Monthly Archives: September 2019

‘We will stamp out cheating’

Racing Victoria chiefs say that trainers who try to cheat their integrity investigators will be caught and that no number of counter-surveillance measures will stop rogue elements being found out.
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Fairfax Media’s revelation of a sophisticated range of techniques employed by cheats in a bid to avoid detection has put a spotlight on the murky world of racing’s underbelly.

Racing’s detectives have disclosed that some trainers post lookouts with mobile phones at the gates to their property to provide advance warning about raids by investigators. Other staff are used to delay and stall investigators and prevent them gaining immediate access to the property under surveillance.

Some trainers employed less visible but more sophisticated methods such as establishing two sets of medical and treatment records for the animals in their care to hide illicit actions.

Bernard Saundry, the new chief executive of Racing Victoria, made it clear last week when he took over the reins that his priority was to clean up the sport – both trainers who cheat and jockeys who bet, such as now disgraced champion Damien Oliver, banished for eight months following his admission of a gambling offence.

When questioned on Monday about the creativity of those trying to beat the system, Saundry said that such evidence only showed the scale of the challenge the Integrity Services Department team faced in trying to nail offenders.

“It’s not rife to our knowledge, but it does happen. I don’t think it [such concerted efforts to fool the integrity services operation] is deeply embedded in our racing culture but it does go on. People use all sorts of strategies to try to manipulate the system, and we are determined to stamp it out.

“The stewards and the integrity department will do whatever they need to do, but you have to remember we are also battling with human nature. Some people go to extraordinary lengths to achieve what they want,” Saundry said.

“Its not just in racing. Look at other sports, look at the business world, where people break the law, look at how individuals operate at the margins with their tax or try to avoid it completely. Nothing is surprising in human nature, but we are determined to make sure those who break the rules get caught.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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RISE Social Spy

Vanessa Langley and Cameron Allan, both of Hamilton, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop. Stella Serghis, of Valentine, Amanda Ryan, of Cooks Hill, and Bree Warner, of Floraville, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.
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David Hutchison and Alyssia Harcombe, of Belmont, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Lloyd Vitu and Ammon Arvidson, both of Merewether, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Glen Peterkin, of East Maitland, Amanda Nash, of Kotara, Jason Dunlop, of Hamilton, and Barrett Campbell, of Wallsend, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Samuel Arnott, of Merewether, Nick Carter, of Broadmeadow, and Mark O’Connor, of Wallsend, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Peter Lawrence and Scott Odgers, both of Rankin Park, and Sungmo Ahn, of The Junction, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Nicole Connell, of Tighes Hill, Jess Keeton, of Fern Bay, Kate Morgan, of Merewether, Chrissy Seward, of Charlestown, and Anna James, of Maitland, at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Carly McCorriston, of Adamstown, David Woods, of Georgetown, and Liz Goodwin, of Eleebana at the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ Graduation Ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Carroll.

Sarah Hill, of Tingira Heights, and Natalie Saul, of Hamilton, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Pat Tynan and Annie Green, of Stockton, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Normy Dorrell, of NXFM, Helen Havryliv, and Heath Piper, of NXFM, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Natalie and Peter Wong, of Port Stephens, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Naula Collins and Sonny Lee, of Sydney, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Andrew and Melissa Yapp, of Charlestown, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Ashleigh Constance and Blake Stanley, of James Squire-Lion, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Lauren Devine and Vicki Sproule, of Waratah, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Lara Welham and Brad Cranfield, of East Maitland, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

Stephanie and Pierre Noe with Kimberley Ostle, all of Newcastle, at The Squire’s Maiden launch. Photo: Peter Stoop.

CONDA Award recipient for Outstanding Achievement in Newcastle, Carl Young, with his partner Giverny Lewis, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

April Maguire and Belinda Hodgson, both of Newcastle, and Tina Cornac, of Sydney, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Lily Christie, of Rathmines, and her mum Karen Christie, of Charlestown, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Phoebe Clark, of Maryland, and Claudia King, of Merewether, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Richard Murray, Rosemary Dartnell, Vivien Jones and David Murray, all of the Newcastle Theatre Company, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Sam Christie, of Charlestown, and Laura Clarke, of Hamilton, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Sam De Lyall, of Cardiff Heights, and Sarah Gordon, of The Junction, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Tegan Gow with her mum Vicki Gow, both Maitland, at the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA). Photo: Peter Stoop.

Our photographers were out and about last week at The Squire’s Maiden launch, the 2012 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA) and the Hunter Chartered Accountants’ graduation ceremony and Christmas drinks. See if you were snapped!

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Thirst for pre-drinks linked to violent nightlife

A CULTURE of downing alcohol before going out is significantly contributing to violence and harm in pubs and clubs, Australia’s largest study into alcohol-related nightlife crime has found.
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And the most effective way to deal with it is to increase the price of alcohol by introducing a levy on packaged drinks, Peter Miller, a Deakin University researcher and author of the study, says.

“We spent a lot of time trying to think of other ways to deal with pre-drinking and simply couldn’t,” Associate Professor Miller, from the School of Psychology, said.

“There are many people drinking immediately before approaching the door of venues, either around the corner from the pub, in their cars or in their homes, and it is so difficult for venues to detect that unless someone is very obviously intoxicated when they arrive.”

Professor Miller said interviews with more than 4000 patrons revealed those who drank before going out more frequently reported also being involved in alcohol-related violence and harm.

“The relationship was strong,’’ he said.

“We didn’t differentiate between those who initiated the violence and those who were victims of it, but we often found that it took two to tango.”

People who drank between one and five standard drinks before going to a venue were twice as likely to experience harm than those who didn’t drink beforehand, while those who reported drinking 25 or more standard drinks prior to going out were 4.5 times more likely to be involved in violence.

The other measure the study found to be most effective in reducing alcohol-related violence was restricting trading hours across all venues rather than imposing lockouts.

The study, titled Dealing with Alcohol-related Harm and the Night-time Economy, compared the effectiveness of alcohol-related crime prevention measures put in place between 2005 and 2010 through licensing regulation in Newcastle and voluntary programs run in Geelong.

Interventions analysed included locking patrons out of clubs after 1.30am; closing clubs by 3.30am; banning alcohol shots after 10pm; limiting the number of drinks being served (as mandated by licence conditions in Newcastle) and the introduction of ID scanners; improved communication between venues and police and education campaigns (voluntary in Geelong).

Researchers also did a comprehensive review of police and hospital data.

“We found that the number of assaults in Newcastle dropped significantly during the study period while the interventions in Geelong had no impact,” Professor Miller said.

“The measures implemented in Geelong were voluntary and were not focused on alcohol consumption, they were more focused on reducing violent crime after people were already drunk which is far too late.”

Precincts plagued by drunken violence, such as Sydney’s Kings Cross, could learn important lessons from the survey, Professor Miller said.

“They should not rely on lockouts, which substantially affected the smaller bars by making them close earlier, but they are the venues we want to be flourishing.

“Lockouts benefit bigger venues because you’re forcing patrons to choose a bar that stays open until 5am and stay there drinking all night, getting more and more drunk.

“Instead we need mandatory closing hours that apply to all venues across the board.”

It was now up to governments to resist alcohol industry influence and implement those strategies proven by the survey to work, he said.

“I’m not confident they will do that, but I’m hopeful,” he said.

“We managed to beat the tobacco industry, even if that took about 40 years.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Qantas warns customers over email scam

A screenshot of one of the fake Qantas emails.Qantas is the latest airline to be targeted by email scammers. It is warning customers that fake Qantas “seat selection” emails are circulating.
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The airline advised via its Twitter and Facebook accounts that the emails did not come from Qantas and should be deleted immediately.

The emails claim to be a “seat selection fee receipt”, informing the recipient they have been charged an exorbitant fee, into the hundreds of dollars, for choosing a seat on a flight.

The emails feature the Qantas logo and link to the Qantas website. But they contain an attachment likely to contain a virus or other harmful software, such as spyware.

The attachment, called “Qantas Airways confirmation”, features an unusual “.pdf.zip” file extension, marking it as suspicious.

A Qantas spokeswoman said other telltale signs that the email was fake included that it had no addressee, saying only “Dear” with no name included. Nor did it include a booking reference number or any itinerary details.

“We are aware some customers have received a fake email claiming to be a seat selection fee receipt. These emails are not from Qantas. We advise you not to open any attachment in those emails as they may contain a virus,” the airline said on Facebook.

Qantas advised passengers with travel plans to visit qantas上海夜网m.au and go to “manage your booking” to check their flight details.

The latest scam comes after Jetstar was recently also hit by fake emails sent out under the subject line “Jetstar flight itinerary”.

Other airlines, including Delta and American, have been targeted by similar scams.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Get yourself the full rate cut

About $10 a month and $120 a year doesn’t seem much to miss out on. It hurts a little more when you realise that’s $2811 over the life of a 25-year, $300,000 home loan, and a further $2400 if you’d stuck with the higher payments you’re used to making.
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But it’s downright painful to consider that’s the result of the big banks hoarding just 0.05 points of one interest rate cut. Over the past five years, they’ve withheld a third of all official cuts and added a bit extra on to hikes for good measure.

As debate once again rages about whether the clawback is justified – the Reserve Bank and Treasurer Wayne Swan say no; banks and the federal opposition say yes – you can actually put a stop to this. There are five ways to secure the rate cut you deserve.

1. Apply for what they deliver. First, while a rate cut will be automatically passed through to your loan – when, eventually, it kicks in (ING Directs’ full 25 basis point cut, for example, doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve) – you need to apply if you want your direct-debit repayment reduced.

This is to the banks’ credit as it means, all of a sudden, you are overpaying, which will save you significant interest in the long run. If you hold a $300,000 loan on the likely new big bank average variable rate, 6.42 per cent, that’s an additional saving of $16,613, and you’ll be debt free more than a year early.

But if instead you want the monthly cash in hand, you’ll have to put up your hand.

2. Ask for the full whack.

OK, they may well laugh, but the sound will die in their throats if you reveal you know about the generous discounts they offer to select customers.

The fact is big-bank headline rates are no more than a starting point. You have bargaining power if you have a good credit history and/or are a long-standing customer, and your borrowings amount to more than, say, $250,000. Authorised discounts could be as high as a full percentage point, which puts big-bank rates much closer to the most competitive in the market.

Those lenders that appear at the top of interest-rate league tables, often non-banks, will have far less wriggle room.

3. Threaten to leave. Be prepared to lend weight to your request by making a genuine threat to leave.

Banks know that the ban on exit fees on loans taken out since July 1, 2011, and the requirement that those on older loans are fair and reflect only the revenue loss to the bank, give you mortgage mobility like never before. And your lender knows it.

What’s more, many rival institutions will happily waive any set-up fees to get your business across.

But you may not even have to bother. This could well be the bargaining chip that secures you a much better rate exactly where you are, with not a jot of extra effort.

4. Actually switch. If your lender doesn’t acquiesce, no matter – you should garner an even bigger discount by ditching and switching.

Remember, whatever individual lenders do with their rates each time, the gap between the big banks’ average variable rate and the best rates on the market has stayed at about 1 percentage point for years now – that’s not one but four rate cuts.

(Just be aware there are no assurances the cheapest lenders will maintain that margin, and funding difficulties may see them pass on less. Make sure the initial pricing is worth it.)

At current rates, improving your deal by this much on the big-bank average represents a saving of almost $52,000 on our $300,000 loan.

That’s about an annual wage. Do you think that justifies the bit of paperwork involved?

5. Save even more money. If you’re holding money in a savings account of some kind when you still have a mortgage, stop. You’ll struggle to get up to 5 per cent on deposit today – and from that you’ll lose interest. Put the money against your mortgage, however, and you’ll effectively earn 5.5 per cent or more, tax-free.

So the difference is much more than two rate cuts; there is simply no decision.

The smartest thing to do is not to put your money actually inside the mortgage but to house it alongside it in a linked offset account. The interest saving should be identical but you will retain full, free access. You can also get multiple offsets that allow you to keep your savings, holiday, car, etc., separate.

Don’t be at the mercy of the banks self-serving interest rate re-pricing, serve yourself an interest rate reprieve.

Nicole is editor-at-large of afrsmartinvestor上海夜网m. Follow her on Twitter: @NicolePedMcK.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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