Monthly Archives: December 2018

US Powerball jackpot worth $2.1 billion now open to Australians

Customers wait in line at the Blue Bird Liquor Store to buy Powerball lottery tickets in Hawthorne, California. Photo: Richard VogelAfter an expensive Christmas season it would be nice to come across a little extra cash in January, right?

Try $US1.5 billion ($2.1 billion), the total kitty from the upcoming US Powerball jackpot and the world’s largest ever prize, which takes place on Thursday at 3pm AEDT.

For the first time ever, Australians can take a punt on the giant jackpot at a cost of $US14.

Lottoland was awarded a five-year licence by the the Northern Territory Racing Commission to give online gambling the green light in international lotteries.

“It’s quite incredible now to think Australian citizens through Lottoland can join in on the race to win a mega international lottery without having to leave the comfort of their own lounge room or office,” Luke Brill, Lottoland spokesman said.

According to Lottoland’s website, Australians are able to place a bet on the result of the lottery rather than enter the draw itself.

“Rest assured your winnings will be the same as if you had entered it for real,” the website says.

Before the licensing change, lotto enthusiasts would need to travel to the country of the lottery’s origin to play.

Were an Australian to win the jackpot, they would be required to pay the same taxes as an American citizen.

Powerball is a multi-state lottery based in the US that regularly offers super-sized jackpots that always starts at a minimum of $US40 million

To win, a player must choose five white balls from a spinning heap numbered 1 to 69, plus a red Powerball numbered between 1 and 26.

If you match the Powerball (and no white ones), a one-in-38 chance, you would get $US4.

Matching three of the white balls, a one-in-580 chance, would earn you $US7. If you’re truly living a charmed life and you hit the one-in-36,525 chance of picking four correctly, you would earn $US100.

The odds of winning the jackpot are now 1:292,201,338.

According to The New York Times, the odds of being struck by lightning this year are about one in 1.19 million – making it about 246 times as likely as winning the Powerball jackpot.

If you have a spare $US584.4 million lying around, you could buy every possible winning combination of numbers, guaranteeing victory. However, there is still the taxman to consider, and you may also have to split your winnings.

The world record jackpot has caused a lotto frenzy in the US, as continuous draws leading to no winner have caused the prize money to climb.

In New York, the state gaming commission has recorded ticket sales of up to $US3.3 million an hour.

The full amount is only paid if the winner chooses to take an annual payout over 29 years, otherwise the lump sum is considerably less.

State and federal government tax offices stand to collect a tidy sum from the eventual winner. The federal tax rate is 25 per cent, while state government tax rates vary according to state.

While the Australian Powerball Jackpot imposes no tax on winnings, Fairfax Media is attempting to confirm if an additional Australian tax would be applicable to an Australian winner of the US jackpot.

with New York Times

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Vladimir Putin denies setting his dog on Angela Merkel

Vladimir Putin swimming in a pool accompanied only by his black labrador Connie. Photo: suppliedIt’s a tale of ruthlessness and intimidation that has dogged one of the most important political relationships of the 21st century almost since it began.

Now Vladimir Putin has spoken out to deny the rumour that he used his pet labrador to frighten Angela Merkel in a remarkable power play at one of their very first meetings.

The incident, which has become infamous in Germany, took place at a meeting at Mr Putin’s Sochi residence in 2007.

The story goes that Mr Putin, who had been briefed on Ms Merkel’s fear of dogs, brought his black labrador Connie to the meeting.

“The dog does not bother you, does she? She’s a friendly dog and I’m sure she will behave herself,” he was quoted as telling Ms Merkel at the time.

“No, she doesn’t eat journalists after all,” Ms Merkel is believed to have replied in Russian.

Despite her joke, photographs from the meeting show Ms Merkel looking extremely uncomfortable as Connie settles near her feet, while Mr Putin appears to be smirking.

Although Ms Merkel never commented publicly on the incident, the rumour grew that the move had been a deliberate ploy to intimidate the chancellor during negotiations.

But Mr Putin quashed that tale on Monday, telling German journalists he intended no such thing.

“I did not know anything about that,” he said when asked whether he was deliberately trying to frighten or embarrass the chancellor. “I showed her my dog because I thought she would like it. I told her so later and apologised,” he said in an interview with Bild.

Mr Putin added that he respects Ms Merkel and considers her a “sincere” person.

“She is very sincere and highly professional. In any case, I think the level of trust between us is very high,” he said.

Mr Putin and Ms Merkel’s relationship has emerged as one of the most important – and pugnacious – between European leaders in recent times.

They literally speak the same language – Mr Putin speaks German and served with the KGB in Dresden, while Ms Merkel learnt Russian while she was growing up in East Germany – and appear to have built a relatively frank rapport.

But the relationship between the two has been markedly cooler than Mr Putin’s close friendship with Ms Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder.

In particular, Ms Merkel has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of Mr Putin in Europe and has been instrumental in introducing and upholding European sanctions against Russia following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Connie, who died in 2014 at the age of 15, was given to Mr Putin in 2000 by Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s then minister of emergency situations, who is now defence minister.

She was by all accounts just as friendly as Mr Putin claimed.

Telegraph, UK

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg faces trial over Silicon Valley property deal

Protecting his privacy: Mark Zuckerberg claims he was bluffed into a payoff by the property developer. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty ImagesFacebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is headed toward a trial after all as the property developer who claims the billionaire broke a promise to introduce him to Silicon Valley’s elite has a new lawyer. The case was at risk of collapsing after developer Mircea Voskerician’s previous lawyer bowed out in October on the brink of trial and Voskerician told a judge he was having trouble finding a replacement. Voskerician’s new attorney, Guyton Jinkerson, appeared in state court in San Jose, California, Tuesday and Judge Patricia Lucas scheduled a trial for April 25, about 5 1/2 months later than it was originally set. The judge put the litigation on hold for two weeks to give Jinkerson a chance to catch up with the case, which was filed in May 2014. The court battle grew out of Zuckerberg’s agreement in 2012 to pay Voskerician $US1.7 million ($2.4 million) for rights to buy the house behind the Facebook co-founder’s home in Palo Alto, California. The developer claims he gave Zuckerberg a 40 per cent discount based on promised introductions and referrals in Silicon Valley that never materialised. Zuckerberg says the developer’s proposal to build a 890-square-metre house with a view into his bedroom was just a bluff to get a payoff from the 31-year-old billionaire. Zuckerberg has contested the authenticity of a bank statement showing Voskerician had $US3.9 million to support his cash offer for the property. Patrick Gunn, a lawyer for Zuckerberg, told the judge in October he thinks Voskerician’s previous lawyer, David Draper, withdrew after being confronted with the “fraudulent” bank statement provided by his client. In his written request to drop out of the case, Draper referred to an unspecified conflict with his client and cited California’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers. One of the rules he cited in a court filing forbids an attorney to litigate a matter “that is not warranted under existing law” or is “for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person.” He declined to comment on why he was leaving the case. Jinkerson and Nate Cooper, a lawyer representing Zuckerberg, declined to comment after Tuesday’s hearing. The case is Voskerician v. Zuckerberg, 114CV264667, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (San Jose).


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Foxton’s second taste of The Jam

WHEN Paul Weller informed his bandmates in The Jam that it was over, Bruce Foxton felt lost.

“It was a feelingof bewilderment, not really understanding why Paul wanted to leave the band because he never really gave us a reason at that time,” The Jam’s original bass playerFoxton recalls.

“I was devastated. That whole tour we really played well. I think we all wanted to go out with a bang and people to remember us at the top and I think we achieved that.

“But it was very sad. That was it. It had come to an end. Nothing lasts forever and you have to get up off the floor and move on.”

Three decades after The Jam playedits final show in Brighton on December 11, 1982, Foxton is reliving the band’s music in From The Jam – the group he founded in 2007alongside singer Russell Hastings and which also featured The Jam’soriginal drummer Rick Buckler until 2009.

The band faithfully reproduces The Jam’s classic songs (Going Underground, Down In The Tube Station At Midnight,Town Called Malice, The Modern World, Start!)complete with Foxton’s distinct bass lines and the vocalsof Hastings whichsounduncannily very much like that of “TheModfather”Weller.

“I believe those songs are still credible today and we play them with as much energy and passion as we can manage,” Foxton says.

“It’s not going through the motions, it’s not a cabaret act, it’s not a tribute band because it would be very difficult to be a tribute to myself [laughs], it’s just great to play those songs.

“I want to keep playing and while there’s an audience out there that wants to hear those songs and more, then I’ll supply it.”

Recognised as one of the most influential bands to emerge out of England in the 1970s,The Jam’s popularity has spanned the decades.

Foxtonis asked about the potentialof areunion “too often”, as isWeller, who has gone on record as saying of a comeback:“Absolutely, categorically, f***ingno. To me it would be against everything we ever stood for”.

“No matter what Paul says, people still ask about it. He’s adamant and, to be honest with you, I’m happy with what I’m doing,” Foxton says.

“I tend to agree that it’s probably best left in people’s memories of what we were like then.”

After The Jam split, Foxton says he had no idea “what I was going to do and where I was going to be”.

“I’d just lived day-to-day with The Jam. That band. And when it’s taken away from you, I was like ‘Wow, what do I do?’,” he says.

“I was lost. ButI love what I’m doing now with the band. It’s a lot more relaxed, there’s not as much pressure. Wetake the shows very seriously but there’s no pressure in terms of ‘Oh, God, we need another top 10 hit’.”

In recent years, Foxton has mended his relationship with Weller.

The pair had not spoken for 20 years beforethey reconnected in 2009 followingthe lossof Foxton’s wife, Pat, to cancer and, shortly after,the death of Weller’s father, John.

Weller invited Foxton to play on hisWake Up the Nationalbum, and he has since featuredonFoxton’s albumsBack in the Roomand the upcoming Smash The Clock which is set for release in March

Foxton says the realisation that life is short allowed the pair to put their differences aside.

“lt just bangs your head together and you think ‘Christ, what did we fall out over? Something really petty’.

“When you’ve got your loved ones dying, that’s important shit,not what we’d fallen out about. So we just got together and hugged each other and it’s all really nice now.

“But it took something as drastic as that to bring us to our senses.”

After a successful debut Australian tour in early 2015, From The Jam returns in September for a bigger run of dates including a show in Newcastle.

“I just love playing,” Foxton says.

“It sounds cliche and I remember years ago looking at Pete Townsend who, at that time, I think was about 40 and thinking ‘Oh, silly old bugger. Why doesn’t he give up?’ but now I know why he didn’t give up because it is in your blood and it’s what you do.

“Here I am, 60, and I’m still doing it. As long as I can and enjoy it and feel it’s worthwhile, I’ll carry on.”

Energy: The Jam’s original bass player Bruce Foxton live in action with From The Jam. The band performs at the Cambridge Hotel on September 8. Bookings at bigtix老域名备案老域名

Toddler drowns in Griffith canal

Morris Road canalA familyouting has turnedto tragedyafter a toddler vanished from his parents’ side and plunged into an irrigation canal in Griffith on Tuesday night.

Despite attempts made by paramedics to revive the 19-month-old boy,he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Griffith Base Hospital.

The family was visiting friends at Morris Road, Lake Wyangan when they decided to test out a remote control boat in an adjacent irrigation canal.

The family returned to the friends’ house soon afterand discovered the toddler was missing.

After a desperate search, a passing driver noticed the toddler floating in the canal and informed hisparents.

Paramedics recovered the boy from the canal and performed CPR, but it was to no avail.

The tragic incident dredgedup sombre memories forGriffith woman Robyn Shaw, wholost her young daughter Stacey-Lee in an irrigation canal 40 years ago.

The four-year-old was being looked afterby her grandparents when she followed the pet dog across the road and tumbled into a canal.

“It only takes a split-second for this to happen,” Mrs Shaw said.

“You can’tblame the parents andthey shouldn’t blame themselves.

“You can’t wrap them in cotton wool.

“No one should have to go through what we’ve been through.”

She said not a day goes by when she doesn’t imagine the life Stacey-Lee could’ve had.

“Igrieve for the parents because I know what they’re going through,” she said.

“It’s just a terrible freak accident.

“Every time Ihear something like this happenit brings back memories.

“It’s been 40 years but not a day go bywhen Idon’t thinkshe’s going to get married.”

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