Month: April 2019

Gebrselassie retires from competitive running

“Running legend Haile Gebrselassie announced his retirement from competitive running at the Great Manchester Run today where he ran his last competitive race,” the statement said.

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Gebrselassie was quoted as saying: “I am retiring from competitive running, not from running. You cannot stop running, this is my life. And I am still enjoying my farewell tour like today in Manchester.”

His manager, Jos Hermens, could not be reached to explain the new statement.

“Yes, probably a kind of retirement!” Hermens said in a text message alerting Reuters to the new statement.

Earlier, Hermens had texted Reuters: “No, he’s not retiring; he will be in Glasgow in October. He’ll probably never retire.”

Gebrselassie, 42, had told BBC Sport he was retiring from competitive running after finishing 16th in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.

But it is not the first time he has talked about calling it quits.

Gebrselassie had tearfully retired five years ago after knee problems forced him to drop out of the New York City Marathon.

But he returned to racing a few months later.

Hermens admitted Gebrselassie was training a lot less than before, “so may be kind of a farewell trip in the UK!” the manager said of Gebrselassie’s upcoming race in Glasgow.

The soft-spoken Gebrselassie achieved success both on the track and the roads during his long career.

Nearly unbeatable on the track in his prime, he won his first of eight indoor and outdoor world championships at Stuttgart in 1993 and went on to hold world records from the 5,000 metres to the marathon.

His Olympic medals came in the 10,000 metres in successive Olympics, 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney.

Gebrselassie will now focus more on his businesses in Ethiopia where he is involved in real estate projects, owns four hotels, a coffee plantation and is an automobile distributor, his management company’s statement said.

“He will also remain a running ambassador and wants to stay

active in athletics.”

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Meadows)

Tampon tax debate flares ahead of GST review

As the next federal budget looms, there’s been fresh attempts to re-insert the tax on tampons into the GST debate.

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Over 34,000 people have signed an online petition calling on federal Treasurer Joe Hockey to remove the tax in the upcoming GST review.

The communityrun南宁夜生活, campaign was launched by Sydney University student Subeta Vimalarajah, who questions the fairness of what she says amounts to taxing a bodily function.

“Because the government doesn’t consider the tampons and pads we’re forced to buy every few weeks necessary enough to be GST-free,” Ms Vimalarajah writes in her petition.

“On the other hand, condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are all tax-free because they are classed as important health goods.”

The hashtags #StopTaxingMyPeriod and #BloodyOutrage have been spreading the message on social media.

Ms Vimalarajah says the government should give greater consideration to women’s reproductive health and hygiene.

“People who get periods don’t buy pads and tampons for pleasure, so why are we forced to fork out an extra 10 per cent every two, three, four weeks?” she asks.

“Taxing Australians for getting their period isn’t just sexist, it’s fundamentally unfair.”

It’s not the first petition calling for the scrapping of the tax on tampons, a 2013 campaign garnered over 43,000 signatures.

The government is currently taking submissions for a GST re-think, which would feed into its policy preparation process for the 2016 election.

Condoms, nicotine patches & lube are GST-free, but tampons are not. It doesn’t add up. Sign this please. 南宁桑拿,南宁夜生活,/QYjcCW9blH

— Michael Beveridge (@mickyb273) May 9, 2015There’s nothing “luxurious” about nornal female bodily functions. #StopTaxingMyPeriod @joehockey 南宁桑拿,南宁夜生活,/tXgPwVP6KV

— Yasmin Vought (@Yazberries) May 9, 2015Periods are taxing enough without the GST. #StopTaxingMyPeriod #NoWombForTax 南宁桑拿,南宁夜生活,/ZkSiWl5ul8

— Kara Bee (@kararabee) May 8, 2015

Prince Harry schools up on German

Prince Harry has arrived at the only school on New Zealand’s Stewart Island, Halfmoon Bay School, which has just two teachers and 24 students.

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He’s getting the chance to see how the students, aged between five and 13, make the most of video and online technology to enhance their learning from their remote location, which is 30km south of NZ’s South Island.

The royal visitor sat in on a German class for beginners, being taught by Stephanie Michel from her home in Taranaki, in NZs North Island.

Ms Michel asked Prince Harry if he could speak any other languages.

“I learned French at school, but I’ve forgotten most of it,” he said.

The prince wanted to learn Spanish, but said his teacher told him not to bother.

“I wish I could speak German.”

Along with the four Halfmoon Bay School students, Prince Harry also got to interact with children at schools in Taranaki and Auckland.

After chatting with the German students, the prince went into another classroom where pupils performed a waiata.

Some of the students were wearing colourful crowns they had made for the occasion.

Prince Harry’s school visit comes after he joined locals at Stewart Island’s only pub, the South Sea Hotel, for its famous expletive-laden Sunday night pub quiz.

The prince, leading a team called the Ginger Ninjas, wasn’t given an easy ride by quiz master Vicki Coats, who at one point asked him for the three ingredients in Eton mess.

The 30-year-old rattled them off correctly, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory – he was beaten by a team made up of his own bodyguards.

After the school visit, Prince Harry will leave the island and be whisked away for his first substantial private time of his week-long trip.

The prince arrived in New Zealand on Saturday following a secondment with the Australian Defence Force.

He will head to Christchurch on Tuesday. His tour will also take in Linton military camp, Whanganui and Auckland.

Deal on Renewable Energy Target reached in principle

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

The political deadlock over a Renewable Energy Target is all but broken, with the Coalition and Labor agreeing on a pared back goal with conditions.

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The federal government and the opposition have agreed in principle to cut the target from a legislated 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000.

That ends months of uncertainty that has stalled clean energy investment and cost jobs.

Both parties will take the deal to their respective party rooms when parliament resumes next week, but Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he is confident.

Amanda Cavill reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

The Renewable Energy Target is a target which requires one fifth of Australia’s energy use to be sourced from renewable energy by 2020.

It is designed to mandate the proportion of electricity generated from selected renewable sources.

The policy is based on taxing electricity users to subsidise selected renewable energy producers, who buy renewable energy certificates.

They can sell to other energy producers if they meet their set targets for renewable energy production.

The large-scale target was set at 41,000 gigawatt hours in 2008, when it was projected to be 20 per cent of demand in 2020.

However, electricity demand has fallen, instead of rising, leaving that target more likely to represent 27 per cent of demand.

And it is that figure that has been causing the problem.

But now the Coalition and opposition have agreed on a figure which will leave the target just above 23 per cent.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says that is good news for Australia and for the renewable energy industry.

“My hope and my expectation is that the Renewable Energy Target issue will be resolved precisely as we said prior to the election. There would be a review. This was the policy. It was the process. This will lead to a renewable energy outcome of 23.5 per cent, approximately. So, not just 20 per cent renewable energy, but about 23.5 per cent. That’s a very significant basis. It will, in fact, be a challenge for the industry to achieve that outcome, but it will be over to them. I hope and expect that this can be settled now.”

Opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler says he, too, is confident a positive result will finally be achieved.

Mr Butler says he will know the exact result early next week.

“I think we’ve got now a position that is the basis for a serious discussion, the possibility to get investment started again, to get projects being built again here in Australia and more jobs created in a critical industry for the 21st century. We’ve got a proposition today based on 33,000 gigawatt hours and some other details to take back to a shadow Cabinet meeting and a caucus meeting that are scheduled for early next week, and we’ll then be in a position to go back to the Government.”

However, he says Labor will not support a last minute demand that wood waste burning emissions be included in the target.

He says the Opposition will vote against that part of the legislation when it comes before the parliament if the Government will not change its mind.

“The Government has also indicated that it wants to open the renewable energy scheme to include the burning of native wood waste, and we’ve indicated that we’re not going to agree to that. Now, at the end of the day, the Government’s going to have to make a decision about whether it is keen on getting a deal that starts investment, secures existing jobs and creates new jobs.”

But Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says he is not concerned.

Mr Macfarlane says the inclusion of wood burning has long been the government’s position.

And he says he is confident of achieving an outcome, even if it involves crossbench support in the Senate.

“We’ve also asked, as we have through the negotiations, that wood waste be included in the Renewable Energy Target, and that’s an issue which we’re yet to agree on. But I’m confident that, one way or the other, we’ll resolve it. The main thing is that we’ll both, as in the Labor Party and also Greg and I will be taking to the Cabinet on Monday and to our party room on Tuesday, a proposal that we accept the 33,000 gigawatt hour target that has been agreed to between the two negotiating teams.”

The Government says, once an final agreement is reached, it hopes to have the legislation in parliament as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Government predicts substantial participation boost from big childcare spend

The government estimates its proposed $3.

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5 billion childcare package will encourage more than 240,000 families to increase their involvement in paid employment, including almost 38,000 jobless families.

The changes, starting in July 2017, would see those on family incomes between $65,000 and $170,000 on average about $30 a week better off, while high income earners would have their entitlements protected and an increase in the cap on them.

The government is selling its initiative as a workforce participation measure, so justifying generous help to the wealthy and a tough attitude on requiring most people to work, study or train if they are to receive the subsidy.

The extra $3.5 billion spending over the forward estimates is to be funded by the tough changes to the family tax benefits system that did not pass the Senate after the 2014 budget. The trade off will require winning Senate support, probably from the crossbench because Labor remains opposed to the hit on family tax benefits.

Labor families’ spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said the opposition would examine the childcare plan but reaffirmed “we will not be cutting family tax benefits”. She said it was evident the budget would contain very significant cuts to families’ budgets.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Joe Hockey on Sunday announced a saving of nearly $1 billion over the forward estimates by stopping people “double dipping” on paid parental leave – getting benefits from both their employer and the government scheme. Where the employer scheme is less generous than the government one, they will be able to top up.

Hockey said the double dipping was mostly by people who earned more than $90,000 a year. Asked how many people had been double dipping Hockey said “it would be thousands. We have not put a specific figure on it at this stage”.

Under the child care plan there will be a single means tested childcare subsidy for all families, but with varying provisions according to circumstances.

For family incomes up to $65,000 the subsidy will be 85 per cent per child of the fee or a benchmark price (whichever is lower). This will reduce to 50 per cent for family incomes of $170,000 and above at the time the scheme is implemented.Family with incomes less than $185,000 will no longer have a cap on what they receive.A $10,000 cap per child at the time of introduction will be established for the total value of subsidies for family incomes of $185,000 or above. At present there is a $7500 annual cap on the child care rebate.Hourly benchmark prices at the time of start up will be $11.55 for long day care, $10.70 for family day care, $10.10 for out-of-school hours care and $7 for the in-home nannies pilot starting January next year.A new activities test would put strict requirements on most people for their subsidies. To get up to 36 hours of subsidy a fortnight would require eight to 16 hours of activity; 17-48 hours would be needed for up to 72 hours subsidised care; up to 100 hours would need 49 hours of activity.

But up to 24 hours a fortnight subsidised care would be provided for children from families with incomes under about $65,000 who did not meet the activity test. The government says this is to ensure continued access to early childhood learning.

The present requirement says a person meets the work, training, or study test for the child care rebate “if you and your partner participated in work-related commitments at some time during the week in which you used child care … No minimum number of hours is required”. There are various exemptions.

The government says the package will put downward pressure on child care costs.

The estimates of participation increases are based on research under the auspices of the Social Services department. Quantitative research found that 24 per cent of families with children under 12, both in work and out of work, indicated they would be encouraged to work more as a result of the measures, the government’s “Jobs for Families” announcement said.

“Based on 2011 census data, this would translate to around 240,000 families being encouraged to increase their involved in paid employment. The total number of families encouraged to work would also include almost 38,000 jobless families, where no one is in work.”

The Productivity Commission estimated a quite modest participation dividend from a less generous scheme, noting various factors as well as child care that affect mothers’ decisions about returning to work.

The government’s announcement does not spell out assumptions underpinning its figures, other than the quantitative research.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.