The Business of Fast Fashion

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag

Saving our Mothers

In honoring Mother's Day, Save the Children released the 14th annual State of World's Mother report.

Stop Coca-Cocal trashing Australia

Greenpeace Australia made a new coke ad with a twist. It exposes how this drinks giant is willing to let plastic pollution trash our ocean and kill our marine life.

Thanks a Million Australia

The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period

People! Zara commits to go toxic free

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action

Monday, December 15

Watch Live : Sydney Siege

The hostage crisis at a Sydney cafe has cast a long shadow over the city, plunging it into lockdown chaos as a handful of hostages escape the clutches of an alleged gunman.

Wednesday, November 19

Interstellar Takes Flight At Chinese Box Office, Scoring 2D Record Launch In IMAX® With $6.7 Million


IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) today announced that writer-director Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures, opened in China to record-setting results, estimating $6.7 million from 174 IMAX® theatres in five-days, making it the highest grossing IMAX 2D title ever in the market.

Interstellar began its record IMAX debut in China with an opening day gross of $1.1 million, the highest IMAX 2D opening of all time locally, as well as a career-best debut in China for Nolan and the overall largest opening-day IMAX gross in November. The film also earned nearly $185,000 in midnight grosses from 159 IMAX theatres, which accounted for more than half of the film's total late-night gross in China.

"The record-setting launch in China reaffirms the power and efficacy of Christopher Nolan films and his connection with IMAX," saidGreg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. 

"After its powerhouse worldwide debut last weekend in IMAX — and now with China added so successfully to the mix — we couldn't be more excited about how we believeInterstellar will perform in our global network over its run."

Interstellar has grossed more than $49.3 million worldwide from 751 IMAX locations, including China. Domestically, the film so far has grossed an estimated $25.2 million on 368 IMAX theatres, while international IMAX totals have reached $24 million from 383 theatres.

Continuing the legacy begun by IMAX trailblazer Christopher Nolan and his use of the 15 perf 65mm IMAX® cameras in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, more than an hour of Interstellar was shot using IMAX cameras. Exclusively in IMAX theatres, these sequences expand to fill the entire screen and will deliver unprecedented crispness and clarity and provide audiences with a truly cinematic and immersive experience.

Sequences of Interstellar shot in 35mm film have been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology.  The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

MAZDA CX-3 COMPACT CROSSOVER UTILITY VEHICLE MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT


Mazda Motor Corporation today revealed the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-3 to the world, in a special event on the eve of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.  The all-new compact crossover SUV is the fifth model in Mazda's line-up of new-generation vehicles that feature the full suite of the company's award-winning SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO-Soul of Motion design.  With the global launch starting in Japan in the spring of 2015, and in the U.S. during the summer, CX-3 is set to become a core model in the automaker's global line-up.

"These are heady times for Mazda, with profits and sales exceeding expectations and targets both in the U.S. and globally," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Mazda North American Operations.  "CX-3 complements the Mazda lineup, as it perfectly hits the target in a rapidly growing segment in the industry.  

Customers are shopping for vehicles that are fun to drive, great to look at, fit their busy lifestyles and are an outstanding value, both at purchase and when it comes time to trade it in, making every Mazda a smart choice."

Mazda's all-new CX-3 offers all the essentials young, busy, on-the-go urbanites look for in a vehicle.  Developed to suit customers' creative lifestyle in any scene, from inner-city driving to enjoying the great outdoors, CX-3 will be powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine exclusively in North America.  Available in other markets will be the newly-introduced SKYACTIV-D 1.5-liter clean diesel engine.  Output details and specifications will be revealed at a later date, closer to launch.

Power will be transferred to either the front wheels, or through Mazda's new-generation all-wheel-drive system, and CX-3 also will be equipped with Mazda's unique SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission.  Because driving pleasure and driving safety go hand-in-hand, CX-3 will offer a wide range of Mazda's latest active, passive and in-car-infotainment technologies, including the Mazda Connect infotainment system and i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety features.

The Mazda CX-3 will be on display throughout the run of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, along with the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata which also makes its public debut at the show.  Additionally, the full lineup of 2015 model-year Mazdas will be on display, as well as special racing and one-off project vehicles.

Tuesday, November 18

Expedia, Inc. Completes Acquisition Of Wotif Group


Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) and Wotif.com Holdings Limited (Wotif Group) today announced completion of the acquisition of Wotif Group by Expedia, Inc. for total cash consideration ofA$703 million or A$3.30 per share (equivalent to US$612 million or US$2.87 per share based on November 13, 2014 exchange rates). The total consideration of A$703 million was comprised of a A$51 million special dividend distributed by the Wotif Group to its shareholders before closing and A$652 million in cash from Expedia, Inc.

In the coming weeks, Expedia, Inc. expects to work with the Wotif Group team to conclude its ongoing evaluation of the available long-term strategic options for the Wotif Group businesses with an eye towards strengthening the potential of the Wotif Group's brands for its customers and partners. In the meantime, both companies will continue operating under a "business as usual" philosophy.

"We are thrilled to officially welcome Wotif Group and its terrific brands to the Expedia, Inc. family," said Dara Khosrowshahi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia, Inc. "This acquisition will allow us to continue expanding our business in the Asia-Pacific region and will allow Wotif Group's customers and partners to benefit from Expedia, Inc.'s global portfolio."

"This is an exciting milestone, and an important one for the Wotif Group team," said Scott Blume, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Wotif Group. "By aligning ourselves with a powerful global leader in online travel we have taken a vital strategic step forward in our effort to revitalize the iconic brands of the Wotif Group.  We simply couldn't ask for a better partner than Expedia, Inc.," added Blume.

Wotif Group operates online travel brands in the Asia-Pacific region including, Wotif.com, lastminute.com.au, travel.com.au, Asia Web Direct, LateStays.com, GoDo.com.au and Arnold Travel Technology. Its multi-product portfolio focuses primarily on hotel and air, offering consumers more than 29,000 bookable properties in destinations around the world.

COMMONWEALTH BANK WELCOMES FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CHINA


Commonwealth Bank of Australia welcomes the Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia, announced yesterday.

Mr Ian Narev, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Executive Officer, said the conclusion of negotiations was a significant achievement for the governments on both sides.

“Negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement have been underway for 10 years. Today’s announcement is the culmination of much dedication and commitment.”

The Agreement will deliver valuable gains across a range of sectors, including important gains in bilateral services trade, such as streamlined licensing arrangements and fewer restrictions on Australian services firms.

Mr Narev said, “This Agreement is very important as it continues to pave the way for the ongoing development of business opportunities for both Australian and Chinese businesses, and will help further strengthen the economies of both nations.

“For us, as we focus on our strategy to grow our international business in Asia, and particularly in China, with a disciplined, capability-led approach, it is encouraging to see increased bilateral cooperation.”

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia first opened a representative office in Beijing in 1992.  Branches were established in Shanghai and Beijing in 2010 and 2013 respectively.  The Group also has a number of strategic investments in China, in the Bank of Hangzhou and Qilu Bank, and a joint venture in life insurance.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has more than 20 years’ experience operating financial, banking and insurance services across Asia, and the Group is committed to looking for prudent opportunities to expand and enhance our presence in the region.

Tuesday, October 28

Hyatt Ranked One of the World's Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work


Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) announced today that Hyatt has been named one of the World's Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work®. The annual list honours 25 companies that have been recognised by their employees as an organisation that fosters creativity, trust and camaraderie.

This year marks Hyatt's inaugural appearance on the list, following Great Place to Work® recognitions in the United StatesFrance,GermanyUnited Arab EmiratesIndia, and the United Kingdom.

"This incredible recognition reflects how our people-focused culture and the care we show to everyone in the Hyatt family extends to our colleagues around the world," said Robb Webb, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. "We encourage our colleagues to be innovative in every aspect of their work, and our culture is one where it is second nature for colleagues to treat one another with the same level of care and attention shown to our guests. This helps our colleagues' personalities shine through and ultimately offers Hyatt guests a better experience."

The Great Place to Work® World's Best Multinational Workplace list ranks the best 25 global companies in terms of workplace culture, based off of a global survey of multinational companies and their associates. Qualifying companies must have been selected for at least five national Great Place to Work lists, have at least 5,000 employees worldwide and count at least 40 percent of their global workforce outside of the company's home country.

North American and Asian visitors drive surge in tourist spending


Increasing numbers of visitors from North America and Asia contributed to a $1.1 billion increase in tourist spending in the past year, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Total tourism expenditure increased 5.0 percent ($1,128 million) to $23.8 billion in the year ended March 2014, according to theTourism Satellite Account: 2014.

Spending by international tourists in New Zealand increased 7.4 percent ($709 million) in the past year, following a 1.8 percent decrease in the previous year. The number of short-term international visitors increased 5.4 percent over the same period.

“A significant rise in visitor numbers from the United States and continued growth in the number of Chinese tourists contributed to the largest increase in spending by international tourists since 2002,” national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said.

Key results for the year ended March 2014 are:
  • International tourism expenditure contributed $10.3 billion (15.3 percent) to New Zealand’s total exports.
  • Domestic tourism expenditure increased 3.2 percent ($419 million) to $13.4 billion.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $8.3 billion, or 4.0 percent of GDP.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $6.5 billion for tourism, or 3.1 percent of GDP.
  • The tourism industry directly employed 94,100 full-time equivalents (FTEs), or 4.7 percent of total employment in New Zealand.
  • Tourists generated $1.8 billion in GST revenue.

Tourism Satellite Account: 2014 incorporates revisions made to the International Visitors Survey expenditure and international student expenditure (consistent with the definition of a tourist). These have resulted in changes to the value of international tourism expenditure in the Tourism Satellite Account back to 1999. Revisions have also been made to domestic tourism expenditure. Changes to tourism expenditure have also led to revisions in tourism employment back to 2001.

Friday, October 24

Souvenir company BGV International fined for misleading tourists


Auckland souvenir company BGV International Ltd has been fined $22,000 in the Auckland District Court for misleading Asian tour groups about the country of origin of expensive alpaca rugs.
Tourists from China, Korea and Taiwan, who were part of organised tour groups ferried to BGV's premises, were told that the rugs were "New Zealand made". The rugs in fact came from Peru. The tourists paid as much as $4,000 per rug - up to four times more than they would have paid elsewhere for properly labelled rugs.
Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said New Zealand's reputation is damaged when tourists are treated in this way.
"This was nothing short of a rip-off. In this case tourists, who represent a valuable segment of the country's economy, have been harmed and New Zealand's reputation as a tourist destination suffers as a result. The behaviour also harms other law-abiding tourism businesses because tourists may not know who they can trust."
This prosecution followed an extensive investigation by the Commerce Commission that involved Police, Customs, Immigration Service and the Wildlife Enforcement Group. In total, eight companies and seven individuals have been prosecuted. Fines imposed in these cases exceed $880,000, with one company and one individual still to be sentenced.
“The most concerning aspect of these cases for us is the way in which a number of companies have systematically fleeced visitors to New Zealand. This gives us real cause for concern about parts of New Zealand's organised Asian tour group industry. We will continue to take the steps necessary to put things right," said Dr Berry.
The Commission is currently investigating other companies for similar conduct.

Friday, September 12

NATIONAL TERRORISM PUBLIC ALERT LEVEL RAISED TO HIGH


Statement from Australia PM Tony Abbott


Based on advice from security and intelligence agencies, the Government has raised the National Terrorism Public Alert level from Medium to High.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) independently determines the threat level. The advice is not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia. Security and intelligence agencies are concerned about the increasing number of Australians working with, connected to, or inspired by terrorist groups such as ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and al-Qaeda. 

The threat they pose has been increasing for more than a year. The first priority of the Government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Raising the alert level to High is designed to increase vigilance and raise awareness in the community. While it is important the public are aware of the increased threat, Australians should continue to go about their lives. Strong arrangements are in place to detect, prevent and respond to terrorism.

Earlier today, state and territory governments were notified of the decision to raise the threat level and federal and state law enforcement agencies will work to counter the terrorist threat. Owners and operators of critical infrastructure and places of mass gathering are encouraged to review their security plans and update their contact details with their state or territory police counter-terrorism unit.

The Government is also taking strong action to equip our security agencies and border protection agencies with the resources and powers they need to detect terrorist activities at home and prevent radicalised foreign fighters from returning to Australia. More than $630 million has been provided to boost the counter-terrorism capacity of the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, ASIS,

Customs and Border Protection and other agencies. We are also updating counter-terrorism legislation to strengthen agencies’ capability to prevent and disrupt domestic security threats. The public can provide valuable information to assist security and law enforcement agencies identify potential threats and prevent them from developing. 

Members of the public can report suspicious activities to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400, or directly to local police. How long the threat level remains at High is a matter for our intelligence and security agencies, but the Government does not want to see it remain High for a day longer than necessary.


New Zealanders in Australia are advised to monitor the media for information about threats to safety and security and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities. There is a global risk of terrorism. 

New Zealanders travelling and living in Australia are advised to take account of the terror threat level assigned by the Australian authorities when making travel decisions. 

On 12 September 2014, the threat level for Australia was raised from Medium to High (level three on a four level scale). This means security authorities regard a terrorist attack is likely. The advice is not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia. 

Australia remains a target for terrorist interest. Internationally trained terrorists and groups and domestic-based extremists are the predominant threat. Terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq continue to plan attacks against the West. Australia has identified concerns related to foreign fighters returning to Australia from conflicts in these countries. 

General travel advice New Zealanders making short term visits to Australia should ensure they take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy. While we have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia which entitles New Zealand residents to emergency hospital treatment, the agreement does not cover out-of-hospital medical treatment including services like ambulance cover, medical evacuations and elective treatment including doctors' visits. New Zealanders travelling or living in Australia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Thursday, September 11

Live stream: Oscar Pistorius verdict

AFPTV will on Thursday offer a live video feed of the verdict in the trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of the murder of his partner in February 2013.

Tuesday, September 2

cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent - RBA


Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision


At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.
Growth in the global economy is continuing at a moderate pace. China's growth remains generally in line with policymakers' objectives, with weakening property markets a challenge in the near term. Commodity prices in historical terms remain high, but some of those important to Australia have declined this year.
Financial conditions overall remain very accommodative. Long-term interest rates and risk spreads remain very low. Volatility in many financial prices is currently unusually low. Markets appear to be attaching a very low probability to any rise in global interest rates or other adverse event over the period ahead.
In Australia, the most recent survey data indicate gradually improving business conditions and some recovery in household sentiment after a weaker period around mid year, suggesting moderate growth in the economy is occurring. Resources sector investment spending is starting to decline significantly. Investment intentions in some other sectors continue to improve, though these areas of capital spending are expected to see only moderate growth in the near term. Public spending is scheduled to be subdued. Overall, the Bank still expects growth to be a little below trend over the year ahead.
The recorded rate of unemployment has increased recently, despite some improvement in most other indicators for the labour market this year. The Bank's assessment remains that the labour market has a degree of spare capacity and that it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently. Growth in wages has declined noticeably and is expected to remain relatively modest over the period ahead, which should keep inflation consistent with the target even with lower levels of the exchange rate.
Monetary policy remains accommodative. Interest rates are very low and have continued to edge lower over recent months as competition to lend has increased. Investors continue to look for higher returns in response to low rates on safe instruments. Credit growth has picked up a little, including most recently to businesses. The increase in dwelling prices continues. The exchange rate, on the other hand, remains above most estimates of its fundamental value, particularly given the declines in key commodity prices. It is offering less assistance than would normally be expected in achieving balanced growth in the economy.
Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand and help growth to strengthen over time. Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years.
In the Board's judgement, monetary policy is appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target. On present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.