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Xi Jinping’s chaotic relationship with Australia



Xi Jinping, the current President of the People’s Republic of China, has had a long and complicated relationship with Australia.

Throughout his lifetime, he has visited the country five times – more than any of his predecessors. He is also the only leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to have visited all states and territories within Australia.

During his last trip, then-prime minister Tony Abbott gave Xi a special gift – a photograph of his father, Xi Zhongxun, with former NSW premier Neville Wran in 1979. Xi’s father once said he had “seen and learned many things” during his trip to Australia all those years ago.

But 43 years later, Beijing’s attitudes to Canberra are a far cry from what they were back then. Let’s take a look at how Xi Jinping’s relationship with Australia has changed over the years.

1979 – Xi Zhongxun Meets with Neville Wran

Xi Zhongxun was an influential Chinese politician who served as Vice Premier of China from 1980 to 1982. He was also the father of current President Xi Jinping. In 1979, during a state visit to Australia, Zhongxun met with then-NSWPremier Neville Wran. This meeting was considered to be groundbreaking at the time, as it was the first time a high-ranking CCP official had met with an Australian state premier.

2003 – Hu Jintao Meets with John Howard

In 2003, Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang Zemin as General Secretary of the CCP and President of China. During his time in office, he continued to build upon the economic reforms that had been put in place by Deng Xiaoping. He also worked to improve China’s relationships with other countries, including Australia. In 2003, he met with then-prime minister John Howard in Beijing. This meeting resulted in the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), which came into effect in 2015.

2013 – Xi Jinping Meets with Julia Gillard

By 2013, Xi Jinping had become the General Secretary of the CCP and President of China. He made his first state visit to Australia that year, meeting with then-prime minister Julia Gillard in Canberra. The two leaders discussed a range of issues, including trade and investment ties between China and Australia. Gillard also announced that she would be working towards ratifying ChAFTA during her time in office.

2017 – Malcolm Turnbull becomes Prime Minister after leadership spill

In September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party and prime minister of Australia following a leadership spill. One month later, he made his first official visit to China as prime minister. During this visit, he met with President Xi Jinping and other high-ranking officials to discuss trade relations between China and Australia. Turnbull also became the first Australian prime minister to address students at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Since 1979, when Xi Zhongxun meet with Neville Wran, Beijing’s attitude towards Canberra has changed significantly. In recent years, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, relations between China and Australia have become increasingly strained. This is due to a number of factors, including Australia’s decision to ratify ChAFTA and our relationship with the United States.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Research shows daters are looking for solvent partners



As the cost-of-living crisis continues to grip Australia, new research reveals a shifting landscape in the realm of dating preferences.

According to the survey conducted by eharmony, an overwhelming two-thirds of Australians are now keen to understand their potential partner’s financial situation before committing to a serious relationship.

The findings indicate a growing trend where individuals are becoming more discerning about whom they invest their affections in, particularly as the economic pressures intensify.

Read more: Why are car prices so high?

The study highlights that nearly half of respondents (48%) consider a potential partner’s debts and income as crucial factors in determining whether to pursue a relationship.

Certain types of debt, such as credit card debt, payday loans, and personal loans, are viewed unfavorably by the vast majority of respondents, signaling a preference for partners who exhibit financial responsibility.

Good debt

While certain forms of debt, such as mortgages and student loans (e.g., HECS), are deemed acceptable or even ‘good’ debt by a majority of respondents, credit card debt, payday loans (such as Afterpay), and personal loans top the list of ‘bad’ debt, with 82%, 78%, and 73% of respondents, respectively, expressing concerns.

Interestingly, even car loans are viewed unfavorably by a significant portion of those surveyed, with 57.5% considering them to be undesirable debt.

Sharon Draper, a relationship expert at eharmony, said the significance of financial compatibility in relationships, noting that discussions around money are increasingly taking place at earlier stages of dating.

“In the past, couples tended to avoid discussing money during the early stages of dating because it was regarded as rude and potentially off-putting,” Draper explains.

“However, understanding each other’s perspectives and habits around finances early on can be instrumental in assessing long-term compatibility.”

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US energy stocks surge amid economic growth and inflation fears



Investors are turning to U.S. energy shares in droves, capitalizing on surging oil prices and a resilient economy while seeking protection against looming inflationary pressures.

The S&P 500 energy sector has witnessed a remarkable ascent in 2024, boasting gains of approximately 17%, effectively doubling the broader index’s year-to-date performance.

This surge has intensified in recent weeks, propelling the energy sector to the forefront of the S&P 500’s top-performing sectors.

A significant catalyst driving this rally is the relentless rise in oil prices. U.S. crude has surged by 20% year-to-date, propelled by robust economic indicators in the United States and escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Investors are also turning to energy shares as a hedge against inflation, which has proven more persistent than anticipated, threatening to derail the broader market rally.

Ayako Yoshioka, senior portfolio manager at Wealth Enhancement Group, notes that having exposure to commodities can serve as a hedge against inflationary pressures, prompting many portfolios to overweight energy stocks.

Shell Service Station

Shell Service Station

Energy companies

This sentiment is underscored by the disciplined capital spending observed among energy companies, particularly oil majors such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

Among the standout performers within the energy sector this year are Marathon Petroleum, which has surged by 40%, and Valero Energy, up by an impressive 33%.

As the first-quarter earnings season kicks into high gear, with reports from major companies such as Netflix, Bank of America, and Procter & Gamble, investors will closely scrutinize economic indicators such as monthly U.S. retail sales to gauge consumer behavior amidst lingering inflation concerns.

The rally in energy stocks signals a broadening of the U.S. equities rally beyond growth and technology companies that dominated last year.

However, escalating inflation expectations and concerns about a hawkish Federal Reserve could dampen investors’ appetite for non-commodities-related sectors.

Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel Corp., highlights investors’ focus on the robust economy amidst supply bottlenecks in commodities, especially oil.

This sentiment is echoed by strategists at Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets, who maintain bullish calls on energy shares, citing heightened geopolitical risks and strong economic fundamentals.

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How Australians lose nearly $1 billion to card scammers in a year



A recent study by Finder has unveiled a distressing trend: Australians are hemorrhaging money to card scams at an alarming rate.

The survey, conducted among 1,039 participants, painted a grim picture, with 2.2 million individuals – roughly 11% of the population – falling prey to credit or debit card skimming in 2023 alone.

The financial toll of these scams is staggering. On average, victims lost $418 each, amounting to a colossal $930 million collectively across the country.

Rebecca Pike, a financial expert at Finder, underscored the correlation between the surge in digital transactions and the proliferation of sophisticated scams.

“Scammers are adapting, leveraging sophisticated tactics that often mimic trusted brands or exploit personal connections. With digital transactions on the rise, it’s imperative for consumers to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their financial assets,” Pike said.

Read more – How Google is cracking down on scams

Concerning trend

Disturbingly, Finder’s research also revealed a concerning trend in underreporting.

Only 9% of scam victims reported the incident, while 1% remained oblivious to the fraudulent activity initially. Additionally, 1% of respondents discovered they were victims of bank card fraud only after the fact, highlighting the insidious nature of these schemes.

Pike urged consumers to exercise heightened scrutiny over their financial statements, recommending frequent monitoring for any unauthorised transactions.

She explained the importance of leveraging notification services offered by financial institutions to promptly identify and report suspicious activity.

“Early detection is key. If you notice any unfamiliar transactions, don’t hesitate to contact your bank immediately. Swift action can mitigate further unauthorised use of your card,” Pike advised, underscoring the critical role of proactive measures in combating card scams.

As Australians grapple with the escalating threat of card fraud, Pike’s counsel serves as a timely reminder of the necessity for heightened vigilance in an increasingly digitised financial landscape.

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