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Alex Jones to pay eye-watering sum in damages

<p dir="ltr">Alex Jones, the host of far-right radio show InfoWars, has been ordered to pay a total of $US 49.3 million ($NZD 78.43 million) in damages for falsely claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.</p> <p dir="ltr">A Texas jury ruled that Jones pay $45.2 million in punitive damages, after awarding $4.1 million in compensatory damages the previous day, per <em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62444302" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC News</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jones has repeatedly claimed that the shooting at Sandy Hook primary school, Connecticut, where 20 children and adults were killed was a “hoax” carried out by actors who opposed the Second Amendment right to bear firearms.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nail Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the plaintiffs in the case and whose son died in the shooting, asked the court for $150 million, claiming they endured harassment and emotional distress as a result of his misinformation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Heslin told the court that Jones’ falsehoods had made his life “hell” and led to harassment and death threats from people who believed he had lied about his son’s death.</p> <p dir="ltr">The $4.1 million in compensatory damages were issued on Thursday to cover the actual costs incurred by the plaintiffs as a result of Jones’ defamation, including the private security they hired out of fear a Jones supporter may attack them during the trial.</p> <p dir="ltr">The following day’s $45.2 million are meant to deter Jones from repeating his offence.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We ask that you send a very, very simple message and that is: Stop Alex Jones,” a lawyer for the parents said in court on Friday.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop the monetisation of misinformation and lies. Please.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lawyers representing Heslin and Lewis accused Jones of trying to hide evidence, arguing that he committed perjury by denying having sent any messages about the shooting - with one attorney revealing that Jones’ legal representative accidentally sent them two years of Jones’ text messages.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Did you know 12 days ago your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?” said attorney Mark Bankston, according to HuffPost.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privilege?”</p> <p dir="ltr">"If I was mistaken, I was mistaken, you've got the text messages right there," Jones said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite his long-held position that the shooting was fake, Jones acknowledged that it was “100 percent real” in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I unintentionally took part in things that did hurt these people’s feelings, and I’m sorry for that,” Jones said.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the radio host has continued to use his media platform to claim the case was rigged against him, with his InfoWars depicting a judge being consumed by flames.</p> <p dir="ltr">During his brief appearance in court, Jones was rebuked several times by the judge for lying under oath, including one moment where he was told: “This is not your show.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The trial is one of three brought against Jones by family members of the Sandy Hook victims, and comes after he has lost a series of defamation cases filed by parents by default after he failed to produce documents or testimony.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, this is the first trial where a jury agreed to award financial damages.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-71a17443-7fff-4a6b-001a-e0fe0b49116b"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Australia’s wellbeing budget: what we can – and can’t – learn from NZ

<p>Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has <a href="https://twitter.com/JEChalmers/status/1545191023386951680" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmed</a> Australia will follow Aotearoa New Zealand’s example and put wellbeing at the centre of the national budget.</p> <p>So what is a wellbeing budget? To understand that requires a short explanation of how Australia’s budget works now, and how wellbeing goals will change the process.</p> <p><strong>How the budget has worked till now</strong></p> <p>Governments around the world budget in different ways. Some deliver little more than a statement of economic policy aspirations. Others, like Australia and New Zealand, publish detailed and useful information.</p> <p>The standard Australian budget since the 1980s has included an economic outlook, official estimates of likely revenue and expenses, and details on proposed changes to taxes and spending. There are sections on risks, estimates of debt, and much else besides.</p> <p>Preparing the budget is a mammoth undertaking by bureaucrats, ministers, and ministerial offices.</p> <p>Nevertheless government decisions actually only affect the budget at the margins.</p> <p>The bulk of spending is locked in to programs that roll on year after year – such as aged pensions, health and defence. Budgeting is incremental. Cabinet’s key budget decision-making body, the <a href="https://www.finance.gov.au/about-us/glossary/pgpa/term-expenditure-review-committee-erc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Expenditure Review Committee</a>, will work for months to shift just 2-3% of spending.</p> <p>There are exceptions. When a major new tax such as the GST is introduced, for example. Or when a government spends big in response to a global financial crisis or pandemic. But these are rare.</p> <p>Government budget decisions at the margin are, however, what the media and political debate focuses on, because they show the government’s priorities.</p> <p>These priorities typically change each year, reflecting political imperatives.</p> <p>The grab-bag of disparate spending increases in the Morrison government’s last budget, <a href="https://budget.gov.au/2022-23/content/overview/index.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">for example</a>, reflected an impending election. Its <a href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2021-22/download/glossy_overview.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2021-22</a> budget reflected the pandemic. Its <a href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2019-20/download/overview.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2019-20 budget</a> reflected its long-term plan to deliver a surplus.</p> <p><strong>New Zealand makes the shift</strong></p> <p>Until 2019 and its first wellbeing budget, New Zealand’s process was so similar to Australia’s that observers lumped them together as the “Antipodean” model of budgeting.</p> <p>No longer. The New Zealand government’s policy decisions still remain mostly at the margins. But the way those marginal decisions are made has changed.</p> <p>Priorities are no longer just set according to the government’s whim but are more constant – reflecting long-term goals identified as important to national wellbeing. These priorities aren’t meant to change significantly between years, or terms, or even decades.</p> <p><strong>Setting national priorities</strong></p> <p>New Zealand first wellbeing budget in 2019 set out five priorities for budget funding:</p> <ol> <li>transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy</li> <li>social and economic opportunities</li> <li>lifting Maori and Pacific peoples’ opportunities</li> <li>reducing child poverty</li> <li>improving mental health.</li> </ol> <p>These priorities have stayed the same over four wellbeing budgets – albeit with some minor changes, such as adding physical wellbeing to the mental health objective.</p> <p>Extra funding has been allocated to these priorities in each of the four years. The 2022 budget, for example, had <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/minister-finance-wellbeing-budget-2022-speech" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an extra NZ$580 million</a> (about A$525 million) for health, social and justice program contributing to Māori wellbeing.</p> <p><strong>Has it made a difference?</strong></p> <p>It is not yet apparent what wellbeing budgeting has achieved for New Zealand. But that’s to be expected.</p> <p>Challenges such as child poverty, greenhouse emissions or mental health need decades of sustained effort, not four years of the standard budgeting cycle. These are areas that have often been neglected precisely because they can’t provide some “announceable” outcome in time for an election.</p> <p>Criticisms of the New Zealand process for <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-shouldn-t-blindly-follow-nz-wellbeing-budget-model-20220708-p5b084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">not yet improving outcomes</a> thus fail to appreciate the point of the reform. They are even more unfair given the context of the past two years, with the challenges of COVID-19, supply chain disruptions and global inflation.</p> <p><strong>Evidence from Scotland</strong></p> <p>A sense of the long-term benefits of wellbeing measures comes from Scotland.</p> <p>It has not yet gone as far as New Zealand with a wellbeing budget, but for 15 years it has had a “<a href="https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">well-being framework</a>” helping to shape spending priorities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">National Performance Framework</a> was adopted in 2007 with a ten-year vision to measure and improve wellbeing outcomes.</p> <p>Updated in 2018, it covers 11 major outcomes – from “a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy” to children growing up “loved, safe and respected” – with 81 measures of improvement (such as social and physical development scores as measures <a href="https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/measuring-progress/national-indicator-performance" target="_blank" rel="noopener">of child well-being</a>).</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=595&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=595&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=595&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=747&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=747&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/473524/original/file-20220712-16-97lchi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=747&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Main goals of Scotland's national performance framework." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Main goals of Scotland’s national performance framework.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Scottish Government</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY</a></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>Public policy researcher <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-02230-3_3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jennifer Wallace</a> (and current director of the Carnegie UK Trust) says the Scottish experience:</p> <blockquote> <p>tells a strong story of how a focus on wellbeing can reorientate government by creating a shared language for public services and a sense of unity of purpose.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Not perfect, but a step in the right direction</strong></p> <p>New Zealand’s wellbeing budget is not a complete departure from a standard budget. It still has economic content and, like any set of papers produced by a government, cannot escape politics.</p> <p>Nonetheless it puts wellbeing spending at the forefront of the government’s most important policy statement of the year. It is working on measuring progress in more sophisticated ways than standard indicators such as GDP.</p> <p>It encourages departments and their ministers to prepare policy bids with a view to these priorities. It makes wellbeing a benchmark by which to judge the budget – even by critics.</p> <p>New Zealand has long been a budget innovator. It led the world in introducing outcomes and outputs budgeting – categorising spending according to desired results rather than inputs such as staff and buildings. This is now considered standard good practice for a developed country.</p> <p>In Australia the wellbeing budget could turn out to be an equally useful model – though there will always be more work to be done.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/186725/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-bartos-901192" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Stephen Bartos</a>, Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-wellbeing-budget-what-we-can-and-cant-learn-from-nz-186725" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Inflation is 2022’s boogeyman. How can we address rising living costs, while helping bring it down?

<p>An entire generation has never experienced life with high inflation. But that is set to change. Countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and others are <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/06/inflation-stats-usa-and-world/">reporting rising inflation</a>. In New Zealand, inflation has climbed to its <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/129293267/annual-inflation-hits-73">highest rate in 32 years</a>. Our collective inexperience with the scourge of inflation, and how to solve it, could be a real problem.</p> <p>For those experiencing high inflation for the first time, it is helpful to understand just what economists and politicians are talking about.</p> <p>Inflation is a sustained increase in overall prices. Not everything goes up by the same amount but when people are having to pay more each week, month or year for the same basket of goods and services then that’s inflation.</p> <p>Inflation is harmful in many ways. It works like rust – slowly eating away at the value of your money. Inflation affects all of us. It doesn’t matter what the face value of your money is – what matters is the quantity of goods and services you can buy with it.</p> <p><strong>The real value of money</strong></p> <p>One easy way to understand inflation is to look at what you can buy for the money you have.</p> <p>Suppose at the start of the year your $100 note bought you 20 cups of coffee. However, inflation pushes coffee from $5 to $6 a cup. By the end of the year, your same $100 only buys you 16 cups of coffee. The face value of your money is the same but its real value (in terms of the number of coffees you can buy) has gone down. Your money is worth less now than a year ago.</p> <p>This rise in costs hurts wage earners who have limited opportunity to renegotiate their wages.</p> <p>Inflation also hurts those on fixed incomes such as beneficiaries and superannuitants who only receive periodic adjustments.</p> <p>Rising inflation hurts savers who find the real value of their savings going down if returns on savings don’t keep up with inflation – which they currently aren’t.</p> <p>Inflation can benefit borrowers who have the same debt at the end of the year but the value of that debt is lower in real terms. Providing there is at least some inflation adjustment to their income, borrowers have to sacrifice less to repay their debt.</p> <p>While this sounds good, it’s not. It encourages poor borrowing decisions and discourages savings.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474465/original/file-20220718-495-2r9amx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="Young woman looking at a grocery receipt." /><figcaption><span class="caption">Inflation has risen to levels not seen for three decades. Consumers will feel the squeeze as their purchasing power drops.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/photo/checking-receipt-royalty-free-image/691853536?adppopup=true">Getty Images</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>The all-encompassing impact of inflation</strong></p> <p>In a progressive tax system, inflation hurts salary and wage earners who get pushed into higher tax brackets as they receive inflation adjustments to their pay.</p> <p>Inflation can also cause issues at a national level.</p> <p>If one country’s inflation rate is higher than their trading partners then its currency falls in value. In the early 1970s, the NZ dollar was worth almost US$1.50. Our higher inflation rates of the 70s and 80s saw it fall to around US$0.50 by the mid 80s.</p> <p>This drop in value limits what we can buy from overseas – things like life-saving drugs will become more expensive for us if we don’t get inflation down and others do.</p> <p><strong>The causes of inflation can come from good intentions</strong></p> <p>Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods.</p> <p>If central banks push more money into circulation, there is a real risk of inflation. A big increase in demand for goods from, for example, an increase in government spending can also trigger inflation. So can supply chain disruptions that reduce the goods available (meaning the same amount of money chasing fewer goods).</p> <p>Unfortunately, all these triggers are currently in play as countries respond to a series of global crises.</p> <p>The invasion of Ukraine and ongoing COVID-19 supply chain disruptions have reduced the goods available. Governments globally have boosted spending to support their economies. But this latter factor has been put on steroids by central banks being willing to purchase government debt.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=400&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474468/original/file-20220718-53534-kfbvw2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=503&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="Man with mask pushing supermarket trolly." /><figcaption><span class="caption">Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a cost-of-living crisis.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/photo/man-wearing-mask-while-shopping-in-supermarket-royalty-free-image/1235145649?adppopup=true">Getty Images</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>Unintended consequences</strong></p> <p>The RBNZ bought billions of government bonds to keep interest rates low as part of its <a href="https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/library-research-papers/research-papers/library-research-brief-large-scale-asset-purchase-lsap-programme">“large scale asset purchases” programme</a>.</p> <p>In New Zealand, the average money growth between 1995 and 2019 was about 8% per year. This accommodates a growing population, a growing economy and a little bit of inflation (a little bit is OK). In the last two years money supply has grown by around 30% per year.</p> <p>Of course it’s easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight. Those who made the decisions at the time don’t have that luxury.</p> <p>The RBNZ is now they are having to wind back their asset purchases and raise interest rates to rein in inflation.</p> <p>Some argue the RBNZ has been <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/129311096/more-pain-expected-as-inflation-runs-hotter-than-a-government-can-handle">distracted and has dropped the ball on their key job</a> and we are now facing the risk the inflation genie is out of the bottle.</p> <p>Whether that criticism is justified or not, the RBNZ will now have to act decisively to reduce inflation. But getting inflation down is never painless.</p> <p>Households with mortgages will find their weekly budgets squeezed as interest rates rise. Firms will face falling demand from consumers with less to spend. Job growth will dry up – though New Zealand is in the fortunate position of starting with very low unemployment.</p> <p>Regardless, the RBNZ must do the job they got back in 1989 with the passing of the <a href="https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/29ada25bfa8b4e50922262618fb03e00.ashx?sc_lang=en">Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act</a>. New Zealand’s central bank is the only one that can control monetary conditions; it’s the only one that can get inflation under control.</p> <p>The same could be said for many of the countries facing growing inflation.</p> <p>If central banks don’t take decisive action, we could get a sharp reminder of just how bad inflation can be.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/187154/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-hickson-1288490">Stephen Hickson</a>, Economics Lecturer and Director Business Taught Masters Programme, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canterbury-1004">University of Canterbury</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/inflation-is-2022s-boogeyman-how-can-we-address-rising-living-costs-while-helping-bring-it-down-187154">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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“Truly grotesque”: Ivana Trump’s golf course burial may help Trump get tax breaks

<p dir="ltr">Ivana Trump, who <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/news/news/ivana-trump-s-cause-of-death-revealed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passed away</a> aged 73 in her New York home in mid-July, has been buried on the grounds of her ex-husband Donald Trump’s golf club - and the choice of burial plot may grant the former US president some long-sought tax breaks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ivana is the first person known to have been buried at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, a state where land taxes are notoriously high.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, cemetery land is exempt from all taxes, rates and assessments, with the <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/31/donald-ivana-trump-cemetery-golf-course-taxes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Guardian</a></em> reporting that Ivana’s grave would therefore have “advantageous tax implications”.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/465718872" target="_blank" rel="noopener">documents</a> published by <em>ProPublica</em>, the Trump family trust has previously sought to classify a nearby property in Hackettstown, New Jersey, as a cemetery company.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-3a591a41-7fff-0b6c-29fd-34b394d09e94"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Brooke Harrington, a professor of sociology at Dartmouth College, tweeted that she investigated claims that the placement of Ivana’s grave would benefit Trump.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks.</p> <p>So I checked the NJ tax code &amp; folks...it's a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income &amp; sales tax, all eliminated. <a href="https://t.co/VDZBlDyuhQ">pic.twitter.com/VDZBlDyuhQ</a></p> <p>— Brooke Harrington (@EBHarrington) <a href="https://twitter.com/EBHarrington/status/1553533320469905409?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 31, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks,” she tweeted.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So I checked the NJ tax code &amp; folks...it's a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income &amp; sales tax, all eliminated.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2012, <a href="https://www.npr.org/2012/02/03/146342330/fairway-to-heaven-trump-eyes-a-golf-course-burial" target="_blank" rel="noopener">US radio station NPR reported</a> that Trump planned to build a mausoleum on the property, with the proposal later expanding to potentially containing 1000 possible graves.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan, which attracted local objections, was later dropped and replaced with a design for a 10-plot private family cemetery” in the same spot before changing again into a proposal for a commercial 284-plot cemetery.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5c8759df-7fff-34dd-56ef-fe4b523fcfe9"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Images of Ivana’s final resting place have begun circling online, with many calling out her family for its plain appearance in comparison to memorials to everything from Richard Nixon’s dog to Internet Explorer.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Internet Explorer got a nicer burial than Ivana Trump. <a href="https://t.co/tm5T1hX1bH">pic.twitter.com/tm5T1hX1bH</a></p> <p>— Thomas (@tarnished_usa) <a href="https://twitter.com/tarnished_usa/status/1553121815517601794?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 29, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Top: Richard Nixon’s dog ‘Checkers’ grave.</p> <p>Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana’s on his golf course. <a href="https://t.co/Rh9q96B8H0">pic.twitter.com/Rh9q96B8H0</a></p> <p>— Hoodlum 🇺🇸 (@NotHoodlum) <a href="https://twitter.com/NotHoodlum/status/1553490177120681985?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 30, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Not sure which is more shocking - - that Trump had Ivana buried on his golf course for a tax write-off or that her three kids thought this was okay,” investigative journalist Victoria Brownworth <a href="https://twitter.com/VABVOX/status/1554049715184062465" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tweeted</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You don’t have to be an Ivana fan to find this truly grotesque.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“You should be ashamed of yourself. This is a public display of your complete disgrace towards your own mother,” another person <a href="https://twitter.com/keraz37/status/1553538090609827842">tweeted</a>, along with a photo of Ivana’s plot surrounded by patchy grass and a golf court in the background.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-c61e6af8-7fff-4bdc-2cdb-ee33324c9653"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

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Incredible collection of 200 "lost" Elvis Presley items up for auction

<p dir="ltr">A stunning collection of lost jewellery and other memorabilia and items that Elvis Presley gave to his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, is going up for auction on August 27 with the backing of his ex-wife, Priscilla.</p> <p dir="ltr">Up to 200 items, including gold rings encrusted with jewels, cufflinks, watches and chains, have been brought together by GWS Auction. Also included is the V-2 guitar played by Presley during his famous 'comeback' TV special of 1968, which alone is listed at US$750,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">Presley's 9.81 carat-to-weight Diamond 'First' TCB ring – where "TCB" stands for "taking care of business"' a favourite expression of the music legend – is also listed for a minimal bid of US$500,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">His 18 karat lion ring, which Elvis wore in the documentary 'Elvis: That's The Way it Is' is for sale too for a minimal bid of US$25,000. Other accessories, including watches, rings and necklaces, are mostly listed between US$1,000 to US$10,000 per item.</p> <p dir="ltr">The King's “Heartbreak Hotel” original lyrics board is also for sale for a minimal bid of US$50,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other items in the auction include: The King's "Speedway" Racing Jumpsuit, listed for a minimal amount of US$20,000; his 1976 Harley Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide for US$100,000; his 1973 Lincoln Continental 'Last' Limo for an amount of US$50,000; and his personally owned jet purchased for his father, listed at US$100,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of the jewellery pieces were provided by Priscilla, although she doesn't own them. The lost collection's total estimated value, as well as its current owner's identity, remain unknown and it is also unclear how the items were found.</p> <p dir="ltr">Priscilla has also said she felt protective of the items because she designed some of them herself, including artefacts with the logo for TCB Band, the musicians who formed the core rhythm section of Presley's backing band in his later years.</p> <p dir="ltr">She also said she supported the auction in part because she was weary of seeing so many fake Elvis items for sale online.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There is so much product out there that is not authentic at all and that worries me,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I want to know for sure that that is going to go to someone who is going to care for it, love it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The auction will be held in Los Angeles, California, at the Sunset Marquis Hotel starting at 10 pm on August 27.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Kruse GWS Auctions</em></p>

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A heated steering wheel for $20 a month? What’s driving the subscriptions economy

<p>From gym memberships to music and movies, to razors, toilet paper, meal kits and clothes, there’s seemingly no place the subscription economy can’t go.</p> <p>Having conquered the software market – where it gets its own acronym, SaaS (Software as a Service) – the subscription model is now moving into hardware.</p> <p>Car makers are among the first cabs off the rank, using software to turn on and off optional extras.</p> <p>German auto maker BMW is offering “<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/12/23204950/bmw-subscriptions-microtransactions-heated-seats-feature" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in-car microtransactions</a>” to access options for car buyers in Britain, Korea, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa. A heated steering wheel, for example, has a monthly cost of NZ$20 in New Zealand, and £10 in the UK.</p> <p>Other markets <a href="https://www.drive.com.au/news/bmw-australia-monthly-subscriptions-detailed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">including Australia</a> will soon follow.</p> <p>In the UK, seven of 13 “digital services” – from heated seats to automatic high beam and driving assistance – are now available in subscription form.</p> <p>“Welcome to microtransaction hell” is how <a href="https://www.pcgamer.com/welcome-to-microtransaction-hell-buy-a-bmw-pay-monthly-for-the-cars-features/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">one headline</a> put it.</p> <p>But that’s probably overselling the onset of a corporate dystopia where “you will own nothing”. BMW’s motives are pretty straightforward – as is most of what’s driving the subscription economy.</p> <p><strong>What is the subscription model?</strong></p> <p>The subscription model means paying a fee for periodical access to a service or product. Until a decade or so ago, it was largely confined to a few select industries, such as the delivery of milk, newspapers and magazines.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474494/original/file-20220718-68552-hvzp5p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="From milk and magazines, subscription services have proliferated with digital technology." /><figcaption><span class="caption">From milk and magazines, subscription services have proliferated with digital technology.</span> <span class="attribution">Shutterstock</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Other business models had similarities – such as rental businesses – but the point of the subscription model was different.</p> <p>It was not about meeting a demand for a service someone only wanted to use temporarily or could not afford to own outright. It was about locking in a continuing relationship, to maximise “customer lifetime value”.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042715/how-do-subscription-business-models-work.asp" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Investopedia puts it</a>, the subscription model’s focus is on customer retention over customer acquisition:</p> <blockquote> <p>In essence, subscription business models focus on the way revenue is made so that a single customer pays multiple payments for prolonged access to a good or service instead of a large upfront one-time price.</p> </blockquote> <p>This in large part explains why subscription services are now being adopted in markets outside their more obvious fit for things such as streaming news and entertainment.</p> <p>In a broad sense, consumers can now be divided into two groups. One group comprises the “transactional shopper”, who interacts with the vendor once or twice, then disappears.</p> <p>The other group comprises customers whose connection and “investment” in the brand is maintained through their subscriptions.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/474211/original/file-20220715-24-eopgdo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="The subscriptions model emphasises customer retention over customer acquisition." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The subscriptions model emphasises customer retention over customer acquisition.</span> <span class="attribution">Shutterstock</span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>E-commerce and access</strong></p> <p>Part of the growth in the subscription economy has come from companies riding the e-commerce wave, delivering goods such as meal kits, wine, coffee, baby supplies, pet food, cleaning products, razors and toilet paper.</p> <p>Consultant firm McKinsey has estimated the subscription e-commerce market is <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/thinking-inside-the-subscription-box-new-research-on-ecommerce-consumers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">doubling in value</a> every year – though that was before the pandemic. It could be well be more now.</p> <p>The other part of the market is represented by BMW’s approach, offering extra features to customers that can only be accessed for a fee.</p> <p>In some cases this may involve standard “upsell” techniques. For example, when you buy a new Peloton exercise bike you’ll be enticed with <a href="https://www.onepeloton.com.au/membership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">subscription offers</a>, such as virtual classes and “customised” training programs, to “reach your goals”.</p> <p>Or increasingly, as with BMW’s heated seats and steering wheels, it can be done with software turning actual bits of hardware on or off.</p> <p><strong>What is BMW’s game?</strong></p> <p>Is BMW’s purpose to gouge its customers for more money through getting them to pay an ongoing fee for something instead of owning it outright?</p> <p>This is not what its subscription structure indicates. The opposite, in fact.</p> <p>Customers can still buy these options outright. A heated steering wheel in the UK, for example, costs <a href="https://www.bmw.co.uk/en/shop/ls/dp/Steering_Wheel_Heating_SFA_gb" target="_blank" rel="noopener">£200</a>, and in New Zealand <a href="https://www.bmw.co.nz/en/shop/ls/dp/Steering_Wheel_Heating_SFA_nz" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NZ$350</a>. But now they can also pay a subscription – for three years (£150, NZ$250), annually (£100, NZ$250) or monthly (£10, NZ$20).</p> <p>These prices represent a strong signal – that the cost of outright ownership is the most economical. It’s unlikely BMW expects anyone to sign up for the annual or three-yearly options. These are probably just to make the outright cost look more attractive.</p> <p>The monthly offering, on the other hand, may lure owners to try out a feature they would otherwise have rejected buying outright at the time of purchase.</p> <p>Indeed, car makers argue the reason they offer so many options as extras is because most owners don’t want them. So this mostly looks like BMW offering a “try before you buy” option.</p> <p><strong>The pitfalls of over-subscribing</strong></p> <p>That said, companies don’t need to have sinister motives for us to have concerns about the spread of the subscription model.</p> <p>The more things we pay for with “micro-payments”, the harder it becomes to keep track of payments.</p> <p>Many of us continue to pay for products and services we don’t use. A survey of 1,000 Australian adults in 2021, for example, found about a third wasted money on unused subscriptions or memberships – losing an average of about <a href="https://www.savings.com.au/savings-accounts/unused-lockdown-subscriptions-are-costing-aussies-200-a-year" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A$200 a year</a>.</p> <p>Deep psychological associations can influence these decisions. Experiments by US marketing professors Jennifer Savary and Ravi Dhar suggests people with lower “<a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/46/5/887/5498871" target="_blank" rel="noopener">self-concept</a>” are less likely to sign up for subscriptions – but also less likely to cancel subscriptions they are not using.</p> <p>We may see the subscription model increasingly used in other sectors – including the health and justice systems.</p> <p>For example, a subscription payment may provide a better level of nutritious food for a resident in an aged care facility, or a hospital or even a prison. This is not dissimilar to the way private health insurance premiums are managed, but still presents important justice and equity concerns.</p> <p>So while there’s no reason to exaggerate the dangers of the subscription economy, it’s also prudent for consumers, advocacy groups and governments to ask “What next?”.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/186913/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/louise-grimmer-212082" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Louise Grimmer</a>, Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing and Associate Head Research Performance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-heated-steering-wheel-for-20-a-month-whats-driving-the-subscriptions-economy-186913" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Aussie miner discovers $102 million pink diamond

<p>A rare pure pink diamond has been unearthed in Angola, at the Lulo mine, and according to the Aussie operator of the mining site it is believed to be the largest discovered in 300 years.</p> <p>Named "The Lulo Rose", The 170 carat pink diamond was discovered in the country's diamond-rich northeast.</p> <p>The sparkling whopper is among the largest pink diamonds ever found, the Lucapa Diamond Company said in a statement.</p> <p>The “historic” find of the Type IIa diamond is one of the rarest and purest forms of natural stones and was welcomed by the Angolan government, which is also a partner in the mine.</p> <p>“This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage,” Angola’s Mineral Resources Minister Diamantino Azevedo said.</p> <p>The diamond will be sold at international tender, likely at a dazzling price. Although the precious jewel would have to be cut and polished to reveal its true value, the process could potentially see the stone lose 50% of its weight.</p> <p>Similar pink diamonds have sold for record-breaking prices.</p> <p>The 59.6 carat Pink Star was sold at a Hong Kong auction for US $71.2 million (AUD $102.5 million). It remains the most expensive diamond in the world.</p> <p><em>Image: <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Lucapa Diamond Company Limited </span></em></p>

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“My passion since I was a child”: White Island survivor looks to career plans

<p dir="ltr">A survivor of the 2019 White Island volcano eruption has opened up about what she hopes to do next as she continues on her recovery journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephanie Browitt was among the few survivors of the eruption on New Zealand’s Whakaari/White Island, which killed her younger sister, her father, and another 20 people, and left Stephanie with third-degree burns to 70 percent of her body.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since then, the 26-year-old has faced a difficult road to recovery which included the recent <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/it-s-emotional-and-scary-white-island-eruption-survivor-removes-her-face-mask" target="_blank" rel="noopener">removal of her final burns garment</a> during an interview with 60 Minutes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, she has turned an eye towards her potential career, hoping to land work in media - her passion since childhood - or as a motivational speaker.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m hoping that I can get a career in what I graduated in, which is media and arts, film and TV. That’s been my passion since I was a child,” she told the <em>Today Show</em> on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I’d also like to land a role in motivational speaking, because I hope that by sharing my experience I can give hope to others and show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephanie, who has shared every step of her recovery with followers online, said she still “struggles quite a lot” but is grateful and doing “okay” overall.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I still struggle quite a lot, but I’m trying to make the most of every day because I’m very grateful for my second chance at life,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though removing her final burns garment, a compression mask that covered her face, felt “daunting”, she reflected that she has felt more like herself since.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was quite daunting at the beginning,” Stephanie said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But since taking all of my compression garments off I do feel a lot more free and feel like myself again.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They were quite uncomfortable and hard to put up with and tight … they were very painful and caused a lot of horrible days.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m very glad that I can now express myself through my wardrobe and my make-up and I don’t feel like it’s holding me back anymore.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Appearing on the<em> Today Show </em>to promote DonateLife Week, Stephanie urged Aussies to sign up as organ or tissue donors and spoke about her own experience receiving donated tissue.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I received skin tissue donations from multiple donors and I needed that … obviously when you have so many open wounds, you're at a higher risk of infection and you're also leaking bodily fluids. There was not enough of my own good skin to use to cover those areas,” she said</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are millions of Australians who want to sign up. People support it but tell themselves they will do it later.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ed2c14c5-7fff-424c-d71d-d5fac4a5a691"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“It is quick. It takes one minute.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @stephaniecoral96 (Instagram)</em></p>

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People who are bad with numbers often find it harder to make ends meet – even if they are not poor

<h2>The big idea</h2> <p>People who are bad with numbers are more likely to experience financial difficulties than people who are good with numbers. That’s according to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">our analyses</a> of the <a href="https://wrp.lrfoundation.org.uk/explore-the-poll" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll</a>.</p> <p>In this World Risk Poll, people from 141 countries were asked if 10% was bigger than, smaller than or the same as 1 out of 10. Participants were said to be bad with numbers if they did not provide the correct answer – which is that 10% is the same as 1 out of 10. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Our analyses</a> found that people who answered incorrectly are often among the poorest in their country. Prior studies in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02394.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener">United States</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5890.2007.00052.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener">United Kingdom</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2016.02.011" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Netherlands</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12294" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Peru</a> had also found that people who are bad with numbers are financially worse off. But <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">our analyses of the World Risk Poll</a> further showed that people who are bad with numbers find it harder to make ends meet, even if they are not poor.</p> <p>When we say that they found it harder to make ends meet, we mean that they reported on the poll that they found it difficult or very difficult to live on their current income, as opposed to living comfortably or getting by on their current income.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Our analyses</a> also indicate that staying in school longer is related to better number ability. People with a high school degree tend to be better with numbers than people without a high school degree. And college graduates do even better. But even among college graduates there are people who are bad with numbers – and they struggle more financially.</p> <p>Of course, being good with numbers is not going to help you stretch your budget if you are very poor. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260378" target="_blank" rel="noopener">We found</a> that the relationship between number ability and struggling to make ends meet holds across the world, except in low-income countries like Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda.</p> <h2>Why it matters</h2> <p>The ability to understand and use numbers is also called <a href="http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190861094.001.0001" target="_blank" rel="noopener">numeracy</a>. Numeracy is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1787/1f029d8f-en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">central to modern adult life</a> because numbers are everywhere.</p> <p>A lot of well-paying jobs involve working with numbers. People who are bad with numbers often perform worse in these jobs, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12873" target="_blank" rel="noopener">banking</a>. It can therefore be hard for people who are bad with numbers to <a href="http://www.doi.org/10.1108/00400919710164125" target="_blank" rel="noopener">find employment and progress in their jobs</a>.</p> <p>People who are bad with numbers are less likely <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/116/39/19386.short" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to make good financial decisions</a>. Individuals who can’t compute how interest compounds over time <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6261.2009.01518.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener">save the least and borrow the most</a>. People with poor numerical skills are also more likely <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.41.3.586" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to take on high-cost debt</a>. If you’re bad with numbers, it is hard to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474747215000232" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recognize</a> that paying the US$30 minimum payment on a credit card with a $3,000 balance and an annual percentage rate of 12% means it will never be paid off.</p> <h2>What still isn’t known</h2> <p>It is clear that people who are bad with numbers also tend to struggle financially. But we still need to explore whether teaching people math will help them to avoid financial problems.</p> <h2>What’s next</h2> <p>In her book “<a href="http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190861094.001.0001" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Innumeracy in the Wild</a>,” Ellen Peters, director of the Center for Science Communication Research at the University of Oregon, suggests that it is important for students to take math classes. American high school students who had to <a href="https://doi.org/10.3368/jhr.51.3.0113-5410R1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">take more math courses</a> than were previously required had better financial outcomes later in life, such as avoiding bankruptcy and foreclosures.</p> <p>Successfully teaching numeracy also means helping students gain confidence in using numbers. People with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1903126116" target="_blank" rel="noopener">low numerical confidence</a> experience bad financial outcomes, such as a foreclosure notice, independent of their numeric ability. This is because they may not even try to take on complex financial decisions.</p> <p>Numerical confidence can be boosted in different ways. Among American <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.41.3.586" target="_blank" rel="noopener">elementary school children</a> who were bad with numbers, setting achievable goals led to better numerical confidence and performance. Among American <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180674" target="_blank" rel="noopener">undergraduate students</a>, a writing exercise that affirmed their positive values improved their numerical confidence and performance.</p> <p>Other important next steps are to find out whether training in numeracy can also be provided to adults, and whether training in numeracy improves the financial outcomes of people who do not live in high-income countries.</p> <div> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-who-are-bad-with-numbers-often-find-it-harder-to-make-ends-meet-even-if-they-are-not-poor-172272" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> </div>

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Three-time lottery winner reveals her secrets to cash in

<p>A woman from the US has won her third lottery in five years, and while she has some tips and tricks up her sleeve, she insists her victories are still down to the luck of the draw. </p> <p>The 30-year-old stay-at-home mum recently won $100,000 off a lucky scratch ticket, according to Maryland Lottery officials. </p> <p>“I couldn’t believe it when I saw how much I’d won,” she told lottery officials, “I immediately called my husband and said, ‘We did it again.’”</p> <p>When asked by the lottery officials how she had managed to win for the third time, she said she had done her research.</p> <p>“We figure out which scratch-off games have been on sale for a long time but still have a lot of big-money prizes,” she said.</p> <p>The information that helped her win is available on the Maryland Lottery website. The $100,000 Lucky game, for example, debuted last September and still has more than 40 top prizes available.</p> <p>Still, the woman said there’s an element of luck, especially when it comes to choosing where to buy the ticket. </p> <p>She picked a certain convenience store in her town based on sheer intuition.</p> <p>“I knew that they sold a big-ticket a few weeks ago,” she said. “I hoped that there was still some luck hanging around there.”</p> <p>As for the prize money, the lucky woman says she’s putting it all in the bank for her children.</p> <p>Despite her repeated wins, she’s still in shock, saying, “This is as crazy as it was the other times. It’s unbelievable.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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How to make a budget, according to money experts

<h2>What is a budget?</h2> <p>Creating a budget and sticking to it is one of the first steps to becoming financially independent. But what is a budget? In general, your budget is your spending plan (for the week, the month, the year, etc.) that is based on how much money you bring in, and how much money you spend. One way to budget your money is to start with setting a goal. Read on for more tips for making a budget and sticking to it.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>Why budget?</h2> <p>“To accomplish any goal in life, it’s all about discipline,” counsels Brian Saranovitz, president of Your Retirement Advisor. “Your financial life is no different.”</p> <p>In the process of building financial discipline in your life, budgeting is the very first step. In every other aspect of personal finance – from shopping to saving to investing to buying a home to retirement planning – your success will depend on your ability to create a budget… and stick to it!</p> <p>“There is a magic about money,” says financial educator, Tiffany Aliche. “When money is not planned for, tracked, and kept record of, it literally disappears.” Here’s a simple, step-by-step approach to how to make a budget.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 1: set your goal</h2> <p>Do you want to save for a deposit on a home? Or a beach holiday? Or simply start saving each month for emergencies? Whatever your goal is, it’s wise first to visualise the results of your budget and write it down. By imagining the results and creating a mental picture, you’re much more likely to stick to your budget and achieve your desired outcome.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 2: total your monthly income</h2> <p>Start by identifying your current, monthly, post-tax income – which is easier than it sounds: simply add up all of your sources of income. Besides your salary, don’t forget commissions and bonuses, interest, spousal or child support, dividends, freelance income, or any other cash you have flowing in. Write it all down, whether by hand or on a smartphone or computer. If you’re comfortable with a spreadsheet, then go ahead and use one to record your data.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 3: determine your monthly expenses</h2> <p>On the same page, write down all of your monthly expenses. Make sure to include discretionary expenses (eg entertainment, travel, hobbies) as well as fixed expenses (eg housing, food, utilities, transportation, debt payments). When in doubt, it’s best to overestimate expenses.</p> <p>Says Saranovitz, “It’s amazing how much your expenses add up. By simply taking the time to analyse and categorise your spending, you’ll have a much better sense of ALL your spending. Many people are surprised to find out how much more they’re spending than they thought.” Don’t overlook the little things that eat away at your money like fees and monthly subscriptions.</p> <p>For utilities and other bills that vary, Aliche suggests, “To figure out an average amount of usage, take the last six to twelve months of each bill, add them up, and divide by how many months you have. Many companies will keep your old bills online, so they’re easy to find.”</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 4: are you living within your means?</h2> <p>Next, you’ll want to compare the totals. Are you living beyond your means? Are you spending more than you earn? Simply subtract your monthly expenses from your post-tax income. If the result is a negative number, jump to the next slide.</p> <p>If the result is positive – congratulations! You are living within your means.</p> <p>The first thing you should do with your excess is to set up an emergency fund, which experts say should be three to six months of salary. A quick way to accumulate emergency funds is to earmark a percentage of your pay each pay period. When you reach your goal, don’t stop adding money; the more you have saved, the better off you’ll be. You could also use the extra to:</p> <p>Pay down debt.</p> <p>Add to your retirement fund.</p> <p>Invest it. There are a number of online tools to help you choose some low-cost investment vehicles or work with a financial advisor to maximise your allocation strategy.</p> <p>Donate to your favourite charity. The world is full of people who find motivation in doing good for those less fortunate.</p> <p>Spend it – that big-screen TV isn’t going to buy itself – but only when you’re satisfied with all of the above options. And make sure you shop around for the best deal.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 5: got a negative number?</h2> <p>You’re not living within your means, and you need to make changes. “Look at your discretionary expenses to identify where you can cut back your spending,” advises Saranovitz, who advises clients across the country. “While you must eat and keep the lights on and the rent paid, you can try and cut down on your non-discretionary expenses. And there’s always room to cut the discretionary expenses as well.”</p> <p>Can you get a side hustle? Cut your subscription to streaming services? Sell some of the stuff sitting in your garage? Move in with a relative?</p> <p>Getting a credit card or another credit card is not a solution to expenses that are greater than your income. The fees and interest on credit cards can be a savings killer. However, a balance transfer card could help cut expenses while you’re digging yourself out of a hole.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 6: commit to yourself – and stick to it</h2> <p>In a recent banks survey, 54 per cent of millennials reported having a budget and 73 per cent of those stick to their budget most or all of the time. Read your vision/goal at least once a week to keep yourself motivated. Budgeting is hard because we’re subjected to the world of media and advertising with shiny things and happy people using those things. “One way I’ve reduced my spending on clothing, for example, I just don’t go to the mall or retail stores as much,” reveals retirement educator Lynn Toomey. “To reduce the grocery bill, I place my order online and therefore reduce the number of impromptu (and unnecessary) items in my shopping cart. Plus, I use the time I saved navigating the grocery store for more enjoyable endeavours.”</p> <p>A budget can also be a fun way to test yourself. Make it a competition with yourself. While a budget might sound stressful, it’s a great way to reduce your stress because, done properly, you’ll be living within your means. Imagine how good you’ll feel depositing the extra money into a savings account!</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 7: having trouble? Get help!</h2> <p>Plenty of online tools and smartphone apps can help you stick to a budget, including Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget). MoneyTips.com offers free budgeting advice, while Tiffany Aliche offers templates for tracking your budget.</p> <p>If you prefer the human touch, enlist the aid of an accountability partner. He or she could be your spouse, a friend, or a financial advisor who helps you stick to your budget. Many people think they can’t afford an advisor, but the value of having one is undeniable. Says Saranovitz, “Talk to a few financial advisors to see who makes you feel comfortable at a price you can afford. Most will hold an introductory meeting at no charge.”</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 8: review prior results</h2> <p>How often you check your progress, your spending and your savings is an individual decision. While we believe life is to be lived, we also believe that it can be lived a bit more responsibly with an eye on the future, when you’re no longer able to work in retirement. Says Toomey, “I’ve seen people who check their family’s accounts every day, which I believe borders on obsession. I feel it’s healthier to check your spending once a week, and then check on your progress against your goals once a month.” Review your cash reserve either annually or when your financial situation changes. Don’t stop budgeting once you reach retirement.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 9: anticipate changes</h2> <p>The one guarantee in life is that nothing stays the same. It’s important in your plan to outline the potential life changes that you’ll want to budget for. Consider events such as:</p> <p>Having a baby</p> <p>Kids going to daycare, school or university</p> <p>New auto loan or mortgage</p> <p>Getting a raise</p> <p>Taking on a roommate</p> <p>Helping elderly parents</p> <p>Helping adult children</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 10: re-set goals</h2> <p>With life’s changes, sometimes your goals have to change as well. With a baby on the way, plans for a holiday may have to give way to renting a bigger apartment. If you have a spouse, make sure that you have this conversation together and determine your joint priorities. Get on the same page with significant decisions such as financing your kids’ education, helping out a parent in need, or taking on additional debt.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 11: adjust the budget</h2> <p>If reality throws you more than you think you can handle, just take a deep breath, relax and reset. It’s more about consistency than the ups and downs. Consistent budgeters and savers do much better over the long term than those who are in and out of the commitment. It’s the same with exercising and eating right: consistency is king.</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>How to make a budget step 12: if all else fails, try the ‘Pay Yourself First’ budget</h2> <p>Write down your post-tax income and your realistic savings goals. Then, when you collect your income, take the savings you’ve chosen and bank or invest it. Simply spend what’s left over. Adjusting your life to fit your savings goal is another way to make the budgeting process work.</p> <p>Says Aliche, “If you’re not ready for a full set of discipline, try the ‘Pay Yourself First’ budget. I remember when I had no money, just setting aside $5 in a savings account every pay period helped. I wanted to get out of the thought of ‘I don’t have.’ I had to acknowledge it is about habits, not necessarily amounts. You have to start somewhere. Then I set aside more as I made more.”</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>Love yourself!</h2> <p>It’s OK to treat yourself every once in a while… as long as you have a plan to make up the shortfall (and go through with it!). Who doesn’t like being naughty every once in a while? Says Saranovitz, “It all comes down to determining the priorities in your life and what will make you happy. We suggest that going without a few shiny things and being a better penny pincher, or budgeter, or saver, will go a long way toward happiness, too. Don’t give in to the ‘BUY ME, SPEND MORE, TAKE MORE CREDIT’ messaging that plagues our society.”</p> <p>“I named my future self ‘Wanda,’ who is me at 80,” says Aliche. “I think about her a lot. You wouldn’t put your grandma to work. Think about having to put yourself to work when you’re 80. You should do what you can now to make sure your 80-year-old self doesn’t have to work!”</p> <p> </p> <div> </div> <p> </p> <h2>Don’t let money sour your relationship</h2> <p>If you’re in a relationship, open and honest communication around money is the best policy. For couples, a recent survey shows finances were a greater source of relationship tension than sex, according to 68 per cent of respondents. On the flip side, a 2015 Money magazine poll found that across the generations, couples that have greater financial trust in each other and fewer money conflicts reported having better sex lives. Who knew budgets could be so sexy?</p> <p>If you’re in a relationship, both you and your significant other should each have some money to spend any way you want, no matter how small and without guilt. Make sure to budget for this ‘play pay,’ and enjoy it!</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/how-to-make-a-budget-according-to-money-experts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Super rare car hidden in barn for 40 years set to sell for huge sum

<p>A rare BMW 507 that has spent nearly half a century sitting inside a garage has received a fresh breath of life.</p> <p>The 1957 Series II Roadster will go under the gavel at the Bonhams Audrain Concours action on the 30th of September, expecting to sell for between $1.8-$2.2 million.</p> <p>The 507 is widely considered the most collectible and coveted BMW to date. The German marque made only 252 examples of the flagship sports car throughout the late ‘50s.</p> <p>The glamorous convertible’s exclusivity (and price tag) attracted only the most VIP customers. Notable owners include Elvis and King Constantine II.</p> <p>This particular car was delivered new to Caracas, Venezuela. It was fitted with sought-after Rudge knock-off wheels and an optional hard top. As standard, the 507 was equipped with a V-8 engine and 4-speed ZF manual transmission.</p> <p>The antique piece eventually made its way to Montreal, Canada, and was snapped up by the current owner’s late father in 1979. It was driven straight into a suburban garage in Philadelphia and has been sitting there for the past 43 years. According to the auction house, the two-door was actually part of a fleet of 507s kept by the family and was only started up very occasionally.</p> <p>As for the condition, the BMW was treated to a makeover in the early ‘70s and repainted in Pontiac Bright Blue Metallic. Inside the original leather interior has what Bonhams calls a “lived-in” appearance.</p> <p>You can check out the car below:</p> <p><em>Images: Bonham</em></p>

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Prince William spotted out on the streets selling copies of The Big Issue

<p>Prince William has stunned Londoners by hitting the streets to sell copies of the Big Issue.</p> <p>The future king was spotted near Westminster selling the magazine, which offers homeless and unemployed people the opportunity to earn an income through its sale to the public.</p> <p>Photos of the royal outing were shared on social media by multiple people, including a retired police officer whose family member saw the 39-year-old attempted to sell the mags.</p> <p>“My brother-in-law was in London today and saw a celebrity, so he took a photo at a distance,” Matthew Gardner wrote on LinkedIn.</p> <p>“The celebrity saw the ‘covert surveillance’ effort and crossed the road to investigate further,” Gardner continued.</p> <p>He explained that was when his brother-in-law met the second in line to the British throne.</p> <p>“What an honour to have a private moment with our future king, who was humble and working quietly in the background, helping the most needy,” Gardner continued.</p> <p>“These ‘silent gestures’ often go unrecognised.”</p> <p>In a funny twist, Gardner said William asked his brother-in-law if wanted to buy a magazine, to which he replied “I have no change”.</p> <p>“At this point William produced a mobile card machine… you cannot teach that!</p> <p>“Priceless, or should I say ‘Princely’.”</p> <p>The Duke of Cambridge has been passionate about the plight of homeless people since his late mother Princess Diana took him to meet rough sleepers when he was younger. He is royal patron of initiative the Passage and the Centrepoint homeless charity.</p> <p>William’s charity outing came as the royal family resume their duties after the Queen’s platinum jubilee weekend.</p> <p><em>Image: LinkedIn</em></p>

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Readers Respond: How much did you pay for your first home?

<p dir="ltr">House prices have never been this high and it’s insane to see the cost of living continue to soar.</p> <p dir="ltr">The government has promised to help with the cost of living and to help first home buyers to  enter the property market, but not much has been done in regards to the cost of houses. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite this, OverSixty warily asked their audience about how much they paid for their first home. </p> <p dir="ltr">Your responses were so shocking it immediately made the millennials in the office burst into tears.</p> <p dir="ltr">Read below to see how much some of you paid for your homes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cheryl Martin - $38,000 and still here.</p> <p dir="ltr">Maria Michailidis - $14,000 in 1972 for a run down place in inner western suburb of Sydney. Sold for twice the amount five years later. Now worth well over $1 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Glenda Porter - $14,500 and that was a new house.</p> <p dir="ltr">Leonie Stockdale - We built it ourselves so was a lot cheaper and hard work about $60,000 in 1970.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kris Flynn - For our first home we paid $12,500 and it came with the furniture!! Then six years later we sold it for $30,500.</p> <p dir="ltr">Annette McDonnell - $7,000 back in 1971 in Auckland. Was a 2 bedroom bungalow.</p> <p dir="ltr">Suzanne Stovel - $185,000 in 1993.</p> <p dir="ltr">Christine Whyte - $48,000 way back in 1974.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sandra Thomas - $15,000 back in 1971.</p> <p dir="ltr">Diane McIlvena - $28,000 back in 1974</p> <p dir="ltr">Dianne Robinson - first house Sydney $13,500 in 1970. The second house was in rural NSW 1975 for $2,000. </p> <p dir="ltr">Andrea Barwick - $9,600 in Lenah Valley, Tasmania.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you would like to share the cost of your new home, click <a href="https://www.facebook.com/oversixtyNZ/posts/pfbid0tCGoRPbYoxTHTJeELV1dAz8f3BTzqcDWfi6LmUEBcQoZQMpXQNzceks3utnijEhHl" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Woman awarded $131,000 after not being invited to work drinks

<p dir="ltr">A waitress has been awarded a whopping $131,000 after not being invited to work drinks. </p> <p dir="ltr">Rita Leher said that she felt “shunned” by her colleagues at a London casino when they didn’t invite her to a cocktail bar.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 51-year-old, who is older than her colleagues and has worked at the casino for 10 years, took stress leave after hearing the plans being discussed in front of her and not receiving an invite. </p> <p dir="ltr">Rita, who also happens to be of African descent, issued a complaint to the employment tribunal on the basis of race and claimed the victimisation was due to her age and ethnicity.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We unanimously agree that being excluded from discussions at work about a social occasion amongst colleagues when one would normally be included would subject an employee to a detriment at work," Employment Judge Sarah Moor said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"A reasonable employee would consider that such exclusion was to their disadvantage because they had lost the opportunity to bond with colleagues on that social occasion.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The occasion was sufficiently linked to work by the fact that it was amongst work colleagues and was discussed at work, and would provide the opportunity for team bonding.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Rita was subsequently awarded £74,113.65 ($131,000) in compensation on the basis of injury to feelings and loss of overtime and financial loss. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Man accused of stealing $16,000 from wedding functions

<p dir="ltr">A man has been accused of allegedly gatecrashing eight weddings and stealing a total of $16,000 and other gifts. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 24-year-old Melbourne man pretended to be a wedding guest at eight events from between April 2 and May 22.</p> <p dir="ltr">He allegedly stole $16,000 cash, jewellery and gift cards from at least three of the events.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bride Kellee Pace said she felt violated when she found out that the man had allegedly stolen some of her and her husband’s gifts and even wrote in their guest book.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It was the best wedding he'd apparently ever attended and he was feeling awesome and lucky on the night, three quarters of our wishing well was missing," she told Nine News.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We definitely felt really violated, we were mingling with people and he was downstairs drinking in the bar and we had no idea he was even there."</p> <p dir="ltr">The wedding industry shared his photo around before he was spotted at a Macedonian wedding by wedding planner Jasmine Arapovic.</p> <p dir="ltr">"My dad then put him in a bit of a headlock to make sure he didn't try and escape before I could have a chat with the venue manager to get them to put him in a room."</p> <p dir="ltr">Police arrested the man and he was slapped with 27 charges, including aggravated burglary, burglary, theft and going equipped to steal.</p> <p dir="ltr">Police will allege they found jewellery and gift cards when they searched a property on Tuesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">He has been granted bail and will appear before Melbourne Magistrates' Court on October 18.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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Sean Connery's personal James Bond Aston Martin on sale for first time ever

<p>A piece of Hollywood history has gone up for sale, with car enthusiasts everywhere dying to get their hands on it. </p> <p>Sean Connery's personal 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is being offered for sale through <a href="https://www.broadarrowauctions.com/vehicles/009/1964-aston-martin-db5" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Broad Arrow Auctions</a>, with the iconic vehicle expected to fetch between $US1.4 million and $1.8 million ($AU1.9-2.5m).</p> <p>The car boasts a Snow Shadow Grey colour, as per it's appearance in the Bond movie <em>Goldfinger</em>, over a show-stopping red leather interior.</p> <p>The vehicle was delivered brand new to its original owner in the UK in 1964, where it remained until Connery bought it in 2018 and relocated it to his property in Switzerland. </p> <p>It is worth noting that the car was originally black, and Connery had it painted to match his famous on-screen co-star. </p> <p>The Snow Shadow Grey colour was limited to the prototype DB5 used in the James Bond films, and was replaced by Silver Birch as the 'factory' DB5 colour.</p> <p>The car is on sale for the first time, with the lucky owner also receiving driving training from Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart. </p> <p>Many of the proceeds from the sale benefitting the Sean Connery Philanthropy Fund, a charity supporting young people of Scotland.</p> <p>The auction for the car will take place on August 17th 2022. </p> <p><em>Image credits: drive.com</em></p>

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Man spends $7,000 on royal piece of cake

<p dir="ltr">A man has spent almost $8,000 on a piece of cake from Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding.</p> <p dir="ltr">Avid royal fan Gerry Layton from Yorkshire in the UK purchased the 41-year-old large slice of cake which came from one of the 23 wedding cakes used at the couple’s wedding in 1981.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 62-year-old first bought the piece of cake for £2170 ($3840) at an auction last year in August before deciding to donate it to a local charity ball auction.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was only last week that the slice of memorabilia which has the royal coat of arms in gold, red, blue and silver went up for auction again and Gerry realised he hadn’t even tasted it. </p> <p dir="ltr">"After some free champagne, I suddenly got the urge and thought 'I haven't even had a bite of it yet'," he told The Yorkshire Post.</p> <p dir="ltr">This time round, Gerry paid £2100 ($3700) for the cake and said “I don't care if it kills me” but he will taste it. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It's 41 years old but I definitely am going to have a bite."</p> <p dir="ltr">Gerry has not ruled out donating the piece of cake again but only after he has tasted it. </p> <p dir="ltr">Dave Avery who was the head baker of the Royal Navy said he had met up with Princess Diana before her big day. </p> <p dir="ltr">"She said to me, 'I want a wedding cake and not a monument', so she was quite happy.</p> <p dir="ltr">"There was nothing much [known] about Diana, so it ended up being more of a naval type of cake – all I could do was the Spencer crest.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

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Father offers 20 homes to help lure wife for son

<p dir="ltr">A father desperate for his son to get married has gifted him 20 homes in hopes of luring a wife. </p> <p dir="ltr">The dad, from Hebei Province in China, arrived at a matchmaker event carrying a pink bag filled with the estates to show off to potential wives for his 24-year-old son. </p> <p dir="ltr">Footage of the moment was shared on popular chat service Weibo with Wang, who signed up the father to the service claiming he was not showing off.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The father is not trying to show off. He just wanted to display his sincerity and find a daughter-in-law of equal status,” Wang told Jimu News.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He said his son has a stable job and has many good qualities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some people however said the father was taking it a bit too far and his son might feel pressured into something he doesn’t want. </p> <p dir="ltr">“That kind of pressure is a bit too much. Maybe the son doesn’t even want to get married,” one person wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“How bad is his son? Do good guys really have this much difficulty finding a girlfriend?” someone asked.</p> <p dir="ltr">“How’s this supposed to help? They are premarital property by law,” another commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Would the father add the name of his daughter-in-law to the property ownership certificates? All of the certificates?” another questioned.</p> <p dir="ltr">China has recently allowed married couples to have three children instead of one to help increase the population. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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