Fire guts Chepstowe home

A CRIME scene guard has been placed at the site of a house fire in Chepstowe, near Snake Valley, which erupted over the weekend.
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Police say the home’s occupants were away for the weekend, only to return late yesterday to find their home destroyed.

Clothes still hung from the untouched clothes line this morning as the house they belonged to lay in rubble just metres away.

Smoke was visible still rising from the former structure, now nothing more than a pile of ruins.

CFA District 16 Operations Officer Ross Anderson said the Snake Valley fire brigade arrived last night to find there was nothing they could do.

“We were called at 7pm, but there were unconfirmed reports the house was seen on fire the day before,” he said.

“By the time our guys arrived, it was all over – there’s just three chimneys left now.”

Mr Anderson said fire investigators would examine the scene this morning.

The Kennedy Road property is secluded from all main roads and traffic thoroughfares in the district, meaning the destroyed home was only discovered yesterday.

Police are currently treating the blaze as suspicious, until investigations prove otherwise.

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

The occupants of this house in Snake Valley returned from a weekend away to find it razed. PICTURE: JORDAN OLIVER

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

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

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Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in July

Scenes from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in July

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

Weekend sport, August 4-5

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Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

Weekend sport, August 4-5

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Duval High School Careers Festival

Nanjing Night Net

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

Scenes from the Careers Festival

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

Classic win for Dale

MONA Vale golfer Dale Brandt-Richards credits a good approach on the 12th hole at Port Macquarie yesterday for getting him over the line in the RBS Morgans Seaside Classic.
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Brandt-Richards was two over and one behind the leader when he played a good drive, followed by a five-iron shot onto the green.

He sank the 40-foot putt to get onto a good roll on the back nine and along with it, get his tournament back on track.

“I birdied the next two after that,” he said.

Brandt-Richards carded two under over the two days to win the tournament from Christopher Akers and Mitchell Harry.

The former South West Rocks player was thrilled with his performance.

It was his first win on the Port Macquarie greens.

“I’m happy with the result,” he said shortly after the win yesterday.

“I’ve played here a few times.

“I worked hard this time and expected myself to do well.

“That’s more satisfying, I think.”

He’s not just satisfied with winning the event once, either.

“There’s definitely some improvement there,” Brandt-Richards said.

“I want to come back next year and improve.”

Dale Brandt-Richards in action.

Dale Brandt-Richards in action.

Seaside Classic winner. Dale Brandt-Richards

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One complaint finds hundreds more underpaid

Workers in Western Australia were among almost 400 across the country found to have been underpaid by a hygiene services company.
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A single complaint from a service technician in South Australia resulted in the discovery that hundreds of her co-workers had also been underpaid more than $354,000.

The employees worked for Pink Hygiene Solutions, owned by Sydney-based Rentokil Initial Pty Ltd.

In March 2010, the Fair Work Ombudsman received a complaint in Adelaide from a former employee about under-payment and non-payment of overtime.

Deficiencies with Rentokil’s record-keeping practices prevented Fair Work inspectors from accurately calculating outstanding entitlements for the worker.

While the complaint was subsequently settled between the parties, the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a contravention letter to the company requiring it to ensure its compliance with workplace laws.

In response, a self-audit by Rentokil revealed inadvertent errors in applying overtime provisions had resulted in 396 current and former employees being underpaid a total of $354,494 between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009.

The underpayments ranged from as little as $8 to as much as $5200.

More than $75,000 is still owing to 139 former staff who are yet to provide the company with their bank details to allow the outstanding entitlements to be paid.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully said Rentokil had co-operated fully with the agency.

Rentokil will also make a $40,000 donation to the Working Women’s Centre in South Australia to assist it to promote the need for employer compliance with national workplace laws.Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Deckchair police give sun hogs a towelling

No more hogging the sun … Carnival Cruises in Europe plans to have ‘deckchair police’ to prevent passengers from reserving the best spots by leaving their towels on the chairs all day.World’s five best places to see by shipMaiden voyage of the Scenic CrystalMore on cruising
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You’ve seen it before, a towel on a sun lounger with no-one in sight. Aside from a stamp of your foot and looking longingly at the primo poolside parking plateau there hasn’t been much you could do – until now.

Similar to parking inspectors, Carnival cruise ships are now trialling the use of “team monitors” to keep tabs on loungers’ occupancy with a view that cruisers “use it or lose it”, London’s Telegraph reports.

With a sweep of a marker by the seat police, a 40-minute countdown begins for that unoccupied deckchair to then be made available to the masses.

No longer will precious sunlight hours be stolen with a flick of a towel by 6am seat-savers or glute-resting gluttons.

Instead bags and towels are being removed from the lounger and taken to a retrieval station with an explanatory note being left in their wake.

The result: deckchairs have been returned to their proper use once more, according to the Carnival Breeze ship’s cruise director John Heald, who posted about the new policy on his Facebook page.

“The message is truly getting to the guests as this morning at 9:00am there were 81 empty chairs around the main pool and that as you will all know……………..is remarkable,” he posted.

“As of 10:30am this morning we only had 2 bags of removed items from chairs. That’s just 2 chairs that went over the 40 minutes and had reserved chairs and gone back to bed or elsewhere.”

His ship, which cruises Europe and the Caribbean, is the only one currently implementing the system, but he says all the guests have been appreciative and commenting on the action.

But Heald told USA Today that the new policy eventually will roll out fleetwide.

“Once we finish the test here this cruise and next, we will make adjustments and then add to the rest of the fleet,” he said.

However the same courtesy is not being extended to cruise ships in Australia, with Carnivals Groups’ P&O Cruises saying that it just isn’t necessary.

“The problems with control over the use of deckchairs is confined to the sun-deprived northern hemisphere. It’s never been an issue here among the Australians and New Zealanders,” P&O Cruises spokesman David Jones said.

“With our locally owned cruise ships and ops here we don’t have the same problems to contend with; sunbathed Kiwis and Aussies are so used to being in the sun that they don’t have as much demand on deckchairs as some others.”

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Ability to fail quickly an important skill

Sometimes it makes better sense to cut out early than struggle on.Is there a bigger business myth than: “Most small businesses fail”? The failure rate for small business in Australia and other advanced economies is not as bad as the perception suggests, although I suspect it depends on how failure is defined.
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It is a critical topic, given there are 2.13 million actively trading business in Australia, according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. The perception that most small businesses fail over time can discourage people from launching a venture, exaggerate small business risks, and make owners too risk averse and fearful.

Australian entrepreneurs had the second-highest fear of failure, just behind the Republic Of Korea, in innovation-driven economies, the 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) shows. Thankfully, Australia had the second-highest Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity, second only to the United States.

I’m sure many small business owners and entrepreneurs hesitate to launch a venture because of the perception that the vast majority fail.

The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, at the Queensland University of Technology, recently published an interesting note on new business failure rates. In “The New Venture Mortality Myth”, Dr Jonathan Levie, from Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde, examined overseas data on business failure rates.

He concluded: “Studies show that in the world’s most advanced economies, new businesses do not suffer a high failure rate.” Levie considered data from the OECD Entrepreneurship Indicators Program that showed the five-year persistence rate for new businesses averaged just over 50 per cent.

“We found the myth of high failure rates was perpetuated by poor-quality referencing,” he wrote.

“These practices are used by promoters of books on how to achieve success and avoid failure in business, journalists in search of sensationalist stories, successful entrepreneurs who believe they are ‘special’, business advisers and trainers who wish to justify their work, and suppliers of business equipment and services … and, yes, academics who wish to justify their business research.”

Ouch! Levie does not examine the issue from an Australian perspective and appears to consider all new businesses in his findings on failure. The ABS data on business entries and exits suggests slightly higher failure rates in new Australian businesses.

The ABS found that of 316,850 new business entries in 2007-08, 71.5 per cent were still operating in June 2009, 56.8 per cent were still operating in June 2010 and 48.6 per cent were still operating in June 2011.

Its latest Counts of Australian Businesses report said: “The survival rates for new businesses are significantly lower than for those businesses that were already established.”

About 60 per cent of established businesses running in 2007 were still operating four years later.

ABS data suggests just over half of new businesses in Australia fail within four years. To be fair, the research’s sample period (2007 to 2011) was mostly during the global financial crisis.

Some might conclude the small business failure rate in Australia is reasonably good given the incredible challenges some industries experienced during the GFC.

To put this in perceptive, many people lose or change their jobs within four years, so the data showing just over half of new businesses fail after four years seems in line with other aspects of the economy.

And is a higher failure rate necessarily a bad thing, if it is partly because business owners had the sense to close their venture early, move on and reallocate capital to a better idea?

The real issue is: How many small businesses perform well below the owner’s expectations for years and in reality have failed, even though they don’t register as such in official statistics?

Such a business might still submit a Business Activity Statement, and is thus not considered “dormant” by the ABS. Yet in its owner’s eyes, the venture has failed even though it muddles along, making his or her life a nightmare.

In my view, if there was a way to add in these businesses, the failure rate would be significantly higher.

Then there is the issue of separating fast-growth entrepreneurial ventures from small businesses, given most data does not distinguish between them. High-growth start-up ventures should have a much higher failure rate, given the bigger risks involved.

As The Venture has written many times, some ethical failure is useful, as entrepreneurs learn how to recover from setbacks and develop new skills.

In fact, being able to fail quickly is an important skill for entrepreneurs who see their ideas as a “portfolio of experiments,” where they launch hypotheses rather than fully formed and funded business ideas.

So don’t believe everything you read about massive failure rates in Australian small business, and don’t for a minute believe small business or entrepreneurship is easy.

The best advice is to have a clear exit point when you know your venture has been performing below expectations for too long, and to take action early.

Don’t be one of the tens of thousands of business owners who struggle with underperforming ventures for years, out of pride. They may not show up in official business failure statisics. But in many ways, their failure hurts a lot more, and for a lot longer.

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

We’re up there with the best, says Sports Minister

“Up there with the best” … Sports Minister Kate Lundy.Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy has defended Australia’s swag of silver medals at the Olympic games, saying that Australia was coming “so close so many times”.
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“It’s a millimetre or a millisecond and it’s just not going our way,” she told ABC radio from London.

With the Olympic games more than halfway over, Australia has scored one gold medal and 12 silver.

“I don’t think that diminishes the achievements of our silver medallists. They’re on the podium. We’re still way up there with the best of the best,” Senator Lundy said.

The Sports Minister said that there would likely be an “assessment” of Australia’s high-performance program after the Olympics but insisted that the national sports system was working well.

“There’s no one piece of our sports system that’s broken,” Senator Lundy said. “What we do need to do is to continue to innovate.”

Yesterday, the Prime Minister– who had been watching the games while she was on holidays – lauded the performance of Australia’s competitors.

“There’s a lot of pressure on people’s shoulders, many of them very young. But there’s so much to be proud of as we watch our athletes at the games,” Julia Gillard said.

Senator Lundy’s comments come after the head of Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, said that more attention should be given to schools, to help identify the next Cathy Freeman Ian Thorpe.

“The area [that] needs a lot of attention – and if not funding, government attention in terms of policy – is getting sport back on the school curricula,” he told ABC radio this morning.

“The British are making a big thing of that being one of the legacies that they are looking towards. They’ve been achieving that, not across the board, but a greater emphasis upon sport in the schools – and we need that because we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a talent pool.”

Senator Lundy’s comments also come as Australian athletes have hit back at media critics of silver medal performances.

Long jumper and silver medallist Mitchell Watt said there needed to be more understanding of how hard it was to win Olympic gold medals.

“The team’s happy, I’m happy, the head coach is happy. I’ve got thousands of messages back home that they are happy. The only people that aren’t happy are you guys. So you need to wake up,” he posted on Twitter.

Follow the National Times on Twitter

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

Ask Noel

I am 61 and my father passed away recently, leaving his house to my brother and me. I wish to stay in the house and pay my brother his half share. Most of my money is in a super fund, with a small amount in a managed fund. Can I withdraw money from my super fund to pay my brother? If not, is there another alternative?
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There should be no problem withdrawing the money if you are not working. If you are working, you will need to trigger a condition of release which means resigning from a job – it need not be your main job. If this is not possible, you could possibly obtain access to some funds by using a transition-to-retirement pension. Your adviser will be able to guide you.

My husband works overseas as an underground miner because if he worked in Australia, he would be in the highest tax bracket of 45 per cent, as he earns more than $180,000. If he was to return to work in Australia, can we avoid paying that much tax by salary sacrificing to our super, or is there an alternative?

Deductible contributions to super are now limited to $25,000 a year from all sources, but they still afford a substantial tax saving for high-income earners. You could also borrow for income-producing assets such as property and shares, but the income from these tends to negate the tax deductions that come from the interest. Just remember that the tax benefits are the cream on the cake.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网.

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