THE NEWS WRAP: Let us conquer or divide, Virgin and Air NZ tell regulators

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to continue their trans-Tasman joint venture, warning the watchdog they will dissolve the partnership if it is not reauthorised by the end of the year.

 

The airlines also want to have restrictions requiring them to maintain a minimum level of capacity for the route lifted, but say they will agree if similar restrictions are placed on a joint venture between Qantas and Emirates airlines.

 

“Notwithstanding, where the net public benefit position is finely balanced, such capacity conditions are appropriate so as to deliver the overall net public benefit,” their submission states.

 

Gillard government increases military ties with China

 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to increase military ties with China, including a series of joint exercises and exchanges, in meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

 

However, closer ties with Australia have been viewed with suspicion by some in the Chinese defence forces, who feel Australia’s agreement with the US to station 2,500 troops in Darwin represents part of an attempt by the US to encircle China.

 

“The Sino-Australian relationship has been good always, very good. [Gillard] can of course say that, but in China we say, ‘Listen to what they say, watch what they do.’ The US is taking [Australia] as a base and who is that aimed against?” Colonel Dai from the PLA National Defence University said.

 

Key Portuguese austerity measures deemed unconstitutional

 

The Constitutional Court in Portugal has deemed some of the budget measures agreed to between the government and international lenders, including the EU and IMF, are unconstitutional.

 

The finding covers several key measures, representing 1.2 billion euros out of 5.3 billion in total budget savings, and includes the scrapping of a 14th month of salary cuts for civil servants and retirees, as well as cuts to welfare benefits.

 

“It’s the laws that need to conform to the constitution and not the other way around,” said court president Joaquim Sousa Ribeiro.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.28% to 14,565.25 points. The Aussie dollar is down to US103.63 cents.

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