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Gold prices rise amid China’s missing bullion mystery

14/05/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Gold has hit a three-month high. Photo: Phil CarrickGold has hit a a three-month high, defying most expert views that 2014 would see further falls in the precious metal a day after a report revealed 500-tonnes of bullion is missing somewhere in China.
Nanjing Night Net

However, the recent rally still has many analysts questioning whether the recent turnaround is just a “dead cat bounce” or a sustained revision in market sentiment?

The yellow metal is up 6 per cent since the beginning of the year at around $US $1290 an ounce, but still a long way off the historic high above the $US 1900 an ounce that was achieved in 2011. Gold endured its biggest price collapse in 30 years in 2013 as investors shifted assets out of exchange traded funds and into higher yielding equities.

But one broker believes that the outlook for gold is once again about to change positively.

“While the fundamental situation has brightened, the technical picture has also improved, which could spark follow-up buying that in the short term would probably drive the gold price even further up,” wrote Commerzbank analysts on Tuesday.

According to the bank, trading volume on the Shanghai Gold Exchange on Monday totalled 25,725kg, the highest it has been since early May last year, “pointing to robust demand for gold there”.

China’s love of the precious metal seem once again to be the main driver behind the current rebound in prices. China consumed 1176 tonnes of gold in 2013, 41 per cent higher than in 2012, according to data released on Monday by the China Gold Association (CGA).

This was made up of 717 tonnes of jewellery, 376 tonnes of gold bar investment and 49 tonnes in industrial use. The remaining 35 tonnes was in coins and other items, said the CGA.

However, the CGA report, which cites a figure similar to the net gold imports to China from Hong Kong of 1157 tonnes, has created a mystery surrounding what has happened to the country’s indigenous supply. About 500 tonnes of gold from Chinese mines and scrap is unaccounted for by the CGA.

According to brokers at Macquarie it “remains a mystery what happened to the other gold available in China”. The missing gold will again raise questions over the strength of demand in the world’s largest market for the metal amid concern that more gold is being traded on the black market. One conspiracy theory is that the People’s Bank of China is simply stockpiling gold off balance sheet.

Somewhat less mysterious is the emerging market turbulence that has certainly helped to support gold prices, with investors seeking out the precious metal as a safe haven as has the change in leadership at the US Federal Reserve and the central bank’s schedule for tapering monetary stimulus.

The Telegraph, London

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

Imam charged over marriage of girl, 12

14/05/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

AN imam accused of conducting the illegal marriage of a 12-year-old girl has been granted conditional bail as police decide whether to lay charges against the child bride’s father.
Nanjing Night Net

The arrest of the imam came as the 26-year-old man accused of marrying and having a sexual relationship with the girl prepared to apply for his release from custody on Tuesday.

Child abuse detectives allege the 35-year-old imam performed a marriage ceremony in the Hunter Valley this year.

Detectives arrested the imam at Parramatta police station on Monday and charged him with solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person.

Police will allege the imam conducted the Islamic ceremony after he was approached by a Lebanese man who was visiting Australia.

The victim’s father consented to the marriage and for the ceremony to take place in his home on January 12.

He then allowed his daughter and the accused to move to south-west Sydney.

Police said they believed the imam had been associated with an Islamic centre and mosque in the Hunter region ‘‘on and off’’ since 2009.

It is understood the imam made frequent trips from Australia to Pakistan during this time.

He was released on strict conditional bail and is expected to appear before Parramatta Local Court on April 2.

Premier Barry O’Farrell said yesterday that he was pleased the Muslim religious leader had been arrested.

‘‘I’m delighted charges have been laid,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

‘‘This charging of this person sends a strong message, whether to religious celebrants or civil celebrants.’’

Police arrested the victim’s husband last Thursday and charged him with 25 counts of having sexual intercourse with a child between January 1 and February 4 this year.

The accused had been living in Australia on a student visa and attending the University of Newcastle.

It is understood he had no ties with the town he was living in but met the under-age victim through a local mosque.

He was formally refused bail at Burwood Local Court last Friday and will remain behind bars until he makes an application for bail.

Police say they do not believe the girl’s mother had any knowledge of the marriage or that her daughter had moved to Sydney with a 26-year-old man.

It is understood the girl’s father and mother are separated.

Police learnt of the man and under-age girl’s marriage after the accused tried to enrol the girl, who recently turned 13, at school and applied for legal guardianship.

The girl has been taken into the care of the Department of Family and Community Services until a permanent home can be found for her.

One man’s generosity attracts internet fame

14/05/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

A random act of kindness has made Lewis Richards a sensation on Facebook, with more than 2100 people showing their appreciation after he painted the bike of a young boy free of charge.
Nanjing Night Net

Lewis was working at Geoff Richards Panel Beating when the young Aboriginal boy came in, looking for someone to help him tighten the chain on his bike.

The bike was in poor condition and Lewis said he felt the sudden compulsion to help the boy out and he offered to paint the boy’s bike. The youngster was ecstatic and was even more impressed he saw the result of Lewis’ work a day later.

An initial post on Facebook about the encounter from Lewis attracted 2100 likes and when he posted photos of his handywork, he attracted a further 1800.

Lewis said he didn’t expect the reaction but had felt compelled to help the boy.

Lewis Richards has attracted plenty of attention on the internet since fixing up and respraying a young boy’s bike for him free of charge. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

The bike during its construction process.

Lewis Richards has attracted plenty of attention on the internet since fixing up and respraying a young boy’s bike for him free of charge. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Lewis Richards has attracted plenty of attention on the internet since fixing up and respraying a young boy’s bike for him free of charge. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Lewis Richards has attracted plenty of attention on the internet since fixing up and respraying a young boy’s bike for him free of charge. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

“I really didn’t expect that. When I posted it I didn’t think anyone would even read it,” he said.

“It hit close to home. He came over with a big ring spanner, way too big, and asked if we could tighten his chain for him.

“It just reminded me of me when I was a kid. He was cruising around with his mate and his bike was pretty average. It didn’t have handlebars and it was pretty beat up.

“We gave him a hand and he looked around and asked if we had painted everything. He couldn’t believe we painted this stuff and said ‘prove it’ so I told him to drop his bike round and we would paint it for him.

“He was a bit surprised and he thought I was joking. He said ‘you’re going to paint it pink’. I assured him I wasn’t and told him if he pulled the bike down and brought the pieces back in I would paint them up.”

The boy couldn’t choose what colours he wanted so Lewis chose a range of custom pearlescent and candied paints and worked his magic. Simmo Signs donated some custom graphics for the bike and Lewis purchased some new handlebar grips.

Lewis gave the back the finished pieces and asked him to come back into the shop when he had put it back together but so far he hasn’t seen him again.

“He was really excited and really thankful. It was really nice and you could see it meant a lot to him. I hope he comes back in because I would like to get a photo with him and his bike,” he said.

“My dad [Todd Richards, the business owner] was good, he allowed me to do it all in work time and told me to make sure I went all out with it. It was good of the sign company to do them free of charge too.”

Paramedic’s bone marrow gift a legacy of friendship

14/05/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Source: Illawarra Mercury
Nanjing Night Net

It was for an old friend that Gerringong dad Shane Wicks added his name to the bone marrow donor registry 17 years ago.

But when he makes good on his offer – submitting to surgery and a week of painful recovery – it will all be for the good of a stranger.

Mr Wicks, a NSW Ambulance paramedic attached to Kiama station, will undergo surgery at Westmead Hospital today after he was found to be a match for a person with serious health problems.

He was one of about 50 area surf lifesaving volunteers who signed on to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry in 1997, when Gerringong lifesaver Bob Churton was diagnosed with leukaemia and required a transplant.

Mr Churton’s cousin was identified as a suitable match, but the father of four ultimately died from complications resulting from his condition.

“Bob was a well-respected family man – and extremely community minded,” said Mr Wicks, 38.

“It was quite hard, and you just feel for his family. If you can help somebody – if you can help a family not go through what Bill’s family – and a lot of other families – go through, you definitely would.”

Mr Wicks will be placed under general anaesthetic for the procedure.

Waiting for him to wake will be his wife of 16 years, Katie Wicks.

The two started dating when he was 15 and she was 13, and went on to have three children together – Kirralee, 10, Harrison, 9, and Darcey, 6.

“Shane is just one of those people who genuinely likes to help,” Mrs Wicks said.

Mr Wicks said he hoped his experience would show his children “it doesn’t hurt to help somebody”, and would encourage others to sign on to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

The requirements for a donor match are so specific that only about one in 1000 would-be donors are asked to make good on their offer each year.

Mr Wicks will get progress reports of the person who receives his bone marrow after six months and 12 months, with the details decided by the recipient.

Katie Wicks plans to be bedside today as her husband, Shane Wicks, a paramedic, donates bone marrow in aid of a person he has never met.Picture: GREG TOTMAN

“Hopefully we’ll find out how the person is – how they’re travelling – that they went on to have a long and fulfilling life and beat whatever disease they were fighting,” Mr Wicks said.

ANZ Bank boss Mike Smith urges tax breaks for regions

14/05/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

ANZ chief Mike Smith has urged governments to provide tax breaks to businesses setting up in regions hit by the exodus of car manufacturers, amid fears the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in Victoria and South Australia would push the states into recession.
Nanjing Night Net

The chief executive of Australia’s third-largest bank said tax and other incentives for new businesses were a proven way of tackling the social and economic impact the closure of the auto industry would have on some towns.

”If you were starting up a business at the moment in Australia, I think those businesses should be encouraged to look at those areas where there is likely to be a labour supply,” Mr Smith said.

”There are all sorts of ways to [encourage] businesses to set up in areas, and frankly the most effective one is using some sort of tax incentive and we’ve seen that around the world.”

Despite the looming loss of Toyota, economists on Tuesday issued an optimistic outlook for the manufacturing sector, saying the industry remained strong despite the structural changes it has undergone over the past few decades.

The exit of such large firms is tipped to have a severe impact on local regions already suffering from jobless rates twice as high as the national average.

Even so, economists said the exit of Toyota, Ford and Holden would have a small impact on the wider economy. But they called on state and federal governments to use the pull-out to boost productivity in manufacturing and other sectors, by cutting regulatory burdens and introducing tax reforms.

Without a local industry to protect, policy makers could also abolish all tariffs on motor vehicles, which would, in turn, make cars cheaper and allow households to spend their money on other goods. The move would reduce the fall-out from the industry’s shutdown, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist Adam Boyton said.

A boost in government infrastructure and retraining investment would also soften the blow on the Victorian and South Australian economies, analysts said.

The manufacturing industry has seen its share of the workforce decline over the past three decades, with the services sector

employing the largest share of workers at more than 75 per cent.

At the same time, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the Australian economy has fallen since it peaked at just under 30 per cent of gross domestic product in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Manufacturing is now estimated to make up about 7 per cent of GDP.

A shift has also taken place within the manufacturing sector. While Australia has struggled to compete in the low-cost, mass-produced sections of the industry, it has seen a rise in the production of high-value goods such as scientific equipment and specialised machinery.

The services sector was expected to fill the hole left by the auto sector, analysts said. ”Low interest rates are supporting the housing market, supporting the pick-up in retail sales and a turn in the housing construction cycle, and we think that’s going to lead to job creation across those industries, as well as in the services industries,” HSBC’s chief economist for Australia Paul Bloxham said.

In the short term, Toyota’s production withdrawal from Australia would undermine confidence and could prompt consumers to be more cautious about their spending, National Australia Bank’s chief economist Alan Oster said.

A key question would also be where and what industries the affected car workers would move to, Mr Oster said.

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

Grenade attack kills 13 audience members in Pakistani cinema as Taliban peace talks continue

15/04/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Ruthless … A blood-stained shoe of a victim lies on the ground at the site of a grenade attack on a crowded cinema that killed 13 and wounded many others in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo: AP PhotoPeshawar, Pakistan: Assailants threw grenades into a crowded movie theatre in north-western Pakistan, killing 13 people, officials said, in an attack that shows the challenges as negotiators face off in talks between the Taliban and the government.
Nanjing Night Net

One of the grenades blew up the main door, and two more exploded inside the theatre as about 80 people were watching a movie called “Yarana,” which means friendship in Pashto, officials said. The floor of the cinema was streaked with blood while some of the seats were torn from the force of the explosion.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in Peshawar, a city near restive areas on the Afghan border that are home to Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked foreign Islamic militants. Many militant groups view movies and other forms of entertainment as obscene Western influences.

The manager of the cinema, Fayaz Khan, said he hadn’t received any threats from anyone and urged the government to provide protection for them in the future.

Police official Kamal Khan said the investigation was continuing, and it wasn’t clear how many attackers were involved. Another official Ijaz Khan gave the death toll and said some 20 people also were wounded.

The attack comes days after Pakistan began peace negotiations with Taliban militants fighting in the country’s northwest to end the violence that has killed more than 40,000 people in recent years. The Pakistani Taliban, formally called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is separate from the Taliban fighting NATO-forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. Although the two groups share similar ideology, the Pakistani Taliban has focused its fight against the Pakistani government.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made negotiating with the militants a centrepiece of his new government elected last May. That policy has many supporters in Pakistan who are tired of the seemingly unending suicide bombings and shootings and view the war as being imposed on Pakistan by the US after the invasion of Afghanistan. But others say the militants have already broken previous agreements.

After some initial stumbles, the government’s efforts have picked up steam in recent weeks with both sides naming people to represent them in the talks.

Members of the Pakistani Taliban’s negotiating team flew to the North Waziristan tribal agency over the weekend to meet with the militant organisation’s leadership at a secret location. North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan to the west, is considered a stronghold for the militant organisation as well as other groups like the Haqqani network.

On Tuesday, they met with negotiators representing the government to discuss their trip. Speaking after the meeting, Pakistani cleric, Maulana Samiul Haq, who heads the Taliban’s negotiating team, said both the militants and the government have recommended a cease-fire as a confidence-building measure.

He said the Taliban had given other recommendations as well and had sought some clarification on the government’s stance but he did not reveal what those were.

But attacks like Tuesday’s show just how difficult it would be to implement a cease-fire.

The Pakistani Taliban have distanced themselves from the recent violence and in some cases issued outright denials.

But analysts say the TTP is an amorphous organisation where many of the factions act on their own, sometimes even in conflict with the group’s leadership.

“That is going to be the problem because even if by any chance some kind of agreement is reached, several of the factions may not accept it,” said Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani security analyst.

APNormalfalsefalseEN-AUX-NONEX-NONERiaz Khan And Munir Ahmed

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

Shaun White misses out on medal

15/04/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

No medal: Shaun White. Photo: ReuterCold war mentalityAustralian finishes fourthTorah’s mum speaks out
Nanjing Night Net

When two-time defending champion Shaun White spotted Iouri Podladtchikov during qualifying for the snowboard halfpipe, they hugged.

“I love you man,” the American told him. “But you’re making me nervous.”

The words proved prophetic as Podladtchikov, the Swiss who had once competed for Russia, stormed to the gold medal with a score of 94.75.

Japan claimed the other medals, with 15-year-old sensation Ayumu Hirano (93.50) and Taku Hiraoka (92.25) peeling off superb runs.

Australian 18-year-old Kent Callister also had a night to remember, before a heaving crowd at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, finishing ninth with a top run of 68.50.

“That is the best contest I’ve ever been in,” Callister beamed. “It is the best day of my life, too. I had so much fun riding with everyone. The pipe’s alright, so it was a good experience.”

Like American hope Danny Davis, Callister appeared to lose speed in the flat section of the pipe, which has been heavily criticised in recent days.

“The pipe held up alright,” Callister said. “It could’ve been better but I did my best so I am happy with that.”

White was attempting to become the first American to win three gold medals in the same event at the Winter Olympics.

He had bombed his third trick on his first run, and then sent a scare through his camp when he landed on the base of his spine while attempting a final trick just for show.

The contest came down to final run of the night, but when White failed to nail the tricks needed early on in his run, it was clear the man nicknamed “iPod” was going to claim gold.

“They were pretty tough,” White said of the conditions. “The hard part is not practising but it was the same for everyone.

“I was looking for four (gold medals). I was hoping to do slopestyle, too, but it didn’t pan out. Tonight was just not my time.

“I am disappointed. I hate the fact that I nailed it in practice, but it happens. It’s hard to be consistent.”

White pulled out of the Olympic slopestyle event because of safety fears.

White, who won the halfpipe at the 2006 Turin Games and retained his title in Vancouver, had voiced concerns about the condition and difficulty of the slopestyle course during training runs.

Earlier, Nate Johnstone just missed the cut for final after China’s Yiwei Zhang bumped him out on the last run of the semi-final.

Scotty James, 19, missed out on progressing through to the semi-finals by just 1.25 points, finishing in 10th spot.

Scott scored 68.50 from his first run – a result some in the Australian camp believed should have been more – before crashing in his second run.

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

Are you happy?

15/04/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

When entering or leaving China, each passport control booth has two buttons you can press. One has a smiley face and the other a frown. When your passport is handed back you can choose which button to press based on whether you are satisfied with the immigration officer’s service or not.
Nanjing Night Net

HappyOrNot, a company based in Finland, has a similar idea. It has taken the same concept, refined and beautified it, and taken it mainstream by selling it to a broad range of businesses around the world.

HappyOrNot is a small display of four buttons mounted on a pedestal that can be placed anywhere on the premises of a business, government office or retail store. If it’s a small retail store for example, it might be located at the checkout or exit. For a larger establishment like a department store, a HappyOrNot installation could theoretically be placed in every department.

Each of the four buttons on a HappyOrNot display has a different emoticon face corresponding to “very happy”, “a bit happy”, “a bit unhappy” or “very unhappy”. The customer pushes the button that most represents his or her impression of the shopping experience. The responses are tallied, diced by variables such as time of day and location, and streamed to management in analytical reports.

Despite the simplicity of the HappyOrNot concept from an analytical standpoint, it has a lot going for it.

First, it sends out a highly visible message to customers that this business or government entity genuinely gives a hoot about what they think. That can be reassuring.

Second, it provides customers with an outlet to express their opinions in a non-confrontational manner.

Third, it provides an incentive to staff to do their best.

Fourth, for the management, it offers a useful indicator of where it might have strengths and weaknesses. A department store, for example, may find it is doing OK in women’s shoes on Saturday morning and wretchedly in handbags on Friday afternoons. This is clearly actionable information, if only to alert the retailer to where a more focused diagnostic and remediation program is required.

A particularly useful feature of HappyOrNot is that the question can be changed to gather different information from customers. They can be asked about their satisfaction with the general shopping experience, with the merchandise on display, with the service, or any other aspect of their visit.

Most businesses are interested in customer feedback but in many cases they are unsure how to gather the information. Often, it’s just a case of waiting to see if the customer comes back. After all, the cash register doesn’t lie. This is not a particularly effective way of finding out how you are doing.

Traditionally, customer surveys have been the preferred method and there are some very simple ones. In a 2003 piece for the Harvard Business Review, Fred Reichheld introduced the “Net Promoter Score” (NPS) that was based on customer responses to just one question: “On a scale of zero to 10, how likely are you to refer our company to a friend or colleague?” The responses are divvied up into three groups – the “detractors” who gave a rating of zero to 6, the “passives” who rated the company 7-8 and the “promoters” who rated it 9-10. The NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Reichheld’s NPS became popular and widely used. However, it has since been embellished by a technology company called ForeSee, which added a second question to the one posed by NPS. This was: “How likely are you to discourage others from doing business with our company?” ForeSee then subtracts the percentage of 9-10 ratings given in answer to the second question from the percentage of 9-10 ratings given in answer to the first. That is, it subtracts the “likely to discourage” people from the “likely to recommend” people. The result is called the “Word of Mouth Index”, or WOMI, and is now also widely used.

If your company relies heavily on word of mouth to bring in new business, the WOMI Index may be one useful tool to find out how you are doing with existing customers. Like any diagnostic tool though, it should be used in combination with others. Although such tools offer useful insights, they don’t usually get you to a clear understanding of why you are doing well or poorly.

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

What do millionaires regret?

15/04/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Every businessperson makes mistakes. David Yuile’s cost him $1.3 million in a day.
Nanjing Night Net

The chief executive of telecommunications company AAPT jointly started a CRM consultancy in London in the mid-1990s.

They decided to sell to Interliant, a US-listed company, in a deal including thousands of shares.

“We sold in 1997, just before the tech-wreck when our shares were worth $US12 each,” Yuile recalls.

Over the next few months the then-27-year-old watched his shares price skyrocket. He became a paper millionaire.

“It went up and up and up, reaching $US70 a share at one point and putting my shareholding’s worth between £2.5-3 million, but I held too long, the stock market started crashing, I lost £700,000 in one day and ended up selling for five cents a share.

“The good thing is I was young and starting businesses at that age means you can pick yourself up and do it again … I kept my house, I just wish I could have been a bit richer.”

Yuile’s other regret happened when he was boss of Powertel, which was later sold to AAPT.

Today AAPT, a division of Telecom New Zealand, turns over about $400 million annually.

“We were trying to build an ESL broadband-to-homes business and you had to have pretty good coverage to work because people were pretty spread all over Australia,” he says.

“We were doing things incrementally to boost our coverage; 10 more [coverage] areas here, 12 more there. Then, nine months later, rival company TPG rolled out and we were left going ‘oh bugger’.

“In the end it wasn’t even a tortoise and the hair race as they barrelled past us with about 300 coverage areas to our 70 or 80.

“Looking back I should have been so much more of a believer and pushed harder to expand our network.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, TPG becomes AAPT’s owner from February 28. “The cycles of business,” Yuille quips.

Foodco Group boss Serge Infanti says what doesn’t ruin you makes you stronger – if you accept and learn from mistakes.

“Any businessperson who claims to know it all and see the future with absolute clarity is kidding themselves,” says the managing director and part-owner of the Australian owned company, which today has more than 450 franchise outlets worldwide trading through the Muffin Break, Jamaica Blue and Dreamy Donuts brands.

Infanti started as the franchisee of a Muffin Break outlet in Queensland in 1990.

He says his only business regret is he didn’t fast-track the group’s launch in Asia. Foodco currently has 26 outlets in China, two in Singapore and expects to launch in Malaysia this year.

“Of course there is a graveyard of many Australian businesses that went overseas and failed, so we had to temper our plans. But if I had my time again I would have found some money to accelerate expansion to China, which has this huge rising middle class with aspirations and desires of a Western lifestyle and coffee drinking is very much a part of that,” he says.

“We went into the UK market and in the early 2000s started due diligence for China but we started with a very conservative approach and should have seen opportunity to push the button faster, been more entrepreneurial in finding more money to roll out more quickly because the speed of China’s migration from tea drinking to coffee has been quite astounding.”

A start-up founded on a gentleman’s handshake dealt Leon Lau his biggest business lesson.

“I don’t have any standout regrets but, if pushed, it would be an experience that is a lesson for all people starting up a business with a partner or partners,” Lau says.

The executive chairman of Asia Pacific IT&T recruitment giant Peoplebank Group began his business in the early 1990s. It was a 50/50 partnership with a friend.

By the late ’90s the two partners had differing views on the direction the company should go, which led to a “stalemate at the top”, leading to a dysfunctional company “going nowhere”.

“Our mistake was no shareholders agreement was put in place and everything was done on a handshake.

“Factions within the company evolved and it broke out into ‘open warfare’, almost crippling the company and losing the company two to three years’ growth,” Lau says.

Lawyers and litigation eventually resolved the matter and a shareholders’ agreement was signed.

“An exit mechanism was included in the agreement and I bought out my partner. Lesson learnt ‘get important matters documented’.”

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

Food rating: Fiona Nash, chief of staff intervened to have website removed

15/04/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Federal politics: full coverage
Nanjing Night Net

A senior government aide, who demanded a new healthy food rating website be taken down, is married to the head of a lobbying body that works for the junk food industry.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash said in Senate question time on Tuesday that both she and her chief of staff, Alastair Furnival, had personally intervened to insist health department staff pull down the new “health star rating” site on the day it was launched.

Mr Furnival was previously a chairman of Australian Public Affairs, listed on the lobbyists’ register as representing the Australian Beverages Council and Mondelez Australia, which owns Kraft, Cadbury and Oreo brands, among others.

In question time, Senator Nash also said Mr Furnival was married to the company’s sole director and secretary, Tracey Cain. Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show Mr Furnival was also previously a director of the company.

Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King has demanded an explanation of the actions of Senator Nash and Mr Furnival.

“The government has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all Australians,” she said. “It is for Senator Nash to explain how her actions and those of her office demonstrate this.”

Public health and consumer groups are furious the site was taken down after two years in development, and have accused the government of bowing to the interests of the junk food industry.

The site, which set up a system for food manufacturers to label their products with easy-to-understand nutritional information, was launched about midday on Wednesday last week, only to be pulled by 8pm.

On Friday, Senator Nash did not respond to questions from Fairfax Media about whether she or Mr Furnival had intervened to have the site removed. But on Tuesday, she told Parliament Mr Furnival had approached departmental staff on her direction.

Labor senator Penny Wong asked whether Senator Nash and Mr Furnival had read and complied with ministerial standards relating to conflicts of interest.

Senator Nash called her line of questioning ”unworthy”.

“The health star rating system is not yet in place – it would have been extremely confusing for consumers had that website remained,” she said. “My chief of staff has no connection with the food industry and is simply doing his job.”

The Public Health Association of Australia and consumer group Choice have condemned the decision to take the website down.

Public Health Association head Michael Moore said the move was inappropriate. ”The disappointing thing to me was that it was a unilateral decision that over-rode a decision of the food ministers.”

He said the food industry had supported the site, until it became clear the Coalition would probably gain power at the election.

The Food and Grocery Council says it is only pushing for a cost-benefit analysis to examine the effects of the system on the industry, something supported by Senator Nash. She told Parliament the process had not yet concluded.

A spokeswoman for Senator Nash said Mr Furnival had met all the requirements of employment and of the ministerial staff code of conduct.

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