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Posts Tagged ‘reporters’

Thornlie’s tree man Richard Pennicuik has ended his 110 day protest and climbed down from the 20m-high eucalyptus melliodorain on the front verge of his home.

Mr Pennicuik has been living in the tree outside his Hume Road home since early December, including during Monday’s devastating hail storm that swept across Perth and caused more than $200 million damage.

The City of Gosnells wants to remove the tree, claiming it poses a danger.                                                                                                                

Mr Pennicuik claimed he won the moral battle before doing a lap around the tree and heading inside his home to have a shower.

He initially released a four paragraph statement, but re-emerged to speak to reporters, saying he felt great.

“The tree weathered the worst storm to hit Perth ever and it’s in good condition, it has proven itself,” Mr Pennicuik said.

“It is worth it because we have shown the people of Australia they need the constitution, they can’t do without it.

“I think I have (proven my point) I think the tree has.”

City of Gosnells Mayor Olwen Searle today welcomed the Mr Pennicuik’s decision to come down from the tree, but confirmed the council would go ahead with plans to chop it down.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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THE market odds have moved firmly against an interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank in February.

The sharp change in direction, which began on Tuesday after the central bank revealed its December 1 meeting minutes, accelerated yesterday following a speech by RBA deputy governor Ric Battellino.

Mr Battellino signalled that rates could stay on hold when the RBA next meets in February, saying the “overall stance” of monetary policy was “back in the normal range”.

His comments, at the Australian Finance & Banking Conference in Sydney, surprised the markets, triggering a slump in the Australian dollar to below US90.

Last night the dollar was hovering around US89.70.

Financial market betting on a 25-basis point rate hike in February retreated from a 67 per cent chance to 45 per cent.

Mr Battellino said that although the cash rate still seemed “unusually low” at 3.75 per cent, monetary policy was back “in the normal range” because the current level of deposit, housing and business lending rates made the cash rate equivalent to a “before the crisis” level of 4.75 per cent.

“Taking these considerations into account, it would be reasonable to conclude that the overall stance of monetary policy is now back in the normal range, though in the expansionary segment of that range,” he said.

The deputy governor’s remarks were made half an hour after the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed economic growth in the September quarter was weaker than expected.

The national accounts showed GDP edged up just 0.2 per cent in the three months to September, half the pace of growth expected by the market, for an annual rate of 0.5 per cent.

The main drag on growth was a slump in exports which coincided with a jump in imports.

However, demand from households, businesses buying more equipment and government investment was solid.

ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan said the GDP figures indicated there was little urgency to get official interest rates back to a neutral setting, adding that Mr Battellino’s comments had “dealt a solid blow” to the prospect of substantial gains in the cash rate over coming months.

“Put another way, the emergency setting for interest rates has now been removed and policy will be adjusted as and when required by economic conditions,” he said.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly told reporters after the bank’s annual meeting in Melbourne yesterday that the RBA was likely to raise rates “very carefully” in 2010.

However, she said the official cash rate was not quite yet at a “normal” level.

Mrs Kelly said she remained cautious about the economic outlook while the bank’s chairman Ted Evans said a “V-shaped” recovery for Australia was unlikely.

“It will be a long recovery and that’s what our plans are based on,” he said. 

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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A woman from Melbourne has said she has no connection with missing British toddler Madeleine McCann after a friend in Sydney reported her to police.rt_maddy_mccann_090501_mn

The search for Madeleine swept across Australia with a string of sightings after private detectives revealed they were looking for a Victoria Beckham lookalike.

A picture of the woman was released by British police.

Ms Aron, who actually lives in Madeline Street, the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris.

She has said she was shocked that anybody may have thought that I have some connection to this case. I can’t understand how it may have happened. I can honestly say I have no connection to the little girl.

She also announced that she has not been out of  Australia since 2000.

A neighbour said she thought the link might have been made because Ms Aron spoke Spanish and had a fair-haired child.

An elderly Sydney woman went into Burwood police station and filed a report claiming that a friend she had met in Spain, and travelled with in Portugal, was the woman in the identikit.

NSW Police said: ”NSW Police Force detectives have received information about a woman who is similar in description to the woman being sought by private investigators investigating the disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann.

An Australian-registered cruiser that was in Port Olimpic marina in Barcelona at the time the mystery woman was asking the new witness if he had brought her new daughter.

Reporters from London yesterday speculated that it was a $12 million powerboat belonging to a wealthy West Australian family. A spokesman for the family said: ”This is the most ridiculous speculation I have ever heard. It’s ludicrous.”

Investigators working for the McCanns said they had received more than 600 emails after issuing the Posh Spice lookalike appeal.

A spokesman for the family said most of those responses had come from Australia.

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Treasurer Wayne Swan has taken aim at Australia’s biggest home lender, labelling it selfish for lifting its mortgage and business lending rates.  swan_rudd_hand_400

Other banks have refused to rule out following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA’s) surprise decision to lift its home and business loan rates by 10 basis points to offset higher funding costs.

The opposition said the government’s huge debt burden was putting pressure on interest rates, while a prominent market economist said it may force the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official rate again to counter any impact from CBA’s move.

CBA said it took Friday’s decision “reluctantly”, but at a standard variable mortgage rate of 5.74 per cent, up from 5.64 per cent, it was still the lowest on the market.

The rate hike will add $18 a month to repayments on a $300,000 home loan over 25 years.

The bank said it had absorbed as much of its additional funding costs for as long as it could.

“Unfortunately, we have seen the bank’s wholesale funding costs remain high and continue to increase as previous long term funding matures and is replaced with new funding at significantly higher cost,” CBA group executive of retail banking services Ross McEwan said in a statement.

Such reasoning drew no sympathy from the treasurer.

There are ups and downs when it comes to those decisions over time, but there are few decisions I can think of that are more selfish than this one,” Mr Swan told reporters in Brisbane.

“I think Australians, rightly, will be furious with the Commonwealth Bank.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd echoed those sentiments during a speech to a business lunch in Brisbane.

“We are all in this together – businesses, workers, government and the Reserve Bank – and today’s decision by the Commonwealth Bank runs counter to this nationwide effort,” Mr Rudd said.

The other three major banks – ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac – said their rates were constantly under review.

NAB said it had no current plans to raise its home loan rate but noted “all Australian banks” had been incurring significantly higher funding costs for some time.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the government was putting pressure on interest rates by running up a huge debt.

“Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan feigned outrage about this interest rate increase, yet they are directly responsible for it,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Sydney.

“This is the beginning. You will end up with higher interest rates directly as a result of the spending binge of the Rudd government and the massive debt they are accruing.”

Home buyers may be enjoying the lowest mortgage rates in 41 years, but have already missed out on about 30 to 40 basis points of the RBA’s total 425 basis points of official rate cuts, with banks refusing to pass on the cuts in full because of the cost of funding.

For small businesses it has been even worse, being short changed by about 140 basis points.

The CBA’s decision comes in a week that saw massive boosts to both consumer and business confidence, as well as data showing sustained growth in home lending – sucked in by low mortgage rates and a more generous first home owners grant.

April mortgage data showed loan demand has grown for seven straight months to a 14-month high, as well as record demand from first home buyers and the strongest interest from investors in nearly two years.

It also showed that the banks have cornered more than 92 per cent of all loans – a 33-year high.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said CBA’s decision could well be countered by another cut by the RBA.

“If it does have an impact, particularly on confidence in the housing market, which has been the most encouraging source of recovery in the Australian economy, it may bring a rate cut back on the table at the Reserve Bank,” Mr Evans told Sky News

Source  :  www.thedaily.com.au

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Days after a public rant aimed at Tracy Grimshaw, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has fired a second volley branding the TV presenter “sad”ramsay and “bitter” for defending herself.

Ramsay denied calling the Nine Network veteran a lesbian at a weekend appearance at Melbourne’s Good Food and Wine Show during which he also allegedly compared her to a pig, using an offensive photo as a prop.

Ramsay on Tuesday said he was “deeply mortified” that his intended joke had been blown out of proportion – and that was before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the chef’s comments reflected a “new form of low life”.

Mr Rudd’s deputy Julia Gillard and Health Minister Nicola Roxon joined the fray, saying Ramsay should confine himself to the kitchen and stop abusing women.

But there was no remorse from the TV chef after Grimshaw used her A Current Affair program on Monday to take him to task over his food show rant.

Ramsay on Tuesday said he’d never used the word “lesbian” to describe Grimshaw, and said she herself was guilty of a “disgusting” attack on his wife Tana, who’s due in Australia in two weeks.

“She’s obviously doing it for the ratings,” he said of Grimshaw, speaking to reporters after a run along Melbourne’s Yarra River.

On Monday, Grimshaw branded Ramsay a bully and an “arrogant narcissist”. She said he’d made “uninformed insinuations” at the food show about her sexuality, and she told her viewers she was not gay.

Grimshaw said that before a recent interview for her program, Ramsay had insisted she refrain from asking about his private life following allegations of a long-running extra-marital affair.

“We all know why,” she said.

She added: “… I’m not surprised by any of this. We’ve all seen how Gordon Ramsay treats his wife – and he supposedly loves her. We’re all just fodder to him.”

Asked if he could understand how Grimshaw felt, Ramsay told reporters: “I never once said the word lesbian, I was having a tongue-in-cheek joke – it was not at her expense.

“For me on a personal front, to see how sad and how bitter for someone to come out like that, for a renowned pro to come out and stoop that low, is disgusting.”

He said tapes of the alleged incident were being scrutinised by his lawyers.

Mr Rudd was firmly in Grimshaw’s corner on Tuesday, congratulating her for giving Ramsay a “left uppercut” in her reply.

“I think I can describe his remarks as reflecting a new form of low life,” he told the Fairfax Radio Network.

“I just drew breath when I saw the sort of stuff which was said about her. I just think that’s off and offensive.”

Earlier, Ms Gillard said the celebrity chef should stay in the kitchen.

“I think perhaps what he should do is confine himself to the kitchen and make nice things for people to eat rather than make public comments about others,” she said.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said there was no need for “women to be abused in our community at any level”.

Grimshaw said she had been overwhelmed by the avalanche of support she’d received.

The fallout from Ramsay’s rant has gone global, spreading to his homeland Britain and to the US and New Zealand.

Britain’s The Mirror sent up Ramsay in a report headlined: “Good thing Gordon Ramsay is such a sex god.”

“Gordon is such a handsome devil, a veritable sex god come to Earth to live among men, you can understand why he might feel that mere mortals are unworthy of his presence,” the report said.

The Mail Online carried a report about the outburst and the angry reaction it had generated among audience members and women’s groups.

US celebrity watcher Perez Hilton said Ramsay had gone too far with his “sexist, homophobic remarks”.

Source www.ninemsn.com.au

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WA’s only confirmed case of swine flu has been cleared after a week in quarantine, Ten News has reported, while the nation’s swine flu tally has passed 400.

The  man, who tested positive last week after going to hospital with mild flu symptoms, was in home quarantine with his wife and their eight children.

Australia’s Eastern States has been particularly hard-hit by the flu and Victoria has recorded a massive surge in cases, most of them children.
 
By this afternoon the number of confirmed cases in the State had risen to 306, a rise of 94 in 24 hours.

Most of the new cases in Victoria also involved young people aged five to 18, prompting a twelfth Victorian school to be closed today.
 
According to Federal Health Department figures, there were 64 confirmed cases in NSW, 18 in Queensland, six in South Australia, four in the ACT, and one each in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
 
However, Queensland Health officials say the State now has 22 confirmed cases, the latest being teenage girls.
 
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government was assessing whether to elevate the nation’s response to the disease from the contain to the sustain phase.
 
Victoria is already preparing to move into the sustain phase, under which quarantining is limited to those who share a home with a confirmed swine flu patient.
In the contain phase, anyone who has had contact with a swine flu patient is quarantined voluntarily and given antiviral drugs for a week.
 
The nation’s chief medical officer, Professor Jim Bishop, said the advice to people with flu-like symptoms may change as swine flu evolved.
 
At present, people who come down with flu-like symptoms, especially if they have recently travelled to an affected country, are being advised to seek medical advice.
 
Professor Bishop said in the future, fit and healthy people may be told to stay at home and only those in at-risk groups, including those with seek medical advice and asthma, will be advised to visit their GP.
 
“A lot of people that have these sorts of symptoms of course will, as this thing progresses, stay at home and not necessarily seek medical advice if in their own case it is a at-risk groups— and that we expect to see more of,” he said.
 
“As we move along in this marathon race, what we will need to do is obviously identify those people that we’re concerned about.
 
“If there is large numbers involved, we want to make sure the system is looking after people we most want to look after.”
 
The swine flu-affected ship Pacific Dawn docked in Sydney this morning after NSW Health authorities gave it the all-clear.
 

The P&O ship was forced to cut short its trip to the Barrier Reef last week when three crew tested positive for the virus.
 
A senior NSW Health doctor and 25 nurses boarded the ship in Brisbane on Saturday, testing all 2500 people on board during the two-day voyage to Sydney.
 
While disappointed the cruise didn’t go to plan, passengers said they still enjoyed the journey.
 
David Geers, from Brisbane, joked it was the perfect place to be quarantined for seven days.

 “If you had to be quarantined somewhere I couldn’t have thought of a better place … because we got fed, the drinks tasted the same and the staff were fantastic,” he told reporters at Darling Harbour.
 
More than 15,000 people in 53 countries have tested positive to swine flu, with deaths totalling 99.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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West Australians will no longer have to bother with scraping off registration stickers from their cars, the WA government says.

In a bid to save $2 million over four years in printing and postage costs, registration stickers and discs for cars, trailers and motorbikes will be phased out from January 1 next year.

Premier Colin Barnett and Transport Minister Simon O’Brian announced the change to overhaul the state’s outdated licensing system today.

Mr O’Brian told reporters in Perth, the change would “kiss goodbye the frustrating task of scraping off old rego stickers to put a new one on”.

Police would use new communication radio technology to check registration details electronically.

Mr Barnett said motorists would still have to pay registration fees, but getting rid of the stickers would cut unnecessary red tape.

”People will still be sent an account to pay their registration but they will no longer be required to display registration stickers,” Mr Barnett said.

”That simple measure will save a lot of time and bother for some 2.2 million vehicles and their owners in this state and it will also save around $500,000 a year.”

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