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A self-proclaimed prominent medical academic has been made bankrupt after trying to take legal action over the Whakaari/White Island disaster, Stuff reported. Dr. Miles Roger Wislang was made bankrupt after a hearing in the High Court at Dunedin last month. The application was brought by White Island Tours Ltd. over unpaid legal costs of $62,240.50. The costs arose after he applied for a judicial review application regarding the Whaakari eruption of Dec. 9, 2019, which claimed 21 lives. He argued no visits to the island should have been permitted while the mountain was at alert level two.
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Another front has opened up in the Pacific telecom cold war, with the Australian government committing to fund Telstra's acquisition of debt-laden Digicel Pacific, Lightreading.com reported. Telstra has confirmed it is in talks with local management of the Digicel Group, a Jamaica-headquartered firm that runs around 30 small telcos in the Caribbean, Central America and the south Pacific. The operator said in a statement Monday that the Australian government had promised to provide most of the funds should a deal be reached.

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Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd said on Thursday that it would reject a A$22.26 billion ($16.6 billion) takeover proposal from a group of infrastructure funds, the biggest of a frenzy of Australian deals fuelled by record-low interest rates, Reuters reported. The operator of Australia's largest airport said directors had unanimously concluded the proposal undervalued the airport and was not in the best interest of shareholders. If successful, it would have been one of Australia's biggest buyouts.
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New Zealand’s central bank said it will reduce monetary stimulus by ceasing quantitative easing, a surprise move that sent the currency higher as traders priced in an interest-rate increase as early as August, Bloomberg News reported. The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Adrian Orr, on Wednesday held the official cash rate at 0.25%, but said that it will halt bond buying under its Large Scale Asset Purchase program by July 23. The statement omitted a previous reference to the need for considerable time and patience to achieve its inflation and employment goals.
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A silver mine in Bosnia and Herzegovina that sat derelict through the years of civil strife that gripped the region from the early 1990s may soon be taken out of mothballs to benefit from an optimistic price outlook, Bloomberg News reported. Adriatic Metals Plc’s Vares project could resume production by the end of 2022 following a hiatus of more than three decades, according to Chief Executive Officer Paul Cronin.
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The U.S. private equity group in talks with Sanjeev Gupta over refinancing his Australian operations, White Oak Global Advisors, is moving deeper into the trade credit business after snapping up one of Greensill Capital’s subsidiaries, the Australian Financial Review reported. White Oak Global Advisors CEO Andre Hakkak, who is in refinancing talks with Sanjeev Gupta, has bought Greensill Capital subsidiary Finacity. White Oak has been named the successful bidder of Finacity, a US firm which helps companies raise cash by acquiring their invoices.
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New Zealand's closed borders have helped keep COVID-19 out of the Pacific nation, but a critical shortage of migrant labour is now fueling protests among businesses and workers struggling with a staffing crisis, Reuters reported. About 2,000 eateries stopped service and turned off lights across on Tuesday and are planning other stop work events as part of a two-month campaign to draw the government's attention to the severe shortages in skilled labour. The labour crunch comes after New Zealand sealed its border in March last year in response to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
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A consortium led by Macquarie Group Ltd. is exploring a rival offer for Sydney Airport, in a potential challenge to IFM Investors Pty’s A$22.3 billion ($17 billion) bid, Bloomberg News reported. The Australian firm has been speaking with potential partners, including local pension funds, about making a joint offer. The bidding group could include funds managed by Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets. Macquarie may also use some of its own capital for the deal and could seek to rope in some of the MIRA funds’ investors to join the consortium.
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A controversial Christchurch, New Zealand-based businessman, who was once a director of a Headhunters-linked debt collecting firm, has declared himself bankrupt, Stuff reported. Richard Logan Freeman, a former heavyweight boxer and racing car driver, was put into bankruptcy on June 21. It’s understood he declared himself insolvent after the High Court awarded $350,000 in damages against him earlier this year for making defamatory remarks about earthquake advocate Bryan Staples.
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Britain and Australia announced a free trade deal on Tuesday which the British government hailed as an important step in building new trade relationships following its departure from the European Union, Reuters reported. Britain said cars, Scotch whisky and confectionery would be cheaper to sell in Australia because of the agreement, which removes tariffs and reduces red tape. Australia said it was a "great win" for Australian agriculture. The deal is the first bilateral trade accord Britain has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU last year.
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