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Don’t scrap charity regulator: Labor

2019年9月18日 | 上海按摩服务 | Permalink

The federal opposition has lashed out at a new report recommending the government proceed with plans to scrap the national body responsible for regulating charities.

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A Centre for Independent Studies report released on Thursday calls on the government to abolish what is says is the ineffectual Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).

It says despite being in operation for more than a year, the ACNC has failed to fulfill its key mandates – reducing the red-tape burden for charities, increasing public trust in the sector, and policing fraud and wrongdoing.

And it’s unlikely to do so in future because of “fundamental flaws” in the regulatory model.

“It doesn’t need more time, it needs to be abolished,” the report says.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews plans to scrap the ACNC in the coming months and is considering replacing it with an American-style online “charity navigator”, which polices charities based on private sector feedback.

But the opposition says it’s unnecessary to remove the ACNC, which Labor established in 2012.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said it will mean the Australian Tax Office might have a conflict of interest if it both collects revenue and determines whether an organisation gets tax-deductable status.

“Only blinkered idealogy would have you say the tax office would do a better job becoming the default regulator of charities,” he told AAP on Thursday.

Dr Leigh said replacing the body with a US-style league system was “completely baffling” because that system supported an ACNC-type model already.

“It would be a retrograde step to abolish the ACNC and it would go entirely in the opposite direction of other nations in terms of an efficient regulator of charities.”

Ocean debris leads the way for castaway fisherman

2019年9月18日 | 上海按摩服务 | Permalink

By Erik van Sebille

The fisherman who washed up on the Marshall Islands last weekend was very lucky to have stranded on a remote beach there.

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The currents in the Pacific Ocean would have inevitably taken him into the great garbage patch of the North Pacific, where he could then have been floating for centuries to come.

The castaway – Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman from El Salvador – reportedly left Mexico in November 2012. He and his friend Ezequiel only planned for a short a fishing trip, but he ended up alone in his boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

His friend died about a month into the journey and Mr Alvarenga apparently survived on a diet of fish, birds and turtles, and by drinking turtle blood and rainwater.

 

Castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga describes his ordeal

 

Drifting westward

In the tropical Pacific, the trade winds create some of the strongest currents in the world. These currents move water, and with it plastics, plankton and castaways, westward.

Some have cast doubt on the authenticity of Mr Alvarenga’s story but my research website adrift南宁夜生活,广西桑拿网, shows that flotsam that starts off the west coast of Mexico will pass through the Marshall Islands within 14 to 20 months.

This agrees well with how long Mr Alvarenga says he had to live on his boat, feeding on fish, birds and turtles.

 

Marine debris drifting westward over time across the Pacific. adrift南宁夜生活,广西桑拿网,

 

The circulation pattern of the Pacific Ocean therefore seems to vindicate his claims of being lost at sea for so long. The tropical Pacific is also known for its richness in marine life, with plenty of fish and bids so he would have had access to plenty of food.

Lucky to find land

Although Mr Alvarenga is not to be envied for his trip, he was lucky in one way. The Marshall Islands are tiny atolls in a vast ocean. Stumbling upon a beach in that area is like finding a water well in the outback Australia.

My website adrift南宁夜生活,广西桑拿网, shows that, if his boat had not been thrown on a remote beach in the Marshall Islands, it is likely that it would have continued moving westward towards the Philippines.

But before reaching the Philippine coast, the currents would have taken him on a giant U-turn, northeastward and back into the central Pacific.

Caught in the rubbish

 

Map of the Great Ocean Garbage Patches in the Pacific. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program

 

In the end, it is very likely that his boat would have ended up in the great garbage patch of the North Pacific.

This area, roughly between Hawaii and the California coast, is where much of the plastics, ghost nets and other floating debris that people throw in the ocean ends up.

The garbage patches (there’s five of them in the world, two in the Pacific, two in the Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean) are the sinkholes of the ocean. Water at the surface slowly sinks to hundreds of meters depth. Everything that’s too buoyant, like plastics or fishing boats, stays behind for centuries to millennia.

The existence of these garbage patches is a disgrace. But unfortunately, it will be very hard to clean them up.

 

Plastic bottle caps found in the ocean NOAA PIFSC

 

Most of the plastics in the patches is very small, roughly the same size as some of the plankton. There are currently no viable plans to remove the plastics but keep the plankton. Let alone do it in an environmentally sustainable way, without using enormous amount of dirty diesel to power a fleet of ships.

That is why the focus of the marine plastic problem should not be about cleaning it up, but about preventing the plastics from getting in the ocean in the first place.

Drifting buoys

Much of what we know of the surface ocean circulation comes from buoys that, just like plastic or castaway fishermen, drift with the currents.

But the buoys have an added tracking advantage. They have GPS and a satellite telephone, and send short text messages with their position every six hours. So the buoys are like twitter feeds from the ocean.

Most of the bouys also end up in the garbage patches. Oceanographers like me use the trajectories of the buoys to piece together how water would move from one location to the other.

It is important to understand how heat, nutrients, fish and plastics move through our ocean basin.

And, as an interesting side to our research, it also helps understand what has happened to the poor fishermen who get adrift.

Erik van Sebille receives funding from the Australian Research Council.

Twitter shares dive on soft user growth

2019年9月18日 | 上海按摩服务 | Permalink

Twitter has been hit with a reality check, reporting modest user growth during a quarter in which it lost $US511 million ($A573.

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35 million).

Twitter shares skidded more than 13 per cent to $US57.29 in after-market trades following its first quarterly earnings release since its stock market debut last year.

The results showed revenues in the quarter that ended December 31 doubled from a year prior to a better-than-expected $US242.6 million.

But investors seemed unhappy that the average number of monthly users had climbed just 30 per cent to 241 million when compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Twitter released its first earnings report since a wildly successful stock offering, in what is being seen as a critical test for the popular messaging platform.

The loss for the year for Twitter widened to $645 million from $79 million in 2012 even as revenues more than doubled to $664 million for the full year.

Shares in Twitter soared from the offering price last November of $US26, and analysts say that to sustain that momentum Twitter must prove it can grow and move toward profitability.

“Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date,” said chief executive Dick Costolo said in the earnings release.

“We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed and I’m excited by the number of initiatives we have underway.”

Twitter has fast become ingrained in popular culture but must still convince investors of its business model.

Twitter is expected to be able to reach profitability over time by delivering ads in the form of promoted tweets, and from its data analytics.

“The problem is that there are some serious caveats for growth ahead and user metrics,” Jon Ogg of website 24/7 Wall Street wrote in a post about the earnings.

“Twitter’s stock is so far getting a reality check.”

‘Greed behind Brisbane referee’s murder’

2019年9月18日 | 上海按摩服务 | Permalink

Greed is behind the murder of a Brisbane referee found under his home with a gunshot wound to the head.

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There’s finally been a breakthrough in Tony McGrath’s murder, nine months after his gruesome death.

A 38-year-old homeless man has been charged with his murder after being arrested in his car in at the Yatala Pies shop, south of Brisbane.

Police are questioning others over the murder and are expecting further arrests.

They wouldn’t confirm if the man was hired as a hit man but said the “persons of interest” were to gain financially from the rugby league referee’s death.

It’s the second time there has been an attempt on Mr McGrath’s life, after a fire in October 2012.

The 38-year-old man has also been charged with stupefying Mr McGrath and attempting murder by setting his Woolloongabba home alight.

Police say greed lead to Mr McGrath’s death, but wouldn’t detail how much could be gained by the murder.

“We believe that the motive for the murder is financial,” Detective Inspector Damien Hansen of the State Crime Command Homicide Group said.

Mr McGrath, 57, died of a single shot to his head and may have been dead for more than two days before his body was found by a friend on May 21.

Police described him as a “loner” who had no family apart from his sister and said his lack of close relationships made it hard to track leads.

He had been single for many years and was retired after a long career with the tax office.

Not long before his death he had been appointed president of the Brisbane Rugby League Referees Association.

“I’d say he was more than comfortable,” Rod Kemp Detective Inspector at Mount Gravatt said.

“He was reasonable citizen, quite wealthy in his own right I guess, without saying he was overly wealthy.”

A 46-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday night at Terranora who police say is a person of interest, however he’s yet to be charged over the murder.

A woman who use to own a brothel in Tweed Heads has also been spoken to and a number of properties will be searched in the coming days.

Police say persons of interest are more friends than business associates.

“It is a very complex investigation. There are a number of persons of interest and that could increase in the coming days,” Det Insp Kemp said.

The 38-year-old man charged with murder is also charged with robbery with violence whilst armed, attempted murder, arson, stupefying in order to commit an indictable offence, entering premises with intent and weapons act offences.

He was due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Call for COAG to set new reform agenda

2019年9月18日 | 上海按摩服务 | Permalink

EDS: THIS STORY IS NOT FOR USE UNTIL 0005 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6

By Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

CANBERRA, Feb 6 AAP – The state and federal governments have been urged to embark on a new five-year plan to harmonise business and industry regulation.

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The COAG Reform Council made the call on Thursday, releasing its final report to the Council of Australian Governments on the success of the “seamless national economy” program over the past five years.

The report card found that of the 45 reform areas covered by the federal-state agreement, 31 had been successfully completed and a further 11 were partially complete.

The Productivity Commission estimated that just 17 of the reforms alone would reduce business costs by $4 billion a year and add $6 billion a year to GDP.

COAG Reform Council chairman John Brumby said it was time for the premiers and prime minister – who will meet in April – to consider a new agenda for the next five years.

Among the issues for that agenda should be energy, transport, how to fund infrastructure, competition policy, deregulation and the reforming COAG itself.

“There is unfinished business,” Mr Brumby said.

There also needed to be work on the three reform areas of the past five years that were not successfully concluded: mine safety, regulation making and review, and the legal profession.

Mr Brumby said there was clear evidence that reward payments to the states and territories led to better progress on reform.

After five years, governments had completed 21 of 26 reward-linked reforms and only 10 of 19 non-reward reforms.

Asked how reward payments could be afforded given the federal government’s budget tightening, Mr Brumby said growth in GDP and extra tax revenue generated by a healthier business sector would offset any modest spending.

South Australia was rated the most successful state, completing 29 of the 40 reforms it was involved in, while Western Australia completed only 22 of 36 reforms.

Neither WA, NSW or Queensland – considered to have the highest-risk mining activity – had put in place national mine safety regulations, but NSW had passed mine safety laws.

Of the reforms, harmonising building and plumbing regulations across states (except WA) into a national construction code was said to be worth $1 billion a year to the national economy.

Uniform occupational health and safety laws, not yet enacted in Victoria and WA, could be expected to save cross-border businesses $500 million a year.

Mr Brumby said COAG should continue to monitor the success of the already enacted reforms.

“It’s important that a mechanism be put in place to make sure there is momentum to ensure the rest of the agenda is completed, so Australians and Australian businesses get the benefits,” he said.