Aussie businessman kidnapped in Uganda

Ugandan police have warned the business community in Australia to be wary of African con men who promise lucrative oil deals after an Australian businessman was kidnapped and held for ransom.


Four Nigerians were later arrested for the crime.

Uganda police deputy spokesman Patrick Onyango said, “The Australian was the one who told us about his being kidnapped. The information we got from him helped us to arrest the kidnappers.”

According to police, in mid-July 2013, at Madirisa zone on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital Kampala, gangsters kidnapped an Australian and demanded a ransom of 650,000 euros ($A968,486).

They later settled for 350,000 euros, which the businessman’s relatives paid before he was freed.

Mr Onyango said the businessman reported the kidnapping to police before boarding a plane for Australia.

“He did not want to get involved in the investigations. All he wanted was to return home. He flew back to Australia and left us to hunt for the thugs,” Mr Onyango said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it recently provided consular assistance to a 61-year-old man in Uganda and to his family in Victoria.

Police said the arrested Nigerians were members of criminal cells operating in Uganda, Congo, Kenya and Liberia that lure foreigners into the country with fake deals, especially those involving oil.

When they were arrested, the suspects were found with documents carrying the forged signature of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and other fake agreements purportedly used to award contracts in the oil sector.

Mr Onyango said the Nigeria suspects were being held on charges of forgery, possession of government property, kidnap, aggravated trafficking and possession of counterfeit currencies.

He said two American businessmen were also kidnapped by the same group and were freed after a ransom was paid.

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70% of Americans have high-speed Internet

The percentage of Americans with high-speed internet connections at home has reached 70 per cent, while just three per cent still use dial-up.


The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report says the percentage of high-speed users represents a small but statistically significant rise from the 66 per cent of adults who said they had home broadband in April last year.

The percentage using dial-up as of May 2013 has held steady at three per cent for the past two years, Pew has found, but is down sharply from a peak of 41 per cent in 2001.

Overall, 85 per cent of Americans use the internet, the report said.

Of those who lack a high-speed connection at home, 10 per cent have smartphones that can access the web.

As previous research has found, those with the highest rates of home broadband use continue to be college graduates, adults under 50 and adults living in households earning at least $US50,000 ($A55,650) a year.

Whites and adults living in urban or suburban areas also have above-average rates.

“We’ve consistently found that age, education and household income are among the strongest factors associated with home broadband adoption,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, research associate for Pew and lead author of the report, on Monday.

“Many dial-up users cite cost and access as the main reasons they don’t have broadband but for adults who don’t use the internet at all, a lack of interest is often the main issue.”

The survey notes that more than half of all American adults own a smartphone but it did not determine whether this constitutes “broadband” speed.

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Jockey Nikolic toe-to-toe with cop

A senior police officer says he sat frozen in shock as jockey Danny Nikolic stood toe-to-toe abusing one of his colleagues in a Melbourne police station.


Nikolic is charged with assaulting Detective Senior Constable Julio Salerno after an official interview at St Kilda police station in March 2011.

Sergeant Dave Eadie told the Melbourne Magistrates Court Nikolic had participated willingly in the interview but became agitated after having a short conversation with Det Sen Const Salerno after the recording devices were switched off.

“Nikolic said he wasn’t happy with Julio Salerno being present,” Sgt Eadie told the court.

“He told him `get the f*** out of here, I’m not speaking with you’.”

Sgt Eadie said the two men stood up and their foreheads were touching and Nikolic was red in the face.

Det Sen Const Salerno pushed Nikolic back into his chair but the jockey immediately bounced back to his feet and continued the confrontation.

The court heard they again stood with their foreheads touching with Nikolic goading the officer urging him to “have a go”.

“I sat there and froze, it was behaviour that shocked me,” Sgt Eadie said.

Nikolic had come to the police station to be questioned about other matters, including an alleged assault on fellow jockey Mark Pegus with which he was duly charged.

Both assault charges are being heard by Magistrate Angela Bolger.

Pegus claims Nikolic, who is banned from riding after making threats against Victoria’s chief racing steward, assaulted him at the Caulfield stables of trainer Byron Cozamanis in January 2011.

But he says he only reported the incident after Nikolic allegedly assaulted his girlfriend two months later.

Pegus told the court an altercation between the two began with a phone call in which Nikolic accused him of spreading rumours about his brother. It continued the next morning when the two arrived at the stable to ride trackwork.

In the belief that they were going to discuss their differences, Pegus said he followed Nikolic into the stable office where things turned violent.

“As I walked in Danny flew at me and started throwing punches,” he told the court.

Det Sen Const Salerno is due to give evidence in the contested hearing on Friday.

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AMP and China Life set up new fund

AMP Capital and China’s biggest insurer China Life will establish a new funds management company in China with the hope of handling some of the $800 billion on offer.


AMP will hold a 15 per cent stake in the new China Life AMP Asset Management Company, with the balance to be held by China Life Asset Management Company, a subsidiary of China Life Insurance Company.

China Life is China’s largest insurance group, institutional investor and corporate pension manager.

“Total assets under management in China’s mutual fund industry is expected to reach $0.8 trillion in 2013 growing at 15 per cent per annum to reach almost $1.5 trillion in 2017,” AMP said in a statement on Monday.

The deal will be China Life’s first joint venture in mainland China with a foreign partner in funds management.

Recent regulatory changes in China mean insurance companies can establish funds management companies offering public funds to retail and institutional investors.

The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

AMP chief executive Craig Dunn said the deal would give the company direct access to the world’s second largest and fastest growing major economy.

“The funds management joint venture represents the commercialisation of our memorandum of understanding with China Life and is the ideal balance of our mutual strengths and capabilities,” Mr Dunn said.

The joint venture means AMP Capital now has an institutional and retail presence in Australia, China and Japan.

AMP shares dropped five cents, or 1.05 per cent, to $4.69.

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Melzer wins ATP Winston-Salem Open

Frenchman Gael Monfils fell victim to an abdominal muscle injury and retired from the ATP Winston-Salem final handing Austrian Jurgen Melzer the crown.


Melzer was leading 6-3 2-1 – and was up a break in the second set – when Monfils called it quits after consulting with a trainer.

The latest of the injury hard luck that has followed flamboyant shot-maker Monfils throughout his career comes with the start of the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the season, starting on Monday in New York.

The 15th seed plainly felt the injury while serving in the third game of the second set, after dropping the first set in 33 minutes to his 32-year-old opponent.

He was broken in a game that went to deuce four times, reduced to leaning on his racquet after each point in the final game.

He was visited by the trainer on court but opted not to continue, giving Melzer his fifth career title and first on hardcourt.

“I’m a little bit sad. I’m a big fighter and I wanted to make it today,” said Monfils, who had also been bidding for a fifth title. “I felt great this week and was playing good tennis.

“It was my first time here and I had played quite well. I had some tough matches and played quite well. I’m now just hoping for a speedy recovery for the US Open.”

Monfils had also been treated for muscle pain and tightness during his semi-final win on Friday over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The world number 43 hadn’t played for a month prior to this week after an ankle injury suffered in training forced him to miss the Montreal and Cincinnati Masters.

Monfils was playing in only his fifth event since a runner-up finish in Nice, staged the week before the French Open in May.

The injuries have slowed Monfils’ bid to rebuild his ranking. He had fallen as low as 108th in early February but has climbed back into the top 50 by reaching the quarter-finals or better seven times this season.

He now stands 29-17 for 2013 and is fighting to be fit for a first-round match at Flushing Meadows against Romanian Adrian Ungur.

Melzer, who missed a month after Wimbledon with a shoulder injury, said taking on Spain’s Gala Blanco as his coach was paying dividends.

“I’m very happy to win this title, I was not happy with first-round losses at Montreal and Cincinnati, I did not perform well,” he said.

“But I really had a great week here. I’m very sorry for Gael. He has such a big heart and is such a fighter. When he retires from a match, you know something is wrong. I wish him a speedy recovery for the Open.”

Melzer began the match with a break for a 2-0 lead. Monfils saved a set point in the eighth game to narrow the gap to 5-3, but the experienced Austrian delivered a service winner to pocket the set on his third opportunity in the next game.

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