Family affair: Angelo Palozzi, Lily Payne, Tulia Palozzi, Angela Palozzi and Mario Palozzi with some of their best sellers. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTHE Palozzi family had prepared to bid an emotional arrivederci to their landmark Italian restaurant, but after a rollercoastermonth, they are poisedto stay.
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Manager Angelo Palozzi, who operates Arrivederci with his siblings Mario, Mary and Lina – their eldestbrother Patrick passed away in 2006 –said the family received an avalanche of calls after they listed their Glebe Road building at The Junction for sale with vacant possession.

History: Patrick Palozzi, Lina Ravlen nee Palozzi, Tulia Palozzi, Angelo Palozzi, Mary McElhinney nee Palozzi, Mario Palozzi and Riccardo Palozzi grew the business.

“We had people say ‘how could you do this to us?’ and that they would find out where we lived so they could still come over for dinner,” Angelo Palozzi said.

“We’ve seen people propose here, hosted18thand 21stbirthday parties, even a wedding reception.

“We’ve had regulars come in with babies who are now coming in with their own babies, so we’ve become part of people’s lives.”

Mr Palozzi said the family had always planned if they didn’t receive their goal price at or after the December 16 auction to negotiateto rentthe premises and continue to operate the business.

He said they expected to exchange contracts in the new year with thebuyer –a party of three investors –and to sign a three-year leasefrom April, with a further three-year option.

“We were not in a real hurry to get out and all the siblings have agreed to stay on.

“It’s in our blood –15 of our 18 children have also worked here,” Mr Palozzi said.

“It hasbeen a big year –ourfather who held it all together passed away at the end of July and Mary’s husband Chad died too.

“We thought it may be time to go and look for a change after 33 years, have a holiday, but then realised it’s not meant to be now.We are happy to be here for a few more years.”

The Palozzis’late parents Riccardo and Tulia purchased the business from Riccardo’s nephew in 1984 and the building around1989.

Tulia Palozzi served her mother’s recipes,honed in her hometown of Villavallelonga, in central Italy.

“Mario was a crane driver and I was an apprentice boilermaker when they bought the restaurant and Mum taught us how to cook too,” he said.

“Her recipes continue on, even though she’s been gone for more than 20 years.

“We still make all our own lasagna, gnocchi, cannelloni and fillings. It’s all from the heart.”

Mr Palozzi attributed Arrivederci’s popularity to it’s “casual” feel.

“It’s not fine dining – peoplefeel welcome and like it’s a second home.”

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Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, during a Senate estimates hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 23 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Australian Border Force head Roman Quaedvlieg will on Friday clock up seven months of paid leave – funded by taxpayers – while under investigation for possible abuse of power.
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Frustrations are mounting within the newly formed Home Affairs Department, as well as the corruption watchdog, about the length of time the investigation is taking.

Mr Quaedvlieg is one of the country’s most senior public servants and is paid $618,000 a year. If receiving his full salary, he has pocketed more than $360,000 while on leave to date.

A spokesman for Home Affairs, formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, confirmed Mr Quaedvlieg remained on paid leave this week.

He has been out of the office since May 29, when he stepped aside pending an investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity into possible abuse of power.

The commission is investigating whether Mr Quaedvlieg acted improperly by allegedly helping his girlfriend – a younger woman in the ABF – secure a job at Sydney Airport. Mr Quaedvlieg denies any wrongdoing.

At a Senate estimates hearing in October, Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo confirmed Mr Quaedvlieg was on leave, was still being paid and was subject to the ongoing integrity commission investigation. The department confirmed on Wednesday that none of those facts had changed.

Mr Pezzullo revealed he had personally approved paid “event leave” for Mr Quaedvlieg, which was similar to “miscellaneous leave”. According to the relevant enterprise agreements, paid “event leave” can be granted “where it is considered to be in the interest” of the department. Miscellaneous leave, by contrast, is usually unpaid except in certain emergencies.

Fairfax Media understands the integrity commission has furnished the Home Affairs Department with preliminary findings about Mr Quaedvlieg. But there is growing frustration at senior levels of the department about a delay of the commission’s final report. It is also understood that complexities related to the Border Force boss’s statutory position – appointed by the cabinet – have contributed to the delay.

An integrity commission spokesman said the commission was “not able to comment on matters that may be under investigation”.

Though well-resourced, the commission has had an increased workload since the Immigration Department was included in its remit two years ago. Nearly half of all its corruption investigations relate to the Immigration Department (now Home Affairs), according to its 2016-17 annual report.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton last week deflected questions about Mr Quaedvlieg’s continued absence, saying he would not pre-empt the investigation.

Adding to Mr Quaedvlieg’s woes is an internal probe by the Home Affairs Department into how his official Twitter account “liked” a pornographic video while he was on leave. Similar incidents have befallen cabinet ministers Christopher Pyne and Greg Hunt in recent months, both of which were dismissed as hacks.

In his only known public statement since the investigation became public – made to The Australian in July – Mr Quaedvlieg said he had not acted inappropriately and was “looking forward to an early exoneration and resuming my public service career”.

He also said public speculation about his actions “serves only to gratify the prurient interests of scandalmongers”, and noted Australia’s security was “threatened by splintering, but still pernicious, global ideologies that motivate individuals and groups to commit senseless acts of terrorism on innocent populations”.

Mr Quaedvlieg did not respond to Fairfax Media’s requests for comment on Wednesday.

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Grief-stricken relatives are holding bedside vigils for two sisters who were pulled from the wreck of their family car after it was involved in a horrific head-on collision on Boxing Day.
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Annabelle Falkholt, 21, and her actress sister Jessica Falkholt, 28, were seriously injured in the crash, which claimed the lives of their parents and a 51-year-old man driving the other car.

The women remained in critical conditions in separate Sydney hospitals on Wednesday.

Annabelle and Jessica Falkholt are fighting for their lives after their parents were killed in a head-on crash. Photo: TNV

A fire “incinerated” both cars involved in the crash after the sisters were pulled to safety. Their parents, whose ages were not released, could not be saved.

Chief Inspector Phil Brooks, of the NSW Police traffic and highway patrol command, said crash investigators went to a home in Ryde before they located relatives of the family at several other Sydney addresses.

Jessica Falkholt, 28, is in a critical condition in hospital. Photo: Supplied

“And sadly, those family members are travelling to Liverpool and St George hospitals to engage with their loved ones who are very much in a critical condition at the moment,” Chief Inspector Brooks said.

Jessica Falkholt has starred in Home and Away, with a recurring part in 2016, and will appear in the upcoming Australian film Harmony.

She is a graduate of UNSW and the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and has worked in production for Channel Seven, according to an online profile.

The fiery Princes Highway crash on Tuesday has headlined a deadly festive season on NSW roads, with 21 people killed since the start of Operation Safe Arrival on December 16.

It includes another three on Boxing Day after a 25-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a tree near Taree, a 43-year-old man who died when his Ford Falcon ran into a parked semi-trailer at Emu Plains and a 23-year-old Dubbo woman who suffered horrific head injuries when she fell from a moving four-wheel drive at Peak Hill.

The deaths, almost triple the number for the same period last Christmas, have senior police flabbergasted.

“This Christmas-New Year period is meant to be a time of happiness, to spend time with family. And sadly, for many, this has resulted in tragedy,” Chief Inspector Brooks said.

“So far, during the operation, 21 lives have been lost. Those families directly impacted by road trauma on NSW roads.”

He later added: “Everyone who has been on our roads leaves home in the hope they can get back there [or] to their destination.

“Sadly, for 21 people so far during Operation Safe Arrival that hasn’t occurred courtesy of what is a very clear lack of personal responsibility on our roads.

“Out of the 21 lives lost so far, 11 of those deaths have been from people leaving the road in a vehicle crashing either into a tree or a telegraph pole sadly losing their lives on the side of the road.

“Three other deaths are courtesy of people drifting across to the other side of the road resulting in head-on crashes [and] sadly more lives lost on our roads in sad and tragic events.”

The spike in deaths is not the only worry for police, with highway patrol police handing over more than 13,500 speeding fines and charging 433 motorists with drink-driving.

“Luckily for those drivers, they get to go home to their families,” Chief Inspector Brooks said.

“Sadly, for the 21 lives lost so far during the operation those families will no doubt be feeling the pain and suffering of losing a loved one this close to Christmas.”

with Georgina Mitchell

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The Melbourne Renegades have made the finals of the Big Bash League just once, and were eliminated in the semis. The Perth Scorchers are the dominant force of the competition, with three titles to their name, including the most recent one. What’s more, the Scorchers have never lost to the Renegades in six and bit years of the BBL.
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Yet according to Perth coach Justin Langer, it’s the Renegades, not his own side, who are the team to beat this summer.

The two teams, both of which started the season with consecutive victories, are on an early season collision course, set to square off at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The Renegades will enter the match off a six-day break after beating Brisbane Heat at Docklands last Saturday night, while the Scorchers – despite being ravaged by international call-ups and injuries to gun quicks Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile – beat the Melbourne Stars by 13 runs at the WACA Ground on Tuesday night.

Whether the wily Langer was playing mind games or not is hard to tell, but in any case he said the vast experience of the Renegades, who feature former Scorchers spinner Brad Hogg, meant they deserved to be considered the standout side.

“I think they’re the favourites for the tournament,” Langer said after beating the Stars.

“They’re so well-balanced with their team. They’re such a well-balanced team. [They’ve got] experience, Cameron White is a brilliant leader, [Aaron] Finch is dangerous. [Brad] Hodge. I’d pay money to watch Hodge bat.

“They’ve got a very good team. I think they’re the team to beat.”

Langer said Coulter-Nile and fellow quick Joel Paris were both getting close to being available to play again after injuries.

Opener Michael Klinger made just one against the Stars after returning to the side for his first game since revealing the cancer battle of wife Cindy.

Langer reiterated that the club was supporting the veteran. “It’s great to see him playing cricket,” Langer said. “We’ll just help him through as much as we can.”

Seamer Andrew Tye, who continued his excellent start to the tournament with 5-23, said “it was awesome to have [Klinger] back in the change rooms”.

“What he’s going through is just heartbreaking. If he ever needs anything, and if he ever just wants a hug, we’ll be there for him.”

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You can lead Americans to the cinema, but you can’t make them think.
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A silent sequence in the latest Star Wars film has left so many people baffled that a popular US cinema chain has begun issuing warnings to cinemagoers.

The public notices were attached to cinema doors after some people mistakenly thought there was a technical glitch during a nail-biting space battle scene in The Last Jedi’.

“The Last Jedi contains a sequence at approximately one hour and 52 minutes into the movie in which ALL sound stops for about 10 full seconds,” one of the warnings at AMC Theatres reads. “While the images continue to play on the screen, you will hear nothing. This is intentionally done by the director for a creative effect.”

AMC Theatres operates the largest share of cinemas in the US, followed by Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark.

The Last Jedi’s visual effects supervisor Ben Morris defended the silent sequence, arguing it was designed to challenge people’s expectations.

“We always hoped that [scene] would resonate, both as a story beat and as a striking visual,” he said in an interview with trade publication Collider.

“When I heard all of the cries and gasps in the silence, it was just fantastic. I think it shows strength, if you invert your normal concept of what space shots in Star Wars look like. We wanted to come up with something clean and new, that had that delicacy and serenity to it.”

Despite the confusion, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has taken the box office by storm – snapping up more than $960 million in worldwide ticket sales as of Sunday.

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In the end, as with most of the so-called scandals that leave the commentariat wringing their disapproving hands at the rest of us, the transition of Doctor Who from boy to girl was spectacular but brief.
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In keeping with the modernDoctor Whotradition, the regeneration of one Doctor into another is accompanied by a spectacular malfunction in the time-travelling Tardis.

So television audiences got their first glimpse of Jodie Whittaker, who replaces Peter Capaldi in the iconic role, set to the backdrop of the Tardis’s systems exploding and its console room catching fire. It was short. And she said just two words: “Oh, brilliant!”

And it went over well with the fans. “I mean if I was Jodie Whittaker and I looked at myself in a mirror for the first time those would be my first words too,” wrote one wag on Twitter

Jodie Whittaker in her first appearance as Doctor Who’s first female incarnation in the Twice Upon a Time Christmas special. Photo: BBC

The regeneration scene came in the wake of a Christmas episode that managed to be both gentle and affecting, suffused with melancholy and dipped deeply into the themes of life and loss.

In it we said goodbye to Capaldi’s Doctor, and also to the very first Doctor, played by actor David Bradley, who was reprising a character originated by William Hartnell in the very first episode ofDoctor Who in 1963.

In the episode, we met both men on the eve of their regenerations.

Having the first and the latest on stage together gave this baton-change an unexpectedly poignant feel; Hartnell’s Doctor –originally described as “a crotchety old man in a Police Box”–is properly iconic.

It was time to bid farewell to Peter Capaldi (centre) and David Bradley. Photo: ABC

One of the episode’s lightest touches,the gentle mocking of the 1960s-era ofDoctor Whofor its subtle misogyny and its expectation that the Doctor’s female companions were there for little more than to scream at Daleks and make the tea,served as a cute foreword to what lay ahead.

By episode’s end a woman was not just centre stage, she was stepping into the role of The Doctor, the exclusive domain of male actors for its more than five-decade history.

Three Doctors: (l-r) Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt. Photo: Supplied

The announcement of the casting of Jodie Whittakerin July was greeted as a controversial event by a minority of fans and a vocal chorus of mostly conservative commentators.In truth, though the media headlines may not have always made it clear, in the mainstream of Doctor Who fandom the news was met with cheers of approval.

One of Whittaker’s predecessors, actor Colin Baker (the sixth Doctor), offered the simplest of explanationfor those wrestling with the idea that young boys had been robbed of a role model. “You don’t have to be of a gender to be a role model,” he said.

The change of actor within theDoctor Whonarrative was a plot conceit established in the 1960s when the actor who originated the character, William Hartnell, became ill and was unable to continue working on the series.

As a result, more than a dozen actors have now played the part on television, and a handful more in spin-off projects, standalone movies, radio serials and stage plays, among them Tom Baker, David Tennant, Jon Pertwee and Matt Smith.

But in historical terms two factors were consistent: the Doctor’s childish, obstinate nature, and his gender. The latter has now been torn to pieces with good humour, a wry smile and a touch of style.

There are now 13 official Doctors Who: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.

But there are others, from Richard Hurndall and David Bradley, who played recasts of the Hartnell Doctor, to John Hurt’s War Doctor (a between McGann-and-Eccleston Doctor), Adrian Gibbs’ The Watcher (a projection of the future Baker-to-Davison regeneration), and Michael Jayston’s Shadow of the Valeyard, an evil future Doctor.

Throw in Peter Cushing, who played Doctor Who on the big screen in the 1960s, and Joanna Lumley, who played The Doctor inCurse of the Fatal Death, plus a half-dozen more, and you have a long and impressive honour roll connected officially and unofficially to British television’s most iconic character.

Whether Whittaker becomes the equal of the best – Baker and Tennant, has always been the prevailing thought – remains to be seen. But falling from the burning Tardis, in a classicDoctor Whocliffhanger, she’s off to a flying start.

The Age

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She’s been dubbed the next big thing in golf and now European No. 1 Georgia Hall is looking to add the Canberra Classic title to her glistening resume.
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The 21-year-old already looms as one of the players to beat in a star-studded field that will contest the Canberra Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Club on February 9-11.

Australian Ladies Professional Golf boss Karen Lunn has been overwhelmed by the sheer quality of the field with a host of top-line players to battle for $150,000 in prizemoney.

Solheim Cup stars Melissa Reid and Caroline Hedwall have also joined the line-up, and Lunn is expecting even more drawcards to sign on for the event in the next 10 days.

Englishwoman Hall left behind a sparkling amateur career to make the leap to the professional scene and she has already started to carve out a remarkable legacy.

“When she was a junior as a 16 or 17-year-old she was touted as the next big thing,” Lunn said.

“It took her a while to find her feet when she turned pro but she really had that breakthrough when she won the Vic Open in 2016, that was her first big professional win. Then [she] went on to have a pretty decent year after that.

“Obviously 2017 has been her breakout year, finishing third in the British Open, playing the Solheim Cup, winning the money list in Europe by a country mile so to speak.

“She is certainly recognised in golfing circles as one of the new really big things in women’s golf. You’re going to be seeing her name right up there.”

Hall claimed the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit title in emphatic fashion as she won more than double the amount of prizemoney of second-placed Spaniard Carlota Ciganda.

The Bournemouth product stood out at Solheim Cup level for Europe against the United States and her remarkable rise was acknowledged by her peers when she won the players’ player of the year gong.

Hall [England], Reid [England], Hedwall [Sweden] and Aditi Ashok [India] join European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew in a field already featuring former world beaters Laura Davies and Jiyai Shin.

Katherine Kirk and Sarah Jane Smith will lead the host nation’s raid on the tournament returning from a five-year hiatus.

“We certainly weren’t expecting to have the quality of field that we’re going to end up getting,” Lunn said.

“Obviously having the date the week before the women’s Australian Open has really worked well for us.

“A lot of the girls are coming out of the European and American winter and want to have a bit of a hit out so we’ve just got to take advantage of that and hopefully it will work in our favour.

“We want this event to not just be back for one year but to be around for a while. If it can be successful in year one then hopefully that will stand us in good stead for the future.”

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Severe storms effecting far north NSW,?? 26 December 2017. Photo: Nick Moir?? 27.12.17-North Cronulla Beach-Sunrise puts on a colourful display through the summer rains.Picture John Veage
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Sydney will have a wet and cloudy start to the New Year, with rains expected to clear just in time for fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast the city will have a maximum of 26 degrees on Sunday and 28 degrees on Monday, with showers to linger on both days.

Rain is also expected in the city’s west, after a run of 30-degree days on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Penrith will have a warmer New Year’s Eve, with a maximum of 31 degrees, while a top of 35 degrees is expected on New Year’s Day.

Angus McLean-Smith, a meteorologist with Fairfax Media’s Weatherzone, said the showers would be intermittent.

“For the Sydney area, on Sunday – which is New Year’s Eve – we can expect a few showers throughout the day. Obviously with showers, there’s going to be a few clouds about as well,” Mr McLean-Smith said.

“Those showers should clear up in the evening, so it should be clear around about 12 (midnight).

“Moving into Monday, it should remain clear in the morning. In the afternoon, more showers are expected.”

Mr McLean-Smith said there is a chance of thunderstorms for Monday afternoon and night. Any rain that falls will not be “extensive”, with a maximum of 5mm expected.

“Temperatures on the Monday look to be warm,” he said.

Rain didn’t dampen enthusiasm at North Cronulla Beach on Wednesday morning, with locals and joggers watching the sunrise break through the clouds.

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If Australia’s topGoogle searches tell us anything, it’s that 2017was a tumultuous year.
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The list is diverse, with searches ranging from slime and sport, to cryptocurrency, covfefe and hurricanes.

With that in mind, we’ve chosenthree standout Google searches fromthis yearand answered your questions with the help of experts.

If Australia’s top Google searches tell us anything, it’s that 2017 was a tumultuous year.

1. How to make slime without borax”How to make slime”was Australia’s most popular “How to”Googlesearch in Australia, with slime appearing four times on the list (1st, 3rd, 6th and 9th).

Right now there are over 6 million tags of slime onInstagram,making 2017 the year of the slime.

The question of how to make slime without boraxcan be answered quite easily -just mix cornstarch withwater.

But the real questionis,how dangerous isBorax?

Borax is soldas a household cleaning chemical and sometimes used as a pesticide, but it’s also the best binding agent for slime when it’s mixed with PVA glue.

Parental fear about Boraxwas spurred by anews piecefrom America about a young girl who reportedlyreceived chemical burns to her hands from playing withslime that hadborax in it.

Genevieve Adamo, a spokeswoman from theNSW Poisons Information Centre,says Borax is most concerning in its raw, powdered state.

“If it’s handled correctly and prepared by an adult then the quantities in the slime isunlikely to pose any risk of serious poisonings.

“There havebeen a couple of cases reported where people have gotten quite bad rashes or a burning sensation after playing with slime but we can’t be sure that borax was the cause.”

However, she says ingestion ofreasonably small amounts of borax powder can cause harm.

The NSW poison hotline advises parents to lock raw borax away from kids along with cleaning chemicals.Mrs Adamo says it’s important that any spare Borax solution is disposed of instead of being stored in the fridge, as it could be confused with water.

She says there hasbeen one case of a person accidentally making pancakes out of an old mixture of water and borax.

The number of calls regarding borax to the NSW poison info line has shot up 76 per cent in the past year.

2. What is MSG?MSG appeared twice in the list of Australia’s top “what is” Googlesearches of 2017 (1st and 7th).

This chemical is believedby many to be the cause of so-called Chinese restaurant syndrome(CRS).The syndrome was first described in 1968 by Dr Ho Man Kwok, who wrote in a letter to an American medical journal that he would get a strange numbness in his neck, back and arms, followed by heart palpations, after eating at a Chinese restaurant.

However, Chinese restaurants are not the only places you will find MSG.

MSG is a glutamate, which is a very common amino acid found naturally in foods that contain protein like meats and vegetables. In fact, our bodies produce glutamates in the process of metabolising food.

Glutamates trigger your “umami”taste receptors. Umami is Japanese for “pleasant savoury taste” and although it’s lesser known, it’s one of the five basic tastes.

But Dr Kwok’s research didn’t conclusively prove a link between MSG and the symptoms some claim to experience after consuming it.

In 2003, Food Standards Australia New Zealand concluded in a technical report that there was no convincing evidence that MSG hadcaused any reactions resulting in serious illness or death.

The real takeaway is this: the current scientific consensus is that MSG can temporarily affect a select few when consumed in large quantities on an empty stomach. But for the large majority of people, it’sperfectly fine to consume.

However, nutritionist Tracie Connor says MSG is dangerous for a different reason.

“MSGis added to foods to increase the desire to eat the food while increasing our appetite for it,” she says.

“This scenario is not what we need in an age where most Australians are overeating.”

She says MSG flavourenhancer is typically added to packaged and processed foods like chips and crackers and isdisplayed in ingredients as flavour enhancer621.

3. How to use Snapchat map”How to use snapchat map?” was one of the most Googled”how to” questions this year (7th), after the release of the new feature fostered both excitement and confusion.

The Snapchat”Snapmap”allows users to view the location of other users, as long as they have consented to their location being shared, however, many users were unsure how to access the feature.

To get into Snapmaps on the Snapchat app, users simply have to swipe inwards on the photoscreen, as though they are zooming out.

The featureoffers users the opportunity to view Snaps submitted to a communal Snapchat story from across the world, showing off user-submitted posts atspectacles like sporting events, celebrations, and even breaking news.

If the user wants to keep their location services on but not have people know their location, they have the choice to go into “Ghost Mode”.

While many embraced the map as an opportunity for relatable memes, others had serious concerns about security.

Founder and director of Future Human Academy, Dr KateRaynes-Goldie, saysthe difficulty with new features like Snapmapis keeping track of the information beingshared.

“This app didn’t have this feature before, so users constantly have to be vigilant about how the apps that they are using are changing privacy settings,” she says.

“We are already so busy so to have all these extra things we have to manage can be very overwhelming, especially for parents.”

Dr Raynes-Goldie adds that the app doesn’t give clear feedback about what information is being shared.

“The way that the app is laid out is confusing,” she says.

“Kids and parents might not even know that [the information sharing] ishappening because it’s not giving them that feedback.”

She sayssince the advent of Myspace in 2008,the discussionon privacy has shifted away from young people towards the population as a whole, due to the increasing use of social media by all ages.


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AFR, GENERIC, ASXAustralian Stock Exchange — ASX, shares, investing, wealth, growth, economy, business, stock market, portfolio, all ords. Monday 14th April 2003photo Louie Douvis / ldz***AFR FIRST USE ONLY***The Australian sharemarket rose by a fraction on the first trading day after Christmas, led by franchisor Retail Food Group and gold miners.
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Energy producers lifted as the oil price neared a more than two-year high; shares of Qantas Airways fell 2.5 per cent to $5.06 on oil’s rally.

Copper rose to the highest in almost four years as Chinese officials stepped up pollution-fighting efforts by halting processing plants. On the Comex in New York, copper futures gained for a 14th day, the longest winning streak in more than a year, to post the highest closing price since January 2014. OZ Minerals added 1 per cent to $9.08.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 6,069.9 points, up 0.2 of a point and flat in percentage terms. The S&P/NZX 50 index decreased 20 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 8374.43.

Retail Food extended a three-year, $150 million debt facility provided by NAB and Westpac, due to mature in December 2018, to 2020. The under-pressure owner of Donut King and Gloria Jean’s told the market that $100 million matures in January 2020 and $50 million in December 2020. The stock advanced 9 per cent to $2.51.

Seven Group, the company behind WesTrac and Coates Hire, added 2.7 per cent to $15.61.

Microcap Pepinnini Lithium surged 32 per cent to 8.3??, triggering an ASX query. The company is awaiting sample analysis and in talks around an acquisition of mineral exploration tenure in Argentina.

Engineering group WorleyParsons expects a one-time charge of up to $60 million against its first-half profit following the reduction in the US corporate tax rate. This relates to a reduction in the group’s US deferred tax assets due to the decrease in both the US corporate tax rate and the potential loss of currently available deductions in future years, the company said.

WorleyParsons shares rose 0.6 per cent to $14.65.

Meanwhile, Oroton’s administrator has accepted a purchase proposal from its largest shareholder, a company controlled by fund manager Will Vicars, that will keep the luxury handbag retailer trading and prevent a break-up of the embattled business. The stock last traded in November.

In offshore markets, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell the most in a week on Tuesday, and the S&P 500 edged lower, with Apple and its suppliers among the worst performers on downgraded iPhone X sales estimates.

Emerging-market currencies strengthened as commodities posted the longest winning streak in more than a decade.

The major European stock exchanges were shut and markets overall were quiet as the stellar year for risk assets crawls to its end, with the possible exception of the cryptocurrency roller coaster. Next year could bring more drama, with tensions simmering between the US and Russia, Italy’s parliament set to be dissolved for a risky European election, and a big decisions on the US debt ceiling kicked down the road. What moved the market:


A pipeline blast in Libya and a bullish budget forecast in Saudi Arabia boosted crude prices to levels not seen since mid-2015. West Texas Intermediate crude neared $US60 a barrel as futures in New York and London reached the highest in more than two years. A pipeline run by Waha Oil that carries crude to Libya’s biggest export terminal exploded Tuesday, dropping the country’s output by 70,000-100,000 barrels a day. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is said to expect oil revenue to rise 80 percent by 2023.

Que Sera, Syrah

Syrah Resources continued its strong end-of-year run adding 1 per cent to $4.44 on Wednesday upon disclosing the first production of bagged saleable fines graphite from the Balama Project in Mozambique. That follows a sales agreement for 20,000 tonnes of natural graphite from Balama to a China-based buyer announced earlier this month. Syrah raised $110 million in September. The stock’s strong interest lately is linked to a bullish market for lithium and graphite’s application in the anode of lithium-ion batteries.


The Australian dollar was slightly stronger, trading at US77.37??, untroubled by data that showed profit growth at Chinese industrial firms slowed in November. Industrial profits rose 14.9 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with previously reported 25.1 percent in October, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday. Robust demand and consistent factory inflation have lifted profitability this year.

Stock watch: Cochlear

Shares of Cochlear trade at a 20 per cent premium to Morningstar’s fair value estimate of $148 apiece, fetching $174.05 on Wednesday. At that level, the market is implying a five-year compound annual growth rate of 13.5 per cent on revenue, and pricing the stock at 39 times earnings. The hearing implant maker has one of the widest moats in the Australian healthcare industry, meaning the competitive landscape is favourable to Cochlear. Supporting this is the company’s strategy to engage directly with recipients. However, “we think the market is underestimating the threat of new entrants encroaching on the emerging China opportunity where government tenders have provided newcomers an entry point based on price,” Morningstar warns. Its bear case valuation is $108 a share, and bull case $187 a share.

With AAP, Bloomberg

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