Political forces, technology worsening inequality

Crawford n Leadership Forum.Global Realities, Domestic ChoicesJoseph StiglitzPhotography by Andrew Taylor on the 30th June 2014 at the n National University.The recent shift to the right-wing leaders in the United States and parts of Europe, has seen more politicians advocating protectionist policies that purport to help the poor, but in fact worsen their plight.
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That is the view of renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz, a one-time adviser to former US President Bill Clinton, whom I interviewed this year.

He believes inequality is worsening mainly due to political forces.

Stiglitz was one of the most outspoken voices in the debate over how rich countries can best aid economic development in poor countries while at the World Bank between 1997 and 2000.

Some speculate Stiglitz – who was critical of the the International Monetary Fund’s policies in Russia and east Asia during financial crises – left the bank due to his frustration with the lack of action taken to stem inequality.

Now he’s free to be critical and has written about the political forces exacerbating inequality in a book entitled, Globalisation and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalisation in the Era of Trump.

He says US President Donald Trump’s policies will do nothing to improve the plight of low-income Americans who he purports to represent.

In fact, Stiglitz argues, Trump’s policies will worsen inequality.

“As a great actor, he has persuaded them he cares about them, even as he picks their pockets,” he told me.

Despite world leaders signing up to a global goal to reduce inequality, the gap between the rich and poor has widened.

Just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world, according to an Oxfam paper released in January.

Apart from political forces, others argue technological advancement is worsening inequality.

Last week I interviewed co-author of Freakonomics Steven Levitt.

He says it is not political forces but economic ones – the way the labour force is organised – that increase inequality.

“Many have argued that as the world moves towards automation and artificial intelligence that the role of unskilled labour will become more and more marginalised,” he told me.

“People smarter than me are worried about it, and that makes me worried too.”

Take for instance self-driving cars, which are already common on the streets of Silicon Valley and could in five to six years be on n roads.

Those who have most to gain? The people creating the product and/or making money out of it.

Technology giant Uber has this year been shopping for self-driving cars.

In March, it placed orders for 100,000 autonomous S-Class Mercedes Benz cars.

And last week it announced that it plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo.

But it is not just driving that’s a replaceable skill.

People undertaking other routine jobs, like cleaning and lodging tax returns, may be made redundant by robots.

Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, co-directors of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at the Oxford Martin School, say the problem isn’t confined to workers in advanced economies.

In their book, The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation, they estimate that up to 66 per cent of all jobs in developing countries are at risk.

But it is high-skilled workers in advanced economies who control the plight of the low-skilled.

Currently new drugs being developed are mainly going to meet the needs of those who have money.

Oxfam says in 2014 British/Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca pulled out of all early-stage research and development for malaria and tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, to focus efforts on drugs for cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure – all diseases that affect rich countries.

At the same time intellectual property rights enable those who develop technology to accumulate vast wealth, relative to those who have not.

As Oxfam points out, as changes happen rapidly, questions of which technology we focus on, who controls them and who stands to profit from them, become more important.

Governments have a big part to play in ensuring new technologies make everyone’s lives better.

Follow Nassim Khadem on Facebook and Twitter.

Engagement marks Harry’s transformation from party prince to respectable royal

Prince Harry and his now-fiancee Meghan Markle attend the wheelchair tennis competition during the Invictus Games in Toronto. Photo: APCOMMENT
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Prince Harry’s engagement to American actress Meghan Markle epitomises his transformation from wild child to respectable royal.

During the past decade Harry has evolved from the party prince who courted controversy into a dedicated young soldier and charity worker.

The 33-year-old’s whirlwind romance with theSuitsstar began in July 2016, a year after he wrapped up a decade’s service with the British Army so he could focus on working with his charities in Britain and Africa, as well as step up his royal duties on behalf of the Queen.

He earned praise as an officer with the Household Cavalry, having been on two tours of duty in Afghanistan including a stint as an Apache helicopter pilot, while his work with charities for children and conservation causes in Africa evoked memories of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for photos following their engagement announcement. Photo: Dominic Lipinski

It’s a far cry from the Harry of old, who as a teen dabbled in underage drinking and smoking marijuana and partied alongside his aristocratic mates at London nightclubs, where he hated being snapped by paparazzi and occasionally ended up in scuffles.

Back then, controversy was never far away from the young prince.

Prince Harry, pictured in 1995 with his mother Princess Diana, recently opened up about his mental health struggles following Diana’s death. Photo: AP

He issued public apologies after being photographed wearing a Nazi uniform to a party in 2005 and again four years later when a home video emerged of him referring to Pakistani soldier serving with his platoon as a “Paki”.

More scandal erupted in 2012 when photos of Harry playing “strip billiards” at a private party in Las Vegas hit the newspapers.

In a revealing podcast interview in April 2017, Harry confided how much of the chaos in his life was related to how he’d “shut down” all his emotions after his mother died in a Paris car crash when he was 12 in 1997.

“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle,” he told The UK Telegraph’sMad Worldpodcast.

It wasn’t until he was 28, when royal engagements sparked anxiety and feelings of being “on the verge of punching someone”, that he sought help from counsellors.

Prince Harry, pictured in 2005, earned a reputation as a party prince who often lashed out at photographers. Photo AP

“Because of the process I have been through over the past two and a half years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else,” Harry said.

Helping others is how he wants to make a difference.

Among the causes closest to his heart is Sentebale, the children’s charity he co-founded in the southern African country of Lesotho with Prince Seeiso in 2006, along with the mental health charity Heads Together he co-founded with brother William and sister-in-law Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Britain’s Prince Harry started the Invictus Games for war veterans and is passionate about his charity work. Photo AP

Harry also founded the Invictus Games for wounded veterans, an event that’s become a global hit and will be hosted by Sydney in October 2018.

Harry and Ms Markle, 36, chose this year’s Invictus Games in Toronto, where she lived while starring inSuits, to make their first joint appearance, complete with hand holding and kissing – public displays of affection not usually associated with the royal family.

A passion for charity work is something Harry shares with his Californian fiancee, who is a United Nations women’s advocate, a clean water ambassador for World Vision Canada and volunteered at a refugee camp in Rwanda.

“I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches – I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of work is what feeds my soul, and fuels my purpose,” she has said.

The prince has been fiercely protective of his fiancee, issuing an angry statement in November 2016 blasting the press for harassing her and for using “racial overtones” in stories about Ms Markle, whose father Thomas is white and mother Doria Ragland is African American.

Despite the constant media interest, Harry longs for “an “ordinary life”.

“Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone,” he toldNewsweekin June 201.

“But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too.”

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam says Harry’s relationship with an American actress who is outspoken about humanitarian issues demonstrates just how much the royal family has modernised.

“There’s no question this represents a broadening of the royal family, to represent society as a whole,” he told AAP.

“And after all the years as a royal wild child and someone who did go over the top a bit, Harry’s level of popularity is enormous.”

Mr Fitzwilliam saidMs Markle’s interview withVanity Fairin October 2017 when she opened up about her “boyfriend” and being in love, was also highly unusual in terms of royal protocol.

“That was completely unprecedented, that he let her say they were happy and in love,” Mr Fitzwilliam said.

“There’s no doubt at all they’re doing it their way.”

The party prince’s previous girlfriendsChelsy Davy

Zimbabwe-bornChelsywas the first to truly capture Harry’s heart. They spent about six years together and coped with a long-distance relationship while the prince was training in the Army and overseas andChelsywas at university in South Africa.

Harry describedChelsyas “very special” and “amazing” but he was protective and determined to keep his private life under wraps. Harry, known for scuffling with the paparazzi, once politely approached photographers waiting for his girlfriend at Heathrow and asked them not to take pictures of her.

Harry and Chelsy split in early 2009 and both were reported to have had flings with other people after the break-up. They rekindled their relationship and in May 2010, she made a rare public appearance to watch him receive his wings after completing his Army Air Corps helicopter pilot course. But the reunion was not permanent. Chelsy was not thought to be keen on the idea of royal life.

Florence Brudenell-Bruce

Following his final break-up withChelsy, Harry had a brief affair with Florence Brudenell-Bruce, a descendant of the seventh Earl of Cardigan, in the (northern) summer of 2011. Lingerie model Florence, known to her friends as Flee, also dated Formula 1 racing driverJensonButton, but is now married to multimillionaire Henry St George.

Cressida Bonas

Harry’s last serious relationship was with Cressida Bonas. They began dating in May 2012 after being introduced by his cousin and her close friend, Princess Eugenie.

Described in the press as a “blue-blooded butterfly”, Cressida is the daughter of renowned OldHarrovianbusinessman Jeffrey Bonas and 1960s ‘it’ girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon.

The pair were widely tipped to walk up the aisle. Rumours that free-spirited actress and dancer Cressida was “the one” for Harry gathered pace in March 2014 when she joined the Prince at one of his official engagements for the first time. They sat together and embraced in the stands at Wembley Arena at a WE Day UK charity event.

But they split up in April 2014, saying they remained “the best of friends”. Cressida is said to have wanted to focus on her career and disliked the attention she faced while dating a royal.

The others

In March 2007, Harry was pictured appearing to grab at a photographer after leaving a club where he had partied with close friendTV presenter NataliePinkham, who was later forced to deny they were an item.

Socialite Astrid Harbord, who runs her own PR company, was once spotted going back to Clarence House with the prince at 3am after a night on the town.

Harry was reportedly seen kissing singer Ellie Goulding away from prying eyes during a polo match in Berkshire. She’s a friend of the younger members of the royal family, having sung at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 wedding reception. She also performed at the closing ceremony of Harry’s firstInvictusGames in 2014.

Doctor Whoactress Jenna Coleman and Harry were spotted enjoying each other’s company at another polo match.


Fifield savages ‘dumb’ Hottest 100 move

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has described Triple J’s decision to move the Hottest 100 countdown from Day as “dumb” and told the public broadcaster to reconsider.
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The youth-focused radio station announced on Monday that it would no longer hold its popular annual countdown on January 26 after surveying tens of thousands of listeners, 60 per cent of whom supported it being moved.

The announcement also follows a campaign to shift the date from Day out of respect for Indigenous ns, many of whom see the current date as a celebration of invasion by European settlers.

While Indigenous musicians, the Greens and others have welcomed the move, it has been met with an immediate backlash. Senator Fifield condemned it as “an attempt to de-legitimise Day” and said he would be asking the ABC board to reverse the decision.

“Sometimes, as a minister, you slap your forehead and say to yourself, ‘What were these guys thinking?’ This is just a really bad idea; it’s a dumb idea and Triple J should change their minds,” he told ABC radio.

“For the past 20 years, the Triple J Hottest 100 has become part of the soundtrack of Day. It’s something that ns enjoy. It’s one of the fixed points of reference.

“And what Triple J and the ABC have done is to respond to a petition which has said it’s not appropriate to have the Hottest 100 on the controversial Day. There’s nothing controversial about Day.”

Senator Fifield said the ABC was making a political statement in response to pressure from “people who don’t like Day, who don’t like the fact we celebrate the 26th of January” and said the public broadcaster should not be doing that.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said it was “fantastic news that everyone in can now enjoy the countdown on a date that doesn’t cause harm and hurt to our First Peoples”.

Triple J said it will now hold the Hottest 100 on the fourth weekend of January and will play all n music on Day.

On Tuesday, the ABC defended the decision and said it “benefits everybody”.

“Triple J’s community continues to celebrate the countdown and the great music, now over an extended weekend, while the network has more time to join the rest of the ABC in providing comprehensive coverage of Day,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.

“The network conducted extensive research showing that the Triple J audience wanted to decouple the countdown from the politics, with a focus exclusively on the music.”

Independent and Labor councillors clash over Broadmeadow or Lambton location for city’s new aquatic centre.

Councillors clash over location for aquatic centre PROGRESS: Labor councillor Declan Clausen says his party is keen to put money on the table so planning can begin to deliver the city a regional aquatic centre. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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Lambton Pool.

TweetFacebookINDEPENDENT councillorshave called for an immediate cash splashtowards the redevelopment of Lambton pool, arguing council should not wait to see if the state government’splans materialise for a new aquatic centre at Broadmeadow.

It comes after Labor backedthe Broadmeadow option ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting of Newcastle Council, where councillors will decide on a way forward for the long-overdue project.

Read more:Labor dives in with cash for pool plan

Earlier this year the state government flagged the possibility that a new aquatic centre could be built as part of its overhaul of the Broadmeadow Sports and Entertainment precinct, at an estimated cost of $40 million.

The plans are currently on public exhibition.

It would cost $30 million to redevelop the ageing facility at Lambton to an acceptable standard, and it’s understood it would not be viable to carry out both projects when the swimming centres would be less than two kilometres apart.

Councillor Kath Elliott (Independent) said there was too much uncertainty surrounding theBroadmeadow proposal to delay any longer, whileLambton pool was in dire need of an upgrade.

“We do note that the state government’s Broadmeadow sports precinct may in future include an aquatic facility, but we believe it is imperative to support the upgrade of Lambton pool rather than wait for something which may never happen,” Cr Elliott said.

“We have seen no indication that the NSW governmentwould pay for such a facility and so it would be at the ratepayers’ expense anyway.”

Read more: Councillors consider splashing out on Lambton Pool

On Tuesday night, Deputy Mayor Declan Clausen (Labor) is expected to move for$300,000 from next year’s budget to be allocated towards a comprehensive business case and detailed design for the project.

But Cr Elliott said it was time to see action on the ground, callingfor the project to be fast tracked.

“We have been told by the Interim CEO, Jeremy Bath, that the upgrade can be done in a staged approach over six years, allowing us to progress carefully and in a financially prudent way,” she said.

“[We] will be calling on councillors to vote tonight for a start date and afunding allocation in the next financial year to undertake the first stage.”

Newcastle, unlike neighbouring council areas, does not have a council-owned, year-round swim centre.

Lambton Poolis more than 50 years old and was earmarked for a majorupgrade in 2007. Howeverthe project never eventuated.

Labor has voiced ambitions for the city to host a future Commonwealth Games, and Cr Clausen said the party’s preference was that the poolbedelivered alongside other new infrastructure at Broadmeadow, especially if funding opportunities were available through the state government.

“A consolidated sports precinct at Broadmeadow would be the best regional outcome, setting the city up for the future,” he said.

Centenary of the Great War

HAUNTED: Wounded troops suffering shell-shock display the ‘1000 yard stare’. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan Mahony Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details forNovember 26 – December 2, 1917IN PALESTINEThe latest official report from Palestine states:Sir Edmund Allenby’s advanced patrols have been pressed back to the southern bank of the Nahrauja.Mounted men captured Bittir station and Ainkarim, three and a-half miles westward of Jerusalem.Strong bodies of Turks are holding the high ground westward of Jerusalem, and covering the Jerusalem-Shechem road to the north.
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ENGINEERS, MINERS WANTEDThere are a number of vacancies at present in the Reinforcements for the engineers and mining units at present on active service. Men desiring to join the engineers should be tradesmen or good horsemen, and those for the mining companies should be underground workers or surface workers. Intending recruits will be required to enlist for general service, but should first communicate or interview the Engineer Adjutant, Engineers’ Depot, Moore Park, Sydney, stating age, and full particulars as to trade and experience, when they will be informed of the correct procedure necessary to ensure inclusion in these units.

SOLDIERS’ ESCAPETwo n soldiers, Hector Holmes and Henry Thomas, who escaped from a German prison camp at Fredericksfeld, have reached London.

Both men came from the Newcastle district. They were taken prisoner on July 20, 1916, at Fleurbaix. They spent two days at Lille, and from there they were taken to the Dulmen prison camp. Subsequently they were taken to Fredericksfeld, where they were put to work in a tar distillery. The men were greatly helped in their escape by a map given them by a Russian prisoner, and by a compass obtained from a Frenchman. On the day chosen for their escape the two men secreted themselves in the distillery. They got through a rear building and made their way towards the river, knowing that only half an hour could elapse before the roll was called and their escape would be discovered. They hid on the bank of the river until dark. They endeavoured to obtain a boat, but all were secured with chains and padlocks. Eventually they found one filled with water. They went to an adjoining farmyard and borrowed dishes used in the feeding of fowls, with which they baled it out. With improvised oars they crossed the river in the direction of Jessel.

The only food they had was a quantity of special biscuits made in Melbourne, containing meat constituents, which are supplied in n Red Cross parcels, without which, they say, they would not have been able to complete their arduous wanderings. They hid during the day and went from place to place at night, skirting several towns, until they reached the Dutch border. Eluding the German guards they crossed the border, hungry and suffering from cold, and reached a Dutch guard-house, where they were hospitably treated, and supplied with hot coffee and sandwiches, and then passed on to the second and third guard-houses, when it was found they could eat no more, the Dutch guardsmen remarked: “Poor fellows. They cannot eat, for it is so long since they have seen white bread.”

The men arrived in England in excellent health. They say that the first food parcels sent under the old system of one a month arrived irregularly, but under the new system, whereby six are sent monthly, the parcels arrived with the greatest regularity. They were the best parcels received at any German camp. They speak highly of the good treatment received in the German military hospitals, but at the prison camp the men were treated badly. From what they could learn, the German civilian population was suffering greatly from the lack of food, but the military were well provided for.

SOLDIERS’ LETTERSMr Thomas Abel, of Wallsend, is in receipt of a letter from his son, John Samuel Abel, dated from France, 3/10/17. He says: “I have been in some very hot stunts, but this one is by far the hottest. Those who have fought right through from the beginning say there has been nothing in comparison with this lot. What has hurt me most is that nearly all the boys who came over with me got killed. To look at the boys is awful. One would think they had all come through hell. It was pitiful to see them; some big, strong, healthy chaps crying like babies, being knocked about so much with the concussion of the shells. Lots were taken away suffering from shell shock, while others broke down completely after coming out of the line. Never again do I wish to be in such a hot lot as this has been. We could not dig in as the ground was too soft with the constant churning by shells. If I was buried once with the exploding shells I was buried 100 times. Everything that will kill a man is used, and Fritz starts first, but is always sorry for it after, as we pay him back in his own coin, and he was well paid back this time. We took about 1600 prisoners, and everyone was glad to cry “Kamerad”to us. I do not think the war will go any more than another 10 years.”

NEWCASTLE’S OWNAn officer of ‘Newcastle’s Own’Battalion, writing to a friend in Adamstown, says: “There is great interest shown at present among those concerned about the rumour that 5000 troops who have been longest at the front are to return to for a holiday. Many of the men have been away from home for three years and richly deserve a spell at home.” The same officer, who was wounded in July last, and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery at Messines, writes under date 15th September, that he was recovering from his wounds. He adds there is every appearance of another winter of the war. “We shall win the war, the more I see of it the more convinced I am on that point, but it’s a slow game.”

NEWCASTLE SOLDIERS AT PLAYPrivate Peter Coppock, writing to the secretary of the Northern Soccer Association, sends news which should be interesting to Newcastle Soccerites. Peter says he had been away for a “short”fortnight’s rest, but now his rest was over, he expected to be sent back to the trenches, and so ready for the next “push.”” Peter says the war game is very different to the soccer game. There is no half-time, time of play is unlimited, and the game is to a finish. But he expects to be on the winning side, as he was when he wore the red and white stripes for Merewether. He refers to games of soccer which they have played. The 34th Battalion (to which Coppock is attached) played and defeated the 35th. The 35th, in its turn, defeated the 36th. A defeat, which Peter says made the late Private Fred Alberts assert he would never play again. However, the 34th and the 36th were to meet, and the report received had better be told in Peter’s own way. “The 34th (for whom Coppock was elected skipper) went over to the chosen ground, and found a Rugby game in progress, but immediately that game was over the 34th and 36th Soccer teams took the field. Alberts won the toss from Coppock, and decided to kick down the slight slope. ‘Mustard’Jones kicked off for the 34th, the ball going to inside left Messenger, out to Jack Bates, whose shot was saved by Briggs, the 36th goalkeeper. Briggs sent well up to Medcalfe, on to Fred Alberts, who tricked a couple of opponents, and sent it out to Abemove, but lack of condition was the cause of the winger being unable to gather the pass. Davies threw the ball in to Bates, who beat Hamilton, and sent along to Messenger, on to MustardJones, but Shot Jones, like a shot from a gun, was quick, and got the ball before Mustardcould shoot. The ball went up to Coleman, but this ‘has been’was too slow, and ‘has been’Coppock secured, only for Harrison to rob him, and send up to Alberts. The State’s (NSW) centre tricked the defence, and put in a hot shot. Goalkeeper ‘Buggie’White thought the shot was fatal; he partly saved, but the force behind the ball carried it over the line, and the 36th led 1 to 0. Resuming, Alberts again secured, and put over to Abemove, who crossed to Coleman, tricked Coppock, and central, Alberts secured, but Davies intercepted his pass, and sent up the field. Joss miskicked, and MustardJones was away as if for his life, sending out to Paddy Slavin, and that player, putting well into centre. Coppock, who was on the spot, put one through, a feat which surprised Peter, and everyone else. One goal each was now the score. From the centre kick, the 36th came away. Alberts sent to Medcalfe, whose quick shot beat the 34th goal-keeper, and gave the 36th the lead – 2-1. The 34th now pressed, and looked like equalising. Coppock narrowly missed, and from the goal kick the 36th came away. Veitch with a lovely screw, shot, scoring the third goal for the 36th. The ball was sent towards the centre of the field, when it was found that the wind was coming out, and so with 10 minutes still left for play, and no other ball handy, the referee, who was no other than Tommy Wardlough, was forced to stop the game.

Coppock also reports that at night Sox M’Kinnon (34th), fought Newbury (36th) a 10-round fight. According to Peter’s statement, Newbury won easily.

The account of the soccer game should be interesting reading to the Newcastle district. More than half of the players who took part in it were Newcastle men. Two of them had represented this State; five of them were members of Merewether Club; while others are well-known all over the district.

Peter concludes his lengthy letter by stating they were all well, but, wished the war was over.It is sad to record that the game reported must have been Alberts’ last one. Fred, as reported in these columns previously, having been killed.

Munition-worker Jim Hands, ex-president of the Northern Association, in a recent letter, reports all well, and mentions a recent air raid in the locality where he worked.Another Soccerite, in the person of Bob M’Fadyen, who, prior to enlisting, was president of Weston Soccer Club, writing to W. Tweedle, states that a colonial team played a team of ‘Tommies’.”The first half was, so Bob says, very even; but in the second half the condition of the colonials told against them, and the Tommieshad matters all their own way. Bob does not state what the score really was, which is perhaps a good thing.

THE ORIGINS OF ‘SAMMY’The name of ‘Sammy’,which has been given to General Pershing’s soldiers, is no doubt suggested by ‘Uncle Sam’.And it is odd to recall that the original Uncle Sambore the same surname as the present President. Samuel Wilson was a commissariat inspector, whose title of office was a tribute of affection from his clerks. When one of them was asked the meaning of the then new and unfamiliar initials, US,with which Wilson marked the army provisions, he jokingly replied, “Why, Uncle Sam, of course.”The joke caught on, and USand Uncle Sam have been synonymous ever since. Wilson died in 1854.

ENLISTMENTSJohn Wesley Armstrong, Maitland; William Charles Challis, Carrington; Alexander Walter Lochrin, Dora Creek; John Murdoch, Waratah; Arthur Parsonage Scarfe, Mayfield; Thomas Wears, Neath; Edward Lee Young, West Maitland.

DEATHSPte John Henry Fairhall, Cessnock; Pte Michael John Sharkey, Campbells Hill; Sgt Joseph Gordon Morris, Dunolly; Pte Edward John Young, Merriwa.

David Dial OAM is a Hunter Valley-based military historian. Follow his research at facebook苏州夜总会招聘/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory

Landlords are losing thousands in tax savings

I love a good game of diversion. It’s always interesting to look at the bills passed on days where there are other big announcements happening or on a Friday afternoon when we’re deep in our second wine after a big week.
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It’s no surprise therefore, that a bill slipped through unobtrusively on November 15 when the nation was focussed on the result of the same-sex marriage survey. However, many ns who have bought a rental property this year or are thinking of buying a rental property will be affected by this change.

The bill was the seemingly innocuous Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017. The new legislation, passed two weeks ago, means that owners of second-hand residential properties (where contracts are exchanged after 7.30pm on May 9, 2017) will be ineligible to claim depreciation on certain assets.

According to BMT Tax Depreciation chief executive Bradley Beer, this small change will impact thousands of property investors, with an average loss of around $4236 a year in depreciation-related deductions over the first five years of ownership.

Put simply, property investors will now miss out on a total tax saving over a five-year period of $7201.20 for an average tax payer.

It’s important to understand there has been no change to capital works rules. The capital works rules are the ability to claim a percentage of construction costs. These costs include buildings or extensions, alterations, improvements to a building or structural improvements such as sealed driveways, fences and retaining walls. These costs are written off over 40 years, which is a longer period than other depreciating assets and typically make up 85 to 90 per cent of an investors’ total claimable amount.

Instead, the amendment to depreciation rules as detailed in the bill mean that investors can no longer claim depreciation for plant and equipment assets, such as air conditioning units, blinds, curtains, ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, hot-water systems, security systems, solar panels or carpet in second-hand residential properties.

How do you claim for these expenses if you’ve bought a second-hand property? In the past, you would have paid for a depreciation report that would list all the plant and equipment you could claim, value them and calculate depreciation. It was a non-cash deduction that allowed you to claim depreciation for items you didn’t individually purchase. It’s also something that made purchasing investment properties appealing from a cash flow point of view because the additional refund from depreciation helped fund the property. Particularly for mum and dad investors who were relying on the property to build wealth outside the superannuation system because they’re concerned they’re not going to have enough income to fund their retirement.

So, if you’re a property investor, what does this bill mean for you?

The good news is if you bought your property before 7.30pm on May 9, 2017 you can continue to claim depreciation. Previously existing legislation will be grandfathered, which means investors who already made a purchase before this date can continue to claim depreciation deductions as before.

It’s also good news for investors who bought a brand new residential property or a new or second-hand commercial property. In both instances, you can continue to claim depreciation and will be unaffected by the changes.

The bad news exists for those of you who bought a residential property after 7.30pm on May 9, 2017, as you will no longer be able to claim depreciation on plant and equipment that you didn’t buy. Of course, if you buy plant and equipment for your second-hand property, you can still claim depreciation for assets you buy and directly incur an expense on.

The only silver lining is that while in the past, property investors received the upfront cashflow of plant and equipment depreciation deductions, they had to add back the depreciation claimed when they sold the property. This means that any future capital gains made should be lower as a result of these add-backs no longer applying.

Despite these changes, property investment is still a favoured investment by many ns. However, it is more important than ever before to ensure you have both the cashflow to afford the property in the long term and are aware of what you are and are not able to claim.

Melissa Browne is CEO of accounting firm A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre. Her latest book Unf*ck your Finances will be released Jan 2018.

[email protected]: China in focus; ASX treading water

The information of stocks that lost in prices are displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg MARKETS. 7 JUNE 2011. AFR PIC BY PETER BRAIG. STOCK EXCHANGE, SYDNEY, STOCKS. GENERIC PIC. ASX. STOCKMARKET. MARKET.
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Stock information is displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

We are staring at a fairly flat start for n and Japanese equities indices on open this morning, although China is the market to watch and another day of reasonably heavy selling may impact sentiment across the region to an extent. The long and short of it

1. China: The CSI 300 is the market showing the moves at the moment closing -1.3% yesterday, and breadth which has actually been poor really since around September is now really starting to deteriorate. The aspect of poor breadth and participation was actually the point from Chinese authorities last Thursday, who have been concerned with the equity market continually heading higher on very low participation, with a handful of large index weighted stocks putting in all the points. Take the far broader Shanghai Composite index for example, where we can see within its 1420 index members, 90% of the gains in 2017 have been driven by the top 10 index weightings. So, it’s no surprise to see authorities target these names as part of their commitment to the quality of their growth and the question is whether further downside in Chinese mainland equities continue in the session ahead and will there be a spillover into Hong Kong and potentially even Japan, Korea and .

2. Japan: The Nikkei 225, in itself, is interesting as there is a growing positive feel to owning the JPY in 2018. For the most part of 2016 and 2017 one would really only buy JPY in times of panic and heightened risk aversion and given its status as a dominant ‘funding’ currency, traders used this as a vehicle to be paid as part of the carry trade and the hunt for yield. 2018 is shaping up as a very interesting year for Japan and while the argument among macro traders is around future actions from the Federal Reserve and ECB, the Bank of Japan should also command close attention. We’ve seen a number of views that the central bank are looking at the potential costs from buying up most of the ETF market and a decent chuck of outstanding government debt. However, now the conversation has moved to whether the bank should look to ‘fine-tune’ its current policy of targeting the yield curve (under ‘yield-curve control’). This has come alive from comments from BoJ board member Hitoshi Suzuki, with the market dissecting his comments and feeling that interest rates could rise well before the bank reach its 2% inflation target.

Keep in mind that the Nikkei news publication only recently reported that spending plans from Japanese corporates were up 15.8% yoy and the biggest increase since 1990.

One other debate being had in Japan centres on whether Haruhiko Kuroda will be reappointed as BoJ governor when his term comes up for renewal in April. Of course, Japan doesn’t have a new president like the US, where Donald Trump was keen to make his mark and Federal Reserve. Shinzo Abe has been a longtime advocate of Kuroda, but whether he is reappointed should get more focus in the coming months. There is a view he could even be superseded by Etsuro Honda, who is about as dovish as they come in the Japanese central bank, which is a huge feat in itself!

3. Yen: So the JPY has found buyers in the overnight session and notably against the CAD, which is being weighed down by a 1.2% fall in US crude. USD/JPY is the pair to weigh on the Nikkei 225 on open though, and price is now oscillating around ??111 and a break here should see price test support into ??110.71. Keep in mind price traded above Friday’s high and looks ominously like it will close below Friday’s low – a bearish outside day reversal, which in effect suggests a continuation of the bearish trend. AUD/JPY is the key pair on my radar, as the must watch FX pair today, as this is your key barometer is of all things risk and technically looks like a strong shorting idea. Price has also printed a bearish outside day, with sellers have fading the pair into the five-day moving average and this would give a heightened probability of a continuation of the strong trend lower since September.

So if I were paying vulnerabilities in the AUD for 2018, short AUD/JPY and long EUR/AUD looks favoured trades.

4. Energy: As mentioned the moves in crude have resonated in FX markets (with selling of CAD and RUB), but we have seen the S&P 500 energy space lower by 0.9% and this sort of move seems likely in the ASX 200 on open as well. Traders have been buyers of US crude over Brent of late, but that trade has reversed a touch overnight and maybe that’s a reflection of the recent increase in the US rig count, or EIA statistics that show US production is running at 9.66 million BDP or just traders hedging exposures ahead of Thursday OPEC meeting, we are seeing US crude under pressure here, while Brent is holding in well.

5. Wall Street: US equities, more broadly, have held in well despite pathetic volumes, while there have been little change in fixed income or credit markets and we see Aussie SPI futures tracking a mere three points lower at 5988. Commodity markets are not helping sentiment here, with spot iron ore closing -1% at $67.27, while Dalian futures markets are hardly inspiring with iron ore, steel and coking coals trading lower by -1.8%, -0.1% and -1.9% respectively. Copper is also -1.2% and if we look at BHP’s ADR it suggests the miner will open 1.3% lower.

6. ASX: So a tougher day at the office for energy and materials, which has been a good hunting ground for equity appreciation of late and given we have seen both the ASHR ETF (China CSI 300 ETF) and EEM ETF (Emerging Market ETF) tracking lower by more than 1% and moves in key commodities it suggests an elevated risk of a drift lower in the ASX 200 after the open, or at least limited reasons for it to rally.

7. What’s on today: In terms of event risk, soon to be departing New York Fed president Bill Dudley speaks at 11:00 aedt (on the subject of the US economy: 10 years after the crisis), while the new man at the helm of the Fed, Jerome Powell, is set for his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee at 01:45 aedt and the market doesn’t know as much about Powell’s view on the economy and policy as they would like – so plenty to explore here.

8. Market watch:

SPI futures down 6 points or 0.1% to 5985

AUD -0.1% to 76.07 US cents

On Wall St: Dow +0.1%, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq -0.1%

In New York, BHP -1.7% Rio -1%

In Europe: Stoxx 50 -0.5%, FTSE -0.4%, CAC -0.6%, DAX -0.5%

Spot gold +0.5% to $US1295.16 an ounce

Brent crude -0.4% to $US63.61 a barrel

US oil -1.3% to $US58.16 a barrel

Iron ore – 1% to $US67.27 a bonne

Dalian iron ore -1.8% to 501.5 yuan

Steam coal +1.4% to $US95.05, Met coal -0.3% to $US190.00

LME aluminium +0.1% to $US2135 a tonne

LME copper -0.9% to $US6942 a tonne

10-year bond yield: US 2.33%, Germany 0.34%, 2.52%

This column was produced in commercial partnership between Fairfax Media and IG

5 things to know about Meghan Markle’s ex-husband, Trevor Engelson

Following the worldwide excitement surrounding the royal engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there is one (probably quite) sad man sitting in Los Angeles: Markle’s ex-husband Trevor Engelson.
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When reading through the films that Trevor Engelson has produced, it’s difficult to avoid the suspicion that he might be slightly bitter about Markle’s new engagement. With titles like License to Wed and Remember Me, one can only imagine a single tear rolling down this man’s left cheek this morning.

But who really is Trevor Engelson?

About him

Engelson was born in Great Neck, New York in 1976, making him 41 years old, 5 years older than Markle.

His career

Engelson founded the production company Underground Films in 2001, and continues to work there. From 2007 to 2010, he produced the notable films Remember Me, License to Wed and All About Steve. In 2017, Engelson was the executive producer of the series Snowfall, which looks at the early days of crack cocaine in LA during the 1980s.

His relationship with Markle

After meeting in 2004, Markle and Engelson were engaged in 2010, but didn’t marry until September in 2011 in Jamaica. The wedding celebrations reportedly lasted four days, but the ceremony itself only lasted 12 minutes. Unfortunately (but fortunately for Harry) the pair divorced in 2013 after two years together because of “irreconcilable differences.”

“I was destroyed [after my divorce], but she was empowered. She took her power back. It wasn’t the right relationship for her, so she moved on,” said Markle’s friend and former co-star Abby Wathen.

What’s he doing now?

According toDeadline, the Hollywood producer is working on a sparkly new show about, erh, being left for a British prince. Of course it’s totally fictional and not based on his personal experience at all. The “divorce comedy” explores the experience of two characters who have to share custody following their divorce, but with the Royal Family. But it’s fictional… Pure fiction.

Has he found love too?

There are mixed reports about whether Engelson himself has also found love. While the Daily Mailreported that the Hollywood producer is dating 24-year-old Baywatch star Charlotte McKinney, other sources report that he is really, really single.

Diana and Meghan Markle would be ‘thick as thieves’ says Prince Harry

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile as they pose for the media in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London. Photo: APLondon:Prince Harry says his mother, Princess Diana would have been “over the moon” and instantly “best friends” with his choice of bride – American actress Meghan Markle.
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In an interview with theBBC’s Mishal Husain​, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke for the first time about their engagement, revealing the yellow gold engagementring that Prince Harry designed includedtwo stones from his mother’s collection.

“Themain stone itself I sourced from Botswana and thelittle diamonds either side are from my mother’s jewellery collection to make sure that she’s with us on this – on this crazy journey together,” he said.

Asked what his mother would have made of Markle, Prince Harry said he was in no doubt what her reaction would have been.

“Oh they’d be thick as thieves, without question,” he said.

“I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down, you know so excited for me, but then, as I said, would have probably been best friends with Meghan.”

“Itis days like today whenI really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news,” the prince said.

“But you know with the ring and with everything else that’s going on I’msure she…”

“She’s with us,” said Ms Markle, completing her fiance’s sentence. The pair held hands as they sat on a couch side by side for the interview.

“I’m sure she’s with us, jumping up and down somewhere else,” Prince Harry said.

Engaged over roast chickenThe couple also revealed how they became engaged, saying they were “trying to roast a chicken” at Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace where Prince Harry lives and where Ms Markle will also live.

“[It was] just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic, he got down on one knee,” said Markle.

“She didn’t even let me finish, she said ‘can I say yes?Can I say yes? and there was hugs and I had the ring in my finger and I was like ‘can I give you the ring?’She goes ‘oh yes the ring’.”

Prince Harry rejected suggestions that their relationship, which began in July last year, had been a “whirlwind.”

He said they had had some time to date before it became public, including a camping trip in Botswana.

“We camped out with each other under the stars … she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Markle said she had meet the Queen a couple of times and described her as an “impressive woman.”

Earlier the couple appeared before photographers in the sunken garden at Kensington Palace.

It was a photo call only and not a media conference, meaning they did not take questions but did respond to some questions shouted across the lake by the two royal reporters who attended.

Prince Harry said he was “thrilled” and said “of course” the proposal was romantic.

The insidious reason airport walkways curve to the left

Passenger activity at airports – in the most simple terms – boils down to three things: departing, arriving and waiting.
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Travellers hanging around a terminal building are a captive audience, with disposable income, often lots of time, and literally nowhere else to go. So it shouldn’t be surprising that airports are carefully designed to make you spend your hard-earned cash. 1. The duty-free shop sits right outside security

After the stressful ordeal of getting through airport security, travellers are immediately led to what is – relatively speaking – a relaxing haven: the duty free shopping area.

Travellers are more likely to be in a self-indulgent mood after the stresses of waiting in line, removing their belt and shoes, being patted down by a stranger, and perhaps having another rifle through their belongings. A report by Intervistas, an aviation consultant, titled Maximizing Airport Retail Revenue, describes this as the “re-compsure zone”. It adds: “The view of the retail environment will cue the customer’s brain that it is time to shop.” 2. And you HAVE to walk through it

“The classic airport design forces the passenger flow through the duty-free store, while people often have to walk through a duty-free shop again in order to reach their gates,” Julian Lukaszewicz, senior business designer at Designit and a former lecturer in aviation management at Buckinghamshire New University, said. 3. Walkways curve to the left

Most of us might not have noticed, but walkways in the duty-free areas usually curve to the left. And it is for a good reason, according to the Intervistas report.

The majority of passengers are right-handed, and pull their suitcases with their right hand, forcing them to walk in an anticlockwise direction to have more balance. They therefore “look to the right far more than the left, and see more things on the right than the left”.

It adds: “As a result, more sales are generated if a walkway curves from right to left with more merchandise and space on the right side because passengers are looking right while (perhaps unconsciously) walking left.”

Kenneth Currie, chief commercial officer at Intervistas and the author of the report, told Telegraph Travel: “People are disposed to look more often to the right and veer to the right when they are comfortable. The reason why the UK and some other countries continue to drive on the left hand side of the road is because it feels safer – so when people panic, they tend to veer to the left, rather than into oncoming traffic, which in the UK is on the right.” 4. The “golden hour” is key

The time passengers spend idle, after security clearance but before boarding their flight, is dubbed the “golden hour” – that prime spending period that airports and retailers want to maximise.

“Many airports want to prolong and expand this hour, because that translates to revenues,” Mr Lukaszewicz said. “The equation is simple: The more time passengers spend in the golden hour, the more money they will spend. And every minute counts.”

So airports aren’t streamlining security checks, and introducing innovations like mobile check-in, just for your benefit. “It’s so passengers don’t waste their time in a security queue when they could be spending,” says Mr Lukaszewicz. 5. Maximum relaxation for maximum spendingRelaxing spaces, such as gardens, are ploys to ultimately make passengers spend more.” src=”http://www.smh苏州夜总会招聘.au/content/dam/images/g/x/h/h/a/d/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1504160053857.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Relaxing spaces, such as gardens, are ploys to ultimately make passengers spend more. Photo: Jewel Changi Airport

While different airports around the world might offer various ways of relaxing – massage chairs, sleeping pods and showers, for example – these are all also ploys to ultimately make passengers spend more because they are feeling more relaxed, Mr Lukaszewicz claims.

He says: “Passenger propensity to spend is affected by stress levels. That is why many airports want to provide information to passengers, create stress-free environment so that passengers feel more relaxed and spend more money.

“In one airport, for instance, the security area has wood panels and plants, to minimise anxiety and stress levels of security procedures.”

The report adds: “Flight information directories should be plentiful and easy to read so that customer stress level remains low and perceives that they are in control.” 6. Signs are everywhere

There’s no shortage of signs and screen in airports, and it’s all about reassuring passengers, and therefore keeping them relaxed and spending money.

“There are many ways in which airport design influences passenger spending behaviour,” Mr Lukaszewicz notes. “For instance, in many airports the signage has been adapted to show the walking time to the farthest gate, rather than distance, because minutes are much better understood than perhaps in metres. Therefore passengers know how much longer they can spend in the shopping area, before they have to reach their gate.” 7. Natural light and other inviting features

More natural light in any space is always a plus, and it also increases the chances that a passenger will enter a shop.

“Shops at airports tend to be located where there are a lot of big windows, so that there is a lot of natural sunlight coming to the shop,” says Mr Lukaszewicz. “This is because people are much more inclined to walk into a shop with natural light, rather than artificial light.”

The shops themselves have also been built to be user friendly and inviting, with wide aisles big enough to accommodate people with suitcases and fixtures strategically placed diagonal to the main hall so that customers can have a better view of more items. The most popular goods are prominently displayed and made easy to reach.

“Customers will not buy if they are bumped or jostled while shopping, and shops should be wide, not deep, so more merchandise is visible,” the Intervistas report notes. “The merchandise should be displayed within an arm’s reach, and pyramid-shaped fixtures enhance the sense of space and the view of merchandise on lower shelves.” 8. A serpentine layout

The shopping priorities of a passengers at an airport are topped by duty-free goods, followed by food and drink, newspapers/magazines and gifts and specialty items, according to the study, and airport venues are laid out to cater to these priorities.

It explains: “Duty-free shops configured in a serpentine walk-through layout achieve sales as much as 60 per cent higher than other configurations because 100 per cent of customers are exposed,” the study notes. Ikea has been doing it for years. 9. A bustling market place feel

Airports strives to create an appealing sense of place, similar to the style and flavour of the airport’s location, around the duty-free shopping area, similar to the style of a vibrant market. Local products, live music and performance art, tastings and other activities furuther engage the senses.

“People shop with all of their senses, so the ability to touch, smell, and taste goods for sale is important,” says Kenneth Currie.

Robert O’Meara, a spokesperson for the Airports Council International’s European division, told Telegraph Travel: “Airports are no longer just competing with the high street – they have to compete with the internet as well, so airport design has become about creating a pleasant moment of pause when a person is waiting.” 10. Time is moneySelf-service kioks are meant to cut down on security check queuing and increase time spent in retail venues” src=”http://www.smh苏州夜总会招聘.au/content/dam/images/g/j/9/5/k/b/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620×349.png/1447654786616.png” title=”” width=”100%”>

Self-service kioks are meant to cut down on security check queuing and increase time spent in retail venues Photo: Bloomberg

Long dwell times in a shop do not equate to higher spending, according to the study. The ideal scenario is a passenger purchasing one or two items on a quick visit.

“Any aspect of the shopping experience that slows them down risks loss of a sale. Airport customers are no exception,” the survey notes.

“One hour more at an airport is around $7 ($A9) more spent per passenger,” said Mr Lukaszewicz.

But passenger spending varies from one airport to another. Mr O’Meara said: “A hub airport will have high peak moments during the day when the airport is full of passengers as waves of hub flights arrive and depart. Naturally, these patterns are borne in mind by retailers at airports, so that the selection of services on offer can be at its best.”

The amount a consumer spends also varies according to their country of origin, so passengers from high tax countries or countries with significant gifting cultures spend significantly more than passengers where the difference between duty-free prices and high street prices is less significant, notes Mr Currie.

The Telegraph, London

See also: Stop confiscating duty-free alcohol and 10 other travel problems that need fixing

See also: What it’s like to be in economy on the world’s longest flight