His arrest and charging was part of Strike Force Trawler, a police operation that is using undercover stings to catch alleged online predators.

The strike force has arrested almost one person a week this year, with many more cases passed to local police.

Those arrested have been diverse: from teenagers to 70-year-olds, school teachers, fathers, defence force members, priests, police academy students and aspiring politicians.

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

Former RBA governor slams penalty rate decision, warns of growing inequality

Bernie Fraser, Chair of the Climate Change Authority and former Reserve Bank Governor, addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Thursday 13 March 2014. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenFormer Reserve Bank boss Bernie Fraser has savaged the Fair Work Commission’s cuts to penalty rates and the Turnbull government’s company tax cuts, saying the measures will further entrench inequality but do little to produce jobs and growth.
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In a rare public intervention, Mr Fraser has told Fairfax Media that Australia is approaching a “danger point” where the gap between rich and poor becomes so vast it could have “awful” far-reaching consequences at every level of Australian society.

Mr Fraser, who was the head of Treasury for five years before serving as RBA governor from 1989 to 1996, is one of 75 prominent Australian economists and academics who have joined forces to pen an open letter deeply critical of the cut to some Sunday penalty rates. Cuts will undermine household incomes and growth

The letter – signed by leading economists from universities, think tanks and consultancies across the country – says the decision will not deliver any meaningful boost to employment and will ultimately undermine household incomes and national economic growth.

“While it is doubtful that lower penalty rates will result in any measurable increase in total employment in the retail and hospitality industries there is no doubt that this decision will reduce incomes for some of the most insecure and poorly paid workers in the economy,” it reads.

But the widely respected Mr Fraser – who served both Liberal and Labor governments as a public servant for 35 years – has gone even further, extending his criticism to the government and the business community for supporting the cuts.

“It was another illustration of what I’m afraid is an increasing trend towards unfairness in so many ways in policy matters,” Mr Fraser said. “Some people now have much more than they really need and so many more have not even enough to get through.

“And you contrast that with the government’s position to commit – at this stage – $25 billion to reduce company taxes. Who are the recipients of those cuts?

“The main recipients will be the dividend holders – not traditionally a disadvantaged, vulnerable section in the community. And the other people who will benefit will be the senior executives of those companies giving themselves bonuses.

“All the while the vulnerable people are being squeezed at the other end.”

While he says he respects the Fair Work Commission’s independence, Mr Fraser suggested the strong submissions from the business community led them to the wrong decision.

He also says the company tax cuts will deliver minuscule benefits off “in the never never”. Meanwhile the inequality gap is only widening as the ruling class looks after themselves rather than the vulnerable and needy. Genuine gains in income and wealth eroded

The genuine gains in income and wealth of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s are being steadily eroded.

“Since the late ’80s it’s all reversed and it’s getting worse and that worries more in terms of implications for opportunities and for the way different groups are going to struggling the future and the broader consequences for society might be.

“We’re not quite at the danger point yet but we’re moving in that direction – and that’s a real worry.”

The penalty rate letter was organised by Stephen Koukoulas, managing director of Market Economics and former economics adviser to Julia Gillard.

He says consumer spending is the main driver of employment in the retail and hospitality industries, not wage fluctuations, and the cut will only lead to increased welfare payments and reduced income tax revenues.

The letter also warns the precedent established by the commission’s decision will embolden other employers to invoke the same rationale for lower penalty rates.

Mr Fraser is also a former head of the Climate Change Authority, resigning in 2015 because of the then Abbott government’s approach in that policy area. He subsequently criticised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for losing his “courage” on climate change.

He had another run in with the government in February after it dismissed his long-awaited review into industry super funds as a “lobbying document”.

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

Top lawyer lists city digs for $4.8 million, heads for the beach

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One-bedroom caretaker’s cottage in Palm Beach up for grabs for more than $7 million

Real Housewives of Sydney’s Nicole O’Neil snaps up $7 million Vaucluse house

Property developer Michael Teplitsky buys Aussie John’s Point Piper penthouse

Former chief government legal adviser Justin Gleeson, SC, and his wife, author Dr Bernadette Brennan, are offloading their city terrace to make a sea change to the eastern suburbs beaches.

The move comes six months after Gleeson’s public fallout with Attorney General George Brandis, after the Senator ordered that ministers (including the Prime Minister) only seek advice from Gleeson with his written approval.

Gleeson managed to bring an end to the stoush by resigning from the top job last October, adding in his letter that his resignation should not be regarded as a backdown from “any position I have taken in relation to matters of controversy between us”.

The Gleeson-Brennan family have been Walsh Bay locals for the past 15 years, buying their three-bedroom terrace new in 2002 for $2,395,000.

Amid rumour the family have their eye on the Bondi area, Belle Property Pyrmont’s Chervonne Papworth is taking expressions of interest of $4.8 million. Back across the bridge

Property developer Yubo Chen has listed his Darling Island apartment in Pyrmont amid rumours of a return to the lower north shore.

Expect to pay between $4.25 million and $4.5 million at the April 29 auction through Morton’s James Crow and Sarah Li.

Chen bought the three-bedroom spread in 2014 for $3 million from fellow developer Chin Jack Zhu and his wife Lucy Ping Fan.

Chen’s family set a Cremorne high (since toppled) in 2009 when upon arriving in Australia from China they paid $13.5 million for a waterfront home in Cremorne. ???Bidding war bonanza

Zurich Asia Pacific chief executive Colin Morgan and his wife Louise showed the upside of last weekend’s 81 per cent auction clearance rate, when they sold their McMahons Point home for $625,000 over reserve.

The $4,425,000 result, well above the $3.8 million reserve, came thanks to the efforts of 10 registered bidders at the auction of the property listed with Annika Bongiorno, of Stone McMahons Point.

The Morgans had at least undertaken a renovation of the freestanding terrace since they purchased it in 2010 for $2,385,000 from former North Sydney councillor Evan Predavec. Mega mansion goes on market

Property investor and developer Danny Hanna and his wife, Cinzia, are selling their recently completed Bellevue Hill mansion for $17 million.

The 36-room residence with lift, commercial-grade home theatre, gym, pool, spa, panic room and eight bathrooms was built from the ground up by the Hannas following their purchase of the vacant block in 2013 for $1.8 million.

The no-expense-spared design by the Quinlan Group has interiors by Darryl Gordon Design and is on offer through Pillinger’s Brad Pillinger.

Pillinger’s listing comes as settlement confirms his recent sale in conjunction with Laing+Simmons Double Bay’s Bart Doff of $60.66 million for Neville “Croaky” Crichton’s Point Piper residence.

Crichton’s sale to stock trader from China, “Andy” Wenlei Song, comes as Crichton downsizes to a “mini-me” residence up the road for about $33 million.

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

Never arrive on time to a dinner party: Etiquette for the modern world

A buyer’s guide to open house etiquetteTips and tricks to cleaning up after a partyImportant things to do before your guests arrive
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When I was a kid, a quiet day could easily transform into a hive of activity as friends dropped in unexpectedly.

By the time I moved out of my parents’ home, the drop-in was dying. Now we schedule everything, from our children’s play dates to quick coffee catch-ups. Gosh, my friends and I even schedule in our phone chats.

I miss the spontaneity of an unscheduled drop-in; the fact that anyone could turn up for a chat at any moment was a little exciting, and the informality of it was somewhat comforting.

The concept seems to have died a quietly scheduled life, but will the drop-in ever be considered fun again?

“No, it’s not OK,” says Anna Musson, etiquette expert at The Good Manners Company. “It’s different now because we have the ability to send someone a quick text before we arrive. This is a courtesy, to allow the host time to whiz around and pick up their laundry from the front room and present their house in the way they’d like.

“A spontaneous drop-in should be reserved for family only.”

So, what else is important to know as a guest in someone else’s home?

Don’t arrive on time to a dinner party

While you might think that arriving on time is a punctual courtesy, it’s actually considered a little rude. “A thoughtful guest will arrive exactly 10 minutes after the start time,” Musson says, “and arriving early is unacceptable; your host may still be getting ready.”

Whatever you do, don’t turn up early to a dinner party. Photo: Trinette Reed Photography

Never arrive empty-handed

Even if your friend says, “Just bring yourself”, you should bring something anyway.

“That old adage of ‘never arrive empty-handed’ definitely still rings true,” says Musson.

But you can’t turn up with just any old thing: a little consideration is required. “It’s important that you bring something thoughtful: it could be something handmade, wine, chocolate or boxed flowers.”

Brought wine? It’s a gift, not for drinking

If you’re about to crack open the bottle of wine you’ve arrived with, think again.

“The idea of bringing a bottle of wine is as a gift to your host,” says Musson. “If it’s a casual evening, it’s OK to assume that it will be opened, but if it’s more formal your host may already have wine planned for the meal and could put your wine aside to have at a later date.”

Don’t clear or wash dishes, this is more disruptive than helpful. Photo: Stocksy

Don’t wash the dishes

Clearing up the dishes might be more disruptive than helpful, although it depends on the situation. “If you are best friends then, yes, definitely help with the washing up, and if you’re staying for a few days then you should help out,” says Musson. “But if you’re just a guest that night for dinner, be led by your host; a good host will clear the table and leave the dishes out of sight rather than clanging around in the kitchen making you feel like you should make a contribution.

“If they are clanging around the kitchen, by all means go in and help them out, but ideally the dishes would be done later or the next day.”

Don’t help yourself to food or drink

If you’re thinking of going into the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea – don’t. “That’s for family only,” says Musson. “The only exception to that would be if your friend has four children and piles of washing and is struggling; in that type of situation, helping yourself is thoughtful so they don’t have to drop everything to make you feel comfortable.”

Ask if some help is needed

“If you turn up and your host is busy, a thoughtful guest will always ask, ‘What can I do to help’?” says Musson. “It’s a nice gesture.”

Never help yourself to a cup of tea, unless your host has young children and piles of washing. Photo: istock

Ask if your shoes should stay at the door

Shoes on or off? That is the question that we never know the answer to, because everyone has a different preference. It’s OK to ask what’s preferred at the home you’re visiting.

“The onus is on the guest to ask, ‘Would you like me to take my shoes off’?” says Musson. “It’s not for us to decide whether we want to take our shoes off in someone else’s home (even if you’re wearing socks covered in holes), and if the host wants you to then you should graciously do so without making a fuss.”

‘Doggy bags’ are never OK

Even if you’ve contributed a bit of a BYO salad or drinks at a barbecue, you need to leave it behind.

“Some of your drinks will not have been consumed, so you might think you’ll just take it home,” Musson says, “but this is very poor form unless the host is insisting you take something.

“After all, it’s one of the perks of having a party: you get all the leftover food and drink.”

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

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