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Philanthropist-funded Australian news site goes under

Australian not-for-profit news site The Global Mail is set to close after just two years, it was reported Thursday, with philanthropist founder Graeme Wood pulling the plug. The site was launched in February 2012 with a Aus$15 million ($13 million) grant from Wood, founder of successful online accommodation register, under the slogan "our audience is our only agenda". At the time, then-editor Monica Attard said it would "last as long as the money's there".

Australian building giant in graft scandal

Australian construction giant Leighton Holdings, which operates in more than 20 countries, said Thursday it was "deeply concerned" by allegations of bribery and widespread corruption within the company. A six-month investigation by Fairfax Media, which obtained hundreds of confidential company documents, exposed what it said were "plans to pay alleged multi-million dollar kickbacks in Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere, along with other serious corporate misconduct".

New Zealander fined over Prince Charles manure plan

An elderly New Zealand anti-royalist was fined Monday over a plan to hurl manure at Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla during their visit to Auckland last year, reports said. Sam Bracanov, 77, pleaded not guilty to preparing to commit an assault after his arrest on November 12 as the royals readied to meet crowds on the Auckland waterfront while touring to mark Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

Huawei founder gives first media interview in 26 years, tries to dispel security risk image

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - During 26 years at the helm of Chinese tech giant Huawei, founder Ren Zhengfei has never once agreed to be interviewed by a journalist. Until Thursday. During a visit to the company's New Zealand operations, Ren sat down with four local journalists at a Wellington hotel. The rules were strict: no international media, no photos. But the meaning was clear. Huawei is taking steps toward trying to dispel its image as a secretive and opaque company, and to reassure the world of its good intentions.

Australia's Fairfax up on asset sales; revenues plunge

Ailing Australian media company Fairfax unveiled Thursday a quadrupling of first-half profit to Aus$386.3 million (US$395.5 million) after offloading assets to guard against plunging revenues. Fairfax, publisher of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald broadsheets and owner of radio and digital assets, said net profit for the half-year to December 31 was almost four times that of the Aus$96.7 million over the same period last year.
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