Positive moves in Palmerston with residents planning for the future




When Palmerston’s council was dismissed for poor governance in 2018, it lost the public’s trust. The new council has taken a different approach, relying on a ‘citizen jury’ to help pull together a 10-year plan. Isabel Moussalli reports.

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Stocks making the biggest moves after hours: Nordstrom and more


A person walks into the Nordstrom store open for business as New York City moves into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 29, 2020 in New York, New York.

Rob Kim | Getty Images

Check out the companies making headlines after the bell

Nordstrom — The retail stock dropped roughly 7% in after-hours trading after missing analysts’ first-quarter earnings expectations. Nordstrom reported a quarterly loss of $1.05 per share, while analysts expected a loss of 57 cents per share, according to Refinitiv. The company’s quarterly revenue of $3.01 billion beat the Street’s projection of $2.9 billion.

Urban Outfitters — Shares of the retailer jumped about 6% in extended trading after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings. Urban Outfitters posted first-quarter earnings of 54 cents per share, topping analysts’ estimate of 17 cents per share. The company reported revenue of $927.4 million, which exceeded Wall Street’s $900.1 million expectation.

Zscaler — The security company stock surged 8% after hours following better-than-expected third-quarter earnings results. Zscaler reported earnings of 15 cents per share compared with 7 cents per share expected, and revenue of $176.4 million, higher than $163.7 million estimated by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Agilent Technologies — The manufacturing stock rose about 3% in after-hours trading after posting second-quarter adjusted earnings of 97 cents per share compared with the Street’s estimate of 83 cents per share, according to Refinitiv. Agilent’s quarterly revenue also topped analysts’ projection at $1.5 billion versus $1.4 billion expected.

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Council moves to drop Taste of Tasmania



Last year’s eight-day festival, which is usually the highlight of the Christmas-New Year season, was cancelled following the coronavirus crisis.The council has worked with stakeholders to produce a report on the future of the festival and Councillor Zelinda Sherlock told Monday night’s meeting there was the unanimous view that Taste should move out of council ownership.“It has grown to such a high-level event of state significance, it is no longer suitable for ratepayers to underwrite the festival,” Cr Sherlock said.The council will instruct the chief executive officer to come up with a transition plan to divest the local authority of the festival.Alderman Jeff Briscoe said it was a sad day for the City of Hobart.“But I do agree with the reasons why we need to move on,” he said.“A few years ago the city looked at various proposals to transition out of it and we thought we could continue.“If it’s viable for a private operator or government instrumentality or a small business group, if they approached us for sponsorship money we would do that.”Alderman Damon Thomas said the council should expect to see the decision on the front page of Tuesday’s newspaper and that the Lord Mayor should be prepared for huge outcry.

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Former Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayris moves in with parents while Ocean Reef home is being built


Mother’s Day is extra special this year for former Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayris and her mum, Jo, who haven’t celebrated it together in eight years.

In fact, the model, along with fitness superstar husband Andrew Papadopoulos and cat Missy, have been making up for lost time, and since relocating from Sydney to Perth in December last year, have “claimed a wing” in her parent’s home.

“I definitely wanted to move back to Perth to settle. I want to raise a family here,” Renae said told PerthNow.

Renae and Andrew purchased land in Ocean Reef back in 2019, but progress has been slow — the slab has only just been poured — and they’ll be living with mum and dad, Steve, for longer than they initially planned.

“They were going to rent, then the move was delayed and then COVID hit and the rentals weren’t even possible,” Jo said.

“We made the offer (to move in). I had to check with her dad first…and he was fine with it so we put it to them. And they took a bit of convincing, they thought of it as a big ask.”

But the risk has paid off, only bringing them closer.

“I’m fine with it. It’s my parents, but I was thinking about Andrew. He’s loving it though, great meals cooked every night,” Renae said.

“I love every minute of it,” Jo added.

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Victoria moves to single QR code COVID-19 check-in system amid concerns about compliance


It wasn’t until Rachelle Connor left Victoria and returned that she started to become worried about how QR codes were used in her home state.

At the first restaurant they visited after arriving in Western Australia, Ms Connor and her family were asked to download the SafeWA app before scanning into the venue.

“That’s how diligent they are,” she said.

It was one of the first times she had been told she would not be allowed into a venue without showing proof of her checking in.

“It’s just everywhere, people are doing it and people are complying,” she said.

“And it just struck us that after being in Victoria, where we’ve had so many cases, to go to a state that has had barely any cases, and everyone is still scanning to go into any sort of shop or any outlet was just extraordinary.”

Ms Connor, a council worker, said she had written to businesses since returning home “and I was told that it’s not mandatory in Victoria”.

Most venues, including hospitality, sport facilities, gyms, religious sites, community venues, entertainment venues, real estate inspections, museums, nightclubs, gaming, accommodation and beauty services, are all required to use a QR code system.

Supermarkets, retail and shopping centres are “highly recommended” to use the service.

The results of a recent survey released by the government found only 41 per cent of visitors to hospitality venues checked in every time.

Authorised officers visited a range of venues between April 30 and May 2 and issued warnings or notices about a lack of compliance with the system.

Health Minister Martin Foley said there had been “declining levels of compliance with the kind of measures we need to stay safe and stay open”.

The use of QR codes for contact tracing is in the spotlight after New South Wales authorities praised a couple at the centre of the outbreak for using the state’s system.

Nancy Baxter, head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, said the QR codes were “really helpful” if everyone was using them.

The data collected through the QR codes can work faster than the “deep detective work” of contact tracers, meaning potentially infected people isolate sooner.

But Professor Baxter said their usefulness depended on their uptake.

“Even myself, I try to be vigilant about it, but just recently, I couldn’t seem to get the system to work. Did I persist? No, honestly … and I don’t think I’m unique,” she said.

The government has today announced small-to-medium-sized businesses will have patron caps lifted from May 28.

Venues that are 400 square metres or below will be able to have up to 200 patrons per space — such as a dining room or band room — with the previous rule of one person per 2 square metres removed.

They must use the government’s Service Victoria app and have COVID marshals in place to ensure people are checking in to each space.

Mr Foley said the move to the single system was made on public health advice and after looking around the rest of the nation.

After allowing venues to use their own check-in system for months, Victoria recently mandated the use of the Service Victoria app, or for third-party systems to link back to the government’s interface.

Venues were given an amnesty until April 23 to comply.

There had been some pushback over fears small businesses would be forced to bear the cost of the move to a single program.

The new rules announced today mean all venues must use the government’s app instead, despite many going through the process of having their systems approved over recent weeks.

“Business welcomes the announcement of the easing of restrictions today,” chief executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Paul Guerra said.

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Council moves to quell unease on popular sport and park precinct plan


By Matt Dennien

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GovHub opens in Ballarat as Victoria moves to decentralise public sector workforce


Hundreds of public servants previously based in Melbourne will start moving into Ballarat’s $100 million GovHub building next week after it officially opened this morning.

The plan to move 600  public sector jobs from Melbourne to Ballarat was announced almost four years ago.

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, said it was a fantastic day for Ballarat.

“This is one of the most significant infrastructure, investment and construction projects in Ballarat’s history,” she said.

“Most important of all, it will be the new home for up to 1,000 workers and indeed, almost 900 are going to commence moving in from next week.”

Ms Thomas said 600 of the jobs were either newly created or being relocated from Melbourne.

Employees from the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Consumer Affairs Victoria, Regional Roads Victoria and Working With Children Check Victoria are among those included.

Public servants moving into the building from other offices in Ballarat make up the rest.

Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said it was good to see the government giving regional Victoria more attention.

“I’m pretty excited that we’re finally getting investment in Ballarat, because if you think about the 1980s and 1990s, no-one really cared about the regions,” he said.

“Finally we’re starting to see that the regions are the flavour — it’s not all about the capital city.

“One of the challenges we’ve had for a long time is we haven’t had those higher paying professional jobs that you can get in Melbourne’s CBD.

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Erdogan replaces Turkish trade minister, more cabinet moves expected


FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a statement after a meeting in Ankara
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a statement after a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, April 5, 2021. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/Handout via REUTERS

April 21, 2021

By Orhan Coskun and Ezgi Erkoyun

ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan named a prominent member of Turkey’s ruling AK Party, Mehmet Mus, as trade minister on Wednesday and split another ministry into two, in what officials said was the first move in an expected broader cabinet shuffle.

In a presidential decree Ruhsar Pekcan, the cabinet’s highest-profile woman, was replaced as trade minister by Mus, who is close to former finance minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, a divisive party figure.

The decree, published in the Official Gazette, gave no reason for the change, but it comes after opposition politicians accused Pekcan’s ministry of buying supplies from her family-owned company and called on her to resign.

The Trade Ministry confirmed a purchase of sanitisers had been made, but said in a statement on Tuesday the choice was based on price alone and not due to “the name of the company making the sale”.

It said the sale, worth some 500,000 lira ($62,000), had been carried out in line with relevant regulations.

Erdogan’s overnight changes come amid speculation over a wider cabinet reshuffle, after he changed the country’s top economic management in November, including the central bank governor.

A senior government official told Reuters that further changes to four or five ministries are expected after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ends mid-May.

“There was generally a cabinet reshuffle expectation and that is still valid. But Pekcan’s sanitisers incident was not acceptable,” the official said, adding Erdogan will make the final decision on any further changes.

ALBAYRAK ALLIES

Mus, an AK Party member since 2011 who was deputy chairman in charge of the economy, was among the first to defend Albayrak’s record and call for him to remain in office when Albayrak abruptly resigned as finance minister in November.

A rapid turnover in the last two months at powerful state and financial institutions have left other Albayrak allies in top spots, including Salim Arda Ermut, the new chief executive at Turkey Wealth Fund.

Foreign investors pulled back from Turkey due to unorthodox policies under Albayrak’s watch, including the sale of some $128 billion in foreign currency via state banks in 2019 and 2020 that badly depleted the central bank’s reserves.

“Mus was close to Albayrak,” said a person close to the AK Party who also requested anonymity.

“The cabinet reshuffle expectation did not end with this move. The president is sorting out the timing,” the person added.

According to the decree, Erdogan also established two new ministries by splitting the Family, Labour and Social Policies Ministry into two separate ministries.

He appointed Derya Yanik as Family and Social Policies Minister and Vedat Bilgin as Labour and Social Security Minister, replacing Zehra Zumrut Selcuk.

($1 = 8.1122 liras)

(Additional reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Dominic Evans and Bernadette Baum)

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Moscow prosecutor moves to outlaw Kremlin critic Navalny’s activist network


FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny attends a court hearing in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

April 16, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – State prosecutors in Moscow asked a court on Friday to label jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption group and regional headquarters “extremist” organisations, a move that would ban them and open up activists to long jail terms.

    The move, if approved, would mark one of the most serious steps taken by authorities yet to target the network of groups set up by the staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin who is on hunger-strike as he serves a two-and-half-year jail term.

    Activists caught organising the activity of such groups can be jailed for up to 10 years, people taking part in them can be held criminally liable and the groups themselves are prohibited from any kind of banking activity.

    The Moscow state prosecutor said it had decided to appeal to the court after studying Navalny’s Anti-corruption Foundation and campaign groups that he has built up in regions across the country.

    “Under the guise of liberal slogans, these organisations are engaged in forming the conditions to destabilise the social and social-political situation,” the prosecutor said in a statement on its website.

    “Effectively the goal of their activity is to create the conditions to change the basis of the constitutional order, including by using a ‘colour revolution’ scenario,” it said.

    An outspoken Putin critic for years, Navalny has organised nationwide anti-Kremlin street protests and carved out a following online with investigations alleging corruption by senior Russian officials.

    The opposition politician, who was barred from standing for election against Putin in 2018, was jailed in February for parole violations he said were trumped up. He was arrested at the border as he returned to Russia from Germany where he had been recovering from poisoning by a nerve agent.

    Most of his most prominent allies are either abroad or in Russia facing charges for violations relating to a series of nationwide demonstrations that were staged to protest against his jailing.

Separately on Friday, a court sentenced a cameraman who worked for Navalny’s team of activists to two years in jail for inciting extremism.

The charge related to an anti-government tweet he wrote after the self-immolation of a Russian journalist.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Ex-tropical cyclone Seroja moves well south of the continent so don’t expect more tropical rain


Ex-tropical cyclone Seroja has already made its way into the Great Australian Bight and out to sea, dashing hopes for any desired boost to rainfall in the south-east.

The southerly cyclone brought high winds and heavy rains to regions not accustomed to cyclones and their consequent widespread damage.

According to Jackson Browne, a senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Seroja’s strength and momentum meant it managed to maintain its intensity well inland.

“Given that fast movement, it has crossed the coast into the Bight and its trajectory is putting it well south and east of Tasmania,” he said.

As it moves away, the system is not expected to enhance the cold front making its way across the continent.

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“It’s not looking like a heavy rainfall producer,” Mr Browne said.

In contrast, ahead of the front South Australia is expecting severe fire dangers around the Adelaide area.

“On the Eyre, Yorke and Fleurieu peninsulas, and then going up to about the Flinders Ranges, we are expecting severe fire dangers there,” Mr Browne said.

That heat doesn’t translate all the way across to the south-east though, with western regions of Victoria expected to have very high fire danger today but to return to high and low-moderate danger by tomorrow.

Tight pressure gradients over the south-east could lead to strong winds and warnings as the front moves through Victoria and Tasmania on Wednesday.

The remnants of Cyclone Seroja have moved quickly to the south-east. The following cold front is expected to be relatively dry.(

Supplied: BOM

)

After this front we could be in for a calmer few days of weather, according to Mr Browne.

“We end up in what’s known as a zonal pattern. Most of the weather fronts will just slip east to west south of the continent.

“We’ll get this one front and then it’s going to fine up essentially.”

Cold blast for the south-east

This cold front follows a series over the weekend that brought a chilly blast to the east and the first major cold outbreak of the season.

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“There was an initial front that cooled it down and then the second one that just really reinforced that,” Mr Browne said.

“We saw the lowest temperatures recorded up at Thredbo Top Station with -5.2C and the first reasonable snowfall of the season up in parts of the Alps and Tasmanian Highlands.”

April might feel early for snow, but it’s not unheard of according to Mr Browne.

“Even in summer [the south-east] can get cold outbreaks that can lead to isolated snowfalls.”

The snow is not expected to hang around due to warmer daytime temperatures.

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Not to be left out, there is quite a cold outbreak developing in the south-west of the country in the wake of the current front.

“We will likely see temperatures there drop down considerably — looking at around 10 to 12 degrees below average in areas like Perth and stretching right into north-western South Australia,” Mr Browne said.

So is it time to store the summer clothes?

Mr Browne wasn’t willing to make the call on whether the summer clothes should be packed away just yet.

“Once you start introducing cold air to Australia, it’s very hard to encourage the warm air back down,” he said.

“The winds are starting to just point in one direction now, but no, I’m not going to make that call.”

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