Nov 17, 2010
|NBN, industrial espionage and gay marriage|
|Allegations of industrial espionage, intransigence over gay marriage and a show down over the NBN business plan are driving the day.|
First off: THE builders of the Brumby government's $5 billion-plus desalination plant have funded Australia's most notorious strike-breaker and so-called "scab". The secret operation allegedly spied on union members, union delegates, contractors and others. The Australian can reveal that an operation, named Pluto, was led by Tasmanian Bruce Townsend and his company Australian Security Investigations. (more from Hedley Thomas and Natasha Robinson).
Top talker: JULIA GILLARD has given the green light for Labor's national conference to be brought forward by more than six months so the party can have a full-blown fight over policy differences without hurting its election chances ... the Prime Minister has given the go-ahead for the conference to be held in the first week of December next year. With an election due in 2013, the conference would typically have been be held about July 2012. Ms Gillard told the Herald last night that it was ''too easy to use the national conference as an election campaign tool''. Bringing it forward ensured it would be ''a genuine forum for debate and a contest of ideas'' (more from Phillip Coorey)
The vote on the Greens MP Adam Bandt's motion on gay marriage will take place after 9AM today.
NBN Watch: The federal government has failed to introduce crucial legislation mandating the installation of the fibre network into new property projects -- despite advice from the Department of Broadband that it must be urgently passed by parliament.
Labor will not release the NBN's business case until after Parliament has risen for the year (more here) and independent MPs are increasing the pressure on the Gillard Government to release it (Read more...
Personal Finance Daily
NOVEMBER 17, 2010
Wednesday's Personal Finance stories
- Airport security roils Thanksgiving travelers
- Airline seats: Posh upfront, cramped behind
- Paycheck-fairness bill fails in Senate
- Fund industry objects to limits on fees
- Market optimism is an ominous sign
Or, if the X-rays worry you, you can decline that in favor of letting the security folks touch your body for a two- to four-minute pat down. Just the thing to get you in that holiday mood. Luckily, the head of the Transportation Security Administration told Congress on Wednesday that kids 12 and under won't get patted down (question: should the TSA really let the terrorists know that?).
Read our Travel stories today for more on what to expect when you head off for the holidays next week, plus lawmakers' response to the uproar over full-body scans, and our story on the great divide between airplane seats in economy versus business class. (You'll wish you'd paid up for that recliner.)
Also, don't miss our story on how a bill that aimed at eradicating gender-based wage discrimination failed in the Senate today, and see why the mutual-fund industry is objecting to limits on certain fees.
Fare thee well this holiday, travelers. All I can say is, the rewards of living within driving distance of family appear to be growing.
— Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
Airport security roils Thanksgiving travelers
After licking their chops just a week ago over what is shaping up to be their biggest Thanksgiving weekend in years, the nation's airlines are now anxious over whether a public backlash against tighter airport security might spoil the holiday.
Read more: Airport security roils Thanksgiving travelers.
Airline seats: Posh upfront, cramped behind
Call it the Great Divide of airline accommodations. For more than a decade, airlines and their suppliers have been developing lavish premium-class seats to command higher ticket prices and drive up profits. Meanwhile, they've let economy-class seating devolve into something akin to a crowded park bench.
Read more: Airline seats: Posh upfront, cramped behind.
Airport security chief defends tougher screening
The chief of security for U.S. airports got the kid-gloves treatment in Congress Wednesday during a hearing on controversial new practices to screen passengers.
Read more: Airport security chief defends tougher screening.
Paycheck-fairness bill fails in Senate
A bill aimed at stamping out wage discrimination based on workers' sex failed Wednesday because too few senators voted to move forward with the legislation.
Read more: Paycheck-fairness bill fails in Senate.
Medicare changes are coming
If you're a Medicare beneficiary, you have from now until Dec. 31 to switch your health and drug coverage if you find a plan you like better. MarketWatch's Kristen Gerencher details some of the plan changes that go into effect in 2011.
Watch video: Medicare changes are coming.
Fund industry objects to limits on certain fees
The mutual-fund industry has come out firmly against securities regulators' efforts to change and cap certain fees now charged to some fund investors.
Read more: Fund industry objects to limits on certain fees.
Commentary: Market optimism is ominous sign
As if Tuesday's sell-off on the stock market weren't enough to be worried about, now comes some more ominous news. Global money managers have just turned dangerously optimistic.
Read more: Market optimism is ominous sign.
Vote for the MarketWatch CEO of the Year
This year, we're asking you — the readers — to select the chief executive officer who has done the best job for his shareholders, customers and employees in 2010.his year, you decide. For the first time, MarketWatch readers will determine whom we will anoint as our CEO of the Year.
Read more: Vote for the MarketWatch CEO of the Year.
ETF risks — real and imagined
The boom in exchange traded funds, or ETFs, has created unknown risks for investors, IndexUniverse.com Founder Jim Wiandt tells MarketWatch reporter Alistair Barr.
Watch video: ETF risks, real and imagined.
U.S. new-home construction off 11.7% in October
Construction of new U.S. homes sank in October to the lowest level in 18 months, but the number of building permits issued rose slightly, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Read more: U.S. new-home construction off 11.7% in October.
J.P. Morgan focused on mortgage fix: CFO
J.P. Morgan Chase Co. Chief Financial Officer Doug Braunstein said Wednesday the bank remains working very hard with regulators and enforcement officials about the investigations into home foreclosures, and that he is hoping for a conclusion soon.
Read more: J.P. Morgan focused on mortgage fix, CFO says.
ECONOMY & POLITICS
U.S. consumer prices up 0.2% in October
U.S. consumer prices edged up 0.2% in October as the growing cost of gasoline offset flat or declining costs in other parts of the economy, a report said Wednesday.
Read more: U.S. consumer prices up 0.2% in October.
Commentary: Republican bullies, Democratic wimps
You'd think Barack Obama would have learned the hard way that with bullies, taking a stand — and a punch — is the best way to show leadership, writes Rex Nutting.
Read more: Republican bullies, Democratic wimps.
Commentary: Why Ireland's troubles matter to you
Forget bank runs, Ireland's troubles are indicative of runs on entire nations.
Read more: Why Ireland's troubles matter to you.
Uneven recovery underway in Las Vegas
By most accounts and even some measures, Las Vegas seems to be finally bouncing out of its recent trough as visitor traffic improves and casino revenue, at least on the upper end, twitches upward.
Read more: Uneven recovery underway in Las Vegas.