Traditional recipes

Noma Announces Move to Australia in January 2016

Noma Announces Move to Australia in January 2016

Rene Redzepi's Noma is opening in Australia in January

Rene Redzepi has been posting photos of Australian ingredients like blood limes to Facebook in advance of his announcement that Noma would be moving to Sydney in January.

It looks like the world’s best restaurant has caught the traveling bug. After spending a highly regarded couple of months in Japan earlier this year, Rene Redzepi’s famous restaurant moved back to Copenhagen, but it looks like it won’t be staying still for long, because last night on Facebook Redzepi announced that Noma would be packing it up and taking the show on the road again, and this time it will be going to Australia.

“Last year I had the greatest learning experience of my life,” Redzepi said in an announcement on the Noma website. “By moving our restaurant to Tokyo we opened ourselves to a new library of taste, an awe-inspiring culinary tradition both ancient and diverse. The immersion into Japanese culture challenged us to understand a new set of ingredients, develop new mindsets, and explore new possibilities. We came back to Copenhagen more lifted than ever: with bags of energy and inspiration, and many new friends. We want to travel like this one final time… and lately I’ve been dreaming of Australia.”

The next Noma location will be in Barangaroo, Sydney, and once again all the staff and their families will go along. Redzepi has been teasing this announcement for a few weeks by posting updates to his Facebook page that include photos of Australian ingredients like blood limes and emu eggs.

“Since my first trip to Australia several years ago I’ve been wanting to spend more time there— exploring, tasting, and understanding its ingredients,” Redzepi said. “From the tropical fruit in the north, to the native pepper leaf of Tasmania; the pristine fish and shellfish of the very south, and all the new exotic wonders in between. Our research forays will take us into the bush, around every shoreline, weeding our way through Flinders and Kangaroo Island.”

The new Noma is expected to open in Sydney in January, 2016, and will remain open for 10 weeks.

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

There are all kinds of no-knead bread recipes out there – from white to rye, and pourable-batter breads to long-rise stir-together loaves.

But we all agree, this particular recipe – inspired by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François , whose book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day re-creates the seminal New York City no-knead artisan bread that started it all over a decade ago – deserves its championship status.

Let's make some and find out why.

Note: I'm providing just the basic steps here for more details, see the recipe, No-Knead Crusty White Bread or its accompanying blog post, The Crunchiest-Crackliest-Chewiest-Lightest-EASIEST Bread You'll Ever Bake.

1. Start with the simplest of ingredients.

All-purpose flour, water, yeast, and salt. End of story.

2. Stir everything together.

Mix the ingredients together. Let the soft dough rise at room temperature (in a container with enough room for expansion), then refrigerate for up to 7 days. This time in the fridge develops the dough's gluten (which is why you don't have to knead it) and enhances its flavor, as well.

See? No special skills, tools, or knowledge required.

3. Shape the dough as you like.

Shape the dough into balls, or stretch it into longer loaves. Don't worry about making perfectly round loaves or ruler-straight baguettes I never do.

Want to make skinny bread sticks, or pizza crust? Go for it.

Place on a pan. Cover and let rise until puffy (see the recipe for details). Spray with water and slash.

4. Bake until golden brown.

Twenty-five minutes in a 450°F oven is all it takes.

5. Enjoy crusty loaves with superior flavor and wonderful texture.

Crusty/crackly outside. Soft/chewy inside. Packed with flavor, thanks to the dough's substantial fridge-time. That's our 2016 Recipe of the Year.

Anyone can – and everyone should – make this bread.

Flavor, texture, and simplicity, all wrapped up in one enticing loaf, make this bread absolutely perfect for the first-time bread baker. Looking for success right out of the gate? You'll find it here: No-Knead Crusty White Bread (the recipe), and The Crunchiest-Crackliest-Chewiest-Lightest-EASIEST Bread You'll Ever Bake (the blog post).

Even those of us who've been baking bread for decades sometimes tire of intricately crafted sourdough boules and multiple-ingredient whole-grain loaves.

We crave a straightforward loaf, hot from the oven, a corner torn off and dipped in a robust, peppery olive oil. Bread that brings us home again – back to our baking roots, when we first learned to embrace the joy of yeast.

Perfect for bread beginners. Ideal for bread experts.

All-inclusive no-knead bread: it's bread for success.

Since I know you'll ask: this is a cheddar, red onion, fried egg, roasted artichoke heart, and Frank's hot sauce sandwich – courtesy of my grown son, to whom I taught this no-knead concept back when he was a college kid.

NSW gives asylum seekers travel concessions 'to help the vulnerable'

The New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, has outlined the most generous travel concessions to asylum seekers of any state government, declaring there is little point in having a strong economy unless it is used to help the vulnerable.

Baird has described asylum seekers as “one of the most vulnerable in our society, often living below the poverty line” and said it was important to provide travel concessions because services for them are dispersed, which can increase social isolation.

His move, coming two days after the state budget, is a clear contrast to the Coalition’s stance towards asylum seekers at a federal level, which has centred on Tony Abbott’s “stop the boats” campaign to ensure those at sea do not reach Australia.

Baird’s announcement also comes weeks after his friend and fellow Liberal leader, the prime minister Tony Abbott, refused to rule out that Australian officials had paid people smugglers to turn back to Indonesia. He used several interviews to suggest his government would stop asylum seeker boats “by hook or by crook”.

Under the NSW changes, the adults in the 8,000-strong group of eligible asylum seekers will be able to claim a gold pension concession card from 1 January 2016, which means applicants will receive a $2.50 ticket for all-day travel across state transport systems.

“I am of the view that Australia is the lucky country and we have a responsibility to help those who have nowhere else to turn,” Baird said. “NSW is Australia’s economic powerhouse but there is little point in having a strong economy unless we use this strength to help the vulnerable among us.

“NSW has shown we are prepared to help asylum seekers in our community and we want to do even more. This group is one of the most vulnerable in our society, often living below the poverty line. Evidence suggests that lack of access to dispersed services is a key impediment to their health and wellbeing.”

Non-government community agencies have previously been funding transport for asylum seekers in NSW.

“Being unable to travel creates social isolation which leads to deteriorating mental and physical health,” the premier said. “This change allows those NGOs to be putting more of their limited resources into food, counselling and housing – where it is needed most.”

To be eligible, asylum seekers must holding a bridging visa or be applying for one be over 17 years of age and be receiving aid from a designated agency.

At an Australia Day lunch in January, before the state election in March, Baird called on the prime minister to do more to help refugees, saying Australia was a “lucky country” and its people should “open our arms to those around the world who are much less fortunate than us”.

Last month the premier repeated the sentiment when the NSW government became the first state to sign up in principle to the federal safe haven enterprise visa scheme, which gives people assessed to be refugees the opportunity to gain five-year visas if they are prepared to work or study outside cities.

“As Australia’s economic powerhouse, NSW has an obligation to open its arms to those who are genuine refugees,” he said, adding that the state stood ready to “take more than our fair share”.

Baird’s father, Bruce, is a former state minister and federal Liberal MP who opposed the Howard government’s mandatory detention of asylum seekers. He now chairs the refugee resettlement advisory committee under Australia’s social services minister, Scott Morrison.

The NSW concession will allow eligible asylum seekers to travel on the Opal network at a capped price of $2.50 a day, equivalent to the gold Opal card.

In Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, asylum seekers receive concessions of 50% off regular fares. In Victoria the daily fare is capped at $3.76 and in the ACT it is capped at $4.40.

The NSW transport minister, Andrew Constance, said the changes would allow more asylum seekers to “participate more fully in our society”.

“Many of the asylum seekers in NSW are at the very start of the process of applying for a protection visa,” Constance said. “This means that they need access to a wide range of services in order to navigate this process and rebuild their lives.”

National Australia Bank – 30 years of strategy failure

Macquarie University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

In its first quarter results this month, the National Australia Bank (NAB), breathed a sigh of relief announcing that the “separation” of Clydesdale had been “successful” with an expected loss of approximately A$4.2 billion. Though the final number for the loss might be a little larger, the “demerger” of Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank (CYBG) actually marks the end of a 30-year strategy of overseas expansion by NAB.

NAB’s “growth by overseas acquisition” strategy gives a rare opportunity to look at a corporate strategy over a very long period (almost 30 years) and while the strategy cannot be termed a catastrophic failure it was far from a roaring success. So why did NAB’s board persist in what was, for a very long time, a losing strategy?

The study of “strategy” usually involves looking at a successful company and trying to determine the reasons for its success. The rationale is that if one is smart enough to discover the reasons then those secrets can be packaged into a recipe which anyone can copy and therefore everyone benefits. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – there are few Apples or IBMs, but there are many RIMs (makers of Blackberry – whatever happened to that firm?).

There is an old saying “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan”. And typically when a strategy fails, such as that of Woolworths and Masters, the immediate reaction is to dump all of the blame upon the unfortunates who happen to be in charge when the bad news is finally given. [Here “unfortunate” is relative as there is quite often a payoff to cushion the blow, which is rarely unexpected anyway].

Henry Ford was one of the many business, political and military leaders who knew the advantage of failing, in that failure gives one the opportunity to learn

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

So the study of strategy can benefit from considering failures and attempting to learn from them.

In the mid-1980s, Australia was a different country, not least one where a government could undertake major economic reforms without “bed-wetters” derailing it. By 1985, the Hawke Labor government (building on work started by the previous Fraser government) had floated the Australian dollar, deregulated the banking system and permitted 16 foreign banks to set up shop in Australia.

And following Australia’s win in the Americas Cup in 1983, there was an optimism that Aussies could compete as equals in the global economy. It was (until now?) the most exciting time to be an Australian businessman/person.

In 1987, the country’s largest bank, the National Australia Bank, headed by the combative executive director of banking and later CEO, Don Argus, sallied forth and bought the Clydesdale Bank, the Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and the National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland. NAB acquired these “Celtic Fringe” banks from one of the largest banks in the UK, Midland Bank, which, as a result of a failed expansion strategy into the USA, was under pressure to dispose of some assets in a fire sale. Surely NAB could do better than that?

In 1990, NAB ventured into England and purchased the Yorkshire Bank, a 120-year old bank headquartered in Leeds. The overseas expansion strategy continued and, in 1992, NAB acquired the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and in 1995 acquired the US based Michigan National Corporation (MNC), the bank’s first foray into the US market.

NAB was on a roll and, in its 1997 annual report, flushed with success the bank announced its vision was to be “the world’s leading financial services company” and it was continuing its strategy of “growth organically and through well considered acquisitions”. The board noted that the foundation for a “new phase” had been laid, especially creation of a “core processing centre [to be set up in Melbourne] to service all of its European banks”. Recognised as being a leader in technology, NAB also announced plans to develop online banking capabilities in Australia and New Zealand and telephone banking services in the UK and USA.

But overseas acquisitions were far from finished and, in 1998, NAB acquired HomeSide, Inc., at the time one of the largest mortgage servicers in the United States. The board had “identified considerable value from the application of HomeSide’s proven capabilities and systems”. In what was to be the first implementation of its so-called global “Product Productivity” strategy NAB noted that:

“HomeSide will continue to build its profitable business in the United States while introducing its proprietary software and management practices across the Group – starting with Australia. In the process, HomeSide will create the first of the National’s global product specialists.”

So as the century came to a close, thankfully without the armageddon prophesied by the Y2K bug, NAB was well-placed to grasp the opportunities of the 21st century. But it was to chart these new waters without its charismatic CEO Don Argus, who had announced in 1999 that he was jumping ship to become chairman of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company.

There could not be a better time than 2000 to have a stocktake. What had NAB achieved in its 15-year quest to become the world’s leading financial services company?

Less than one might imagine. The banks that had been acquired were peripheral in the markets in which they operated, Scotland, Ireland and Michigan rather than in London or New York. In particular, Clydesdale remained a second tier bank, while its Scottish counterparts, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Scotland, were growing manically, of course heading for a spectacular crash in the global financial crisis. Maybe NAB was lucky to dodge that bullet.

The bank’s idea that it could service this small but widely dispersed set of overseas banks from Melbourne was naïve, based on the assumption that a bank account was a bank account and a mortgage was a mortgage everywhere in the world. The bank was about to be disabused of this misconception in a few years, with the disaster that became Homeside.

It should be noted here that the acquisitions of BNZ and later in 2000 of MLC Life Limited (the insurance and investment arm of Lend Lease) should not really be seen as part of the bank’s international growth strategy but a reaction to the other large Australian banks acquiring local insurance and investment companies to become what are known as “universal banks”.

But the Millennium was the peak of NAB’s overseas adventures.

In 2000, NAB disposed of MNC to the large Dutch bank ABN-AMRO posting an accounting gain on the transaction of some US$1 billion, for a small “win”. But having spectacularly failed to understand the complexities of the US mortgage market, NAB was forced to offload its Homeside operations in 2002 booking a loss of over US$2 billion on the sale. This loss more than wiped out the smaller gain on MNC making the expansion overall into the USA a loss-making strategy for the bank.

In 2004 under new CEO, John Stewart, NAB agreed to entirely exit its Irish banking operations selling both the Northern Bank, and National Irish Bank to the Danish Danske Bank Group, booking a profit of just over A$1 billion on the transaction.

In 2005, the board restructured the UK operations subsuming Yorkshire Bank into the larger Clydesdale, “in order to reduce associated corporate and support infrastructure costs,” leaving Clydesdale as the only NAB bank remaining in Europe.

In a rush of blood to the head, NAB returned to the acquisition trail in 2007, acquiring the US privately held corporation Great Western Bancorp (GWB) for just over A$ 1 billion. The reason given was a potential match with one of NAB’s strengths in the Australian market - its leading position in lending to agribusiness.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, GWB was bought just as the global financial crisis heaved into view.

In 2009, the GFC began to hit home and NAB reported a significant drop in net after tax profits (- 42%) mainly due to charges for increased doubtful debts, especially in the UK, and investment losses in the MLC business. And, very quietly, the new CEO, Cameron Clyne, announced a change in the focus of the firm’s strategy – to concentrate on Australia. The beginning of the end.

But it is sometimes much easier to get into something than get out of it. In 2011, the board announced that provisions had been set aside to cover claims against Clydesdale for mis-selling of Payment Protect Insurance (PPI) contracts and also announced credit rating downgrades not only on Clydesdale but also the bank itself.

In 2015, after first trying to float GWB, NAB sold it, booking a loss of A$67 million on the sale. This left only Clydesdale. After announcing in 2014 that the bank wished to sell its last remaining overseas acquisition, NAB eventually managed to offload Clydesdale in 2016 with a loss expected to be some A$4.2 billion.

With that, NAB’s overseas adventures were finished (at least for the time being).

With hindsight, NAB’s overseas acquisitions (with the exception of BNZ) were opportunistic rather than strategic, the corporate equivalent of a “quick pick” on the Melbourne Cup. Banks were acquired for little reason than they had come up for sale and were disposed of when the going got a little tough. The acquired companies were peripheral rather than major players to the markets in which they were operating and added little to NAB’s successful Australian businesses.

The bank never got close to achieving its goal of being the “world’s leading financial services company”. Hubris trumped by reality.

But it is not only NAB that is appearing to have second thoughts about international expansion. In January, the new CEO of ANZ Bank, Shayne Elliot, appeared to wind back the bank’s Asian ambitions championed by his predecessor Mike Smith, stating that rather than focusing on targets for the contribution of Asian earnings, he would favour a “back to basics” approach, concentrating more on Australia and New Zealand.

Where do these retreats leave the much vaunted ambition for Australia to become a “financial hub” for Asia? Pretty much back at square one.

However, that may not be a bad thing for Australian investors. The recent Financial Services Inquiry (FSI) recommended that Australian banks must be “unquestionably strong” to ensure survival in volatile (if exciting) times. A little bit of tending to the home front for the next few years might not be such a bad thing.

Irishwoman in Perth: &lsquoWe put to the back of our minds the fact that we can&rsquot leave Australia&rsquo

Sonya Redmond, originally from Wexford, now lives in Perth in Australia, with her husband, Kenneth McCarthy. She is chief of staff at the University of Western Australia. She writes about the dual emergency they have faced

I’ve lived abroad in Australia for just under nine years. Perth has been home for the past seven of those. A home bird at heart, the thought of moving back to to family in Ireland is always on my mind, but I rationalise it away thinking of the lifestyle and job prospects I have here in Australia. At the end of this repetitive inner debate I usually decide that, just for now, I am better off over here, but it is always a very dissatisfying conclusion.

Phone calls to family are everything at the moment, but the time difference can be tricky. I usually take a late lunch at work and call the mammy at about 2.30pm – that is 6.30am in Ireland. By then, she says, she has been up for an hour already (although I am not entirely sure that is always true) and is just making her second cup of tea.

I am fortunate to work in a beautiful university in Perth with lush green grounds, although that usually prompts the reaction from people in Ireland of, “Well, look where you are, sitting out in the sun, while we are freezing over here.” I typically play it down. “Ah, yeah, but it’s too hot, to be honest: it’s uncomfortable.”

My mam and I would always comfort ourselves with the fact that we are only 24 hours away from each other and can see each other the next day if we need to. Well, 2020 put a stop to that sort of thinking for us both.

When it comes to coronavirus, Western Australia has been incredibly lucky. For the past 10 months – until last week, anyway – there have been no cases apart from those reported by people in strict 14-day hotel quarantine after international flights. The state implemented a “martial law”-type border closure to other Australian states – so, much to their disgust, people from outside Western Australia found they couldn’t come and holiday here, or head down to the beautiful Margaret River wineries.

Our state premier, Mark McGowan, has been a force to be reckoned with: he has not bowed to any pressure from other states, or from the odd mining magnate miffed about the rules. Geographically, Perth is closer to East Timor than it is to Sydney – there is no city of comparable size anywhere in the world that’s so remote. This, along with the sunny climate, has no doubt helped us in the battle against coronavirus. We have been lucky, and life has mainly carried on as normal over here. We were still going out for meals, to the pubs and even to festivals.

Unfortunately, Western Australia recently faced two concurrent emergency situations. On Sunday, January 31st, at 12.30pm, McGowan held an emergency press conference advising that there would be a five-day snap lockdown from 6pm that evening, due to a hotel quarantine worker testing positive for Covid-19. We had to work from home unless essential, only leaving the house for necessary supplies and making the most of our one hour a day of exercise.

After three days, when we had had no local cases, it was announced that if we made it to last Friday with no cases, the lockdown would end. It did, but we need a clear 14 days with no local cases before all restrictions are lifted. I’m not going to complain about such strong measures. It may seem like a harsh reaction to one locally acquired case, but I felt safety and comfort in this strictness. We are again at a starting point that I am sure other countries wish they could be at.

Last week felt apocalyptic. We were in shock over the lockdown when power to some homes was reduced or cut and our usual blue bright sky had a heavy smoky-orange hue. Bushfires are not new to Australia. Last year thousands of firefighters and volunteers battled one of the worst bushfire seasons we have seen, and it isn’t unusual to hear of smaller bushfires burning “up north” or “out east”.

Being from Ireland, the reality of the damage that can be caused by such fires is truly shocking, and the fire warnings on the radio really jolt me. There are four warning levels:

  • advice: be aware and keep up to date
  • watch and act: there is a possible threat to families and homes , so you need to leave or get ready to defend – do not wait and see
  • emergency: you are in danger and need to take immediate action, as there is a threat to lives and homes
  • all clear: take care and keep up to date.

These fires move rapidly they jump motorways they carry on the warm winds. Embers can travel up to 40km ahead of the fire, and fire itself can move at more than 25km/h. The danger can rapidly set in on you and your home. Can you imagine driving in your car and hearing your hometown named with a fire warning? “Residents of Wexford, you must leave now or get ready to actively defend.”

In Perth last week, more than 80 homes had been lost and hundreds of people had been forced into evacuation centres or friends’ homes – and all in the middle of lockdown. More than 300 firefighters, many of them volunteers who also have ordinary jobs in the community, are exhausted and injured from battling the blaze and defending the containment lines.

There were two concurrent threats to lives over here, then, but if the past year has taught us anything it is that we are resilient, strong, courageous and compassionate. We are trying to check in on each other, whether it is making sure your neighbour has enough face masks to do their shopping or ringing a family member in another country so you can both chat through the madness.

Not knowing how long Australia’s borders will be closed is very difficult for us immigrants and our families. My husband’s father passed away suddenly last year, and we had to watch his funeral on a livestream. Times when we would usually rally around each other, and go through our traditional coping rituals, are not what they were. Given the distance, we feel useless at a time when our families need us most. We try put the reality that we are not allowed to leave Australia to the back of our minds.

We are all together in this horrible state of flux. We are all, in our own way, suffering through this awful, unprecedented time, while also trying to summon some positivity to keep going. The Snapchats we send from abroad may be from a beach, or of a happy face sitting in the sun, but the reality is that there isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t miss home and worry about all of our friends and families back there. We all just need to look after ourselves and each other until we are together again for the longest airport hugs the world has ever seen.

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"It's a great time to be a regional restaurant. Food is becoming so much more culturally significant in Australia and people are designing their holidays around it."

The best-of-the-best crowded into Cipriani Wall St, in Manhattan, for the prestigious awards ceremony, attended by more than 800 chefs, restaurateurs and members of the global food media.

This is the first year that the awards have left London, which has acted as host city for the past 14 years. It's the beginning of the awards' "global tour" of host cities, beginning with New York City this year, and heading on to Melbourne for 2017. Not all of the London touches were removed, with British-expat April Bloomfield catering the ceremony and UK television presenter Mark Durden-Smith acting as master of ceremonies.

The ceremony kicked off with a food-porn-heavy video spruiking Australia as one of the world's greatest food destinations, with Rene Redzepi and Heston Blumenthal, along with Peter Gilmore, Neil Perry and Ben Shewry waxing lyrical about the country's bounty. Those at this year's awards will be treated to an Aussie barbecue brunch, manned by Neil Perry, Dan Hunter, Peter Gilmore and Ben Shewry, planned to help ease the hangovers tomorrow morning.

This year's 'One to Watch' was awarded to Toyko's Den, which made it's debut at 77th place. Dominique Crenn, who runs San Francisco's Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn, was awarded the World's Best Female chef. French chef Alain Passard received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement award.

Last year the first, second and third positions were taken by Spain's El Celler De Can Roca, Modena's Osteria Francescana and Copenhagen-via-Sydney's Noma respectively.

U.N. Offers ‘One-Off’ Help to Australia in Resettling Refugees in U.S.

SYDNEY, Australia — For years, the United Nations’ refugee agency told Australia that its policy of banishing asylum seekers to remote Pacific island detention centers was illegal.

Now, the agency is working with Australia in what both sides call an unusual, not-to-be-replicated agreement to send some of those refugees across the world, to be resettled in the United States.

The deal, announced by Australia last week, is aimed at shutting down two offshore detention facilities — one on the island nation of Nauru and the other on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea — where hundreds of people are housed in what rights groups describe as deplorable conditions. The United States has agreed to take some of them how many, and how quickly, remains unclear.

In an interview this week, Volker Turk, an assistant high commissioner with the United Nations’ refugee agency, said his staff would help with the screening and resettlement of refugees but only as a “one-off” to allay their suffering. “We think there is an urgent imperative to find a humanitarian way out of this otherwise very, very, complex conundrum,” he said by telephone from Canberra, the Australian capital.

His comments hinted at the dilemmas that the world body can face when countries flout international law on the rights of people fleeing war and persecution, as the United Nations and other critics say Australia has done.

“We do not in any way want to give the impression that we would continue supporting such types of mechanisms,” Mr. Turk said, referring to Australia’s offshore detention policy. “We, all of us, are very clear that this is a one-off, good offices, exceptional humanitarian type of involvement because we do not believe that the future of handling this lies in sending people to Manus Island and Nauru.”

Australia is the only country in the world that sends all seaborne asylum seekers to other countries, where their claims for refugee status are assessed, while refusing to let any of them settle within its borders. The policy is meant to discourage such migrants, many of whose voyages have ended in disaster after people smugglers pushed them out to sea from Indonesian ports, crowded onto unseaworthy vessels.

Many of the offshore detainees are from Iran, others from Afghanistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The government is considering legislation that would bar them from ever visiting Australia, regardless of where they settle. Australia has turned back boats full of migrants and towed them out to sea assessed their asylum claims on boats, apparently in violation of international law, before forcing them back and has even been accused of paying a human trafficker to take his passengers back to Indonesia, where he was arrested.

Australia pays Nauru and Papua New Guinea, both impoverished nations, to house the detainees. But Papua New Guinea recently said it would close the camp there, which its Supreme Court found to be in violation of its Constitution. International rights groups, the United Nations and domestic critics have excoriated Australian officials for years over the bleak conditions in which the asylum seekers live.

Neither Australia nor the United States are giving details about the resettlement deal, including how many people it would involve and how soon it would happen. Screening and security checks by the United States authorities, involving multiple intelligence agencies, can usually take 18 to 24 months, making it difficult to imagine that any of the refugees will arrive in the United States before Donald J. Trump is sworn in as president in January.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection said in a written response to questions that the agency was “not providing any more details about the arrangements.” A spokeswoman at the American State Department declined to say how many refugees would be resettled in the United States, except that it would be done in consultation with the United Nations.

The Obama administration has said the United States will take in 110,000 refugees from around the world in the current fiscal year, which began in October, and the State Department has said that the deal with Australia would not increase that number.

“As two of the world’s largest refugee resettlement countries, the United States and Australia share a commitment to finding long-term solutions for the world’s most vulnerable refugees,” the State Department spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions.

Making the deal even more unusual, Australia has agreed to take in an unspecified number of Central American refugees who fled gang violence in their homelands. The United Nations says there are an estimated 2,400 such people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who have been screened and recognized as refugees. The United States has long been reluctant to let them apply for asylum on its territory and only recently agreed to let the United Nations vet them at a processing center in Costa Rica.

There appears to be disagreement about how many people are being held on Manus Island and Nauru. The United Nations said it believed there were 2,200 in total, some of whom had been there, in open-ended detention, for more than three years. It has urged the United States and Australian governments to find a humanitarian solution for all of them.

Australia has said that about 1,600 people are housed on both islands, including some on Nauru who live outside the detention center. Australia declined to comment when asked why its figures differed from the United Nations’, which are somewhat larger. The government said families on Nauru would be given priority for resettlement, followed by detainees on Manus Island, all of whom are men.

The government is proceeding with its proposed lifetime ban on refugees visiting Australia if they have been held at one of the camps, regardless of where they eventually gain citizenship. The legislation is before Australia’s Parliament though the opposition Labor Party has said it would vote against it, it could pass with the support of a handful of independent lawmakers in the Senate, where the government holds a minority of seats.

Mr. Turk of the United Nations sharply criticized the bill, saying it would divide families, since some of the detainees have relatives in Australia.

“We do not believe in lifelong bans,” he said. “Family unity and reunification is fundamental to human dignity and also for people to get on with their lives. It is like a life sentence, never being able to come.”

Show Me the Galleons!

Earlier this week, a new Harry Potter Reddit post began circulating around the web. The topic: The exchange rate of wizard currency, or the WZG. In it, Reddit user aubieismyhomie tells his theory on the worth of various items in the series. Using the value of similar objects in our everyday lives, the OP draws the following conclusion:

  • A LOT of [c]andy: 11 Sickles and 7 Knuts (SS: [“]Journey from Platform 9 ¾[“])
  • Ride on Knight Bus: 11 Sickles (PoA: [“]The Kinight Bus[“])
  • Hot chocolate: +2 [S]ickles
  • Water [b]ottle and toothbrush: +2 [S]ickles
  • S.P.E.W [m]embership (buys a badge): 2 [S]ickles (GoF: [“]The Unforgivable Curses[“])
  • 3 [b]utterbeers: 6 [S]ickles (Oo[t]P: [“]In [t]he Hog’s Head[“])
  • Advanced Potion Making: 9 Galleons (HBP: [“]Hermione’s Helping Hand[“])
  • So looking at these, I started experimenting with different values and came up with these as the approximate values for wizarding money:
    • Galleon =

    While the post is very thought-provoking, some of us are not completely sold on this theory, largely because JKR has already stated in a March 2001 interview that a Galleon is worth about £5, or US$8. Taking into account the inflation rate from 1997 (when Philosopher’s Stone was published) to current day, a Galleon would now be worth $11.81. However, for the rest of this article (and the sake of our sanity), let’s round that up to an even $12. Wizards may be fond of prime numbers like 17 and 29, but “I don’t math,” so even numbers for the win!

    In light of this, MuggleNet decided to do its own little experiment with the wizarding currency exchange rate and have a little fun. What would things you know and use in your everyday life be worth to wizards and goblins? How rich would well-known icons be in wizarding London? MuggleNet has the answers! Disclaimer: All amounts are approximations due to rounding.

    We always hear about how this celebrity has a net worth of yadda yadda yadda. After a while, it gets boring hearing about other people’s fortunes, am I right? Well, how about a little twist on some of pop culture’s wealthiest people?

    Today, if Donald Trump were to seek out his weight in gold, he would find himself worth 375,000,000WZG. Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest women in the world and would be bringing home 250,000,0000WZG. Our addiction to Facebook has earned Mark Zuckerberg a cool 4,091,666,667WZG and the Queen herself, JK Rowling, has made a 83,333,333WZG empire thanks to us and our slightly unhealthy obsession.

    But who cares about the vulgar wealth of celebrities and politicians? We want to know what our own lives would be like if we had to pay in Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, right? What would the cost of living look like, then?

    Fancy a place in New York like Newt Scamander? Well, prices are a little higher than they were in 1926, with a one-bedroom apartment running an average of 250WZG per month. Of course, while you’re in the Big Apple, you might as well catch a Broadway show, and for about 12 Galleons 8 Sickles and 14 Knuts, it’s a steal! Prefer the sun and surf? You can buy an estate in LA for 74,250WZG, San Francisco for 115,834WZG, or Orange County for 87,916WZG. If you’re like me, you probably want to go where it all began. A single flat in North London goes for 99 Galleons 9 Sickles 12 Knuts these days (or 149 Galleons 5 Sickles 18 Knuts for a double if you have a roomie in mind!).

    Okay, so you got your house, figured out all those pesky utility bills, and so on. You gotta eat, right? Well, it turns out that a loaf of bread will cost you 2 Sickles 1 Knut, and a gallon of milk will run 5 Sickles 27 Knuts. Oh, don’t forget the coffee (who here could?!). For a pound of ground coffee, it’s about 7 Sickles 4 Knuts. Of course, life can’t be solely about rent, bills, and food, you know. Maybe you would like to take in a movie—maybe there’s a re-screening of Deathly Hallows at the theater! It will be about 13 Sickles 21 Knuts per ticket. So affordable, you should bring a friend!

    Of course, it can’t all be fun and games. You’re going to need a good job to bring those Galleons in, and in order to do that, you need yourself a good education. After some research, we found that Harvard University’s tuition, room, board, and fees add up to a whopping 5,055WZG. Yeesh! Maybe you should just jump into the workforce.

    Well, you are going to have to get there somehow. I hear you can nab a sweet 1960 Ford Anglia for 333 Galleons 6 Sickles 18 Knuts (invisibility boosters not standard). Just be sure you take dear old dad’s advice and always have gas money handy. With gasoline at an average 3 Sickles 26 Knuts nationwide, it’s easier than ever to get where you need to go. You can get there even faster if you care to shell out a whopping 400,000WZG on the world’s most expensive car—a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita. Yowza!

    Forget car payments, did you know that the cost of daycare has surpassed the average cost of rent? Parents everywhere are shelling out 81 Galleons a month just to be able to work! It seems like more than ever before the average family needs to do whatever it takes to make a buck. Some put in overtime, others buy lottery tickets. Just like the masses that scrambled for the world-record Powerball Jackpot back on January 13, people everywhere waited with baited breath to find out if they were the lucky winners of the 132,200,000WZG jackpot. You’d need to win, too, if you don’t want your Koenigsegg repossessed!

    As for me, I think I’ll take the last 13 Galleons 10 Sickles 25 Knuts in my savings account and put it in some stocks. Who knows how many Galleons I can earn?!

    What are your thoughts on the Galleon? Do you think inflation would have made an impact on the wizarding world? Do you have a few Sickles to spot me ‘til Friday? Tell us in the comments below!

    Posted on 26 January, 2021

    It is impossible to ignore the discourse around Black Lives Matter. It’s become one of the most important cultural shifts in near memory.

    While the movement was originally founded in 2013 in the United States, it’s also an important one here in Australia, where Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter have placed a spotlight on Aboriginal deaths in custody and racial intolerance.

    We created this editorial in 2019 when a reader reached out to us to ask whether we had a listing of local Indigenous businesses she could support. She wanted to show solidarity and support beyond social media.

    While we had featured Indigenous businesses on our website and in our magazine pages, we didn’t have anything specifically consolidated that we could recommend.

    So, here is a list of Indigenous businesses which do a range of remarkable things right here in Canberra—from furniture design to homewares, to ICT supply, to ethical Indigenous art and “on country” designs for school uniforms.

    A number of these are also featured on Supply Nation, a national Indigenous business register which you can view here. We are also keen to hear from you if you run or recommend an Indigenous business—please drop us a line at [email protected] if you see any missing from this list.

    So, if you want to support Indigenous Australians with an entrepreneurial streak, or ensure your dollars help maintain Indigenous jobs, or even if you just want to learn more about Indigenous creatives or corporations which are operating locally, you can use this as a launchpad.

    Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery

    Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery has celebrated 31 years of bringing quality, ethically-sourced Aboriginal art to Canberra and has galleries in Civic and at Gold Creek.

    The art has been selected from numerous Indigenous Communities and Art Centres, and includes works by important artists, together with paintings and crafts by many emerging and collectable artists. Changing exhibitions are presented in the Gallery every couple of weeks.

    Antique Duchess

    Created by a local mother-daughter duo, Antique Duchess’s statement earrings are beautiful testaments to the duo’s Butchulla and Gubbi Gubbi heritage and are created using only materials sourced from other Indigenous-owned companies.

    Art Mark Gallery

    Art Mark Gallery is an Australian Aboriginal Art and Design Gallery, established and operating in Canberra since 2013. They specialise in high quality ethically sourced Aboriginal art and design.

    Black Magic Coffee

    A family-run coffee-van specialising in providing fabulous espresso coffees, hot chocolates and specialty teas at a range of events in and beyond Canberra.

    They love attending festivals, sporting events, and are happy to provide fair trade and organic products.

    Booka Consulting

    Booka Consulting offers a huge range of management consulting and contracting services to the federal government from its Civic headquarters.

    Bokhara Projects

    Offering project management, change management, risk management, technical writing and documentation and much more, Bokhara Projects was founded by ex-Australian Defence Force members to provide specialist advice and skills for the defence industry and beyond.

    Burunju Art Gallery

    Burrunju Aboriginal Corporation was established in Conder to provide local Indigenous people an opportunity to realise their dream of self-determination through the creation and sale of their artworks and music.

    Canberra Furnished Accommodation

    Canberra Furnished Accommodation began in 2003 when Matt and Laurie McDonald rented their investment property on a short-term furnished basis. Today, Canberra Furnished Accommodation is an award winning business with more than 50 properties available in Canberra for people needing furnished and equipped accommodation on a flexible or short term basis.

    Capital Workplace

    The home of culturally appropriate workplace relations, Capital Workplace offers investigative HR services, mediation and training as well as assistance with governance and internal HR policies.


    Supplying wholesale to the cleaning and hospitality industries, Chemworks offers a wide range of items—some of which are especially important during COVID, such as soap and sanitiser dispensers.

    Corroborree Security Services

    Corroborree Security Services provides security and personal safety services including surveillance services, security and CCTV systems and maintenance.


    Curijo is a professional services company specialising in financial services such as audit and assurance, consultancy for strategic and business management and operational research, as well as adult education.

    Darkies Design

    ACT NAIDOC Person of the Year for 2016 Dion Devow’s company specialises in clothing design and streetwear—producing everything from “on country” uniforms to NAIDOC and special event clothing and accessories.

    Dilkara Essence of Australia

    Created by 2016 NAIDOC Business Woman of the Year and salon owner Julie Okely, Dilkara Essence of Australia offers a wide range of hair products infused with potent Australian botanical ingredients, such as Kakadu Plum, Quandong and Native Peppermint Oil.

    Dyurra Yhurramuulun Catering

    Established in late 2019, Dyurra Yhurramuulun Catering specialises in bush tucker foods, teas, herbs and plants, including gift boxes, in-house catering (once COVID-restrictions allow) and DIY damper jars with speciality flavours like wattleseed, bunya nut and finger lime.

    Fernwood Canberra City

    Wendy Brookman’s Fernwood franchise is dedicated to getting the best results for its clients, with tailored personal training programs, state-of-the-art fitness equipment and a wide range of group fitness classes.

    First People’s Property Group

    The First People’s Property group provides commercial and industrial cleaning, bulk waste and recycling management, window cleaning, carpet services and flood insurance work from its headquarters in Civic.

    Gillawarra Arts

    A creative arts business and an extensive online shop originating from the mid-north coast of NSW.

    Krystal Hurst is a Worimi woman who designs handmade jewellery using materials from nature, and specialises in contemporary Aboriginal artworks on canvas, murals and running workshops.


    The Gulanga Group is a Supply Nation-Certified Indigenous business based in Kingston which promotes the effective use of new and emerging Information and Communications Technology to deliver better business outcomes—particularly the government sphere.

    IB Creative

    A collective of freelance digital artists, IB Creative is a 100% Indigenous-owned full-service creative agency offering editorial and creative services, graphic design, video production (including live streaming), animation, branding strategy and more.


    Indiginaus is a Canberra-based agency providing project management, professional printing services and graphic design alongside cultural awareness and cultural competency training for Canberra businesses.

    Larry Brandy Aboriginal Storyteller

    A proud Wiradjuri man, Larry does a range of performances and early childhood talks and has published a book teaching kids the basics of Wiradjuri language counting and a colouring book featuring names and drawings of local plant and animal life.

    Leah Brideson Arts

    Artist and Kamilaroi woman Leah Brideson creates “visual yarns” with stunning colours on canvas, pots and fine art prints that would be beautiful additions to any home.

    Little Oink and To All My Friends

    Looking after the littles and the grown-ups, these two popular eating establishments at The Cook Shops are run by Shayne Taylor and Natalie Legg. Little Oink offers a colourful and child-friendly cafe environment, while To All My Friends serves up craft beer, happy hour, and gourmet pizza.

    Nungala Creative

    A 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and operated creative communications agency established for community.

    Established by proud Warumungu/Wombaya woman Jessica Johnson, Nungala Creative produces innovative content with a distinct Aboriginal voice.

    Currently Sydney-based but with capacity to work in the ACT.

    One of Twelve

    Striking, unique and luxurious are three words that come to mind when browsing One of Twelve’s colourful range of silk scarves and ties.

    This is because One of Twelve’s collections feature the vibrant, original artworks of some of Australia’s most talented First Nations artists.

    Working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres, One of Twelve’s dedicated team produce high-quality silk garments depicting traditional stories in contemporary designs.

    Pipeline Talent

    The Pipeline Group is Kingston-based and committed to growing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates and to work with employers to ensure outstanding Indigenous candidates are brought to their attention.

    Pipeline staff have delivered strategy and consulting services to organisations across Australia, ranging from a number of corporations in Australia’s top 200 ASX to small start-ups in remote communities.

    Reconciliation Australia

    Australia’s peak body for reconciliation is based here in Canberra and offers online resources around creating workplace Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) and education tools to help schools create their own reconciliation frameworks.

    Relatbl Recruiting

    Specialises in recruitment, labour hire, contract management and recruitment process outsourcing. Also registered with Supply Nation.

    Ribanas Catering

    Cater your next event with flavourful sweet and savoury offerings from Ribanas Catering, who incorporate native Australian flavours into their dishes.

    Or, if you’re looking to really experience the taste of Australia, order the Taste of the Outback platter, which includes kangaroo sausages, crocodile tenderloins, and spiced emu sliders…

    Sip, Swig and Swallow

    A gorgeous vintage van (named Joan) which hit the road this year to serve cocktails or coffee (or both) at special events.

    When Joan rolls in, you know you’re going to have a great party!


    Let stylist Casey Keed reinvigorate your wardrobe—or better yet, take you on a personal shopping trip. From wardrobe overhauls to styling looks for special occasions, Casey will help you look and feel your best.

    Téa and Belle

    This online gifts and homewares store was created by Canberra youngsters Téa and Belle (pictured above), and stocks everything from candles with iconic Australian scents to clothing, stationery and leather goods.

    Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services

    Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services is committed to educating the wider community about Aboriginal culture and heritage, specifically the culture, history and stories of the Ngunawal people of Canberra and region and offer tours and workshops.

    Warralang Projects

    Established in 2016, this Aboriginal-owned organisation provides services in printing, promotional products, web and graphic design and facilitation.

    Waybarra by Garigarra

    Garigarra makes handwoven art to be worn or displayed and specialises in running weaving workshops, using traditional Aboriginal weaving practices passed on to her by her Elders.


    A cyber, ICT and professional services business, Willyama assists government clients by providing high-quality services outcomes, as well as helping them meet their Indigenous Procurement Policy targets.


    WINYA supplies workstations, sit-stand desks, task seating, lounges and storage, lockers and boardrooms through Indigenous employment-focused manufacturing at their base in Queanbeyan.

    While online marketplace and gift store Yarn is based in Brisbane, they stock a range of items from local Indigenous-owned brands such as Dilkara, as well as items from other Australian Indigenous-owned brands.


    Yerra provides web design, Facebook marketing services, business analysis, contracting and recruitment services and ICT services alongside support for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.


    Adam Shipp offers a range of services to connect the community with traditional food and medicine based on plants from the ACT and surrounding region.

    He delivers guided walks, workshops and bush tucker cooking classes as well as running an online shop which specialises in traditional plants and medicines.

    Feature image: Dilkara Essence of Australia. Photography: Lori Cicchini.

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    Easy as a sandwich

    There are loads of sandwich ideas that can be put in the freezer ahead of time. Like this ham and cheese from One Handed Cooks. Pretty much any type of bread, wrap or bagel can be frozen along with most sandwich fillings. (via One Handed Cooks)

    Avoid freezing cottage cheese, mayonnaise or cooked egg white. Salad ingredients such as lettuce, cucumber and tomato don’t freeze well but can be added to your frozen sandwich in the morning.

    Australia to Follow Donald Trump’s Lead with Israel Embassy Move

    832 SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

    Australia is ready to follow U.S. President Donald Trump and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and move its embassy there.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison expected to announce the historic change Saturday in the face of widespread opposition from the Muslim world.

    AFP reports Australian holiday makers heading for nearby Muslim-majority Indonesia have been warned of a possible backlash after the announcement is made and they should “exercise a high degree of caution” while Arab nations are talking of a financial sanctions against Australia.

    Mr. Morrison will argue Israel has the right to choose its own capital and peace talks are dead in the water, so there is no real peace to keep if Australia moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Indonesia’s government, facing domestic pressure at home, reacted angrily in October when the prime minister first floated the idea.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the move would “slap Indonesia’s face on the Palestine issue” and was joined in her condemnation by 13 Arab ambassadors in Australia who called the suggestion regrettable and asked Mr. Morrison to reconsider.

    The potential move has already been hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

    I spoke today with Australian PM @ScottMorrisonMP. He informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between & !

    — Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) October 15, 2018

    The United States officially relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended the ceremony.

    Mr. Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during his 2016 presidential campaign and announced the decision to proceed last December.

    Some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.

    The head of the Palestinian delegation in Canberra has reacted angrily to Mr. Morrison’s decision, warning it would be “a recipe for damaging and destroying the peace process in the Middle East.”

    Mr. Izzat Abdulhadi said Arab nations are also prepared to withdraw ambassadors over the issue, and may consider economic sanctions.

    “Our reaction will be difficult,” he told 9 News Australia. “We will ask Arab governments to take difficult actions against Australia.

    “We will talk to Saudis, Gulf States, and also OIC countries to boycott meat and wheat from Australia.”

    Mr Abdulhadi says he’s spoken not only with his Foreign Minister in recent days, but also representatives from other Arab and Muslim-majority countries, including Indonesia.

    “I can tell you there will be huge damage actually,” he said.

    Watch the video: Κουρκούλης για Αυστραλία (December 2021).