[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

Advertisers spending big to get hands on your data

Advertisers ramped up their spend on audience data in 2017, with telcos among the industries keen to work out what their consumers want before they even know it themselves.
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In , internet and telecommunications companies’ spend on this type of data grew the most in the past year, the annual Eyeota Index Report shows.

Internet and telecoms included mobile service providers, cable and internet service providers and IT and web services. Second for growth in spend was the pharma and healthcare industry, followed by education, hotels, and resorts and casinos.

The report, which uses internal data spanning 2400 brands in more than 60 countries, found the type of audience data bought was predominantly ‘sociodemographic’.

That is, brands were interested in knowing details about their potential customers like financial status, education level, age, gender, home ownership, house value, ethnic group and career status.

It also included specific ‘sociodemographic profiles’ such as asking for data to focus on pre-defined groups. Some of the most targeted included affluent professionals, families and urban city-dwellers.


Some of the increase in spend has been due to a push towards personalisation of campaigns.

Eyeota APAC managing director Andrew Tu said patterns of audience data usage and seasonal consumer trends were emerging, allowing brands to anticipate consumer needs rather than react to demand.

This rich data would also help inform ‘programmatic advertising’ – where technology is used to automate the media buying and placement process, he said.

“We are seeing that programmatic is more than the automation of the media buying process, but rather it allows brands to react and adapt to fluctuating consumer needs in real time and audience data is at the heart of this relationship,” Mr Tu said.

This data is collected through a range of methods, including cookies and information from sites where users are logged in, Eyeota ANZ general manager Peter Hunter said.

“They want to be more targeted. If 50 per cent of advertising isn’t effective, how do we make all of it effective?” he said.

He anticipated advertisers would increasingly narrow their focus onto marketing to a specific group of consumers.

The top advertising sectors utilising audience data remained finance and automotive, electronics, and computers, where demand for the information was at consistent levels.

While 33 per cent of the audience data purchases were sociodemographic in nature, B2B data was also popular at 28 per cent of the information demanded, including details such as employment area, technology, company size and company revenue.

Interest took up a further 18 per cent of the data, including topics such as tech, food, social media, gambling, education, internet activities, business and entertainment.

Globally, electronic and computer brands doubled their audience spend – predominantly in the B2B category.

Hottest 100: ABC defends decision to ‘decouple’

The ABC has defended changing the date of its Hottest 100 program, arguing the new-look countdown “benefits everybody”.
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On Monday, Triple J announced it would no longer broadcast the most popular songs of the year on Day. Thousands of people had called on the ABC to change the date out of respect for Indigenous ns via social media and an online petition.

More than half of Triple J listeners who were surveyed supported the move to January 27 and 28, but that didn’t stop the national broadcaster copping flak in the wake of the announcement.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said he was “bewildered” by the decision.

“The ABC shouldn’t be buying into this debate. Day is our national day,” he said. “The ABC should honour it and not mess with the Hottest 100.”

While there was overwhelming support on social media, Triple J’s Facebook page was inundated with criticism from people who thought the ABC was “ruining” Day and making a political statement.

But on Tuesday, the broadcaster stood its ground. An ABC spokesman argued the decision to shift the date will allow the Hottest 100 to “decouple” from the heated debate surrounding January 26.

“The move, based on extensive audience feedback, benefits everybody,” he said.

“Under the 2018 format, Triple J will count down the Hottest 100 on the first day [January 27] and will follow up the second day [January 28] by airing the next 100 songs voted by the audience. The network conducted extensive research showing the Triple J audience wanted to decouple the countdown from the politics, with a focus exclusively on the music.”

The spokesman also said shifting the Hottest 100 will allow Triple J to air more coverage of Day events.

“We will provide more coverage of the day than any other media outlet,” he said.

“As the national broadcaster, the ABC has and will always maintain a strong commitment to Day and associated events. We are the host broadcaster for the n of the Year Awards. We will [also] cover the n of the Year address, the Canberra flag-raising ceremony, the Canberra citizenship ceremony and the Governor-General’s address on ABC TV, ABC RN, Radio as well as through our network of 56 metropolitan and regional stations.”

Indigenous artists will likely feature prominently on the Hottest 100 this year, given the momentum hip hop duo AB Original and others generated in calling for the ABC to “change the date”.

Voting for next year’s countdown opens on December 12, with the polls closing on January 22.

Manly are understood to be eyeing Brock Lamb if the Knights sign Mitchell Pearce.

THE Knights are in danger of losing promising five-eighth Brock Lamb before the start of next season ifthey are successful in signing Mitchell Pearce.
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PROMISING: Brock Lamb scored tries in four of the Knights five wins in 2017.

Fairfax Media understands that Manly, who are also in the market for Pearce, are eyeing Lamb as a contingency if they strike out in their bid to recruit the former Roosters playmaker.

The race to sign Pearce is now a three-horse race – between Newcastle, Manly and Cronulla – after Melbournepulled out on Monday.

OPTIONS: Mitchell Pearce

Manly have been widely touted as the favourites, but reports that Pearce’s manager, Steve Gillis, is travelling to Newcastle later this week to meet with Wests Group/Knights chief executive Phil Gardner would suggest that the 28-year-old is still considering the option of leaving Sydney.

If he was to join the Knights, he would renew acquaintanceswith former Roosters teammates Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson, the latter of whom has been guaranteed first shot at playing five-eighth next season.

Lamb was expected to partner him in the halves, after a breakout 2017 campaign in which he made 21 appearances and was a nominee forthe Dally M rookie-of-the-year award, won by Canberra’s Nick Cotric.

But if the Pearce-Watson pairing was reunited, Lamb would in all likelihood be facing the prospect of playing NSW Cup or possibly being used as an interchange utility in first grade.

Manly need a replacement five-eighth after releasing experienced Blake Green to join the Warriors.

Lamb is contracted to the Knights until the end of 2018 and the Maitland-born 20-year-old isregarded as a long-term first-grader.

Newcastle officials have regularly stated the importance of retaining their best local juniors, but in this case they may considerreleasingthe 2014 n Schoolboys star if his pathway to first grade was blocked.

Brown has granted a number of other Newcastle players early releases over the past two seasons when they attracted interest fromrival clubs, including Joseph Tapine (Canberra), Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra), Korbin Sims (Brisbane) andJoe Wardle (Castleford).

After debuting in 2016 as a 19-year-old, Lamb played only three games in that season before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. He became a mainstay last season, scoring five tries, kicking 23 goals and a field goal and producing a team-high 10 try assists.

Asked recently about the prospect of Newcastle signing Pearce, Lamb produced a diplomatic response.

“He’s a quality player, he’s played Origin, he’s won a premiership,”he told Fairfax Media.“His experience would be second to none, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen there, so we’ll just go with the flow.”

Dom Borzestowski’s Gang clean up at ARIAs

Hat-trick for our Dom STARS: Dom Borzestowski, second from left, with his Gang Of Youths bandmates at the ARIA Awards.
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TweetFacebookGo Farther In Lightness, as well as Best GroupandBest Rock Album.

It followed their earlier award for Producer Of The Year.

Besides walking the red carpet and receiving their pointy trophies, Gang Of Youths also performed their single What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?

JANE IN FAST LANEKYLIE Jane is hoping the biggest performance of her career at the Newcastle 500 Supercars on Sunday leads to moreopportunities in the music industry.

BIG AUDIENCE: Newcastle singer Kylie Jane performing the National Anthem before the Newcastle 500 Supercars race on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The 26-year-old Newcastle musician performed the n National Anthem prior to the final race of the Supercars season in front of a live audience of 56,000 and an estimated television viewership of 472,000 across Network Ten and Fox Sports.

“I didn’t realise how big it was until they started telling me how it would be broadcastand how people would be watching and how many tickets they were selling and I was like ‘wow’,” Jane said.

Last year Jane appeared on The Voice and in February she released the EP Black Swan.She plans to recorda new single shortly for release in the new year.

Since the Supercars appearance Jane has been inundated with messages and requests for bookings.

It’s not the first time Jane has sang the National Anthem before a sporting event. As a 15-year-old she performed at the n Go-Karts Championships in her home town of Dubbo, which was also broadcast on Fox Sports.

ON FUNKY VOYAGEIT wasfive long years performing and refining their sound before Plastic Voyage released their debut record,but the results justified the journey.

The Newcastle funk-rock five-piece ofBrad Marriott,Jason Topic (guitars/vocals), Nathan Topic (bass/vocals), Mat Sullivan (drums) andWillGrahame (keys)released the five-track EP Lose MyHead earlier this month.

HEADS UP: Plastic Voyage released their debut EP earlier this month. Picture: Swamp House Photography.

It’s a diverse mixture of funk, groove, world music, blues and jazz, which was recorded in Sawtooth Studios and co-produced by Jason Topic and his brother Clint.

“This recording was trying to find the type of sound we like to play live in as good a way possible on a recording,” Jason Topic said.

To achieve that, older songs like Bubblegum Road and Lovebite were redesigned and new tracks Another Crime and Let It Go were almost entirely written in the studio. The result was a loose and improvised sound.

“We tried to keep a level of flexibility in our approach, even though we’d been playing some of these things for quite a while,” Topic said.

“The approach wasn’t to it nail down and do it, it was to try and find the best thing for the song at the time.”

Plastic Voyage launch Lose My Head atSawtooth Studios on December 16.

MORE FROM JOHNSHOT on the heels of Daniel Johns’ Easybeats cover with his one-off band Boom Tish, the former Silverchair frontman has continued his comeback to music with another collaboration.

This time the Newcastle legend has teamed up with electronic producer What So Not, real name Chris Emerson, for the track Be Ok Again.

Johns joins a list of famous artists to have collaborated with Emerson, which also includes reigning Triple J Hottest 100 winner Flume, Peking Duk and Major Lazer.

The track with its heavy synths and EDM beatsis unlikely to please traditional Silverchair fans, but it again showcases Johns’ superb vocal range.

HOLY RETURNFREQUENT visitors Holy Holy have announced they willreturn to the Small Ballroomon February 25, just eight months after selling out the Islington venue.

The indie rockers added the date at the end of their summer Love Is For Amateurs tour after a gap became available in their schedule.

A PUNKY NYEANYONE looking to ring in 2018 with a blast of distortion and punk debauchery will be excited by the news that Pist Idiots are headlining the Hamilton Station Hotel on New Year’s Eve.

The Bankstown four-piece will be joined byArchy Punker,Viral Eyes and Newcastle ladsScumdrops.

It’s been a massive year for Pist Idiots. In May they released their debut self-titled EP, which includes the catchy and provocative single F—k Off.

NO-FI YULETIDETHOSE cool indie peeps at Newcastle’s No-Fi Collective have signed Gold Coast pop-garage band Bleeding Knees Club for Christmas.

No-Fi Fridays: Christmas Special is scheduled for December 22 at the Cambridge Hotel’s warehouse bar. The rest of the line-up will be announced shortly.

Bleeding Knees Clubreleased their debut album Nothing To Do in 2012 and have been relatively quiet until earlier this year when they made their comebackwith the EP Chew The Gum.

The rise of Meghan Markle: From most-Googled actress to royalty

The rise of Meghan Markle: From most-Googled actress to royalty Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for photos after announcing their engagement. Photo: Dominic Lipinski
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Britain’s Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle shows off her engagement ring. Photo: Matt Dunham

Markle, speaking at AOL’s BUILD Speaker series in 2016, has been viciously criticised by some commentators for not fitting the typical profile of a royal. Photo: Evan Agostini

TweetFacebookThe Prince of Wales has announced the engagement of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/rtlAnFCWTf

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 27, 2017Us Weeklythat a spring 2017 engagement seemed likely (off by a few months, as it turns out). Markle bid farewell to her lifestyle blog, and reportedly planned to depart the cast ofSuits.Rumours circulated that Markle was preparing to move from Toronto to London.Daily Mailcolumnist Richard Kay wrote last month that Markle and Harry had visited Buckingham Palace for a private meeting with Queen Elizabeth, Harry’s grandmother.

Monday’s announcement swiftly consumed social media, with Markle’s name once again trending on Twitter, alongside “Prince Harry,” “Harry and Meghan” and #Royalengagement.

The couple’s names ranked among the top trending Google searches, and in response to one common question – what will Markle’s title be? – the British press reported that the actress will likely soon be officially known as the “Duchess of Sussex” (per royal tradition, the queen is anticipated to bestow the title of “Duke of Sussex” upon Harry on the couple’s wedding day).

Who is Meghan Markle?Born

Rachel Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles on August 4, 1981. It’s unclear when or why Markle started going by her middle name.Family

Mum is Doria Ragland, an African American social worker and yoga instructor.Dad is Emmy Award winner Thomas Markle, a lighting director who has Dutch and Irish heritage.They met in the late 70s when Markle was a lighting director on a TV soap and Ragland was working as a temp at the studio. They split when Meghan was six.Siblings

Meghan has two older half siblings, Samantha Grant and Thomas Markle Junior, who were born when Thomas Markle was with his first wife Roslyn.Grant, 52, is a former actress and model, who lives in Florida and has multiple sclerosis. She reportedly hasn’t spoken to Meghan since 2008.Education

The Hollywood Little Red Schoolhouse and the Immaculate Heart High School, a private Catholic school for girls in LA.Graduated in 2003 from the Northwestern University School of Communication, Illinois, where she studied theatre and international relations.Previous marriage

In September 2011, Meghan married movie producer and manager Trevor Engelson in Jamaica after a seven-year romance. The couple divorced in August 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.Hobbies/interests

Cooking, writing, travel, yoga, politics, social issues.Career

Best known as Rachel Zane in US TV dramaSuits.Markle got her break on US soapGeneral Hospitalin 2002.Minor TV roles followed on shows includingCSI New York,Knight Rider,90210andWithout A Trace.Her movie credits include British thrillerAnti-Socialand the comedy romanceRandom Encounters.Before breaking into acting, Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher.She also ran a lifestyle blog, The Tig, as a “hub for the discerning palate – those with a hunger for food, travel, fashion & beauty”, but brought it to a close in April 2017 as things began getting serious with Harry.Humanitarian work

Markle is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, an ambassador for UN Women, and an advocate for gender equality.She toldVanity Fairher social awareness began during the Los Angeles riots sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, in 1991.As an 11-year-old she was also enraged by a TV ad suggesting women belong in the kitchen washing up.