Category Archive:南京夜网

Gathered on one side of the cabinet table were the newly-installed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, her Treasurer Wayne Swan and her Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. On the other were the heads of Australia’s three big mining companies: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata.
Nanjing Night Net

Absent were the key people from the Treasury – the ones who really understood the tax being discussed.

As the then Treasury head Ken Henry later told a Senate committee: “We were not involved in the negotiations, other than in respect of crunching the numbers if you like and in providing due diligence on design parameters that the mining companies themselves came up with.”

The smartest people were kept out of the room. They were ferried draft agreements and asked to examine them quickly. They were unable to test with the miners the propositions they were putting to the government.

The 1½-page heads of agreement signed by the ministers and executives on July 1, 2010, replaced the 40 per cent resource super profits tax with a much weaker 30 per cent minerals resource rent tax applying only to coal and iron ore. An “extraction allowance” cut the actual rate paid to 22.5 per cent. It would be paid only if the profits themselves reached a much higher hurdle.

And then there was the drafting error.

The agreement allowed “all state and territory royalties” to be deducted from the tax.

Ferguson thought the words referred to “royalty rates that applied, or changes to royalty rates that were scheduled to apply in the future, as at 2 May 2010”.

The interpretation made sense. Those were the royalty rates referred to in the original super profits tax. Agreeing to refund whatever any state government chose to charge in the future would expose the Commonwealth to an uncontrollable expense.

But read baldly, that’s what the ministers had signed up to.

Western Australia promptly lifted its iron ore royalty from 5.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent. It now grabs money the ministers believed the federal government would get.

Appearing before the Senate, treasury official David Parker later tried to explain the less-than-precise drafting this way: “This is a document which is 1½ pages long. One could say that the heads of agreement is, to use a musical analogy, a rather staccato document.”

The agreement allowed the mining companies to do more than deduct their royalty payments from the new tax. It allowed them to ”grow” the amount they could deduct at the long term bond rate plus 7 per cent, if low profits meant they owed less resource tax than the royalty payments.

The concession means the miners are unlikely to pay much of the new mining tax for some time to come.

Julia Gillard and her ministers brought peace on July 1, 2010, but at a heavy financial price.

Follow the National Times on Twitter

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

Scientists have reported on the bizarre sex life of a sea slug that discards its penis after copulation, and then grows a new one.
Nanjing Night Net

Dubbed Chromodoris reticulata in Latin, the red-and-white slug – technically a shell-less mollusc – inhabits warms waters in South East Asia.

“No other animal is known to repeatedly copulate using such ‘disposable penes’,” Japanese biologists wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, describing the behaviour as “extremely peculiar”.

The critter needs 24 hours between couplings to unroll an internally coiled and compressed juvenile penis to replace the used, external organ, scientists found.

It can repeat this feat at least three times.

The human thumb-sized slug is an hermaphrodite, meaning it has both male and female sexual organs.

The animals perform dual sexual roles during copulation.

They give sperm to a mating partner while simultaneously receiving sperm, which they store for later insemination.

The team observed copulation between sea slugs that they had captured during scuba dives and held in a tank.

After each coupling, which lasted between dozens of seconds and a few minutes, every slug discarded its penis – a thread-like organ that it projects from its side into a partner’s vagina.

The team also examined the microscopic structure and function of the male organs – observing an internal spiral structure they believe grows into a replacement penis.

“We propose that the tissue at the spiral part of the penis is compressed and undifferentiated, gradually differentiating into the ‘next penis’,” the team wrote.

“It may need approximately a day for the spiral structure to be ready for copulation.”

In another revelation about the sea slug’s sex life, the scientists found its penis was covered with spines – and suggested these may be used to remove the sperm of previous partners being held in store by their mate.

The spines are backward-pointing, making it difficult to withdraw the penis after copulation. This may explain the organ’s disposable nature.

“Chromodoris reticulata may compensate for the short-term cost of decreased reproductive opportunities caused by the loss of a penis with the reproductive advantage gained by sperm displacement,” wrote the study authors.

Various animals are known to discard parts of their body, such as the gecko which sheds its tail.

Few, though, are willing to part with their penis, the team noted with clinical understatement.

AFP

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

A Koala with with chlamydia, which causes it to have a cloudy eye. Wildlife Awareness Month is coimg up and Tracey Wilson is a wildlife carer who currently has a koala joey.
Nanjing Night Net

Koalas are an indicator that climate change is upon us, say researchers at the University of Queensland.

By Christine Adams-Hosking, University of Queensland and Clive McAlpine, University of Queensland

If we need an indicator that climate change is upon us, we need look no further than Australia’s koala.

The koala family (Phascolarctidae) has existed in Australia for tens of millions of years, yet in a mere evolutionary blink of 200 years, this unique Australian marsupial is declining significantly in many areas of its natural range.

Koalas are highly vulnerable to unprecedented heatwaves and just like humans, they suffer from heat stress and dehydration in extreme temperatures. Bushfires such as the Coonabarabran fires that burnt out 100,000 hectares can also decimate koala and other wildlife populations.

In the past decade, we have experienced the hottest temperatures on record followed by floods and cyclones. While many climate change cynics claim that this is just part of the natural climate variability (Dorothy McKellar’s Sunburnt Country hypothesis), the evidence suggests that recent extreme weather events are not typical.

Rather, they are becoming more common and going beyond the natural range of variability. For example, Roma in southern inland Queensland, experienced record flooding three years in a row and has now experienced record January temperatures. Across western Queensland and New South Wales, temperatures remained in the mid to high 40s for 10 days. These changes in climate are consistent with climate change predictions; a hotter climate with extreme wet periods such as that experienced in Queensland and northern New South Wales in late January.

Our research on the effects of climate change on the distribution of koalas and their eucalypt food resources used a “pessimistic” climate change scenario that represents a future of rapid economic growth, a global population that peaks in mid-century and a continuation of high energy demand being met by fossil fuel sources.

This was the correct choice. That scenario is no longer pessimism, but is tracking reality.

Our climate envelope modelling found that koalas occur at a maximum temperature of 37.7 degrees. However, the recent Australian heatwave and the weather conditions before the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 – with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees for consecutive days – are two examples of the koala being pushed beyond its climatic threshold.

Koala population crashes have been documented after such drought and heatwave events, most recently an 80 per cent decline in the Queensland Mulgalands following the 10-year drought.

In New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, where koalas are now listed as vulnerable under Commonwealth law, our research has found that koalas and many of their critical food trees will contract and shift eastwards. Here, potential “climate change refugia” are rapidly diminishing due to urban development.

By 2050, the only climatically suitable areas for koalas and their habitat will occur in patchy regions closer to these coastal areas. In these areas, their numbers are often sharply declining due to other factors such as habitat loss, disease, cars collisions and dog attacks.

We should take heed from what is happening to the koala because it is likely that our agriculture and towns will be facing similar risks from climate extremes; well beyond our limits to adapt to.

How can people and the natural environment, upon which human wellbeing and in fact survival depends, co-exist? It is time for all our decision-makers to recognise the urgency of the problem, look to the future and proactively address the fundamental challenges of environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation. Our very future depends on it.

Christine Adams-Hosking does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations. She is funded by the Australian Research Council and the University of Queensland. She is affiliated with the Koala Research Network.

Clive McAlpine does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations. He is funded by the Australian Research Council and the University of Queensland. He is affiliated with the Koala Research Network.

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

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

ARIES: The Arian Moon of February 14, 15 puts you in touch with your emotions. You will respond to varying situations in your usual fashion, strongly directed by impulse.
Nanjing Night Net

TAURUS: Taurus needs time to think things through in a nice quiet environment during February 14, 15. By getting your head in order, you are able to deal with any problems you may have.

GEMINI: There’s likely to be a little extra money coming your way during February 14, 15; that’s good, for it allows you to get out there and do the things you enjoy so much.

CANCER: There will be plenty of contact with all sorts of people during Thursday and Friday. You will also be giving some thought to what you want out of life.

LEO: Your compassion is likely to be strongly aroused by the sentiments of different people during February 14, 15. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will also understand your point of view.

VIRGO: Many Virgoans will struggle with ethical issues concerning a friend during February 14, 15. This is not anything major, but tends to be something that niggles away at you.

LIBRA: There is someone around you who will play an important role during February 14, 15, evoking a strong emotional response. This tends to produce more positive results than negative.

SCORPIO: The mind will be on the job during February 14, 15, producing some excellent results. Your heart is in the right place, fuelling your ideas and commitment to getting things done.

SAGITTARIUS: Sagittarius tends to be in a rather playful mood during February 14, 15; it is a pity that others’ moods don’t always match your own. Life’s too short to not enjoy it.

CAPRICORN: February 14, 15 allow Capricorn to experience the domestic situation from an exceptionally emotional perspective. Family interaction is an important facet of daily life.

AQUARIUS: Your mind is impressionable during February 14, 15, but also busied by thoughts of all those little things that need doing. You will feel happier when you have them out of the way.

PISCES: There is a tendency for Pisces to feel lucky during February 14, 15. Luck has many ways of expressing itself, other than from the results of gambling. There may be extra money in your pay packet.

LUCKY NUMBERS: Aries: 1, 3, 4, 9; Taurus: 5, 8; Gemini: 6, 7; Cancer: 3, 4, 7, 9; Leo: 1, 3, 4, 9; Virgo: 6, 8; Libra: 5, 7; Scorpio: 2, 3, 7, 9; Sagittarius: 1, 3, 4, 9; Capricorn: 5, 6; Aquarius: 5, 6; Pisces: 2, 4, 7.

Read Alison Moroney’s daily stars for Thursday, February 14, 2013.

Source: The Courier
Nanjing Night Net

A naked man led police on a 25-kilometre pursuit through the Victorian town ofBallarat yesterday before he struck a police officer with a vacuum cleaner fitting.

Police used batons and capsicum spray to arrest the man, who stopped in the car park of McDonald’s in Sebastopol.

The 47-year-old South Australia man was wanted for various offences.

He was detected travelling at 155km/h in a 100km/h zone before the pursuit began in Learmonth on the Sunraysia Highway at 11.43am.

The chase was soon joined by seven other police cars from Ballarat, including Highway Patrol units, who took the lead in the pursuit.

The man led police into Ballarat and through Wendouree, Redan and Sebastopol before coming to a stop at the McDonald’s outlet at the corner of Albert and Hertford streets.

At one point, the man waved a vacuum cleaner fitting out of his vehicle’s sunroof.

A witness managed to film the pursuit coming through a roadwork zone and noticed the driver waving the vacuum part at police cars following behind.

“I couldn’t believe it. I just thought ‘why is he holding a vacuum cleaner?’,” the man said

The Fairfax Regional Mediareader used his phone to film the man driving past during the chase.

“He was laughing as he went past — it was really weird,” he said.

Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Sergeant David Hermit said when the man finally stopped at McDonald’s, he resisted arrest by wielding the vacuum cleaner fitting like a club and managed to strike an officer who received minor injuries.

After a dose of capsicum spray and use of police batons, the man was taken into custody more than 30 minutes later.

He was admitted to Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital for treatment to injuries he sustained during his arrest.

The man was expected to be interviewed and charged.

He will appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court at a later date.

The man’s car is surrounded by police at Sebastopol after yesterday’s pursuit. Photo: LACHLAN BENCE

Engineering firm Downer EDI’s first half profit has grown by 11 per cent and the company has maintained its expectation of a profit rise for the full year.
Nanjing Night Net

Downer EDI made a net profit of $94 million in the six months to December 31, up from $84.9 million in the previous corresponding period. Revenue in the six months to December of $4.4 billion was up 18 per cent from $3.71 billion in the same period in the previous year.

The company re-affirmed its forecast for an underlying net profit of around $210 million in the 2012-13 financial year, after it rose by 24 per cent in the first half to $105.5 million.

Chief executive Grant Fenn said the results showed an improved performance from all areas of Downer EDI’s business.

‘‘Each of our three divisions achieved substantial revenue growth, underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) has grown over 12 per cent and our cash performance was strong once again,’’ Mr Fenn said in a statement. ‘‘We have continued to build momentum in our operational and financial performance.’’

Downer EDI operates business in infrastructure, mining and rail. The company is manufacturing new trains for Sydney’s rail network, known as Waratah Trains.

After many problems and delays, production was now at the required rate to complete the project on time, Mr Fenn said.

‘‘We remain on track to deliver the 78th Waratah train in mid-2014,’’ he said.

The company declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, 70 per cent franked.Downer EDI did not pay an interim dividend last year.

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

US stocks drifted in light volume on Wednesday, ending little changed, as investors remained cautious after the S&P 500 index briefly hit its highest intraday level since November 2007.
Nanjing Night Net

The S&P 500 was buoyed by General Electric after cable company Comcast Corp said it will buy from GE the the part of NBCUniversal it didn’t already own for $US16.7 billion.

Comcast’s stock hit the highest since 1999 before closing up 3 per cent at $US40.13 and GE gained 3.6 per cent to $US23.39.

The S&P 500 is up 6.6 per cent so far this year, partly due to stronger-than-expected corporate earnings and a better economic outlook. The Dow industrials is about 1 per cent away from an all-time intraday high, reached in October 2007.

Volume has been weak in recent days with the S&P moving sideways around 1520. The index is about 3 per cent away from closing at a record high.

A scarcity of sellers after a consistent string of gains is a positive sign and shows the uptrend is intact, King Lip, chief investment officer at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco, said.

“Last year we had double-digit returns in the first quarter. It’s fairly possible we can move higher from here,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.79 points or 0.3 per cent, to 13,982.91, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 point or 0.06 per cent, to 1520.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.38 points or 0.33 per cent, to 3196.88.

The S&P gained 12 per cent in the first three months of 2012.

Deere & Co, the world’s largest farm equipment maker, forecast a modest increase in sales this year despite the prospect of the biggest corn crop in US history. The forecast fell short of analysts’ expectations, sending shares of Deere down 3.5 per cent to $US90.68.

In extended trading, shares of technology bellwether Cisco Systems fell 2 per cent after it posted results.

Dr Pepper Snapple fell 5.8 per cent to $US42.69 after it forecast profit for the current year below analysts’ estimates.

Cliffs Natural Resources lost a fifth of its market value a day after the miner reported a quarterly loss and slashed its dividend by 76 per cent. Its shares fell 20 per cent to 429.29.

According to the latest Thomson Reuters data, of the 364 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 70.3 per cent have exceeded analysts’ expectations, above a 62 per cent average since 1994 and 65 per cent over the past four quarters.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the daily average in February last year of 6.94 billion.

On the NYSE, roughly seven issues rose for every five that fell and on Nasdaq more than six rose for every five decliners.

Reuters

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

Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf will re-sign with the WNBL club after Basketball Australia confirmed she would stand down as national coach of the Australian Opals.
Nanjing Night Net

Basketball Australia revealed on Twitter the Opals job will be a full-time role for the first time in over a decade.

Graf will also fill a role as a coach in residence at University of Canberra, a new role established after Basketball Australia’s lengthy review.

It is believed Graf’s Capitals contract will be for up to three seasons.

Locking in Graf is a great relief for the Capitals, given she has coached them to six of their seven championships.

Choosing not to renominate for the Opals role will give her far more time to help restore Canberra as a WNBL force, given it has missed the finals for a second straight season.

Graf became Opals coach in late 2008, guiding the team to bronze at last year’s London Olympics.

The new Opals coach will also be head of the women’s program at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in Canberra.

Graf’s new role as an adjunct professor of sports studies at the University of Canberra will involve her offering support and mentoring university sports teams, lecturing and working with sports researchers.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker said Graf would make a big contribution to education, research and social life at the university.

“Carrie Graf’s unrivalled professional experience will be an asset to the University’s teaching and research in sports studies and coaching, but I’m pleased that she’ll also play a part in student sport at all levels,” Professor Parker said.

“It is another way we can give life on campus at the University of Canberra the edge over other universities.”

Graf said in a statement she was honoured to be the university’s first coach in residence.

“I know I’m biased in saying this, but I don’t think there’s a city in Australia as staunchly supportive of their sports as Canberra,” Graf said.

“It’s heartening to see the university giving back to the community yet again by bringing on its first ever coach in residence, and I’m humbled to have been approached for the role.”Follow The Canberra Times Sport on Twitter

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

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Nanjing Night Net

Locals in the NSW town ofOrange are abuzz with gossip about the former mining minister, who appears to have fallen on hard times.

On Tuesday, Ian Macdonald told the inquiry he had been too busy to read all the transcripts of the evidence, saying: ”I do cleaning and work associated with a shop and I’m pretty busy.” Yesterday, he said again he had been occupied because ”I have to earn a living”.

Several people have spotted the 63-year-old former minister at a premium greengrocers, Fresh on Woodward, an attractive small shop that specialises in fresh produce and gourmet preserves.

Annette Nunn, who owns the butcher shop next door, said Mr Macdonald’s wife, the former bureaucrat Anita Gylseth, had been working in the grocery most days of the week, but Mr Macdonald did not seem to do much.

”I couldn’t tell you what he does there,” Ms Nunn said. ”I see him sitting out the front talking … He might take boxes out the back occasionally.”

The owner of the grocery shop, Margot Connors, said she could not comment.

But a friend of Ms Connors told Fairfaxthe Macdonalds had intended to buy the business, but could not get a bank loan. She had been told they now hoped to lease it.

Mr Macdonald has certainly had trouble with the bank. In evidence before the ICAC on Wednesday, he explained that when he sold his home in Northbridge, anything he had left over was ploughed into paying off some of the mortgage he had over his farm on Canobolas Road in Orange.

Pressed about how he was going to repay a questionable loan to a friend’s company, Mr Macdonald said: ”I haven’t got the funds to pay it unless I sell my property, and I’ve been in the process of selling my property, properties for over a year.”

Curiously, Fairfax Regional Mediareported this week that Mr Macdonald had in fact recently taken his property off the market.

When contacted by telephone, Ms Gylseth declined to clarify the arrangement regarding the grocery shop.

”I am not interested in you getting a story right,” she said. ”You disgust me.”

Ms Nunn said she and her husband were not impressed by the evidence that had been given to the inquiry.

”He can go and jump in the lake as far as we’re concerned.”

Ian Macdonald arrives at the ICAC inquiry on February 12. Photo: ROB HOMER

Katie Peters was killed fighting a bushfire in northern Victoria on Wednesday.Source: The Border Mail
Nanjing Night Net

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) have named 19-year-old Katie Peters, from Tallandoon, as one of the two front-line firefighters who died yesterday battling the Harrietville fire in eastern Victoria.

The DSE are still contacting relatives of a 29-year-old man from Corryong,the fire firefighter who died alongside Ms Peters.

It’s understood the accident occurred in a remote front of the fire when the pair’s emergency vehicle was struck by a falling tree.

Make a tribute to the fire fighters by clickinghere.

Katie Peters had been with DSE for two seasons as a Project Fire Fighter, joining DSE as her first paid job after taking a year off after Year 12 to travel overseas.

In a statement released by DSE, they said Ms Peters was always prepared to have a go and was the first one to put her hand up to drive a tanker or use the chainsaw.

“She loved animals and was planning to be a vet.

“She made time for everyone – she loved working with her colleagues and was incredibly down-to-earth.”

As part of a feature on female fire-fighters recently, Katie spoke of how much she enjoyed the previous season, with one of the highlights attending a bushfire in remote terrain at King’s Spur, south east of Dartmouth Dam.

DSE Chief Fire Officer Alan Goodwin said the loss of Ms Peters and her colleague was a tragedy.

“This is devastating news and the loss of staff is a tragedy under any circumstances. Even one death is not acceptable. I would like to personally extend my sympathies and DSE’s sympathies to their families and friends.’ Mr Goodwin said

“Our continuing focus is on the safety and wellbeing of our staff, our agency partners – CFA, Parks Victoria and DPI – and interstate and international colleagues (NSW and NZ) who are assisting us to fight fires across the state.’

Support is being offered to his DSE colleagues and senior DSE staff are in Harrietville to provide support and counselling for the crews.

Theincident was witnessed by the son of Towong Council deputy mayor David Wortmann.

“My 19-year-old son was in the crew,” Mr Wortmanntold ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“The vehicle in front of my son, a tree fell on it and the two firefighters were killed.”

He said the girl, a university student, was from an outstanding family.

“I just felt so sorry for him and his crew to have witnessed and experienced such a tragedy,” he said.

Police say the pair were struck by the falling tree around 3.35pm (AEDT) and it took until after 8pm to reach them because of the fire and hazardous conditions.

Today, flags will be flown at half-mast on Victorian government buildings.

Premier Ted Baillieu says the flags will be lowered as a mark of respect for the pair.

“The tragic loss of these two firefighters will affect all those who have been fighting these fires and protecting Victorian communities,” he said.

“My thoughts and the thoughts of all Victorians are with their families and loved ones at this time.”

Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem yesterday said DSE firefighters were “unsung heroes”.

He said there was little recognition of their work as what they did behind fire lines was rarely seen.

“They work in the most horrific conditions imaginable,” he said.

“They work away from the big centres, out in the bush, and with very little recognition for their heroic contribution to this state,” he said.

“They have died heroes, which will be small comfort to those who grieve for them.”

The member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, last night said she was deeply saddened by the devastating news of the firefighters’ death.

“This is shattering for their family, friends and the community,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with them.”

DSE and CFA firefighters had been making the most of mild weather conditions, working around the clock to control hotspots and build containment lines.

They have faced a continual challenge to get into isolated areas where the fire is burning.

Earlier yesterday, Ovens incident controller Tony Long said crews had had to trek for more than two hours to get to areas to build control lines.

“Where crews can’t walk into the affected areas, we use rappel crews to go down from a hovering helicopter, carrying their gear, to put out hot spots,” he said.

The Harrietville fire has burnt 27,000 hectares since it was started by lightning on January 21.

Mr Long said it would burn until the Alpine region received rain.

The deaths come a month after Peter Cramer, a DSE firefighter and CFA volunteer from Tyers in Gippsland, died working on bushfires in Tasmania.

Mr Cramer, 61, died on January 13 at Taranna, east of Hobart. He was scouting for possible containment lines on the southern boundary of the fire near Forcett.