Gerry Harvey’s retail operation Harvey Norman has no explanation for why its shares tanked badly on Monday.
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The company was responding to a please explain notice from the ASX after its shares dropped more than 8 per cent on Monday – wiping hundreds of millions from its market cap – with no obvious explanation for the rout.

In a statement to the ASX, Harvey Norman said it was not aware of any information which could explain the recent trading.

Gerry himself should be looking for an answer given his personal wealth was down more than $100 million on the day. He even tried to shore up the share price, buying two million shares for $8.7 million and posting a notice to the ASX within hours.

But what caused the rout?

Let’s go through what we do know.

Long time Harvey Norman executive, David Matthew Ackery, issued a directors notice earlier on Monday announcing he had sold $1.5 million worth of shares to pay off an ANZ loan which was secured against his stake in the retailer.

It was the second share sale by a director in less than a week with Gerry’s wife, Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page, selling some stock last week.

Trading in the stock has been heavy since she announced her sale.

The other news of interest on Monday was some research from Credit Suisse predicting who would be road kill when Amazon finally comes to town. iFrameResize({enablePublicMethods : true, heightCalculationMethod : “lowestElement”,resizedCallback : function(messageData){}, checkOrigin: false},”#pez_iframeA”);

Harvey Norman gets a mention, but the impact would not be as bad for the retail giant as would be for rival businesses like JB HiFi, Myer and Super Retail.

Harvey Norman is probably the best insulated from any Amazon threat, according to the Credit Suisse report.

Could it be the markets got scared by a report in Saturday’s Australian Financial Review by Neil Chenoweth?

It raised fresh questions about the byzantine structure that governs Harvey Norman’s franchisee business and the transparency of the company’s accounts.

Especially in relation to the jaw dropping 110 franchise operations which fail each year, and how the losses of these failed shops are recorded in its accounts.

The ASX query asked the retailer about some of the information in the report, including the line in the report about ASIC investigating how the retailer reports its exposure to these losses and troubled loans.

Harvey Norman offered a typically blunt response.

“The AFR article makes false statements and assumptions and then proceeds to make assertions and draw conclusions, which are also false, based upon those false statements and assumptions.”

It might not be enough to head of the short sellers that Gerry was lambasting at the company’s AGM in November, and if the reports of ASIC’s interest in Harvey Norman’s accounts are true – the market might just be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Just one slice of a seemingly “healthy” bread in the supermarket can contain double the typical amount of salt in a packet of chips, a new study shows.
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Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health analysed nearly 1500 bread products, including loaves, crumpets and flat breads, over the past seven years and found “healthy” options such as rye and sourdough had alarming levels of salt.

They found some loaves contained more than one-third of the daily recommended salt intake of five grams in just two slices.

One of the most concerning products was Schwob’s Dark Rye, which had 1.2 grams of salt per slice (70g). To compare, a small packet of Kettle’s sea salt chips has less than half the amount.

“We know that excess salt in our diet increases blood pressure and the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, so our findings are incredibly worrying especially as many of the products that have the highest levels of salt are perceived by families as being the healthiest,” lead author Clare Farrand said.

Bowan Island’s Wholemeal Sourdough was also highlighted for its salt content, which at 1.6g of salt per 100g, was nearly three times saltier than the best option, Bill’s Certified Organic 100 per cent Wholemeal Sourdough.

The researchers found flat breads had the highest average sodium content in all breads analysed in 2017.

They found the worst option was Mission’s Chapattis Garlic, which at 2.3g of salt per 100g, was 23 times saltier than the best option – Mission’s White Corn Tortillas.

Mission was attacked in an advertising campaign last year by Goodman Fielder that sought to promote its “healthier” option, Helga’s wraps.

At the time it claimed: “If you choose to eat the leading wrap product on the market (Mission Original Wraps), you’ll add 90 teaspoons of salt to your diet every year.”

Ms Farrand said they found “huge” variations in salt levels in each bread category, which showed there was a clear opportunity for manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their recipes.

For example, two slices of Schwob’s white sourdough had nearly 80 per cent more salt than two slices of Aldi’s Baker’s Life Super Soft White Sandwich Bread.

She said in good news the research revealed salt levels in breads and bread rolls had dropped by about 10 per cent over the past seven years.

In 2009, the federal government set salt reduction targets for three major categories, including bread, in a bid to achieve the World Health Organisation’s aim of reducing global salt intake by 30 per cent by 2025.

The target for bread was set as 400mg of sodium (1g of salt) per 100g.

The researchers found 81 per cent of breads covered by the Food and Health Dialogue (FHD) initiative met the target in 2017, compared to 37 per cent in 2010.

But only two-thirds of breads in their study were covered by the targets. When it came to those excluded, such as flat breads, only 49 per cent met the targets,

“What Australia needs is a consistent drop in salt levels across all processed foods, not just in some breads,” Ms Farrand said.

“This can only be achieved if we have comprehensive government and industry supported salt reduction targets for all product categories.”

Gluten free breads were excluded from the initiative, but a third failed to meet the 400mg of sodium per 100g target. Gluten Free Crostini Bread Rolls contained double the target amount.

The research was released to mark the 10th World Salt Awareness Week.

David Cummings, owner of Sydney-based Bowan Island Bakery, said he was interested in the study’s findings and they had begun a review on sodium levels across its range.

Schwob’s Swiss Bakery did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. Savvy Consumer – Interact with us on FacebookLatest consumer affairs news

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So after another day of the unexpected, in a series of the unexpected, we go to an unexpected decider. The way the series has escalated, every session feels more important than the the last, and every day, and every match, and so the stage for fourth Test is set. In Dharamsala, nestling in the Himalayas, it will feel like a summit.
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Australia had the better of this draw in the sense that they will feel like they won something, India that they lost something. Now India must win, Australia merely draw again. That won’t be their mindset, of course. But already in this series, they have demonstrated to themselves the joy of virtues they once scorned, patience and restraint. Last time in India, the further behind they fell, the more they rapped out their motto about the need to play their natural attacking game. They lost 4-0.

This time, it has been different. This day, they had to do as Donald Trump plans – invest all they had into defence. This day, by playing out of a somewhat mythologised Australian character, they showed even greater character. This day, instead of trying to swallow the elephant whole, they did it bite by bite. Fortunately, it was an Indian elephant, slightly smaller than the African.

Peter Handscomb will make many lesser Test hundreds than his four-and-a-half hour, 200-ball 72 not out on a fifth-day pitch in India. Ditto Shaun Marsh and his 197-ball 53, for the balls counted for as the runs. Marsh is a sub-continental specialist, Handscomb a learner, a fast learner. Each has his own way, founded in his personality. For Marsh, it is absence of extravagance, for Handscomb inner conviction.

Together, but each in his way, they had to deal with a thousand variations of pace, line and trajectory, not to mention spin and bounce, and fieldsmen in the corner of their eyes, and Indian captain Virat Kohli’s slights and provocations from slip, and periodically the screeching appeals of Ravindra Jadeja. Sometimes when the spinners were operating, it must have been like facing one of those oriental gods with many arms, all whirling. They came through.

Do not forget the Herculean effort of the bowlers to draw out India’s innings for long enough for this result to become remotely within reach. Every part of a Test match connects to every other part.

And fie upon you who would outlaw the draw. Only in the AFL must it be that a match cannot stop or even slow down, and always finish in a breathless climax. Test cricket mostly hums along at a good pace now anyway, so that fifth days are rare, and draws rarer, and when they happen along usually constitute an authentic result anyway, not just an unfinished match. This was one such.

Thinks back over the day and its multifarious factors, grinding up against one another like tectonic plates. An avalanche of runs was never likely, but a shearing away of wickets was. There was the erosion of the pitch, the deterioration of the ball and then its renewal. There was the vigilance of the batsmen, the guile of the bowlers, the temperament of both. There was the passage of time, the dwindling stock of overs, the diminishing deficit and then the growing margin, the distant refuge of the draw, giving succour for Australia and urgency to India.

Informing these, there were immutable features, left-hander and right-, left-armer and right-, this end but not that, over the wicket and around, each combination making for a different game within a game. Once, Ravichandran Ashwin even bowled to Handscomb a leg-spinner. There was odd rogue bounce, though in truth fewer than predicted on a pitch that like the series confounded even Indian experts, who like real estate doomsayers continued to predict a crash that never came. There was the tactical intrigue, played with cards face up.

There was luck – one DRS reprieve each for Handscomb and Marsh by “umpire’s call” – and momentum and nerves and their conquering, and because of all this there was the knotting of all stomachs not just for minutes at a time, but hours, and they did not really start to unwind until the last hour and the truce became apparent.

Australia’s achievement is that only once did a wobble appear in the force field they created. After an hour-and-a-half of watchfulness, Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw were settled. Each “no” was not just a call, but an announcement, intent, of denial. Then Renshaw baulked Ishant Sharma in his run-up, prompting a kerfuffle with just a hint of the contrived about it. Three balls later, Ishant’s in-slanter trapped Renshaw lbw.

Three more balls later, Smith shoulder arms to a Ravindra Jadeja ball pitched outside leg-stump and was bowled off-stump. Considering the burden Smith has shouldered on this tour, it was possible to think that he had not so much padded up as buckled at the knee. Would it have been any wonder? Fatalism settled over the Australian camp.

But Renshaw and Smith had shown the way, and Handscomb and Marsh followed faithfully in their footsteps. The sun beat down, the roller wore off, the pitch crumbled apace, but the batsmen’s minds did not. Handscomb waited 78 balls to hit a four, Marsh was no less fastidious, but what were these few hours beside eternity? Kohli squandered a review, and missed a trick, bowling Ashwin too sparingly. India tried a second time to foment and distract, but it did not work. Finally, Marsh prodded a catch from Jadeja and Glenn Maxwell quickly followed, but these wickets served only to highlight the perils Australia already had safely negotiated. Kohli,for contrariness’s sake, delayed the ceasefire.

Nothing has been won yet, so it would be folly to overplay Australia’s exploits. But it should be acknowledged that against the might of India at home, Australia was fielding five men each with fewer than 10 Tests, including one who has not played for two-and-a-half years and another who has not played for five, and are without their best fast bowler and for now bearing along their next best batsman after Smith, and yet they are taking this series to the finish line. By such deeds, in such a crucible, careers are born, and sometimes eras.

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Aviation workers are sleeping on makeshift beds amid squalid conditions in the bowels of Sydney International Airport while they wait for their next shift.
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Footage obtained by the Transport Workers Union shows bed rolls and bedding, hidden behind a baggage carousel laid out on a grubby concrete floor in what has been described as “Third World conditions”.

Workers who sleep here are employed by one of Australia’s largest aviation services companies, Aerocare, which offers baggage handling, aircraft loading, towing and other aviation services for some of Australia’s biggest airlines including Qantas and Jetstar, Virgin and Singapore Airlines.

The Transport Workers Union says workers are spending more than 14 hours per day at the airport, under a split-shift arrangement aimed at cutting costs.

Under the system workers can be told to work more than one shift in a single day. One former worker, Jason, said sometimes there was a six-hour wait between shifts.

“The employees, on their split shifts, just made little nests with airline blankets and waited,” he said

“All the other staff know that’s where Aerocare go on their shifts. Really you shouldn’t even be at the airport after your shift.”

Split shifts are allowed under a 2012 agreement that unions challenged.

Fair Work Commission vice-president Graeme Watson approved the enterprise agreement in February 2013, saying it passed the so-called better-off overall test. The test ensures workers are better off overall under a proposed enterprise agreement than they would be under the relevant award.

A former partner at law firm Freehills, Mr Watson was the last remaining Coalition appointee in a senior role at the commission and a strong dissenter in favour of business. He said the commission was “partisan, dysfunctional and divided” when he announced his resignation from it in January.

In his decision, Mr Watson said the minimum three-hour shifts under the Aerocare enterprise agreement was a “disadvantage” to workers compared to the minimum four-hour shifts required under the award.

“I do not believe that a three-hour work period followed by a subsequent one-hour unpaid meal break is consistent with the award requirement that employers roster part-time employees for a minimum of four consecutive hours on any shift or the minimum payment of four hours for casuals,” he said.

“I propose to consider this change as a detriment to both part-time and casual employees.”

However, considering all the circumstances, Mr Watson said he was satisfied the advantages within the enterprise agreement outweighed the disadvantages.

“In my view the benefits of the agreement are substantial,” he said.

However, Jason said Aerocare workers were being paid so poorly they “didn’t care about their jobs” and safety standards had started to suffer.

“The pay and conditions were pretty bad, but my main issue was the safety issue, the fact that people are being so poorly remunerated they don’t care about their jobs,” he said.

“They are budget providers and this is not an industry that you should employ people on a budget.”

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said the footage showed “the reality of work behind the shiny facade of our airports”.

“Workers are struggling on slave wages and sleeping on bed rolls because they have to spend long days at work to support their families,” he said.

“This is being allowed to happen because airports and airlines are outsourcing work to low-cost companies and not giving a damn about the workers in their supply chains that it affects.”

In February, Qantas posted a statutory net profit after tax of $515 million, down 25 per cent on the previous year’s result.

Aerocare said it was negotiating a new workplace agreement.

Chief executive Glenn Rutherford said he was focused on improving its rostering system and securing more contracts to help employees get longer shifts.

“It obviously isn’t our preference to have shorter shifts but rostering is driven by the needs of our customers, with rosters determined by flight schedules and noting that it generally takes three hours to fully service an international aircraft,” he said.

But any suggestion its employees were being “forced” to camp out in secure areas of Sydney airport while they wait for their “split shifts” was “false”.

“No Aerocare employee is forced to do anything and it is difficult to comprehend how anyone could make such a claim given that last year alone we had over 180 safety and security related audits – all of which were passed,” Mr Rutherford said.

“We would never knowingly allow any of our employees to sleep at the airport as the safety and well-being of our employees is paramount to our operation.

“Our employees enjoy improving wages, and safer conditions than those offered by many of our competitors and we have spent millions of dollars improving our rostering system to maximise the duration of employee shifts.”

A Sydney Airport spokeswoman said it worked closely with airport partners, including the AFP and Border Force, to ensure a safe and secure environment.

“Any matters raised at the airport are resolved in consultation with our partners, in accordance with the relevant legislation,” she said.

Jetstar, which is owned by Qantas, said the union claims were part of negotiations for a new pay deal between Aerocare and their employees and was “a matter between them”.

“Aerocare’s airline customers like Jetstar do not determine the pay and conditions of Aerocare’s employees,” the spokesman said.

“Aerocare has advised us that their employees are not required to work multiple shifts in a day.”

Aerocare supplies aviation services to Jetstar, QantasLink and other Australian and international airlines at airports around the country.

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Ranchi: Steve Smith has boldly declared the momentum of the series is firmly with Australia heading into the decider after the visitors defied the odds to save the third Test.
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The Australians were under extreme pressure from the moment India rescued their innings on day three through to the finish but are buoyed by their escape.

India, however, will also have tremendous belief in their camp after recovering from a tricky position to get themselves to the point where they were hot favourites to win the game.

Smith was fearing the worst after his dismissal shortly before lunch but was saved by dogged half-centuries from Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh. Smith rated Handscomb’s unbeaten 70 as worth 140 due to the conditions and the perilous state of the game.

They batted for eight minutes shy of four hours to turn what appeared impending defeat into a fighting draw, ensuring the series remains locked at 1-1.

What seemed unthinkable a month ago – Australia retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy or even winning a series in India – remains in play going into the fourth Test in Dharamsala starting Saturday.

“If there’s anything called momentum, it’s with us at the moment,” Smith said.

“India coming into today would have expected to bowl us out. I’m sure they’re hurting a little bit in their change room.”

India captain Virat Kohli said his team had plenty to take out of the stalemate. They were playing to win whereas Australia were saving the game.

“It’s a matter of individual perception. I will see the positives I can draw from it. We’re happy where we positioned after them after the first innings, did not have to play the second innings,” Kohli said.

“They were playing for a draw. They’d notice their positives. One match left, both sides would give their best.”

Handscomb and Marsh embodied the resilience the captain believed was missing during the team’s horror run against Sri Lanka and South Africa and in past failed missions to the subcontinent.

“I’m very proud, they had game plans, they backed their defence for a long period of time. To see the game out for as long as they did was an outstanding performance,” Smith said.

“That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about – being resilient and sticking out the tough times. The way Petey and Shaun did that was magnificent.”

The match appeared headed for a swift finish when opener Matt Renshaw and Smith departed in the space of four balls

“It wasn’t ideal to lose two set batters at once. That’s something we always talk about here in India to not lose wickets in clumps,” Smith said.

“It wasn’t ideal but I have faith in the boys behind me. Peter’s looked very good in every game so far without going on to make a score.

“Today the way he did that, his 70 not out is worth 140 in my eyes. I thought he played beautifully and Shaun as well.

“They stuck to their plans throughout and never shied away from it.”

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