Australia Warns of Fire Danger as Heatwave Hits

Australia Warns of Fire Danger as Heatwave Hits

By Amy Coopes on 4:45 pm January 14, 2014.

Sydney. Australian authorities warned Tuesday of some of the worst fire danger since a 2009 inferno which killed 173 people, with most of the continent’s southeast sweltering through a major heatwave. Victoria state, where the so-called Black Saturday firestorm flattened entire villages in 2009 and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, was again bracing for extreme fire weather.“These next four days pr

Giorgio Armani looking at creating foundation

Mon, Jan 13 2014

By Isla Binnie

MILAN (Reuters) – Giorgio Armani is studying the possibility of creating a foundation to protect the future of his fashion empire, the Italian designer and businessman said on Monday.

“I am paying a lot of attention to the possibility … I don’t want to leave problems for the people who come after me,” Armani, who turns 80 this year, said after showing an autumn-winter menswear collection in Milan.

The question of who will succeed the creative director and chief executive of one of the world’s most recognizable fashion brands, which had revenue over 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) in 2012, has occupied industry observers for a decade.

Armani has hinted over the years that he could list or sell the group, and said after recovering from a bout of hepatitis in 2009 that he had started organizing staff to continue his work.

The hands-on designer from northern Italy could set up a foundation similar to the Hans Wilsdorf foundation behind watch brand Rolex, an investment banker said.

Armani, who starred in one of his own advertising campaigns last year, said he needed more information before making a decisions.

“I don’t have as much time at my disposal as I would like for such important things,” he said. “I want to have much more information.”

Armani suggested he had no current plans to list the company publicly, after shareholders in jacket maker Moncler raised more than 780 million euros in an initial public offering in December, but found the prospect interesting.

“Every time someone lists on the stock market and it goes well, it whets my appetite a little,” Armani said.

Italian strategy consultancy Pambianco named Armani the “most quotable” Italian luxury company in a December 2013 study of which brands would do well in a stock market listing.

Male models sauntered down the catwalk for the youth-focused Emporio Armani line on Monday in skinny grey suits with ankle-skimming trousers, sweaters with fake fur inserts, and shimmering blazers in purple and claret.

“When the boys put on these suits, they feel like little princes,” Armani said.

omise to be amongst the most significant that we have faced in Victoria since Black Saturday,” said acting state premier Peter Ryan.

Tens of thousands of firefighters were on standby, and 1,290 brigades were in a “state of high preparedness,” he added, with the peak danger day expected on Friday when very strong winds are forecast.

Two separate grass-fires tested crews early at Little River, west of Melbourne, and Kangaroo Ground to the east.

The flames raced out of control and triggered brief emergency alerts before water-bombing aircraft and engine teams managed to bring them under control.

There were also blazes alight in neighbouring South Australia state.

Victoria and South Australia are preparing this week for what forecasters are describing as “severe to extreme heatwave conditions”, with successive days of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius expected.

A similar heatwave struck before the 2009 fires, Australia’s worst natural disaster of the modern era in terms of casualties. An estimated 374 people died during the preceding heatwave, with another 173 fatalities in the firestorm itself.

If the forecasts come to pass, Melbourne will endure its longest stretch of hot weather in 100 years.

Road tar was melting in southern Tasmania, with temperatures in the island state some 18 degrees above the January average, breaking several records.

On Tuesday, players at the Australian Open were sweltering.

A ball boy collapsed and water bottles melted on court as the mercury soared above 40 degrees Celsius.

Experts said the outlook had echoes of 2009.

“The forecast weather patterns are quite reminiscent of conditions before Black Saturday, with severe and expansive high temperatures across the southern part of the continent and the presence of low pressure cells on either side of the country in the tropics,” said bushfire specialist Jason Sharples from the University of New South Wales in Canberra.

“The combination of high temperature and low relative humidity means that the moisture content of vegetation will be very low. Hence, if a bushfire was to start, it would be expected to spread more rapidly than normal.”

Hospitals and emergency authorities are on standby for an influx of heat-related call-outs, with Ambulance Victoria recalling “all available staff [and] every available vehicle.”

The heat system has moved across Australia from the west coast, where a wildfire in Perth razed 52 homes on Sunday and claimed the life of one man as he prepared his home for the flames.

Hundreds of residents sheltering in evacuation centres since the weekend were allowed to return to their homes for the first time Tuesday and reported devastating scenes.

“The glass didn’t shatter, it melted,” said Stoneville resident Stacey Delich.

“It’s bad luck and that’s all it is,” she added. “We live in the bush and we know it can happen, and unfortunately it happened to us.”

Wildfires and hot weather are common in Australia’s December-February summer months, but the current event is unusual because it is occurring in what is supposed to be a neutral period in the El Nino pattern bringing average conditions.

El Nino, a phenomenon characterized by usually warm ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, is generally associated with hotter, drier conditions in Australia.

Agence France-Presse

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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