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Spenders ring up best figures in 5 years

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Big spenders in 2013 made it the best in five years for retailers, with continuing growth looking to end the malaise that has gripped the industry since the GFC.


The recovery was led by shoppers with big appetites and a taste for fine Christmas fare. They were behind an $8.1 billion increase in turnover in the sector, a peak retailers’ body says.

“It really was a Christmas to eat, drink and be merry with food retailing rising,” Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said.

“Retailers are encouraged by today’s result and it has put the sector in good stead to record a similar result, or better, in the year ahead.

“Most states are now tracking at around six to seven per cent year-on-year growth in turnover which is a positive sign for the sectors ongoing success in 2014.”

However, spending on fashion and accessories dropped while solid performance in the hardware and furniture sector reflected the housing market upturn, she added.

Australia posted its eighth consecutive rise in retail spending, and economists expect the sector to keep strengthening to pre-global financial crisis levels.

Retail trade rose 0.5 per cent in December, seasonally adjusted, and was up 0.9 per cent in the December quarter, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver expects consumer spending to start making a much larger contribution to economic growth than it has over the past few years.

“Retail sales growth looks to be breaking out of the malaise that it’s been in over the last four years that saw annual growth average just 2.7 per cent,” he said.

“This likely reflects a combination of improved household finances on the back of low interest rates, rising wealth levels and improved consumer confidence. This is great news for retailers after a really tough period.

“We expect these factors to support continued strength in retail sales this year, but probably averaging around 4.5 per cent per annum as a return to pre-GFC strength is unlikely as the labour market remains soft.”

Groceries had the strongest rise in the month up 2.5 per cent, followed by at 0.5 per cent gain in spending in cafe and restaurants and department store sales had a 0.3 per cent rise.

AFP raid Perth Glory owner offices again

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The offices of millionaire resources magnate and Perth Glory owner Tony Sage have been raided for a second time by the Australian Federal Police.


In December, Mr Sage’s Perth offices – including those related to the A-League club and Mr Sage’s Cape Lambert Resources company – were served warrants.

On Wednesday, AFP officers returned to the offices of several of Mr Sage’s business interests, including Kupang Resources which lists Mr Sage as executive director, former NRL legend Ben Elias as non-executive chairman and Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer as a non-executive director.

A statement from the AFP confirmed the activity, saying search warrants had been executed on three commercial premises in West Leederville and West Perth.

“The activity is part of an ongoing investigation in partnership with a number of Commonwealth agencies including the ACC, ATO and ASIC,” the AFP said.

“The investigation is ongoing, therefore it is not appropriate to make any further comment at this point in time.

Following the earlier raids in 2012, Cape Lambert said in a statement lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that the raids were not directly related to its business.

“Where appropriate, the company will continue to co-operate with the AFP, so as to ensure the resolution of this matter in a timely fashion,” the statement said.

In May 2013, Cape Lambert went into a trading halt over a $95 million tax bill, mostly over the sale of its namesake iron ore project in Western Australia in 2008 and purchase of the CopperCo group of assets in 2009.

Sochi Olympics: Russia’s cupid coach wants to help teams find love

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Chekanov plans to arrange joint outings that could include moonlight walks or karaoke in the hope of turning Olympic rings into engagement rings — with Valentine’s Day also looming.


   “They know many of the (men) players already, of course, but, on the other hand, some will get better acquainted,” the coach said. “All of a sudden, somebody might fall in love.”   Chekanov intends to discuss his plans with men’s coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov when he arrives in Sochi with his star-studded team featuring the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, who already has a fiancee — Russian tennis star Maria Kirilenko.   “The boys could talk to the girls and unload some of their emotional weight,” said Chekanov. “Maybe the two teams will go on an evening walk together, chat a little.   “It will be very interesting for the girls to be among the great players, to talk to them, or just to take a picture with them.”   But the women will have to wait a few more days to meet up with their male hockey heroes, who are under enormous pressure to win gold on home ice after crashing out to Canada in the quarter-finals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.   A cloak of secrecy has been thrown around the men’s team in the run-up to the Winter Olympics and they are not expected to arrive in the host city until Saturday.   That approach is markedly different from that taken by Chekanov, who has sometimes even cut short his post-workout showers to field more questions from the media.   “I don’t have the right to criticise or say whether this is bad or good. It’s the coaches and the team’s own business,” said Chekanov, who formerly coached China’s women.    “If it is more comfortable for them to work this way, then that’s what they should do.   “It is not the same pressure as with the men’s team. We’re less visible. We’re less popular so we’re content with that. We swim in our own boat and control the current.”

Bali poised for Corby parole decision

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

A former lawyer for Schapelle Corby who still argues she is innocent is one of many in Bali eagerly awaiting news of her release from jail.


The convicted drug smuggler will likely learn whether her long-awaited request for parole will be granted some time after 5.30pm (AEDT) on Friday.

Her fate rests in the hands of Indonesia’s Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin, who insists she will get no special treatment.

Australian media crews are already embedded outside Bali’s Kerobokan jail in anticipation of her release.

While there are reports she could make millions from an exclusive TV tell-all, Prime Minister Tony Abbott suggested Corby should not profit by selling her story.

“The old principle is crime should not pay,” he told Fairfax Radio on Thursday.

Erwin Siregar, who was one of Corby’s first lawyers, is also keen for the parole decision to be announced.

Despite being dropped from her defence team in 2005, after Corby was found guilty of drug trafficking, Mr Siregar still argues for the Australian.

“Until today, I’m still thinking Corby is not guilty,” he told AAP in his Denpasar office on Thursday.

The lawyer expects it will be difficult for Corby to have peace if she gets parole in Bali, but he believes she will make the best of it.

“I think she will be a success, of course,” he said.

“So many people are waiting for her. She will be a success, and I’m glad.”

However, as in Australia, in Indonesia there are many Corby detractors.

Bali taxi driver Andik Purwanto was on Thursday reading a local newspaper report about the possible release of the famous “ratu narkotik” (drug queen).

He said he believed in firm punishment for Corby, as drugs had the potential to ruin many lives.

“I believe what the law says. If the law finds they deserve this kind of punishment, then they probably deserve it,” he told AAP.

He said there was great interest in Bali because “Australia has become very close with us”.

In Jakarta on Thursday, Mr Syamsuddin’s staff told reporters he would hold a media conference at 1.30pm local time on Friday.

The minister has already said publicly he can see no reason why Corby’s parole bid should be rejected.

Her case was heard in Jakarta last week, but it’s not known whether the parole board’s recommendation to Mr Syamsuddin was in favour of parole.

If it’s approved, Corby, 36, will serve her parole in the Kuta home of her sister Mercedes and her husband Wayan Widyartha.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters in Jakarta he believed the Australian government had handled the Corby case in a “correct and proper” way.

Australia had always handled Corby’s consular concerns as best it could while recognising it was a legal matter for Indonesia, he said.

“It has been approached principally as a legal matter … it hasn’t affected bilateral relations,” he said.

Corby has maintained her innocence throughout the more than nine years she has been behind bars.

The beauty student was 27 when she was caught in 2004 attempting to smuggle more than four kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag.

Luge great Zoeggeler eyes one more golden moment

2019年1月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Dubbed “The Cannibal” for devouring the opposition in a career that has brought two Olympic titles, a silver medal and two bronzes, six world titles and 57 individual victories, Zoeggeler is hungry for one final hurrah.


The policeman, who started natural track luging at the tender age of seven, will proudly carry his country’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony before starting his golden quest the following day.

“The Olympic track is very challenging and it will not be easy to win a place on the podium, but I will do my best for it,” he told Reuters.

Zoeggeler regards the Olympics as an “absolute highlight” and can make history as the first winter Olympian to win six successive medals in a single event.

His dedication to training and the “intoxicating joy” he feels at winning medals ensures he is always well prepared.

“Only through self-discipline and iron training during the summer it is possible to still be there (competing at the top level) and the fun factor in the sport should also not be discounted,” he said.

“My good health, coupled with joy of tobogganing and my desire to be the best, has helped me stay in professional sport for so long.”


Zoeggeler, whose Olympic golds came in 2002 and 2006 – only German great Georg Hackl has more with three – has enjoyed a consistent season with two World Cup wins and two podium finishes.

His performances earned him second place overall behind defending Olympic champion and gold medal favourite Felix Loch of Germany.

In the final race before Sochi, Zoeggeler claimed a third European title.

Although Loch was absent, the Italian was still thrilled.

“Even though the best German lugers were missing, it’s still a great feeling to travel to the Olympic Games with such a victory,” he said.

Both Loch and Zoeggeler looked sharp in their first training runs at the Sanki Sliding Centre on Wednesday, with the German fastest of all on the first slide and the Italian posting the quickest time on the second run.

As well as the formidable challenge from Loch and German compatriot David Moeller, the silver medallist in Whistler four years ago, Zoeggeler hailed young Italian Dominik Fischnaller as the man to succeed him.

“The young German athletes and also my team mate Dominik Fischnaller are top fit and they will not make it easy for me to reach the podium in Sochi,” he said.

His thoughts have turned to retirement as a professional athlete.

“I have some ideas of what I want to do in my career, but I have not decided yet what the future looks like,” he said.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Barty excited at facing Williams in Open

2019年1月16日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty believes she can produce one of the greatest upsets in Australian Open history against world No.


1 Serena Williams.

Many would have treated drawing the 17-time grand slam champion in the first round as a nightmare.

But 17-year-old world No.153 Barty can’t wait to step on to Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.

“You have to go out believing you can win the match, otherwise there’s no point walking out on the court really,” Barty told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

“I’m going to do all that I can to try to win it.”

Williams is the hot favourite to claim the Open title for a sixth time and join Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 majors, which would leave her trailing only Steffi Graf (22) in the professional era.

Barty is just beginning her first full year on the WTA tour and hasn’t played since injuring an adductor muscle in Brisbane in late December.

But the Australian says she is fully recovered and will relish the experience.

“Not every week do you get to go out and play against one of the greatest champions of all time. I’m really excited for the challenge,” she said.

Only once in the Open Era has the women’s top seed lost in the Australian Open first round, when Romanian Virginia Ruzici fell to Australian Mary Sawyer in 1979.

But Williams saw enough of the one match Barty played in the Brisbane International, when she upset world No.32 Daniela Hantuchova, to approach her with respect.

“She’s extremely talented,” Williams, who won the Brisbane title, said.

“She moves well, she plays well, she serves well, she has good returns.

“I saw her play a little bit at Brisbane.

“I was actually super impressed with her game.”

Williams, 32, missed the 2011 Australian Open through injury and was troubled by ankle injuries during the past two Opens, both won by Victoria Azarenka.

But this year, the American great said she will enter the tournament in excellent physical condition.

And she’s keen to join Navratilova and Evert on 18 majors.

“It would mean a lot to be on the same level as such great players,” she said.

DPP to look at murder charges for McNeil

2019年1月16日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The NSW attorney-general has asked authorities to assess whether murder charges can be laid against the man who punched Daniel Christie, whose life support has been turned off.


Mr Christie, 18, was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical condition after allegedly being punched by Shaun McNeil in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.

And after 11 days in hospital his life support was turned off on Saturday afternoon.

Attorney-general Greg Smith said he has asked the acting director of public prosecutions “to closely examine this case with a view to determining if murder charges are appropriate in light of the evidence, and in light of the alleged offender’s reported martial arts experience.”

After a meeting with the family of Thomas Kelly, who also died after a king-hit attack in Kings Cross, Mr Smith said he’s giving “careful consideration to their proposals.”

The Kelly’s in November began a petition calling for drunkenness to be a mandatory aggravating factor that must be taken into account in sentencing.

The petition, started in November, was at about 25,000 signatures before New Year’s Eve.

And following the alleged assault on Mr Christie, that surged to more than 124,000.

Mr Smith wouldn’t comment further on the case, but did pass on his condolences to the Christie family.

“Daniel Christie’s death is a senseless tragedy which will rightly outrage and sadden everyone in NSW. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” he said in a statement.

“I cannot imagine their pain and anguish, their despair and devastation and I am humbled by their dignity and the generous gesture of donating Daniel’s organs.”

Police expect further charges to be laid against his alleged attacker when he next appears in court in March.

Sprint king Bolt welcomes hair follicle testing

2019年1月16日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

“This is the first I’m hearing it,” Bolt said minutes after collecting his 5th RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year Award in Kingston late on Friday.


“But I think that anyway you can crack down on drug use in sports, I have no problem with it,” added the Jamaican, who holds the 100 and 200 metre world records of 9.58 and 19.19 seconds.

Bolt’s comments come after new WADA boss Craig Reedie revealed his intension to introduce hair follicle testing to help rid sports of drug cheats.

“We test in the main blood and urine, but now we will look at different approaches, such as can we use a lock of hair,” Reedie was quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian as saying.

Bolt, the winner of six Olympic gold medals, welcomed the move.

“If it’s a new rule and it’s a better way to clamp down on this, then I welcome it,” the sprint star offered.

Reedie, who says a new $10 million fund set up by the International Olympic Committee should open up new testing techniques to catch cheats said: “This is a really exciting development and means we can look at approaches that in the past have been unaffordable.”

Meanwhile, Paul Wright, the doping control officer at the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO) who last year noted the spate of positive tests by Jamaican athletes, including Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, believed Reedie’s plan was a master stroke.

“Hair follicle (testing) has been advocated by France for some years now and it is good to see that this new chief of WADA has decided to put this in his armament,” Wright reasoned.

Another Jamaican Sports Medicine Specialist Winston Dawes believed the latest testing technique could work in Jamaica’s favour.

“I think that the more test (technique) that we have, the more we (Jamaica) will prove that its natural talent and our (training and high school) programme, which has been the reason why we have dominated the sprints in the last few years,” Dawes said.

Executive Director of JADCO Carey Brown, who took office in October after Jamaica was put through the ringer over claims of inadequate testing, said he stood ready to implement whatever the global anti-doping watchdog proposes.

“We welcome anything like that because, I mean, it would be something new… something innovative. Using hair follicles, as well, is also less invasive,” the JADCO boss said.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Ukraine ex-minister beaten in fresh Kiev clashes

2019年1月16日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Dozens of nationalist demonstrators protested late Friday outside a Kiev court that had earlier in the day sentenced three men to six years in prison for allegedly plotting to blow up a statue of Soviet founder Lenin near the city’s main airport in 2011.



Ukrainian television showed several protesters being carried by stretcher to an ambulance that had been rushed to the scene.


Russian state television said the anti-riot troops moved in after being pelted with rocks by protesters who were trying to block police vans as the three convicts were being led out of the court in order to be placed in jail.


Ukrainian opposition news sites published photographs and video images of Lutsenko with his head bandaged and a large patch over his right eye.


Lutsenko’s wife Irina said her husband had suffered a concussion and head injuries after being attacked by club-wielding police while he was trying to break up the unfolding violence.


“He has been placed in intensive care. They are going to keep him under observation,” she told Ukraine’s opposition Hromadske television channel.


Ukrainian nationalists have been a driving force behind anti-government protests that erupted in November after President Viktor Yanukovych ditched a historic EU trade agreement in favour of closer ties with old master Russia.


The rallies were fanned further by anger over violence that broke out when hundreds of officers beat dozens of demonstrators while trying to clear them off Kiev’s iconic Independence Square on November 30.


The latest clash in Kiev drew no immediate response from Yanukovych or his government members.


But they threaten to fuel rallies that began to fizzle out last month when Yanukovych signed a $15-billion economic bailout agreement with Moscow that also slashed the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas imports.


Lutsenko was a prominent member of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s pro-Western government and remains a close ally of the jailed opposition leader.


The 49-year-old was himself put in prison on contested charges in late 2010 and pardoned by Yanukovych under EU pressure in April 2013.

Policy concerns over Hollande ‘affair’

2019年1月16日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

French newspapers are warning that President Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with an actress risks overshadowing his much-anticipated announcement of a new tack in efforts to kindle growth and create jobs.


Whilst largely defending the unmarried Hollande’s right to a private life, national and regional dailies admitted the hundreds of journalists at his bi-annual press conference on Tuesday will only have one question in mind.

The French president, who lives with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, has not denied the relationship with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet but reacted furiously to Friday’s publication of the allegation in Closer magazine.

“Having to explain, a few minutes before sketching out his vision for France, instead, what he has in mind for his relationship (with Trierweiler) promises to be a highly interesting performance,” the Sud-Ouest newspaper wrote.

Hollande, whose popularity ratings have hit record lows in recent months, had been expected to use the January 14 press conference to announce a new strategy aimed at lifting France out of its economic difficulties.

Hollande was due to outline the “responsibility pact” he is offering a disgruntled business community whereby companies would benefit from lower labour taxers in exchange for job creation.

Closer’s article, which describes a president travelling through Paris at night on the backseat of a scooter to see his lover, could come and spoil Hollande’s new year, papers warned.

Tuesday’s press conference was “expected to mark a political resurgence by confirming the social-democratic shift” the president hinted at in his New Year address, L’Est Republicain said in an editorial.

“But all eyes will now be on the president’s reaction,” it said.

L’Alsace newspaper described Closer’s allegations as “catastrophic in every possible way for Francois Hollande” and several other newspapers concurred that the timing could not have been worse.

However, one regional newspaper, La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-Ouest, argued that “it remains to be seen whether his tabloid antics will harm Francois Hollande, whose ratings were already abysmal.”