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Homeowners face finding another $50 a month to pay the mortgage, with the Reserve Bank tipped to lift official interest rates again today as it battles to dampen house prices and keep inflation pressures at bay.

A quarter percentage point rise this afternoon would mean official rates would have climbed 1.25 percentage points since October, adding more than $240 to the monthly repayments on a $300,000 mortgage.

It would be the biggest run of increases in a 12-month period since the Reserve took the official cash rate from 5 per cent to 6.25 per cent between November 1999 and August 2000.

But the decision could be a close call, with signs of softness in the retail and building sectors lifting expectations the Reserve may wait at least another month before moving in the week before Treasurer Wayne Swan hands down the Federal Budget.

At least mortgage holders may be saved from a “super-sized” lift to their repayments, with the NAB yesterday saying it would not increase its rates more than any move in the official cash rate. Its recent policy of matching rate rises had led to more customers.

That prompted Mr Swan to challenge other major banks to follow NAB’s lead.

TD Securities senior strategist Annette Beacher expects the Reserve board to hold rates today.

But Macquarie Bank rate strategist Rory Robertson said the chance of a rate rise was about 80 per cent.

“Interest rates here remain unusually low, our jobs market is strengthening, China and bulk-commodity prices are booming, so, too, local home prices, and the world’s biggest economy increasingly is getting back on its feet,” he said.

A new survey from Dun and Bradstreet of business executives out today shows sales, growth, employment and capital investment expectations all rising. 

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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AN Australian family who met Michael Jackson more than 20 years ago and became lifelong friends was devastated by the pop star’s surprise death.

Joy Robson, mother of choreographer Wade Robson, said her family could not come to terms with the news the King of Pop was dead.          Michael_Jackson_1971_got_to_be_there

”We are all in shock right now,” Ms Robson, sobbing heavily, said.

”We’re devastated.”

A Los Angeles County Coroner’s office spokesman has confirmed Jackson had died.

Lieutenant Fred Corral told CNN Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead at 2:26pm (0726 AEST) local time after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.

When Jackson toured Australia in 1987 the pop star invited Wade to perform at his Brisbane concert.

Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.When Jackson toured Australia in 1987

Two years later, with the help of Jackson, the Robsons moved to the US so Wade could pursue his dancing career.

Wade appeared in three of Jackson’s music videos, Black or White, Jam and Heal the World and today, at the age of 26, is one of the world’s most renowned choreographers, hosting his own MTV series The Wade Robson Project, working with Britney Spears and N’SYNC and winning two Emmy Awards.

Wade, Ms Robson and her daughter, Chantal, were called as witnesses at Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial in California.

Jackson was eventually acquitted.

The Robsons spent many nights at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. After Jackson’s acquittal in 2005, the Robsons were again in tears, but back then it was tears of happiness.

”I’ve never questioned Michael,” Ms Robson said in 2005.

”That’s the bottom line. I’ve never ever had a second of a concern.

”I don’t care what people say of me.

”You have to know Michael to understand.

”I’ve always said to Michael I wished the world could know the Michael we do.

”He’s not what the media makes him out to be.”

Jackson, aged 50, died in Los Angeles today, although a cause of death is yet to be officially announced.

Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at Jackson’s $US100,000 ($A124,378.11) a month rented mansion in the exclusive LA suburb of Holmby Hills, just after midday.

He was taken to the nearby UCLA Medical Centre but was pronounced dead.

RIP

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The Education Tax Refund (ETR) is a new government initiative to help with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children. It means eligible parents,tax refund carers, legal guardians and independent students could get 50% back on some education expenses. This includes items like computers, educational software, textbooks and stationery.

Most people are eligible for the ETR because they receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A. However, there are some payments that prevent you from receiving FTB Part A, but which still entitle you to receive the refund. You can also claim the refund if you are an independent student.

You can claim the ETR each financial year for children in primary and/or secondary school, or if you are an independent student. You will be able to claim the refund from 1 July 2009 for the 2008/09 financial year. This means you can claim for items purchased from 1 July 2008. Remember to keep your receipts as they will help you calculate your entitlement and you may be required to produce them as proof of purchase.

You can claim the ETR even if you are not required to lodge a tax return.

For more information, see  http://www.educationtaxrefund.gov.au/about-the-ETR/

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Quality of Life                              

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Though it’s nearly 50% larger than Europe, it has the lowest population density of any country, with only two people per square kilometre. What’s more, Australia boasts over 10,000 beaches – more than any other nation.   western-australia-kangaroo-beach

Add to that tropical rainforests, rugged mountain ranges and vast tracts of desert, and you’ve got a country that’s rich in contrast and bursting with opportunity. Australia’s diversity is world famous for a reason, and it’s yours to enjoy.

With the reverse seasons to those in the northern hemisphere, Australia enjoys a largely temperate climate. Most of Australia receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, an amazing 70% of the total possible hours.

Where else can you find a home with an average of 300 sunny days per year? That’s 300 more great reasons to move to Australia! Australia is culturally diverse, dynamic and innovative, with an enormous amount to offer migrants and returning Australians. It’s little wonder more than 30,000 Brits and South Africans make Australia their new home each year.

Expos

London : 13th June 2009
Manchester : 4th July 2009
Cape Town : 9 September 2009
Johannesburg :  12 – 13 September 2009
Durban : 15th September 2009
http://www.expo-australia.com/seminars.aspx

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