QBE on track to reach $US250 million in savings

Insurer QBE is on track to meet its savings targets.QBE says it is on track to hit its target to cut costs by “at least” $US250 million by 2015, as it replaces hundreds of jobs in western countries with staff in Manila.
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The global insurer also affirmed its full-year guidance on Tuesday, as it benefits from relatively few natural disasters and the recent fall in the Aussie dollar.

At midday its shares had risen 2.6 per cent, or 39.5c, to $15.70.

QBE, which is looking to rationalise its operations after a spate of acquisition-led growth under former boss Frank O’Halloran, earlier this year unveiled a plan to save $US250 million a year by 2015 by sending about 700 positions to the Philippines.

As the changes are rolled out across its Australian division, chief executive John Neal today stressed that he expected expenses would be cut by “at least” $US250 million as a result of the program.

The cost-cutting push will also result in changes to its operations in North America and Europe – where the company may also look to carry-out cuts in its European business slightly earlier than expected.

“This is very much the start, the first wave if you like, and there will be more activity that will follow,” Mr Neal said.

So far, 521 positions in Australia have been affected by the offshoring changes.

Most of these staff are set to be redeployed within the group, while 39 have been made redundant, and 52 contractor positions have not been renewed.

The chief executive of its Australian arm, Colin Fagen, said QBE was “extremely confident” it would save more than the original $85 million in costs that it had planned to trim from its Australian operations by 2015 through the offshoring changes.

This was likely to occur because the company’s redundancy costs had been lower than expected, while the volume of work being carried out in Manila had exceeded expectations.

Mr Neal also said he was confident the company expected to hit its full-year forecast for premiums to increase by about 5 per cent, and indicated it had benefited from several one-off factors.

He said conditions were “very positive” in Australia and North America but tougher in Europe, where rates were flat.

“It’s still very very early days in the year but we are quite relaxed about where we see ourselves for the half year.”

QBE, which reports its profits on a calendar year basis, will present its half-year results in August.

Insurers have benefited relatively few natural disasters in recent months, while QBE has extensive US operations, so it tends to benefit from a falling Australian dollar.

“Overall, the weakening in the Australian dollar is good news for us, but it does bring some complications,” Mr Neal said.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kieran Chidgey said the progress on cost-cutting and positive one-off factors should cause the “market’s conviction in QBE’s turnaround” to increase.

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Spencer rules breakfast, but Nova’s share explodes

He’s done it again; 612 ABC Brisbane announcer Spencer Howson has retained his crown as king of the lucrative breakfast radio session.
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Despite a 0.1 per cent drop, Mr Howson’s 13.1 per cent market share is still firmly in front of his commercial rivals, ratings agency Nielson confirmed on Tuesday.

But DMG’s Nova106.9 breakfast team of Ash Bradnam, David ‘Luttsy’ Lutteral and Kip Wightman closed in on Aunty’s star, gaining 1.1 per cent to steal the number two spot from Robin Bailey, Terry Hansen and Bob Gallaghar on ARN’s 97.3FM.

Nova also overtook 97.3 as the station with the largest overall audience through the week – a coup that rounds out its standing dominance of the weekend market.

Fairfax Radio 4BC, owned by the publishers of this website, also improved its overall market share, growing its audience by 0.9 per cent to beat 4KQ, 4BH, and the ABC’s Radio National and Triple J for the number six spot.

The station’s breakfast team also recorded a 0.4 per cent audience boost to maintain its sixth-place ranking.

Meanwhile the Triple M Grill Team – Pete Timbs, Michelle Anderson and Greg ‘Marto’ Martin – moved from fifth to fourth place, changing places with their Austereo cousins at B105 – Jason ‘Labby’ Hawkins, Stav Davidson and Abby Coleman.

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What a relief; now let’s get on with it, says Horwill

Now we can all get some sleep: Wallabies captain James Horwill, left, fronts the media with coach Robbie Deans after the judicial hearing. Photo: James BrickwoodWallabies captain James Horwill says he feels ‘‘vindicated’’ by an International Rugby Board ruling that a stamping allegation against him be dismissed for the second time in nine days.
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The Test second-rower is free to play in the series decider against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney after 12 hours of deliberation overnight on Monday produced the same result as the first hearing on June 23.

Horwill said he was ‘‘very relieved’’ to be told the news during a gym session on Tuesday morning after enduring a sleepless night in limbo.

‘‘I feel very vindicated by the way it’s gone,’’ he said. ‘‘I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to represent my country and not only to represent it but the opportunity to lead in what is probably the biggest game in this country since the 2003 World Cup final. I’m very excited and now we can focus on the game and that’s what is important.’’

The decision was handed down by Canadian judicial officer Graeme Mew  at about 10am on Tuesday, 12 hours after he took final submissions from Horwill, his legal counsel and the Australian Rugby Union.

Mew found there was no cause to overturn the original ruling of judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC, who said on June 23 that he could not find an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling on the head of Lions second rower Alun Wyn Jones.

‘‘For the appeal to succeed the IRB would have to establish that there was some misapprehension of law or principle by the judicial officer or that his decision was so clearly wrong or manifestly unreasonable that no judicial officer could have reached the conclusion that he did,’’ Mew noted in his judgement.

‘‘There was sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable judicial officer could have reached the decision that was made.

‘‘Accordingly, it could not be said that the judicial officer was manifestly wrong or that the interests of justice otherwise required his decision be overturned.’’

Horwill accepted the decision calmly on Tuesday but was obviously pleased to have the uncertainty behind him.

‘‘I can’t complain. It’s been a very fair process both times; as I said before, the hearings have been very fair and the process is what it is,’’ he said, after  thanking the public for their support.

‘‘My family and the team have been very overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve received so I thank you very much and it’s now time to get on with football.’’

The original incident occurred in the third minute of the Lions’ 23-21 victory over the Wallabies in the first Test.

Horwill struck Jones in the head during a ruck. The Lions second-rower played out most of the match and required stitches to his eye after the full-time bell.

The Lions referred the matter to the citing commissioner after the game, but a four-hour hearing in front of IRB-appointed judicial officer Hampton last Sunday night found there was enough merit in Horwill’s explanation that he was ‘‘spun off balance’’ by Lions players entering the ruck from the other side.

The decision was controversially overturned by the IRB on Thursday night and while the board did not provide a clear reason,  they cited the ‘‘preservation of player welfare’’.

‘‘It is important for the IRB to ensure amongst all stakeholders in the game that there is full confidence that priority is given to player welfare and the values of the game,’’ the IRB said at the time.

Horwill said he had been unaware of the incident until he was cited and had a chance to view footage from the game.

Rugby Union Players’ Association chief executive Greg Harris congratulated Horwill on being cleared to play.

‘‘James Horwill was initially cleared of the stamping charge as per the IRB’s established judicial process.

“RUPA, like the ARU, was both surprised and disappointed that the finding of the IRB appointed judicial officer, Nigel Hampton QC, from New Zealand was deemed to be ‘erroneous’.

‘‘The fact that the verdict was not delivered until midday on Tuesday added significant disruption to the preparation of the Wallabies team for the third, and deciding Test.

‘‘RUPA still remains sufficiently concerned with the perceived inconsistencies with the processes and as such has raised the matter with the International Rugby Players’ Association and requested that IRPA raise the matter formally with the IRB.’’

Harris said the case set a dangerous precedent by the IRB and that not only the RUPA membership, but the broader rugby community in Australia, were concerned about the motives behind the decision to refer the matter again.

‘‘James is the Australian captain and is a sportsman of impeccable character who in 130 professional games had never been cited.

“He always had the full support of RUPA and his fellow players no matter what the outcome of the IRB’s judicial processes were to be,’’ Harris said.

The IRB released a statement a short time ago accepting Mew’s decision.

‘‘While ultimately not proving successful in its appeal, the IRB is satisfied that it took the right approach,’’ the statement said.

‘‘The IRB would like to acknowledge the professional manner in which the Australian Rugby Union managed the process as host union of the tour.’’

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Cash rate kept at 2.75 per cent

THE Reserve Bank has keep the cash rate on hold for the second consecutive month, but has kept the door open for further cuts if they are needed to stimulate the economy.
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The cash rate remained at 2.75 per cent, a 53-year low, after the last RBA cut in May.

Financial markets were pricing in a 14 per cent chance of a 25-basis-points cut today, according to Credit Suisse data.

A majority of economists had expected the central bank to stay its hand, after a sharp fall in the Australian dollar over the past few months helped to ease the pressure on export-oriented sectors of the economy.

Since the last RBA cut in May, the Australian dollar has slipped more than 10 per cent against its US counterpart, with currency strategists not expecting it to return to its above parity levels.

SMH

Moylan charged over hoax email 

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Jonathan Moylan is facing up to 10 years in jail after being charged under the Corporations Act for his January hoax email over Whitehaven Coal.
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The charges were confirmed today by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The Newcastle-based Mr Moylan put out a press release in January purporting to be from the ANZ bank saying that bank was withdrawing a $1.2 billion loan to Whitehaven for its Maules Creek mine near Narrabri.

Mr Moylan said he had been told of the charge on Thursday night and would appear in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday, July 23.

Mr Moylan said he had been charged under Section 1041E of the Corporations Act, which carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $495,000.

“Noone has ever been charged with this as far as my lawyers know,’ Mr Moylan told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday.

“In plain language, it charges with me with providing false or misleading information that could induce someone to sell their shares.’’

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the charges against Mr Moylan were a clear example of double standards.

He said Mr Moylan was potentially facing 10 years in jail over a protest press release while no action appears to have been taken against Whitehaven despite concerns over the accuracy of information in environmental reports compiled for Whitehaven over Maules Creek.

“We are asking ASIC to reconsider their decision and withdraw the prosecution,’’ Mr Hutton said.

“The penalty is clearly disproportionate to the offence and Mr Moylan has apologised to anyone affected by his actions.”

“Whether you agree with his actions or not, Mr Moylan’s intent was obviously just to tell the world about the plight of the people and environments at risk from this massive coalmine.”

A spokesperson for Whitehaven Coal declined to comment on the charge facing Mr Moylan but said full information about Maules Creek was available on the Whitehaven website.

JONATHAN MOYLAN

Afghani teen on detention centre hunger strike

A 16-year-old Afghani boy at the Pontville detention centre has been on a hunger strike since Friday. A refugee advocate warns more asylum seekers could join the strike.Source: The Advocate
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More asylum seekers could join in a hunger strike at Pontville detention centre unless they are lifted from the “bureaucratic nightmare” of uncertain detention, a Tasmanian refugee advocate has said.

A 16-year-old Afghani boy at the centre has been on a hunger strike since Friday.

The boy told the ABC on Sunday he was acting in protest against being held in detention for seven months because he believed some people he travelled to Australia with had been released.

It is the first reported hunger strike at the centre and comes just two weeks after six detainees were hospitalised in a brawl over a game of pool.

That incident was just a week after a detainee and a detention centre worker were injured in another reported fight.

Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support founder Emily Conolan said all the incidents could be traced to the uncertainty caused by longer periods in detention, after funding to community detention programs was cut.

Ms Conolan said everyone she visited at the centre said they could cope if they knew how long they would be detained for and could look to the future.

“It’s an act of desperation and a cry for help of people that feel that they have no other option to express themselves but self- harm,” she said.

A spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the boy was being closely monitored.

In US, cheating is not just for husbands anymore

More American women are cheating on their husbands, a new report says. Photo: John McNamaraWashington: American women, who trail men when it comes to making money, leading companies and accumulating wealth, are closing the gap on at least one measure: cheating on their spouses.
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The percentage of wives having affairs rose almost 40 percent during the last two decades to 14.7 percent in 2010, while the number of men admitting to extramarital affairs held constant at 21 percent, according to the latest data from the National Opinion Research Centre’s General Social Survey.

The narrowing gap, reported by a sociologist at Auburn University at Montgomery, reflects multiple trends. Wives with their own jobs have less to lose economically from a divorce, and social media have made it easier to engage in affairs.

“Men are still more likely to cheat than women,” said Yanyi Djamba, director of the AUM Centre for Demographic Research. “But the gender gap is closing.”

Blacks, executives and managers, and Southerners were most likely to report extramarital affairs to the 40-year-old survey, the oldest continuous source of data on American behaivour.

The main impetus behind extramarital affairs was predictable, Professor Djamba said: One in four men described their marriages as “not very happy,” more than twice the number of wives who rationalised their adultery that way.

The survey results lend support to one researcher’s argument that what’s been presumed about female sexuality for centuries may be wrong. Daniel Bergner, the author of the newly published book What Do Women Want?, said cultural expectations have prevented women from having more affairs.

“Women are programmed to seek out one good man, and men never have been really well-suited to monogamy, right?” Mr Bergner said. An increasing body of science suggests that women’s sex drives are as powerful as men’s libidos, Mr Bergner said, though they’ve been repressed by thousands of years of male-dominated culture.

Alton Abramowitz, president of the Chicago-based American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said he’s seen an increase in the number of divorce cases sparked by cheating wives.

“We always had a few cases with women, but they were much more discreet about it,” he said. “In the past 10 years or so, though, there’s been an uptick in those cases coming through our office.”

More women may feel free to cheat because the economic consequences aren’t as dire as they were when more women stayed at home, said Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist who writes “The Naked Truth” column for AARP, the largest group representing the elderly in the US.

“They can afford the potential consequences of an affair, with higher incomes and more job prospects,” she said. “They have more economic independence and may meet a better class of mate.”

The ease of online affairs and the prevalence of computer use among younger women may be responsible for a large share of the increase, Ms Schwartz said.

“Think Ashley Madison,” she wrote, referring to the online affair-matchmaking service.

The website has grown since its 2002 creation to serve 3.5 million active users speaking nine languages in 26 countries, said Noel Biderman, the chief executive officer of Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc., which operates Ashley Madison.

“There’s been a cultural shift,” Mr Biderman said, “and female infidelity is very linked to cultural change.”

The website’s usage patterns by age highlight the shifts, he said. The ratio of males to females is greatest among users older than 65, with 14 men for every woman. The ratio is 4-to-1 among users in their 50s, 3-to-1 for spouses in their 40s, and evenly divided among people using Ashley Madison in their 30s.

The number of female affairs still lags behind male dalliances. For every two women like actress Meg Ryan, who exchanged cheating accusations with her ex-husband Dennis Quaid, or Paula Broadwell, the biographer-turned-mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus, there are three men like former President Bill Clinton, pro golfer Tiger Woods or onetime South Carolina governor, and now US congressman, Mark Sanford, who have been the focus of much-publicised reports of extramarital affairs.

As the nation’s median age increases, changes in attitudes about women engaging in sex with someone not their spouse may cause the gap to narrow more, Mr Bergner said.

“Once you strip away the stigma from the equation, interest in casual sex is about equal for women and men,” he said. “So we men may have a lot to worry about.”

Bloomberg

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Newcastle and Grafton share tournament spoils

Source: The Northern Daily Leader
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NEWCASTLE went to a one-on-one penalty shootout to win the Michael York Cup yesterday while Grafton Blue’s draw against Manning Valley was enough to secure it a Kim Small Shield when the two main divisions were decided at Tamworth’s Hockey Complex yesterday.

The Grafton side had plenty to celebrate too, with talented Grace Young also named the Kim Small Shield player of the carnival.

“We had a fantaastic weekend,” Grafton’s Kylie Winters said.

“Most of the girls in the A team had been before but for the girls in the B side it was their first time and they did extremely well to finish third.”

Sydney’s Riley Austin was named the Michael York Cup player of the carnival but his silky skills weren’t enough to secure his side a win when they drew their final nil-all with Newcastle.

Going into a thrilling one-on-one penalty shootout, it was the Novocastrians who won out, winning 4-3 with young goalkeeper Lachlan Mills making two great saves to spearhead his side’s win.

Co-coach Glenn Bisson was delighted with the efforts of a talented, young side.

“They all worked hard – all the boys played well,” Bisson said.

“We’re proud of them all. Then to win in a wobble-off was great.

“We had a couple of boys who hadn’t played before this season.

“Half the side doubled up from last year.”

Carnival convener Graeme McKenzie was delighted with the weekend.

“All went very well,” McKenzie said of a tournament that had a record 34 teams from all over the state as well as Canberra.

“We had some great feedback from coaches and managers,” he said.

Former Australian captain Michael York, whom the York Cup is named after, didn’t have a similar tournament to help launch his hockey career.

“If I had have I might have an Olympic gold medal,” he joked. “But this is all about fun and enjoyment.

“The boys and girls have fun on and off the field.

“The emphasis is on participation and enjoyment. It’s a really good atmosphere.”

While Newcastle and Grafton won the main divisions, Dubbo White won the Kim Small Shield B Division and Grafton 2s won the York Cup B Division.

McGuire topples FM rivals despite Goodes controversy

King… Eddie McGuire’s radio show on Triple M still tops the ratings.Eddie McGuire is now Melbourne’s top-rating FM breakfast host, talkback titan Neil Mitchell has been toppled by Jon Faine and 3AW is in danger of losing its ratings crown to the ABC.
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The results of today’s Nielsen survey suggest the furore over McGuire’s recent “King Kong” gaffe may have attracted listeners to his show instead of driving them away.

McGuire’s Hot Breakfast program jumped by 1 percentage point to claim a 9.5 per cent slice of the audience, putting him ahead of all his FM competitors – including long-time FM kings and Southern Cross Austereo counterparts Matt Tilley and Jo Stanley on Fox.

While 3AW morning host Mitchell increased by 0.5 points to a 13.8 per cent share, it was not enough to stop arch-rival Faine leapfrogging him with a 1.8 point jump to 15.1 per cent.

Overall, 3AW shed a negligible 0.1 point to a 12.8 per cent share while 774 climbed 1.1 points to 12.5 per cent.

Fairfax Media owns 3AW and this website.

3AW’s night hosts Bruce Mansfield and Philip Brady (down 0.4 points to 11.5 per cent) were beaten by 774’s Lindy Burns (up 1.8 points to 14.2 per cent). 3AW also lost the overall weekend ratings (down 0.4 to 11.1 per cent) to 774 (up 0.7 points to 11.3 per cent).

However, the station remains the clear AM winner in key shifts including breakfast (up 0.2 points to 18.4 per cent), afternoon (down 0.2 points to 9.4 per cent) and drive (up 1 point to 11 per cent).

Fox remained at the top of the FM ladder, climbing 0.4 points to a 10 per cent share. It also has Melbourne’s highest-rating drive shows: Hamish & Andy on Monday and Fifi & Jules from Tuesday to Friday.

“We’ve got two bloody good drive shows on Fox,” said Southern Cross Austereo’s chief content officer, Guy Dobson. “And we’re thrilled that not only did breakfast go up on Fox and Triple M but that Eddie is No. 1.”

Triple M (down 0.2 points to 8.1 per cent) is now ahead of Gold (down 0.7 points to 7.9 per cent), followed by Nova (down 0.2 to 7.1 per cent) and Mix (down 0.5 to 6.1 per cent).

Smooth slipped 0.2 points to 5.5 per cent but it is now ahead of sister station Nova in the afternoon slot, with 7.1 per cent to Nova’s 7 per cent.

After several years of volatile ratings, the 9.15 frequency – formerly known as Vega, Classic Rock and Melbourne’s 91.5 – has enjoyed its best results since re-launching as Smooth one year ago.

“We’re right in amongst it now,” said dmg Radio’s group program director, Paul Jackson.

While the station’s breakfast share dropped 0.7 points to 4 per cent, Jackson said that patience was required.

“Our share of the workday market is now huge,” he said. “We always expected breakfast to be the last to grow because we’re up against heritage programs in an established market – but we are confident it will grow.”

[email protected]南京夜网.au

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Milking popularity of lost shots

Forty years on, Angus O’Callaghan, 91, says he’s happy to have been discovered. Photo: Wayne TaylorIt’s a simple photo of a Melbourne milk bar, taken by Angus O’Callaghan about 1970, and it sold at a Leonard Joel auction in May for a record $2920, including buyers premium (IBP).
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At the same sale, another O’Callaghan print, Coffee Lounge, sold for $2440 IBP, as did The Block Arcade. The whole sale, Leonard Joel managing director John Albrecht says, went ”gangbusters”.

His prediction is these photos – reprinted in limited numbers from the original negatives – will at least double in value over the next decade.

Forty years after they were taken, the works of Angus O’Callaghan are very much in demand, yet he wasn’t a professional photographer. He was a school teacher. In 1969 he bought two Yashicaflex medium-format cameras and spent three years anonymously documenting the city he loved. He wandered at random and took snaps of whatever interested him.

”When I took the photographs, my purpose was to become a professional photographer,” he says. ”When that didn’t happen, I gave up that idea and went back to teaching.” His plan was to produce a book, but a publishing deal fell through. He filed the negatives in a shoebox, where they remained for more than 40 years. His second wife found them while unpacking a tea chest when they moved house.

O’Callaghan, now 91, says he had forgotten about them.

Their spectacular success on the secondary art market is a unique phenomenon not even the Leonard Joel art experts can quite explain.

Nor can O’Callaghan, although he’s happy to have finally been ”discovered”.

Word of mouth

Demand has spread largely during the past five years by word of mouth, as has interest in photographic prints in general, especially those taken in Melbourne in the 1950s to 1970s. This niche market was revealed in 2012 after Leonard Joel held the third of their specialty Photographic Auctions on July 22.

The saleroom was packed with young punters, who knew exactly what they wanted and were willing to pay well above estimates. They returned in force in May this year for the Angus O’Callaghan stand-alone sale, where three times the estimate was the norm for the top lots.

Photography was also included in Leonard Joel’s art sale in June but prices were well down on May. This is something John Albrecht attributes to the 60 lots of photography being included among more traditional paintings.

The best price paid was the $610 IBP for a stylish work by Melbourne fashion photographer Bruno Benini showing Helen Homewood on the steps of Parliament House.

In July, 2012, a Benini print entitled Hot Soup 1957 sold for $1500. Another, Eastern Markets, sold for $1850.

What sells and what doesn’t in this fickle market is fascinating to observe.

A 1930s nude study by Max Dupain – estimated at $3000-$5000 – failed to find a buyer this June. This is the same Dupain who was flavour of the month 10 years ago.

An iconic 1967 image by Wolfgang Sievers, titled The Gears: Gears for Mining Industry, generated interest on the night but as of last week, no definite buyer.

It’s Melbourne milk bars the young connoisseur wants these days.

This image – one of a series of five prints from the original negatives in ”supersize” (160 centimetres x 160 centimetres) format – is one of three Angus O’Callaghan photos to be included as part of Leonard Joels’ Modern and Traditional Auction this Sunday at 12 Smith Street, Collingwood, at 11am. This new auction concept is curated by artist David Bromley, a fan of O’Callaghan’s work. If the large-scale prints sell – estimates are $4000-$6000 – they will set price records for the schoolteacher who gave up his dream of being a photographer 40 years ago.

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Spain’s property sale of the century

The Spanish government has approved a plan to sell a quarter of its state-owned properties in an attempt to raise hundreds of millions and fill the government’s empty coffers.
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Some 15,000 properties, from office buildings to agricultural land, will be put up for sale over the next seven years.

The measure is the latest in a series of moves to bring Spain’s budget deficit to within the EU target of 3 per cent by 2016 from 7.1 per cent of GDP last year.

Spain’s government has introduced a raft of unpopular austerity measures as the nation struggles with its sixth quarter of negative growth and an unemployment rate of nearly 27 per cent.

A parliamentary commission has drawn up an extensive list of assets that will be sold to private investors.

They include disused army barracks, an aerodrome on the island of Minorca, a military shooting range and thousands of office buildings.

The government said the portfolio would include around 10 buildings ‘‘considered unique’’ that it hoped would be snapped up by potential investors.

Among those is a mansion on Madrid’s central avenue, the Paseo de la Castellana, that used to house the secretary of state for security, and a country estate in Andalusia comprising 35,000 acres of natural parkland planted with cork trees.

Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government announced plans last year to set up a commission to draw up an inventory of all state-owned property and identify those that could be sold.

The first properties to go under the hammer include the former headquarters of RTVE, Spain’s state television and radio channel in Madrid and Galicia, and a disused army barracks in Seville.

‘‘There will be some real gems in the portfolio I am sure but also a lot of dross,’’ said Mark Stucklin, founder of Spanish Property Insight, an independent website.

‘‘Those properties that will be sought after are those of historical or architectural interest in the most sought after areas of cities. But it will boil down to the price. There will always be interest in good real estate by foreign investors if it is sold at a bargain.’’

The government is yet to release the full portfolio of properties for sale and has not said how much money it hopes to raise. Last year it raised 90 million euros in sales of state-owned buildings that had lain empty and made a further 37.5 million euros saving by renegotiating rental contracts.

Much of the rural property that will be put on the market will be offered with the opportunity for development to create local jobs.

La Almoraima, a country estate in the Natural Park of Alcornocales, which has been managed by the ministry of environment since 1983, is being sold with the option to develop a resort with two golf courses and a five-star hotel.

‘‘We will wait for a reasonable offer – we are not going to sell it off for peanuts,’’ said a spokesman. ‘‘Our best hope is that we can generate foreign interest as there are few in Spain right now who could afford it.’’

The Telegraph, London

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Licence to thrill

The National Film and Sound Archive is preparing for a new cafe after the current licensee, Teatro Fellini, closed last weekend after three years of serving coffees, cakes and nibbles. At the time of going to press, no new licensee had been announced but the archive hopes to name one in early July. In the meantime a coffee cart is in place.
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Let’s get ethical

Which foods have the smallest ecological footprint? Should we be locavore or omnivore? The Canberra Environment Centre, ANU Environment Collective and SEE-Change have joined forces to ask these questions of a panel of experts. They’re holding a forum on sustainable eating next month. The EATology food forum will ask how to eat well in the Canberra region with local farmers, academics and other experts on hand to answer your questions. It’s on August 15 at 6pm at the Manning Clark lecture theatre at the Australian National University.
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