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  • BP posts $US4b quarterly loss in oil slump

    2018 - 07.01

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices

    Energy giant BP has reported a net loss of $US4.4 billion ($5.6 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2014, attributed mainly to write-offs of about $US5.5 billion on the value of assets in the North Sea and Angola because of lower estimates of reserves and the falling oil price.

    The results from the company, based in London, were yet another demonstration of the damage that the sharp fall in crude oil prices is having on the industry. BP reported a profit of $US1 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

    At the same time BG, another large British oil and gas producer, said it had write-downs of $US8.9 billion in the fourth quarter, largely because of lower-than-expected prices for its oil and gas. The company reported a net loss of $US5 billion for the quarter and a shortfall of about $US1.1 billion for the year.

    BP said that its write-offs came as a result of a review of the amount of untapped resources in its oil and gas fields. A BP spokesman said the company found that its reserves in the North Sea and Angola were smaller than it had estimated. The company also needed to mark down the value of its remaining reserves because of the substantial recent drop in oil prices, the spokesman said.

    In BG’s case, the largest write-downs were on its liquefied natural gas operations in Australia. Because liquefied natural gas prices are indexed to oil prices, the company calculated that the probable lower oil prices in the future meant it needed to write off $US4.1 billion from the value of those facilities.

    BP also said it would sharply reduce capital spending, to roughly $US20 billion from about $US23 billion in 2013. The company plans to cut exploration spending and postpone what it called marginal projects.

    “Our focus must now be on resetting BP: managing and rebalancing our capital program and cost base for the new reality of lower oil prices,” Robert W. Dudley, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

    In announcing their quarterly results, other major oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron said they planned to reduce capital spending by billions of dollars. And Exxon Mobil indicated Monday that it was in the “early innings” of trying to cut costs.

    Oil prices were rising for a third straight day on Tuesday. Prices, which had been around $US110 a barrel in the summer, had fallen below $US50 per barrel earlier this year.

    Dudley said he expected weak prices to continue for some time because supply continues to substantially outpace weak demand.

    “I think we are probably in for a minimum of a year, and probably several years, of low oil prices,” he told reporters.

    BP’s earnings excluding inventories and one-time items, which are closely watched by investors, came in at $US2.2 billion, down 20 per cent from a year earlier but above the expectations of analysts surveyed by Reuters.

    “BP today is signaling strong flexibility to manage the current trough oil prices,” Oswald Clint, an analyst at Bernstein Research in London, said in a note to clients.

    BP reported a profit of $US470 million from its 20 per cent holding in Rosneft, instead of the loss analysts had expected, because of “hedge accounting” that the state-controlled Russian giant said on Tuesday it was using to offset the impact of the decline of the ruble.

    Profit for the year fell to about $US3.8 billion compared with $US23.5 billion in 2013.

    BP said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 10 US cents a share, due in March, which is 5 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, but flat compared with its third quarter.

    “Throughout the work to reset BP, the dividend remains the first priority,” Dudley said.

    BP also said it was taking a $US477 million charge for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the total charge to $US43.5 billion. The company continues to face legal challenges related to the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers and soiled beaches across the Gulf of Mexico.

    BP is in the third phase of a civil case in US District Court in New Orleans that will decide the penalties to be paid for the spill – costs that could hobble the company for a decade or more.

    The US Justice Department is seeking the maximum penalty of $US13.7 billion under the Clean Water Act, while BP is fighting to reduce the fines. The Clean Water Act penalties would come in addition to the $US43.5 billion BP has set aside for cleanup and compensation. More than 810,000 barrels of crude were recovered during cleanup efforts.

    BP won something of a legal victory last month when Judge Carl J. Barbier of the New Orleans court ruled that the size of the spill was 3.19 million barrels, well below the 4.1 million barrels the government had estimated. Had the government persuaded Barbier of its estimate, the company could have faced an additional $US4 billion in fines.

    BP could be fined $US4,300 for each barrel of oil spilled, though Barbier has the authority to set lower penalties. Under the Clean Water Act, the judge assigning penalties should look at the oil company’s ability to pay, its cleanup efforts and its history of violations.

    The New York Times

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

    Harper Lee to release second novel 50 years after To Kill a Mockingbirdvideo

    2018 - 07.01

    Harper Lee to release second novel 50 years after To Kill a Mockingbird | video Harper Lee receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Photo: Getty Images.

    Mary Badham and Gregory Peck as Scout and Atticus Finch in the 1962 movie of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photo: Supplied.

    The original cover of the classic book.

    TweetFacebookTo Kill A Mockingbirdwas published, the iconic novel is to get a sequel.

    Go Set A Watchman, which was written beforehand by author Harper Lee, was, until now, thought to have been lost.

    The 304-page book will be published by Harper Collins. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

    The Pulitzer-winningTo Kill a Mockingbirdwas published in 1960 and has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

    Set in Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, it is the story of a young girl whose father, a lawyer, is appointed to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman.

    In 1962, it was adapted into a film starring Gregory Peck as attorney Atticus Finch. The role won an Oscar for Peck.

    Harper Collins is planning a first printing of 2 million copies ofGo Set A Watchman.

    Lee said she had originally writtenGo Set A Watchmanbut, after advice from her editors, who were more interested in the flashbacks to the character Scout’s youth, was persuaded to write another book, which becameTo Kill A Mockingbird.

    Scout, also known as Jean Louise Finch, is the book’s narrator, looking back on the events of her youth as an older woman.

    “I hadn’t realised it had survived,” Lee said in a statement issued by Harper Collins. “So was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it.

    “After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

    Go Set A Watchmanis also set in Maycomb, roughly 20 years after the events ofTo Kill A Mockingbird.

    A summary from the publisher says: “Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

    Publisher Jonathan Burnham said: “This is a remarkable literary event. The existence ofGo Set a Watchmanwas unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans ofTo Kill a Mockingbird.

    “Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”

    The book will be released in July.

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

    Tertiary scholars impress Narooma Rotarians

    2019 - 08.16

    ROTARY SCHOLARS: At Narooma Rotary’s Tertiary Scholarship night last week was Rotarian Charmaine White, left, 2014 Scholarship holder Connor Ross, President Angie Ulrichsen, 2015 Scholarship holder Carl McEvoy, and Rotarian Peter Bull who is counsellor for 2013 Scholarship holder Maia Zucco. NAROOMA Rotarians were delighted to focus on the Club’s Tertiary Scholars at last week’s meeting.
    Nanjing Night Net

    “It’s always so inspiring to hear from these talented young people,” said Narooma Rotary president Angie Ulrichsen.

    She introduced the 2015 Tertiary Scholarship holder Carl McEvoy who will study for a Bachelor of Media at Macquarie University.

    Carl impressed everyone with his passion for his chosen field, particularly film.

    Rotarians also caught up with last year’s scholarship winner Connor Ross who spoke about his experiences during his gap year.

    This included being NSW winner of the Telstra Road to Discovery competition for developing singer-songwriters and the associated week in Melbourne where he gained valuable insights into the music industry, and a foray into event management organising artists for the local ‘Little Night In’.

    Connor is now looking forward to starting his studies for a Bachelor of Arts (Music Industry) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

    The Club’s 2013 Scholar Maia Zucco was unable to be in Narooma that night, so her counsellor Peter Bull read a letter to the Club on her behalf.

    She enters the third year of her Psychology Honours studies at Macquarie University this year, having achieved distinctions or high distinctions in all subjects last year.

    Maia aims to do a Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology.

    She again thanked Rotarians for their “continuing support and genuine interest to my studies”.

    President Angie reminded everyone that the three-year scholarship for a former Narooma High student was only possible because of a bequest made to Rotary for that purpose in 1989 by Alexander Birch.

    “Through his generosity, Narooma Rotary has now helped 25 students from Narooma High pursue their tertiary studies – assistance that totals over $210,000,” she said.

    “However in a few more years, that bequest will be exhausted but Mr Birch will have done what he wanted, to help Narooma young people achieve their dreams with the help of our club.”

    The three year scholarships to both 2012 scholar Joanna Gray and 2011 scholar Tilley Wood have now ended and Narooma Rotarians wish them both every success.

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

    Motorcycle awareness campaign kicks off

    2019 - 08.16

    Motorcycle awareness campaign kicks off AWARENESS RIDE: The Bastards SMC met on Saturday at O’Briens Hotel and went on a ride to the Cobargo turn off on the Bermagui Road they say is “black spot” for motorbike accidents with two recent accidents.
    Nanjing Night Net

    RAFFLE DRAW: After the ride, the Motorcycle Awareness Raffle was drawn at The Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba by club corporal Gareth Rogers and public Maz Youlten.

    O’BRIENS: The winner of the first raffle was drawn at a free barbecue at The Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba on Saturday after a ride from O’Briens Hotel.

    TweetFacebookThe winner of the first raffle was drawn at a free barbecue at The Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba on Saturday after a ride from O’Briens Hotel, Narooma out to the Cobargo turn off on the Bermagui Road, which the riders say is “black spot” for motorbikes with two recent accidents.

    The club is hoping to produce “Motorcycle Aware Driver” bumper stickers and apparel.

    Members are going to set up “Watch out for motorbikes!” temporary banners at and around black spots.

    There is also talk of supporting motorcycle lobby groups working to preserve bikers’ rights and safety on the road.

    The Bastards SMC would like to thank the businesses involved, including Narooma Motors, Jaycar and Narooma Legend Motorcycles, Casey’s Cafe, Altered Image Tattoo of Bermagui and The Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba.

    The next fundraiser gets underway next month with tickets being $5 tickets and the Major Prize being a night for two staying at the Dromedary Hotel with an extra $200 voucher for drinks and dinner and a $50 breakfast voucher at My Heaven on Earth Cafe at Central Tilba.

    Related stories:Narooma rallies around fallen Harley rider

    Horror weekend for motorcyclists on Illawarra roads: photos, video

    Motorbike crash sees Bermagui woman airlifted

    Good times at The Dromedary Hotel: PHOTOS

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

    Mixed bowls club turns 25

    2019 - 08.16

    High times: Some of the organisers of the 25th anniversary high tea, club president Clive Jackson, second from left, Beth Gabriel, second from right, and Dorothy and Stan Galbraith. Support: Invited guests at the high tea, from left, Jutta Hall, Marian Longobardi and Dot Bransdon.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Invited: Long-standing mixed bowls suporters Hazel and Harry Lavender.

    Gratitude: Guests invited to the high tea, from left, Margaret and Allan Goodwin and Margaret and Harry McKay.

    Celebration: Invited to share in the mixed bowls 25th anniversary high tea are Fae Smurthwaite, left, and Cathy Clark.

    Foundation: Invited guests, from left, George Smurthwaite, Barbara Morton and Jim Galbraith.

    Activity: Among the guests of honour at the high tea were Lester Thurgate and Sue Gates.

    Spread: Mixed bowling club members baked some of the cakes for the spectacular high tea.

    Main event: The celebratory mixed bowlers high tea gets under way.

    WHEN Wauchope Mixed Bowling Club celebrated its 25th anniversary this week its president Clive Jackson pointed out it wasn’t one of the oldest in Australia, it was in fact the only one in Australia – as far as anyone can tell.

    The club has made inquiries through the state organising body, the Royal NSW Bowling Association, and advertised asking for information about any other mixed bowling groups and drawn a blank – aside from return inquiries from prospective members.

    Other clubs obviously play mixed bowls too, but as part of a men’s or women’s club, not separately.

    So the group’s anniversary really was something to celebrate – a unique and long-lasting group of organised social mixed bowlers.

    The club invited along some of the founders and long-standing members of the club to join the celebration, and in his short address at the start of the celebratory high tea Clive pointed them out as “the invited guests without whom the club wouldn’t exist” and who had supported it and put a lot of work into keeping it going.

    He also asked members to help put together a history of the club by “jotting down their memories” of past events and practices.

    Asked how the club had come into being as the one-of-a-kind group that it is, he said he thought that it was there because 25 years ago a group had got together and decided to do it.

    The club currently has about 60 members and usually has a roll-up of about 40 players on a typical Monday afternoon, he said.

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

    Oscar nominated Felicity Jones to lead Star Wars spin-off movie

    2019 - 08.16

    Rumours persist that the new movie will focus on Boba Fett. Jones has an Oscar nomination for Theory of Everything.
    Nanjing Night Net

    More on Star WarsMore on OscarsMore movie newsMovie sessions

    Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones has been named as one of the stars of a new standalone Star Wars movie.

    The project is one of two standalone films in development, spun off the long-running Star Wars franchise.

    That franchise’s seventh chapter, The Force Awakens, is currently in post-production and will be released in cinemas in December.

    Jones, nominated at this year’s Academy Awards for her work in The Theory of Everything, will star in the spin-off film from English director Gareth Edwards.

    Disney and Lucasfilm have not released any information on plot or characters, though there are persistent rumours that this project will focus on the character of Boba Fett.

    Fett was first seen in an animated sequence during the widely panned 1978 television program The Star Wars Holiday Special.

    He made his live-action debut in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back. In that film he was one of several bounty hunters recruited by the franchise’s chief villain, Darth Vader.

    The spin-off film is slated for release in December, 2016.

    There is a second standalone Star Wars film, from American director Josh Trank, also in development.

    In May, 2014, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said a total of three standalone films would be produced in the next decade.

    Iger said the company’s plans for the Star Wars franchise would be to produce new “core” films (that is, films connected to the franchise’s main storyline of the clash between the Empire and the Rebellion) every two years, with a spin-off in between.

    That means the planned Episode VIII would be released in 2017, with Trank’s standalone film released in 2018, and the final chapter of the third trilogy – Episode IX – due in 2019.

    The Force Awakens will feature a handful of “original” Star Wars cast members, including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

    It is set 30 years after the events of Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.

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

    ‘At the end of the day, the new economy will win’

    2019 - 08.16

    Having upended retail in China, Alibaba – which listed on the New York stock exchange last year – is aiming for 2 billion customers around the world. Having upended retail in China, Alibaba – which listed on the New York stock exchange last year – is aiming for 2 billion customers around the world.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Having upended retail in China, Alibaba – which listed on the New York stock exchange last year – is aiming for 2 billion customers around the world.

    Having upended retail in China, Alibaba – which listed on the New York stock exchange last year – is aiming for 2 billion customers around the world.

    Hunched over the counter of his tiny, gadget filled stall in Beijing’s vast Hailong Electronics City, Wang Ning bemoans a week without a single sale. “It’s dying,” says Wang, shaking his head as he looks out at abandoned stores and torn promotional posters in what was once the busiest market in the Zhongguancun district, known as China’s silicon valley. “There are more sales staff than customers around here. Everyone buys online now.” The six football-field-sized floors are dotted with shuttered shops, victims of the rise of internet-based businesses like Jack Ma’s Alibaba  and billionaire Richard Qiangdong Liu’s JD南京夜网, which started out in Zhongguancun almost two decades ago. The online revolution promises to boost productivity and could create 46 million new jobs in China by 2025, many of them higher-skilled, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. But the losers will be as many as 31 million traditional roles, the equivalent of the entire employed population in Britain. While such creative destruction is a global phenomenon, its speed and scale in China is unparalleled, said Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, a private research agency based in Hangzhou, the hometown of Alibaba. “The internet helps improve productivity and efficiency, but it can be quite painful for traditional businesses,” Cao said. “Bookstores fail first, then clothing chains, then consumer electronics stores, then air-ticket booking offices, and in the future, bank branches and other traditional services facilities may fail.”

    Productivity boost

    The shift online could contribute up to 22 per cent of the nation’s productivity growth by 2025 and make up 7 per cent to 22 per cent of the total increase in gross domestic product from 2013 to 2025, McKinsey found. By 2025, that could translate into as much as 14 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion) in annual GDP. That’s no consolation for Li Feng, who has a store on the fourth floor of Kemao Electronics City, just across the street from Hailong Electronics mall. “The market was packed with people when it first opened in 2004,” said Li, looking up from the TV drama he was watching, for want of customers. “Business has gone from bad to worse in the last five years. The impact from online sales is huge.” Li has shut down the retail side of his business and now tries to eke out a living providing IT services to existing corporate customers, he said, as fellow shopkeepers played poker in the otherwise empty stall next door. China online

    JD.Com’s Liu started renting a booth in Zhongguancun in 1998 with an initial investment of 20,000 yuan ($4104). Back then, China had 2.1 million users connected to the web via 747,000 computers, according to China Internet Network Information Center, the government body tasked with managing online resources. By the end of June 2014, the number of users had jumped to 632 million, with 83.4 per cent of them able to access the Internet via smartphones. JD南京夜网’s Liu is now worth an estimated $9.4 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires. “US traditional retail networks are strong, but Chinese consumers long faced an archaic, inefficient brick-and-mortar network,” said Josh Gartner, a Beijing-based spokesman for JD南京夜网. “Consumers flock to superior service.”

    More servers

    Alibaba has created 14 million jobs directly and indirectly, Ma said in an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month. Ma is China’s wealthiest man and the world’s 13th richest person with an estimated $45 billion fortune. Explaining his company’s sales growth versus traditional retailers, Ma said: “If you want to have 10,000 new customers, you have to build a new warehouse, this and that. For me, two servers.” He’s aiming for 2 billion customers around the world. The industry has made it easier and cheaper for merchants to reach consumers and has supported the development of logistics infrastructure, a Hong Kong-based Alibaba spokeswoman wrote in an email. “With an under-developed and fragmented retail sector, more consumers are going online to find what they need and at the same time stimulating consumption in China’s economy,” she wrote. Premier Li Keqiang is cheering the new economy. Last month, he pressed the enter key on a keyboard for WeBank, a private bank funded by Tencent Holdings  granting a 35,000 yuan ($7183) loan to a local truck driver.

    Online future

    Without the cost of bullet-proof glass, uniformed tellers and branch outlets, services such as WeBank’s “may be the future,” said Cao. Ma’s Alibaba also has approval to set up an online lender. The expansion of internet-related businesses is “where our hope lies,” Ma Jiantang, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said at a press conference in Beijing on January 20 after releasing GDP data that showed the slowest annual expansion since 1990. A primary reason for the economy’s slowdown, weakness in the property market, isn’t helped by the move online. Property developer Dalian Wanda, owned by China’s second-richest man Wang Jianlin, plans to close 10 malls across the country and redesign another 25 to cut retail space, China Business News reported last month. Zong Qinghou, China’s fifth-richest man with a beverage and chain-store conglomerate, said at a forum in August that online shopping businesses are “affecting China’s economic security” by suffocating stores that have to pay rents.

    Stores closeLi Ning, a sports-clothing maker, is expected to post losses for the third consecutive year and has closed more than a thousand retail outlets since 2012. Anta Sports Products, a maker of shoes, has also been shutting down stores partly due to competition from online shopping. At least 300 wholesale markets in Guangzhou are teetering on the edge of survival, especially cloth and garment markets, the Guangzhou Daily reported in December. The biggest of those can house hundreds of outlets and thousands of staff. “Online shops are virtual, and if they kill all the real economy, what business can they do? What products can they sell?” Zong said in comments published on the official People’s Daily’s website in August. He said the government should enhance supervision on virtual shops.

    Old vs new

    Alibaba has a “credibility crisis” fueled by a failure to crack down on shady merchants, counterfeit goods, bribery and misleading promotions using its online malls, a Chinese government regulator said last week. It later eased away from confrontation, saying the report didn’t have judicial effect and that Ma had met with regulators promising to step up anti-piracy spending. “Clashes between the old and new economies” will intensify, said Ouyang Rihui, the deputy dean at the Academy of Internet Economy, a research agency within the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. He said the loss of retailers is just the beginning of the effect of technology on jobs. “The real challenge for China will be at the front end of production — imagine a day when most manufacturing is automated,” said Ouyang, who helped the government draw up plans to develop the internet economy. “At the end of the day, the new economy will win.”

    Bloomberg News

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

    Echo doubles profit on growth in Sydney

    2019 - 07.17

    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie

    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie

    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie

    Gaming group Echo Entertainment has more than doubled its profit, soaring 110.6 per cent in the six months ended December 31 compared to the same time last year.

    Net profit after tax rose from a year ago to $97.1 million, while revenue grew 25.3 per cent to $1.09 billion, the company said in a statement to the ASX on Wednesday.

    Echo chief executive Matt Bekier said the half year finished “well ahead of guidance provided at the AGM”.

    The company forecast a normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation range of $245 million to $260 million, and delivered a normalised EBITDA $261 million.

    Reported EBITDA was $239.6 million, taking into account the $1 million after-tax gain on the sale of Jupiters Townsville and $9 million outlay in the bidding process for the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development against Crown Resorts.

    Flagship casino The Star in Sydney was the key driver of the growth in earnings, Mr Bekier said.

    “The $870 million refurbishment of the property that was completed at the end of 2011, now delivering on the board’s and management’s expectations,” he said.

    “The Star is now in line with the target of $340 million normalised EBITDA set at the start of the redevelopment in 2009.”

    The Star reported an actual EBITDA of $160.8 million, up 19.5 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

    Echo Entertainment’s VIP rebate business, tipped for strong growth in the first-half, reported a 96.7 per cent rise gross revenue to $332.2 million, with a turnover (the total amount bet) of more than $23 billion.

    The company will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of 5¢ per share on March 11, up from 4¢ a year ago.

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

    Husband charged over cold case deaths of Rita Caleo and her brother Michael Chye

    2019 - 07.17

    Breakthrough: Dr Michael Chye and Rita Caleo. Pictures: SuppliedA Ramsgate businessman has been charged with ordering the murder of his wife and her brother in Sydney’s eastern suburbs more than two decades ago.

    Mark Caleo, 52, was arrested at his homein Sydney’s south early on Wednesday. He was taken to Kogarah police station where he was charged with two counts each of murder and solicit to murder.

    Police allege Mr Caleo, who operates a tutoring business at Kogarah, ordered for his brother-in-law Michael Chye to be shot dead in the garage of his Woollahra mansion in 1989.

    Police allege he then arranged for his wife, Rita Caleo, to be killed. Ms Caleo was stabbed to death in the en suite of her Double Bay flat. Police allege Mr Caleo wanted her dead because she “knew too much”.

    Mrs Caleo’s brother-in-law, Gerard Caleo, 42, was arrested in relation to the case at Sydney International Airport last August in what police described as a “major breakthrough”.

    Detectives from the Unsolved Homicide Team charged Gerard Caleo with solicit to commit murder, accessory before the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to murder. He remains in custody.

    Wednesday’s arrest is a long time coming for Strike Force Nichola, formed after the deaths of the siblings, whose father was a senior-ranking police officer in Malaysia.

    Dr Chye, 36, was shot three times in a gangland-style execution as he drove his Mercedes into the garage of his house in Attunga Street, Woollahra, on the night of October 16, 1989.

    An inquest into his death in 1991 found that Dr Chye, his sister and her husband had been been involved in a dispute over a $3.6 million waterfront property in Blakehurst, in Sydney’s south.

    Mrs Caleo, 39, was so worried about her brother’s death she handed her solicitor a sealed envelope that read: “To be opened only if my death is unnatural”.

    The envelope contained the names of two people she accused of organising her brother’s execution.

    She was stabbed in the stomach during the night of August 10, 1990, while her children slept in an adjoining bedroom.

    A live-in nanny heard sounds coming from the main bedroom of the unit in Bay Street, Double Bay before finding Mrs Caleo’s body at 1.30am.

    MarkCaleo, was working at one of his two Sydney Italian restaurants at the time of the killing, police said at the time.

    During an unsuccessful bail application at Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday, Mr Caleo’s solicitorSam Macedone told the court the police case was weak and based on “speculations, suspicions and assumptions”.

    Mr Caleo will appear in court again on February 17.

    Detectives anticipate making further arrests.

    with AAP

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

    Eric Fitzgibbon remembered as a man of the people

    2019 - 07.17

    Eric Fitzgibbon, pictured with then Prime Minister Bob Hawke after he was elected to Federal parliament in 1984.A crowd of 600 mourners packed St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Cessnock on Saturday to farewell former Cessnock Mayor and Hunter MP, Eric Fitzgibbon.

    Mr. Fitzgibbon, who served as Mayor from 1981 to 1983 and as Federal member from 1984 to 1996, passed away on January 25, aged 78.

    Political identities including R.J. Brown, John McNaughton, Peter Blackmore and Graham Richardson were among the mourners on Saturday.

    On behalf of his family, Mr. Fitzgibbon’s son Joel (the current Member for Hunter) thanked all who have extended their sympathies and best wishes.

    The following is a small part of his remarks at his father’s farewell.

    Joel and Eric Fitzgibbon, in late 2014.

    “Eric Fitzgibbon – he’s one of us”. It was the perfect campaign slogan for our father.

    “He’s one of us” had previously been used by other candidates but along-side Dad’s name it seemed to magically capture who he was and what he stood for.

    And it sent the message he wanted to send – that he knew what it was like to struggle. That he understood the lot of working-class people and those on income support, and he was the bloke keen to give people a hand-up.

    There can be no doubt that our father’s working-class childhood both drew him to politics and shaped his political views. It also drew him to the Australian Labor Party. He loved his party and all it stands for.

    They are the same views he took to the 1968 council election and the same views he used to challenge and shape community opinion through the newspaper column he penned in those days for the Cessnock Eagle under the pseudonym “Aquila”.

    Back then Dad lamented the fact that Cessnock was neither reaching its full potential nor serving its mainly working-class people well.

    He was determined to drive positive change and was particularly keen to address the lack of social and recreational opportunities for the city’s youth.

    All politicians have to constantly strive to strike the right balance between what’s right and what’s popular. Driving significant change is never without its political risks. Dad understood that only too well by the time he was elected Cessnock’s Mayor in 1980.

    He took that risk on projects like the new Sulo bins, the Mount View retention basin, the purchase of the old Kurri Co-Op Store, the basketball stadium, and of course, the sale of the Cessnock Sportsground.

    History treats Eric Fitzgibbon kindly on all of these issues including the sportsground – a proposal which finally came to fruition more than 25 years later.

    But sadly, it cost him both his position as mayor and his seat on council.

    So after 18 years as an elected official, Dad’s political career appeared over.

    But then came along the 1984 electoral re-distribution and with it, an additional parliamentary seat in need of a candidate.

    A hotly contested pre-selection followed and it was not one without controversy with Dad being accused of – amongst other things – buying local party votes by arriving at the homes of voters with a six-pack of beer under his arm.

    It had a happy ending – for Eric Fitzgibbon anyway. He won the preselection and he did so without the support of the party machine which was backing another candidate – although the Party machine’s boss at the time, Graham Richardson, was sympathetic and gave him an unofficial helping hand.

    The 1984 election was not a happy election for the Labor Government. Bob Hawke had gone to the polls early and while he retained government, things didn’t quite go as planned.

    Labor lost a swag of seats and while Dad secured Hunter, it was a tough campaign and a relatively tight local outcome.

    The result left him with a political margin of just 2.4 percent but by 1993 it had grown to almost 14 percent.

    It’s important I highlight this point because he was very proud of it – over four elections his margin grew from 2.4% to 3.6%, then to 8.4% and finally to 13.9%.

    Our father went to Canberra with no objectives other than to hold his seat and to improve the lot of those he represented – the people he loved, empathised with, and championed.

    He never held any ambition to be a minister, but didn’t mind telling them how to do their job and did so to further the interests of his electorate.

    In any case his political margin demanded he give his full and undivided attention to his electorate – and he did so, with energy, enthusiasm, great skill and absolutely.

    He attended every function and every meeting. Whenever someone had a problem he was there for them. Mum shares the credit for his success, more often than not she was by his side – they were a formidable team.

    Eric Fitzgibbon – he was one of us, and we will miss him terribly.

    Joel and Eric Fitzgibbon, circa 1993.

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

    Shoalhaven Heads lifesaving looks bright

    2019 - 07.17

    Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club members who competed at the recent NSW Country SLS championships at Mollymook, (back) Annika Janos, Leanne Janos, Karen Saad, (front) Taylah Flack, Angus Pryde, Alexis Saaghy and Kasey Flack.SHOALHAVEN Heads Surf Life Saving Clubreturned from the NSW Country Championships recently with a host of medal winners and some enthusiastic first-time competitors.

    Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club held the championships for the second consecutive year on the weekend and the event proved to be very successful once again.

    Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club was one of the local clubs who attended the championships with competitors ranging from nippers through to masters.

    Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club took out the carnival overall with local team Mollymook close behind in fourth.

    Fellow Shoalhaven clubs, Nowra-Culburra finished 11th overall and Shoalhaven Heads finished in 21st position.

    A shining light for Shoalhaven Heads was Angus Pryde who collected three gold medals in the under 17’s division, finishing top of the standings in each of his pet events, the beach sprint, flags and two kilometre beach run.

    It was a big week for Pryde who also competed in the eight day Trans-Tasman competition the week leading up to the Country championships at Mollymook.

    Pryde competed for NSW Country against Central Coast and Northern New Zealand at Warilla, Shellharbour and Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Clubs.

    “The conditions for the Trans-Tasman’s couldn’t have been better,” said Pryde.

    “It was tough conditions in the water which meant it brought out the best surf life saving competitors and not just the pool swimmers,” he said.

    Pryde faired strongly in the sprints, flags and relay helping his NSW Country team to an overall win for the first time in Australia.

    “We we’re stoked to get the win… it’s the first time we have won on home soil so that was pretty special to be a part of,” he said.

    Pryde has been a member of the Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club for a decade and remembers what it was like starting out and competing in the sport.

    “When I get the opportunity to work with the younger members and the nippers I really enjoy it because I remember when I first started competing, I wasn’t the best, I just gave it a go,” he said.

    “Sometimes some of the younger kids can get disappointed with their results and I know what that’s like, so I enjoy helping them when I’m around,” said Pryde.

    Taylah Flack, 10, took part in her first NSW Country surf life saving tournament on the weekend and said it was an enjoyable experience.

    “It was really fun and also challenging,” she said.

    “It was pretty scary and tense cause there was a lot of people there, but we got to meet people from other surf life saving clubs which was good,” said Flack.

    Kasey Flack, 8, and Alexis Saaghy, 10, have both been involved in surf life saving for two years and said that the carnival on the weekend was great.

    “There are so many different activities to do and so many different races you can go in,” said Saaghy.

    Pryde said it is important to see these juniors keep developing and participating in the sport and these carnivals are a great way for that to happen.

    “We haven’t got a lot of kids in the age groups from under 11 to under 14’s, but we’ve got a lot of juniors coming through which is great,” he said.

    “Hopefully the club sees a lot of those juniors who really enjoy the sport to progress through the grades and keep improving.”

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

    Group looking for alternate port

    2019 - 07.17

    New port: Free Eyre chief executive office Mark Rodda said all options for a new port will be investigated before consultation began.RURAL investment company Free Eyre is calling for an alternate grain handling and exporting facility on Eyre Peninsula to increase competitiveness in the region.

    The company has argued that South Australia’s grain exporting infrastructure being owned by one organisation, Viterra, has led to escalating costs for growers.

    Free Eyre has sent a survey to grain growers across Eyre Peninsula asking if they were interested in setting up a fund or pool of money for the purpose of investing in an alternate port structure when it becomes available.

    Free Eyre chief executive officer Mark Rodda said the company had looked at alternate grain export avenues during the past eight years.

    “We’ve always believed grain handling and export on Eyre Peninsula has been important to farming in South Australia, and it’s one of the biggest expenses farmers have,” he said.

    “The storage and handling system was owned by growers until Viterra bought it, and no other trader has come in and built an alternate source.”

    In its background paper that was sent to growers, Free Eyre highlighted four possible sites where alternate grain storage and export infrastructure could be considered.

    Free Eyre has seen the bulk commodity shipping proposal for Lucky Bay as having some promise, as well as the proposals for multi-commodity exporting facilities at Port Spencer and Cape Hardy.

    Thevenard has also been highlighted as a possible area with Free Eyre arguing a modern transshipping solution, similar to the one proposed for Lucky Bay, should be considered.

    Finally the Lukin Quays Development at Port Lincoln has also been suggested as a possible site.

    Mr Rodda said all possible sites would be considered and discussed with the shareholders.

    “All have different factors to them, we know at Lucky Bay work is happening there, we’re not sure how fast but it is happening,” he said.

    “From Free Eyre’s perspective, we will look at alternate sites and if one has an economically viable future then we will be involved with shareholders and negotiate the particular outcome with them.”

    About 15 per cent of surveys have been returned so far, but there is early indication for supporting an alternate grain handling port.

    People can call Free Eyre on 8232 9266 for a survey.

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