Kevin Rudd plotting against PM – again

Source: TheTelegraph

JULIA Gillard’s supporters within Labor have accused Kevin Rudd and his allies of trying to undermine the Prime Minister just as she begins a recovery in the polls.

The warning came after former finance minister Lindsay Tanner broke his two-year silence on his party’s decision to dump Mr Rudd, describing it as an “extreme over-reaction” that Labor powerbrokers now regretted.

Mr Tanner, who resigned the day Ms Gillard toppled Mr Rudd, made the comments in interviews to promote his new book about the Labor Party.

The former MP also took a swipe at Gillard supporters’ attacks on Mr Rudd after his leadership challenge this year, saying these were “exaggerated” and had done more damage to Labor.

“It is impossible to attack the Rudd government without undermining the Gillard Government,” he said.

“The sad thing about all this is that Labor is trashing its own great achievement. In spite of everything that has since happened, we should be very proud of our government’s handling of the 2008-2009 crisis.”

Ministers who supported Ms Gillard in this year’s challenge yesterday publicly hit back at Mr Tanner.

“He’s making comments about something that happened over two years ago,” Simon Crean said. “I think certainly the party’s moved on, I think Mr Tanner should too.”

Treasurer Wayne Swan, who made some of the most searing attacks on Mr Rudd in February, said he did not resile from them.

Mr Rudd did not make any comment about the controversy yesterday. However, the former prime minister raised eyebrows among his colleagues by his recent return to the public spotlight.

Αμαρυλλίς: Αναζητεί νέες ιδέες

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Η Αμαρυλλίς δεν βιάζεται να φορέσει στεφάνι, έχει μια μακροχρόνια σχέση και νιώθει ασφάλεια με τον σύντροφό της.

«Είναι απόλυτα φυσιολογικό όταν έχεις μια μακροχρόνια και ευτυχισμένη σχέση να σε ρωτούν πότε αυτή θα επισημοποιηθεί. Νιώθω ασφάλεια γιατί έχω δίπλα μου έναν άνθρωπο που εμπιστεύομαι απόλυτα την κρίση του και στέκεται στο πλευρό μου τις δύσκολες και εύκολες στιγμές μου» δήλωσε στο περιοδικό Hello.

Στα επαγγελματικά βέβαια η γνωστή τραγουδίστρια δεν μπορεί να πει το ίδιο:

«Ας μην κρυβόμαστε πίσω από το δάχτυλό μας. Όλοι βρισκόμαστε σε μια διαρκή αναζήτηση νέων προτάσεων και νέων ιδεών».

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Κόβονται οι πρώτες 4.500 “συντάξεις – μαϊμού”!

Source: Palo

Στη Δικαιοσύνη παραπέμπονται όσοι συνταξιούχοι έγιναν… άφαντοι από την απογραφή του Γενικού Λογιστηρίου και εισέπρατταν με δόλο τις συντάξεις τους.

Απαντώντας σε επίκαιρη ερώτηση στη Βουλή, σχετικά με τον τομέα των συντάξεων, ο αναπληρωτής υπουργός Οικονομικών Χρ. Σταϊκούρας τόνισε ότι μέχρι την 20η Σεπτεμβρίου δεν απεγράφησαν 4.560 άτομα.

Προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση για τις παραπάνω περιπτώσεις πολιτών έχει ανασταλεί η καταβολή της σύνταξής τους από την Δευτέρα 24 Σεπτεμβρίου, ενώ έχει ήδη αρχίσει η αναζήτηση των αχρεωστήτως καταβληθεισών συντάξεων με στόχο στη συνέχεια να παραπεμφθούν στη Δικαιοσύνη όσοι με δόλο εισέπρατταν τις συντάξεις αυτές. Σύμφωνα, μάλιστα, με τους υπολογισμούς του ΓΛΚ το μηνιαίο δημοσιονομικό όφελος ανέρχεται σε 2.024.120 ευρώ, ενώ από το 2013 καθιερώνονται ετήσιοι…

Nathan Tinkler plummets as he drops on BRW Young Rich List

Source: News

Tinklers Troubles 2

ONCE lauded as Australia’s richest self-made man under 40, Nathan Tinkler now holds the dubious record for the biggest ever wealth slump on BRW’s latest Young Rich list.

The mining magnate and sports franchise tsar’s personal wealth has plummeted from $1.13 billion to $400 million – the equivalent of losing $2 million a day or more than most people earn in a lifetime.

With creditors circling and mounting speculation over his financial future, Mr Tinkler’s diminishing fortunes sees him toppled from the number one spot on BRW’s Young Rich list of the nation’s 100 wealthiest people under 41 for the first time since 2009.

BRW’s Rich list editor Andrew Heathcote said the annual wealth snapshot showed youth was not an impediment to success with young entrepreneurs building fast fortunes on the back of calculated risks.

But not all of those risks pay off.

“Tinkler’s slide from the top is suggestive of a broad trend,” the business magazine said in a statement.

“Mining is out as a key wealth generator and technology is in.”

Scott Farquhar, Mike Cannon-Brookes

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Software entrepreneurs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar from Atlassian replace Mr Tinkler on top of the Young Rich list, with a combined wealth of $480 million.

The combined value of the list this year has dropped by $2.2 billion last year, to $5.1 billion, for only the second time in its 10-year history.

 

Mark Ackroyd

Mark Ackroyd, Managing director of National Plant and Equipment, landed in third spot in this year’s young rich list. Picture: Jamie Hanson

The other was in 2009 following the global financial crisis.

Fewer women also made the list with six – down from eight last year – including Carolyn Creswell (muesli bar maker), Prue Eales (equipment hire), Kylie Radford (fashion label Morrison), Karrie Webb (golfer) and Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton (Sass & Bide).

 

Simon Clausen

Computer security program founder Simon Clausen has made it to fourth place. Picture: Supplied

While 48 per cent of the young rich managed to maintain or increase their wealth in a backwards market, the softening economy dragged the entry-level criteria from $20 million in net assets to make the list last year to $18 million.

The youngest debutant this year was 28-year-old Nick Armstrong, who shares a $22 million fortune with Geoff Alexander as co-owners of emissions trading company COZero.

 

 

Top 5

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar – $480 million – software

Nathan Tinkler – $400 million – mining

Mark Ackroyd – $290 million – equipment hire

Simon Clausen $230 million – software/property

Ashley Fraser $195 million – equipment hire

Greek workers begin general strike

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Anti-austerity walkout called by unions expected to ground flights, disrupt local transport and shut public service offices

Greek anti-austerity protests in June were marred by violence

Greek anti-austerity protests in June were marred by violence.About 3,000 police officers are standing guard in Athens to prevent the rioting that has marked past rallies. Photograph: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

Greek workers have begun their first mass confrontation with Greece’s three-month-old coalition government, grounding flights, disrupting local transport and shutting public service offices.

The general strike is being backed by the country’s biggest private sector force, the General Confederation of Greek workers (GSEE), the union of civil servants (ADEDY), and militant unionists attached to the KKE communist party.

All three groups are holding hold mass demonstrations in Athens – and some 65 cities and major towns nationwide – before protesters march on the Greek parliament.

“We call on everyone to take part in the strike and resist the austerity measures that hurt Greek people and the economy,” said unionist Despina Spanou of ADEDY. “This strike is only the beginning in our fight.”

The traditional summer break has allowed the conservative-led government of prime minister Antonis Samaras to enjoy relative calm on the streets since taking power in June.

About 3,000 police officers – twice the number usually deployed – are standing guard in the centre of Athens as authorities brace for the rioting that has marked past rallies. Athens last witnessed serious violence in February, when protesters set shops and banks ablaze as parliament approved an austerity bill.

Ships will stay docked, shops have pulled down shutters, and museums and monuments will be closed to visitors throughout the day. Air traffic controllers are to walk off the job for three hours and hospitals will operate on emergency staff.

Even tax collectors have said they will join in the action which has also closed archaeological sites, including the ancient Acropolis.

Much of the union anger is directed at spending cuts worth nearly €12bn (£9.5bn) over the next two years that Greece has promised the European Union and International Monetary Fund to secure its next tranche of aid.

The bulk of those cuts are expected from slashing wages, pensions and welfare benefits, heaping a new wave of misery on Greeks, who say repeated rounds of austerity have pushed them to the brink yet failed to transform the country for the better.

At a time when unemployment is at a record high – hitting almost 24% at a national level and 55% among young Greeks, the highest in Europe – protesters say the new round of belt-tightening, encapsulated in the €11.9bn package of cuts the government has been called to pass in exchange for extra aid, is nothing short of “unfair and anti-social”.

A survey by the MRB polling agency last week showed that more than 90% of Greeks believe the planned cuts are unfair and burden the poor, with the vast majority expecting more austerity in coming years.

But with Greece facing certain bankruptcy and a potential eurozone exit without further aid, Samaras’s government has little choice but to push through the unpopular measures, which have also exposed fissures in his fragile coalition.

With the country in its fifth year of recession and no light at the end of the austerity tunnel, analysts warn that Greek patience is wearing thin and a strong public backlash could tear apart the weak coalition.

“What people want to tell Samaras is that they are hurt and Samaras could use this to demand concessions from the troika,” said MRB polling director Dimitris Mavros.

“The people are willing to give the government time, but on certain conditions like cracking down on tax evasion and securing a bailout extension. If the government succeeds in that, its life will also be extended.”

Greek Olive Oil Woes Echo Country’s Broader Economic Challenges

Source: NPR
A Greek farmer drives home with his fresh pressed olive oil in barrels near Alyki, Greece. The country's pure olive oil is hard to find, expensive and poorly marketed, businessmen say.EnlargeMatthias Schrader/APA

Greek farmer drives home with his fresh pressed olive oil in barrels near Alyki, Greece. The country’s pure olive oil is hard to find, expensive and poorly marketed, businessmen say.

Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country’s olive oil business.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena gave the olive tree to the Greeks to win their loyalty. And ever since, they’ve taken their olive oil very seriously. Greeks say their olive oil is the best in the world.

But how do you define Greek?

George Eliades is with Peza Union, a food cooperative that sells its own brand of olive oil. “Everybody knows Greek olive oil, and nobody buys it because you cannot find it anywhere. It’s very hard to find,” he says.

For example, the Altis brand is made from Greek olives, but the company isn’t Greek; it’s owned by the Dutch-British conglomerate Unilever. The same is true of Minerva, which is owned by a British multinational. Together these are the most popular olive oils sold in Greece — they control two-thirds of the consumer market. Although Greece is the third largest olive oil producer in the world, it has never developed any big companies of its own.

There are several reasons why Greek companies remain small, and they point to some fundamental problems in the Greek economy. Greek olive oil is more expensive. It tends to be grown on small family farms that still harvest olives by hand.

In Spain, Eliades says, olives are harvested by machine. “The machines that are producing 2 tons per hour, the Spanish, they are producing 10 tons per hour,” he says.

Eliades says Spain and Italy have another cost advantage over companies like his own. They import oil from cheaper producers like Tunisia and Algeria to blend with their own product. He doesn’t think Greece is ready to do that. “There is a taboo, that nobody would import olive oil because this is a crime,” he says.

But the problems go beyond cost.

George Kontouris, an Athens food broker, says unlike Italy or Spain, Greece has simply never learned the modern art of marketing itself to consumers. Its products are great, he says, but they have no cachet on the world market.

“Made in Greece, for all these years, and especially the last few years, is something that doesn’t help you at all,” Kontouris says.

The upshot is that Greece’s farmers grow a lot of olives, but not for olive oil. Some 60 percent of them get sold in bulk to other countries. Farmers earn some money doing that, but in the food business, the real profit comes from making and selling finished products.

A recent report from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company noted that Italian companies are in essence making a 50 percent premium on the price of the olive oil they sell, which they make — in part — using Greek olives.

“We are working just for the Italians. They take our product and they bottle it with other, cheaper bottles, and they make a very good product which is sold everywhere,” says George Eliades.

But if Greece is ever to solve its debt problems, its economy has to grow — and the best way to do that is to begin selling more to the outside world. Because Greece has a long tradition of making it, olive oil represents a big opportunity for the country. But before it can realize that opportunity, Greek companies will have to make some big changes in the way they do business.

Liberal factions in peace talks

Source: TheAustralian

LIBERAL faction bosses in NSW were locked in crisis talks last night to resolve the legal battle that has paralysed the state party since last week.

The meeting, convened at the insistence of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, was attempting to break a deadlock between the Right and Left factions over the method for selecting parliamentary candidates.

Key players at the meeting included former state minister Michael Photios, from the Left, and NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith on the Right. The meeting — which Mr O’Farrell chose not to attend and which was chaired by NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos — followed an injunction granted in the Supreme Court on Friday by judge William Nicholas, cancelling the annual general meeting of the party’s state council scheduled for the following day.

The action came after months of acrimony, with the Right claiming the Left was abusing its control of the state executive.

Justice Nicholas found the executive did not have the power to prevent Right-sponsored motions, limiting the powers of the executive and proposing preselections by popular vote of local branch members, going to the AGM. The decision leaves the party over a barrel, since a court hearing on the substantive issues is unlikely before next year.

This leaves a variety of matters, including a vote on a replacement for Senator Sinodinos, in limbo.

Senior party sources said a compromise would likely involve reconvening the AGM and putting the motions limiting the “special powers” of the executive, but shelving the preselection issues until next year.

Justice Nicholas’s decision yesterday will strengthen the conviction on the Right it has the executive up against the wall.

The judgment says, “I find that the plaintiff has established a very strong case that it has complied with the procedures for putting its motion . . . before state council at the next AGM, and, in the circumstances, it was not open to those responsible for setting the agenda to prevent that from happening.”

Writing for the ABC yesterday, Peter Reith, a former ministerial colleague of Tony Abbott, said Mr Abbott had only himself to blame: “Last year Tony Abbott voted down a more activist approach to party reform and now he has to face the consequences.”