Monthly Archives:September 2018

No need to scrap NAPLAN tests: Shorten ( admin posted on September 25th, 2018 )

Education ministers are meeting in Adelaide to discuss a schools report by David Gonski.NAPLAN testing shouldn’t be junked but the controversial testing scheme does need work, the federal opposition says.
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The federal government is staring down demands to scrap the standardised tests across primary and secondary schools, as state ministers pore over the details of businessman David Gonski’s calls for a curriculum overhaul.

There’s suggestions teachers are focusing too much on preparing students for the tests in years three, five, seven and nine and not enough on overall learning.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but as a parent he can see negatives to be addressed.

“I’d like to see on a bipartisan basis people work toward seeing how we can improve it, deal with the concerns expressed by frontline teachers and parents but not automatically junk the whole policy overnight,” he said.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes is using Friday’s Education Council meeting in Adelaide to ask that NAPLAN be urgently scrapped, arguing the national scheme is being used dishonestly.

Backed by teachers and the state’s Labor opposition, Mr Stokes will urge the federal government to replace NAPLAN with a less “high stakes” test that assessed each student’s progress, as recommended by Mr Gonski.

“I am all for transparency, but this is not transparency, this is actually dishonesty,” he told Fairfax Media.

“You now have an industry that’s grown up alongside it, where teachers are being encouraged to teach the test rather than curriculum.”

Mr Stokes said NAPLAN had become a vehicle for “edu-businesses” to extort money from desperate students and their families.

“When you now have private schools marketing their NAPLAN success, that points to the failure of NAPLAN, and it’s time we had discussions about replacing it,” he said.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has also suggested that more comprehensive tests were needed.

“An over-reliance on these measures alone risks students not being equipped with the full set of skills required to succeed in the workplace and broader economy,” he said in a report last week.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said NAPLAN served an important purpose for many Australian parents.

“Parents make clear they want to see how their children are progressing, they want to know whether their children are learning very clearly the basics of literacy and numeracy that NAPLAN sets,” he told ABC radio.

“NAPLAN has been important not just in giving that information, but also in ensuring that we are able to undertake the types of assessments that have informed this recent Gonski report.”

Senator Birmingham wants the states and territories to focus on the main game.

“What we need to do today though is get on with agreeing to work out the implementation stages around this Gonski report,” he said.

Mr Gonski’s second report into Australian schools highlighted a decade of declining education outcomes to argue the nation’s aspiration for excellence was in jeopardy.

Australian Associated Press

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Coach can’t explain AFL Dogs injury curse ( admin posted on September 25th, 2018 )

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits he’s at a loss to explain the club’s persistent injury woes.Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits he’s at a loss to explain the club’s persistent injury woes as they prepare to face Gold Coast without skipper Easton Wood.
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Wood will miss Saturday’s game in Ballarat with a low-grade hamstring strain, joining Tom Liberatore, Dale Morris, Marcus Adams and Jack Redpath on an injury list that’s been stacked for much of Beveridge’s four-year tenure.

The Bulldogs are hopeful Wood will return in a fortnight’s time.

Nineteen-year-old Lewis Young has been named as his replacement, while Marcus Bontempelli will step in as captain for the youthful Bulldogs.

Beveridge has had to contend with a host of serious injuries every season since taking over in 2015, including the 2016 premiership year.

“We think about it often and we continually review and reflect,” Beveridge said on Friday.

“We definitely don’t push the boundaries as far as what we put them through on the training track. We’re quite conservative during the year at times … there’s no alarm bells there for us.

“There’s no doubt we’ve had some bad luck (with) some collision and joint injuries … our soft-tissue stuff has been pretty good.

“I think we’ve had a bit of bad luck. Hopefully that turns.”

Beveridge said off-season recruit Jackson Trengove would continue to press for selection in the VFL, adding that he would be more likely to play as a ruck-forward than a key defender.

Premiership ruckman Jordan Roughead will miss another week as he continutes to recover from a minor hamstring issue.

The 15th-placed Bulldogs’ form has fluctuated wildly, with heavy losses to Greater Western Sydney, West Coast and Fremantle balanced by solid wins over Essendon and Carlton and a competitive seven-point defeat against Sydney.

Beveridge said he wouldn’t use injuries or inexperience as an excuse for underperforming.

“It has an effect, there’s no doubt, but you don’t lose a player in totality and not gain one,” he said.

“You might lose a percentage or a margin in performance but it shouldn’t be enough, as far as I’m concerned, to influence an outcome one way or the other if you’ve got your systems right.”

Buoyed by last week’s 21-point victory over Carlton, the Bulldogs face a Gold Coast outfit missing several stars.

The Suns have lost co-captains Tom Lynch (knee) and Steven May (finger), as well as Jesse Lonergan (knee) and Brayden Fiorini (leg), while veteran Michael Barlow has been omitted.

Charlie Ballard and Brayden Crossley will make their senior debuts and Callum Ah Chee, Michael Rischitelli and Brad Scheer return.

Australian Associated Press

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Horoscopes: week beginning May 6, 2018 ( admin posted on September 25th, 2018 )

ARIES: Someone casts the seeds of doubt in your mind during May 7-9: you seem to be left wondering over a financial or moral issue. Play it safe with money and unethical situations. The flowering of financial prosperity begins with good support and the appropriate investments in property or the potential for such. You hold both of these prerequisites during May 8-10.
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TAURUS: Social activities are likely to prove disappointing during May 7-9, as a cloud of uncertainty falls over a friend, friendship or goal. An issue of responsibility is at the root of this situation. However, May 8-10 are also days as you come into contact with a wide variety of people, each with an interesting story. These are great days for negotiations, contractual matters, money and travel.

GEMINI: Extremely creative influences in your life are wonderful for such interests as photography, art, music, dancing, etcetera during May 7-9. Question is, how do you make career path? You have fabulous stars for work and career during May 8-10, ensuring that up the career ladder or landing that great job. These are wonderful stars for advancement up the career ladder or landing that great job.

CANCER: Philanthropic interests are aroused during May 7-9 as human-interest stories generate compassion. You may well feel inadequate in your ability to make a difference. The current stellar trends are likely to see the expansion of Cancerian families, celebrations around an impending marriage or engagement, as well as opportunities for memorable holidays.

LEO: Confusing news is likely to reach Leonine ears during May 7-9, promoting cause for concern over your financial situation. It is difficult to deal with this situation as matters are indefinite. Your home, garden and family are prospering under the benefic influences of Jupiter during May 8-10. In all associated events and developments, you take great delight.

VIRGO: Romantic influences that are operational during May 7-9 seem somewhat unreal or lacking in some way: many will feel that someone is not being genuine. Things with wheels and numbers interest you most these days, particularly cars and modern gadgetry such as mobile phones. There seems to be a purchase pending during May 8-10.

LIBRA: It may be difficult to trace the origin of health problems that arise during May 7-9. Librans may also be unclear on some aspect of their work, ensuring not much is accomplished. It’s nice to sit back and watch your personal money tree flower profusely, as you’ll be doing during May 8-10. You have plans to utilise these resources at your disposal, there as a result of your own efforts.

SCORPIO: There seems to be some dubious influences around a child that cause concern for Scorpio parents during May 7-9. You’ll need to investigate these matters. With life being so good to you, it is hard to keep your expectations in check. You have an opportunity to enjoy life and battle the bulge during May 8-10, with activities that are totally beneficial.

SAGITTARIUS: There are less than satisfactory conditions affecting your home, property or family member during May 7-9; due to some unacceptable exterior influence. Distant horizons are alluring to Sagittarians, more so than usual during May 8-10. You have a fascination for unknown places and unexplored areas, propelled by a desire to be free.

CAPRICORN: Capricorn natives need to choose their words carefully during May 7-9. You might hold the right sentiments but can be easily be misunderstood. Your dreams are only limited by your imagination at the moment but, at times, you wonder whether you can ever accomplish them. May 8-10 brings positive answers in this regard.

AQUARIUS: Money seems to vaporise during May 7-9, perhaps because you’re not conscious of your spending actions. Money spent on family, food, and domestic products tend to fritter away resources. With the amount of effort you are investing into the fundamentals of your work, you cannot help but succeed. May 8-10 witnesses culminating efforts on a career path.

PISCES: Pisceans tend to be disoriented or confused about some aspect of their life during May 7-9. Perhaps you are being overly sensitive to a casual comment. With the aid of benefic trends during May 8-10, Pisceans can go far, whether you are planning travel, studying, or have legal issues before you. You’ll relish anything you do then.

© Alison Moroney, 2018 [email protected]南京夜网www.alisonmoroney南京夜网

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Otto Warmbier’s mum speaks against NKorea ( admin posted on September 25th, 2018 )

Cindy and Fred Warmbier won’t be silenced about their son’s death after his release in North Korea.The mother of US college student Otto Warmbier who was sent home from North Korea in a coma and died soon after, says her family will keep speaking out about the country’s human rights violations to “rub their noses” in what they did and embarrass Kim Jong Un’s government.
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“I can’t let Otto die in vain. … We’re not special, but we’re Americans and we know what freedom’s like, and we have to stand up for this. We have to,” Cindy Warmbier told a UN symposium on human rights in North Korea on Thursday.

Her comments have come at a sensitive time as Kim and US President Donald Trump plan a historic meeting, and a day after the US leader hinted at the imminent release of American prisoners being held in North Korea.

Cindy and her husband Fred Warmbier have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against North Korea, saying its government tortured and killed their son. The lawsuit filed in US District Court in Washington, DC, last week seeks compensation for the death of their 22-year-old son in June 2017.

Otto Warmbier, who was a student at University of Virginia, was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour.

His plight compounded tense US-North Korean relations. His parents made clear on Thursday that while they were silenced by fear of what North Korea might do to Otto after his arrest, they won’t be quiet any longer.

“We woke up and we realised that North Korea wants us to lock ourselves in a room and do nothing, and we think that’s a bad idea,” Fred Warmbier said.

Fred said he and Cindy are now focusing on the events that occurred “while they had Otto hostage and they were using him as a pawn.”

“We are trying to build a pathway that leads directly to Kim and his regime to force them to be answerable for their actions,” he said.

Cindy Warmbier said Otto was brain dead at four months of captivity, and anyone who had a heart would have said, “Well, we screwed, let’s get him some medical care.”

But instead, she said, the North Koreans left him in a horrible place with no care to vegetate, and then acted “like we’re doing the world a favour” and released him saying he had botulism – which US doctors never confirmed.

Australian Associated Press

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Ask Noel: Franking credits and capital losses ( admin posted on September 25th, 2018 )

I am a director of the trustee of a charitable foundation. The trustee invests in listed shares, mainly LICs and applies to the Australian Taxation Office for the refund of franking credits, as the fund is exempt from income tax. It appears that the foundation could be another victim of Labor’s tax grab. Can you please clarify.
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I have been advised that charities will be in the same position as pensioners – they will be exempt from the proposed rules.

Labor’s proposal if it gets into power is to disallow the payment of cash for franking credits to investors who do not pay income tax. This is of concern. However, I have heard that there is the possibility that existing securities could be grandfathered until they are replaced over the next seven years. What does that mean?

I have not heard of this proposal, but I suppose it would mean that investors would be able to claim excess franking credits on existing shares but not ones that had been more recently purchased. I cannot imagine it being legislated in view of the immense complexity it would cause.

I have a home with a large loan and an investment property portfolio of three residential properties. An investment property was recently sold with a large loss and has a residual loan due to negative equity. Investment property B will soon be sold for a large gain. Both sales will occur in the current financial year. Overall the total capital gain/loss from those two sales is negligible. Investment property C will be held long term and has no mortgage. All properties are cross collateralised by my single lender. Can I transfer debt/loans from investment properties A and B to investment property C which will be held long term? Can I use the full sale proceeds from the sale of investment property B to pay down my home loan?

You cannot rewrite history, interest on a loan is only tax deductible if the borrowed money is used to produce income. It does not matter where the loan is secured, it is all about tracing how the money is spent.

If you are seeking tax deductibility, an option may be to sell the third property, and then re-borrow for another investment property. The interest on this last mentioned loan would be wholly deductible.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Twitter:@noelwhittaker

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