Adam Reynolds on verge of walking out on South Sydney Rabbitohs as club holds firm on offer


Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Jai Arrow, Campbell Graham, Damien Cook, Thomas Burgess, Tevita Tatola, Liam Knight, Hame Sele, Keaon Koloamatangi, Jacob Host and Jed Cartwright are the 12 Rabbitohs players contracted until the end of 2023.

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The Cowboys are sitting back and waiting with interest, and are in the process of compiling an offer to lure the halfback away from Redfern, where he has played his entire career.

The Rabbitohs don’t want to disrespect Reynolds but had hoped the halfback would be considerate of the club’s salary cap position and future planning. However, it appears that ship has sailed with the club now bracing for the 2014 premiership winner to explore his options at rival clubs.

The club had also hoped to deal with the matter privately, but Reynolds decided to voice his frustrations with negotiations in an interview in February. The matter has since been played out in the media as a result.

The club has a big opinion of young halves Lachlan Ilias and Blake Taafe, who led the club to the 2019 Jersey Flegg title, and is hoping to get value for money out of the pair in the early stages of their careers to help balance the salary cap in the event of Reynolds leaving.

The Cowboys may not be the only Queensland club in the market for Reynolds, with speculation that both the Titans and Broncos are considering having a crack at landing his signature.

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ANA Inspiration: Patty Tavatanakit holds off Lydia Ko to win first major of year


The ANA Inspiration winner traditionally celebrates by leaping into Poppie’s Pond
-18 P Tavatanakit (Tha); -16 L Ko (NZ); -11 N Koerstz Madsen (Den), S Feng (Chn), N Korda (US), K Sei-young (Kor); -10 A Ewing (US), J Ko (Kor), I Park (Kor)
Selected others: -7 C Hull (Eng), M Reid (Eng); -4 L Maguire (Ire); -3 G Hall (Eng); E B Law (Eng)

Rookie Patty Tavatanakit claimed her first major despite a stunning record-equalling round of 62 by Lydia Ko at the ANA Inspiration in California.

Thailand’s Tavatanakit, 21, shot a four-under 68 to complete a wire-to-wire victory at Rancho Mirage as she finished two clear of New Zealand’s Ko.

Ko set a tournament-record 29 on the front nine and matched Lorena Ochoa’s record low score for a round.

Tavatanakit is the first rookie to win the event since Juli Inkster in 1984.

“I just wanted to be done since this morning,” she said, after claiming her first LPGA title.

“I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, but I meditated twice this morning and just stayed patient. I knew I had to be really strong mentally.”

Ko, who won the tournament in 2016, made seven birdies and an eagle on the first 11 holes of the Dinah Shore course to threaten Tavatanakit’s lead.

However Ko – who became world number one aged 17 but who has been winless since April 2018 – made just one birdie in the final seven holes.

“It just shows it doesn’t matter how far back you are, you can always go for it,” added the two-time major winner, who had started the day eight shots adrift.

Ko’s bogey-free 62 was not enough to secure a ‘comeback’ title just hours after Jordan Spieth managed the feat in Texas, but it is the lowest final round in LPGA major history and suggests her rebuild with coach Sean Foley is close to bearing fruit.

England’s Charley Hall was tied for 14th on seven under alongside compatriot Mel Reid, who finished strongly with a 67.

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BJP holds protests demanding resignation of Anil Deshmukh


NCP workers hit the streets in Nagpur in support of the State Home Minister and decrying the corruption claims as a bid to defame him.

BJP workers on Sunday staged protests in Nagpur and Pune demanding resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in view of allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

While Mr. Deshmukh is facing flak, NCP activists hit streets in Nagpur against Mr. Singh alleging that he was defaming the State Home Minister.

Days after he was shunted as Mumbai Police Commissioner, Mr. Singh wrote a letter to the CM claiming Mr. Deshmukh, a senior NCP leader from Nagpur district, had asked Mr. Vaze and other police officers to collect ₹100 crore monthly from bars and hotels in Mumbai.

Leading a protest in Pune, State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said there was no moral ground left for the Shiv Sena- led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to remain in power.

In Nagpur, demonstrations were led by former State Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule at Sanvidhan square where slogans were against the State government.

 

A demonstration was also organised by workers of the BJP Yuva Morcha outside the residence of Mr. Deshmukh in the city.

Meanwhile, NCP’s Nagpur unit president Anil Ahirkar said allegations against Mr. Deshmukh were a conspiracy to defame him.

Mr. Deshmukh had dismissed allegations raised by Mr. Singh as baseless and termed them as a bid by the IPS officer to save himself from inquiry.

Mr. Singh was shunted out as Mumbai Police Commissioner in the midst of investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into recovery of an explosives-laden vehicle which was found parked outside the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani last month.

The NIA had arrested assistant inspector of Mumbai Police, Sachin Vaze, in the case.

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Boris Johnson holds virtual call with Hong Kongers who’ve fled China’s crackdown


“They shared a lot of appreciation and gratitude to the Prime Minister for opening up the immigration routes,” Kandiah said.

“Their main reasons for leaving Hong Kong were freedom of speech and wanting a better life for their children – most of them had schoolchildren.

“But they said they were quite emotional about having to leave their families behind in order to make that investment in the next generation.

“They also suggested some things that might need improving to make their resettlements smoother, particularly the recognition of their qualifications, and there was a big commitment from the government to explore that.”

Johnson told the families he was “proud” to be able to offer them a pathway to British citizenship and had no doubt they would feel “very much at home in Britain”.

“On behalf of the whole country I want to say how glad we are to have you here and how proud we are that you have chosen the UK to live,” Johnson said, according to a statement from Number 10.

“I believe strongly in the prospects the UK can offer for those who want to make their lives here and I have no doubt that you are going to feel very much at home.

“The UK has a long and proud history of embracing those who arrive on our shores seeking the inalienable rights and freedoms denied to them in their homeland,” the Prime Minister said.

Britain has, several times, declared China in breach of its legally binding international commitment guaranteeing Hong Kong autonomy, made during the handover.

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One sentence holds the key to $250m Nuix fortune


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Nuix’s defence statement says it “remains bound by the consent judgment” to record Mr Sheehy’s equity interest as a right to receive only 453,273 Nuix shares.

Meanwhile, documents lodged by Mr Sheehy’s legal team from Kardos Scanlan say the consent judgment was merely to determine the expiry date of Mr Sheehy’s options not any conversion rights.

“The number of shares to which the applicant was entitled upon exercise of the remaining 2008 options was not part of the subject matter of the dispute in the 2018 proceedings,” says the Notice of Filing on behalf of Mr Sheehy.

Nuix investor, Ausbil Investment Management’s Mason Willoughby-Thomas, says he has no view on the merits of the case but points out that the prospect of a Sheehy victory was covered off in the prospectus.

“The IPO was priced on a post dilution basis … so that was specifically taken into account in the IPO process, and in the way that we have valued it ourselves,” he said.

However, the issue for Nuix will be that its recent share price plunge will add to the potential damages Mr Sheehy might win. This cost, potentially in excess of a $100 million, has not been factored into Nuix’s prospectus.

Despite the prospect of a lengthy legal stoush between Nuix and Mr Sheehy and doubts about whether it can meet its full year guidance, Ausbil still likes the investment case for the company.

“You’ve got unique IP-based competitive advantages and a leadership position in the market, particularly around the Nuix engine, which is the core of their offering,” Mr Willoughby-Thomas said.

“You’ve got a large and growing addressable market, and the company’s profitable … so there’s still a lot to like.”

However, he’s not expecting a quick rebound in Nuix’s share price, saying the current state of the bond market may now be the key issue weighing down the stock.

“I’m pretty sure that that didn’t help their cause with the whole sector experiencing a reasonably significant de-rate,” Mr Willoughby-Thomas said. “A lot of tech companies have fallen 30 to 40 per cent since the jack up in bond yields.”

The matter between Nuix and Mr Sheehy is back before the courts next month.

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Goulburn’s former Saint Patrick’s Tech School holds northern reunion | Goulburn Post


community, Goulburn, St Patrick’s Technical College, reunion, Peter Watts, Greg Quilter

Former students of Saint Patrick’s Technical School took a trip down memory lane when they gathered in Queensland for a reunion late last month. Organised by Paul Wales, Greg Quilter and Margaret Burnell (Hogan), the February 26 to 28 event united those now living in southern and north Queensland but also several Goulburn residents. Some also travelled from Hobart, the NSW south coast and the Hunter region. Spokesman, Goulburn man Peter Watt said Mount Tamborine motel was usually booked out for the annual weekend. This year, 37 people attended, with numbers slightly down due to the COVID-19. ALSO READ: Swap meet plans go into full swing for May event “The original concept for the weekend started after a conversation between Greg Quilter and John Bensley who served on the same ship in the Australian navy,” Mr Watts said. “In 2016/17 they got together for a drink, which grew into a larger gathering with a few fellow school mates from St Pat’s Tech who now reside in southern Queensland and northern NSW.” The reunions have been running since 2017. One special part of the Saturday night dinner was a solemn moment to remember those who had passed way, especially Thomas (Billy) Daniel who died earlier this year. Mr Watts said Mr Daniel and wife Kathy had booked the motel to attend this year’s reunion. ALSO READ: ‘Grassroots campaign’ aims to oust Taylor from Hume seat The event spanned three days and included music and a cake cutting at the main dinner. “A great weekend was had by all and early indications are that next year’s event could see a much larger attendance,” Mr Watts said. Saint Patrick’s Technical School was located in Bourke Street, opened in 1915 and closed in 1965 when classes moved to Saint Patrick’s College. We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

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Pope Francis Holds Mass at Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium


Pope Francis celebrated Sunday Mass with Iraqis in Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium on March 7 as his historic visit to the country was coming to an end. At least 10,000 people attended the mass, according to Reuters. The Pope was expected to leave for Rome the following day. Credit: Vatican News via Storyful

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March interest rate announcement: RBA holds cash rate at record lows, fueling property price surge


Interest rates are set to stay at the same historically low levels, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced at its March meeting on Tuesday, despite the fact they’re further fuelling the “frenzied” housing market.

The official interest rate is being held at its record rock bottom 0.1 per cent – a rate expected to continue well into the foreseeable future – in a decision that comes as no surprise to market experts.

“They can see how low interest rates are feeding into the economy in a number of different ways in lowering the cost of people’s mortgages and giving them more disposable income,” said HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham.

“But the RBA is fairly unconcerned about the pick-up in the housing market as they see the housing mechanisms as one of the ways they are supporting the economy. The governor has said before that we’ve had a four-year pause in national housing prices, so they’re comfortable if they rise even further from here.”

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More worrying, however, has been the sharp rise in bond yields, which on Friday prompted a sell-off in global equity markets. The RBA stepped in three times last week to buy bonds in an attempt to push the yield down, but it moved only slightly, and is still sitting higher than the policy target of 0.1 per cent.

It’s led to speculation that, while low interest rates will stay for a while yet, they certainly won’t last the three years that the RBA has previously predicted.

While the RBA has repeatedly said the cash rate won’t be increased until inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent range — conditions requiring significantly higher wage growth and gains in employment not expected until 2024 — some experts believe a rise will come earlier than that.

“The interest rate will be put up sooner than the late 2023 they indicated,” said Propertybuyer.com.au chief executive Rich Harvey. “The long-term bond yield has started to pick up and is having an effect on the economy.”

“The economy is picking up more quickly than everyone expected, there’s a lot of optimism around and the vaccine is now being rolled out. The RBA may have to adjust its thinking before too long.”

With local business investment bouncing back, and iron ore prices strengthening, the rebound in consumer confidence has caught many economists unawares.

But that optimism is now being felt across Australia, in both metropolitan and regional areas, according to Elders head of home and commercial finance Debbie Ettridge. She believes the RBA’s expectations that the economy will expand 3.5 per cent in both 2021 and 2022 look sound, and the ensuing confidence has led to both first-home buyers and investors flooding back into the market.

“Demand is outstripping supply across the sectors of the market, yields are up and there is a spring in the step,” she said. “From a finance perspective, we are seeing some lenders coming to the party with policy and postcode restrictions being eased both in the residential and commercial sectors.”

“It is fair to say that on the back of the global and national economic outlook, which is cautiously optimistic given quantitative easing and COVID-19 being harnessed through vaccines, we can at least now take a breath and move forward.”

Many indicators suggest it’s onward and upward from here. Australian online marketplace Oneflare, for instance, has released new consumer data that suggests the property market shows signs of further heat while interest rates remain at their current level.

Its latest study has found real estate agent bookings are up 80 per cent, property management bookings are up 63 per cent and – in an indication that people are even keener to upsize, downsize or right-size – removalist bookings are up 82 per cent.

“Never before have we seen this size uptick in property-related jobs on our platform,” said Oneflare chief executive Billy Tucker. “With the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently revealing that a record 8192 loans for home building were approved nationally during December – an extraordinary increase of 15.3 per cent over the previous month’s record result – the property market is showing no signs of slowing down.”

“You really can see the impact of a buoyant housing market play out through our bookings. If people are incentivised to buy, sell and build, it creates thousands of jobs for our nation.”

With unemployment figures less than feared, and hopes that the end of JobKeeper on March 28 and JobSeeker on March 31 will prove no more than a blip on the radar of the long-term health of the nation, inflation is still well below the RBA’s target band, says Mr Bloxham.

“But to get it to lift we still need unemployment to keep falling a lot further to put pressure on sluggish wages growth and flow through into inflation since we have little population growth with no new migrants or foreign students.”

Meanwhile, it’s up to the low cash rate, and rising confidence, to push the housing market on.

“The low interest rate is driving up a frenzied level of activity and we’re seeing some very aggressive buying tactics encouraged by FOMO,” said Mr Harvey.

“We’re now seeing unprecedented numbers at auctions and some desperate buying since there’s limited stock in prime areas, like Sydney’s eastern suburbs, northern beaches, inner west and lower north shore. That will continue as long as we have such cheap money.”

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WGC-Workday Championship: Brooks Koepka holds one-shot lead after day two


Brooks Koepka bettered his opening-round 67 by one to move into the lead at Concession
-11 B Koepka (US); -10 B Horschel (US), C Morikawa (US), C Smith (Aus); -9 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), W Simpson (US), T Finau (US); -8 P Reed (US), K Kisner (US)
Selected others: -7 L Oosthuizen (SA); -5 R McIlroy (NI); -3 B DeChambeau (US), S Garcia (Spa); -2 A Rai (Eng); -1 T Hatton (Eng), L Westwood (Eng); Level J Rose (Eng); +2 R MacIntyre (Sco); D Johnson (US); +3 L Canter (Eng), T Fleetwood (Eng)

American four-time major winner Brooks Koepka holds a one-shot advantage after the second round at the WGC-Workday Championship at Concession, Florida.

Koepka, 30, carded a six-under-par 66 despite bogeying the 18th to stand 11 under for the tournament.

Compatriots Billy Horschel and Collin Morikawa, and Australian Cameron Smith, are tied second going into the weekend.

Rory McIlroy, bidding to complete a full set of World Golf Championship titles, is six shots off the pace.

First-round leaders Matthew Fitzpatrick of England and American Webb Simpson both managed 69s on Friday and are joined by Tony Finau at nine under.

Patrick Reed, the winner of the WGC-Mexico Championship in 2020, shot a second successive round of 68 to sit tied eighth, one shot further back, where he is joined by fellow American Kevin Kisner.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, 31, had a mixed second day, his round of 70 including a double bogey on the seventh, three bogeys and seven birdies to sit at five under.

Elsewhere, US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau responded to finishing five over on Thursday by carding a 64 – the day’s joint-best alongside Morikawa.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who ended the opening day alongside DeChambeu, improved to two over.

England’s Aaron Rai is two under, with compatriots Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood both at one under. Justin Rose is level par, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre is two over, while Laurie Canter and Tommy Fleetwood are a further shot back.

The year’s first World Golf Championship event in Bradenton has replaced the WGC-Mexico Championship, which was cancelled because of Covid-19 concerns.

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2021 holds promise for small businesses – capitalise on it with compelling content


Let’s just say 2021 may not entirely be the new start many of us were hoping for. But vaccine rollouts on the horizon aren’t the only reason for small businesses to feel optimistic.

In reality, this year can be a fantastic opportunity for many small businesses. Many Aussies realise that small businesses have been through the wringer in 2020 – and they want to do their bit to support the sector.

This creates an opening for small businesses across Australia to broaden their customer base and offset some of the losses caused by 2020’s lockdowns. With the pandemic continuing through 2021, our reliance and support for our communities will continue to prevail.

For those small businesses looking to make the most of this opportunity, here are three key considerations to keep in mind in 2021:

The value of video

Gotten to know Netflix on a deeper level during the pandemic? You’re not alone. By bringing more video into your marketing materials, you can more easily grab potential customers’ attention and keep them engaged.

Next step: Think about where video might be more effective than images to communicate your key messages for the year. If you find gaps in your content library, consider how you could fill them with stock footage or repurpose footage you already have.

Dive into diversity and sustainability

Between ongoing economic uncertainty and consumers bombarded by more digital media ever – up 19 per cent in 2020 – it’s an especially crucial year for businesses to get visual communication right if they want to stand out.

Our Visual GPS research suggests that while four in five consumers say they expect brands to be consistently committed to diversity and inclusion, only half of them feel accurately represented. Nearly 80 per cent of ANZ consumers feel companies need to do a better job at capturing the true lifestyles and cultures of diverse people, including those of different ethnicities, abilities and age groups.

When it comes to sustainability, small details – like avoiding single-use plastics – can reflect your business’s sustainable choices in ways that could pay dividends. After all, 85 per cent of ANZ consumers expect companies to be environmentally conscious in all their advertising and communications.

Next step: Run a critical eye over your image and video library to see whether you feel it is representative and authentic, and whether it reflects your values when it comes to sustainability.

Move with the times and inspire hope

Life looks pretty different for many of us than it did a year ago. It’s no surprise that in the past year, iStock has seen a whopping 2157 per cent increase in searches for “working from home”, and a 590 per cent increase in “video conference”. It is critical that your content in 2021 is reflective of your customers’ reality.

Next step: Look for imagery that depicts authentic moments that balance what life is like today, with hopes for tomorrow.

By taking simple steps to ensure your content connects in a genuine way, your small business can set itself apart, broaden its customer base and drive growth.

Kate Rourke, Head of Creative Insights – APAC, iStock by Getty Images



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