A speed camera on the Eastern Distributor at Darlinghurst is making a motza. Photo: Brendan EspositoSpeeding drivers, meet your enemy.
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The speed camera on the Eastern Distributor in Darlinghurst madenearly $4 million last financial year andcaught an average of50 drivers per day, making it the most lucrative camera in NSW.

That’s more than$10,700 a dayor nearly $450 per hour.

The state’s most lucrative red light camera is on George Street in Haymarket. It nabbed an average of 15 drivers per day last financial year and issued penalties worth nearly $2.6 million.

Money raised from speeding and red light penalties has surged more than 2.3-fold over the past five years,according to Office of State Revenue figures. NSW drivers were hit with more than $178 million dollars worth of fines in 2014-15, compared to $78 million in 2010-11.

Nearly 435,000 drivers were fined for speeding last financial year – about 1300 a day.

You’rethree times more likely to be caught for speeding than running a red light. However, you’renow also three times more likely to get caught for running a red light than you werefive years ago.

As the connected scatterplot below shows, the Eastern Distributor speed camera (shown in red) has significantly lifted the bar when it comes to revenueraising. It has been the state’s top earner every year since beginning operation in early 2012; its annual earnings consistently eclipse those of every other camera in the state.

It’s raked in$14.5 million over four years of operation— nearly 1.5 times more than the camera at Cleveland Street in Moore Park (shown in grey). The Cleveland Street camera isthe state’s second most lucrative, as ranked by total earningsin the five years to July 2015, and has been in operation for the full five years.

Revenue-raising for speed cameras is a combination of volume(catching the most drivers) andspeed (the more the driver exceeds the limit, the heavier the penalty).

Two in three drivers (64 per cent) caught speeding are exceeding the limit by 10km/h or under.Less than one per centare caught exceeding the limit by more than 30km/h.

As the scatterplotabove shows, the Eastern Distributor camera excels at both. The camera at Botany Road in Rosebery (shown in yellow, ranked 3rd in 2014-15) catches more drivers than the Cross City Tunnel camera (in blue, ranked 2nd in 2014-15), but the latter makes more money per driver, so we can assume they’re caught at higher speeds.

With red light cameras, the penalty is always the same, so the biggest earners catch the most drivers.

Theheat map below shows the monthly earnings of the state’s top 40 red light cameras over the five years to December 2015. The darker the red, the higher itsearnings.

The most lucrativered light cameras,ranked by total earnings over the five-year period,are on Woodville Road, at Granville and Villawood.

The heat map alsoshows (via the isolated patches of dark red towards the right of the map) the most effective cameras – those thathit drivers hard from the start.

The cameras at Stacey Street Bankstown, George Street Haymarket, Falcon Street Neutral Bay andEpping Road Lane Cove haven’t been in operation over the full five years, but still managed to jump to the top of the list of high-earning cameras.

So watch out for that camera at Falcon Street, Neutral Bay. It’s been the state’s most effective over the past five years, nabbing an average of 19 drivers a day to the tune of $8320 a day or $347 an hour.


Friend or foe: Robyn Lawley likes her juice.
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Friend or foe: Robyn Lawley likes her juice.

Friend or foe: Robyn Lawley likes her juice.

Friend or foe: Robyn Lawley likes her juice.

As we’re milling around waiting for the presentation to start, waiters offer fruit juice or water.

I look around the room and notice the majority have bypassed the juice-heavy tray for one of the waters at the back.

We are here at an event put on by Fruit Juice Australia to hear from the CSIRO about new research that will, according to the press release, “challenge anti-sugar messaging around fruit and fruit juice”.

The messaging, as the drink choice of most people in the room would attest, is not good.

Earlier this year, we learned that many fruit drinks have more sugar than Coca Cola and are barely any better when you consider that as well as the additives.

Fruit Juice Australia CEO, Geoff Parker admits the bad press has squeezed the industry, saying sales have dropped 3 per cent year on year.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation, dare I say, perhaps an understatement, around fruit and fruit juice of late and particularly from the anti-sugar proponents,” Parker said as journalists sipped their waters. “The data that we’re going to present today, I think will surprise you.”

It shows, he said, the “really important role that fruit juice plays in our diet”.

The data are that 93 per cent of Australian adults are not eating the recommended two daily serves of fruit.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines say that a small, 125mL glass of fruit juice with no added sugar consumed occasionally can count towards a serve of fruit.

“When fruit juice was also counted as a fruit serve, the percentage of Australians who reached their daily recommended fruit target more than doubled,” Malcolm Riley, CSIRO’s lead researcher said.

Just how occasional is ‘occasionally’ is unclear, although Riley said he would suggest it means “less than once a day”.

Most things ‘occasionally’ are fine.

But is juice the nutritional baddie we are lead to believe or, as Parker calls it, a “nutritional powerhouse”?

Model Robyn Lawley, who was announced as the new ambassador for Fruit Juice Australia, said she grew up drinking juice.

“I think everything in moderation,” said the 26-year-old model who believes juice has been unfairly “demonised”.

“I think [juice] is one thing we’re really missing from our diets.”

Queensland University of Technology professor Amanda Lee, disagrees.

Like Lawley, many of us grew up drinking juice, and we turned out OK. Didn’t we?

“People say they smoked every day too and survived,” Lee says.

“There has been a major increase in junk foods in the last 40 years. Drinking juice might have been the only problem in their diet. These days we’re surrounded by affordable, available unhealthy foods.”

Check out the supermarket shelves and you’ll notice that most juice packs are 250ml, double the “occasional” recommended serve. Those are the smallest sizes.

“You only have to look around the shopping centre to see people consuming 600 ml bottles,” Lee says, adding that juice comes without the satiety benefits of whole fruit nor the fibre.

However she says while soft drinks are “completely empty calories” fruit juice “can provide some vitamins and minerals”.

Riley said that the CSIRO analysis found that fruit juice provided about 60 per cent of total vitamin C, 16 per cent folate and 14 per cent potassium amongst people who consumed juice on the surveyed day.

Lee says these vitamins are “ones that we don’t necessarily need because of our dietary patterns anyway”.

What about the sugar content?

In the presentation, Riley says that across the population, only 1 per cent of energy and 3.5 per cent of sugar is coming from fruit juice.

This figure is divided to average out across people who don’t drink juice too. Of those who do drink juice, the sugar contribution jumps to 20 per cent of their daily intake.

The numbers can be deceptive but, Lee argues, whether it’s one or 20, every per cent counts.

“When we are living in a country where 60 per cent of adults are overweight and 25 per cent of children, any excess energy is important to consider.”


A spectacular relief rally on the ASX defied market expectationsMal Maiden: Market bounces but questions still unansweredASX bargain hunting: Where to look and what to avoid
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The Australian sharemarket staged a stunning turnaround on Tuesday as bargain hunters swooped, shrugging off fears over China’s economy.

Almost as quickly as $60 billion was wiped from Australia’s sharemarket on Monday, $40 billion was returned in a trading day that dismissed a dismal lead from Wall Street and Europe as well as yet another sharp fall in China.

“Today was a classic example of a relief rally,” Beulah Capital chief investment officer Peter Mavromatis said.

The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 2.7 per cent higher, up 136 points to 5137, after beginning the day with investors fearing the worst as the market fell to a fresh two-year low of 4929 in early trade.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged investors not to “hyperventilate” over the sharemarket’s volatility and said stock market corrections were normal.

“While the Chinese economy is slowing, the US economy is gathering speed. The European economy is gathering speed,” Mr Abbott said.

Dr Mavromatis​ said after Monday’s savage sell-off, discounted high-dividend paying stocks proved irresistible to Australia’s yield-hungry investors.

“The market has taken that as a buying opportunity today,” he said.

The big four banks rebounded strongly, up 4 per cent on average, and the shares in blue chips including Woolworths, CSL and Westfield were all snapped up.

Tuesday’s 200-plus point turnaround took the market by surprise. The scene was set for a repeat of the previous day’s carnage after the futures market indicated another 4 per cent fall was in the offing.

However, a relatively modest fall at the market open was quickly reversed, with the market trading in positive territory for most of the day.

A sharp 6 per cent fall on the Chinese sharemarket when it opened just before midday AEST, marking five days of heavy losses, did not stem the buying.

China’s markets were lone losers in the Asian region, with gains recorded on most major bourses, and European and US markets were tipped to follow suit.

A 5 per cent fall in iron ore, Australia’s key commodity export, did not deter buyers and the mining stocks bounced, albeit not as strongly.

Dr Mavromatis​ said Tuesday’s rally was not a sign the worst of the global rout was over.

Volatility was likely to remain a fixture with global concerns over the stability of China’s economy and the threat of a recession still looming, he said.

“When investors panic you see a stampede and the emotional and pyschological side of investing comes out which creates additional volatility.”

QIC head of credit research and strategy Phil Miall said however markets were looking for a policy response from China to show it was managing the slowing growth in its economy.

“It is getting to that point where the question is what will be the circuit breaker for the self-fulfilling prophecy where a loss of confidence feeds into the real economy,” he said.

Monday’s sharemarket meltdown also lifted bets that the Reserve Bank of Australia may move to lower interest rates that are already sitting at a record low 2 per cent.

“Equities have stabilised today, but if we continue to get this sort of stress weakening the markets, it may bring the RBA back into play for further easing,” Mr Miall​ said. More ASX news and analysisFollow us on Twitter @BusinessDay


VegeSafe members Mark Taylor and Marek Rouillon, of Department of Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University.The soil in which kitchen gardeners grow their edibles determines the quantity and quality of the crop but how many of us consider whether it contains elements that may be detrimental to health.
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A Canberran with a young family who moved into a 1970s house in Scullin heard on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia about a soil testing program called VegeSafe.

The program is an initiative of Macquarie University’s Department of Environment and Geography and it tests metal concentration of soils using handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) analysis.

Professor Mark Taylor says VegeSafe was initiated in 2013 to address issues of soil contamination with the increasing popularity in domestic gardening and food cultivation. The principal objective is to inform and educate the community about harmful contaminants that may be present in their garden soil.

VegeSafe also promotes safe and sustainable gardening at home including the growing of vegetables. So far they have carried out 11  tests for home/residential gardeners in the ACT but recent national exposure for VegeSafe has led to 100 samples being received by the team and five per cent of those are from the ACT.

The program operates as a community service and runs on the goodwill of staff and students. Donations to support the program are tax deductible via MQ.edu.au/support.   Do register that your donation is specifically for the VegeSafe program.

The Canberra gardener from Scullin sent soil samples from five areas, where he was growing rhubarb, broad beans, raspberries, the bottom corner of the garden and near the house wall. The metal concentrations for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel, lead and zinc were provided to him with a table of relevant Australian soil standards and international guidelines to use as a comparison.

Taylor and Steven George, who is also in the VegeSafe team at Macquarie University, say all of the eight elements tested for are harmful at certain levels and are the most common found in soils in the domestic environment. Sources include former industrial activity (for example, gas works), pesticide use, lead paint and leaded petrol emissions.

In Scullin, chemical levels were higher near the house and a problem spot was in a small garden bed next to the downhill wall of the house. Consequently, the gardener   hasn’t planted anything edible within 15 metres of the house.

Having heard about the results, a kitchen gardener with plots at Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS) garden in O’Connor decided, with permission from other plot holders, to have the soil checked in beds there. Two were from private vegie patches, two from communal garden beds and one from near water tanks beside the church hall.

All the metal levels were safe with “no nasties” and all the lead levels, the heavy metal of most concern to people, were well below the Australian standard for vegie gardens. It was interesting that there was little difference in lead levels between new, imported soil and soil that had been on the inner-suburban site for many decades.

The level of zinc in the tanks enclosure near the eaves came from soil that had been excavated from a metre deep when the hole for the tanks was dug. The gardener who requested the tests pondered whether this was caused by hundreds of galvanised nails that once held down tennis court line-marking tapes as O’Connor COGS was developed on the site of a former tennis court.

When supplying the results, VegeSafe noted that the O’Connor samples were from participant #867, part of an ever growing research cohort of backyard and residential soils numbering more than 4000 across Australia.

Great feijoa secrets to be the revealed. Photo: Strukov IgorFeijoa grafting workshop

On Sunday, August 30, from 1pm-3pm at Canberra City Farm on Dairy Flat Road in Fyshwick, you can learn the skill of grafting feijoas with Mark O’Connor who has led a project, partly developed through readers of the Kitchen Garden column, to find and propagate the best feijoa trees in Canberra.

All participants will be given a grafted feijoa variety of their own choice. $10 members CCF, $30 non-members. Bookings essential: [email protected]杭州夜网m

Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.


Village Roadshow says a new trilogy of Star Wars movies will contribute to a predicted record year. Photo: LucasfilmMad Max: Fury Road has already been a standout this year.
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is set to pull in the teens.

Village Roadshow is hoping to hitch a ride on Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon in 2016, with company’s co-chief executive Graham Burke predicting a record year for its cinema business.

The first half of the 2016 financial year will see a new James Bond film, the conclusion of The Hunger Games and the beginning of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies.

Investors reacted positively to the result and forecast, with shares surging 7.8 per cent to $6.36.

“We believe it’s going to be gigantic,” Mr Burke told Fairfax Media.

“If we move into the second half, with the cinema business and those giant movies and more following, we’re looking at another record year, that’s our projection.”

Village Roadshow’s cinema business delivered 14.3 per cent growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $71.5 million – which was a record.

The improvement was underpinned by a strong film line-up over the year. Movie stand-outs

“The year just gone, some of the stand-outs were Jurassic World, Imitation Game, American Sniper, Fast and Furious 7, Avengers and Mad Max Fury Road,” Mr Burke said.

“It was a very powerful year of product and I think we’re going to match, if not exceed, that year of product in the coming year.”

But it was all rosy for Village Roadshow. Bad weather ended up hurting the bottom line of its theme park business. EBITDA in that part of the business slipped 4 per cent to $92.5 million, while in its film distribution business it fell 17 per cent to $34.6 million.

Mr Burke said rain cost the business $20 million.

“It’s been a solid year, considering the weather. We look forward to hitting it out of the park in 2016 with some decent weather.”

Overall, Village Roadshow net profit was down 4 per cent to $43.9 million.

“Equally, it’s been a year where we are putting in place some terrific building blocks for our future, building our cinemas in new population corridors, building out our gold class cinemas in America, the CITIC deal we put in place to grow and fund theme parks in China, and plans that we’re working up to grow our theme park business on the Gold Coast,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said the 2016 film pipeline and predictions of better summer weather should help drive the business over the next year.

“In the theme park business, the long-range forecast, which has a certain amount of witchcraft to it, is for a very hot summer. If we get the hot summer and get the good weather, we’ll do the business,” he said.

The company will pay a final dividend of 14¢ a share in October.


Ron Delia says China and emerging markets are a ‘long-term game’ for the company. Photo: Paul JeffersThe boss of packaging giant Amcor remains “bullish” about China, despite increasing fears the country’s economy is slowing much faster than expected.
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Concern about the health of the world’s second biggest economy has rattled global financial markets, souring views of other emerging economies.

But Amcor chief executive Ron Delia said while the company had a “difficult year” in China – with lower volumes in the second half of 2015 – he was upbeat about the country’s long-term prospects.

“Clearly growth around the world is below trend and I think nowhere is that more evident than in China,” Mr Delia said.

“But emerging markets in general for us are a long-term game.

“There is obviously going to be volatility, and slower than trend growth at the moment, but we believe in these markets, particularly in China.”

Mr Delia declined to weigh in to criticism that the Chinese government was doing too little to manage the country’s economic slowdown as well as deliver on its pledge to stabilise share markets.

“We focus on what we can do and taking care of our customers in China,” he said.

“[Government] policy will take care of itself. We will be agile and adapt to policy shifts around the world, including China.

“We have got a really good mix of big multinational customers … and big regional customers in China who values the same things as the multinationals – product safety, good quality and reliable supply and innovation to help them spur their own growth.”

Mr Delia’s upbeat assessment came after Amcor’s net profit firmed 0.4 per cent to $US680.3 million ($947 million) for the 12 months ending June 30, beating analysts estimates who were expecting $US670.4 million, according to Bloomberg.

Excluding currency swings from a strengthening US dollar, net profit jumped 7.2 per cent.

Revenue, however, dipped 3.5 per cent to $US9.61 billion.

Mr Delia expected higher earnings in the next 12 months. He said the company had a strong balance sheet and it had completed 60 per cent of its $US500 million buyback.

Investors welcomed the result. Amcor’s closed 4.3 per cent higher at $13.05

“Despite the challenge of lower than trend growth in many of the market we operate in, we are delivering strong profit growth and cash flow,” Mr Delia said.

In the 2014-2015 financial year, Mr Delia said the company’s flexible packaging and rigid plastics divisions delivered record returns of 25.5 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

He attributed the gain the flexible packaging business to “growth in emerging markets, product mix improvements, better operating efficiencies and contributions from acquisitions”.

Continued growth in North and South America fuelled the gains in the rigid plastics division, with higher volumes in all the main product segments, Mr Delia said.

Mr Delia also said the company would continue to be based in Australia, despite it representing less than 5 per cent of its business and it moving half the staff at its head office to Switzerland.

He cited Amcor’s dominance in flexible packaging in Australia and New Zealand as well as its ASX listing for why the company would continue to operate from Melbourne.

“We have got a head office here which has less than 50 roles in total and about half of those roles will move to Switzerland.

“We trade on the ASX, which continues to be a great source of equity capital for the company. It’s a deep liquid market and has allowed us to raise capital very quickly.

“We see no reason to shift the listing of the company to any other place. Australia will remain very important to us.”

Amcor will pay a final dividend of US21¢ a share on September 30.


As the daylight hours lengthen and the temperatures begin to warm, many gardeners think about springtime plantings.
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Thoughts turn to the wonderful tomato which comes in so many shades, colours and shapes. There are thousands of varieties around the globe and Australians can now source a very good range of seeds from specialist suppliers.

Home-grown tomatoes can be one of life’s pleasures. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, C and E, high in antioxidants and have plenty of fibre. Tomatoes have a high sugar content and so are best eaten soon after harvest. They are also rich in glutamates which partly explains the wonderful flavour when tomatoes are sprinkled with salt (with its sodium).

Many growers will be planting their selected varieties in propagation trays in the hope of winning that race to pick one’s own delicious tomatoes by Christmas. They are a warm climate plant so do not plant your seedlings out into the garden until early November, when the frosts are finished and the night temperatures have risen.

At this time of the year, you can get a head start by planting tomato seeds just five millimetres deep in shallow trays.

Use good quality seed raising mix with plenty of well broken down organic matter. You can transplant into individual garden pots when they have produced their second pair of leaves.

Keep the pots in a warm, sunny location. Provide ample cover at night to keep the tomato bushes warm. The overnight temperature is so critical to good growth and fruiting of tomatoes.

From little things, big things grow. Photo: Getty Images

Good preparation of the garden bed is essential. Also remember to avoid planting in any bed that has been used in the past three years for any of the solanum family vegetables (tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant and potato). It is vital to provide a clean, fresh bed for this wonderful summer crop. When grown with care and attention, tomato bushes can yield between five and 10 kilograms of fruit.

Dig in generous quantities of organic matter before planting out tomato seedlings. The roots of tomato plants will go in search of nutrients. Allow spacing of 50 centimetres between plants. Provide good drainage and hammer in a wooden stake at time of planting for all the tall varieties.

Mulch well and keep the tomato patch well weeded. Sprinkle some additional pelletised organic fertilisers around the plants when they begin to flower and set fruit.

Water regularly during the hot summer days. Avoid overhead watering because leaf spot and leaf blight diseases can be spread quickly. Blossom end rot is a sign of irregular watering. With good, regular watering many of your tomatoes will grow to 1.5-2 metres tall and require regular tying up to the stakes

Breeding of tomatoes has taken many twists and turns across the world in the past two hundred years.

Italians have developed tomatoes with few seeds that can be used in cooking and making pastes, including the Romas and beefsteak tomatoes. Russia to the east have developed a number of black tomatoes, with fine flavour. French breeders sought to produce fine flavoured, round tomatoes. And even Australia can claim a number of “home grown” varieties. Beefsteak tomatoes

There are quite a number of excellent, highly productive varieties of the large, flattened, slightly ribbed fruit known collectively as beefsteak tomatoes. They tend to have few seeds, have wonderful flavour and are a firm tomato that will slice well. Top restaurants love them for the same reasons. Red and Pink Ponderosa, and Mortgage Lifter hail from the USA. Hungarian Giant and the French Rouge de Marmande​ are top quality European beefsteaks. The dark pink  Gregori’s Atlai is from the Atlai mountains on the edge of Siberia. Black tomatoes

For exotic rich flavours, you can grow the group of Russian bred dark red to maroon coloured tomatoes for rich flavour. Black Krim which originated in the Crimea is a large beefsteak type, with chocolate brown flesh that has a distinctly smoky taste. Black Russian and Paul Robeson are smaller round tomatoes with a similar distinctive rich taste. Nyagous is round and medium sized, with a sweeter aromatic taste. Oxheart tomatoes

I make special mention of this family of tomatoes for three reasons. They will grow well in cooler regions, such as in Canberra. They are one of the first large tomatoes to ripen. And the firm thick flesh of these tomatoes’ along with few seeds mean that they can be used in many ways, for slicing to make sauces and more. Medium-sized tomatoes

There are so many good, round tomatoes that it is worth considering growing a selection. Two of my favourites are from France. St Pierre is a medium sized, red tomato with meaty flesh with superb flavour. Jaunne Flamee is a bright apricot coloured tomato with a rich, sweet taste. It produces a big crop quite quickly and will produce well in heavier soils and cool summers. Olomovic is an early maturing, globe-shaped tomato from the Czech Republic that grows well in cooler regions. Its firm flesh makes it ideal for sauces, bottling and drying.

Three excellent Australian varieties are the early maturing Break O’Day, medium sized Burnley Bounty which grows well under cooler conditions, and the larger sized College Challenger. For long time growers, Grosse Lisse is well known bearing good sized, juicy tomatoes. It was first marketed in 1900m by the French seed company Vilmorin but it is believed to have originated in America.

I have found the best Roma type tomatoes to be the larger San Marzano red and the yellow Roma. Good size, very productive and excellent for salsa, paste, sauces and soup making. Small tomatoes

There is such a range of small cherry and pear shaped tomatoes. I have found the fastest maturing one to be the Gold Nugget tomato, supplied by Vilmorin (and available at Hall Rural Supplies and Stockfeeds). Camp Joy and Cherry Fox are two good sized, heavy cropping red cherry varieties. Cherry Yellow Honeybee and Lemon Drop are two very productive yellow coloured varieties.

Bruschetta with parmesan. Photo: Getty ImagesRecipeBruschetta with parmesan

6 thick slices Italian bread, 8 Roma tomatoes, ½ red Spanish onion, 2 cloves garlic, 80g butter, 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 tsp olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper.

Grill or toast the bread until crisp and golden brown. Crush the garlic and mix with softened butter. Brush onto the top side of the bread.

Dice the tomatoes, finely chop the onion and shred the basil leaves. Combine in a medium sized bowl. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Evenly spoon the mixture over the toasted bread and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place under a hot grill for one minute then serve. This week in the garden

* Enjoy the warmer days by cleaning up your garden beds and removing any remaining dead plants. Chip out the winter cover of weeds and dig in generous supplies of well finished compost.

* As well as planting tomato seeds in propagation trays, plant capsicums, eggplant and basil. Keep the trays in a warm, sunny location.

* Plant out mixed open leaf lettuces (such as cos, romaine, oakleaf and mignonette) bok choy, rocket and mitzuna.

* Plant your first rows of carrots and beetroot. Do not add fertilisers or manures as that will cause root forking.

Owen Pidgeon runs the Loriendale Organic Orchard near Hall.


Hefty line-up: Controversy Corner’s Col Pearce, Alan Clarkson, Rex Mossop, Ferris Ashton and Noel Kelly. Photo: Ann Marie Arena Hefty line-up: Controversy Corner’s Col Pearce, Alan Clarkson, Rex Mossop, Ferris Ashton and Noel Kelly. Photo: Ann Marie Arena
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Hefty line-up: Controversy Corner’s Col Pearce, Alan Clarkson, Rex Mossop, Ferris Ashton and Noel Kelly. Photo: Ann Marie Arena

Hefty line-up: Controversy Corner’s Col Pearce, Alan Clarkson, Rex Mossop, Ferris Ashton and Noel Kelly. Photo: Ann Marie Arena

Vale Clarko: Roy Masters’ tribute

Alan Clarkson was a gentleman journalist and a rugby league institution.

Clarkson, who was best known for his work at the Sydney Morning Herald and television appearances over three decades on the panel of Controversy Corner alongside league greats Ferris Ashton, Rex Mossop and Noel Kelly, passed away on Monday night, aged 85.

Former colleagues Ian Heads and John Brady, who worked on rival newspapers, paid tribute to Clarkson as journalist and a friend.

“Clarko was a gentleman sportswriter at a time when that meant something and there was a level of trust that he had with people, which was very deserved,” Brady said. “He was the ying to Bill Mordey’s  yang. Clarko would bet $2 on a horse and Mordey would bet $25,000 and they would be cheering in the same race. He was passionate about his family and he was happy.

“He was an institution in the game and in sports writing in this town and he deserves enormous respect.”

Clarkson started with The Herald in 1954 and was the chief league writer from 1967 to 1989 after the retirement of another in Tom Goodman.

“Clarko probably modelled himself on Tom Goodman’s gentlemanly approach and he presented well, he had that resonate voice that was good for television and radio,” Heads recalled. “He was the last of that generation of Ernie Christensen, Bill Mordey, Tom Goodman, Phil Tressider and those sort of blokes.

“Rugby league was still a part of his life right until the end, he would still sit down and watch it. He had gone to school with Clive Churchill and had a close relationship with him as a player and coach so it gave him a kick to see Souths win the grand final last year.”

Clarkson covered five Kangaroo Tours, a tour of New Zealand in 1969 and the World Cup in the UK in 1970, and was awarded an OAM in 1990 for services to sport in journalism. He also covered three Olympic Games, and countless Davis Cup and major tennis tournaments.

His reputation was built on accuracy and the unsensational presentation of the news.

After predicting that State of Origin would not succeed, Clarkson wrote that he had been wrong after the opening match in 1980.

His last active involvement with the game was to attend an Origin dinner at ANZ Stadium the night that NSW finally ended Queensland’s eight year winning streak last season.

The NRL extended its deepest condolences to Clarkson’s family on Tuesday following his death overnight.

“Alan Clarkson was a legend in the field and will always be remembered fondly for the role he played in the game,” NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said.


This is is a time to selectively buy. Photo: Regis Divignau
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On Tuesday morning before this market bounced, BHP Billiton shares were down almost 18 per cent for the year, and trading on a dividend yield of 9.4 per cent .

Rio Tinto shares were down almost 19 per cent in 2015, and trading on a dividend yield of 9 per cent. Telstra was offering a dividend yield of 7.6 per cent, NAB was on a yield of 9.4 per cent, ANZ was yielding 9.55 per cent, CBA was yielding 8.2 per cent and Westpac shares were yielding 8.84 per cent.

For investors prepared to buy and hold, yields that good are difficult to resist, even though China’s share market dive continued.

The Hangzhou Composite index fell another 7.6 per cent during the day to be almost 21 per cent down in five trading days, but our S&P/ASX 200 index rose 2.7 per cent. Northern hemisphere market futures were volatile, but were predicting solid rises in Europe and on Wall Street on Tuesday night.

The bounce that value hunters deliver will only be sustained in the medium term (say a year) however if there are not deeper problems in the markets and the economies that underpin them – and concerns on that score are not yet resolved.

Citigroup’s top global strategist Robert Buckland updated a checklist of bear market signals overnight, and the results were not overly discouraging

He assigns red lights (worrying), amber lights (perhaps worrying) and white lights (not worrying) to various indicators in  March 2000 when the dot杭州夜网m bull market cracked, in October 2007 when the global crisis began emerging, one year ago, and now.

Global market measures that were flashing red lights in 2000 and 2007 that are white lights now include share price versus book value of assets, dividend yield, equity risk premiums over fixed interest alternatives, and capital expenditure, which is not roaring ahead as it does at the top of a bull market.

Analysts are also bearish, which is a contrarian positive sign. Analysts are most optimistic when a bull market is at its unrealistic peak, and ready to crack.

There are five red lights on Buckland’s bear market checklist, compared with 15.5 in 2000 and 12.5 in 2007.

Buckland says that is monitoring the markers closely, but that so far it looks like we are still in a mature bull market rather than a new bear market.

Here’s a few of the key indicators that Buckland covers.

Global corporate gearing is as high as it was before the global crisis: as a side note, it is still significantly lower than it was ahead of the global crisis in this market.

Global merger activity is also in red light territory, albeit not yet at the highs seen in 2000 and 2007. That is another top of market signal, but again, this indicator is better here, where so-called animal spirits have been weaker, and fewer takeovers have been announced.

I would offer one other comment. So far, this selloff has basically been ring-fenced to the sharemarket. The big risk in a global downturn is that global credit markets will be infected, drying up sources of debt funding. High yield or “junk” debt is being pressured, but there are no signs of the general credit market contagion that was the really big problem in the global crisis yet.

The Chinese share market’s continuing slide on Tuesday was a reminder however that this downturn is not just about valuation. There are more elemental concerns that China’s market downturn is a symptom of a deeper economic problem in China that China’s government is either unwilling or unable to fix, and they remain unresolved.

The Chinese share market roared higher in 2014 and until the middle of June this year. China’s government deliberately pumped up by increasing the price and availability of credit.

Analysts knew that the bull market was being induced – the government was basically manufacturing demand and creating a weight of money surge – but they also saw it as more proof that the government of Xi Jinping was thinking strategically, in this case for example by creating a bull market that could be avenue for the privatisation and deleveraging of state-owned enterprises.

This latest downturn is now being taken as evidence that China’s attempt to stabilise the market in June and July failed. Crucially, it also undermining trust in willingness or ability of Beijing to intervene.

There is double jeopardy involved. If China fails to intervene or intervenes unsuccessfully as it did in a half hearted way on Monday, the selldown could intensify. If it intervenes successfully, many observers will argue that it has just delayed the inevitable.

There’s another, longer term issue. China’s share market was in a bubble. It’s now correcting, big time.

But in recent years we have seen a series of asset price bubbles develop around thew world, and then get corrected. They are emerging because central banks still have interest rates at record lows: investors are paying more for shares, property band other assets than they normally would, to lock in yields that they cannot get from safer fixed interest investments.

It’s a bubble and rinse cycle for the markets that will continue until economic strength is good enough to allow interest rates to begin rising to a point where they are once again a decent place for investors to stick their money.

One irony is that this share market turbulence has probably delayed the normalisation process. The odds on the Federal Reserve leading the way with a mid-September rate hike in the United States are lengthening because of the share market wobbles.


American long distance runner Molly Huddle raised her arms triumphantly in the air as she won a bronze medal in the women’s 9,999m race at the IAAF World Championships.
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The only problem for Huddle was that she had another metre to go.

The premature celebration was an embarrassing stuff-up for Huddle, who like all the other athletes in the race has trained her entire life to be where she is. 

Huddle turned to her right just a metre from the line expecting to see an Ethiopian runner coming up beside her, but after crossing the finish line, the sight of American teammate Emily Infield dipping her chest would have made Huddle sick to the stomach.

“Emily slipped on the inside as I eased up a bit, she got this once-in-a-lifetime moment,” Huddle said in an interview on Universal Sports after the race. “I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers, so it’s frustrating.

“In that last half step, I just let up too much. Emily [Infield] was right there the whole time with just more momentum. She got that bronze. It’s going to take a long time to get over.

“I just didn’t want to mess up on the last lap – and I did. I don’t know when that chance will come again.”

Huddle slowed down so much that Infield beat her by nine tenths of a second and in doing so became the first non-African born woman to win a world championship medal in the 10,000m since fellow American Kara Goucher won bronze in Osaka eight years ago.

“I just ran through the line,” Infield said. “I feel a little guilty because I feel like Molly let up a little.

“I don’t think she realised how close I was. I was just trying to run through the line. I’m really thrilled.”

Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya won the gold medal ahead of Ethiopian Gelete Burka in second place.