More than 2000 Australians stranded in Bali after Denpasar Airport closed

More than 2000 Australians, many of them families with children returning to school on Monday, are stranded in Bali after a volcanic ash cloud forced Denpasar Airport and four other Indonesian airports to close.

All flights scheduled to fly in and out of Bali yesterday were cancelled after it was found that ash and dangerous plumes from Mt Raung in Indonesia had blown into the flight path out of the airports.

Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar have cancelled nearly all scheduled flights today between Australia and Denpasar, Bali with some under review.

The airlines’ operational teams will assess flying conditions with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) to determine whether it will be safe to fly again later this evening and tomorrow morning.

Flights cancelled by Jetstar for today:

  • JQ 47 – Brisbane to Denpasar
  • JQ 44 – Denpasar to Melbourne
  • JQ 110 – Perth to Denpasar
  • JQ 109 – Denpasar to Perth

Flights cancelled by Virgin Australia for today:

  • VA 55 PER DPS –0700L
  • VA 49 MEL DPS –0905L
  • VA 65 SYD DPS –1115L
  • VA 41 BNE DPS –1005L
  • VA 74 DPS PHE –1135L
  • VA 73 PHE DPS –1535L
  • VA 39 ADL DPS –1610L
  • VA 69 SYD DPS –1830L

The following services are under review by Virgin Australia:

  • VA 36 DPS ADL –1440L
  • VA 46 DPS BNE –2210L
  • VA 54 DPS MEL –2210L
  • VA 62 DPS PER –2210L
  • VA 64 DPS SYD –0020L+1 (Departs early Sunday morning)
  • VA 40 DPS BNE –110L+1 (Departs early Sunday morning)

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Chinese stocks are soaring again

The heavy government intervention to support Chinese share prices is paying off, for now.

For a second consecutive session stocks are soaring.

In early trade the benchmark Shanghai Composite index added 5.8%, taking its two-day increase to 11.7% which, if sustained, will mark the largest rally seen on the index since September 22, 2008.

Large-cap stocks are outperforming with the SSE 50 index of the 50 largest firms listed in Shanghai, putting on 6.6%.

The moves seen in Shanghai are being replicated in other parts of the country. The Shenzhen Composite has added 4% with the tech-heavy ChiNext index up by a similar amount.

Unsurprisingly, the CSI 300 and 500 indices, comprising the 300 and 500 largest listed firms in Shanghai and Shenzhen, have put on 6.5% and 5% respectively.

The gains in Chinese stocks are buoying regional markets with the Nikkei, ASX 200 and Hang Seng up by 0.41%, 0.71% and 1.9% respectively.

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Australia has created nearly 300,000 jobs since the coalition took office

Back in November 2012 Australia’s Liberal-National coalition, under the leadership of then opposition leader Tony Abbott, pledged should they take office at the 2013 federal election they would create one million jobs within five years.

It was an ambitious target, but an achievable one given job growth at-and-above the required level has been seen in Australia before.

21 months into their term in office, it’s time to see how the jobs pledge is progressing. Those of you who are cricket fans may recognise this. It’s a run-rate chart.

Instead of chasing an opposition’s score it compares how job growth is progressing compared to the coalition’s five-year pledge.

After a terrible start — employment actually fell in the months after they took office — the “run chase” has accelerated, although it remains short of what is required. 21 months in, 292,851 jobs have been created, equating to a run-rate of 13,945 per month. Despite being positive, this falls short of the 16,667 level required when the Coalition took office.

As a result of the poor start the required run rate now stands at 18,132 jobs per month. That’s not unassailable, particularly given the economy has generated on average 20,111 jobs per month so far in 2015. If that pace can continue the government’s jobs pledge will be fulfilled — just.

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Minrex Resources shares are on a tear after a deal to backdoor list a real estate disruptor

Shares in gold and tin exploration company Minrex Resources jumped after it announced a backdoor listing for real estate industry disruptor Hello.

Minrex will acquire 100% of Hello Real Estate Limited for $6.75 million in shares. Minrex will then change its name to Hello Real Estate.

A key condition for the acquisition is a minimum $5 million capital raising to be used for the expansion of the Hello business.

Hello is a licensed real estate business operating in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and soon, Queensland.

People selling a property themselves get a fixed-fee service providing web listings, advertising, negotiation, conveyancing and professional mentoring.

Simon Durack, executive director of Minrex, says the strategic shift will see the company emerge fully funded for growth in an exciting new field.

“Hello is set to really shake up the current players in the real estate market, introducing an innovative and comprehensive new offering,” he says.

Minrex shares are up 17.5% to $0.10.

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CITI: Australia’s banks are too slow and ‘not relevant enough’ to lead fintech disruption

Citi Bank’s head of digital Heather Cox says the incumbent institutions are moving too slow and aren’t relevant enough to lead the fintech space.

In an interview with the AFR, Cox said: “We’re all moving too slow – and we have to figure out how we are going to be really relevant in people’s lives.”

Innovating the way transactions are made, payments are processed, the currency we use and even how money is borrowed are just some of the solutions startups are working on. The prize is huge. Last year Australia’s big four banks posted $28.6 billion in profit.

But Cox says she doesn’t view other banks as competitors in the digital space.

“We are not good enough, we are not relevant enough – what I see as our competitors are the people entering the fintech space,” she said. “People who are getting into banking and bringing new services [such as payments and peer-to-peer lending] … they’re doing amazing jobs. They’re the ones we need to be watching.”

There’s more here.

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