Monthly Archives: January 2019

Dear North, you can tell paps to go away, but you should chat to your mum first

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Dear North West,

There’s a video of you going around on the internet at the moment.

It shows you wearing one of your signature Balmain coats as you walk with an adult friend into the ballet studio where you have been taking classes for the best part of this year.

As you walk through the carpark outside, about 10 adult men start shoving cameras in your face, blocking your path.

“I said no pictures!” you say, in a move that has prompted headlines like “Here’s North West yelling at paparazzi just like her dad” and “North West is a sassy little ballerina in adorable tutu as she heads to a dance class.

You are two years old and you are visibly upset.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty common scenario for you. The child of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, you really didn’t have a choice in whether or not your every move would be documented by hordes of men with long lenses. She’s so god damn cute RT @WORLDSTARC0MEDY: North West: “I said no pictures” daddy’s girl pic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/I7omQS5ITY— sabrina (@ssabrinajulevic) October 28, 2015

That’s not to say your parents haven’t made some effort to protect your privacy.

You are largely kept off the family’s E! reality television show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

But, while you continue to appear in her Instagram feed and accompanying her to red carpet events, that’s a bit of a moot point, because we’ve probably reached a point where it’s reductive to call your mum a “reality television star”.

Kim is best described simply as a “celebrity”, and she isn’t a celebrity who became famous for being a great actor or singer or athlete or physicist (kidding, kidding); she’s a celebrity who became famous by being a great celebrity. She became famous because of her private life.

That means, while other celebrities can decry interest in their private life as invasive, your mum (and your aunts, and your grandparents) kind of can’t.

Your family make a lot of money off their personal brands (roughly $US300 million – $422 million – at last count), building profiles on social media and in public in order to make people think buying a book full of their selfies or a waist trainer they are being paid to promote is a good idea.

Your mum has professionalised her personal life.

She sees some problems with this, sure.

“I like sharing my world with people,” she told Vogue earlier this year. “Although I wish there could be just maybe a little bit more privacy just for our daughter.

“But it is what it is.”

This “it” is your problem, North.

You could have more privacy, but you won’t, because you are a part of your mother’s personal life and, right now, that personal life is putting food on the table.

Let’s take your tiny tots ballet career as an example. Your mum has been known to post pictures photographers took of you going to and from ballet on her Instagram account with funny captions, or details about where your clothes are from.

See here:   #PaparazziGotMeLike…A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 28, 2015 at 9:05pm PDT

And here:   Ballet in BalmainA photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 28, 2015 at 11:52am PDT

Westpac’s Bill Evans says inflation drop not enough to force RBA cut

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Readjustment: inflation surprised but healthy export volumes point to a GDP pick-up. Photo: Jim Rice Wednesday’s surprisingly soft inflation for the third quarter has economists nationwide revisiting their forecasts for next Tuesday’s interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank of .

Those who predicted a cut, to 1.75 per cent, early next year said governor Glenn Stevens might now bring it forward to the November 3 meeting; those discounting any chance of a reduction agreed a case could now be made for further easing.

Finally, those who had stuck to their guns on a November cut said “told you so”.

At least one forecaster who won’t be swayed, however, is Westpac chief economist Bill Evans, who remains adamant – albeit slightly less – that the RBA will leave rates where they are, at 2 per cent, until such time that it has to start lifting them again.

He argues the RBA has looked past surprises in the consumer price index before, and third-quarter economic activity indicators – such as retails sales, export volumes and construction – are sufficiently strong to give the central bank this luxury once again.

The RBA’s decision to cut the cash rate in February was prompted not by an unexpected slowdown in September-quarter core inflation, he points out, but by the quarter’s alarmingly weak gross domestic product figures, which are published much later.

“The drop in core inflation was known at both the November and December [RBA] meetings, but it was the surprise slump in growth that was recorded in the September-quarter GDP report that printed the day after the December board meeting that prompted the rate cut,” he wrote in response to Wednesday’s data.

“The surprise drop in the inflation measure is not unique and, in the past, the bank has looked through a one-off number.

“The motivation for cutting next week would be a significant downward revision to the growth outlook, [and] the data flow and the RBA’s recent commentary does not point to such an event,” he said.

Nomura rate strategist Andrew Ticehurst agrees third-quarter GDP growth looks to have picked up after weak June-quarter activity but  the CPI shock, added to recent bank credit tightening through higher mortgage rates, at least makes the case for a November cash rate cut.

Despite this, he is sticking to an earlier forecast for a February cut to the cash rate.

“If the RBA would like to lower the cash rate next week, they can mount a very solid case to justify the move,” Mr Ticehurst said on Thursday.

“They can acknowledge that global growth and regional growth is looking a little bit weaker; they could note that the domestic economy seems to be holding up relatively well, based on recent data.

“But they could say that the recent lower-than-expected inflation data allows the move, and they could also make some non-specific reference to modest tightening in financial conditions coming from decisions recently made by major lenders.”

Wednesday’s CPI surprise was just enough to convince HSBC chief economist for Paul Bloxham to change his cash rate forecast.

From an “on hold until further notice” view, he now believes the RBA will cut rates either next week or in December.

He said the recent round of home loan rate increases by the big banks “alone, was unlikely to see the RBA consider cutting its cash rate, given concerns about rising risks in the property market”.

“However, when combined with the downside surprise to inflation, the RBA now has multiple reasons to consider a cut,” Mr Bloxham said.

Regardless of their stance on next week’s RBA meeting, many economists question the value of any further cash rate cuts, given the law of diminishing returns.

With two cuts this year already leaving the cash rate at a historic low, and growing signs this has helped re-engineer the n economy away from its dependence on resource-related investment, a third reduction this year might do little more than spook business, consumers and other investors into thinking things are worse than they really are, they say.

“There is an array of factors that the Reserve Bank needs to take into account at next week’s board meeting,” says CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian.

“What is clear is that the collapse in the terms of trade and weaker inflation forecasts certainly doesn’t stand in the way of a rate cut.

“The key question is, does the central bank believe that another rate cut will actually boost spending and activity?” he said.

In any case, argues Western Asset heads of investment in Anthony Kirkham, the RBA should “keep its powder dry” until it really needs an emergency third cut.

“The RBA has been clever in their desire to not move lower unless forced to, and that would be because of some sort of calamity in China and the rest of the world,” he said.

Newcastle Jets star Leonardo holds few surprises for Melbourne City boss John van ‘t Schip

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No surprises: Leonardo in action against the Victory. Photo: Max Mason HubersMelbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip is expecting Friday night’s opponents, Newcastle Jets, to be defensively organised and to try to hit his side on the counter as they look to continue their strong start to the new campaign, a bright beginning that has confounded many pundits who predicted the Jets would continue to struggle.

They are tactics that have helped the Jets pick up six points from their first three games, including tough matches against both of last season’s grand finalists, champions Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, and a tough road trip to Wellington.

The Jets, under youthful new coach Scott Miller, have beaten Victory and the Phoenix, but lost at home to Sydney.

Brazilian attacking midfielder Leonardo, who joined the Novocastrians in the off-season, looms as a key player in the Jets’ quick transition from defence to counterattack. But he won’t hold too many surprises for City’s Dutch manager, who has both coached Leonardo and coached against him as a senior player and as a junior in the Netherlands.

The Brazilian has spent most of his career in Holland, starting at the big Rotterdam club Feyenoord but also playing for Amsterdam giants Ajax as well as having two spells at NAC Breda.

Van ‘t Schip coached him at Ajax and against him as a youngster, when the Rio De Janeiro-born Leonardo was a prodigy in the Feyenoord youth set-up and van ‘t Schip was working with the Ajax juniors from the club’s famed development academy.

“He can create something out of nothing. He was, and he still is, fast, he can score goals, give assists, he is all these things,” van ‘t Schip said.

“He had some injuries in the past and some knee problems, but in general he was one of the most talented players. I worked with him but I know him from when he was 17 or 18 when he was playing in the youth at Feyenoord and I was coach from the youth of Ajax.

“We played against each other with the youth teams, and in that period he was unbelievable. But he got setbacks with knee operations. He still stayed on a good level, but it didn’t help him fulfil his talent to the highest possibilities. He is a great guy as well. I wish him all the best, but not tomorrow.”

City played the Jets in a pre-season game which ended in a 1-1 draw at the City Football Academy in August.

But, as van ‘t Schip says, there have been plenty of changes since then. The Jets have strengthened with the addition of Leonardo and Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic and their confidence will be high after their bright start to the new season.

“They had a few additions with their striker and Leonardo for example. It’s a very solid team. Defensively they have a good structure and going forward Trifunovic is a pure striker,” he said.

“They have shown out of their defensive structure they have gained confidence and played some good football, and scored goals and have done this against top teams in the league.

“It’s a credit to them … we have to focus on our game. They have been getting results because they want to frustrate their opponent, so the longer it stays 0-0 for them the better.

“That’s their approach until now, but it can change. With getting points, the confidence, wins and players start playing a bit more differently, so does the team.

“We have to be ready for every kind of approach they could have. We just have to be patient. When we have the ball it’s about being aware that when you lose the ball that is where their danger starts. We have to make sure we can defend immediately and are in good positions.”

It is expected that City will retain the same squad that defeated Central Coast 3-1 in a highly entertaining encounter at AAMI Park last Sunday.

Club captain Patrick Kisnorbo, dropped for the FFA Cup semi-final defeat in Perth, responded well to being restored to the line-up by scoring the team’s opener, while another experienced player who has been left out, Erik Paartalu, is not guaranteed any quick return while youngsters like Jacob Melling, who have returned from injury and taken his place, have done well.

Marquee player Robert Koren is still not available with a calf injury, while Michael Zullo is also on the easy list.

“Koren and Zullo are not ready yet. And Harry is not ready … Erik is fit, so he’s in contention for selection. Koren is almost ready to play but he needs a little bit more. It’s a little injury. The medical staff said to start him tomorrow could be a bit of a risk,” van ‘t Schip said at the pre-match press conference.

“Paartalu has to work hard, and wait for his chance. Other players get their opportunity now. Adelaide [where City play on November 5] is maybe too early for Michael. Hopefully he can be close to the game against Western Sydney [on November 14]. We have to see that day by day. He is getting closer so that’s something.”

City’s coach did not want to get involved in the politics of the FFA’s decision to warn Wellington Phoenix that it could be axed at the end of the season, but said it was a shame for the players and the club’s fans.

“The only thing I can say is that Wellington Phoenix has a good team. It would be very sad if those players or the club would not be able to play any more … but that’s my own opinion and I think the competition should grow.

“If you take away a team, it doesn’t mean that you are growing, or there maybe should be other plans that other teams are coming into the league. I think they have thought about it very carefully, they will come with an explanation why.”

Canberra Grammar School goes co-ed: Arguments for and against co-education

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There is evidence to support both sides of the argument – depending on which evidence you want to put forward. Photo: Erin JonassonCanberra Grammar School to become co-educationalGirls Grammar responds to co-ed announcementCanberra Grammar switch to co-ed divides parentsEditorial: Canberra Grammar’s move a long time coming

In April 1951, there was a debate organised by the Telopea Park Parents’ and Citizens’ Association on the merits or otherwise of co-education.

Although a Canberra Times article from the time quotes the school’s headmaster as saying the trend is “definitely towards co-education”, which is “said to be the most natural arrangement”, more than 60 years later the debate lives on.

This is a subject unlikely to be settled anytime soon, with Canberra Grammar’s intention to enrol girls after 86 years of boys-only education dividing parents.

There has been a prolific number of studies on the topic over many decades. There is evidence to support both sides of the argument, depending on which one you want to put forward, as the headmaster of Sydney’s King’s School recently wrote.

Then the people who review those studies overall say that co-education is neither here nor there when compared to single-sex schools on quality of education and academic achievement. The arguments for co-education

The Armidale School will turn its back on 123 years of tradition next year when it allows girls to enrol.

Its headmaster of 18 years, Murray Guest, said the decision was about growing the size of the school overall, and being able to offer the breadth of programs, specialisation of teachers and resourcing that comes with size and tuition fees of those extra students.

His own review of the research dismissed pre-conceptions about how children fare better in programs that are designed for their gender, he said.

“The problem with it was those tailored programs tend to reinforce stereotypes of maleness or femaleness that are probably not healthy, and are not ones that we would like put forward.”

He argued that opposition to the change at The Armidale School was based on people valuing the tradition of single-sex education over the tradition of providing high-quality education.

“It wasn’t the fact that there were only boys here that made this a good school,” he said, adding that there is a place for both single-sex and co-educational schools.

When it comes to gendered teaching styles, Professor Judith Gill, a leading researcher in the field, has previously argued that the similarities within the population of boys or girls is much greater than the differences between them. The arguments for single-sex education

Fran Reddan is the president of the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia. She argued that movement toward co-education is often driven by economic rather than educational outcomes, especially for girls.

“Single-sex schools give girls and boys the opportunity to be taught in relevant ways to suit their different stages of development,” she said. “Parents also choose girls’ schools for their safe, nurturing environment [and] for the quality of pastoral care that is designed specifically for girls.”

Professor Alice Sullivan, a British researcher on the subject whose work the Alliance refers to, has reported findings that suggest gender stereotyping is worse in co-educational schools. For example, she found that after the age of 16 in single-sex schools, boys were more likely to take english and modern language subjects, and girls more likely to take maths and science subjects than their counterparts in co-educational schools.

The Alliance says the distinguishing factor in girls’ schools “is that there are no boys in the classroom to distract, discourage or intimidate girls, and nor are teachers trying to teach to two groups who have differing needs and interests”.

In the n context, the Alliance says NAPLAN data shows that 46 out of 109 schools ranked in ‘s Top 100 Secondary Schools are girls schools, despite only 7 per cent of n secondary schools being girls-only.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments below.

Fact: Sharks pretty much only bite men. Here’s why

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Maneater: NSW has seen a spike in shark attacks in 2015. Photo: istock Men, perhaps, need to be less foolhardy when it comes to swimming with sharks Photo: Darren Pateman


There are exceptions to the rule. American professional surfer Bethany Hamilton had her left arm bitten off by a shark in 2003. Photo: Darren Pateman DJP

Are you a woman? Good news: you’re probably not going to get bitten by a shark.

In fact, nearly every single person ever bitten by a shark, in and around the world, since records begun, has been a man.

Go on ladies, dip your toes in the water. The odds are forever in your favour.

In there have been 1132 recorded shark attacks since 1941. Of those, 968 involved men and only 64 involved women (there were also 100 attacks without a victim’s gender recorded).

For every 100 shark attacks, a little over six will involve women, according to data from the global shark attack file. And the disparity holds up pretty much across the world.

That number has been on the increase over recent decades as more women take to the water. Between 1940 and 1959, only four women were involved in incidents compared with 139 men (2.8 per cent). But 29 of the 283 incidents between 1990 and 2015 involved women (10.2 per cent). But male incidents vastly overrate female incidents.

“It reflects a historic pattern of more males engaged in marine aquatic activities, especially those that put humans most at risk, for example surfing, diving, long distance swimming, kayaking, etcetera,” he told Fairfax Media.

“It in no way can be attributed to sharks ‘preferring’ males over females. In recent times proportionately more females are being attacked because more females are engaging themselves in riskier, formerly male dominated water activities.”

So you’re being attacked by a shark…

The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History is responsible for this amazing graph, which shows the responses of people being attacked by sharks, and the effectiveness of those responses.

Striking a shark seems to be by far the most useful option, with a near-65-per-cent effectiveness rate. Don’t bother with poking, which is just as likely to make the shark more aggressive.

To minimise the risk of shark attack, the ASAF recommends:Swim at beaches patrolled by Surf Life Savers (they are there to keep an eye on your safety, to look for signs of danger and to assist if you get into trouble).Do not swim in dirty or turbid water (there is little chance of seeing a shark in these conditions).Avoid swimming at dusk, dawn or at night (many sharks are more active during these times and in low light conditions you may not be able to see an approaching shark).Avoid swimming well offshore, near deep channels or along drop-offs to deeper water (sharks are more likely to inhabit the deeper water).Avoid entering the ocean near a river mouth, especially after a rainstorm (rain can wash potential food items into the sea that might attract fish and sharks).If schooling fish congregate in large numbers, leave the water (sharks can be feeding on the baitfish schools).Do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing (as these activities can attract sharks).