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Daily Archives: April 22nd, 2009

April 22, 2009 – 1:26PM

Google is giving people influence over what information turns up during online searches on their names.

The internet search king began on Tuesday featuring voluntarily created Google profiles at the bottoms of US “name-query” pages.

“It’s no secret that from time to time many of us have searched on Google for our name or someone else’s,” Google software engineer Brian Stoler wrote in a posting at the company’s website.

“When searching for yourself to see what others would find, results can be varied and aren’t always what you want people to see. We want to make that better and give you more of a voice.”

Google profiles contain basic information and pictures that people don’t mind sharing. Concise profiles are displayed along with results of searches on people’s names to allow a little control of one’s online image.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009 | AAP

(unfortunately, some AFR pages cannot be cut and pasted…)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Measures must be taken to prevent a generation of young Australians becoming victims of long-term unemployment as a result of the Global Financial Crisis, say unions.

Commenting on the release of an OECD report, Jobs for Youth, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said avoiding a blow-out in the ranks of unemployed young people must be a major priority for the Australian economy in coming months.

She said employers had a special obligation not to retrench trainees and apprentices at the first sign of tough times as this could lead to them not finishing their qualifications and finding it hard to secure decent work.

Ms Burrow said unions welcomed the recent $300 million Federal Government program to enable young people to complete their apprenticeships.

Unions have called for a job compact for young Australians unemployed for 18 months or more.

This would involve a six to 12 month job placement, primarily in the private sector, to all who have been on unemployment benefits for more than 18 months.

Intensive help must also be provided for people aged under 18 to search for suitable full-time work, training or education through the Youth Training Initiative.

Ms Burrow said the latest data showed that 91,000 young Australians in full-time work lost their jobs in the past year.

“We must ensure that young people beginning their working lives are not left behind by the GFC,” she said.

“It would be a tragedy if a generation of young Australians were trapped in long-term unemployment and poverty as a result of this downturn.”

Ms Burrow said improved industrial relations protections for young workers were also very important and should not be undermined by the Global Financial Crisis.

Vulnerable young people featured prominently among the victims of WorkChoices with AWA individual contracts stripping away wages, conditions and rights for thousands of young people, especially in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The recently-passed Fair Work Act will provide better protection for young workers, and Ms Burrow cautioned against any roll back of the new industrial relations laws that would leave young workers more exposed to being ripped off by employers.

“We must not go back to the days when young workers were exploited and ripped off under a system that gave them few rights at work,” Ms Burrow said.

Posted 2 hours 18 minutes ago

The Federal Government says it has no concerns about China expanding its use of uranium for nuclear power generation.

Australia’s mining industry is expecting China’s plans to build five more nuclear plants to create more opportunities for uranium exports.

The Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, says the Government has an agreement with China on the safe use of Australian uranium.

“We will continue to export as much of our commodities we can, including uranium, to countries who are interested in purchasing our commodities,” he said.

“But obviously with respect to the issue of uranium, there are very clear demands from the Government… which guarantees the safe use of Australian uranium.”

April 19, 2009 02:16pm

DESPITE long-standing complaints about a state-wide nurse shortage, graduating nurses are being turned away by cash-strapped public hospitals.

New South Wales Nurses Association secretary Brett Holmes said at least 12 trainee nurses graduating at Liverpool Hospital this month were told they would not be offered full-time work.

NSW Health said 15 per cent of the Hunter New England Area Health Service trainee intake did not get jobs.

Despite investing $50,000 per trainee nurse position, the NSW Government now says there is limited need for them. The one-year program involves 15 weeks of study at TAFE and 37 weeks of clinical practice in public hospitals. The nurses earn a base salary of $34,197 plus shift penalties and overtime, with TAFE fees covered.

Mr Holmes wrote to Health Director-General Debora Picone last week demanding an explanation.

“I am surprised that NSW Health agencies would consider the investment of more than $50,000 in training per trainee enrolled nurse so insignificant that it did not warrant further employment of enrolled nurses,” he wrote.,22049,25351201-5005941,00.html

April 22, 2009 12:01am

MORE than 1200 jobs are expected to be created this year as construction work intensifies on the development of a new army base at Edinburgh.

The army’s new 7RAR mechanised battalion is moving from Darwin to the Edinburgh base in northern Adelaide in 2011.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Mike Rann visited the site this week to turn the first sod in the second phase of the development.

Once completed, the site will house 1200 troops while 380 partners and 435 children will also be relocated to Adelaide.

The Commonwealth is spending more than $620 million on the facilities along with a further $90 million on securing housing in the northern region for troops and their families.

Mr Rann said there were already about 300 workers on site building common user facilities for both the army and the RAAF, adding the new battalion would generate about $100 million into the SA economy every year and about 1600 jobs.

Mr Rudd said the base now had a “huge future”.

“It is not just good for SA, it is good for the future of Australia’s defence,” he said.

“This investment will bring to about $2.5 billion what the Commonwealth is investing in SA in the years ahead.”

Mr Rudd said for Australia’s defence forces to do their job they had to have proper defence systems and equipment and bases.

“That means making sure this super base is transformed from the vision into reality,” he said.

Mr Rann said the Government had mounted a very good case to have the battalion located here – given that this was a cost-effective place to live, had great education facilities and high quality of living.

He said importantly it was located near the Cultana Training Range between Port Augusta and the Adelaide-Darwin rail line.

“The railway offers a critical advantage because it provides a cost-effective and timely means of rapidly deploying troops to the north,” Mr Rann said.,22606,25367059-2682,00.html

By Kate Schneider
April 22, 2009 08:30am

A US company has launched the world’s first pets-only airline dedicated to animal-friendly travel. Pet Airways will cater for people who loathe the idea of their pets being stored in the cargo hold area during a flight by offering their pet-only service.

From July the new airline will fly dogs and cats in the main cabin of a turbo-prop Beech 1900 passenger plane which has furnishings such as the seats and bins removed, with animals placed in their private pet carriers and locked into a restraint system.

The plane can hold up to 50 dogs or cats. A pet attendant checks on the animals and makes sure they have regular toilet breaks during the flight.

“Pet Airways is the world’s first airline exclusively dedicated to the safe and comfortable transportation of pets,” the company’s website says.

“With Pet Airways, your pet will be safe and comfortable flying in the main cabin – not in cargo.”

Pet Airways will fly to 42 US cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

Fares start from $US149 ($212).,28318,25369013-5014090,00.html

By David Uren
The Australian
April 22, 2009 12:00am

THE International Monetary Fund has dashed hopes of an early world economic recovery, warning that the credit crunch will be deep and long-lasting, with the worst yet to come.
With the IMF set to issue today a formal forecast that Australia faces recession this year, Kevin Rudd confirmed yesterday that next month’s Budget would contain a third stimulus package to cushion the worst impact of the downturn.

And Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens yesterday echoed the Prime Minister’s admission the nation was already in recession.

The IMF believes the financial crisis is entering a dangerous new phase, with massive government budget deficits making it impossible for banks and companies to raise money, The Australian reports.

This will particularly affect countries such as Australia that depend on international capital markets to finance the banking system.

The fund’s review of world financial stability released last night said nations relying on wholesale financial markets risked “more rapid, disorderly deleveraging” in which bank lending could be abruptly slashed.

However, Mr Stevens yesterday expressed confidence that Australia would ride out the recession with its banks and government finances in good shape.

“There are rather few countries that have the potential to offer so attractive a proposition to international capital, and to their own citizens, over the years ahead,” he said.

But Mr Stevens told a business conference in Adelaide that any reasonable person looking at the Australian economy “would come to the conclusion that the Australian economy, too, is in recession”.

However, he said there were “accumulating signs” that China, along with several other economies, were at a turning point that would support Australian commodity markets.

He said one of the reasons Australia’s downturn was less severe than those of other countries was that the huge commodity price gains of the past five years had not all been reversed, with Australia’s terms of trade still 40per cent above its long-term average.

However, the IMF believes the downturn will last for years, saying the weakness of lending in the US and Europe resembled that in Japan, where there was no growth for a decade.

The IMF will hold its twice-yearly members meeting in Washington this weekend.

Yesterday’s review of financial stability will be followed by the release of an updated world economic outlook today.

The IMF believes the financial crisis will result in bad debts of $US4.1 trillion, ($5.7 trillion), of which $US2.8 trillion would hit the banks.

Only one-third of those losses have so far been recognised. In a damning assessment of the solvency of the world banking system, the IMF says:

“If banks were to bring forward to today loss provisions for the next two years before expected earnings, the

US and European banks in aggregate would have tangible equity close to zero.”

The IMF estimates the banks will have to raise at least $US875 billion in additional capital, and possibly as much as $US1.7 billion, if they are to resume lending.

However, raising funds is becoming increasingly difficult, despite some recent improvement in interbank markets.

Read more at The Australian.,27753,25367789-462,00.html?referrer=email&source=eDM_newspulse

BHP Billinerals Adam Morton
April 22, 2009

AUSTRALIA’S big miners are pushing for a merger of 11 industry bodies in a bid to cut costs and centralise lobbying power under the Minerals Council of Australia.

Organisations targeted under the plan include the Australian Coal Association, the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Uranium Association and state and territory minerals councils.

A letter signed by chief executives at 11 companies, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, says it would “improve national consistency” and reduce a combined operating cost topping $45 million a year.

“Quite simply, we will not continue funding organisations as separate entities to the Minerals Council of Australia as we have previously,” it says.

Sent on the eve of Easter, the letter has angered some industry bodies and their junior member companies.

Most declined to speak, but industry insiders said they feared concentrating power in Canberra would strip some commodities of representation and deny others a strong voice at state level, where much of their business lies.

Tony Fawdon, executive chairman of minerals explorer Diatreme, said the Queensland Resources Council had been crucial in the industry winning $50 million from its State Government in 2006.

He said the national minerals council sat in an ivory tower with little idea of what happened at state level.

“Frankly, I don’t think the (minerals council) is going to have any practicality at all — the bigger the company, the bigger the chamber, the less hands-on the practitioners are at the top of it,” he said. “How are you going to cut up a very, very thin cake of funding across the states?”

Minerals Council chief executive Mitch Hooke said the plan was a commonsense approach that would “enhance regional capacity, not diminish it”.

He said the states would continue to be represented by branches within the national council, as Victoria had been since a merger in 2004. The Northern Territory Resources Council had already volunteered to take part.

“The goal is alignment of advocacy, the goal is improved efficiency and effectiveness,” Mr Hooke said. “If Victoria is anything to go by, the regions are richer for working within the national secretariat while maintaining autonomy to deal with the state issues.”

Mr Fawdon said this meant little: the Victorian minerals council was “pretty toothless”, unlike its counterparts in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Mr Hooke will convene an implementation committee to be chaired by former Newmont executive Paul Dowd.

Other companies backing the plan are Anglo Coal, Downer EDI, Barrick Gold, Minara Resources, Newcrest Mining, Ausminerals, Thiess and Newmont Asia Pacific.

Several industry bodies declined to comment.