Archives:

Trans-Pacific Partnership bad for the environment, green groups say

“It means governments won’t be bold and ambitious as they should be.”The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens to undermine environment protection and could limit governments’ ability to ramp up necessary action on climate change, green groups say.
Shanghai night field

The TPP, as the deal involving 12 signatories including is known, singles out illegal trade in wildlife, logging and fisheries as among areas its members will work on.

“The 12 Parties agree to effectively enforce their environmental laws; and not to weaken environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment,” clause 20 in the agreement reads.

But Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the Investor-State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] provisions of the pact will allow large corporations to challenge any efforts to tighten environmental regulation.

“This is a watershed moment for the Liberals and the mining industry in their continuing assault against environmental protections in ,” Senator Whish-Wilson said. “ISDS will provide a massive chilling effect against improvements in environmental law at a local, state and federal level.”

Kelly O’Shanassy, chair of the n Conservation Foundation, said it was “a very silly idea to lock in restrictions to future policy in this country”.

Corporations could now have a look at a proposed policy change and if it threatened their ability to make profit, they would go to the courts as they did to oppose the Gillard government’s plain packaging laws to curb tobacco marketing.

“It could be the plain packaging fiasco for climate change,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

With the Paris climate summit now looking increasingly likely to fall short on locking in sufficient cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees, governments will need to make regular revisions of their targets beyond this year’s summit.

The TPP is likely to limit nations’ ability to take those necessary additional steps, she said: “It means governments won’t be bold and ambitious as they should be.”


Nicole Kidman ‘thrown around like mop’ while filming sex scenes with John Cusack

Nicole Kidman in Lee Daniels’ 2013 film The Paperboy. John Cusack threw Nicole Kidman around ‘like a mop’ during the scene.
Shanghai night field

Nicole Kidman returning to London stageGrace of Monaco screenwriter slams film

Nicole Kidman has spoken about the violent sex scenes she endured at the hands of John Cusack while filming 2012’s The Paperboy.

The n actress said she didn’t complain during filming despite turning up to set covered in bruises because it was part of her job.

The film starred Kidman as the fiancee of a death row inmate, played by Cusack, and also paired Kidman and the much-younger Zac Efron together as on-screen lovers.

In a Q&A with The Paperboy director Lee Daniels for Interview Magazine, Daniels – who also directs hit show Empire – said he worried Kidman took her craft a little too seriously.

“What kills me is that you don’t complain. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing,” he said.

“I remember the love scene you did with John Cusack. I said, ‘John, you’re hurting her.’ You were bent over the washer and dryer.

“I said, ‘Nicole, are you okay?’ And you said, ‘I’m fine.’ But it was clear that he was throwing you around the f***ing room like a mop. And the next day you came to set bruised.”

Kidman said she wanted Cusack to feel “free” during the intense scene.

“Actors have to protect each other in a way. The idea of humiliating another actor or being humiliated myself is devastating,” she replied.

“So that’s why, if he’s a little rougher than he knows he’s being, the last thing I want to say is, ‘Oh my gosh, you hurt me’.

“Most actors are like that. We all go, ‘No, no. I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.’ Because that’s how you release into things and find stuff.

“If you’re tentative and scared that you’re hurting someone or that you’re overstepping a line or that there’s a boundary that you’ve crossed, it makes everybody too cautious.”

After churning out dozens of Hollywood films in recent years – most notably 2014 disaster Grace of Monaco – the 48-year-old actress has returned to Broadway to star in Photograph 51.

Kidman said she was “terrified” about starring as historic female scientist Rosalind Franklin.

“It’s a 95-minute play and I haven’t done that for 17 years. It’s a whole different ballgame.”


Women want company boards of directors to be more diverse – but men don’t

Corporate boys are a boys’ club – and men like it that way Photo: Erin JonassonWomen are more certain than men that it is critical to have diverse corporate boards, a new study shows.
Shanghai night field

Sixty-three per cent of women on corporate boards said that having female board members was “very important” in PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s annual survey of public company directors, but only 35 per cent of men felt this way.

The company polled more than 700 board members for its report, released on Tuesday. On racial diversity, women were less gung-ho, but still valued it more than men did: 46 per cent of female directors said that it was highly valuable to have people of colour on boards, compared with 27 per cent of men.

Women hold about a fifth of all board seats at Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index companies, according to Catalyst, an advocacy group.

Female directors were also clear on the specific benefits of having women colleagues. Women were twice as likely as men to say that diversity makes boards more effective and pushes companies to improve performance.

Men and women also disagreed about how difficult it would be to make boards less male. Forty-six per cent of female directors said there were enough diverse candidates to choose among, versus just 18 per cent of male colleagues.

Newer board members were more attuned to the value of diversity. Sixty-two per cent of people who had spent less than a year on a board said they “very much” agreed that diversity was crucial. Just 39 per cent of people who had the job for more than 10 years felt as strongly.

Older board members seemed to be facing unique pressure to leave their posts. Nearly 40 per cent of the board members surveyed said someone on their board should be removed, up from 31 per cent three years ago.

The top reason that people gave for their disappointment? Aging, which was said to have led to “diminished performance.”

Bloomberg


Party ends at VW as new boss warns of ‘massive cutbacks’

The parade of global pop stars such as Robbie Williams at its corporate parties was part of a culture of spending at the world’s biggest carmaker. Photo: Scott BarbourVolkswagen’s lavish parties typically featured a surprise guest, from the Pet Shop Boys to Robbie Williams to Justin Timberlake. Now the music is about to stop. The parade of global pop stars was part of a culture of spending at the world’s biggest carmaker. Confronted with billions in repairs and fines from its engine-rigging scandal, Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller vowed on Tuesday to put everything that’s not absolutely vital on hold. Addressing 20,000 workers at Volkswagen’s main Wolfsburg factory in Germany, Mueller prepared the crowd for “massive savings,” in what would “not be a painless process.” Even by the opulent standards of the auto industry, Volkswagen’s purse strings have long been loose. Driven by engineering-crazed executives, Volkswagen spawned projects from the money-losing Bugatti Veyron supercar to the unsuccessful Phaeton sedan assembled manually in a dedicated hard-wood floor facility by technicians in white uniforms. As Mueller seeks to instill a new sense of accountability, he vowed to do away with the largess that has created a bloated structure of underutilised employees. “I won’t accept that dozens of experts sit in meetings or stand around during approval runs while the work at home isn’t getting done,” Mueller said in his speech. Nowhere were Volkswagen’s extravagances more apparent than at the biggest car shows, where the company would throw lavish parties featuring A-class celebrities, open bars and opulent buffets. Visitors to Audi’s pavilion at this year’s Frankfurt motor show entered a cave-like tunnel of ice and fog through blasts of cold air. Some cars were mounted on full-wall video screens, rotating constantly to give the illusion that they were zipping along a highway or revolving on platforms such as a giant lily pad. In-house sausage factoryLike few other carmakers, Volkswagen has sought to make the act of purchasing a car a memorable experience. In Wolfsburg, an industrial town in northern Germany built entirely around the company’s factories, buyers pick up their vehicles from a theme park-like centre called the “Autostadt,” where they breeze through eight different pavilions set among water features and representing brands including Porsche and Audi. An adjacent science museum built by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid was bankrolled by the carmaker, and the local Ritz-Carlton hotel features a three Michelin-star restaurant. Some expenses are part of Volkswagen’s idiosyncratic culture: the carmaker operates an in-house sausage factory in Wolfsburg, where a 25-person staff processes 10 to 12 tons of meat each week, including the currywurst sausage doused in tomato sauce and curry powder the company serves at most events. Shaking the habit may not be easy for a company that’s grown accustomed to parading its success. Even after the crisis was in full swing, Volkswagen threw a party in New York on September 22 that featured Lenny Kravitz crooning to mark the US introduction of the upgraded Passat. Meaningful cuts at a company as big and complex as Volkswagen, with its 12 brands of cars, motorcycles and commercial-vehicles, will mean more than ditching some pop stars and rationing sausages. The carmaker has already said it wants to use centrally developed components across a range of different models to help it boost earnings. “There’s a culture of spending and a lack of focus on efficiency in favour of striving to be bigger,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Evercore ISI. “They’ll stop the over-engineering on every level.” Bloomberg
Shanghai night field


Man faces court after fatal crash

A MAN will appear in a Sydney court on Wednesday charged over a fatal crash at Karuah nearly 15 years ago.
Shanghai night field

The Sydney man, now 38, came to the attention of police at Leichardt on Tuesday because he was ‘‘acting suspiciously’’, a police statement said.

A check of his details revealed seven outstanding warrants for his arrest.

Police allege he was the driver of a Toyota Supra that crossed to the wrong side of the road on the Pacific Highway at Karuah on January 13, 2001. The Supra allegedly collided with a Toyota HiAce campervan, killing 26-year-old British tourist Arabetta Stuart.

The Newcastle Herald reported in 2001 that Ms Stuart was a marine biologist on her way to the Great Barrier Reef.

Her passenger, Greg Wild, was also injured as were three men in the Supra. One of the men in the Supra, a rear-seat passenger, had to have his left arm amputated as a result of the crash.

The injured men were flown to John Hunter Hospital. But three weeks later, after being discharged from hospital, the alleged driver fled to Turkey, police say. Checks of his license had revealed he was allegedly disqualified from driving until August that year. A blood test also allegedly returned a positive result for cannabis.

Newcastle Local Court issued the warrants for his arrested, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that he was picked up.

The man was taken to Newtown police station where he was charged with the warrants as well as dangerous driving occasioning death, three counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, driving while disqualified, negligent driving occasioning death and drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

The man was refused bail to appear in Newtown Local Court today.