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Fancy a ‘flight to nowhere’ to view the super-moon from up in the sky?

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In a bid to rebound from international and domestic border closures, Australian airline… Qantas has offered ‘flights to nowhere’.

Travel-starved Australian residents will have the chance to view the late-May supermoon and full lunar eclipse from over 40,000 feet in the sky.

The moon rises over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. This moon is a supermoon, meaning it appears larger than an average full moon because it is nearer the closest point of its orbit to Earth (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

But if you were hoping to get onboard, you’re already out of luck – the airline says all tickets were snapped up in record time… at just two and a half minutes.

The super-moon joy flight is the latest in a series of Qantas-operated trips to encourage travellers to take up travel in a post-pandemic world.

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Why Sony has dumped Australia’s most powerful man in Aussie pop music

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Sony Music USA has booted out the most powerful man in Australian pop music from the company’s Australian arm

Sony Music Australia’s CEO Denis Handlin reportedly handed in his resignation after 37 years at the helm.

Staff were alerted of Handlin’s sudden departure this morning by a company-wide email from the Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Group USA, Rob Stringer.

The news comes as the record label continues its investigations into allegations of harassment and bullying.

In the email, Stringer says “Denis Handlin will be leaving Sony Music Entertainment after more than 50 years with the Company, effective immediately”.

Stringer continues by noting “it is time for a change in leadership and I will be making further announcements in terms of the new direction of the business in Australia and New Zealand in due course.”

An Australian news outlet reportedly reached out to Sony’s head office last week with multiple complaints from former employees.

The complaints, which are aimed broadly at the workplace culture rather than specific individuals, include allegations of sexual harassment at work events, intimidating behaviour, alcohol abuse and the unfair treatment of women in the workplace.

Those complaints span more than twenty years, according to reports.

None of the former Sony employees the source spoke to made any allegations of sexual harassment against Handlin himself, however, each had been critical of the company workplace culture.

Following months of investigating claims, the media source sent a letter detailing the allegations to the head office in New York on 14 June.

On Monday a statement was issued by the chairman of Sony Music Entertainment, Rob Stringer, saying Handlin would be leaving “effective immediately”.

Handlin has been the chief executive of Australia’s most successful record label for 37 years and its chairman since 1996.

He played a central role in the careers of some of Australia’s most celebrated artists, including John Farnham, Midnight Oil, Silverchair, Men at Work and Human Nature.

He is the Australian Recording Industry Association’s longest serving board member.

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How China’s crackdown will be a game-changer for bitcoin mining

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China’s crackdown on mining has been an ongoing story since around 2013. But this time might be different.

According to bitcoin aficionado Stephan Livera this latest crackdown, on one of the main regions for bitcoin mining, is the real deal.

This time seems like a more serious time. The largest mining pool operators have come out…so for example the leader of F2Pool (has said) from our numbers we’re seeing a very large drop in the amount of hash rate that’s coming to our pool out of China.” 

STEPHAN LIVERA, MINISTRY OF NODES

Bitcoin has many complex layers, it’s important to remember we’re talking specifically about bitcoin mining.

Mining is simply the process that sees new bitcoins entered into circulation. It’s also a critical component of the maintenance and development of the blockchain ledger. Mining is performed using very sophisticated computers that solve extremely complex computational math problems.

Chinese authorities are clamping down on the local mining operations that accounted for over 65% of Bitcoin’s global hash rate in 2020.

You might want to Google ‘bitcoin hash rate’, essentially it’s how often computers verify bitcoin transactions to secure the network.

The total hash rate has hit a new six-month low as China continues its clampdown on operations within the country.

What does this change mean for the future of bitcoin mining?

Livera says “it might be a turning point, an actual change in the industry. In terms of the composition in terms of where does the mining hash-rate come from. Because bitcoin is a decentralised project, what we ideally want to see is the hash-rate distributed around the world.”

So where to next?

Miners in China say their firms will pack up shop and move to North America with some predicting that China will lose crypto computing power to foreign markets.

Livera predicts short-term pain for long-term gain.

“Yes there is a short-term drop in the hash rate in the here and now. It’s unfortunately bad for Chinese miners. But it is good for anybody outside of China who is able to set up a mining operation, and be more profitable on the margin.”

A sell-off across the crypto markets took hold over the weekend. The world’s two dominant tokens bitcoin and ethereum both declined following China’s continuing crackdown particularly on the southwest province of Sichuan.

How these changes in bitcoin mining affect the long term price is a wait and see.

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‘Emergency situation’ shuts down Iranian Power Plant

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Iran’s sole nuclear power plant has undergone an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown.

An official from the state electric company Tavanir, that the Bushehr plant shutdown began on Saturday and would last “for three to four days.”

The company has warned that the nation now faces power outages.

This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

The plant went online in 2011 with help from Russia.

Iran is required to send spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia as a nuclear nonproliferation measure.

Tavanir released a statement stating that the nuclear plant was being repaired. The company did not offer any further details but confirmed the repair work would take until Friday.

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