need2know: Gloomy open on cards

Local shares are poised to open lower after weaker than expected US growth data and a timing check on the Fed’s plan to lift US rates while the price of iron ore dove sharply.
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What you need2know

SPI futures down 43pts to 5784

AUD at 80.17 US cents, 95.49 Japanese yen, 72.16 Euro cents and 51.97 British pence

On Wall St, S&P 500 -0.4%, Dow -0.4%, Nasdaq -0.6%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 -2.7%, FTSE -1.2%, CAC -2.6%, DAX -3.2%

Iron ore slumped 4.6% to $US57.13 per tonne

Spot gold down $US7 or 0.6% to $US1205.17 an ounce

Brent crude up 91 US cents or 1.4% to $US65.55 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia export and import prices; private sector credit; Bank of Japan outlook report; US personal income, employment costs.

Stocks in focus

ASX: Goodman Group third-quarter update,  Mirvac third-quarter update, production reports are expected from Drillsearch, Grange Resources, Mineral Resources, OceanaGold, Origin Energy, Paladin Energy, Resolute Mining, Western Areas.

RBC Capital Markets has a “sector perform” on Beach Energy and a price target of $1.25 a share.

Goldman Sachs is keeping a “neutral” recommendation on alternative medicine company Blackmores and raised its 12-month price target by 8.6% to $53 a share.


The US dollar has fallen, extending its longest streak of losses since August 2013, on speculation that signs of dimming economic growth will slow the Federal Reserve’s on its path to higher interest rates.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the US currency against 10 major peers, dropped 0.5% to 1165.32 as of 4.01pm in New York. It dropped as much as 1% earlier and fell for a sixth straight day.

The US dollar has gained 16% during the past 12 months, according to the Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Index, driven by projections the Fed will raise interest rates this year, while central banks around the global add to monetary stimulus.


Iron ore’s week-long price rally has come to an abrupt end, with the commodity shedding more than 4 per cent on Wednesday. Iron ore at the Port of Qingdao fell $US2.75 to $US57.13.

Oil prices have hit the highest this year after the first crude stock draw in five months at the US Cushing, Oklahoma hub suggested an oil glut may be starting to ease. US crude futures are poised to end April up nearly 23% and Brent almost 20% higher, the biggest monthly gains since May 2009 when the global economy was starting to rebound from the financial crisis.

Spot gold fell to a session low of $US1201.13 after the Fed statement before bouncing back. In China, the second biggest gold consumer, premiums eased to about $US1 an ounce on Wednesday over the global benchmark, from $US2 to $US3 in the previous session.

United States

US stocks ended lower on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve cited weakness in the US economy and data showed US growth slowed more sharply than expected in the first quarter. But the Fed’s acknowledgement of weakness in some sectors of the economy makes it more likely it will not be ready to raise until at least September, which kept stocks from falling further.

Twitter fell 8.9% to $US38.49, a day after the company cut its full-year forecast due to weak demand for its new direct response advertising.

Wynn Resorts shed 16.6% to $US108.77 after the casino operator reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit.

Salesforcem jumped 11.6% to $US74.65 after a Bloomberg report that it is working with financial advisers to help field takeover offers after being approached by a potential acquirer.


Europe’s main stock markets have closed lower. In London, miners lit up the fallers board as investors fretted over heavy falls for copper prices. Antofagasta shares fell 2.2%, BHP Billiton shed 1.6% and Rio Tinto dropped 2.2%.

British bank Barclays saw its share price slide 1.70 per cent to 256.95 pence on the back of a grim results statement.The scandal-hit lender warned that fines linked to its alleged role in foreign exchange market rigging could top £2.0 billion after posting plunging first-quarter net profits.

The yield on 10-year German bunds climbed to a six-week high as rates surged on debt from the Netherlands to Spain and Italy. Germany got bids of €3.649 billion at a five-year note auction, short of its €4 billion target. Adding to the supply pressure, Italy auctioned €8.25 billion of debt on Wednesday, while Portugal began selling 10- and 30-year bonds via banks.

What happened yesterday

The local sharemarket fell sharply as investors sold off bank stocks, the $A surged higher and Goldman Sachs warned that the nation’s credit rating was at risk. The S&P/ASX 200 Index shed 109.9 points, or 1.85pc, to 5838.6.

Jarryd Hayne admits he still has a huge mountain ahead at San Francisco 49ers

Playbook clues: learning the 49ers moves is Jarryd Hayne’s biggest obstacle. Picture: Getty Images​JarrydHaynehas spoken for the first time since joining the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month, admitting he still has a”huge mountain ahead”.
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Speaking in front a large media gathering inside the club’s locker rooms at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara,Haynerevealed he had no concerns about his physicality and athleticism, admitting learning theplaybookwas still his major concern.

“Physically it’s not a concern,”Haynesaid.

“It’s just theplaybookand knowing where to be at the right time, whether to pass protect and running in gaps, or what not. Obviously the routes are a key factor as well. They are my main concerns.

“Physically, I feel fine. We got to train as a squad for two weeks leading up to being on the field with the coaches. I felt fine and comfortable. But when we’re out there and plays are getting called and studying, that’s going to be the biggest hurdle for me.”

Hayne, who walked out on a multimillion-dollar deal with the ParramattaEels to pursue his American dream, said he enjoyed being out of the limelight.

The 27-year-old was the face of the Eels and one of the most recognised NRL players in the country. However, being an unknown in the United States suits him.

New digs: Jarryd Hayne in the 49ers locker room. Picture: Michael Chammas

“I really enjoy not being in the spotlight like I am in Australia and working from the bottom again,”Haynesaid.

“That’s one of the biggest influences of me coming over, that new challenge and believing I can test myself and not being afraid of it. There’s still this huge mountain ahead of me and I’ve got a long way to go.”

Haynehas bulked up since leaving the NRL, but compared to some of the players in the 49ers locker room, he looks like ahalfback compared to a prop in rugby league.

The former Eels superstar said he was surprised at the size difference between the players in the two sports.

“Some are [the same] but then there are differences,” he said.

“The D-line (defensive) and O-line (offensive) are probably the biggest differences in how big they are. I didn’t realise how big they are. I didn’t realise how agile and how quick some of them are. To see big Joe Staley shooting out of left tackle,for such a big unit they really domove. When you’re behind the scenes you see a lot of things you wouldn’t see just watching a normal game.”

Hayne, who had an established relationship with running backReggieBush, has alsodeveloped a strong rapport with superstar quarterback ColinKaepernick.

“I think everyone has been great,” he said.

“I think everyone is there for some advice. Kap’s been awesome. I think he and the quarterbacks know how tricky theplaybookis. For me it’s just getting it down-pat so obviously the coaches feel confident in me going out there and doing it.”

WhileHaynehas four more months to prove he has what it takes to be on the final 53-man roster, he wouldn’t declare any loftyexpectations he has placed on himself.

“We’re only three weeks in,” he said.

“I’m just taking it day by day and taking baby steps at the moment. It’s such a newthing so I’m just taking my time and making sure I’m getting what the coaches are teaching me right and worrying about that.”

Herald Breakfast – April 30, 2015

Morning Shot: Rain clouds brewing, the view from Watt Street. Picture: SuppliedTraffic: Damaged road at East Maitland,Raymond Terrace RdbetweenMetford RdandTenambit St. Gillieston Heights to Cliftleigh,Cessnock Rd (Main St)betweenRussell StandAvery Lane, the road is still closed at this location and is being reassessed regularly, however it is likely to remain closed until atleast Tuesday 5 May.
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Trains: Hunter line:Trains have resumed running to the normal timetable between Hamilton and Telarah/Scone – Buses continue to replace trains between Maitland and Dungog . Passengers are advised to allow plenty of additional travel time, listen to announcements and check indicator boards.

Newcastle line:The 6:45am Hamilton to Central train has been cancelled from Broadmeadow to Morisset due to mechanical issues at Broadmeadow. The train will depart from Morisset at 7:30am. As a result, the 6:42am Gosford to Hamilton train will be cancelled from Morisset to Hamilton. Passengers are able to catch the 7:50am Morisset to Hamilton services as an alternative. Passengers should allow additional travel time, listen to station announcements and check indicator boards.

Weather: Showers expected across the region Newcastle (20 degrees), Maitland (21 degrees), Scone(20 degrees).

Beachwatch:We can expect similar beach conditions to Wednesdaywith mainly onshore winds, a few showers and lumpy waves. The wind may have a bit of west in it early but it will quickly head south-east to east with the swell from the south-east around half to one metre.The water temperature is 19 degrees.

Morning Shot: Rainclouds brewing, the view from Watt Street. Picture: Supplied

Morning Shot: Rain clouds brewing, the view from Watt Street. Picture: Supplied

Oh, what a ceiling: ZAARA Street, Newcastle, resident Brian McDermott was at home on the Tuesday morning of the Newcastle storm when a neighbour got on the phone to tell him about his roof.

Four options to save Wallsend from flooding: AFTER seven years of debate and false starts, a plan to save Wallsend from the next big flood is a step closer.

Rare jersey goes under the hammer:FORMER Knights captain and life member Mark Sargent is parting with one of his prized possessions as part of his fund-raising campaign for the NSW Cancer Council.

Australia takes the UK’s crown as top nation for world-class young universities

The University of Technology in Sydney was 21st in the Times Higher Education survey. Photo: Andrew Worssam The University of Technology in Sydney was 21st in the Times Higher Education survey. Photo: Andrew Worssam
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Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts took out a top spot in 28 subjects. Photo: Gretchen Ertl

The University of Technology in Sydney was 21st in the Times Higher Education survey. Photo: Andrew Worssam

The University of Technology in Sydney was 21st in the Times Higher Education survey. Photo: Andrew Worssam

Australian universities ride high in QS World University Rankings

Australia has the most universities in the world’s top 100 educational institutions under 50 years old, according to the Times Higher Education survey.

“Australia is now the world’s number one nation when it comes to the new generation of world-class universities,” said the Times Higher Education editor Phil Baty following the release of the research on Thursday.

The results of the annual study reveal that of the 16 Australian universities in the top 100, the top three are in NSW. The University of Technology in Sydney took out the top ranking in the country at No.21 in the world, while The University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong came in at 30 and 31 respectively.

UTS Vice Chancellor Attila Brungs said the result was an achievement in such a competitive landscape.

“We should be very proud of the quality, impact and rapid progress of so many of the younger universities across Australia”.

The list is designed as a predictor of which universities could challenge the academic dominance of institutions such as Harvard and Oxford in the decades to come. The UK finished with 15 in the top 100 this year, while Germany and the US had seven each. 

The rankings cap off a good week for tertiary education across the country, with Australia’s older universities performing strongly in another survey, the QS world rankings, released on Wednesday. 

Three Australian universities sat comfortably in the top 10 for specific discipline areas.  

The Australian National University (ANU) came seventh in politics, forestry and agriculture and 10th in development studies. The University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney both scored highly in education, taking out fifth and ninth spots.

Nonetheless, there is still a significant gap between Australia’s sandstone universities and their UK and US counterparts. Cambridge is in the top 10 in the world in 31 different subjects while Harvard holds down a top 10 spot in 28 disciplines. 

QS’ head of research Ben Sowter said Australia was making good ground. 

“The world-class performance of several Australian institutions reflects their high-impact research and outstanding reputation among an industry leading sample of global academic experts and graduate employers”. 

Times editor Phil Baty agreed.

“While its Group of Eight old guard continue to shine in the traditional World University Rankings, Australia also has a thriving community of young, dynamic universities  making a global impact, too.”

“The universities in this unique and pioneering ranking are disrupting the old order. Some of the institutions have achieved in a matter of decades what some institutions have taken centuries to do.”

Want to know how your University ranks overall? Filter through the QS interactive below. 


Daniel Kelsall jailed for at least 30 years for murdering Morgan Huxley

Daniel Kelsall: jailed for a minimum 30 years. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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Daniel Kelsall: jailed for a minimum 30 years. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Oliver Huxley, Morgan Huxley’s brother, arrives at court. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Deidree Huxley, right, the mother of murdered man Morgan Huxley, with a family friend at Darlinghurst court in Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Daniel Kelsall: jailed for a minimum 30 years. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Daniel Kelsall: jailed for a minimum 30 years. Photo: Brendan Esposito

When a psychologist asked Daniel Kelsall to define the word “terminate”, he responded: “To kill. To completely extinguish the life source”.

It was an answer that surprised Dr Susan Pulman, who said most people, even violent criminals, usually responded with “to end” or “to stop”.

As Kelsall sat in jail talking to Dr Pulman before being sentenced for the murder of Morgan Huxley, his behaviour was at odds with someone who was facing the prospect of a life sentence: he was upbeat, polite, and appeared to be enjoying the attention.

That strange manner was apparent as the 22-year-old calmly sat in the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, subtly smirking as he was described as a “monster” and a “vile thing” by Mr Huxley’s relatives.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme sentenced Kelsall to at least 30 years’ jail for the murder and indecent assault of Mr Huxley, with a maximum term of 40 years and three months.

Mr Huxley was lying in bed in his Neutral Bay apartment when Kelsall snuck in through an unlocked door, groped him and stabbed him more than 20 times early on September 8, 2013.

Justice Hulme read parts of Dr Pulman’s report to the court, giving insight into Kelsall’s strange behaviour and disturbed mind.

Despite growing up in a loving and supportive environment with his adoptive parents, Kelsall was a cold and emotionless person, who once said he enjoyed inflicting pain.

The court heard that more than a year before the murder, Kelsall reported having violent thoughts of killing a stranger with a knife on his way home from work for the “thrill of it”.

“Given he is a young man of superior intelligence, with a known history of emotional detachment, it’s my opinion that he remains dangerous,” Justice Hulme said, reading from the psychologist’s report.

It was most likely that Kelsall had a personality disorder, with “psychopathic traits”, but no mental condition that excused his crime in any way, the court heard.

Justice Hulme found that Kelsall was armed with a knife when he followed Mr Huxley home from the Oaks Hotel in the early hours of that morning, and he had the intention to cause serious harm.

“This is a most chilling case of murder, whether the offender killed for the thrill of it … or as a result of a fantasy or obsession, I’m unable to say,” Justice Hulme said.

“He is not remorseful and continues to deny his guilt.

“It was utterly senseless and needless. It must have been the doing of a very disturbed individual.”

Earlier, the Huxley family described their anguish, sitting less than two metres from Kelsall.

With heavy shoulders and an ashen face, Mr Huxley’s brother Oliver said he was plagued by visions of Morgan’s death.

“I see Morgan waking up … and trying to stop the dark figure … on top of him.

“I see Morgan’s strong arms trying to fend off what he can’t see. I see Morgan covered in blood, trying to breathe.”

Mr Huxley’s sister Tiffany said their family no longer celebrated birthdays or Christmas.

“Morgan’s murder has snuffed out so much light in my life that I sometimes wonder what the point is.”

Kelsall will be 50 when he is eligible for parole.

Bat-like dinosaur with membrane wings discovered in China

The first bat-like dinosaur has been uncovered in China. Photo: Zang Hailong/IVPP The first bat-like dinosaur has been uncovered in China. Photo: Zang Hailong/IVPP
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The first bat-like dinosaur has been uncovered in China. Photo: Zang Hailong/IVPP

The first bat-like dinosaur has been uncovered in China. Photo: Zang Hailong/IVPP

You don’t need feathers to fly: just look at bats and planes . . . and now, dinosaurs.

Chinese scientists have discovered a new variety of dinosaur that had wings made of a skin membrane rather than feathers.

The creature was only slightly larger than a pigeon, and while palaeontologists don’t know for certain it could fly, its bizarre wing formation raises questions about how flight may have evolved.

The creature, named Yi qi, which means “strange wing” in Mandarin, was unearthed in rocks from the Jurassic period, about 160 million years ago, in north-east China.

Lead researcher Xing Xu, from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, said the name seemed appropriate given no other bird or dinosaur had a wing of the same kind.

“We don’t know if Yi qi was flapping, or gliding, or both, but it definitely evolved a wing that is unique in the context of the transition from dinosaurs to birds,” Professor Xu.

While Yi qi belonged to a group of dinosaurs that were closely related to primitive birds, there was no evidence they could fly themselves until the group published their findings in the journal Nature this week.

As well as finding evidence Yi qi had membrane wings, it also possessed a long, slender bone, or cartilage, on each wrist, which researchers inferred was used to support the wing, like in bats and flying squirrels.

Since the 1990s, scientists had been discovering dinosaurs with feathers or feather-like structures, mostly in China, said American palaeontologist Kevin Padian, who was not involved in the research.

“They cemented the hypothesis of the dinosaurian origin of birds and provided spectacular evidence about the origin of flight and the primordial functions of feathers,” Professor Padian wrote in a commentary piece for Nature.

While the dinosaur did have feathers, their narrow and thread-like structure was not suitable for flight.

If Yi qi did fly – and there’s not enough evidence to confirm it did – it suggests the origin of flight in dinosaurs didn’t rely exclusively on feathers.

Flinders University palaeontologist John Long, who was not part of the research, said: “The amazing thing about Yi qi, the totally bizarre new flying squirrel-like dinosaur with bat-like wings and feathers, is that it shows how much evolutionary experimentation went on in dinosaurs before they settled on the right formula for flight, and then evolved into birds.”  

#TattooGate: Apple Watch malfunctions on some tattooed arms

The photo of the malfunctioning Apple Watch posted by a Redditor. Photo: Reddit / guinne55fan The Apple Watch emits a green light when measuring the wearer’s heart rate.
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Qantas suffers Apple Watch failApple can’t keep up with demand for new watchApple Watch “essentially impossible” to repairWearables: full coverage

Reports are surfacing from some Apple Watch early adopters that the new device is not working properly when worn on wrists with heavily tattooed skin.

One such account emerged on the social news website Reddit where one anonymous user posted two photos and a detailed explanation of their experience with wearing an Apple Watch on their tattooed wrist.

The user said that the watch did not receive notifications for incoming text messages and emails when worn over their tattoo.

“I was about to give up and call Apple tomorrow when I decided to try holding it against my hand (my left arm is sleeved [with a tattoo] and where I wear my watch is tattooed as well) and it worked,” the Redditor wrote.

“My hand isn’t tattooed and the Watch stayed unlocked. Once I put it back on the area that is tattooed with black ink the watch would automatically lock again.”

The Apple watch is designed to shut down when left idle for a few seconds and, unless it is worn against the skin, can only be woken up if you type in a pass code.​

The Redditor​ said they had reported the issue to Apple and that, after speaking with a customer representative, “it seems like I’m not the only one”.

Since that post, other tattooed users have emerged on Twitter with similar complaints. Many have been using the hashtag #TattooGate, a reference to earlier Apple-related product malfunctions, notably #AntennaGate with the iPhone 4 and #BendGate with the iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple Watch #tattoogatehttp://t/ExXUrjFvyA— Wylsacom (@wylsacom) April 28, 2015

Not all tattoos causes the watch to malfunction, however. A Redditor with lighter coloured tats has given the watch the all clear while the issues are not being reported by wears with naturally darker skin.

Speculation is that the problem lies with the sensors at the back of the watch that is used to detect skin contact and activate the watch, as well as to measure blood flow so that it can give a reading on the wearer’s pulse.

The sensors are designed to pulse light onto the skin in order for readings to be taken. But in the case of very dark tattoo ink, it would absorb the light much better than any natural skin tones, meaning the watch could be duped into thinking it was not being worn.

That, at least, is the theory.

Fairfax Media

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Panthers may be demolished for seniors’ high-rise

Panthers may be demolished for seniors’ high-riseTHE Panthers Newcastle club site in King Street could become an ‘‘over-55s living’’ complex under its new owners, The Wests Group.
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Wests chief executive Philip Gardner formally announced the club’s intention to buy the property on Wednesday.

The announcement followed a March 20 report in the Newcastle Herald, when Panthers chief Warren Wilson confirmed a ‘‘handshake agreement’’ to sell the Newcastle property.

Mr Gardner said Wests had paid about $19million for the Newcastle site, which covered more than 14,000square metres on the corner of King Street and Union Street, Newcastle.

Stressing that long-term plans were yet to be finalised, Mr Gardner said people should be aware that ‘‘somewhere in this process it could lead to demolition’’ of the existing club building.

‘‘The over-55s living is a natural part of the evolution of The Wests Group,’’ Mr Gardner said.

‘‘We can go to at least 15 storeys in Newcastle, and while there will always be a club somewhere on the site, it could involve demolition and rebuilding.’’

Mr Gardner said Wests saw great value in the potential re-use of the Newcastle site.

‘‘The inner-city location provides an excellent expansion opportunity for the WestsGroup, and reflects our confidence in the city.’’

He said the club was looking at over-55s accommodation in line with a state government ‘‘SEPP’’ (or State Environmental Planning Policy) for seniors’ housing.

Mr Gardner said Wests members would vote on the Newcastle purchase at an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday, May 31, at Wests New Lambton headquarters.

He expected that vote, and a corresponding vote of Panthers members to sell the Newcastle club, would go ahead without any problems.

Mr Gardner said Panthers put its two Hunter clubs – Cardiff and Newcastle – up for sale in 2013, and Wests put in expressions of interest for both.

Panthers eventually accepted a Wests offer of about $11million for Cardiff, but it rejected the club’s offer for Newcastle and ‘‘went seeking interest from other parties’’, Mr Gardiner said.

‘‘Then they came back to us, we went up a bit on what we were offering, they came down a bit on what they wanted, and we eventually reached a compromise.’’

Mr Gardner said the sale was a ‘‘walk in, walk out’’ deal that gave Wests ownership of the land, the club and its assets, which included 160 poker machine licences that ‘‘stay with the venue’’.

He said the land had recently been valued at $18.2million so Wests were happy with the price they paid.

The sale guaranteed entitlements for all of the Newcastle club staff and redundancies were being offered to those with more than 10years service.

Historically, the Newcastle club out-traded its Cardiff counterpart, but Mr Gardner said it appeared that Newcastle was earning about $1million a year before income tax and depreciation, while the comparable figure for Cardiff, under Wests’ management, was about $2.5million.

Mr Gardner said a memorandum of understanding governing the sale was available on the Wests website or from its New Lambton headquarters.

The Block 2015: Who are Australia’s biggest TV game show winners?

The Block’s Darren and Deanne’s place sold for $835,000 above reserve and they also took home $100,000 in prize money. Photo: Martin PhilbeyBetween them the four couples on The Block Triple Threattook home $3,165,000 from the sale of their South Yarra properties.
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It is an amount that Nine claims is the biggest sum of money given away on a single episode of TV anywhere in the world, ever.

It’s quite a claim, and one that ABC Fact Check will surely make it top priority to dissect in the coming days.

But how do Melbourne’s Darren and Deanne Jolly rank in the pantheon of Australian game show winners?

1) $2,000,000 – Simon and Jules, The HotHouse, 2004

This show involved 14 couples renovating a Queensland island dream home, getting eliminated one by one until only two people remained. Their prizes included the titular house, two cars and a boat. A second season did not eventuate. YouTube seemingly bears no record of the show’s existence.

2) $1,016,000 – Andrew Skarbek, Million Dollar Minute, 2015 

Andrew Skarbek became the biggest single game show winner in Australian history after correctly answering the question “”The Burke and Wills expedition left Melbourne in which year?” He credited his lifelong habit of reading The Age (among other things) as the key to his wide range of general knowledge.

3) $1,000,000 – Rob Fulton, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, 2005  

Fulton became the first person to win the million, more than six years after the Eddie McGuire-hosted show debuted in Australia.

For his final question, Fulton was asked which popular ’60s TV show premiered first: Bewitched, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes or I Dream of Jeannie.

4) Martin Flood, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, 2005

Little more than one month later, the show crowned a second instant millionaire. Flood spent four years studying to boost his general knowledge and developed his own program to help with the dreaded ‘fastest finger first’ elimination round.

5) $1,000,000 – Trevor Butler, Big Brother, 2004

Trevor Butler had to spend 86 days in the Big Brother house to win the $1 million prize, which seems like adequate compensation.

Big Brother was not as generous with the prize money in later seasons, deducting considerable amounts from the $1 million when housemates misbehaved.

6) $935,000 – Darren and Deanne, The Block, 2015

Darren and Deanne’s place sold for $835,000 above reserve and on top of that they also took home $100,000 in prize money.

Their South Yarra apartment sold for $2.29 million at auction.

7) $932,577 – Yolanda Stopar, Temptation, 2006

Yolanda was the revived version of Sale of the Century’s first grand champion and in one episode won by a margin of $100 over her evidently slow-reflexed and slow-reflexed opponents.

8) $857,655 – Tracey Korsten, Temptation, 2006

9) $836,000 – Greg Mathew, Big Brother, 2005

He could have taken home one million, but more than $150,000 was docked from the $1 million because of fines accrued by him and his misbehaving fellow housemates. He fared better than 2006’s Big Brother winner, who found more than half the prize money had been frittered away by the time he returned to civilisation. Mind you that was the year the infamous Turkey Slap incident happened, which presumably was rather costly.

10) $736,000 – Steve O’Donnell and Chantelle Ford, The Block (Season Eight), 2014

These two did okay, but they’re no Darren and Deanne.

11) $701,241 – Rob O’Neill, Temptation, 2005

12) $672,357 – Stephen Hall – Temptation, 2005 

13) $664,667 – Joanne Segeviano, The Price is Right, 2005

She didn’t win this amount in cash, but Joanne’s mega showcase – which included a Sunshine Coast apartment, a speedboat and an Alfa Romeo – was worth over $600,000. “Australian television history is made, for ever and ever,” host Larry Emdur said at the time.

14) $663,738 – Brigid O’Connor, Temptation, 2005 

15) $638,068 – Sunil Badami, Temptation, 2007

16) $603,002 – Blair Martin, Temptation, 2007 

17) $569,747 – Laurie Dennis, The Price is Right, 2004

The second mega showcase win. As well as the obligatory apartment and Alfa Romeo, Laurie also won a gold pen and some bikinis in the showcase. “Another piece of TV history,” host Larry Emdur said at the time.

18) $568,316 – Marisa Tamboro, The Price is Right, 2004

The first of The Price is Right’s mega showcases to be given away, one week before Laurie’s win. “You have been part of Australian television history,” host Larry Emdur said at the time.

19) $535,000 – Dougal Richardson, Million Dollar Minute, 2014 

20) $510,500 – Jonathan Maher, Million Dollar Minute, 2014

But nobody in Australia has come close to reaching the $4.5 million scooped up by American Jeopardy ace Brad Rutter, who remains the world’s biggest game show money winner.

And as for the smallest prize ever:

1. 50 cents, several unfortunate contestants such as this guy, Deal or no Deal

Sometimes the briefcases contained $200,000. Other times they didn’t.

But of course, there are some TV game show prizes that transcend crude, materialistic dollar values and lead to much more long-term happiness. So when it comes to the best ever prize there can only really be one.

1.  A Game Boy and the chance to run through the maze – lots of 90s kids, A*mazing, 1996ish

There was also something about winning stuff for your school but nobody cared about that. Pity the poor kids who only got that Yoho Diabolo thingy as the consolation prize (those were the ones who clearly didn’t watch the show because they didn’t check behind the cactus).

The Jinx: a twisting, turning and disturbing tale

Accused murderer Robert Durst in New York’s Times Square in The Jinx.At first glance, the story of accused murderer Robert Durst reads like it has spilled from the pages of a crime bestseller. The more you delve into it, however, the more disturbing it becomes. Durst’s first wife, Kathie, vanished in 1982 with no explanation. His friend Susan Berman was murdered in her home in California in 2000. And his neighbour Morris Black was found dismembered in Galveston Bay, Texas, in 2001.
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In 2010, American filmmaker Andrew Jarecki thought the twisted tale fascinating enough to spin a piece of fiction out of it, the film All Good Things, about a property heir who was a suspect in the mysterious disappearance of his first wife and the death of two other people.

But a year later the man on whom the film was based – New York property heir Robert Durst – contacted him, first, rather disturbingly, to compliment him on the film, and second to offer himself as a subject for a documentary. To tell, he said, his side of the story.

“I was always interested in Bob Durst, because I’m kind of interested in monster stories,” Jarecki says. “Whenever I hear someone say, this person is crazy, they’re capable of anything, I think, well, there was probably a different person there, at some point.”

The two men agreed to meet, though Jarecki notes there were rules of engagement. “I was never afraid of him,” he says. “I was careful with him.” To his mind, Durst simply wanted to put something on the record. “He didn’t say, ‘I want you to exonerate me’. He said, ‘I want there to be something out there from me’.” More than 20 hours of interviews followed, filmed in 2010 and 2011, and cut at first into a two-hour documentary for HBO, and finally, when the original edit simply could not be contained, a six-part documentary series, The Jinx, which created headlines around the world when it aired in the US this year.

“It was just bursting at the seams,” Jarecki says. “So we’d show a little piece of his wife, and people would say, wait, there’s a wife? And they’d say, ‘no, we’re not going on, I want to know who this person is. I need to know what’s motivating her. What’s going on? Is she important?'”

The weekly format, Jarecki adds, also allowed the audience to undertake the journey on their own terms. “