The PRWIRE Press Releases http:// 2015-05-22T08:37:23Z THE OZ NIGHT MARKET TO HOST MAMMOTH CAR SHOW ON JUNE 27TH 2015-05-22T08:37:23Z the-oz-night-market-to-host-mammoth-car-show-on-june-27th The Oz Night Market - South East Queensland’s largest collection of international cuisine are to host a mammoth car show on June 27th presented by N.E.M.O, BrisNightLife and VQ Australia. As a local community initiative, The Oz Night Market are committed to producing regular fun, family orientated events to be enjoyed by the community. “The Oz Night Market was created for FOOD, FAMILY, FUN, ENTERTAINMENT, so for us it’s very important to be putting on events that draw in the local community. This is going to be a great event - Bring the kids and come see some awesome cars!”said Oz Night Market creators Edmond Wong and Cecilia Yan. After just recently celebrating their One Year Anniversary, this event sets a tone for what to expect from The Oz Night Market in their second year. “The Oz Night Market has gone from strength to strength since opening and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see what the market has grown into”said Edmond and Cecilia. With over 400+ cars expected to show on the night, as well as a 12 metre Sky High slide for the kids, June 27th will be a great night out for the entire family. The Oz Night Market facilitate over 1,300 people each week and provide a platform for over 60 local businesses to sell their products. The Oz Night Market is held at 139 Brisbane Road, Booval from 5:30pm - 9:30pm every Saturday evening. Interviews, images and other promotional material is available upon request.  Taylor 500 Series Guitars 2015-05-22T04:24:48Z taylor-500-series-guitars Today we are looking at the Taylor 500 series guitar.  The 500 series is my favorite which may or may not matter to you.  But the reason why I love it is because the back and sides are mahogany and I am a huge fan of mahogany.  Now this particular 500 series guitar has a spruce top but you often see them with a cedar top.  So a cedar top on a mahogany back and sides creates a wood combination that has a bit little less top-end clarity but has a ton of bloom and blossom and warm mid-range, right?  What you get from a 500 series with the mahogany back and sides, particularly with a cedar top is you get a guitar that sounds about twenty year old the day that you unbox it and I love that kind of old broken in sound of guitars and you will really get that from a 500 series.  What you get from this particular guitar with a spruce top on a mahogany back and sides is a lot of that (music) warm natural blossoming mid-range from mahogany but you also get a little bit more top-end clarity from the spruce.  Now spruce because the fibers is long and the wood is kind of a dense wood and it has high volume ceiling, which means if you dig in it will get louder with you.  A cedar top is different where it is a much softer wood, right?  On a cedar top if you really dig in it tends to have a little bit of a volume ceiling, right? So if you are going to play in an unmiked or unamplified environment, a cedar top and a mahogany back and sides may not be as loud as you want it to be.  If you are going to plug in or if you are going to play around the house, to me there is no better wood combination, just because I love that broken in sound, right?  On a 500 series you are also going to get a faux tortoise binding. So you get kind of tortoise shell binding around the guitar, around the neck you are going to get an all gloss finish; so gloss top and gloss back and side, which again these are things that we reserve for our higher end guitars.  Once you get the 500 series guitar now you are entering the glossy series, right? 500 and up is glossy.  The 500 series comes in a bunch of different shapes so this particular one is a Taylor 516CE. Now 16 means it is a grand symphony body shape; it has a larger lower bout, kind of moved forward, the waste right here is moved forward a little bit, so it has a big bold strum sound to it.  But you would also get a 500 series in a dreadnought which would be a 510, a grand auditorium which would be a 514 or a grand concert which would be a 512. This one is a 516CE, now what the CE means is that it has a cut away in electronics that’s what those two letters stand for.   A cutaway on a Taylor guitar gives it more of a progressive; it’s a more modern looking acoustic guitar but also allows for upper front access if you are going to play solos up high.  The electronics, it features anything 300 and above, features our expression system. And the expression system is a Taylor proprietary on board electronics which is an under neck pickup and a body center that is mounted to the underside of the soundboard. Now what that is meant to do is to duplicate every thing we love about the 500 series once its plug in.  I love the bloom and blossom of a cedar or spruce top on top of a mahogany back and sides. I love that sound, just sitting in a room (Guitar playing).  I just love how warm and blossoming it is, right? But when I plug in I want to hear that same warmth, right? And the expression system delivers that for me, right?  That’s the 500 series. So total shell binding, spruce or cedar top on a mahogany back and sides, that’s the 500 series. It comes in a handful of different body shapes.  If you have any questions about the 500 series or any other Taylor for that matter, contact your Taylor guitars specialist at Music Now online guitar store Contact us for Taylor guitars on: (07) 5596 2588 Taste trumps cheap deals as pizza-lovers go gourmet! 2015-05-21T05:12:05Z taste-trumps-cheap-deals-as-pizza-lovers-go-gourmet Queenslanders do it online, South Australians look for quantity over quality, and in New South Wales… they prefer to go gourmet! Pizza is one of the most popular takeaway foods across the world and a new survey has revealed what drives Australia’s love-affair with the tomatoey, cheesy circles – and which store we prefer to spend our hard-earned dough at. Consumer research and ratings company Canstar Blue has surveyed almost 2,000 Aussies who have ordered takeaway pizza in the last three months to find out about our munching habits. Getting a pizza the action The survey found that 38% of pizza-lovers can’t resist adding extras like garlic bread, chicken bites or desserts to their order, especially those in their late 20s (50%). However, less than half of us (47%) always order from the same pizza store. “Everyone wants to get a great deal, but for most consumers it’s the taste of pizza that keeps them coming back for more,” said Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle. “If a particular chain isn’t tickling our tastebuds, we don’t mind taking our cash elsewhere. “Ordering pizza has never been so easy, and with so much competition out there, the big chains have to try harder than ever to entice us – and then keep us. There’s a reason why they often bombard you with flyers and special offer vouchers! “The pizza store that can cook up the perfect balance of fresh ideas and great-tasting pizzas – at an affordable price – will be onto a winner. Even slow delivery time could be forgiven if your overriding memory at the end of the night is delicious pizza.” Just 15% of survey respondents said they tend to order low-fat options and a whopping 44% were perfectly happy to eat a whole large pizza on their own – with men (55%) more likely than women (33%) to go it alone. One in four (25%) tend to buy the cheapest pizza available, while 28% opt for quantity over quality from their order. But that might turn into regret for some people, with one in three (33%) feeling conscious about their size or appearance after eating pizza. Pizza takes a slice out of fine dining Aussies are increasing favouring premium pizza options, the survey found. Almost three out of five (58%) adults prefer to buy from the gourmet range of offerings – up from 52% in 2014. But we still love a bargain, with just 11% spending $50 or more on their orders. “Consumers are demanding more adventurous options, so the pizza chains need to regularly refresh their menus to keep us interested – whether it’s the toppings on offer, or what they stuff in their crust!” said Mrs Doyle. “Taste is king, but no one wants to eat the same pizza every time! “As consumers, we like to try something new and tell our friends about it. The pizza chains that deliver the big ideas are the most likely to attract our attention and get us talking, but if those latest creations don’t hit the right notes, it could be for all the wrong reasons. There is a fine line between genius and madness!” Our increasing app-etite for pizza Not only do 36% of survey respondents always order pizza online, but 22% have an app to do so, with those in their 30s (35%) the most likely to order with their smartphone. “Being able to easily modify your order, search through additional extras, and even track your order’s progress as it’s prepared, cooked and delivered, have become part of the pizza-ordering experience for many people,” said Mrs Doyle. “As a result, a pizza chain’s online service has never been so important, with consumers able to take their business elsewhere in a split second if a website isn’t easy to navigate.” How Aussies eat their pizza The survey revealed some interesting variations in our pizza-eating habits across the states. Respondents in Queensland (31%) had the biggest appetite for cheap deals and were most likely to order their pizza online (47%). Those in Victoria (25%) were least likely to order online. South Australians (37%) were the hungriest for quantity over quality from their order, the most likely to eat a whole large pizza on their own (50%) and the least image conscious after enjoying their feast (26%). West Australians (57%) were the most loyal to their favourite pizza chain and most likely to have a mobile app for ordering (27%), while those in New South Wales were most tempted by additional extras (40%), the most likely to order low-fat pizzas (17%) and the biggest fans of gourmet options (64%). What we want from different pizza chains The survey also revealed some fascinating insights into which pizza chains Aussies gravitate towards depending on what – or how much – we’re hungry for. Pizza-lovers looking for cheap deals and quantity over quality were drawn to Pizza Hut more than anywhere else, while those who ordered from Eagle Boys were most likely to include extra sides. And consumers who favour gourmet options were most likely to order from Pizza Capers. Which pizza chain do Aussies rate highest? The Canstar Blue survey asked respondents to rate the pizza chain they most recently ordered from across a range of categories, including menu options, special deals, delivery, taste and value for money. Pizza Capers and Crust earned five-star ratings for taste and menu variety, while Eagle Boys and Dominos got top marks for their special offers. Eagle Boys was deemed to offer the best value for money, but for the fifth year in a row, Pizza Cappers beat the rest for overall customer satisfaction. “Those who ordered through Pizza Capers reported fresh, quality ingredients, a great variety of unique – and unusual – toppings, and quick delivery time. That’s a recipe for success in anyone’s book,” said Mrs Doyle. “It also earned several nods of recognition for its vegetarian and gluten-free options. “Consumers are increasingly demanding high-quality, premium pizzas – and Pizza Capers is leading this pizza evolution. Congratulations to Pizza Capers for another outstanding result. To top the table for five straight years is a phenomenal achievement.” Pizza Capers General Manager, Yvette Shearer, said the brand continued to put the customer first year after year, with an increased focus on operational excellence putting franchisees’ focus on customer service over the past 18 months. “The past year or so at Pizza Capers has been about reinvigorating the operational excellence of our franchises, with a renewed commitment to excellent customer service, speedy delivery times and of course high quality, generously topped pizzas that look just as good as they taste,” said Ms Shearer. “It’s fantastic that our franchisees are getting recognised for the outstanding effort they put in each and every day to every single pizza they make and customer they serve!” Ms Shearer said the awards aligned with the bigger market trend towards healthy, real food and hand-crafted, gourmet products.  “The proof just keeps on coming in – consumers are rating gourmet pizza as the most satisfying product currently on offer from quick service restaurants,” said Ms Shearer. Akamai Releases Q1 2015 State of the Internet - Security Report 2015-05-20T00:31:07Z akamai-releases-q1-2015-state-of-the-internet-security-report Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, today announced the availability of the Q1 2015 State of the Internet – Security Report. This quarter’s report, which provides analysis and insight into the global cloud security threat landscape, can be downloaded at www.stateoftheinternet.com/security-report.   “In the Q1 2015 report, we’ve analyzed thousands of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks observed across the PLXrouted network as well as nearly millions of web application attack triggers across the Akamai Edge network. By bringing in the web application attack data, along with in-depth reports from all of our security research teams, we’re able to provide a more holistic view of the Internet and the attacks that occur on a daily basis,” said John Summers, vice president, Cloud Security Business Unit, Akamai. “This is our biggest and best security report yet. This report provides an in-depth look at DDoS attacks, and sets a baseline for web application attack triggers, so we will be able to report on attack trends for both the network and application layers in our future reports.”   DDoS attack activity soars Q1 2015 set a record for the number of DDoS attacks observed across the PLXrouted network – more than double the number recorded in Q1 2014 – and a jump of more than 35 percent compared to last quarter. However, the attack profile has changed. Last year, high bandwidth and short duration attacks were the norm. But in Q1 2015, the typical DDoS attack was less than 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) and endured for more than 24 hours. There were eight mega-attacks in Q1, each exceeding 100 Gbps. While that was one fewer mega-attack than in Q4 2014, such large attacks were rarely seen a year ago. The largest DDoS attack observed in Q1 2015 peaked at 170 Gbps.   During the past year, DDoS attack vectors have also shifted. This quarter, Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) attacks accounted for more than 20 percent of the attack vectors, while SSDP attacks were not observed at all in Q1 or Q2 2014. SSDP comes enabled by default on millions of home and office devices—including routers, media servers, web cams, smart TVs and printers—to allow them to discover each other on a network, establish communication and coordinate activities. If left unsecured and/or misconfigured, these home-based, Internet-connected devices can be harnessed for use as reflectors.   During Q1 2015, the gaming sector was once again hit with more DDoS attacks than any other industry. Gaming has remained the most targeted industry since Q2 2014, consistently being targeted in 35 percent of DDoS attacks. The software and technology sector was the second most targeted industry in Q1 2015, with 25 percent of the attacks.   Compared to Q1 2014 •       116.5 percent increase in total DDoS attacks •       59.83 percent increase in application layer (Layer 7) DDoS attacks •       124.69 percent increase in infrastructure layer (Layer 3 & 4) DDoS attacks •       42.8 percent increase in the average attack duration: 24.82 vs. 17.38 hours   Compared to Q4 2014 •       35.24 percent increase in total DDoS attacks •       22.22 percent increase in application layer (Layer 7) DDoS attacks •       36.74 percent increase in infrastructure layer (Layer 3 & 4) DDoS attacks •       15.37 percent decrease in average attack Duration: 24.82 vs. 29.33 hours   A look at seven common web application attack vectors For the Q1 2015 report, Akamai concentrated its analysis on seven common web application attack vectors, which accounted for 178.85 million web application attacks observed on the Akamai Edge network. These vectors included SQL injection (SQLi), local file inclusion (LFI), remote file inclusion (RFI), PHP injection (PHPi), command injection (CMDi), OGNL Java injection (JAVAi) and malicious file upload (MFU).1 During Q1 2015, more than 66 percent of the web application attacks were attributed to LFI attacks. This was fueled by a massive campaign against two large retailers in March, targeting the WordPress RevSlider plugin.   SQLi attacks were also quite common, making up more than 29 percent of web application attacks. A substantial portion of the SQLi attacks was related to attack campaigns against two companies in the travel and hospitality industry. The other five attack vectors collectively made up the remaining five percent of attacks.   Accordingly, the retail sector was the hardest hit by web application attacks, followed by the media and entertainment and hotel and travel sectors.   The growing threat of booter/stresser sites The menu of easy-to-use attack vectors found in the DDoS-for-hire market can make it easy to dismiss the effectiveness of attackers who use them. A year ago, peak attack traffic using these tactics from booter/stresser sites typically measured 10-20 Gbps per second. Now these attack sites have become more dangerous, capable of launching attacks in excess of 100 Gbps. With new reflection attack methods being added continually, such as SSDP, the potential damage from these is expected to continue increasing over time.   IPv6 adoption brings new security risks IPv6 DDoS is not yet a common occurrence, but there are indications that malicious actors have started testing and researching IPv6 DDoS attack methods. A new set of risks and challenges associated with the transition to IPv6 are already affecting cloud providers as well as home and corporate network owners. Many IPv4 DDoS attacks can be replicated using IPv6 protocols, while some new attack vectors are directly related to the IPv6 architecture. Many of the features of IPv6 could enable attackers to bypass IPv4-based protections, creating a larger and possibly more effective DDoS attack surface. The Q1 security report outlines some of the risks and challenges that are ahead of us.   SQL injection attacks move beyond data theft While SQL injection attacks have been documented since 1998, their uses have grown. The effects of these malicious queries can extend well beyond simple data exfiltration, potentially causing more damage than a data breach would have. These attacks can be used to elevate privileges, execute commands, infect or corrupt data, deny service, and more. Akamai researchers analyzed more than 8 million SQL injection attacks from Q1 2015 to uncover the most frequent methods and goals.   Website defacements and domain hijacking Hundreds of web hosting companies provide web hosting for as little as a few dollars a month. In those cases, the hosting company may host multiple accounts on the same server. This can result in hundreds of domains and sites running under the same server IP address, potentially allowing malicious actors to hijack multiple web sites at once. Once one site has been compromised, a malicious actor can potentially traverse the server's directories, potentially reading username and password lists, to access files from other customer accounts. This could include web site database credentials. With this information, attackers could gain the ability to change files on every site on the server. The Q1 security report includes an explanation of the vulnerability and recommended defensive measures.   Download the report A complimentary copy of the Q1 2015 State of the Internet - Security Report is available as a free PDF download at www.stateoftheinternet.com/security-report.   About stateoftheinternet.com Akamai’s stateoftheinternet.com shares content and information intended to provide an informed view into online connectivity and cybersecurity trends as well as related metrics, including Internet connection speeds, broadband adoption, mobile usage, outages, and cyber-attacks and threats. Visitors to stateoftheinternet.com can find current and archived versions of Akamai’s State of the Internet (Connectivity and Security) reports, the company’s data visualizations and other resources designed to help put context around the ever changing Internet landscape.       About Akamai As the global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, Akamai makes the Internet fast, reliable and secure for its customers. The company's advanced web performance, mobile performance, cloud security and media delivery solutions are revolutionizing how businesses optimize consumer, enterprise and entertainment experiences for any device, anywhere. To learn how Akamai solutions and its team of Internet experts are helping businesses move faster forward, please visit www.akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.   1Data on cross-site scripting (XSS) and other high profile attack vectors was not collected for the Q1 report, but may be included in future editions. Word Branch Publishing Releases New Fantasy Novel 2015-05-19T13:47:56Z word-branch-publishing-releases-new-fantasy-novel Marble, NC, May 19, 2015 -- Word Branch Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Jamal Cadoura’s first published novel: When Darkness Emerges. “I am so impressed by this young man’s storytelling ability,” says Word Branch president, Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh. “When Darkness Emerges has a captivating plot with vibrant characters who have depth and real reactions-there are no cardboard cutouts here. This is a novel not just for fantasy fans, but anyone who enjoys action and drama.” The book begins with an ‘everyman’ that anyone can relate to. James Oak’s life is falling apart, but when he realizes it isn’t the world fighting him, but him fighting his own internal battle, he finally gives in to the inevitable failure. But redemption comes in the form of an unlikely source. A coworker introduces him to a fantastical world where angels rule. But despite the unearthly beauty of the Oracai, it is contrasted with the darkness of Olethros and the terrifying demons that inhabit it. What ensues is a war that not only changes the dynamics of the worlds, but James himself. Relying heavily on vivid description to build the world of Oracai, Cadoura’s writing draws the reader into the story with relentless battles and realistic dialog. “His strength is his ability to set a scene so rational that the reader immediately believes the fantastic,” says Rayburn-Trobaugh. Cadoura lives in his native Michigan where he not only writes but runs his not-for-profit organization, Pens For Peace. He says that he, “writes not only because he has a burning passion for it,” but because he desires to change the world through his words. When Darkness Emerges can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Word Branch virtual book shop as well as bookstores near you. http://www.wordbranch.com/when-darkness-emerges.html Word Branch is an independent publishing company located in the heart of Appalachia. WBP represents talented new and emerging authors who need a venue to make their voices heard. Visit the online book shop and discover a world of imagination, facts, stories and entertainment. Written by some of the finest rising stars in the book world, Word Branch Publishing offers a diverse selection of drama, science fiction, personal growth, young adult, indigenous titles and more. https://www.wordbranch.com Contact: Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh Word Branch Publishing PO Box 41 Marble, NC 28905 828 837 6135catherine@wordbranch.comhttp://www.wordbranch.com Australia's favourite vintage-inspired fashion retailer launches Singapore online store 2015-05-18T10:07:37Z australia-s-favourite-vintage-inspired-fashion-retailer-launches-singapore-online-store Australia, May 18th, 2015: Review, one of Australia’s most regarded vintage-inspired fashion brands, is launching a dedicated online store for Singapore customers. The site www.review-australia.sg will feature Review’s signature range of occasion wear, corporate and daywear styles hand-picked for the local market and priced in Singapore dollars. Review Australia’s Creative Manager Lisa Tyler said Review already has a dedicated following of women in Singapore, who love the Australian brand’s unique prints and fabrics, vintage-inspired designs, and feminine detailing. “We wanted to give our Singapore customers their own online store customised to the local market, so that we can continually improve their shopping experience,” she said. “Review’s collection of ultra-feminine dresses is designed for the significant events in a woman’s life, while our range of lady-like daywear dresses, elegant skirts and romantic blouses can be easily multi-purposed within a wardrobe to create versatile looks that are feminine and polished.” Review is renowned for its luxurious vintage style and eclectic prints and fabrics, producing its original designs and samples in-house at its Melbourne headquarters. For inspiration, Review designers travel to vintage stores and flea markets around Europe and America, searching for hidden gems that will inspire future collections. Review’s dedicated Singapore online store will feature signature dresses and occasion wear, and vintage-inspired looks that are appropriate to wear day and night, for work or the weekend. All of Review’s core collection is available from a size six, and its romantic sleepwear range starts in size small. As the wedding season in Singapore nears, Review’s collection of vintage-inspired dresses offers a timeless choice for bridal parties and wedding guests. Singapore customers will receive a fixed rate return satchel for effortless returns and, for a limited time only, enjoy FREE SHIPPING from the new www.review-australia.sg website. Want to relive a show you went to all those years ago? Want a t-shirt or poster from it? 2015-05-18T05:44:44Z want-to-relive-a-show-you-went-to-all-those-years-ago Bands tend to focus on upcoming tours, and that doesn’t do justice to their hard-earned reputations from touring the live circuit. A new venture called Tourback aims to compile facts about previous tours into one place. It will create a legacy for touring bands and is seeking funding and band nominations via Kickstarter. Tourback has launched a Kickstarter campaign and backers can nominate a band to trial and - if it’s successful - will get a tour t-shirt. The backer will be named - with the band they nominated - on the site. Tourback aims to sell reproductions of tour t-shirts and posters that are no longer available.  The artists/rightsholders of the artwork will receive royalties from sales because fans want their payment to go to them.This idea is the brainchild of Anna Daniel, a music fanatic who is so obsessed about music she did a PhD in how technology has created opportunities for musicians. More details here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1332329781 Consumers demand transparency from hire car companies 2015-05-13T01:14:20Z consumers-demand-transparency-from-hire-car-companies Aussie motorists are demanding complete transparency from hire car companies – but aren’t always getting it, according to a new study. Over half of rental car customers have found costs misleading, and almost one in four have disputed additional charges after returning a vehicle, consumer research service Canstar Blue found. But many will only have themselves to blame for failing to read the terms and conditions of their agreement. “Hiring a car is a serious responsibility, but it’s very irresponsible of motorists to enter into such an agreement without thoroughly reading the small print first,” said Canstar Blue General Manager Megan Doyle. “If you are driving a vehicle worth thousands of dollars it’s important to know exactly where you stand should something go wrong and what fees you may incur. It’s worrying that so many consumers are going into the process blind. “But it’s also concerning that many people have experienced a lack of transparency over costs. The operators should be doing everything they can to make all costs involved as clear as possible, including insurance, which many customers cited as a major frustration. “People don’t mind paying a reasonable price to hire a car, as long as they receive good customer service, and complete transparency over costs and potential fees.” Drivers of hire car satisfaction % of respondents Transparency of costs and fees 31% Customer service 31% Value for money 14% Availability of vehicle booked 10% Booking process 8% Availability of accessories ordered 6% Source: www.canstarblue.com.au Hire Car survey 2015 The survey, of 736 drivers who have hired a car in Australia within the last year, found that 81% always inspect their vehicle and 37% take pictures of it before driving off. Despite that, 43% fail to thoroughly read the terms and conditions of their contract. Fifty-seven per cent often find the original quoted price of renting a car turns out to be different from the price they are charged and 23% have disputed additional charges after returning it, usually relating to damage. “Some drivers claim to have been charged up to double the original quoted price, while others have been left waiting months for security deposits to be returned,” said Mrs Doyle. “Other common complaints include not being able to pay by debit card and charges for refuelling. “Nothing frustrates people more than being hit with unexpected fees, but unfortunately these are disputes that consumers are unlikely to win. Thirty-one per cent of survey respondents did not realise that operators could debit their card for an unlimited amount to cover vehicle damage and breach of contract. “It’s crucial that consumers thoroughly review the vehicle damage report and terms of their rental agreement, and don’t underestimate the significance of what they are doing – because it could cost them. If the contract is confusing and hard to understand, then don’t agree to it.” What you need to know when hiring a car Stephen Moir, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Trade Association of WA, said some motorists are guilty of underestimating the additional charges that can come with hiring a car. “Many consumers fail to educate themselves on the fee schedule and additional fees that may apply – such as those for additional drivers, location fee, drivers under the minimum age, petrol, excess kilometres, damage to the vehicle and late return of vehicle,” he said. “Consumers should ask lots of questions and find out what the fees and charges are for the hire company they choose. It’s important to remember that different companies have different hire conditions. I recommend that consumers keep a note of their activity every day – for example, keep an eye on how many kilometres you’ve travelled each day to ensure that you don’t exceed the daily kilometre allowance. “It’s very important that the consumer conducts their own checks of the vehicle along with a representative of the hire company. If you notice any defects it’s imperative that they are noted in the hire contract. The hire contract is a document which protects both the consumer and the hire company. If a default is NOT noted on the hire contract it doesn’t exist at that point it time. Customers should ensure they receive a copy of the hire contract and are satisfied that all defaults are accounted for.” To make sure your next car hire experience goes smoothly, here are some tips on what you should do – and questions you should ask. ·         Find out what documents you will need Most companies will need you to present a valid driver’s licence and credit card at pick-up. International visitors will usually need their country licence, international licence and passport. Most companies need to sight these documents in their original format and many won’t accept photocopies. ·         Check the vehicle before you take it It’s important that you check the vehicle before you take it.  If you notice any defect on the vehicle you must notify the company and ensure that they have documented it in their records. If it is not in their records when the vehicle is returned, they may not accept other evidence such as photographs. ·         Find out what fees and charges apply Reputable companies will be able to outline all of their fees and charges. These could include additional drivers, location fee, drivers under the minimum age, petrol, excess kilometres, damage to the vehicle, late return of vehicle, returning the vehicle to a different location and credit card surcharges. You should be able to get a list of all fees and charges in writing. ·         Is there an age requirement for the driver? Many companies have an age requirement of 21 years or over. Drivers under this age may be required to pay additional charges. ·         Do I need to pay a bond? Many companies will require a bond to be paid when you pick up the vehicle. This will depend on the type of vehicle you hire. ·         Do I need insurance? Insurance is not compulsory but it is strongly recommended. Hire car company insurance packages are usually fairly low cost and in the event that something occurs it could save the consumer a lot money – and stress.  It’s important to remember that from the time you take charge of a hire vehicle you are financially responsible for any loss or damage to the vehicle or any loss or damage to third party property as a result of using the vehicle.  ·         Does the agreement include roadside assistance? Roadside assistance due to mechanical malfunction is usually covered in your hire charge. Non-standard assistance for things like locking your keys in the vehicle or a flat battery could mean additional charge. ·         What can I use the vehicle for? Many companies require that the vehicle only be driven on sealed bitumen roads. You should talk to the company if you intend to use the vehicle to tow or go off road. Which hire car company is rated highest? While several negative experiences were highlighted by the survey, many respondents reported great value for money and customer service. “It’s natural to remember negative experiences for longer than positives ones, but we did receive plenty of very encouraging feedback,” said Mrs Doyle. “Many spoke highly of quick and easy booking processes, helpful and professional staff, and clean and tidy vehicles. Others were grateful for being upgraded to newer, better models at no extra charge.” Respondents to the Canstar Blue survey were asked to rate the most recent hire car company they used across a range of research criteria, including the booking process, customer service and value for money. Avis was the only operator to earn a five-star rating for overall satisfaction. “Most people are willing to accept some faults, like accessories – or even the vehicle they booked – not being available when they arrive at the pick-up point. But they don’t want to be taken for a ride when it comes to costs,” said Mrs Doyle. “It’s a consumer’s responsibility to make sure they understand the agreement they enter into, but operators should also do their best to be as transparent and helpful as possible.”  ABS Release March 2015 Australian Housing Finance Statistics 2015-05-12T01:50:46Z abs-release-march-2015-australian-housing-finance-statistics ABS Release March 2015 Australian Housing Finance Statistics MARCH KEY FIGURES Trend estimates Seasonally adjusted estimates Mar 2015 Feb 2015 to Mar 2015 Mar 2015 Feb 2015 to Mar 2015 Value of dwelling commitments(a)(b) $m % change $m % change Total dwellings 31 264 0.8 31 622 3.5 Owner occupied housing 18 623 0.8 18 710 1.6 Investment housing - fixed loans(c) 12 641 0.8 12 913 6.4 Number of dwelling commitments(a)(b) no. % change no. % change Owner occupied housing 54 190 0.4 54 686 1.6 Construction of dwellings 5 836 -1.4 5 804 -1.8 Purchase of new dwellings 2 680 -0.1 2 777 2.9 Purchase of established dwellings 45 674 0.7 46 105 2.0 (a) Includes refinancing (see Glossary). (b) Excludes alterations and additions. (c) Excludes revolving credit. Value of dwelling commitments, Total dwellings No. of dwelling commitments, Owner occupied housing MARCH KEY POINTSVALUE OF DWELLING COMMITMENTSMarch 2015 compared with February 2015: The trend estimate for the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.8%. Owner occupied housing commitments rose 0.8% and investment housing commitments rose 0.8%. In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 3.5%. NUMBER OF DWELLING COMMITMENTSMarch 2015 compared with February 2015: In trend terms, the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance rose 0.4% in March 2015. In trend terms, the number of commitments for the purchase of established dwellings rose 0.7%, while the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings fell 1.4% and the number of commitments for the purchase of new dwellings fell 0.1%. In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments fell to 14.7% in March 2015 from 15.1% in February 2015. Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5609.0?OpenDocument LAIA Mortgage Brokers - Home Loans Lending and Investment Advisors - Property Investment Home Loans Aussies favour high-end home appliances 2015-05-12T00:14:10Z aussies-favour-high-end-home-appliances Australian consumers are favouring high-end home appliances, choosing quality and longevity over short-term savings. That’s according to consumer research company Canstar Blue, which has this year seen Miele take the lead as the most successful manufacturer of household appliances, based on its customer satisfaction ratings. Winning Canstar Blue’s inaugural Most Satisfied Customers Award for Ovens, Miele has taken its accolades for the year to three – and eight since the ratings website was launched in July 2010. That gives Miele three more awards than any other brand in the market. Brands by number of Canstar Blue awards Brand     No. of awards Miele 8 Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel 5 LG 4 ALDI, Samsung, 3 Bosch, Daikin, Dyson, Fujitsu, Honda, Nespresso, Kelvinator, Simpson 2 Breville, Panasonic, Shark, Nutribullet 1 Source: www.canstarblue.com.au Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle, said cost usually relates to quality when it comes to whitegoods, and those who skimp on spending might pay for it in the long term. “There’s no doubt there are some fantastic offers out there for households on a tight budget, but spending that little bit extra could mean the difference between replacing a washing machine or dishwasher after 15 years, rather than 10,” she said. “Across many of the categories we research, value for money is the biggest driver of customer satisfaction. But for appliances, long-term factors like performance and reliability take over in importance – because consumers want and appreciate appliances they can rely on. “Miele has a fantastic reputation as a leading brand of household appliances and our ratings over the last five years – from the people who matter most, the consumers – clearly show it is living up to that reputation.” Four of Miele’s eight Canstar Blue awards have come for dishwashers, with their run of success only briefly interrupted by Bosch in 2013. Three others were for front loader washing machines, including the last two years in succession. “No other brand of appliances has achieved the level of consistency that Miele has,” added Mrs Doyle. “Even across other research categories, it’s extremely rare to see one brand dominate its area of expertise in quite the same way that Miele has – particularly when those areas are extremely competitive. “Congratulations to Miele for continuing to provide Australians with quality home appliances.” Miele topped a table of 10 other leading brands to secure its most recent award for ovens. While others scored higher in some research categories, Miele was the only one to achieve top marks from consumers for even heat distribution and reliability – the two biggest drivers of customer satisfaction. Click here to read the full award report. The survey, of more than 1,200 households who have a working oven in their home, found the average spend to be $981. Miele’s Head of Category Management, Sacha Leagh-Murray, is delighted that consumers have recognised Miele with three Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customer Awards so far this year. “This is an outstanding achievement by Miele,” she said. “We’re proud to be in such a defining position in customer satisfaction. It gives recognition to Miele’s premium position as the leading brand in whitegoods appliances.” Debut Author Releases Novel Deemed "Too Controversial for Americans" 2015-05-09T05:37:40Z debut-author-releases-novel-deemed-too-controversial-for-americans Sarasota, FL, May 09, 2015 -- E. A. A. Wilson, of Sarasota, FL, has released her new novel Ascension Denied. The book is said to “upend our expectations about the afterlife and skewer religion, business and the banal trappings of modern life.” (Award-winning author Rob Griffith) In this tale of adventure and the search for freedom, angels and humans struggle to navigate their own weaknesses in a complex and fascinating afterlife. According to Wilson’s portrayal of what comes next, purgatory is in trouble. In a bureaucratic afterlife where science, theology and utter confusion are entwined, something is preventing the dead from ascending. But the ferryman can't just stop bringing new arrivals over from the murky shores of death. Can Alice unclog a corrupt system before the streets are overrun by dead people? When unemployment in purgatory hits an all-time high, how can dead souls work towards their redemption? These questions and more are explored in Wilson’s Ascension Denied. Although publishing is notorious for being a difficult market to crack, Wilson was undeterred when a series of publishing houses rejected her work as “too controversial for Americans”. “I more than believe American readers are equipped to handle life’s big questions,” said Wilson, who wrote the novel while being a stay-at-home mom and said the book emerged when unanswered questions kept presenting themselves. “Regardless of our individual belief systems we’re all asking the same questions of the institutions previous generations took for granted,” she continued. “Many of us are feeling disillusioned by the answers we’re given. Ascension Denied take an unflinching look at the world we live in. It may raise some eyebrows, but I believe we are ready to take on the taboos of our society and put question marks where our elders arrogantly placed full stops. Why not?” The late Scott Ciencin, also of Sarasota and a New York Times bestselling author, said of the book: “Ascension Denied is a wondrous and masterfully-assured debut novel. Fantastical, romantic, and piercingly satirical, this tale of bureaucracy and backstabbing in purgatory is a slice of literary heaven. Great characters, great fun. If you like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, you will love this. E.A.A. Wilson is here to stay!” For more information about Ascension Denied or E. A. A. Wilson, visit the author’s site at http://www.eaawilson.com. The book is available in paperback, hardback and ebook, from all major online bookstores. About The Author E. A. A. Wilson is a mom, minister of metaphysics and administrative manager, and has penned several short stories under the series title “The Foible”. She is also an author with Simon & Schuster, writing under the penname L. J. Oliver. Ascension Denied is Wilson’s debut novel. Wilson is available for interviews, motivational talks and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book-signings contact eaawilsonauthor@gmail.com. Press Contact: E. A. A. Wilson Ascension Denied 3169 Hatton Street Sarasota, FL, 34237 941 779 4229e.wilsoncontact@gmail.comhttp://www.eaawilson.com Living Eggs a Rousing Success at Cuddles Childcare Centres 2015-05-08T03:38:37Z living-eggs-a-rousing-success-at-cuddles-childcare-centres Perth, WA, 8 May 2015 - As this article is being written, children at two different Cuddles Childcare Centre locations in the Perth area are experiencing the miracle of birth in a controlled classroom environment. The program is called “Living Eggs.” It is a wildly popular program across Australia in which children get to watch live eggs hatch into chicks and then watch the chicks develop for two weeks or so.Living Eggs is offered not only to preschool child care centres, but schools and even care homes for the elderly. The old and young alike provide overwhelmingly positive feedback about the Living Eggs experience. How it WorksWhen a child care centre, school or care home signs up for the Living Eggs program they receive an incubator, living eggs and a brooder box. The incubator is so accurate that the heat can be controlled by a tenth of a degree. The living eggs are delivered live and within 2-3 days of their expected hatching dates. The incubator is built in such a way as to allow viewing of all stages of the egg, from its original embryonic form through all stages of hatching and the chick’s first week or two out of the egg. The brooder box, where the chicks spend their time after hatching, allows them to feed and drink water. It has a heat light for controlled environment and a bed for the chicks to sleep on.Why Living Eggs is So PopularLiving Eggs is a program that has a near-100% re-booking rate. It receives rave reviews and comments from parents and staff. The children are delighted to spend time watching the chicks grow. Children, parents and staff marvel together at the “miracle of life” and the children usually ask questions that further their interest in biology.Children learn about biology in a way that is fun and never tedious. Living Eggs provides a great opportunity for more bonding between parent and child as the children inevitably steer their parents to the brooder and incubator to watch the chicks pecking their way out of the eggs.Why Cuddles Childcare Centres Provide Living EggsAccording to Michelle Coleski, the Operations Manager of Cuddles Childcare Centres, who have three locations in the Perth area:“Everyone loves the Living Eggs program. It is one of our most successful activities to provide for the children. We strive to provide our children with a diverse range of fulfilling experiences. We agree with the Early Years Learning Framework that children learn their best while they are playing. Consequently, we provide them with as many great opportunities to learn through play as we can provide.”Ms Coleski concluded, “Not only do the children love Living Eggs, but even the hardest adult soul softens when they see a little chick breaking its way through an eggshell and into life.”The Cuddles Childcare Centres booked the Living Eggs program on the following dates: Cuddles Carlisle from 20th April to 1st May; Cuddles St James from 28th April to 8th May; and Cuddles Bertram from 4th May to 15th May.Cuddles Childcare Centres provide child care in Baldivis and other Perth suburbs. Their motto, “Learning through Play,” is their mission. They keep children entertained with a wide range of diverse activities that allow children to learn in the most efficient way possible: by playing. To learn more, call the nearest Cuddles Childcare Centre in the Perth area or visit their website: http://www.cuddleschildcare.com.au/. 575 Cities Expected to Celebrate Extra Mile Heroes 2015-05-07T06:00:37Z 575-cities-expected-to-celebrate-extra-mile-heroes Los Angeles, Ca, May 7, 2015 -- Mayors from 575 U.S. cities are expected to recognize extra-mile heroes in their communities and declare Extra Mile Day on November 1. A growing international movement dedicated to spreading the power of the “go the extra mile” message, Extra Mile Day and its popularity in the U.S. continues to soar. Created in 2009 with 23 inaugural cities, the November 1, 2014, declaration was celebrated by 527 cities. In association with Extra Mile America, mayors from both sides of the political aisle are coming together to remind people that the greatest success and change in life is created through extra mile effort. At a time when many are demanding changes in service and opportunity, Extra Mile Day celebrates individuals and organizations that have chosen to create positive change in their communities by going extra mile. Extra Mile Day is the vision of motivational speaker and author Shawn Anderson. First spreading the “go the extra mile” message across the U.S. in 2009, Anderson used a symbolic 4,000-mile ocean-to-ocean bike ride. On the solo ride, the non-bicyclist interviewed over 200 people who had been identified as going the extra mile in overcoming setback or who had risked everything in order to accomplish something extraordinary. Now Anderson and his team have begun to take the message international starting with a July 2015 speaking tour in the Philippines that is expected to draw 20,000 people. “The ‘go the extra mile’ message gives people an option to just throwing their arms in the air and saying ‘I give up’ when life punches them in the gut,” Anderson says. “‘Going the extra mile’ is about choosing to quit complaining about all that is wrong in our lives, and instead, to take action and initiate the change we desire.” “We wait for a government program, a boss, or a spouse to make our lives better. That’s the wrong strategy. It’s up to us. It’s you and me looking in the mirror and saying ‘It’s my time to make a difference.’” Anderson shares. “Extra Mile Day is a reminder of the power we each have to make change happen when we choose to do more, give more, and go the extra mile.” For more information about Extra Mile Day, visit ExtraMileAmerica.org. Contact: Shawn Anderson Los Angeles, CA (310) 402-4826shawn@extramileamerica.orghttp://www.extramileamerica.org THE STAR AND PYRMONT LIGHT UP FOR VIVID SYDNEY 2015-05-07T03:33:04Z the-star-and-pyrmont-light-up-for-vivid-sydney The Star will be lighting up for Vivid Sydney in 2015 with an expanded footprint of interactive activity to create the Vivid Sydney Game Zone at Pyrmont & The Star as part of the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. From 22 May to 8 June, the harbourside precinct will be transformed into a buzzing multi-sensory games zone inviting the audience to take control. A light-connected trail of installations and activations will guide visitors to and from the city precinct via Darling Harbour. The Star Managing Director, Greg Hawkins said: “The Star is delighted to work with Destination NSW to take part in this leading creative festival, Vivid Sydney. We are building a brand new series of installations for this year’s event that will create a vibrant transformation of The Star and Pyrmont precinct on a scale not seen before.” Key features of the Vivid Sydney Game Zone at Pyrmont & The Star include ‘Pyrmont Pyro’ - an interactive digital fireworks display at Pyrmont Bay Park; ‘Mission Control’ - an audience operated light show that will activate dozens of search lights atop The Star rooftop; and Vivid Lounge at Sky Terrace - an electric urban space offering expansive views of the city skyline. Vivid Lounge at Sky Terrace, located on The Star’s rooftop, will be brought to life by light and music through a fusion of DJ mechanics and lighting design, ‘LightJ’. Visitors will be invited to participate in a bespoke new-world ‘light beam’ karaoke experience, dubbed ‘Face Off’, which will project their light-fuelled live music performance onto an exterior wall of The Star Event Centre. The space will also feature interactive video gaming and a series of pop-up eateries offering fare from The Star’s signature restaurants Balla, Sokyo, Momofuku Seiobo and Fat Noodle. A series of Vivid Sydneythemed activities will also take place across The Star, including the iconic The Star lettering on Pirrama Road which will be brought to life with a bespoke light installation; a degustation dessert bar located in the retail precinct along with The Star’s signature bars and restaurants offeringthemed cocktails, mocktails and tasting menus. The Star and Pyrmont precinct will also feature the Murray Street walk – a connective ‘light-walk’ between Darling Harbour and Pyrmont – where Murray Street’s famous fig trees will come alive with light, colour and movement to create a wonderland-style walkway to guide visitors from Darling Harbour to the neighbouring Pyrmont and The Star’s Vivid SydneyGame Zone. Vivid Sydney’s Pyrmont & The Star precinct is located just moments from many of Sydney’s most iconic attractions and offers sweeping views of the Sydney city skyline. The precinct has everything you need for a truly memorable Vivid Sydney experience, with ferries, light rail and buses to make your night out easy and enjoyable. Vivid Sydney is owned and managed by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. Now in its seventh year, Vivid Sydney attracted a record 1.43 million attendees in 2014. Pyrmont and The Star’s interactive installations have been engineered by leading Sydney creative events company, Fourth Wall. For more information about Vivid Sydney at Pyrmont and The Star, please visit www.star.com.au/vividsydney and for more information about Vivid Sydney, please visit www.vividsydney.com.   --ENDS-- Soroptimists Give Gift of Life This Mother’s Day 2015-05-06T14:54:32Z soroptimists-give-gift-of-life-this-mother-s-day Women in Papua New Guinea are being given the best possible Mother’s Day gift of all this year - the gift of a live and healthy newborn baby in their arms – thanks to Soroptimist International members from around the South West Pacific (SISWP). SISWP will this year spend $400,000 in Papua New Guinea on the Soroptimist International Birthing in the Pacific (BIP) Project, Improving Maternal Health, providing education services, training resources and utensils. The funds will be aimed at up-skilling nurses, midwives and community health workers to help provide women with one of the greatest joys of all – being able to hold a healthy baby in their arms. With the media around the world focussed on the birth of a new Royal princess, and Mother’s Day just around the corner, it is worth reflecting that three women per day die in Papua New Guinea due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth. According to SISWP President Carolyn Hudson, Birthing in the Pacific aims to save lives by increasing access to skilled birth attendants and health care services in Papua New Guinea. “Most maternal deaths could be prevented if skilled birth attendants were available to recognise problems or provide treatment. Birthing in the Pacific supports training at various levels including for Village Birth Attendants (VBAs),” Ms Hudson said. “In remote areas, training VBAs is vital as they can recognise potential problems, giving the expectant mother time to reach a birthing centre. Women who have many children close together are at particularly high risk, so working with the wider community to raise awareness of reproductive health and family planning are also a key part of the project. “ This Mother’s Day, SISWP members are being encouraged to donate to the BIP project instead of purchasing a present for their mother. Donations can be made to SISWP Headquarters, for onward transmission to Birthing in the Pacific via the following details: • Soroptimist International SWP Headquarters Office, PO Box 746, SURRY HILLS, NSW, 2010, Australia. Tel: +61 2 8096 6072 hq@siswp.org Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Soroptimist International South West Pacific has clubs in 13 countries: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Samoa, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. Members of Soroptimist International South West Pacific are based all over South West Pacific with backgrounds spanning from busy mothers to business professionals. All women have one thing in common; they volunteer their time to this tremendous organisation and its projects. They are inspirational and passionate about developing lives of women and children in both their local communities and around the world. For more information go to: www.siswp.org For interviews please contact: Soroptimist International South West Pacific President Carolyn Hudson Phone: +61 0419 902 364, Email: swppresident@siswp.org. For media inquiries contact: Soroptimist International South West Pacific Public Relations Convenor Denise Smithson +61 0419 923 071; swppublicrelations@siswp.org.