Sydney Airport chaos as wind continues

Sydney Airport passengers continue to face delays, with strong winds showing no signs of easing and 50 flights already cancelled on Friday.

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The interruptions follow wild winds on Thursday which forced the grounding of more than 70 flights and the closure of two of three runways.

Gusts of 57km/h were recorded at Kingsford Smith on Friday morning and the expectation was they would increase later in the day, a spokeswoman for Sydney Airport told AAP.

Two runways were open but it was likely planes would be reduced to using a single runway by Friday afternoon, Air Services Australia spokeswoman Sarah Fulton told AAP.

The airport is already working to clear Thursday’s backlog, a process that could take days and with the effects starting to be felt across the country.

“Because of yesterday’s conditions at Sydney we are starting to see a flow-on impact on the network and that will continue today,” Ms Fulton said.

As the airport works to clear the lag, a peak industry group has called for the cap on the number of flights allowed in and out of the airport every hour to be eased.

At present, there is a federal government-imposed cap of 20 aircraft movements per quarter hour.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond says the cap doesn’t belong in the 21st century, with its negative impacts felt far beyond Sydney’s suburbs.

“For the airport to recover after these wind events we need the capacity to get rid of the 15-minute caps at Sydney Airport so we can land the plans we need to,” she told reporters on Friday.

“It doesn’t just affect Sydney it affects the whole country, the entire national network of airports.”

Ms Osmond said the critical issue with the cap was its lack of flexibility and suggested a system more in line with that of London’s Heathrow Airport.

“Heathrow Airport has a cap on the number of planes, except it’s an annual cap, not a 15-minute cap or an hour control … we’re simply saying let’s make the airport as productive and flexible as it needs to be.”

Passengers flying out of Sydney airport on Friday are advised to check with their airline for delays and cancellations.

Cheika defends Wallabies selections

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has defended some of his puzzling Test selections saying it’s about building depth in the Australian squad and nailing the best combinations.

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Veteran lock Kane Douglas said this week he didn’t know where he stood in the Wallabies’ pecking order after being dumped from the squad to face Argentina in the Rugby Championship clash in Canberra on Saturday night.

Cheika has chosen his fourth different starting lock combination of the year in Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman and the eighth since the 2015 World Cup.

But the coach said inconsistent performances in matches and at training meant it wasn’t clear who was Australia’s best duo.

He said he axed Rory Arnold for his showing in their draw with South Africa, while he sent Douglas back to the NRC to get more game time.

“Obviously I don’t know yet because I think we’re developing and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Cheika said.

“We’ve got some young players coming through and we’ve got some more established like Simmons and this week we’ve had Lukhan Tui in the squad as well.

“We see where our future is and right now we’re looking for players to fight for those spots.”

Cheika denied there had been a turnstile for Wallabies debutantes, who had been cast aside after only an appearance or two.

There have been 22 players, who have made their debut since the 2015 World Cup. But Cheika said only a handful, including halfback Nick Frisby and UK-based flanker Leroy Houston, were no longer part of the larger squad.

He said he needed to establish as much depth as possible in Australia’s ranks.

“You can’t create depth by clicking your fingers. You’ve got to get into a program that will set us going forward,” he said.

“The guys we brought in at the start of 2016 like Dane Haylett-Petty and Rory Arnold – they’re into double digit caps and in another year they will have 20 and 30 caps and they’re going to have the right age profile.”

Cheika said he was always clear with players about where they stood and what they needed to improve on.

“We’re always communicating a clear picture of not just where they stand overall but where they stand in direct relation to their opponents.”

Chinese mandarin cider play to join ASX

A Chinese firm specialising in making cider from mandarins is seeking to list on the Australian share market with the aim of raising up to $12 million and securing access to quality Aussie fruit.

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Bojun Agriculture Holdings, chaired by former NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner, is seeking to raise at least $7.2 million – and up to $4.8 million in oversubscriptions – through an offer of shares at 30 cents each.

Bojun Agriculture’s Jiangxi-based operating company, Bojun China, boast products including a fermented fruit-based drink produced from Nanfeng mandarins.

It also makes a fruit-based snack from strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, pumpkins and the same mandarins.

Bojun believes the market for fruit-based snacks and beverages in China is growing as local consumers become more affluent and health conscious.

The company hopes to benefit from the free trade agreement between China and Australia, and Australia’s strong reputation in China as a producer of organic health foods.

“Bojun China plans to utilise the growing trade opportunities between China and Australia to establish a network of cooperation with Australian companies,” Bojun said in its prospectus.

Bojun has entered into two memorandums of understanding with Preshafood and the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ horticulture unit to test the suitability of Australian products in the Chinese market.

Bojun plans to use the funds raised through the share offer to fund expansion and research, upgrade its facilities in China, develop new products, and form collaborations with other companies.

Several other China-based agricultural companies are listed on the Australian share market, including China Dairy Corporation, fresh fruit and vegetable supplier Jiajiafu Modern Agriculture, and Dongfang Modern Agriculture

Dongfang cultivates mandarins, pomelos, oranges and camellia seeds and is also based in Jiangxi province.

The share offer closes on October 27 and Bojun hopes to start trading on the Australian Securities Exchange on November 6.

Same-sex marriage: ‘Like Love’ group to monitor anti-LGBTIQ content during campaign

A group of trained volunteers from Queensland will form ‘Like Love’, a group created to monitor forums and social media to report content that incites hatred during the same-sex marriage postal survey.

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Anti-gay posters and pamphlets have popped up across Sydney and in inner Brisbane’s West End over the last month raising fears of the types of vilification the LGBTI community will face throughout the postal vote.

Part of a poster seen in MelbourneTwitter

LGBTI Legal Service President Matilda Alexander said there was a misconception that hate speech was acceptable and part of freedom of speech.

“At the legal service we have seen an increase in hate speech online, in posters, in discussions in the media and there seems to be a misconception that freedom of speech allows you to say whatever you want and villify people on the basis of their sexuality and their gender identity,” Ms Alexander told SBS World News.

“We wanted to make sure firstly, that people know that kind of speech is unlawful and secondly, to have the tool available to be able to make a complaint and bring it to our attention so we can make a complaint to the relevant anti-discrimination body in Queensland.”

0:00 Same-sex marriage campaign laws banning vilification pass the Senate Share Same-sex marriage campaign laws banning vilification pass the Senate

Ms Alexander said the group was formed to give individuals a legal shoulder to lean on when combating homophobic slurs.

“We have noticed during the lead up to the postal vote, and even around discussions about the plebiscite, there was a lot of homophobic comments and a lot of homophobia generated in society,” Ms Alexander said.

“I think it is important because people are doing their best to combat homophobia and hate speech on an individual level, by replying to it and giving logic around it.

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“But it is heartbreaking to do that and it’s damagaing to people’s mental health. I think the support that we as a legal service can provide is to give the context that it is unlawful… that you need to screen grab it and send it into us and we will take the appropriate actions to make sure the law is enforced.”

The Federal Government passed a new law to protect anyone threatened by banning vilification, intimidation and threats, despite protests from a handful of crossbench senators who warned of a threat to free speech.

Breaking this law could cost up to $12,600.

The Queensland Government were quick to supply $7,000 to help train members of Like Love in an attempt to reduce the impact of such vilifying material.

Same-sex marriage supporters outside the High Court in Melbourne (AAP)AAP

All information collated by Like Love will be sent to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission for review.

Federal laws outlawing intimidation or threats will apply across all forms of communications.

“These arrangements will apply to communications of all forms, including paid advertising, social media, bulk text messages and telephony, broadcast matter … and printed material,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said. 

“While the government would like nothing more than for these provisions never to be used, their inclusion gives the parliament the opportunity to send a clear message that hateful and malicious conduct will not be tolerated.”

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Fortescue CEO looking forward to time off

Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Nev Power plans to take a break and help his son on the cattle station when he steps down after seven years at the helm of the mining company.

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The 59-year-old, who says he hasn’t had more than three consecutive weeks off since the age of 15, will in February end his term as only the second chief executive to lead the company in its 15 years of operation.

Mr Power, who has been chief executive since July 2011, on Friday said he had been considering leaving for a while but wanted to wait until the completion of Fortescue’s full-year results.

“I sense it is the right time for Fortescue and for myself,” Mr Power told reporters on Friday.

“It has been a very long time that I have been working, it seems, full bore.”

But Mr Power won’t be idle for long.

“I am looking forward to taking some time off and spending some time working on a few personal business interests including helping my son on the cattle station,” he said.

Mr Power said he will continue to work with chairman Andrew Forrest and Fortescue’s board to help manage the transition to a new chief executive.

He said he hopes to continue to be associated with, and to support, the company.

He said Fortescue was in great shape and on an “enormous trajectory” with a “brighter than ever” future.

The world’s forth-biggest iron ore exporter said Mr Power’s decision was consistent with its long-term succession plan to enter a period of growth in other business opportunities.

“Nev has executed his duties to the highest degree and met or exceeded the often unreasonable standards set by his board,” Mr Forrest said on Friday, revealing the company had already begun screening internal and external candidates.

“We could not be more pleased with his stewardship and respect his decision that it is time for the next chapter of Fortescue to begin.”

The news of his departure comes only weeks after Fortescue sharply lifted its dividend and promised to sustain higher payouts for shareholders as a rebound in iron prices and lower costs helped it more than double full-year profit to $US2.09 billion ($A2.64 billion) for the year to June 30.

The board declared a final dividend of 25 cents a share, up from 12 cents last year, resulting in a full-year payout of 45 cents a share – far higher than its target ratio of 30 to 40 per cent of net profit.

Fortescue shares were down 21 cents, or 3.61 per cent, at $5.60, in a lower market at 1357 AEST on Friday.