Monthly Archives: July 2019

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SunRice lifts first-half profit

A focus away from sales of bulk rice to more profitable branded rice into premium markets has helped boost the half-year profit of global rice trader SunRice.

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SunRice’s first-half revenue and profit rose despite a smaller rice crop in NSW’s Riverina region in 2015 as well as adverse foreign exchange movements and weaker economic conditions in some markets.

SunRice also says it is developing contingency plans in the Riverina in expectation of a significantly reduced crop in 2016, largely due to the current availability and pricing of water.

SunRice’s net profit attributable to members for the six months to October 31 rose 12.5 per cent to $21.9 million.

SunRice did not declare a dividend.

“This half-year profit result was underpinned by the continued growth of branded sales and operational improvements,” SunRice chief executive Rob Gordon said on Tuesday.

“We continue to actively execute our stated strategy to focus on premium branded markets and to build capacity and capability across the organisation.”

SunRice expects its profit for the full 2016 financial year to be in line with the 2015 results.

SunRice said revenue generated by its rice pool business was lower compared to a year earlier as volumes were affected by a smaller crop. The rice pool business mills and markets rice from the Riverina.

The international rice business, which markets and distributes rice from outside of the Riverina region, suffered a fall in profit because of unfavourable exchange rate movements and weaker economic conditions in some markets, including Papua New Guinea.

The rice food segment, which makes and distributes products such as rice cakes, rice flour and rice chips, was also impacted by negative currency movements and had to import additional product.

The Riviana Foods business, which makes and sells consumer food products to intermediaries, improved its profit as it axed some product ranges and cut costs.

Meanwhile SunRice expects to release details of a capital restructure to shareholders in February 2016, ahead of a shareholder vote on March 16.

SunRice has two classes of shares: A-class voting shares, which are held by active rice growers; and B-class non-voting shares, which are held by active and former rice growers, and employees.

SunRice is proposing to list a separate entity called the SunRice Fund on the Australian Securities Exchange – similar to dairy producers Murray Goulburn Co-operative and Fonterra.

Study gives surgery nod in prostate care

Prostate cancer patients are more likely to survive if they undergo surgery rather than radiation, a study found.

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The research, which has been published in the peer-reviewed journal European Urology, constituted the “most robust” analysis to date comparing surgery and radiotherapy outcomes for localised prostate cancer patients.

Author Dr Robert Nam, of the University of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Research Institute, said: “In general, surgery results in better mortality rates than radiotherapy.”

He added: “Nevertheless, there are times when radiotherapy may be more appropriate than surgery, so it is important that a patient discusses treatment options with his clinician.”

In the past, comparisons of success rates were confusing due to their methods, Dr Nam said.

The new research consisted of a meta-analysis, or “study of studies”, of 19 studies and over 118,000 patients who underwent either form of treatment.

Researchers found patients treated with radiation were twice as likely to die as those who had surgery. This conclusion was reached after comparing 15 studies.

Chairman of the European Association of Urology Prostate Guideline Panel, Dr Nicholas Mottet, said the research deserved attention because it was based on the best available data.

But he also warned: “Definitive proof needs a large well-conducted randomised control trial, such as the upcoming PROTECT trial which is due to report next year.

“So we certainly need to take this analysis into account, but it doesn’t yet give us a definitive answer as to the best treatment.

“Although this paper should not change clinical practice, I agree with the authors, this analysis gives us important, additional information”.

Localised prostate cancer accounts for 80% of prostate cancers. About 400,000 men are diagnosed with it every year in Europe.

Vic teen fights to save baby deer Rudolph

With just 10 sleeps until Christmas a Victorian teenager is fighting to save Rudolph – an orphaned baby deer government authorities plan to kill.

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The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources won a court order on Friday at Seymour Magistrates’ Court to kill Rudolph, believing the fawn could pose a danger to public safety.

Andrew Foots, 19, from Mansfield, has hired lawyers to appeal the decision and wants Rudolph given a new home at a wildlife park.

He found and rescued the malnourished and distressed fawn in bushland near Mansfield.

He was only planning to keep it until alternative arrangements could be found, and took it to a vet to have it checked and to get advice on how to care for it.

But several days later, the department and police came and took Rudolph away.

An appeal date is set for February 18 at Shepparton County Court.

In the meantime, Mr Foots’ lawyer says it is a waste of taxpayers money to hold the fawn at the department when several wildlife parks would take Rudolph.

“It’s really a case of the department being prepared to spend taxpayers’ money killing a deer when there was a much better and non-lethal option available,” Phoenix Legal Solutions’ Daniel Beecher told AAP on Tuesday.

Mr Foots’ Facebook page has pictures of him posing with dead deer after hunting expeditions.

His lawyer says the photos are old and his client no longer owns a weapon or kills deer.

“Just because you shoot animals doesn’t mean that you are going to be unkind all animals that need assistance,” Mr Beecher told AAP.

The department will not comment while the case is before the courts.

Presidents, prime ministers may age faster

Leading a country comes with extraordinary privileges but also, apparently, a price: new research suggests heads of state age faster, the stress of the job shaving maybe three years off their life expectancy.

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Doctors have analysed how long presidents and prime ministers in 17 countries – including Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the US – survived after leaving office, compared to the losing candidates.

They also observed the number of years heads of state lived versus what was expected for someone of the same age and gender.

After considering the fates of 279 heads of state and 261 runner-ups, they concluded former leaders lived almost three fewer years than expected.

The study was published online on Monday in the medical journal, The BMJ.

“To lose a few years is significant,” said senior author, Harvard Medical School’s Dr Anupam Jena.

“(Leaders) probably felt national priorities were much more pressing than eating right and exercising,” he said, saying former US President Bill Clinton’s admitted weakness for fast food may have resulted in “stress eating”.

“Maybe if there had been world peace, his lifestyle would have been different,” Jena said.

After leaving office, Clinton had bypass surgery; he subsequently said he lost weight and became vegan to try to reverse his heart disease.

Other researchers have found US presidents actually live longer than their constituents.

“The stress (of leading a country) could accelerate the greying of hair and wrinkling of skin but that doesn’t mean they’ll die earlier,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

His research on former commanders in chief found they had a longer-than-expected life expectancy, partly because they are from the top one per cent of the population who are highly educated, wealthy and have better access to health care than most.

New Zealand pace duo rested, Nicholls gets call-up

Canterbury lefthander Nicholls was included in the 14-man squad for the first three ODIs after impressing coach Mike Hesson and fellow selector Gavin Larsen with his performances over the last 12 months.

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The 24-year-old, who was the second top run-scorer in last season’s domestic one-day competition, topped the averages (75.66) and scored an unbeaten 144 in the unofficial ‘test’ between New Zealand and Sri Lanka ‘A’ sides in October.

Nicholls continued that strong form in the domestic Twenty20 competition and looks set to reap his rewards with an ODI debut at his home ground of Hagley Oval.

“Henry has earned his spot after consistent performances over the last 12 months and during the New Zealand A campaign, he was exceptional across all forms,” Hesson told reporters.

“He is a player who has got class and he’s a player we want exposed to the international scene sooner rather than later so we’re excited to see how he goes.”

Hesson said opening bowlers Boult and Southee, who formed a deadly tandem during the World Cup earlier this year as New Zealand made their first final, would be rested.

Boult will miss the first three games in Christchurch on Dec. 26 and 28 and in Nelson on Dec. 31. Southee will be available for the Nelson game, with Matt Henry selected for the first two games.

“Both Trent and Tim by the time we get to the next test would have played five tests in a row,” Hesson said.

“It’s a long season and we need some fresh legs steaming in at the first ODI.”

Injured all-rounders Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham and Grant Elliott were not considered for selection.

Elliott, who broke his arm in a domestic match, could be back playing during the Christmas period, Hesson said.

Anderson and Neesham have been struggling with back injuries and their bowling has been limited, he added.

“Corey is starting to increase his loads (and) it is likely he could be considered for the T20 as a batsman,” Hesson said.

“We are hopeful by the back end of the season he will play a role with the ball. In terms of James, he’s a long way off from bowling at the moment but it’s nice to see him back playing cricket again.”

The final two games of the series are on Jan. 2 in Nelson and Jan. 5 in Mount Maunganui before Sri Lanka end their tour with two Twenty20 internationals.

“At home we’ve been hard to beat so I think winning the one-day series is an expectation we should have of ourselves,” Hesson added.

“We know Sri Lanka have got some talented batsmen and some pretty wily campaigners with the ball but we certainly rate our own skills in New Zealand conditions.”

Squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Doug Bracewell, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry (first two matches), Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, George Worker, Tim Southee (third match only).

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury, Editing by Ian Ransom)