THE NEWS WRAP: Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange goes dark

Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, once the largest exchange of its kind in the world, has suddenly ceased trading with no prior warning and little explanation.


A protest has gathered outside the offices of the company, with investors angry about not being able to retrieve their funds, with the incident described as a blow to the cryptocurrency.


“We should have an official announcement ready soon-ish. We are currently at a turning point for the business. I can’t tell much more for now as this also involves other parties,” Mt. Gox chief executive Mark Karpeles told Reuters.


Currently, the website features a message blaming “recent news reports” for the shutdown.


“In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”


Fonterra calls for penalty rate review


Fonterra Australia managing director Judith Swales has called on the federal government to allow greater flexibility for penalty rates in the food industry, allowing hours to be adjusted based on seasonal milk supplies.


Swales says a move to New Zealand’s model, where workers are employed for additional hours without penalty rates during the peak season, in exchange for additional time off outside the peak.


“Essentially you are not legislating that people have to work 38 hours a week, 48 weeks a year. They can work longer hours without penalty [during peak supply periods] but then they get time off either side of the peak.


“If we want to be serious players on a global scale we have to have seriously competitive and efficient manufacturing operations.


“You could argue [a lack of flexibility is also] one of the issues for car manufacturing. We didn’t have a globally competitive manufacturing cost base in terms of some of the enterprise agreements and maybe some of the technology. In dairy we are no different.”


Shopper docket petrol discounts fuel ACCC action against retailers


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Coles and Woolworths to court after the retail giants failed to implement a four cents per litre cap on petrol discounts.


While the undertaking was agreed to in December and was supposed to be implemented from January 1, ACCC chairman Rod Sims alleges the retailers are still offering discounts of up to 14 cents per litre.


“The ACCC takes alleged breaches of undertakings extremely seriously. Such undertakings are generally accepted by the ACCC as an alternative to the ACCC taking court enforcement action


We think it affects the long-term health of the petrol market and, actually, we think it affects how much people are paying for petrol right now at the bowser.


“If you’ve got these discounts then, yes, we accept that you’re getting a benefit. If you don’t have the discounts then we’re concerned you’re paying too much for fuel.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to 16165.4. The Aussie dollar is down to US90.19 cents.


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