Five times earthlings have been hit by falling meteorites

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TARGAZER’S DELIGHT: This week is a great time to look to the skies for meteor showers and fireballs. Picture: John Schumack.The cloudy conditions could obscurea stunning astronomical event in the early hours of the morning on Saturday –a meteor shower called the Orionids, which were expected to undergo its peak event on this weekend.

But even if the weather would not cooperate, Hunter stargazer David Reneke said the Orionids will still be visible over the next few days.

“The golden rule with these things is patience,” Mr Reneke said.

“It’llhappen when you least expect it.”

The night sky for the rest of this month is looking good with no harsh moonlight towash out our after dinner skies.

It’s a great target for the novice telescope owner aswell because it’s just so easy to find stars and star clusters.

“Generally, [the Orionids]is a good shower for beginners with estimates of around 30 meteorsper hour,”Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine said.

“As with allshowers, the best time for viewing will be from around midnight until an hour beforesunrise.”

The shower is centred around the constellation Orion.

“From any Aussie backyard justlook for the familiar shape of the ‘Saucepan’ and watch below the three stars thatmake up the bottom of the pan.

Now, just to spice things up a little, there’s a second lesser known shower happeningafterwards.

The Taurids are a long duration meteor shower visible throughout springand peaking during the first week of November.

They have been described as beingbright, slow moving and with the occasional colourful fireball.

So, what exactly are meteor showers?They are the tail ends of comets.

As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit.

If earth travels through this stream, we see a meteor shower.

Meteor showers arenamed by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall.

“They’re called ‘shooting stars’ but that’s incorrect,” Mr Reneke said. “Stars don’t fall outof the sky, they’re simply small bits of iron rock.”

Has anyone ever been hit by ameteorite? You bet!

1954: An Alabama housewife was sleeping on her couch whena small meteor that crashed through the roof struck her on the hip.1992: Alarge meteor exploded over the eastern United States with pieces punchinga hole clear through the boot of a woman’s car. Her old and rather run down bombinstantly became a collector’s item and later sold for $200,000June, 1994: Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 1.4kilogram meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and endedup in the back seat. Martin suffered a broken finger while his wife was uninjured.1860: In Ohio, a horse reportedly died after being struck by a meteor.1911:A dogwas reportedly killed in Egypt.“Being clobbered by a meteor is still an extremely remote possibility,” Mr Reneke said.

The sweeping rule changes to keep kids playing cricket

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What began as a pilot program to test modified cricket rules will become a nationwide revolution this summer as almost 65 per cent of Australian associations adopt the junior format shaping the sport’s future.

In what ex-Australian captain Greg Chappell describes as a critical direction junior cricket needs to take, 160 of the country’s 247 associations have opted to introduce radical rule changes for children in a bid to increase participation and player retention.

The majority of youngsters will pursue their craft under modified rules this summer as part of a staged roll out of the junior format concept, playing on shorter pitches with smaller equipment and alongside fewer teammates.

Last season’s pilot program, trialled across 15 associations, produced significant increases in boundaries struck, runs scored and wickets taken, and perhaps most crucially a reduction in the number of wides and no balls bowled.

“There are an inordinate number of kids that want to play our game and a lot of them we’ve scared off over the years because we’ve made the game too difficult,” Chappell said.

“We haven’t made it enough fun, we haven’t developed their passion early by giving them a memorable experience.

“The different formats are about compressing the game, increasing the number of moments that they’re involved in the game, handling the ball, bowling the ball, hitting the ball because that’s how you learn.

“It’s not about developing a technique, it’s about developing a love, developing a passion and the desire to want to get out there and keep trying to get better at it.”

Chappell knows first-hand just how many youngsters walk away from the sport. His son Jon, a talented cricketer in his own right, gave up the sport in favour of baseball in the 1990s.

A Cricket Australia roadshow four years ago asked fans across the country to outline their major concerns surrounding the sport and overwhelmingly, retention of players reared its head as a major issue.

Dr Ian Renshaw, father of Test opener Matthew and a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in human movement and sports science, was enlisted and he began a comprehensive biomechanical testing exercise.

Two hundred children in each age group, including boys, girls, cricketers and non-cricketers were put through their paces and tested on how far they could hit, bowl and throw a ball.

Data collected helped form the basis of the junior format modifications which kick in at under-nine level where youngsters play on a pitch of 14m in length with up to eight children per team, and with a 30m boundary.

Those restrictions are slowly relaxed as juniors age before they move onto a full-length pitch at under-14s.

“For 150, 200 years, maybe 400 years, we’ve been playing cricket off one measurement which happens to be the old term for a length of measurement for a field,” Cricket NSW development manager Nail McDonald said.

“So 22 yards, 66 feet, one chain. It was determined by some pastor back in the 16th century.

“There were more runs scored, more action in the field [last summer]. Kids rotating [strike] quicker, games finished in two hours instead of three and a half hours.

“It seems to have been well received so far and this year will prove the point.

“We went really hard at filling the bucket and somewhere along the way, there’s people that drop off the journey.

“I know it happens in all sports and cricket’s no different. We’d like to think out of this that we haven’t got as many holes in the sieve moving forward.”

Australia is not alone in the take up of junior format cricket.

In June this year former Australian women’s captain Belinda Clark and CA manager in junior formats Harry Tinney crossed the Tasman and presented their case to the Kiwis.

New Zealand will roll out pilot programs of their own this summer, with a view to a 100 per cent take-up over the next few years.

Tinney hopes Australia will also hit 100 per cent participation in the coming years.

“That’s the aspiration, our hope is that it becomes junior cricket,” Tinney said.

“We’re allowing junior cricketers to progress through a staged model that allows them to perform the skills that they see on television and see when they watch elite cricketers. They can do that under a staged model as they progress towards what is the traditional adult game.

“It’s evidence based, tested, proven and combined with the community buy in and as a result we’ve had such a significant take-up.”


Stage 1

Age: Under 11 Pitch length: 16m Players per team: 7 Overs per team: 20 (max) Boundary: 40m Ball size: 125-142g

Stage 2

Age: Under 13 Pitch length: 18m Players per team: 9 Overs per team: 30 (max) Boundary: 45m Ball size: 142g

Stage 3

Age: Under 14-19 Pitch length: 20m Players per team: 11 Overs per team: 40 (max) Boundary: 50m Ball size: 156g (male) 142g (female)

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Duncan ready to roar as Jets travel north

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STRONG START: Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan dives full stretch to his left during a training drill at Ray Watt Oval. Picture: Sproule Sports FocusJACK Duncan remembers it like yesterday.

The then 18-year-old keeper had been called up from youth league to sit on the bench for the Jets’ clash against a red-hot Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium in round seven of the 2011-12 season.

Duncan wassoaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the ring-side seats, when the unthinkable happened.

ICYMI | Jack Duncan’s save on Sunday was something else! �9�4 pic

— NEWCASTLE JETS FC �7�6�1�5 (@NewcastleJetsFC) October 16, 2017TweetFacebook Keeping up: Jack DuncanPictures: Jonathan Carroll, Max Mason-Hubers, Darren Pateman (AAP)“It was a good experience,” Duncan said of his unscripted debut.“It was my one game for the club during that time andI look back with good memories. Brisbane equalled the record for the most games undefeated in a row in Australian sport that day. It was a bit of a milestone. For myself it was the start of good things to come.”

Now back at the Jets with 35 games to his name and firmly established as the No.1, Duncan is looking forward to another crack at the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

“We have made a good start to the season,” Duncan said.“We are taking it one game at a time, but to start with four points out of six, the vibe around the place is good. Itis positive and the way we are playing is positive as well.”

Duncan, 24, produced an early contender for save of the year–a spectacular finger-tip effort to deny an Adam Taggart-header–in the second half of the 2-all draw with Perth last Sunday.

Though disappointed to concede two goals, including an injury-time equaliser, there was little he could do to stop the quality finishing from Taggart.

“They came fromdifferent areas in the six-yard box,” Duncan said.“The first one was a little glance, the second one a good header. They went across me and you can’t do too much about them. As a team we have looked at how we can prevent players like that getting into good areas and tryingto stop the service before it comes in.We have to work on our desperation in the backthird. If you look at thegoals we conceded, maybe we weren’t desperate enough to get to the ball and clear it. That little bit of intensity.”

Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes he is developing into an exceptional goalkeeper.

“Keepers don’t hit their peak until they are about 30,” Merrick said.

“He has a perfect build, is agile, is a good shotstopper and is competent in the air. The relationship he has with Glen Moss is almost unique. Glen is a 35-year-old who is still super fit and a national-team keeper. Glen has taken the attitude that ‘If I help Jack it will help the club and in turn help me’. I think that relationship has pushed Jack up to another level.”

Brisbane, led by former Serie-A striker Massimo Maccarone and recently arrived Frenchman AlecBautheac, pose a threat different to that of Glory.

“They have some good experienced player in Maccarone and FahidBen Khalfalla,” Duncan said.“We have looked at the strengths and weaknesses. We have analysed them but focused more on ourselves.”

Parkes keen to speed up for�0�2MotoGP

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OPPORTUNITY: Hunter rider Broc Parkes gets accustomed with Phillip Island again ahead of this weekend’s Australian MotoGP. The 35-year-old was slowest in Friday’s opening two practice sessions after scoring a late call up to race for Tech 3 Yamaha. Qualifying takes place on Saturday followed by the main event on Sunday. Picture: APHunter rider Broc Parkes hopes to keep improvinghis speed in Australian MotoGP qualifying sessions at Phillip Island on Saturdayafter struggling inpractice.

The 35-year-old, who was a late call up to race Sunday’s main event (4pm) with Tech 3 Yamaha, was the slowest of 23 competitors around the circuit in both the morning and afternoon runs.

Parkes completed 38 laps in total on Friday andeventually cut0.902 seconds off his best performance, stopping the clock at one minute, 32.152 seconds (1’32.152).

He was 2.927s off pacesetterAleix Espargaro (1’29.225) with Marc Marquez (+0.005) next best and fellow Australian Jack Miller (+0.241) sixth overall only three weeks after breaking his leg in a training accident.

But in a promising sign ahead of Saturday’s final two practice sessions and qualifying, Parkes top speed on Friday went from 313.2 kmph to 324.7 kmph.

It has been a whirlwind experience this week for the nowEndurance World Championship regular, who last rode a one-off MotoGP two years ago and steered afull rookie season in 2014.

“The call-up for this opportunity came at the last minute as I was in Andorra and I asked for it on Friday [last week],” Parkes said post-practice on Friday.

“Then, I heard from [team founder] Hervé [Poncharal] the next day and so I jumped on the plane and got here [Australia] midweek.In all honesty, it was a bit of a struggle todayas I thought I would get on with the bike quicker.

“It hasnot been easy and I had a small crash in the afternoon, which caused us to lose some time at the end.

“Yet, up until then, we started to advance and I made progress. The best guys in the world are in this class and they have been on their bikes for a long time so to jump on the Yamaha and try to be competitive straight away is definitely not an easy task. However, it’s going well and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Parkes replacedJonas Folger, who returned home to his native Germany with illness before last weekend’s Japanese grand prix.It is believed Folger has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, ruling him out of upcoming races in Malaysia and Valencia.

Distance not the�0�2barrier for Celia

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WIN: Melbourne marathon champion Celia Sullohern on Sunday. Picture: AAP ImageMelbourne marathon winner Celia Sullohern will headline Sunday’s Fernleigh 15 just a week after her career-best long-distanceperformance.

The women’s record holder for the annual Lake Macquarie event took out the Victorian 42-kilometre race in two hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.

It was a five-minute personal best, top-10 Australian all-time and fourth on the 2017 national rankings behind fellow countrywomen Lisa Weightman Jess Trengove andVirginia Moloney ahead of next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

But that won’t stop the 25-year-old former Novocastrian from slowing down this weekend according to coach, Rio Olympian and Fernleigh 15 organiser Scott Westcott.

“My advice would be to take it easy, but I dare say she’ll pin her ears back,” Westcott said.

“We’ll give her the starting duties, but I reckon she’ll drop the gun and go.”

Sullohern, who also claimed the City2Surf in Sydney in August, will more than likely battle it out with Kahibah’s Bridey Delaney, who was second over 10km in Melbourne on Sunday.

In the men’s race Newcastle’s Vlad Shatrov will shoot for a third straight crown on the Fernleigh Track.

SAM RIGNEY: How I learnedto love running

Newcastle-based Rheed McCracken will lead the Fernleigh 15 wheelchair section minus Hunter ParalympiansKurt Fearnley and Christie Dawes. McCracken moves up in distance after breakingthe men’s 100m T34 world record in Switzerland in May.

Westcott said around 1100 athletes had signed up for the sixth annual edition of the Fernleigh 15, which included more than 200 in a newly-formed five-person team relay section.

Entries are still being taken at Kotara Westfield’s ‘Rooftop’ on Saturday between 9am and 5pm.

Racing on Sunday starts near Adamstown’s St Pius X High Schoolfrom 7:55am. The finish line is located behind Belmont TAFE.

Merrick plays down Jets’�0�2amazing record

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FOCUSED: Ernie Merric explains a point to the Jets players at training this week. Picture: Marina NeilNEWCASTLE boast the best winning percentage at Suncorp Stadium of any team in the A-League including Brisbane, but coach Ernie Merrickinsists statistics will count for nothing when the Jets tackle the Roar on their home turf on Sunday.

Incredibly, the Jets have won 10 of their 17 matchesagainst the Roar in the Queensland capital for a success rate of 58.8 %. Brisbane, three-time champions, have won 50.9% of gamesat home.

Adelaide are next best at 47.4%.Current champions Sydney have traditionally struggled up north, winning just 15.8 %. Merrick’s previous club Wellington have performed the worst in Queensland, winning two of 16 attempts for 11.1%.

In 159 games at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane have lost just 45, 10 of those to the Jets, including a 3-2 defeat in round 14 last season.

However,Merrick played down the relevance of historical statistics–good and bad–due to the continual turnover in personnel.

“I don’t look at it,” he said. “This season is a completely different team. We have five new starting players.You can’t say you have a successful record up there when you have a completely different team.”

Merrick, who has coached more games than anyone in the A-League, said referring to historycould also have a detrimental effect.

“If you look at history in a positive way, you are obviously going to look at it in a negative way,” he said.“We have always lost up there, does that mean we are going to lose this time.”

The Jets have hit the ground running under Merrick.

Awin in Brisbane would propel them to seven points after the three rounds and the best start in the club’s history.

The Roar, who have suffered consecutive losses to Melbourne City (2-0) and Adelaide (2-1), have been boosted by the arrival of French winger AlecBautheac.

The 30-year-old, who made 13 appearances for Lyon in the French Ligue 1last season, touched down on Wednesdaymorning and is likely to feature on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a boost for everyone,” Roar coach John Aloisi said.”We had our captain Matt McKay, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and [assistant] Ross [Aloisi] went to the airport to pick him up at 2am (on Wednesday) – that’s how excited they were.The group is strong and it gives them a lift getting a new player in.”

Merrick said the arrival of any quality player was“great”for the league.

“I expect he will be a very good player,” Merrick said.“My view on these things is that it is great we are bringing in quality players to the league. The higher quality the league,the better for everyone–bigger crowds, more sponsorship, more television exposure.

“I think it is a good thing that they are bringing in a high quality player.”

The Roar have undergone a transformation of sorts since the departure of Jamie Maclaren, who scored 40 goals in 53 appearances, and the release of club legend Thomas Broich.

Veteran Serie-A striker Massimo Maccaronenow leadsthe line and former Victory winger Fahid Ben Kalfallah has replaced Broich.

“With Jamie they had pace up front who could get in behind,” Merrick said.“Maccarone is a different type of player. He is a quality playerbut more one who likes the ball passed to his feet.A speedy tricky winger likeBautheacwill add to them I’m sure.”

How to get started with investment

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Hi Nicole,

I’m 17 and about to graduate from school. I hope to study maths at university. I’m interested in investment and want to start earning compound investment returns as soon as I can. I am also interested in what you’ve been saying about exchange-traded funds and how they’re a good place to start if you have very little money. I work part-time in a service station and will be able to up my hours in the holidays. So far I’ve saved $1000 for schoolies and another $500 to start building my financial future. Depending on where I get accepted, I should be able to stay at home until I graduate. So how do I buy ETFs and start a portfolio?


Declan, I am loving your work ethic, time management skills and future focus. They are three things that augur well for real-world success.

And as I always say when I deliver my Smart Money Smart sessions in high schools: stay home and stash cash for the biggest financial opportunity you’ll ever have.

Now I’m assuming your savings are in a high-interest bank account. Be aware you may be automatically switched to the adult account when you turn 18, which might pay less.

Your age is an issue with investing too – you need to be 18 to open an online broking account in your own name.

But, given you are so close, that gives you a lovely window to build funds to invest. While you can trade with as little as $500, $1000 is a prudent minimum amount because mosays you’ll pay as little as $9.90 per trade, which pushes the percentage cost to below 1 per cent.

That’s with amscot, and several other online outfits charge similarly.

But Commonwealth Bank’s broking service CommSec, which offers trading tutorials, market research and portfolio analysis tools, is now only $10 for a $1000 trade, at which point the cost jumps to $19.95 (you must settle your trades with a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account).

Either are dirt cheap compared with the hundreds of dollars old-school brokers charged ??? which has opened trading up to anyone keen like you.

Exchange traded funds are popular not just because they offer diversification for smaller investment amounts, but because you buy and sell them as easily as any share in an individual company. Big providers in Australia include BetaShares, iShares, State Street Global Advisers and Vanguard … and the specific funds you go with will depend on which markets and industries you like.

Just be sure to first take the interactive Investing Challenge on ASIC’s moneysmarwhich I am delighted to present, which quizzes and corrects your investment knowledge. Good luck!

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a money educator and consumer advocate: themoneymentorwu can write to her for help solving your money problem, or with a consumer question

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CBA defends disclosure, executive pay

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Commonwealth Bank chair Catherine Livingstone has defended the board’s decisions on disclosure and executive pay, under at times heated questioning over the money laundering compliance scandal that has rocked the bank.

Ms Livingstone and chief executive Ian Narev fronted the federal government’s banking inquiry on Friday, the first such appearance since explosive money laundering allegations were levelled against the country’s biggest bank.

The grilling came after National Australia Bank chief Andrew Thorburn faced the same committee, fielding questions over staff falsely witnessing 2000 documents, vowing there would be “consequences” for staff involved.

In August this year, Austrac launched explosive legal action claiming CBA failed to report more than 53,000 large cash transactions, and that crime gangs laundered millions of dollars through the bank’s ATMs.

Inquiry chairman David Coleman repeatedly asked Ms Livingstone why the board didn’t tell investors earlier about the alleged breaches, given it was first made aware of some breaches in August 2015.

Mr Coleman also suggested it had been “extraordinarily incompetent” of the board to have determined that targets relating to risk management had been met, when it set remuneration in 2016.

Ms Livingstone, who became chair at the start of this year, acknowledged the Austrac matter had been “very challenging” and was a “crucial issue” for the board of Australia’s biggest bank.

She defended the bank’s disclosure to investors, saying the board knew about only one component of the Austrac allegations against it in 2015. This related to the bank’s alleged failure to make threshold transaction reports – the requirement to notify Austrac of transactions above $10,000.

She said it remedied this situation within a month, including by boosting its financial crimes surveillance activity.

“We have met our continuous disclosure obligations based on our knowledge of the matters,” Ms Livingstone said.

Ms Livingstone said there was “a great deal” of detail in Austrac’s statement of claim, filed in August this year, of which the board had not been aware before it was lodged.

Mr Coleman also questioned Ms Livingstone over the board’s decision that group executives had satisfied performance criteria that included “risk” in 2016, when it was compiling its remuneration report. This is one metric included when determining executive bonuses.

Mr Coleman asked Ms Livingstone if the board had “manifestly failed in its duty” in making this determination.

“It is very, very hard to see how at bare minimum that is not extraordinarily incompetent, if not more problematic for the individual directors,” Mr Coleman said to Ms Livingstone.

In response, Ms Livingstone stood by the decision, saying it was “appropriate” at the time, as the board did not know Austrac would ultimately launch a civil case against CBA.

“The first we were aware that Austrac intended to launch civil proceedings was the third of August this year, and the period to which you relate and the events of that time are the subject of the Austrac civil proceedings,” Ms Livingstone said. ‘Further accountability’

The fresh round of scrutiny comes after Ms Livingstone scrapped short-term bonuses this year in response to the severe hit to the bank’s reputation caused by the Austrac scandal.

On Friday she vowed there would be “further accountability consequences as necessary” as the bank investigated the allegations further.

“As chairman, my position on accountability can be quite simply put,” she said.

“Where claims of serious misconduct are substantiated, there are consequences, including dismissal. People who underperform are supported to improve, however, if their performance doesn’t improve they are also asked to leave.”

As banks, and especially CBA, look to rebuild public trust in the industry, Ms Livingstone said the bank was conscious of the need for “greater transparency” and “greater accountability for the outcomes it delivers”.

“It is my goal as chair to ensure that we have robust governance, accountability and risk management systems in place,” she said.

Ms Livingstone also signalled that people had left CBA as a result of the flaws in the bank’s anti-money systems before Austrac launched the bombshell action against CBA in August.

Three former high-ranking executives of the bank had missed out on deferred pay as a result of the board’s pay cut this year, she said.

When pressed on specific details of Austrac’s claims, Ms Livingstone and Mr Narev said they were limited in what they could say because of the ongoing legal proceedings.

CBA is due to file its defence in the Austrac matter in December.

Mr Narev made it clear the bank would acknowledge it had made mistakes, and would not fight every aspect of Austrac’s claim against CBA.

“The statement of defence is going to make clear we’ve made mistakes,” he said. “We won’t fight the claim or fight aspects of the claim where we know we’re in the wrong.”

Analysts have estimated the bank could face a fine of up to $2.5 billion as a result of Austrac’s case, and suggested this is likely to weigh on the board’s capital management decisions. Share price slump

Since the Austrac allegations came to light, CBA’s shares have been downgraded compared with rival banks, and Mr Coleman put it to Mr Narev that the billions wiped off its market capitalisation would be “the largest example of shareholder value destruction in Australian history”.

“We understand that nobody wants to see the share price go down,” Mr Narev said in response.

“We would hope that many of those losses, over the short term, can be recuperated over the long term.”

The corporate watchdog has said it is investigating whether the bank’s board complied with its continuous disclosure obligations, while the plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn is also running a shareholder class action over the issue.

The Austrac scandal has put the spotlight on potential risks from banks’ intelligent deposit machines – which allow customers to make large cash deposits and were at the heart of CBA’s problems.

On Friday, CBA confirmed its machines continued to accept a maximum deposit of $20,000 in cash, compared with other major banks’ limit of $4000 to $5000.

Mr Narev said this decision on cash deposits was a reflection of small business customer “utility”.

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NZ MP Jian Yang worked in Australian Parliament

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 New Zealand MP embroiled in a controversy over his past links to Chinese military intelligence worked as an intern with the Australian Senate’s committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade in the 1990s.

Documents released to The New Zealand Herald under freedom of information of laws show that Jian Yang, who has found himself at the centre of a controversy over Chinese influence abroad, worked at the powerful committee for two months after leaving China, where he was a lecturer at an intelligence-linked academy, the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute.

Nationals MP Jian Yang at Chinese and Korean New Year festivities in the Auckland suburb of Northcote. Photo: Denise Piper

In his application for New Zealand residency in 1998, Mr Yang did not detail the sensitive nature of the institution he worked at, disclosing only employment with “Luoyang University”.

Before moving to New Zealand, Mr Yang spent time in Australia and attained master’s degree at the Australian National University in 1994. While undertaking a subsequent PhD, he was head of the university’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association, an organisation linked to the Chinese embassy.

“During September and November 1994, I worked as an intern in Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, the Australian Parliament,” he wrote in his residency application.

“I was asked to write a report on the extension of social and cultural ties between Australia and [the People’s Republic of] China.”

The revelations emerged as his National Party narrowly missed out on being returned to government, with NZ First striking a coalition agreement with Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party.

Mr Yang was a lecturer in political science at Auckland University before becoming a National Party MP in 2014.

The controversy was triggered by a joint investigation from the Financial Times and local outlet Newsroom, published in September, which reported that New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service had launched an investigation into his background.

Friday’s New Zealand revelations came the same week Canberra’s top intelligence agency ASIO warned of the “unprecedented” level of “harmful espionage and foreign interference” operations being carried out in Australia, which have sought to steal sensitive information and covertly influence debate.

Mr Yang acknowledged he had been involved in teaching English to Chinese spies, but has defended the level of detail he disclosed to the New Zealand government, saying the National Party was “fully aware” of his background before his nomination.

“Luoyang University was the partnership university of the Foreign Languages Institute,” Mr Yang told The New Zealand Herald on Thursday.

Releasing the information, Immigration New Zealand said: “We note that Mr Yang met all the requirements under the relevant legislation at the time of his residence application and no character concerns were identified at the time.”

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Apple shares fall on ‘anaemic appetite’ for iPhone 8

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hares of Apple and some of its suppliers fell on signs that demand for the new iPhone 8 models isn’t as strong as anticipated while buyers await the release of the higher-end iPhone X.

The Taipei-based Economic Daily News reported on Thursday that Apple cut orders for its latest model, which went on sale last month, by more than 50 per cent. The newspaper didn’t identify its source or elaborate on what sort of orders had been pulled, or how it arrived at that number. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

AT&T ‘s customers upgraded 900,000 fewer handsets in the three months through September than a year earlier, it said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. The trend hints at customers waiting for the flagship iPhone X to buy a new phone.

There’s a “more anaemic appetite for the iPhone 8 right now,” Joe Natale, chief executive officer of Canadian carrier Rogers Communications, said in a conference call on Thursday. “There’s lots of anticipation around the iPhone X and what it has to offer.”

Many analysts already expected that the iPhone 8 would be overshadowed by stronger demand for iPhone X, which is scheduled to be released next month. But investors are sensitive to any potential demand weakness for Apple products.

“It puts more pressure, more focus on the iPhone X, but that’s the Super Bowl event,” said Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights. “I view the iPhone 8 as really just a placeholder.”

Apple shares slid as much as 2.8 per cent to $US155.26. The stock had risen 38 per cent through Wednesday, and is close to a record high, buoyed largely by anticipation for the iPhone X. Shares in Pegatron, a contract assembler that gets almost 60 per cent of its revenue from Apple, fell as much as 2.7 per cent in Taipei trading. Other suppliers including Catcher Technology and AAC Technologies also declined.

Earlier reports have also flagged weak demand for the iPhone 8, though investors are mostly expecting a sales surge from the high-end iPhone X when it becomes available in the US on November 3. With its $US999 price tag, the iPhone X will do more to help boost Apple’s margins. The top-of-the-line model includes a facial recognition system that uses a 3-D scanner to unlock the handset, replacing the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 8 and other earlier versions.

Apple forecast total sales of $US49 billion to $US52 billion in the three months through September, a projection investors understood to signal resilient iPhone demand that could also carry over into the December quarter, given the staggered phone release dates. Analysts see total sales in the holiday quarter jumping 10 per cent to $US87 billion.

“What’s lurking is a question of is this just people waiting for the X or is there weakness in overall demand?” said James Cordwell, an analyst at Atlantic Equities. “A demand problem is more of a fundamental issue.”

The Economic Daily said the lowered orders mean shipments of iPhone 8 models could come in at just 5 million to 6 million a month in November and December.

The newspaper also said Apple is grappling with production hiccups that could disrupt supply for the iPhone X. The issue isn’t difficulties securing supply of cutting-edge organic light-emitting diode screens or three-dimensional sensors, as reported earlier, but of glass panels, the newspaper said.