Families and pensioners to feel the pinch of new laws from January 1

January 1, 2016 – 12:15AM

Michaela Whitbourn

Legal Affairs and Investigations reporter

As the clock struck midnight a raft of legal changes kicked in – and many Sydneysiders will get hit.

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Families and pensioners need to be prepared for a raft of legal and policy changes kicking off on January 1, including cuts to government subsidies and the phasing out of paper tickets for buses, trains and ferries.

First home buyers grant slashed

The consensus among economists is that the housing boom has peaked.

From New Year’s Day, those looking to get a foothold in the Sydney property market have a smaller incentive to buy a new house or apartment.

The Baird government will slash the First Home Owners Grant for new homes by a third, from $15,000 to $10,000.

Western Sydney postcodes made up the top 10 suburbs to benefit from the grant last financial year, with Spring Farm, West Hoxton, Werrington, St Mary’s and Liverpool the top five.

Postage stamp price hiked to $1

Postage stamp prices will skyrocket in 2016.

Postage stamp prices will skyrocket in 2016. Photo: Phil Carrick

Australia Post was granted approval to increase the price of regular postage stamps from 70 cents to $1 back in November by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The price hike was brought in as the postal service grapples with falling revenue amid the dwindling demand for “snail mail”.

While many of us may not send too many letters any more, the hike is predicted to have a big impact on small business owners.

Crackdown on under-quoting

But new measures aimed at cracking down on agents underestimating the selling price of properties will be welcome news for home buyers. Agents can be hit with a fine of up to $22,000 if they breach the new laws kicking off on January 1.

‘No jab, no play’ policy bites

Meningococcal vaccination being administered.

Meningococcal vaccination being administered.

For parents of small children, the federal government’s “no jab, no play” policy will also begin. Aimed at increasing vaccination rates, the policy strips families of unvaccinated children of thousands of dollars a year in childcare rebates and the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year supplement.

Experts have said the policy targets people registered as conscientious objectors, accounting for about 1.77 per cent of children, but will do little to capture the further 7 per cent of children whose vaccinations are not up to date for other reasons. There are exemptions for those who have a medical reason.

Paper tickets phased out

Out the door: TravelTen tickets won't be sold from January 1.

Out the door: TravelTen tickets won’t be sold from January 1.

Commuters will have to make the leap to the Opal electronic ticketing system, if they have not already. The NSW government will stop selling a raft of paper tickets for trains, buses, ferries and light rail, as it continues the rollout of the Opal card. Tickets that will no longer be sold include the popular pensioner excursion tickets, TravelTen tickets for buses and Family Funday Sunday tickets.

Pensioners and seniors need to sign up for the Gold Opal card to take advantage of the same discounted fare as the pensioner excursion ticket, or face a fee hike. Fares on the Gold Opal are capped at $2.50 a day.

The only paper tickets that will continue to be sold are single or return tickets, to cater for tourists and infrequent users of public transport.

Age pension income test

In another change for pensioners, the income test for the age pension will be tweaked for retired Commonwealth and NSW public servants and retired employees of large companies who also receive funded defined benefit superannuation pensions.

A new 10 per cent cap on income received from those defined benefit pensions will apply to Centrelink’s income test, which may affect retirees’ eligibility for the age pension. Veterans affairs’ pensions and military defined benefit income streams are not affected by the change.

One year left of HECS-HELP discounts

Uni students who opt to pay their fees upfront – either in full or in sums of $500 or more – have one year left to take advantage of the 10 per cent discount. Those who opted instead to defer their fees and sign up to a HECS-HELP loan can also avail themselves for the next 12 months of the 5 per cent “bonus” which applies when they make voluntary repayments of $500 or more.This reduces their remaining debt by 5 per cent of the repayment amount.

From January 2017 both types of discount will be cut, under changes initially proposed by Labor and re-introduced by the Turnbull government.

Paid parental leave

Public service departments do not know what to do about Paid Parental Leave.

Paid Parental Leave changes are still up in the air. Photo: Stocksy

Parents should keep an eye on mooted changes to paid parental leave, which would take effect from July 1, if they pass the Senate. The Turnbull government is attempting to “reconfigure” unpopular changes to paid parental leave announced in the May budget, which would have prevented mothers using the Commonwealth PPL scheme when they could access an employer scheme.

A compromise would see all new mothers receive 18 weeks of paid parental leave. If they had an employer scheme covering them at their full wage for less than 18 weeks, they would be able to claim government payments at the minimum wage for the balance of the period.

Source : Sydney Morning Herald

Kiwi shares end 2015 on record high

By Anna-Louise Jackson

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Across the All Index, skincare company Trilogy International was the best performer of 2015. Photo / Stewart Watson
Across the All Index, skincare company Trilogy International was the best performer of 2015. Photo / Stewart Watson

New Zealand shares rose to a record on the last day of the year, with Summerset Group Holdings, Orion Health Group and NZX gaining while A2 Milk Co gave up more of its gains.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 4.87 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6324.26. Within the index, 29 stocks rose, 15 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $62.6 million in abbreviated trading.

The best performer on the index yesterday was Summerset Group, up 2 per cent to $4.08, with Orion Health rising 1.9 per cent to $3.20 and NZX up 1.9 per cent to $1.07. Orion is the worst performer on the NZX 50 for the year, down 45 per cent.

Chorus, which advanced 0.5 per cent to $3.91 yesterday, is up 46 per cent for the year. Rickey Ward, NZ equity manager at JBWere, said the stock had been hampered by lagging regulation, before rebounding after the regulator imposed less onerous pricing for access to its copper lines.

“What a turn-around for a stock no one wanted to own,” Ward said. “All of a sudden it’s an income-generating investment, which it should have been in the first place, after you had to wait how many years for regulatory clarity.”

A2 Milk fell 9.7 per cent to a one-week low of $1.86, continuing Thursday’s easing from its all-time high of $2.27 on December 29. The stock had more than doubled in value after it announced a second earnings upgrade for the year on December 17. It has risen 291 per cent this year off strong Chinese demand for infant formula, making it the top performer on the NZX 50 Index.

“Fundamentally I believe the market says it’s well and truly overvalued, it doesn’t deserve to be here,” said JBWere’s Ward.

“It seems to be flow and momentum-driven rather than anything fundamentally based. You try to talk to the company to get an idea of what they pay farmers for the cost of milk and they won’t disclose – that’s the biggest input cost, so how the hell do you value it? It’s really hard. It’s a bit like Xero, these are growth companies. They are growing, to their credit, but it’s what multiple you want to pay on a company that is growing.”

Growth companies come with risk, markets can often misprice risk but they do not like when you disappoint on growth, and growth companies at some stage do disappoint.

Property stocks fell yesterday, with Argosy Property down 3 percent to $1.145, Goodman Property Trust sliding 2 percent to $1.24, Vital Healthcare Property Trust slipping 1.1 per cent to $1.87, and Kiwi Property Group declining 0.7 per cent to $1.35.

Outside the benchmark index, Moa Group dropped 6.8 per cent to 69 cents after the craft beer brewer was asked to explain a 42 per cent rise in its stock price from 52 cents on December 24 to 74 cents on December 30. Moa told the stock market regulator it was meeting disclosure requirements and had nothing to add.

“They’re not that well researched, when you see significant movements it’s only natural that people will ask questions,” Ward said. “If you’re a large company and you have big moves, you tend to be able to get away with it because more people have an understanding of why the movements occurred. Today’s fall is low volume in a company that not a lot of people follow these days.”

Intueri fell 4 per cent to 72 cents. The stock has shed 74 per cent this year, making it the fourth-worst performer across the S&P/NZX All Index. It had hit a high of $3.30 in September 2014, four months after listing at $2.35, but has struggled this year, and has not traded above $3 since January.

“It’s giving up some of those gains,” Ward said. “There’s been some speculation of a takeover, but Intueri’s come out saying no they’re not.”

Across the All Index, Trilogy International is the best performer this year, climbing 277 per cent to $2.78, though it fell 1.8 per cent yesterday. The skincare and home fragrance company more than tripled first-half profit to $3.2 million as it benefited from growth across all its markets.

Source : New Zealand Herald

Five things the Wellington Phoenix need to do in 2016

12:33 PM Friday Jan 1, 2016

The Phoenix need to protect Roly Bonevacia in 2016. Photo / Getty
The Phoenix need to protect Roly Bonevacia in 2016. Photo / Getty

At the mid-way point of the 2015/16 season, the Wellington Phoenix have won just four of thirteen matches, including only one of their last seven. What do they need to do to kick-start their stuttering A-League campaign as we enter 2016?

Go shopping

While the rest of us have been enjoying barbeques and beach-time, the football staff at the Phoenix should have been furiously working the phones to find an answer to their front-third conundrum. Six goals in the last seven games (half of them from Roy Krishna) tell the story of a team desperately in need of someone else to find the net.

That search shouldn’t be limited to just home-grown players. While the import quota is full, Jeffrey Sarpong hasn’t shown anywhere near enough to suggest he can solve the problem. Ernie Merrick needs to think seriously about cutting his losses and replacing Sarpong with someone who can revitalise his strike-force, and soon.

Improve discipline

After just thirteen games this campaign, there have already been 40 yellow cards issued to Phoenix players. In the whole of last season, the Phoenix collected just 43 bookings and lost only one player to an accumulated yellow-card suspension.

Tom Doyle has already missed a game after getting his fifth yellow (in just seven matches), while Roly Bonevacia and Alex Rodriguez are suspended for the next game after receiving their fifth yellows against the Mariners. Furthermore, Andrew Durante, Vince Lia and Albert Riera are all perched on four yellows, meaning impending bans for some or all of them are also likely.

Rediscover the secret to winning away

Last season, the Phoenix boarded international flights with expectation rather than hope. It was justified too, with wins over seven of the other nine sides in the league on their home turf. It’s been completely different in 2015/16, with just a solitary road victory and none in their last seven trips away from Wellington. Whatever the magic formula was in the last campaign, it needs to be remembered and revived to make the Phoenix a side other teams welcome with trepidation, not anticipation.

Get Siggy back in the team

The shortly-to-retire Ben Sigmund hasn’t featured in the last four matches, which have resulted in three losses and a last-gasp draw. While Manny Muscat has done an admirable job in central defence, Sigmund brings a much-needed passion and commitment that will be crucial if they’re to feature in the top six. His return would also allow Muscat to fill the troublesome right-back spot. While injuries have hampered Sigmund’s season, Merrick and the medical team need to find a way to coax his body into one last hurrah.

Protect Bonevacia

Roly Bonevacia has become one of the most watched men in the A-League and – not surprisingly – the most fouled. Opposition teams have quickly worked out that stopping the Dutchman is the key to containing the Phoenix and have set out to do that using fair and foul means.

To combat that, a new approach may be needed, perhaps with Bonevacia receiving the ball in different parts of the field. While he’s most dangerous in the pockets in behind the strikers, those areas are being clogged by opposition defenders, so Bonevacia may have to drop deeper or drift wider to collect the ball before unleashing the attacking weaponry he undoubtedly still possesses.


Source : – New Zealand Herald

8 Shades of Crisis – Russia’s Year of Economic Nightmares

By Peter Hobson

Dec. 25 2015 17:03

Last edited 17:08

File:Flag-map of Russia.svg


Imagine Russia as a combustion engine. Oil and gas pumped from its vast territories wash through the economy as taxes, government spending and investment. Foreign currency from oil and gas sales is used to fund imported equipment and products on shop shelves. Cash from the energy industry flows through companies and into pay packets. Whether directly or indirectly, Russians have oil money in their pockets.

So while on the face of it, the energy industry accounts for only around one-quarter of Russian output, in reality it is the source of up to 70 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product, according to research by Andrei Movchan, an associate at the Carnegie Center in Moscow.

That helps explain how, in the late 1980s, a halving in the price of oil precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The current shock engulfing Russia is even more serious, Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin told a conference hosted by Vedomosti, a business newspaper, in December.

Russia’s isolation from the world economy due to sanctions imposed over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine last year have worsened the impact of an oil price crash.

The Moscow Times looked at eight aspects of the crisis.


If the oil price falls to $50 per barrel it would cost Russia some $160 billion in lost annual exports, Oreshkin said. By mid-December, the price of oil had fallen not to $50, but to less than $40, following a collapse of the market last year amid chronic global oversupply.

Russia’s response was to maximize output, raising oil production to its highest since the end of the Soviet Union and ramping up exports of gas and metals, prices of which have also fallen sharply.

Source: State Statistics Service

This strategy has brought in extra money and preserved jobs, helping the country weather an economic contraction of around 4 percent this year. But it also undermined the future development of Russia’s oil industry.

To maintain production volumes, oil companies are tapping easy-to-reach resources and neglecting investment in deposits that are harder to access, said Mikhail Krutikhin, a partner at consultants RusEnergy.

In the longer run, Russian oil output — which currently rivals Saudi Arabia at more than 10 million barrels per day — will decline sharply.


One of the reasons for the long-term decline in oil production is ongoing Western sanctions. Imposed last year, sanctions have deprived the oil industry of technology and expertise and sharply curbed lending by Western financial institutions to Russia.

This has forced Russian companies and banks to repay loans to foreigners rather than refinance them. Corporate external debt will drop to less than $500 billion by the end of the year from $660 billion in mid-2014, according to the Central Bank — the equivalent of sending around 9 percent of Russia’s 2014 GDP over the border.

In the long run, reducing debt will leave Russia’s finances in better health, said Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Moscow-based consultancy Macro Advisory.

But, he added, it is “a very narrow silver lining wrapped around a very dark cloud.”

The Ruble

Russia has been able to cope with lower oil prices and sanctions by allowing the market to massively devalue the ruble, which has lost half its value against the U.S. dollar since summer 2014, when oil prices began to fall.

Non-interference in the ruble rate enabled the Central Bank to preserve its foreign currency reserves, which were at $371 billion in early December, rather than spend them to defend the currency.

Also, since oil and other commodities are sold in dollars, energy companies and the government earned more rubles for every dollar’s worth of oil sold, offsetting the effect of the price fall and allowing the government to run a deficit of around 3 percent without borrowing or massive cuts to spending.

The weak ruble transformed Russia’s trade balance, since anything brought from outside the country suddenly became far more expensive. According to official customs data, the value of imports fell by 38 percent in the first 10 months of the year.

This was another boon to the state, creating an expected current account surplus of more than $60 billion this year to help balance capital outflows and repayments to foreign creditors.

Other side effects of the devaluation were less positive.


The ruble’s collapse has caused prices to spiral. Inflation remained above 15 percent throughout 2015. Food prices rose even faster, as a consequence of bans imposed by Moscow on produce from the U.S., European Union and some other countries in retaliation to sanctions.

Inflation far exceeded wage growth, and real incomes began to fall at levels unprecedented since the 1990s. Household spending dropped by around 9 percent, according to the Central Bank, undermining a key driver of economic growth.

Meanwhile, 2.3 million more people fell into poverty in the first 9 months of the year, according to the Rosstat state statistics service. The creation of a middle class — a key development of President Vladimir Putin’s reign — stalled.

Interest Rates

To keep inflation in check, the Central Bank kept interest rates high. Following an emergency hike to 17 percent last year, the bank’s key rate has fallen to 11 percent.

This has raised borrowing costs and dampened investment. Already in short supply as oil wealth and foreign credit dried up, investment has fallen by around 5.5 percent in the first 10 months of the year, according to Rosstat.

Sources: Central Bank, U.S. Energy Information Administration

High lending rates have come on top of Russia’s old problems of corruption, red tape and rapacious officials — none of which have been effectively reformed. In an interview in October on state television’s Channel One, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said there was no investment because there was no trust in Russian institutions or the country’s future.

“Right now,” he said, “you have to be a brave, even crazily brave person to open a business.”

Import Replacement

The weak ruble should have boosted local production to replace more expensive foreign goods.

One industry that did expand was agriculture, where import bans and government calls for self-sufficiency for national security reasons gave extra impetus to ramp up production.

As other sectors of the economy shrank, “agriculture is demonstrating positive dynamics, with an at least 3 percent growth,” Putin said at a press conference in December.

But the speed of change and the lack of competition have often come at the cost of quality. Many local products now on sale are substandard, and the dairy industry is rife with cheap palm oil supplements.

With Turkey and Ukraine recently added to the list of countries whose products have been banned, Russia could face food shortfalls of fruits and vegetables next year, the Central Bank warned in a December report.


Despite the recession, unemployment has stayed low, at around 5.5 percent. Companies and government bodies have preserved jobs by cutting pay and hours. Migrant workers, who are easier to fire and whose remittances have shrunk as the ruble has weakened, have left in droves, reducing the supply of labor.

Between January and early December, the number of Tajik citizens in Russia fell by around 100,000, or 10 percent, and the number of Uzbeks declined by more than 330,000, or 15 percent, according to Federal Migration Service data.

These factors have acted as a shock absorber for the labor market. “In another country unemployment would be in double digits,” said Weafer.


Putin’s support remains high. State television, through which most Russians get their news, has convinced the public that external factors, or anti-Russian conspiracies, are behind the economic slump.

But people are increasingly feeling the crisis. A survey by state pollster VTsIOM in December found that people’s assessment of their wealth fell sharply at the end of the year. A quarter of respondents said their family finances were in a bad state.

In late 2014, Putin said oil prices under $80 would “destroy the global economy.”

Both the global and the Russian economy have proven more resilient. But if oil prices stay low, the recession will continue throughout next year and an extended investment slump will stunt Russia’s long term growth prospects.

Russia will enter its longest period of falling incomes and quality of life since the economic crisis that doomed the Soviet Union. Ahead of presidential elections in 2018, poverty, which more than halved during Putin’s first 13 years in power, will be back with a vengeance.

Source : The Moscow Times

IPVA 2016 no Ceará tem redução média de 4,01%; confira a tabela

Boletos vão estar disponíveis no site da Sefaz a partir de 4 de janeiro.
Ceará espera arrecadar R$ 719,065 milhões com o IPVA em 2016.

Bandeira do estado do Ceará

A Secretaria da Fazenda do Ceará (Sefaz) divulgou nesta terça-feira (29) a tabela de pagamento e alíquotas do Imposto sobre a Propriedade de Veículos Automotores (IPVA) 2016. O IPVA de cada veículo será, em média, 4,01% mais barato que o valor pago no ano anterior para o mesmo automóvel. Em 2015, a redução média foi de 10,78%. O boleto estará disponível apenas pela internet a partir de 4 de janeiro.


Parcela Vencimento
Parcela única,
com desconto
de 5%
29 de janeiro
1ª Parcela 23 de fevereiro
2ª Parcela 23 de março
3ª Parcela 23 de abril
4ª Parcela 23 de maio

O tributo incide sobre 2,2 milhões veículos, e a secretaria espera arrecadar R$ 719 milhões com o imposto, aumento de 8,3% em relação a este ano.

São isentos do imposto veículos de deficientes físicos, máquinas agrícolas e de terraplenagem, micro-ônibus, vans, topics e ônibus intermunicipais que fazem transporte público, veículos com potência menor que 50 cilindradas, táxi e mototáxi, ônibus urbano e metropolitano, veículos com mais de 15 de fabricação e veículo de corpo diplomático.

O IPVA poderá ser pago em até quatro parcelas, desde que cada parcela não seja inferior a R$ 50. A primeira parcela vence em 23 de fevereiro; e as seguintes no dia 23 de cada mês. Quem pagar à vista até 29 de janeiro terá 5% de desconto no valor do imposto.

Maior e menor IPVA do estado
A base de cálculo do IPVA é tabela divulgada pela Fundação Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica (FIPE), que traz o valor médio de mercado dos veículos. O maior IPVA do estado é de uma Ferrari 599 GTB, com valor de venda de R$ 1,3 milhão e IPVA de R$ 33.426,87. O menor é relativo a um Buggy, com valor de mercado de R$ 2.176 e IPVA de R$ 54,42.

Sem entrega pelos Correios
Em 2016, a Sefaz não fará envio de boletos pelos Correios. Todos os boletos para pagamento estarão disponíveis aos contribuintes a partir de 4 de janeiro, no site da Secretaria. A rede arrecadadora do IPVA inclui o Banco do Brasil, a Caixa Econômica, o BNB, Bradesco, casas lotéricas e Farmácias Pague Menos.

Como em 2015, o IPVA 2016 também poderá ser pago nos cartões de crédito vinculados ao Banco do Brasil ou Bradesco.

Alerta para tentativa de golpe
A Secretaria da Fazenda alerta que qualquer boleto de pagamento que chegue às residências de proprietários de veículos é falsa e se trata de uma tentativa de golpe. Em caso de dúvida, o contribuinte pode consultar a Sefaz por meio do telefone 0800.707.8585.

Veículos Alíquota
Automóveis, camionete e camioneta e utlitário 2,5%
Ônibus, micro-ônibus, caminhões/locadoras 1%
Motocicleta, motoneta, ciclomotores e triciclos até 125 cilindradas 1%
Motocicletas, motonetas, ciclomotores, triciclos acima de 125 ciliandradas 2%
Aeronaves 1,5%
Embarcações e outros modelos 2,5%




PIB do Ceará cai 5,5% no 3º trimestre e acumula queda de 3,2% no ano

Agricultura teve a maior queda no período, de -23,51%, segundo Ipece.
Estudo foi divulgado nesta quarta-feira (30) pelo Ipece.

Bandeira do estado do Ceará

O produto interno bruto (PIB) do Ceará, a soma de todas as riquezas produzidas pelo estado, encolheu 5,54% no terceiro trimestre (julho, agosto e setembro), segundo estudo divulgado nesta quarta-feira (30) pelo Instituto de Pesquisa e Estratégia Econômica do Ceará (Ipece). A queda foi menor que a média do país no mesmo período, -4,5%.

No acumulado do ano, o Ceará soma uma redução de 3,27% no PIB, segundo estudo do Ipece. É a maior queda acumulada entre os estados da região Nordeste neste terceiro trimestre. As maiores queda no Ceará ocorreram na área de agropecuária (-23,51%), transformação (-9,12%) e intermediação financeira (-8,88%).

Além do Ceará, mais sete estados brasileiros realizam o cálculo de sua economia: Bahia, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul e São Paulo.



A Regra do Jogo: Lara tem casa invadida e apanha de Orlando

REDAÇÃO – Publicado em 31/12/2015, às 08h26

Depois de descobrir que foi traído, Orlando (Eduardo Moscovis) invadirá o barraco de Lara (Carolina Dieckmann) para agredi-la no capítulo de hoje (31) de A Regra do Jogo, novela das nove da Globo. Quem defenderá a loira da fúria do bandido será Dante (Marco Pigossi), que conseguirá evitar que ela apanhe mais e partirá para cima de Orlando.

Orlando será escorraçado por Nelita (Bárbara Paz) na continuação da cena que encerrou o capítulo de ontem (30). A pintora dirá que não acredita mais nas mentiras do marido. “Você me acha uma anta, mas a anta aqui acordou. A casa caiu, Orlando! Nenhuma das duas Nelitinhas agora querem saber de você! Nem a diaba, nem a santa! Pode ir tirando seu timinho de várzea de campo!”, falará. A mando de Gibson (José de Abreu), o bandido vai pegar a mulher à força e levá-la para casa desacordada.

No entanto, Nelita acordará e contará ao pai que ouviu a gravação com a voz do marido confessando o golpe o baú, o que piorará ainda mais a situação de Orlando. “Ela já sacou quem você é de verdade, sabe que você é um bandido! E tudo porque você se deixou gravar por aquela namoradinha caipira! Que erro básico, Orlando!”, dirá, furioso, o chefe da facção. “Você comete erros primários, Orlando! Você deixa pistas dos seus crimes, não se dá nem ao trabalho de varrer a sujeira pra debaixo do tapete”, continuará Gibson.

Orlando implorará por uma chance de resolver o problema com Lara. “Por favor, doutor Gibson, me dá uma chance! Se essa gravação existe, eu vou conseguir recuperar e vou destruir ela! Vou convencer todo mundo que isso tudo não passou de um delírio da Nelita e, aos poucos, eu vou fazer essa família toda gostar de novo de mim”, pedirá. “Então faça isso logo, porque com certeza o Dante também vai atrás dessa gravação! Anda, sai daqui. Vamos ver o que você consegue fazer. Mas é a sua última chance mesmo. Sai daqui, agora”, decretará o sogro.

Na cena seguinte, Lara será surpreendida por Orlando arrombando a porta de sua casa com um chute. “Você tá querendo acabar comigo! Que história é essa de fazer uma gravação da nossa conversa e mostrar pra Nelita? Você pirou?”, dirá ele, antes de estapear a loira até ela cair no chão. “Mentirosa! Você me traiu! Anda, me entrega a gravação ou eu acabo com você com as minhas próprias mãos!”, ordenará.

Dante chegará bem na hora para defender Lara e trocará socos com Orlando. “Me entrega o celular ou ele vai morrer! Anda!”, gritará o bandido, enquanto enforca o policial. A loira entregará o aparelho e Orlando terá tempo de destruí-lo antes de Dante se recuperar e voltar a socá-lo.

O bandido aproveitará um descuido de Dante para fugir, e Lara ficará arrasada ao perceber que o celular foi destruído e que não fez nenhuma cópia da gravação. “Você vem comigo. A gente vai lá pra casa. Eu preciso que você conte pra todo mundo o que aconteceu aqui”, falará o policial. A loira ficará emocionada ao perceber que Dante acredita nele e dirá que o ama. “Não confunde as coisas, Lara”, cortará ele.

Inter-Korean ties face rocky road

Relations between the two Koreas are expected to continue to face a rocky road this year as they failed to build on rare momentum in recent months and the North could still stage major provocations.

Cross-border ties have quickly turned frosty since their first formal meeting in years broke down early last month due to irreconcilable differences in their positions on stalled tours to a North Korean mountain resort, reunions of separated families and other issues.

Soldiers patrol the border area in the western part of the Demilitarized Zone on Dec.27. (Yonhap)

The biggest issue is a possible nuclear or long-range missile test, which will likely reactivate the vicious circle of international sanctions and potentially another provocation resulting in a months-long freeze in bilateral and multilateral dialogue.

With Seoul gearing up for a general election and Washington for a presidential vote, North Korea may well be put on the back burner, while China and Russia appear to be opting to maintain the respectively lukewarm bilateral ties with Pyongyang.

“The likelihood of North Korea’s fourth nuclear test is not so high in light of the increasing security cooperation between the South, the U.S. and Japan, and the resulting additional international sanctions. Plus, it wouldn’t want to let the strategic value of its nuclear weapons diminish by carrying out a hasty experiment without a strong conviction that it will beef up its nuclear capabilities,” the state-run Korean Institute of National Unification in Seoul said in its 2016 outlook.

“Still, there is the possibility that the North will use a nuclear test or threats as a diplomatic option depending on changes in its circumstances, especially in the face of Washington’s intensive pressure.”

Adding to the grim outlook is the death of Kim Yang-gon, the top North Korean official in charge of cross-border affairs, announced Wednesday by the North’s official media. As a secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party and director of the party’s United Front Department, he led the Aug. 25 agreement that salvaged the two Koreas from the brink of a military clash.

“Given that Kim has been spearheading inter-Korean affairs since the Kim Jong-il era (began), his abrupt death could inevitably lead to a lengthy pause in cross-border dialogue,” said Chong Seong-chang, head of unification strategy research at the Sejong Institute.

“With Kim Yang-gon having played an international affairs secretary role, it could also delay Pyongyang’s efforts to improve China relations.”

Yet a few events could bring about a turnaround in the mood, including an envisioned visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the communist state and one-on-one talks with leader Kim Jong-un. At the North’s first party congress in 36 years, slated for May, Kim is anticipated to unveil next-generation leaders and new economic, diplomatic and unification policies.

President Park Geun-hye, under mounting pressure to create a legacy in inter-Korean policy, could soften her line and make a concession on the tour program and lift bilateral sanctions imposed after the North’s 2010 attacks on the South’s corvette and the border island of Yeonpyeongdo.

“The Kim leadership would strive to flaunt its diplomatic feats around the party congress, for which it is expected to pursue a high-level meeting and greater economic cooperation with China and Russia,” said the Korea National Diplomatic Academy’s Institute of Foreign Affairs & National Security in its forecasts.

“If Kim manages to travel to Beijing and hold a summit, Pyongyang could agree to a freeze in nuclear provocations and restart the stalled six-party talks, yet even in that case it is unlikely to accept a full-scale denuclearization process.”

Despite the gloomy conditions, the Park administration should work to foster an upbeat atmosphere and revive the momentum for the next round of dialogue or possibly a summit, analysts say.

“The next official dialogue must take place, and for it to make progress, the Park government should make a bold decision on Mount Geumgangsan tours in exchange for family reunions,” Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said in his analysis.

“It also needs to propose an inter-Korean summit. Given the concentrated power given to both leaders, they could tackle various sticking points once and for all, and before the Aug. 15 Liberation Day should serve their best interests.”

By Shin Hyon-hee

Source : The Korea Herald

Saldo da Petrobras: 28 processos em Nova York

Petrobras horizontal logo (international).svg

O Estadão informa que a Petrobras encerrou 2015 com 28 ações individuais abertas na Justiça de Nova York, nos Estados Unidos.

Os processos alegam, em sua maioria, que a estatal brasileira não cumpriu as regras do mercado de ações americano, ao não informar corretamente os investidores sobre o esquema de corrupção do Petrolão.

A Petrobras é acusada, inclusive, de inflar ativos e, assim, maquiar os números da empresa. Quando as denúncias de corrupção vieram à tona, as ações despencaram na Bolsa.


Fonte : O Antagonista