Reaching or settling?

CityKat Katherine Feeney mashead pointer Does smelling the roses mean we’re missing out on something better?
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Some people are reachers – ever onwards, ever higher, they’re the sort who can’t stop. Other people are settlers – they find roses, stop, smell, and stay the hell put.

There are upsides and downsides to each orientation. But when it comes to relationships, who wins and who loses?

A few years ago, a mate’s cousin got married. She had been a reacher in her work and in her relationships until she met a fellow, got married, and settled down. Note, the settling was so much more than a fixed home address. She settled in every sense of the word. Or, as my mate saw it, she ‘copped out’.

“So what did you tell her?” I ask. “Don’t you have an obligation as a friend to make sure she’s making the right decision?”

“She was the one who told me she was settling,” he said at the time. “She just wanted to get married, and he was the right-enough guy at the right-enough place. And she just turned thirty.”

Now. There’s a lot about above scenario I do not like. The perpetuation of the notion women who aren’t married at 30 are somehow desperate or have somehow lost out for one.

But I also don’t like the way I reacted. I’m someone who tries not to judge, but it’s clear that I had – and probably still have – a bias against people who I believe have settled. People who possibly ‘could do better’ but say they don’t want to. Are they scared? Are they soft? Are they incapable?

Or am I too hard?

I’m a reacher. Always have been. I’m motivated by achievement. This is brilliant when it drives me forward. Though, as I mature and reflect, I realise my reaching can get in the way. I recognise there’s merit in the settler’s strategy. Settling doesn’t have to mean cop-out, it can mean contentment.

So I chased up the friend of the friend, and asked, was she happy?

“I got what I wanted, so yes,” she said. “I wanted to get married, I wanted a baby, and I wanted to put aside my work for a while – I’m not complaining.”

I wasn’t convinced.

“But don’t you wish you’d reached for something more? Someone else? Some other life?”

She thought a long time before answering me.

“No,” she said. “But…”

“But?”

“But I do wonder whether I’ll feel this way forever.”

And there’s the conundrum, isn’t it? The biggest ‘f’ word of all. Forever is a very long time, especially in a world where, increasingly, time seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I can understand the appeal of settling for something, even if it’s not everything you wanted, just because it’s there, and it might be the best you’re going to get.

Though I’m not sure I could stand to spend my forever with something less than wonderful – something that would leave me wanting more before the end. I want to reach for the stars, and if it means I’ll never be satisfied, sobeit. At least I’ll die knowing I darn well tried.

For, if there’s such a thing as true love, why would you bother with a lie?

  @katherinefeeney

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Search to resume for group missing in desert

Mutawintji National Park … Emergency services are searching for a group of people believed to be lost in the desert.Emergency services are set to resume their search for a group of people feared missing in the desert north-east of Broken Hill for almost one day.
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Police said a woman called triple-0 about noon on Tuesday saying she was lost about one hour from the mining town. Her line dropped out and emergency services were unable to reach her again.

After an extensive search lasting several hours, police said her call was traced to Mutawintji National Park, which is about 150 kilometres north-east of Broken Hill.

A vehicle was spotted after a flyover but when rescuers reached it by land about 8pm, no one was found, police said.

Barrier Local Area Command officers spoke to the woman’s family and she was believed to be travelling with one or two others.

The search was suspended later due to poor light and will resume this morning. The State Emergency Service and local officers would be involved in the search.

The national park, which is about 800 kilometres west of Sydney, is described by NSW National Parks as located in a “ruggedly beautiful desert region” dominated by the Bynguano Ranges. Visitors can explore the park using walking trails, by four-wheel-drive and are allowed to camp overnight.

The temperature in the park in November ranges between 18 to 33 degree Celsius, with average monthly rainfall of about 20mm, National Parks said.

Temperatures in the areas near Broken Hill were about 10 degrees or above last night, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Webb said. The maximum temperature in Broken Hill on Tuesday was 28 degrees, he added.

Visitors to the park are advised to bring adequate food supplies and to boil the available bore water. They are also advised to stay with their vehicle if it breaks down, inform others of their itinerary, register with the ranger, carry extra supplies and to prepare for extremely hot conditions during the summer.

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Quarter of young people not working or studying

ONE in four young Australians do not work or study despite Australia’s growing wealth, a national report to be released on Wednesday shows.
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The report also shows the government is well behind on its goal to double the number of working-age Australians with a higher-level qualification by 2020.

The Council of Australian Governments reform council issued progress reports on education systems across Australia, and workforce participation.

It said if Australia halved the number of people without a higher-level qualification by 2020, just 23.6 per cent would be without a qualification in eight years.

But between 2008 and 2011, the number of 20 to 64-year-olds without a higher level qualification fell marginally.

”A projection of this trend would see around one in three working-age Australians without a Certificate III qualification or above in 2020,” the council said.

”We are yet to see any sign of the acceleration in the rate of qualification attainment that is needed to meet [the 23.6 per cent] target.”

The council also raised concerns about young people disengaged from work and study.

”From 2008 to 2011, the national proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds fully engaged fell by 3.8 percentage points from 76.3 per cent to 72.5 per cent,” the reform council found. ”This was due to a fall in full-time employment … the largest decline from 2008 to 2011 in post-school participation in employment, education or training was for young people from the lowest socio-economic areas.”

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said while the reports showed progress in some areas, that progress was too slow.

”As a national priority we need to double our efforts if we are to get our workforce ready to reap the benefits of the Asian Century.

“A prime area of concern is the fact that only 72.5 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are fully engaged in employment, education or training. For a country that has experienced 20 years of continuous economic growth it is alarming that one in four young people are disengaged.”

Nationally, grades 3 and 5 students improved their reading and numeracy performances, and school participation of 15 to 19-year-olds had increased after COAG introduced an ”earn or learn” policy after year 10.

Education Minister Peter Garrett said the report showed the importance of introducing the Gonski school funding reforms.

”The report shows there is a strong need for a fairer system for all students, particularly those from low socio-economic communities,” he said.

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Energy efficiency becomes the new black

SOME time on Thursday, Mackay Sugar will flick the switch on its new $120 million co-generation plant and start supplying electricity to Queensland’s regional power grid.
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The country’s second-biggest sugar miller plans to increase output and by February it should be supplying almost a third of the Mackay region’s electricity, as well as powering its Racecourse Mill and adjacent refinery.

The plant will incinerate fibre left after crushing sugarcane, known as bagasse. Its power exports – expected to run 50 weeks a year – will reduce the region’s coal-fired carbon dioxide emissions by some 200,000 tonnes a year, while earning the company renewable energy certificates and payment for the electricity itself.

“We anticipate a payback over approximately seven years,” John Hodgson, the company’s business development manager, said.

“We expect that this project will remove Mackay Sugar from the list of Australia’s top carbon emitters [required to pay the carbon tax],” he said.

For Rob Murray-Leach, chief executive of industry lobby group, the Energy Efficiency Council, Australian companies such as Mackay Sugar are catching on that investments to improve energy productivity can deliver significant economic and environmental benefits.

Comments made during the recent Senate inquiry into electricity prices suggest politicians from all sides “are starting to understand that energy efficiency is the urgent and the easy way to deal with rising energy prices and carbon emissions,” Mr Murray-Leach said.

Indeed, energy efficiency is fast becoming the new black if Australia’s Energy White Paper released last week and Monday’s unveiling of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2012 are any guide.

“In the nation’s pursuit of energy affordability, climate change mitigation and energy security, energy productivity stands out as perhaps the single most cost-effective way to achieve these goals,” is how the government’s landmark energy report described it.

While the paper did not go as far as the IEA and identify efficiency as an energy source, it represented a “big jump forward” from previous assessments including the draft version of the white paper released a year ago, Mr Murray-Leach said.

The IEA report identifies investments to get more from the same amount of energy – ranging from mandating higher minimum fuel economy standards, to spending on new lighting and heating equipment – will account for 70 per cent of energy savings between now and 2035. By contrast, switching fuels such as to renewable energy, will supply only 12 per cent, , the IEA said.

However, the necessary investments won’t come cheap. Globally, they will cost $US11.8 trillion by 2035 – but will generate savings of $US23.4 trillion, the agency predicts. Mr Murray-Leach said governments should make efficiency efforts more attractive, including by enabling companies and households to be paid by energy companies for savings they make, or so-called “negawatts”.

As companies such as Mackay Sugar demand less power from coal-fired power plants, energy suppliers can avoid making new investment in long-lived assets that are likely to become stranded, he said.

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Stocks look to recover losses

Join the Markets Live blog from 9.30am
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Australian shares are looking to claw back some of yesterday’s losses despite Wall Street edging into negative territory but European stocks rose on speculation that Spain might be close to asking for a sovereign bailout.

On the ASX24, the SPI futures contract was 14 points higher to 4403. The Aussie dollar has risen on on improved sentiment around Greek debt. It was recently trading at $US1.043, up from $US1.0402 late yesterday. It was also buying 82.90 yen, 65.75 pence and 82.16 euro cents.

Local investors will be keeping an eye on some key AGMs today, with Wesfarmers and Fortescue both fronting shareholders in Perth today.

What you need to knowSPI futures are 14 points higher at 4403The $A is higher at $US1.043In late trade, the S&P500 was down 0.18% to 1377.54In Europe, the FTSE100 rose 0.33% to 5786.25China iron ore added 20 US cents to $US122.30 a metric tonneGold fell $2.95 to $US1724.15 an ounceWTI crude oil fell 35 cents to $US85.22 a barrelReuters/Jefferies CRB index was flat at 292.15

Making news today

In economics news:ABS wage price index for September quarterWestpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment

In company news:The following companies hold annual general meetings: Wesfarmers, Fortescue Metals Group, Computershare, Webjet. Click here for a full list of AGMs. DuluxGroup full year resultsCSR first half results

Analyst rating changesIncitec Pivot rated new ‘outperform’ at CIMBQBE Insurance cut to ‘neutral’ at MacquarieMirabela Nickel raised to ‘buy’ at Argonaut Securities

Offshore overnight

Bonds

Spanish 10-year bonds rose, pushing down yields from the highest in more than six weeks, after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signaled Greek aid payments may be bundled into a single installment.Spain’s 10-year yields dropped four basis points to 5.85%Germany’s 10-year bund yield was little changed at 1.34%

Treasury 10-year note yields reached a two-month low before President Barack Obama meets Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress this week for negotiations to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.The 10-year yield fell two basis points to 1.59%

United States

In late trade, US stocks had risen after Home Depot Inc led a rally in retailers and concern about Europe’s debt crisis eased, as President Barack Obama prepared for talks to avert a so-called fiscal cliff.

Key numbers:Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2% to 1382.84Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 12,828.53Nasdaq composite lost 0.14% to 2900.05 

Europe

European stocks rebounded as the threat of an immediate Greek default receded but the euro hit a two-month low against the dollar on falling German investor confidence.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 added 0.33% to 5,786.25 In the CAC 40 added 0.56% to 3430.60 In Frankfurt the DAX 30 was flat at 7,169.12

Asia

Asian markets fell on uncertainty about the global economic outlook as the US ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ looms and much-needed bailout cash for Greece was delayed.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.18% to  8661.05 Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.13% to 21,188.65 China’s Shanghai composite lost 1.51% to 2047.89

Commodities

Energy

Brent oil prices have fallen with the International Energy Agency cutting its global crude demand forecasts. Sentiment was also hit on Tuesday by worries over the looming US ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ and the ongoing eurozone debt crisis.Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December fell 88 US cents to $US108.19 a barrel.New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for December traded in negative territory for most of the day, but recovered to stand at $US85.38 per barrel, down 19 US cents from Monday’s closing level.   

Precious metals

Platinum futures climbed 1.2 per cent on projections of a production shortfall for 2013, while gold prices have eased amid pressure from a stronger US dollar and renewed concerns about Greece.Platinum futures rallied in response, with Platinum for January delivery, the most actively traded contract, recently up $US18.30, or 1.2 per cent, at $US1,584.80 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Gold for December delivery, the most active contract, fell $US8.80, or 0.5 per cent, to trade at $US1,722.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the Nymex.   

Base metals

Base metals have closed mostly in positive territory on the London Metal Exchange (LME) after a rise in wider markets and a strengthening euro lifted the complex from a weaker European morning.At the close of open-outcry trading on Tuesday, flagship base metal LME three-month copper was 0.6 per cent higher on the previous session’s settlement at $US7,680 a metric ton.

How we fared yesterday

The Australian share market has closed sharply lower after its biggest one-day fall since July 23.

Investors fretted over the ongoing bailout of Greece and negotiations in the US to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” that threatens to derail the wider world economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 68.2 points, or 1.53 per cent, at 4,379.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 65.7 points, or 1.47 per cent, to 4,404.2 points.

BusinessDay with agencies

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Cup jockey Dettori fails drug test

Melbourne Cup rider Frankie Dettori, one of the outstanding jockeys of his generation, failed a drugs test when riding at Longchamp in France in September, his lawyer has announced.
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The legendary Italian rider’s positive result will be the subject of a hearing conducted by France Galop, French racing’s governing body, in Paris next week.

Dettori’s solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, in a statement to the British Press Association, reported: “On behalf of Frankie Dettori I can confirm that, as a consequence of a positive test at Longchamp on September 16, 2012, he will be the subject of an inquiry by the Medical Committee of France Galop next week.

“In compliance with, and out of respect for, the regulations of France Galop, he will not be commenting further until the France Galop procedures have been completed.”

No details of the substance in question were forthcoming, with France Galop telling AFP they would be making no comment “for the time being”.

The 41-year-old Dettori had four rides at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trials meeting on September 16.

He rode Joshua Tree to finish third in the Prix Foy, Sarah Lynx who trailed home last in the Prix Vermeille, then Farhh who was beaten a head in the Prix du Moulin and Willing Foe, who came in third in the Prix Gladiateur.

It was after the ride on Farhh that he failed the doping control.

Tuesday’s news comes three weeks after Dettori’s split with Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation after an 18-year association.

This is not the first time the celebrated horseman, who in 1996 made racing history when riding all seven winners at Ascot, has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

In 1993 he was stopped by police on London’s Oxford Street with a small quantity of cocaine in his car.

He escaped with a caution but the incident cost him a lucrative two-year contract to ride in Hong Kong.

“It was the kick up the backside I needed,” he admitted afterwards.

“I was going off the rails. It was too much too young – too much success, too much money, too much partying. I’d be late in the mornings. I didn’t do what I was told. I was naughty.

“But when you lose everything, your survival instincts take over. I stopped being lazy. I made an effort and started to work with my talent.”

Dettori, married with five children, went on to scale the heights of his profession.

He has won all five English classics, including the Epsom Derby on Authorized in 2007, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s most prestigious race, twice on Lammtarra in 2005 and Marienbard seven years later.

Dettori is not the first British-based jockey to fall foul of French racing’s doping rules.

In 2006 six-time British champion Kieren Fallon was banned for six months after testing positive for a metabolite of a prohibited substance.

The following season he failed a control for cocaine at Deauville racecourse and was suspended for 18 months.

Former top British jump jockey Dean Gallagher was found with the recreational drug in his system on three separate occasions in France in 2000, picking up a six-month ban.

AFP

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Building playgrounds of death

Finally, after six long years, Agent 47 is about to return.Six years is a long time in gaming. In mid-2006, Hitman: Blood Money was released on PC, PS2, Xbox, and the fledgling Xbox 360. There was no PS3 version, as Sony’s new console was still six months away from release.
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I recently spoke with Roberto Marchesi, Art Director on the long-awaited Hitman: Absolution, which goes on sale next week. When I asked why there has been such a long hiatus in the series, he explained that it was, at least in part, to avoid burning out the studio staff.

“We always wanted to make another one, but when you have so many great people working for so long on a certain type of franchise, if you want to make the best possible game you also need to give them something else to work on,” he told me. “Between Hitman games IO Interactive worked on Mini Ninjas and the Kane & Lynch series. So they needed to just explore different games at the time.”

Apparently refreshed by the time spent on these diverse, the team returned to the murderous adventures of Agent 47 just as several other elements came together. “We wanted to make this the biggest and most advanced Hitman game in the series, and that would require new technology,” Marchesi explained.

IO has never been a big user of third party tools, and all of their games have used their own proprietary 3D engine, dubbed Glacier, used by all of their games, right up to Kane & Lynch 2. “For this one we created a completely new engine, named Glacier 2,” he said. “The engine and game have been built in tandem, and they’re tailor-made for each other.”

He explained how the two teams have worked together, with the game designers bringing features requests to the engine team, and the engine team in turn bringing gameplay suggestions to the designers based on newly-introduced features.

One of the main things that the new engine will allow is a lot more computer-controlled characters – over 700 of them at once, in fact. “That’s one thing that’s really neat about the Hitman games: the crowd, which we use very actively as a gameplay element,” Marchesi said.

The game’s first level shows this technology off to great effect, as Agent 47 walks down a dark alley, through a gate, and into a crowded marketplace in Chinatown. The space is packed with people, and as you move through the crowd, they all respond intelligently to you – turning their heads to watch you, grumbling if you bump into them, and stepping around you as they walk. I’ve seen larger groups in games before, but never so detailed and life-like.

Marchesi went on to explain how the levels were designed, with the first step being concept art, which then gets built into a large space by the environment artists, which in turn is then turned into a game level by the designers. The process is very fluid, and he explained how the creative process would then feed back into itself.

“A really easy example is if you build a level where there is, say, a vent with steam coming out of it,” he explained. “The first thing the level designers will think is, we need an accident where people can get burnt to death by steam. They just build it in grey blocks, it doesn’t matter how it looks, as long as you understand how it plays. Once the gameplay works, that’s then given back to the graphic artist, who start creating the tiles, the walls, whatever is present in the level to make it look good.”

Of course, the big design precedent for Hitman: Absolution is the existence of four previous games in the series, and a passionate fanbase who has been waiting a long time for a new instalment and don’t want to see a good thing get broken. I asked Marchesi how the team at IO respected the established Hitman gameplay while still making something new and fresh.

With a smile, he replied, “I personally approach it with a mix of respect and irreverence. There were some things we really didn’t want to tamper with, and some things we just wanted to blow up. That was our mandate at the beginning of the project: destroy everything, and make it bigger, better, bolder than the last one.”

“If you have too much respect for the original material and you don’t want to touch it, then you’re not going to move yourself,” he elaborated. “But you also have to have your wits about you. One of the things that’s really strong about the franchise is the look of Agent 47: the suit, the red tie, the shaved head, the barcode. So if we said, oh this time with Absolution, we’re not going with red, we’re going with blue, we would be losing an incredibly strong identity element.”

“Agent 47’s personality is relatively blank, and contrary to people’s perception he doesn’t talk much through the games. They thing he does, though, because they’re not playing him, they are him when they are playing. That’s one of his great strengths. But then we can get irreverent, like when he takes off his suit, when he has to dress up to get away with murder.”

While 47 stealing costumes off his victims in order to disguise himself is a design element that has always been present in the series, Absolution seems to be raising the bar of ridiculousness. Among the standard police, cleaning staff, and delivery man disguises I saw while playing, there were also a sports mascot that resembled a cartoon chipmunk and a fast food promotional character in the form of a giant chicken. “He is so cool that he doesn’t care how he looks,” Marchesi quipped. “He has a job to do.”

That job, the serious business of killing people, has not changed too much in 12 years, but Marchesi explained how the gameplay has evolved in Absolution. “What we wanted to introduce was a better understanding of the game,” he said. “We wanted to make the game more transparent to players, show them exactly what is going on.”

“Gameplay-wise, we’re introducing Instinct, which is a completely new feature we didn’t have previously. It’s just a way to communicate to the players. The world is so complex, it has so many details now, that the rules have changed from a communication viewpoint. In the old days, you knew when you entered a room that the chair over there was the one you had to pick up, because it was the only good-looking object in the room!” Instinct can give a range of clues, including showing where enemies are, highlighting their patrol paths, highlighting usable objects, and so on. Old-school purists will be pleased to know that it is disabled on higher difficulty settings, so using it is not a requirement.

“We’re also working hard with lights to make it a really subliminal element, to communicate to the player, okay, that is something that’s important. That’s probably where I need to go,” Marchesi said. “For example, if you have a dark alleyway and you have a door at the end, you have a flickering light above the door, or a beam of sunlight. It’s not in your face, we tried to do it more subtly.”

“The AI is also more complex now, so we have them tell the player what is happening. They talk a lot. It’s a communication device. If a cop comes over and sees a dead body, he will shout out to his friends, and you will hear it too. Then if his friends answer back, then we know that more people have this information now.”

The programming team has made AI communication very realistic and organic. Rather than an alarm going off and putting all guards onto high alert, the message is passed on verbally from one to the next, meaning that two guards in different areas can have different alertness levels if one has not been given the same information as the other. The player can also hear this communication, and can keep track of what is happening in the world.

Marchesi explained this in more detail. “If a cop finds the dead body of one of his colleagues with no clothes on, he knows that someone is wearing that costume, but he doesn’t know it’s you if he hasn’t seen you close-up yet. If another cop sees you doing something suspicious while wearing the cop costume, he will also be suspicious, but he won’t know you have killed someone. The two cops meet and talk together to chare their information, and everyone will probably then be alerted very fast, because they’ll put one and one together. But if you manage to take both of those guys down before they manage to convey this information to the other guys, the rest of the cops will not be suspicious of you yet.”

It certainly sounds like this may be the best game of the series so far, and I have certainly enjoyed my hands-on time with it. Really, the best thing I can say about it is that it feels like a proper Hitman game. As far as I could tell from my hour or so of playing, IO has not messed up the formula.

There are new features and refinements, but IO knows Hitman was never broken so they haven’t tried to fix it. You will all be able to play it for yourselves and make up your own minds next week when it goes on sale.

– James “DexX” Dominguez

DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

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BHP gets out of diamonds at bargain price

BHP Billiton has finally exited the diamonds industry, after concluding a marathon sale negotiation for its EKATI diamond mine in Canada.
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Almost a year after starting a sale process for the asset, BHP sold its 80 per cent stake to specialist diamond company Harry Winston for $US500 million ($A479 million): a sum that appears to be a bargain basement price.

BHP said divestment of EKATI would result in a $US200 million impairment to the carrying value of the asset, which will be reflected as an exceptional item in the company’s financial results.

Minority partners in EKATI – the geologists who found the deposit – have 60 days to match the offer under their joint venture agreement, but the sale to Harry Winston is expected to be completed before March 2013, subject to approval from Canadian regulators.

Harry Winston had long been suspected as a likely buyer, and gave regular indications throughout 2012 that it was interested in striking a deal.

In April Harry Winson chief executive Robert Gannicott said his company was ‘‘certainly interested’’ in acquisitions so long as the assets were ‘‘well defined’’ and focused on Canada.

Mr Gannicott repeated his interest in June, when he somewhat presciently noted: ‘‘I think BHP, before they get anything closed with anybody, it would likely be about the end of the year,’’ he said.

Harry Winston has exposure to all stages of the diamond industry: it owns mines, processing facilities and the stores in which its diamonds are eventually sold.

The company is a joint venture partner with Rio Tinto in the Diavik mine in Canada and legally has first right of refusal on purchasing Rio’s 60 per cent stake there.

Positive outlook

Unlike struggling commodities such as nickel, uranium and aluminium where BHP has considered reducing its exposure, the outlook for diamonds is quite positive given the growing affluence in nations such as  China and India, which is tipped to stoke demand for luxury products.

But diamonds are a small industry compared with big bulk commodities such as  iron ore, petroleum and coal, and BHP is keen to channel its focus onto its larger divisions.

‘‘The divestment of EKATI is consistent with our focus on large, long-life, low-cost, expandable, upstream assets and together with the recent sale of our interests in Richards Bay Minerals and Yeelirrie, reflects our ongoing pursuit of a simpler business,’’ said BHP’s chief of non-ferrous Andrew Mackenzie.

BHP began its flight from diamonds in December 2012 when it sold its stake in the Chidliak mine in Canada and announced intentions to also sell its EKATI stake.

The market expected the EKATI sale to be completed within several months, but the process was thrown into a state of flux in March when Rio Tinto announced that it too was reviewing its diamond business and would consider a sale of its three mines.

Rio’s process remains incomplete at this time.

BHP’s new boss of iron ore, Jimmy Wilson will deliver one of his first speeches since beginning his new role in Perth on Wednesday afternoon.

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Blog with celebrity chef Callum Hann

CALLUM HANNCallum Hannbecame a household name after coming runner up on the hit television series MasterChef in 2010. He again provedhimself a master in the kitchen this year when he beat sentimental favouriteJulie Goodwin to win the show’s All Starschallenge.
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Callum, 24, was raised in theBarossa Valley in South Australi, a region famous for its premium wines andfabulous food. Like his neighbour Maggie Beer, Callum has a passion for foodand loves creating meals using seasonal produce.

This week, Callum joins ConnectPink, Fairfax Regional Media’s online website for women, as a foodie blogger and is keen to share hispassion – and his recipes – with the ConnectPink community.

Journalist Michelle O’Rielly spoke with Callum and learnedmore about his cooking style and tricks of the trade.

What types of recipesand words of wisdom do you hope to share with ConnectPink members?

I love to cook simple, seasonal food which still has a wowfactor. I would love ConnectPink users to try something new and maybe learn afew more techniques. There is no place in my life for hiding recipes or havingkitchen secrets; for me food is there to be shared.

What’s your favouritedish and why?

My favourite dish is constantly changing; I get a bit boredif I cook the same things too often. My girlfriend Chloe and I have justexpanded our vegie garden, so I am getting stuck into lots of fresh salads atthe moment.

What are your tips tocreating healthy meals on a budget?

I think the key is organisation. Try to plan a week’s worthof meals and do one big shop, which saves you so much time and money in thelong run. It also allows you to take advantage of leftovers and freezing futuremeals.

How do you suggestnew cooks or non-cooks ease their way into the kitchen?

I think the best thing to do is just get stuck into it. Ifthe worst thing that happens to you in your day is you burn a couple of steaks,I think that’s still a pretty good day.

What are yourfavourite kitchen utensils and why?

A good quality sharp chef’s knife and a large, sturdychopping board. The most used items in the kitchen. If you are going to spendmoney, spend it here.

Who influences yourcooking?

Jamie Oliver has been my biggest cooking inspiration since Iwas a child. I’m lucky enough to now be the Australian ambassador for Jamie’sHome Cooking Skills.

What ingredientscan’t you live without?

Garlic, spices, herbs, condiments, good quality olive oiland lemons. The little heroes that make all the difference in a plate of food.

Where is yourfavourite place to eat out?

It sounds a bit corny, but Chloe’s mum cooks a mighty fineroast dinner. She is one of those people where you don’t ask for secondhelpings, she makes you have second helpings. Not that I’m complaining.

How do you describeyour kitchen when cooking?

My kitchen isn’t ideal, it’s rather small and poky, so Ihave to be organised to function in it properly.

What’s growing inyour vegetable garden?

At the moment there are leeks, garlic, beetroot, chard,chillies, capsicum, tomatoes, peas, snow peas, strawberries, lemons and a wholearray of herbs.

Is fresh always best?

I would be reluctant to say fresh is always best. It usuallyis, but for example I would rather use frozen raspberries in winter than buyingout of season berries for $15 a punnet. Sometimes the convenience of frozen orcanned food is a suitable substitute for fresh.

Why is it importantto taste food during the cooking process?

If you follow a recipe exactly you will end up with ittasting exactly how the author of that recipe wants it to taste. We all havedifferent tastes, so constantly tasting and adjusting is vital. If I say “juiceof a lemon” in a recipe, all lemons are different sizes right?

Has travellingoverseas influenced your recipe choices?

Definitely, I have expanded my horizons by seeing not onlywhat other countries eat, but how they eat it. I love tasting a new dish, andthinking about how I can recreate it in my own kitchen.

Is there one dish youjust cannot master?

No matter how many times I try to make my mum’s chocolatetorte, it never seems to taste quite as good as hers.

What rule or sayingdo you live by in your kitchen?

Anyone can cook!

Sample Callum’s culinary style at www.connectpink南京夜网.au, where he’skicking off with a delicious recipe for Vietnamese Chicken with Green MangoSalad.

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Timeline: the unfolding of the Petraeus affair scandal

Spring 2006 — Paula Broadwell meets Petraeus at Harvard University, where she is a graduate student. Petraeus is a lieutenant general working on a manual about counterinsurgency and is invited to give a speech about his experiences in Iraq.
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January 2007 — The Senate confirms Petraeus as the commanding general for US troops in Iraq.

2008 — Broadwell initiates a case study of Petraeus’ leadership. On a visit to Washington, Petraeus invites Broadwell to join him and his team for a run along the Potomac River.

October 2008 — Petraeus is named commander of US Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., where Jill Kelley and her husband attend social events alongside the area’s military elite.

June 30, 2010 — The Senate confirms Petraeus as the commander for war in Afghanistan. Over the next year, Broadwell expands her research of Petraeus into an authorised biography. She makes multiple trips to Afghanistan and is given unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders.

September 6, 2011 — Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director with his wife, Holly, by his side. Broadwell keeps in contact with Petraeus and is later invited to his office for events, including a meeting with actress Angelina Jolie.

November 2011 — Petraeus begins an extramarital affair with Broadwell, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan.

January 24, 2012 — Broadwell’s biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, is released.

January 30, 2012 — In an interview with her hometown paper, the Bismarck Tribune, Broadwell describes Petraeus as an inspirational figure who always takes care of his subordinates.

May 2012 — Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite, starts receiving harassing emails. The FBI begins investigating soon after.

Summer 2012 — FBI agents determine that the email trail leads to Broadwell. They come across a private account using an alias that belongs to Petraeus. Emails between Petraeus and Broadwell lead agents to believe the two are having an affair. FBI Director Robert Mueller is notified. At some point during the investigation, the FBI interviews Petraeus and Broadwell.

July 2012 — The affair between Petraeus and Broadwell ends, according to Petraeus’ friend Boylan.

Late Summer 2012— Attorney General Eric Holder is notified. By this time, the FBI has long since concluded there was no national security breach, but continues investigating whether Petraeus had any role in the harassing emails sent to Kelley.

September 11, 2012 – The US consulate in Benghazi, Libya is attacked by anti-American Arab radicals. Four Americans die in the attack, including the U.S. ambassador.

October 27, 2012 — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., gets a call from an FBI employee notifying him of the affair. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., arranges the call after receiving a tip from another FBI official.

The week of October 29, 2012 — Petraeus and Broadwell are both interviewed for a second time by the FBI. By this point, both have acknowledged the affair to the FBI.

October 31, 2012 — Cantor’s chief of staff calls the FBI chief of staff to inform him of the call.

Tuesday, November 6 — As Americans cast their ballots on Election Day, the Justice Department informs Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of the investigation. Clapper calls Petraeus and urges him to resign.

Wednesday, November 7 — The White House is first notified about the affair involving Petraeus. The retired general turns 60.

Thursday, November 8 — President Barack Obama, having returned from Chicago, is told of the affair. Petraeus meets with Obama at the White House and asks to resign.

Friday, November 9 — Obama accepts Petraeus’ resignation. News of the resignation breaks before Congress is briefed. Broadwell’s husband emails guests to cancel her 40th birthday party, scheduled for that weekend. By the evening, Broadwell has been publicly identified.

Saturday, November 10 — Broadwell’s book, ranked 76,792 on Amazon the day before, jumps to 111.

Sunday, November 11 — Lawmakers complain in televised interviews that the FBI didn’t alert them sooner to the investigation. Kelley’s identity is revealed by the Associated Press, and she issues a statement asking for privacy.

Tuesday, November 13 — In a statement from Australia, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces that Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, is under internal investigation for thousands of “inappropriate communications” with Kelley, the Florida woman who is a Petraeus friend, over a two-year period. Panetta’s statement reveals that Allen’s nomination to be the next commander of US European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe is on hold pending the results of the investigation.

Thursday, November 15 – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a closed oversight hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attack and the military and intelligence response that followed the attack. Follow-up oversight hearings are planned, as well.

with AP

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