Monthly archives: August, 2019

Warm winter caps nation’s hottest year

Shorts weather: A warm Father’s Day on the first day of spring followed a mild and wet winter in Melbourne that broke records. Photo: Wayne TaylorAustralia has just experienced its warmest 12 months since climate records began.
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Data monitoring by the Bureau of Meteorology shows the average temperature throughout Australia in the year to August 31 was 1.11 degrees above the long-term average.

The nation’s fourth-warmest spring on record morphed into the hottest summer on record. And now the seventh-warmest autumn has been followed by the third-warmest winter Australians have ever experienced.

In Victoria, it was the warmest winter on record, just pipping the winter of 2005.

In New South Wales, it was the second warmest, eclipsed only by the winter of 2009.

And across the nation, winter was 1.29 degrees warmer than the long-term average – defined as the years from 1961 to 1990 (which were themselves warmer than the first half of their century).

From September 2012 to August 2013, the average temperature, day and night, across the continent, hit 22.9 degrees, compared with a long-term average of 21.8. The previous 12-month record was in the year to January 2006, when average temperatures were 1.08 degrees higher than before.

Australia’s record warming comes towards the end of an election campaign from which global warming has gone missing. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott never mentions it, although in every speech he promises to repeal the carbon price intended as Australia’s contribution to the fight against it.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who once called climate change the greatest moral issue of our time, rarely mentions it on the campaign trail, leaving the Greens as the only party to raise it as an election issue.

The bureau says that so far in 2013 Australians have already experienced the hottest day, month and season. Now the year of records has culminated in the hottest 12-month period.

Melbourne and Sydney joined Canberra and Brisbane with winters near or above previous records for warmth – and rain.

”We just didn’t get strong cold fronts” that break up the mild conditions, said the bureau’s director of climate monitoring, Karl Braganza.

”The lack of consistent cold weather is the real story across the whole of the south-east.”

While natural variability always plays a role, scientists have said repeatedly the background warming trend associated with human-induced climate change is making it more likely record temperatures will tumble.

A preponderance of westerly winds, which typically bring rain to exposed southern coastal regions, saw abnormally heavy rainfall in August in western Victoria and western Tasmania.

Melbourne, too, has been wet, with the city recording its biggest winter rainfalls since 1991 – 230 millimetres. Victoria had its wettest winter since 1996, just before the so-called Millennium Drought set in.

But dry conditions stretched well up the coast into Queensland where about half the state is drought-declared.

Melbourne’s winter saw the maximum temperature average about 16 degrees, a new high in more than 150 years of records, and well clear of the long-term average of 14.2 degrees.

Minimums would exceed the anomaly by even more, averaging out at about 8.5 degrees, 2 degrees above the long-term norm, Weatherzone’s Rob Sharpe said.

Operators of ski resorts are among those finding little joy in the warm conditions and outlook.

After several decent snowfalls in August, conditions are likely to turn slushy with temperatures set to remain above zero for much of the coming fortnight, including multiple days of 10 degrees or warmer for resorts such as Mount Buller.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

Call to ban junk food in hospitals

Source: The Examiner
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Banning junk food in hospitals and improving food nutrition labels are opening salvos in a Tasmanian politician’s war on unhealthy lifestyles.

Rosevears independent Kerry Finch last week told the Legislative Council that most of Tasmania’s health problems were due to poor diet and other lifestyle factors.

He backed a call by Launceston orthopaedic surgeon and health campaigner Gary Fettke that fructose, polyunsaturated oils and refined grains and carbohydrate were linked to most modern disease.

Mr Finch backed a call by Dr Fettke for a reduction in consumption of those products, starting in hospitals.

Their wish list is for chocolates and lolly sales to be banned in hospitals and hospital vending machines, and kiosks being allowed only a maximum 20 per cent of “red flag” (unhealthy) foods.

“Most of Tasmania’s health problems are due to poor diet and other lifestyle factors,” Mr Finch told the Legislative Council.

“And it’s up to individuals, with government support, to do something about it before we overload health services to destruction.

“No one in this chamber, particularly me, can look at our lifestyle and diet without some misgivings.”

Mr Finch said yesterday he would put a motion to the chamber on September 17, asking members to suggest measures for improving the lifestyle and eating habits of Tasmanians. which would be a signal for government action.

“It’s all about people making informed decisions about their lifestyle and keep them out of hospitals,” he said.

“And to know what you are eating.”

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said the government’s policy was not to ban foods in hospital canteens, but to encourage all hospitals to continually improve the healthiness of food made available.

“We continue to listen to a wide range of health experts and customers about the kinds of food that should be available,” she said.

Pollies push for limit to unhealthy snacks in hospitals.

Clearance rate on the rise

The sun also shone on this Clifton Hill terrace, selling for $1.15 million, well above its $940,000 reserve. Photo: Ken Irwin Milking it: The milk bar in Lennox Street fetched well above the reserve. Photo: Domain
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To be turned into a family home: Inside the Lennox Street premises. Photo: Domain

A Richmond milk bar opposite the Housing Commission flats and the All Nations Hotel fetched a robust $1.251 million at auction during the weekend, a sign of the strength underpinning the start of the spring market.

Melbourne’s auction clearance rate was 75 per cent from 658 auctions, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, trailing Sydney’s 84 per cent from 398 results.

Melbourne’s result is lower than last week’s 79 per cent but well up on the 63 per cent for this weekend last year. While 166 properties were passed in, 92 on vendors’ bids, 71 were sold before auction. Many results – 157 – have not been reported. That will drag down the final clearance rate.

The Edwardian double-storey shop and four-bedroom residence at 66 Lennox Street on a 218.4-square-metre block has an unusually wide 7.8-metre street frontage and the rear stables.

Six bidders competed for the house, which Biggin and Scott had quoted at $750,000-$850,000, and several more were knocked out early by an opening bid of $820,000.

Some 30 bids later, auctioneer Andrew Crotty went inside to check with the vendors. The move caused some consternation among the 150-strong crowd given the high price reached at that point.

Mr Crotty said the couple, who had run the milk bar for several decades, still had to be consulted before the hammer came down, even though it was well past the $850,000 reserve. ”It wasn’t the price. It was the selling of it. They weren’t quite ready to relinquish it,” Mr Crotty said.

The price, at $5728 a square metre, was a record for that strip of Richmond. The property, which still has its milk bar trappings, will be renovated and turned into a family home, he said.

Wakelin Property Advisory director Richard Wakelin said it was a difficult property to value given the scope of the renovation and the proximity to the pub and the flats.

”But you could run a home office from it and have off-street parking for two cars. And, as for being close to the flats, well, it’s all part of the acceptance of inner-suburban living now, that you’ll be living close up to all kinds of housing,” Mr Wakelin said.

Prices have been rising all year and would continue to climb, stoked by low interest rates, he said.

”It’s remarkable that the removal of the first home buyer’s grant for established homes didn’t result in the first home buyers’ departure from the market. There is a real urgency again because they want to try and lock in low interest rates,” Mr Wakelin said.

He acted for the vendors of 76 Donald Street, in Prahran, one of an unrenovated 1940s duplex, which fetched $825,000 through Hocking Stuart.

”In March, its neighbour, which is a mirror image but also had a garage, sold for $772,500,” he said.

”We set the reserve at $760,000 – just below the price the neighbouring property sold at – and there were five bidders, a mix of first home buyers and investors,” he said.

”The interest rates are helping the growing mood of confidence but people are also expecting the Canberra situation to stabilise after next weekend.”

Auctions and private sales have been tracking evenly all year but this week auctions significantly outnumbered the 372 reported private sales. Auctions are traditionally set for more competitive properties and can trail off at the upper end of the market.

While Marshall White’s Justin Long sold 6 Heymount Close, Toorak, under the hammer for $4.05 million, RT Edgar director Jeremy Fox did not get a bid for 141 New Street, Brighton, which passed in on a vendor bid of $5.3 million. Mr Fox said his vendors were considering an offer.

A private sale in Princes Hill set a record for the area. Woodards sold a renovated double-fronted house, Ormuz, at 299 Pigdon Street for $3.95 million.

Woodards director Jason Sharpe said there was a handful of offers on Thursday afternoon at the close of the private deadline with two bidders in the running.

”It had an underground garage, lifts to the two upper levels and quality fittings. The vendors had renovated it with plans to move in but they changed their minds and decided to stay where they were,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

Chinese strength lifts local stocks

How the day developed: Markets Live
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Stronger-than-expected manufacturing data from China sparked a rally on the  Australian share market today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index shot up 53.34 points, or 1 per cent, to 5188.3, while the broader All Ordinaries firmed 57.7 points, or 1 per cent, to 5178.

Tony Paterno, senior investment advisor at Ord Minnett, attributed the gains to the Chinese data, which showed that factory activity expanded in August for the first time in four months as domestic demand rebounded.

This was according to the final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), which climbed to 50.1 in August, up sharply from July’s 47.7, and came one day after China’s official PMI rose to a 16-month high.

The data added to recent signs that the Chinese economy might not be slowing as much as feared in previous months.

‘‘I think [the PMI] is the highest it’s been in over a year now, which is a big positive,’’ Mr Paterno said. ‘‘It has lifted energy and resource stocks. The financials have been dragged up as well. They’re up about 1 per cent over all. Everything seems to up 1 per cent.’’

It also fuelled a a rally in the Australian dollar, which was trading up 0.9 per cent at 89.82 US cents at market close.

All sectors, except utilities, finished in positive territory. Resource shares, except for BHP Billiton, had a good day, with the energy and materials sub-indices rising 1.9 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

BHP, which traded ex-dividend, closed down 0.4 per cent at $35.62. Rival Rio Tinto advanced 1.6 per cent to $59.22.

‘‘Had BHP not gone ex-dividend, it probably would have been up about 80 cents today,’’ Mr Paterno said.

Among the energy stocks, Origin outstripped the broader market, rising 4.5 per cent to $13.85, after it said on Friday it would cut its borrowing costs by as much as 50 basis points as it markets the Australia’s biggest syndicated loan this year.

The big banks also were up, with the financial sector rising 1 per cent. Commonwealth Bank was the biggest mover, firming 1.2 per cent to $73.68.

Bell Potter’s Charlie Aitken said despite many bank analysts believing CBA was overvalued, its strength still made sense.

‘‘In the eyes of its dominant mum and dad investors it’s ‘cheap’,’’ Mr Aitken said. ‘‘You simply can’t part them with the stock as long as the dividend is growing.’’

Billabong also joined the broader market rally, surging 14.1 per cent to 48.5 cents, after hedge fund Coastal Capital joined debt specialists circling the embattled surfwear company and said it is seeking a board spill.

Among the laggards, insurer and wealth manager, AMP lost 1 per cent to $4.69 after it announced plans to set up a funds management company in China, despite not yet receiving approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….

WWI dog tags come home

Source: Newcastle Herald
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An extensive search for the owner of a lost World War I dog tag has finally come to an end.

After an investigation stemming from northern France and travelling through the Hunter on its way to Sydney, the relic will soon be returned to Private Cyril Michael McCarthy’s relatives.

Private McCarthy could be considered one of the lucky ones who fought in the Great War.

After three years of service he managed to return home to marry his childhood sweetheart and lived until he was in his late 80s.

Although he has since died, his dog tag will at least return home to his grandson more than 95 years after it was lost.

French history buff Valentin Henon discovered the identity tag while metal-detecting around a paddock close to his Campagne-les-Boulonnais home in northern France.

He made contact with Lost Medals Australia founder Lieutenant Colonel Glyn Llanwarne OAM in an effort to find any living relatives earlier this year.

Lieutenant Colonel Llanwarne, who has ‘‘re-homed’’ more than 1300 medals, managed to track down the soldier’s grandson, Bernie McCarthy.

‘‘It came out of the blue,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

‘‘I suspected he was doing a bloody survey or selling something, I was very sceptical.

‘‘But now I’m very happy that the dog tag will be returned.’’

Private McCarthy was born in Newcastle in 1891, signing up for service on December 22, 1915, and serving in the 33rd Infantry Battalion.

He fought at the battles of Messines and Passchendaele in Belgium and was twice wounded in action before being sent home on September 15, 1918.

He married Frances Daniel in East Maitland in 1919 and brought up three sons – John, Leo and Daniel.

Lieutenant Colonel Llanwarne said he was proud to once again return a war relic to its rightful home.

‘‘This is purely a hobby, just an interest of mine,’’ he said.

‘‘I guess I’m devoted to the service and my grandfather and father had their own medals so I do what I can do to preserve other soldiers’ memories.’’

Mr McCarthy, who lives at Collaroy Point, said he had no idea his grandfather’s dog tag was missing, but has a number of his war medals safe at home.

‘‘[Cyril] never spoke about the war with me,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

‘‘He had a reputation as a hard-nosed, tough and bombastic sort of man but he was a decent bloke, known as a character and a larrikin.’’

How Private McCarthy happened to lose his dog tag will forever remain a mystery.

The dog tag.

Cyril McCarthy and his wife Frances on their wedding day in 1919.