Science is Golden podcast episode 3: How chemist Cyril Callister made Vegemite Australia’s national spread

Jamie Callister became obsessed with the story of how his grandfather, Cyril, invented Vegemite. Photo: SMHMore than 23 million jars of Vegemite are produced each year, but Australia’s national spread was so unpopular when it launched in 1924 that it was almost scrapped.
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The only reason you can still spread it on your toast (with lashings of butter) is due to the determination of its inventor, a chemist named Cyril Callister.

In Vegemite’s early days Callister was so determined to promote it as delicious, and nutritious, that he sent a sample to a scientist in Britain who used it treat his sick pigeons.

The birds had something called polyneuritis – damage to their central nervous system – which is similar to beriberi, a disease in humans caused by Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency.

“This was his Eureka moment,” said his grandson, Jamie Callister.

In the same way food manufacturers spend millions advertising their product’s health benefits today, Callister and his boss, food entrepreneur Fred Walker, started promoting Vegemite as a great source of thiamine.

When a nursing mothers association advocated Vegemite as a good food for babies, the spread’s popularity started to grow.

It would finally cement itself as the country’s national spread when it was included in the army rations for Australian soldiers in World War II.

The story of Cyril Callister and Vegemite remains relatively unknown, despite the spread’s popularity today.

In the latest episode of Science is Golden I interview Cyril’s grandson, Jamie Callister, who has spent the past two decades getting to know his grandfather, a man he never met.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS or Pocket Casts.

Episode 1: The untold story of Dora Lush

Episode 2: Human guinea pigs

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National Parks and Wildlife Service plan for Watsons Bay headland draws opposition

Locals are taking a stand against redeveloping old government buildings at Watsons Bay. Photo: James Alcock Watsons Bay as the locals like it. Photo: James Alcock
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Green Point Cottage at Watsons Bay. Photo: James Alcock

Constables Cottage at Watsons Bay. Photo: James Alcock

Sydney Now: Get the city news that matters

A proposal to redevelop six historic buildings on the south head of Sydney Harbour to host private functions is drawing opposition from local residents and even within the Baird cabinet.

Opponents say the National Parks and Wildlife Service plan could bring up to a thousand visitors a day to the cliffs at the tip of the Watsons Bay peninsula.

Buildings next to Camp Cove Beach and set inside the Sydney Harbour National Park would be leased to a private operator for use as function centres, a restaurant and short-term accommodation.

Claudia Cullen, a spokeswoman for residents’ group Save Watsons Bay, said the proposal would turn a secluded beach into a noisy and chaotic “wedding precinct” with more than 1000 incoming guests a day.

“It’s one of the rare parts of the eastern suburbs that hasn’t been hit by over-commercialisation,” she said. “This isn’t about allowing the public access and it affects an historic beach that hasn’t much changed since 1841.”

The buildings are not currently in use but in recent years many have been rented out by the state government for functions and holiday rentals.

But the plans would see the buildings renovated and expanded by a private operator.

The Constable’s Cottage, a 19th Century home, would become a restaurant for seating for up to 70 diners.

An extra floor would be added to the heritage-listed Armoury Building, which would cater for 280 people and two functions. The adjacent Officers Mess would be landscaped and refurbished with capacity for up to 140 guests.

Guests would be driven in and out by minibus through a new path through the National Park.

The tender to operate the buildings was won by a company run by Chris Drivas, whose Dockside Group runs large function centres in Darling Harbour and the Rocks.

Mr Drivas said finding a commercial use for the buildings would, in the long-term, help preserve their heritage.

“We’re not talking about a large increase [in guests],” he said. “We are open to the local community and what they recommend; it’s all preliminary”.

The NSW Attorney-General and member for Vaucluse, Gabrielle Upton, says the proposal risks overrunning a “small peninsula of precious and fragile natural beauty”.

“It substantially increases the intensity of use for [the area] bringing with it more traffic, noise and activity,” she said. “It would seriously and negatively impact on the amenity of local residents.”

Mrs Upton said she would continue to lobby the Environment Minister, Mark Speakman, who must approve the plan.

The function centre would run until midnight, about two hours later than other local venues.

Three nearby cottages would be turned into short-term accommodation, likely to be used by wedding party guests.

Michael Wright, the deputy head of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, said the proposal was “adaptive reuse” of empty buildings and could turn them into “attractive, contemporary offers”.

The designs are open for comment until November 10.

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$70 million budget cut and job losses in Department of Family and Community Services: Labor

Labor claims vulnerable children will be put at risk by cuts.Internal documents have revealed a state government plan to cut the Family and Community Services budget by $70 million and reduce staff numbers by 30 per cent.
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The document titled Changing the Way We Work on the department’s letterhead says that starting in July this year, the department must make an annual saving of $70 million.

“The majority of these savings will come from staff reductions in the central parts of FACS where we will need to be 30 per cent smaller,” the document says.

“Savings are allocated across the NSW Government and FACS is no exception.”

Tania Mihailuk, the Family and Community Services spokeswoman for Labor, which obtained the internal document, said a 30 per cent reduction in staff across the department could see a large number of jobs lost.

But the Secretary of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Michael Coutts-Trotter, said only 91 jobs would be cut.

“Documents published inside our department and provided to unions and to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission make plain we will reduce our central office by 91 positions, with 86 of these being executive positions,” he said.

“It hasn’t been easy, but we make no apology for making savings by halving the size of our executive team, while increasing our frontline workforce.

“In addition to the 91 net job losses, we are also reducing our use of contractors and eliminating some vacant positions in central offices.

“No savings have come from frontline child protection positions”.

Ms Mihailuk said Mr Coutts-Trotter’s response failed to fully explain a 30 per cent reduction in staff and $70 million in savings. She said the figures had not been identified in the state budget despite the internal document being dated in December last year.

“These are explosive figures,” Ms Mihailuk said.

“A massive cut of $70 million per year from the FACS budget will see an end to any meaningful, rigorous oversight of our most vulnerable children in care.”

Ms Mihailuk said the job cuts follow those outlined in the May budget including a 9 per cent cut to the Office of the Children’s Guardian, 82 jobs cut from Statutory Child Protection and 26 jobs cut from Out of Home Care.

After months of “talking tough on child protection and claiming the FACS budget will “continue to increase substantially” the state government had failed to protect the state’s most vulnerable, she said.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard would not confirm the $70 million figure when asked about it during a budget estimates hearing in NSW Parliament on Monday.

He said there would be efficiencies across the board and that frontline staff would be exempted from any job cuts. He was committed to ensuring there were “adequate funds” to maintain services.

“The department will have adequate staff to do the job,” Mr Hazzard said. “There has been no cut back to frontline staff.”

Mr Hazzard later said “there  are currently five non-executive head office  positions that will go over the next few months” and “over the last year there has been a reduction of 86 executive positions in head office.”

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MH370: Science writer casts doubt on flaperon finding

The debris found on Reunion Island in July was covered in barnacles. Photo: Video still from ReutersA month after part of an aircraft wing was found on an island in the Indian Ocean, French investigators are yet to confirm it is debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. And an American science writer who has followed the case from the beginning is starting to wonder why.
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Jeff Wise – a pilot and author who commented on the mystery for CNN before writing a book called The Plane That Wasn’t There – has drawn attention to the particular type of barnacle encrusted on the flaperon that washed up on the French island of Reunion, near Madagascar.

Writing in New York magazine, he says the “goose barnacles” found on the object can only survive underwater and their distribution suggests the flaperon spent several months submerged.

Wise acknowledges that his observations are based on the comments of an unnamed aeronautics expert quoted in an article that appeared in French news outlet La Depeche on August 21. According to the source, the wing fragment “would not have floated for several months at the water’s surface but would have drifted underwater a few metres deep”.

This would defy the expectations of physics, Wise writes, because the object should either sink or swim. He quotes oceanography professor Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who says: “My experience is that things will go up or down – they will never stay statically neutral.”

Wise is a serial contrarian on matters MH370. His aforementioned book touted a theory that the plane had not headed south into the Indian Ocean but north to Kazakhstan, landing at a disused airstrip. He claimed the electronic signals that informed the southern arc theory could have been tampered with by the hijackers to conceal their true movements.

In his latest work, Wise speculates that the barnacles could be accounted for by “as-yet-unidentified natural processes” or “purposeful intervention by conspirators”. He notes that “the implausibility of it all is quite maddening” but says “when it comes to MH370, maddening and implausible are par for the course”.

Not to mention red herrings. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in early August that it had been “conclusively confirmed” the part was from MH370, only to be contradicted immediately by the French, who said they needed to undertake more tests.

It has now been a month, and the delay is understandably being questioned. A source “close to the investigation” told CNN that a Spanish subcontractor could not confirm their part’s serial number because their staff was “on vacation”. “We’ll have to wait for next week to get their guidance,” the source said.

In the meantime, the surest bet is pure logic. US and Malaysian officials have already said it is “almost certain” the part came from a Boeing 777 aircraft, of which there is only one missing. And the investigator who spoke to CNN at the weekend reiterated: “What we know so far is that it is for sure from a 777. We know that this is the only 777 that is missing in that specific region.”

Other debris, including a suspected plane window, had washed up on the island, but the search was called off in mid-August after nothing further was located. Australia continues to lead the wider search effort to find the plane, which has been missing since March 8, 2014. There were 239 souls on board.

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Sydney childcare centre bans birthday cakes

Unlike the children at this childcare centre, those at Only About Children will not share cakes on their birthdays. Photo: Steven Siewert A prestigious inner-Sydney childcare centre has banned birthday cakes after some parents complained about too many cakes being served, sugar overload and children being left out due to allergies.
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Parents who pay $120 a day for their children to attend Only About Children in Surry Hills were stunned when the ban was announced last week.

“Children’s birthdays are exciting milestones and are important to recognise and celebrate at the campus,” the centre director wrote to parents.

“In doing so there are many aspects we might like to consider, including family culture and preferences, health and nutrition, equality amongst the children and a sense of fun!

“With this in mind we have made the decision to STOP THE BRINGING OF BIRTHDAY CAKES ON CHILDRENS’ BIRTHDAYS to campus.”

The director suggested that the birthday child could celebrate instead by making a crown to wear on the day, whizzing up healthy fruit smoothies with their classmates or choosing which activities they do.

A representative of the centre said the ban was prompted by “several parents [who] complained frequently at the frequency of birthday cakes being served on campus” and the fact some kids were allergic to egg and dairy.

It is understood that some parents of the 73 children who attend the centre complained about the unnecessary sugar consumption involved in regular birthday cake celebrations.

“The frequency of birthdays each week and thus birthday cakes exceeded the nutritional guide for early childhood,” the representative said.

OAC also said some children were left out of birthday celebrations because of their allergies. “OAC has a strong commitment to inclusion for all children within OAC campuses and having to exclude children from celebrating with their peers is a direct violation of this.”

Other parents whose children attend the Surry Hills service described the ban as “completely unreasonable”. They said it was a shame all the children would miss out on a quintessential part of birthday celebrations because of the concerns of a few.

“The birthday cake is a tradition,” one parent, who did not wish to be identified, said. “It’s a coming together over something pleasant and enjoyable. It’s those little moments of fun that make it a very important social event for the kids.”

Initially, OAC Surry Hills attempted to gauge support for a birthday cake ban by using a voting jar, which showed most parents were against a ban. However, OAC said children were using the voting tokens as toys so the results were “skewed and inconclusive”.

Parents said having birthday cake was one way children learnt that treats are something reserved for special occasions. They said that rather than banning cake, children could be given smaller slices or parents advised how to provide allergy-free cakes that everyone could enjoy.

The increasing prevalence of allergies in young children has prompted many childcare centres to ban nuts and remind parents to be mindful of any allergies when bringing in food for their child’s class.

The federal government’s “Staying Healthy in Childcare” guidelines permit families to bring cakes in to centres to celebrate special occasions. However, they recommend that the birthday child blows out their candles on a separate cupcake to prevent the spread of germs among young children.

Most childcare centres still allow families to bring in birthday cakes, including the not-for-profit GoodStart chain, which said it follows the government guidelines regarding “celebration cakes”.

Australia’s oldest early childhood service, KU Children’s Services, said how birthdays were celebrated varied at each of its 150 services depending on the needs of families. “We find that most parents are happy for their child’s birthday to be celebrated at the centre, including cake!” chief executive Christine Legg said.

Some KU centres with cooks on site will offer to bake a cake on behalf of families that meets the dietary requirements of all children. Legg said KU had noticed a trend towards bringing cupcakes, which can be smaller and easier to serve to children.

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Are Australians getting sick of beer? Summer peak beer consumption is on the slide

As summer rolls around, Australians naturally drink more beer. But each yearly peak in consumption is on the decline. Photo: Arsineh Houspian Peaks and troughs: Ten years of Australians drinking beer, red wine and fortified wine. Photo: Roy Morgan.
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As summer rolls around, Australians naturally drink more beer. But each yearly peak in consumption is on the decline. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Summer is to beer as winter is to log fires. Or so the theory goes. Each year Australia’s peak in consumption is dropping by a greater amount, new data shows.

The percentage of Australians who said they chugged beer in the past month between January and March steadily declined from 46 per cent in 2006 to 41 per cent in 2014, according to research firm Roy Morgan.

Between January and March this year, for the first time, the figure dropped to below 40 per cent. This summer, it is expected to fall much further.

Andrew Price, general manager of consumer products at Roy Morgan, said it was not just beer rapidly losing fans.

Yearly consumption peaks for red wine dropped from 36 per cent of Australian adults to 31 per cent, and for fortified wine, from 10 per cent to six per cent, over the past decade.

“The peaks soften as the years roll on, a trend consistent with the broader overall decline in liquor consumption, whereby the total proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who drink any kind of alcohol in an average four weeks has fallen from 72 per cent to 68 per cent in the past decade,” Price said.

The data reinforces analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in May that people are drinking less alcohol now than at any time in the past 50 years.

Beer once accounted for three-quarters of all alcohol consumed, the ABS findings showed. It now makes up 41 per cent.

Rohan Miller, a senior marketing lecturer at Sydney University, said beer companies, now largely consolidated, were struggling to appeal to young men shunning drinks enjoyed by their fathers and aspiring to be in white collar jobs.

“It’s definitely a concern for the beer industry. It’s a pressing business issue, a mature category that’s going into decline,” he said.

“They’re trying to introduce new flavours to the palate and, rather than merely advertising on television, going for social media. They’re trying to make it a cooler type of product.”

Michael Livingston, research fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said slowing alcohol consumption was almost entirely driven by young men and women.

He said the decline appeared across genders, socioeconomic groups, and in regional or urban areas. It was part of a global shift.

“One possibility is that the increase in the use of social media has altered the way young people interact, reducing the centrality of drinking in socialising,” he said.

“Exercising, eating well and avoiding alcohol and other drugs are important lifestyle choices for many young people, research has also shown.”

He said further research was crucial so that the decline in consumption could be sustained through appropriate interventions.

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Herald Breakfast – August 31 2015

Beachwatch: There’s the slight chance of a shower but overall it should be an okay day from the last official day of winter althoughsurf conditions are predicted to be treacherous.The wind will start from the south-west before heading south to south-east with the swell from the south around two to more than 2.5 metres.Wave conditions will be cleanest at the southern ends with the more open stretches dishing up plenty of close-outs and bumpy waves.
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Weather: Partly cloudy in Newcastle (18 degrees), a morning fog in Scone (18 degrees) and partly cloudy at Maitland (20 degrees) for the last day of winter.

Traffic: A diesel spill on the New England Highway at Muswellbrook, near Hassell Road, has been cleared. Height detectors remain out of order at Hexham bridge.

Trains:The 7.13am Gosford to Central service has been delayed due to an operational issue at Gosford earlier. Otherwise good service on the Newcastle and Hunter lines.

Morning Shot: Sunshine at Merewether, as captured by the Herald’sDarren Pateman.

No room for buses, cars at Wickham interchange: MPWICKHAM’S new transport interchange will have two taxi ranks and four drop-off spaces to its north in Station Street, planners say, following criticisms that the key project is shaping up as inadequate and underwhelming.

Revitalisation forum discusses city’s future:POLL NEWCASTLE’S ‘great bones’ were the key to transforming the former steel city into one of the world’s great regional cities, former Christchurch, New Zealand mayor Sir Bob Parker said on Sunday.

Flood victims still waiting:DUNGOG mayor Harold Johnston has admitted he wouldn’t let his mother live in the low-lying units at Alison Court, fearing the risk of future floods too high.

Bloomfield buys piece of Integra mine:BRAZILIAN mining company Vale has signed an agreement to sell its Integra mining operation near Singleton to Hunter company Bloomfield and international operator Glencore.

Knights want Rabbitohs coach to jump ship: SOUTH Sydney mentor Michael Maguire has emerged as a genuine contender to coach the Knights next year.

Faithful mob Gidley like a rock star:EVEN a man of Kurt Gidley’s famed fitness levels was entitled to be exhausted.

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Australian consumers to be kept in the dark on seafood origins

Scallops caught by Aqua Marine Tasmania pictured at Deepwater Jetty in Triabunna, east coast of Tasmania. Photo: Matthew Newton Debbie Wisby’s husband Glen Wisby, right, unloading a catch of scallops with his crew at Deepwater Jetty. Photo: Matthew Newton
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Debbie Wisby swears you can “taste the sea” in the wild-caught scallops her business plucks from the waters off Tasmania, which are whisked to restaurants and takeaway shops across Australia.

Once diners taste the sweet, creamy parcels – eaten grilled, pan-fried, steamed or even raw – “they refuse to eat other, certainly imported, products,” Wisby says.

But many consumers are denied that choice after the Senate this month rejected a push to force restaurants, cafes, pubs and takeaway shops to disclose if their seafood is local or imported.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon introduced the bill after a Senate inquiry recommended the measure for cooked or pre-prepared seafood. Proponents say it would have enabled diners to support the Australian seafood industry and know their meal was clean, sustainable and legal.

Xenophon said the government, which sided with Labor to defeat his bill, was “weak and indecisive” on the issue.

“They have taken the lazy way out … consumers and the Australian fishing industry expect better from our government,” he said.

Seafood consumption in Australia has doubled since 1975 and about three-quarters of it is now imported.

This is despite research in 2006 showing about 70 per cent of Australian consumers prefer local over imported seafood.

Australian medical experts have expressed concern over the amount of Asian fish imports containing banned antibiotics.

The Senate inquiry heard some fish and chip shops were selling imported shark, known as “flake”, potentially derived from threatened species or from unsustainable or illegal fisheries.

Restaurants using terms such as “fish of the day” did not indicate where the fish was from and may have led customers to believe it was locally caught, the inquiry heard.

Producers warned a “tsunami of barramundi” would hit the domestic market this year from countries including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

During Senate debate, Liberal senator Michaelia Cash said country-of-origin labelling changes must be undertaken in cooperation with states and territories.

Xenophon rejected that argument, saying the government could have found ways around the hurdles.

Industry groups are pushing state governments to improve seafood labelling, hoping to emulate the Northern Territory which introduced such laws for restaurants and other dining venues in 2008.

A spokesman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the government was reforming country-of-origin food labelling in the retail sector after careful consideration including market research and consultation.

The government would review the scheme after two years, and may consider extending it to the services sector, he said.

Wisby said consumers have the right to “know what they are putting in their mouths”.

“We also need to know so [consumers] can support local businesses, local employment and economic growth,” she said.

“If you buy something that’s caught in Australia you know it’s well managed and sustainable for the future.”

By the numbers

75 per cent the proportion of seafood consumed in Australia thought to comprise imported fish and fish products

70 per cent the proportion of Australian consumers who prefer local to imported seafood, according to 2006 research

90 per cent the proportion of Australians more likely to buy food labelled “Made in Australia”

$2.26 billion Australian fisheries production in 2010-11

Source: Senate inquiry report into current requirements for labelling of seafood and seafood products.

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need2know: Calm start to week

Local shares are poised for a quiet open after a hectic week, as investors reassess positions at the end of the earnings season and as the focus turns to the strength of the US economy.
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What you need2know

SPI futures up 12pts to 5246 on Saturday

AUD at 71.71 US cents, 87.27 Japanese yen, 64.12 Euro cents and 46.52

On Wall St, S&P 500 flat, Dow flat, Nasdaq +0.3%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 +0.2%, FTSE +0.9%, CAC +0.4%, DAX +0.2%

Spot gold up $US8.60 or 0.8% to $US1133.60 an ounce

Brent crude up $US2.49 or 5.2% to $US50.05 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia business indicators for June quarter, private sector credit, inflation gauge

Stocks in focus

Deutsche Bank says the message from results season seems to be that earnings momentum is not weak (the June half beat/miss ratio of 50 per cent is around average). “But the prevalence of downgrades to forecasts (for two-thirds of companies) suggests that momentum isn’t particularly strong either. The share price reaction for much of August looked overdone, but relative performance has perked up.”

Bell Potter upgraded Vocus Communications to “hold” from “sell” and moved the price target to $5.50 a share from $5.75 previously.

Deutsche Bank has a “buy” recommendation on Flight Centre and a target price of $46 a share. “While it was disappointing to see profit decline, the result was within the guidance range that preceded the recent downgrade and the situation is not nearly as dire as what management’s commentary and the sharp share price decline implied only two months ago. The outlook seems to have improved and the guidance range suggests the group is now sufficiently diverse to deliver reasonable earnings growth despite subdued Australia leisure demand.”


Macquarie Wealth Management says: “The depreciation of the $A towards our end-2015 target of $US0.69 will help regain some non-mining momentum once volatility subsides. But we remain of the view that the RBA is likely to ease rates in November, when it downgrades its growth and inflation outlook in the quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy.”

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the recent volatility in global markets could quickly ease and possibly pave the way for the first US rate hike in nearly a decade.

The greenback gained versus all its Group-of-10 peers except the yen last week. “The dollar looks very attractive to me, both against euro and yen,” Richard Franulovich, chief currency strategist for the northern hemisphere at Westpac Banking in New York, said by phone. “Fischer’s commentary suggests the odds are actually higher” for a September rate increase, he said.


ANZ cut base metal price forecasts to reflect current spot prices. “However, without the supply overhang that other markets have, we expect base metals to recover once the heavy selling across global markets subsides.” Copper target Dec 2015 cut 10 per cent to $US5400 a tonne, average 2015 cut 5.5 per cent to $5603, average 2016 cut 4.2 per cent to $6100, average 2017 cut 0.05 per cent to $US6350.

World No.1 copper producer Codelco increased output in the first-half of 2015 compared to a year ago, although a slide in the copper price eroded profits. Codelco produced 831,000 tonnes of copper from its fully owned projects in the first six months of 2015, up 5.5 per cent on 2014, boosted by new projects like Ministro Hales.

World oil prices roared back to $US50 a barrel in the second day of a frenetic short-covering rally on Friday, with violence in Yemen, a storm in the Gulf and refinery outages helping extend the biggest two-day rally in six years.  Brent, the global oil benchmark, gained 10 per cent on the week; US crude’s front-month contract rose 12 per cent. “A severely oversold and shorted oil market is creating a bid for covering,” said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.

United States

US stocks ended little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on track for its worst month since May 2012, as equities found some respite from the wide swings prevalent earlier this week.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.1 per cent, the S&P rose 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq added 2.6 per cent.

The S&P remains down more than 5 per cent from when the market began to sell off on August 18. The turmoil has prompted several strategists to cut their end-of-year forecasts for indexes.

Credit Suisse, for example, cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 2100 from 2200 on Friday.


After wild swings over the past few days, European stocks ended up posting their first weekly gain since China devalued its currency.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3 per cent at the close of trading, adding most of those gains in the final settlement period. An advance of 0.3 per cent in the first few minutes of trading gave way to losses of as much as 1 per cent as the session progressed, before the gauge moved higher. The stocks index had daily moves of 1.7 per cent or more in the past seven days as China’s currency devaluation rattled markets. Despite the volatility, the Stoxx 600 ended the week 0.6 per cent higher.

Italy’s FTSE MIB Index tumbled the most among western-European markets, dragged lower by a 5.6 per cent decline in Salvatore Ferragamo. The luxury shoemaker posted first-half revenue that missed estimates.

Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist Syriza will emerge as the biggest party in next month’s election but without the majority it was hoping for, the first opinion polls since he resigned showed on Friday.

What happened on Friday

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index and the All Ordinaries index both closed 0.6 per cent higher for the day and 0.9 per cent higher for the week, at 5263.6 and 5274.7 respectively.

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iBosses has eight steps to start-up success but is shy on own sales growth

iBosses is offering 25 million shares at 20¢ in a bid to raise up to $5 million and begin trading on the ASX on September 30.A fledgling Singaporean entrepreneur coaching company that is about to float claims starting up a business can be done in eight simple steps, but iBosses is yet to break the $100,000 mark for revenue at its own venture.
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The one-year-old start-up is solely focused on growing its customer base and as such says in its prospectus, which has no financial forecasts and limited detail on operating history, that it is “unlikely to introduce any additional primary revenue streams in the future” outside of its mentoring service.

But  chief executive Patrick Khor said he did not think the youth of the company would deter investors.

“Track record today is a question of effectiveness and not duration. There are numerous companies that have emerged over the years, which many felt literally came out of the blue. Some of these companies, by the time you hear about them, it is because someone bought them out already,” Dr Khor said.

“Also, we are very new but very interested to show the IPO [initial public offering] path to our clients.”

iBosses is offering 25 million shares at 20¢ in a bid to raise up to $5 million and begin trading on the ASX on September 30.

iBosses launched in August 2014 and offers training and coaching for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. The company has a proprietary eight-step model for guiding its clients through business development – from being passionate about an idea to launching a company. They currently offer these courses and consultancy in Singapore and Hong Kong. Significant transformation

Singapore’s start-up scene has undergone a significant transformation since the government began to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into stimulus and support programs for its fledgling tech companies.

The capital raised through the IPO will be used to expand more aggressively across Singapore and Hong Kong in the coming years as well into the Philippines and Malaysia. Dr Khor said they were also keen to establish a presence in Australia to cater to the growing start-up and new-business community.

If the full amount is raised, $1.2 million will be invested in growing the company’s new and existing business centres, $1.2 million into exploring and purchasing potential acquisitions and $1 million into developing its online offerings.

Deputy chairman Steven Lau said they had explored listing on a range of exchanges, both local but also in Hong Kong and London, but decided to list on the ASX as it was a well-regulated market tincreasingly popular with Singaporean companies.

“There is a growing trend of our tech and media companies sector going Down Under to list, so we felt that ASX was the most appropriate for a company of our size, we are very small start-up and the ASX is good for fast-growing companies,” he said.

The company is wholly owned by Dr Khor and his immediate family. If the maximum $5 million is raised, they will own 60 per cent of the company.

The offer is not underwritten and the IPO has a minimum subscription of $2.5 million to proceed. iBosses will list on the ASX on September 30.

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