Archive for September, 2019 | Monthly archive page

Who are Tim Cahill’s new team, Shanghai Shenhua?

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Tim Cahill signs with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua
Shanghai night field

When Tim Cahill takes the field for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua he will be at the centre of a push to grow the world’s most popular sport in the world’s most populous nation.

“We are a recognised professional football club with a glorious history, a wide range of fans and great prestige,” said a statement from the club

The reality is that the team has consistently fallen behind its rivals,  the 2013 Asian Champions League winners, Guangzhou Evergrande.

Shenhua has taken out the Chinese Super League twice, in 1995 and 2003, the latter was stripped from the club in 2013 by the Chinese Football Association after it found evidence of matchfixing.

In 2011 it drew 1-1 with Sydney FC in the Asian Champions League.

For a club that has promoted its glorious history, it has been slim pickings over the past decade.

It is a trend that Shenhua is hoping to reverse with the signing of Cahill and fellow Australian born player, Avraam Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos was born in Melbourne but the defensive midfielder has played for the Greek national team since 2008.

He signed for over €3,20 million [$4.6 million] in January.

Cahill remains the highest profile signing for Shenhua since Ivorian striker Didier Drogba. Australian’s Mark Milligan and Joel Griffiths have also worn the club’s metallic blue jersey.

For a squad that has counted both Drogba and Nicholas Anelka among its marquee players, it has struggled to perform on the domestic and international stage.

Drogba, Chelsea’s former star striker, was hailed as a saviour of the Super League club when he joined in 2012, but the title drought since 2007 continued.

The lack of recent triumphs in domestic or international competitions has been reflected in the crowd numbers. Despite holding up to 33,000 people, Shanghai’s Hongkou stadium rarely filled passed halfway in 2014 when the club finished 9th in the league.

The lack of success is not for a lack of finances.

Like its rival, Guangzhou Evergrande and up to 13 other Chinese Super League clubs, the side is backed by multinational property developers.

In 2014, the club changed its name from Shanghai Shenhua, which it had maintained since its foundation in 1993, to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

Chinese Property developer, the Greenland Group, now has a 28.5 per cent share in the club.

The Fortune 500 company has also added another Australian connection to its team.

Part of Cahill’s salary may end up coming from the sale of the company’s high rise residential apartments that are currently being built on Bathurst Street in the Sydney CBD. 

Property developers continue to drive the growth of the Chinese league, with their backing allowing for the signing of marquee stars such as Cahill.

Their place has come under scrutiny in the past after some reportedly received cheaper land from local administrators in exchange for their support of the local football club, according to the Economist. 

Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will be hoping that Cahill, the man who sent his country out of the Asian Cup with a spectacular bicycle kick, will help reignite the country’s passion for football after the end of the national team’s campaign.

The football-mad president is investing heavily in the sport.

From 2017 he aims to make the game compulsory in all schools, with over 20,000 fields being built in schools across the country.

According to the most recent Chinese population data from 2011, that’s over 17 million primary school students playing compulsory football alone.

It points to a bright future for the sport in the country’s burgeoning league, but mini Cahills could well be practicing bicycle kicks across the country before then.

This Detroit man must walk 33 kilometres a day for his commute. So the internet is trying to help.

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

James Robertson, 56, of Detroit. Getting to and from his factory job more than 30 km on foot. Photo: Ryan Garza James Robertson takes a brief nap while riding the bus. Photo: Ryan Garza
Shanghai night field

James Robertson, 56, of Detroit. Getting to and from his factory job more than 30 km on foot. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson takes a brief nap while riding the bus. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson, 56, of Detroit. Getting to and from his factory job more than 30 km on foot. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson takes a brief nap while riding the bus. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson, 56, of Detroit. Getting to and from his factory job more than 30 km on foot. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson takes a brief nap while riding the bus. Photo: Ryan Garza

James Robertson’s commute is tougher than yours. Just … trust me on this.

Robertson takes a bus to his job at a factory, more than 30 kilometres from his Michigan home. Well, he takes a bus part of the way there.

He can’t rely on public transportation for his full route, so Robertson also walks.

And walks.

And walks.

The round trip totals about 33 kilometres on his feet.

We know this because Robertson’s “incredible daily commute” was featured in the Detroit Free Press, which reported:

Every trip is an ordeal of mental and physical toughness for this soft-spoken man with a perfect attendance record at work. And every day is a tribute to how much he cares about his job, his boss and his coworkers. Robertson’s daunting walks and bus rides, in all kinds of weather, also reflect the challenges some metro Detroiters face in getting to work in a region of limited bus service, and where car ownership is priced beyond the reach of many.

But you won’t hear Robertson complain — nor his boss.

“I set our attendance standard by this man,” says Todd Wilson, plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here — bull!”

Robertson — who makes $US10.55 ($13.50) an hour, about 30 per cent above Michigan’s minimum wage — told the Free Press that his 1988 Honda Accord broke down years ago, and he never got another car to replace it. That led to his weekday treks, which can take hours. (He also said he didn’t previously know about a service in Detroit that helps those with low incomes get to and from their jobs.)

After the piece on Robertson was published, the internet stepped in.

A Wayne State University student created a crowdfunding site that had raised more than $US67,000 by Monday afternoon.

“Are you serious?” Robertson asked a Free Press reporter who told him that a college student had raised thousands on his behalf.

“I just used my phone,” Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old computer science student, told the Free Press. “I created the go-funding site, and within an hour we had $US2000.”

Leedy, the newspaper reported, had been struck by the original article on the 56-year-old Detroit man and the “sudden torrent of people commenting online, many of them asking how they could help Robertson.”

And then there’s the car, which a local dealership has offered to give Robertson, who had told the Free Press that he hadn’t had “a chance” to save for a new one before.

“We were just impressed with his determination,” said Angela Osborne, a customer service specialist at the Chevrolet dealership.

The newspaper reports that others have offered their own cars (or bikes) (or bus tickets) to help out. That group included Joe Coppola, a technical recruiter.

“I want to give him my 2004 Chevy Cavalier,” Coppola wrote in an e-mail, according to the paper. “It runs well and is certainly better than not having a car.”

The Free Press notes that Robertson “has a routine now, and he seems to like it, his coworkers say,” which is probably a thing to consider. And UBS banker Blake Pollock, a friend who sometimes gives Robertson rides, seemed to express mixed emotions about the donations.

But let’s just focus on the positives for now, because it looks like the weather kind of stinks in Detroit, and it would be cool if something nice came out of this, right?

“Putting a car in his driveway and just handing James the keys or filling his pockets with cash is not the answer. But with these resources now, we should be able to do something very positive for the guy,” Pollock told the newspaper. “I think the hundreds of donors want this to go to James and not have this go out of his hands. So, if we can set up this little board to manage his money, I think that can happen.”

Washington Post

Jimmy Fallon takes lip-sync battle to new level with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Will Ferrell hamming it up to Beyonce’s song Drunk in Love.Forget Katy Perry’s lion-mounting Super Bowl halftime show, it was her other performance at Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show which had the audience in uproarious laughter.
Shanghai night field

In a special Super Bowl episode of the show, comedian Kevin Hart lip-synced Perry’s Roar in a lip-sync battle with comedian Will Ferrell and Fallon himself.

Hart’s gyrating Perry had the audience on their feet while Ferrell, Fallon and cameo performer Drew Barrymore sashayed in the background.

But it was Ferrell who stole the show pumping his hips as the icy Frozen bombshell, Queen Elsa, as he mouthed the movie’s theme song, Let it Go.

He even took the trouble to whip out a little fairy dust and appear “frozen” at the end of his rendition.

 

Appearing very comfortable in female impersonations and body rolls, Ferrell’s earlier take of Beyonce with Drunk in Love made James Franco and Seth Rogen’s parody of Kanye and Kim Kardashian’s Bound 2 music video look like child’s play.

Fallon’s ageing rock star performance with Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone ended with a little mascara-running and tortured-soul close up with the camera.

His friend, actress Drew Barrymore, took time out from her kids to relive moments from Dirty Dancing, as he lifted her, with his feet that is, to the crescendo of (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

All that scuffling and lifting, comparable to an episode of So You Think You Can Dance, took their toll on Fallon’s signature suit pants leaving two holes near his knees.

There were no costumes or make up just three grown men at their miming best.

Low rates underpin $22 billion shopping centre merger

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

The merger WILL cost money to implement. Low interest rates are a major force behind the $22 billion merger that shopping centre owner Federation Centres has negotiated with Novion, the internally managed reincarnation of CFS Retail Property Trust.
Shanghai night field

Federation emerged from the ashes of one of Australia’s biggest global crisis casualties, Centro, and will implement the new merger by issuing securities to Novion including Novion’s 21.6 per cent shareholder, the Gandel Group, which supports the deal.

Ownership of the merged group will split 64 per cent – 34 per cent in favour of Novion’s security holders, reflecting the fact that Novion is contributing assets of $14.9 billion compared with Federation’s $7.3 billion.

Both sets of investors are promised longer-term gains, however, as the group extracts merger savings and debt service savings.

The combined operation’s $22.2 billion asset base will make it the second largest retail shopping centre manager behind Scentre, the former Westfield Retail Trust.

It will be an ASX top 30 stock, with a market capitalisation of over $11 billion, and will have a national retail footprint, led by Victoria (44 per cent of the combined portfolio, including Novion’s Chadstone Shopping Centre), New South Wales (19 per cent of the portfolio), Queensland (17 per cent) and Western Australia (11 per cent).

The merged retail mix looks to be well balanced between stores that sell things shoppers need to buy regularly, and stores that sell discretionary merchandise. Supermarkets account for 33 per cent of the portfolio, and specialty stores 33 per cent. Department stores, a struggling retail category, account for only 5 per cent of the merged portfolio. Merger costs and savings

The merger will cost money to implement. The groups say that transaction costs will be $458 million, including stamp duty of $106 million, costs of $75 million taken as the merged operations are rationalised in pursuit of longer-term, repeatable savings, and debt restructuring costs of $277 million, taken as the debts of both groups are renegotiated.

There are several offsetting positives, however. Federation and Novion say that earnings will be boosted by at least $42 million a year once overlapping costs, including the groups’ two head offices, are rationalised.

Novion’s corporate costs are currently 0.39 per cent of its assets under management, and Federation’s corporate overheads are 0.55 per cent of assets. The merged group’s overheads will be 0.26 per cent of assets, the groups predict.

On top of that, debt-service cost savings that flow from the rollover of the debt both groups hold into new facilities are predicted to bump up earnings by $35 million a year.

Operational savings are to be expected in a merger of this size between groups in the same market. The financing savings underline how interest rates can be a deal catalyst.

Novion’s expected average interest rate this year on existing debt facilities totalling $3.4 billion that are drawn down by $2.8 billion is 5.3 per cent. Federation’s expected average interest rate on facilities totalling $1.7 billion that are drawn down by $1.4 billion is 4.8 per cent. The merged group expects to be able to recreate the debt at an interest rate of 4.1 per cent – and lock it in for an average of more than five years, up from 3.9 years currently at Novion, and 2.7 years at Federation.

Those debt cost savings are a crucial part of the merger maths for the two groups, and for Gandel Group, Novion’s cornerstone shareholder. The merger sums will be reinforced by the Reserve Bank rate cuts that the markets are waiting for.

How long does it take for food poisoning symptoms to appear?

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Real thing: Can you tell real cinnamon from the cheaper cassia bark? Photo: iStock Cooked rice can be a breeding ground for bugs, depending on how it is stored. Photo: Supplied
Shanghai night field

Why rice can be risky

How long before eating contaminated food does it take for the symptoms of food poisoning to appear? L. Barling

“It must have been the garlic prawns (or insert other strongly flavoured food),” says the person between bouts of transferring the contents of their digestive system into that of the sewers, one way or the other. Those affected by food poisoning can suffer from something as mild as flu-like symptoms, to severe pain, fluid loss and, in extreme circumstances, death. Putting your finger on the exact cause can be difficult as different bugs can affect you in a matter of hours to 90 days. Campylobacter, often found in undercooked chook, generally takes between two to seven days to bring about a bout of gastro, which lasts for about five days. Bacillus cereus, which loves breeding in cooked rice, can bring about a 24-hour case of the runs within eight to 16 hours. The first symptoms for botulism, such as nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting, start within 12 to 36 hours, which can then be followed by neurological symptoms. From ingestion of salmonella bugs (a common source is raw egg mayo kept out at room temperature), to getting salmonellosis, is eight to 72 hours, but can take a few weeks for gastro flu-like symptoms to arise. Illness from eating food infected with Listeriamonocytogenes, which can cause flu-like symptoms, discoloured urine and miscarriage in pregnant women, can take anywhere between eight to 90 days. So a ghastly dose of food poisoning might not be caused by the last meal you ate.

Where can I buy proper cinnamon? M. Callaghan

A few weeks back we had a reader who complained about the cinnamon she bought from a supermarket being made from the cheaper cassia bark. True cinnamon is still sold in supermarkets and has a finer bark – imagine a rustic dark-brown cigar made from paper-bark. Cassia looks like a tube of mummified leather. I buy my spices from Indian grocers but try essentialingredient上海龙凤419m.au and herbies上海龙凤419m.au. Both have physical stores and online stores.

My grandmother claimed she could “hear” when her cakes were ready. Is there any science in this? J. Fisher

A lot of good chefs cook with all five senses working overtime: tasting, sniffing, feeling, eyeing-off and, of course, listening to their food. A good mate of mine is head chef at a Surry Hills restaurant in Sydney and refuses to have music playing during kitchen prep. “We toast a lot of fresh spices here,” he says. “And you have to not only smell when they are ready but listen when they pop!” I had a kitchen job at 14 and was taught by the chef to listen to the sound the foam of the sponge batter made when you folded the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs. Now as far as your nanna goes, hearing when cakes are ready, I can’t find any evidence or examples of this in food science literature so I can only assume she was listening for the oven timer or had superhuman powers. Perhaps our readers may have some suggestions?

My cream pie filling is going thin and soupy overnight. J. Hopkins

When I was younger I watched Gilligan’s Island and used to wonder, among many things, where Mary Ann was getting her eggs, flour, sugar and milk to make her pies. Cream pies are filled with what is basically a creme patisserie topped with whipped cream or meringue. Creme patisserie is a custard that is thick and stable yet still creamy-tasting at room temperature – think eclair fillings. Now, eggs contain an enzyme called amylase that breaks down starch. To stop this enzyme destroying the gelling power of the starch it needs to be brought to a temperature high enough to knock it out. To do this, the custard needs to be brought just to the boil and held there for a minute or so over medium heat, stirring continually.

Letters

Last monthwe covered rubbery clafoutis to which C. Ashby wrote, “Clafoutis does not involve custard, but batter. The texture of batters is actually determined by the gluten in flour, which will toughen when overworked.” Thank you.

Send your vexing culinary conundrums to [email protected]上海龙凤419m.au or tweet to @Foodcornish