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Coverage of the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews press conference and current measures in Victoria

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a special taskforce of 500 police to enforce a shutdown of pubs, clubs and other venues and restrictions on social gatherings.

Key points:

It comes as Victoria recorded another 59 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state's total to 355.
The announcement follows the Prime Minister's declaration yesterday that venues across the country would have to close from midday today to curb the spread of coronavirus.
While the National Cabinet agreed on the shutdown together, it was up to the individual states and territories to put the measures into law.
The "stage one" shutdown in Victoria includes pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship, cinemas and entertainment venues.
Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to provide home delivery or takeaway services. Bottleshops can remain open.
Mr Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne any business not on the list could stay open, as long as it adhered to social-distancing measures such as ensuring there is 4 square metres for each person on the premises.
Indoor gatherings are still limited to fewer than 100 people.
Mr Andrews said many Victorians had been "acting selfishly" by ignoring social-distancing rules, and warned "people will die" if the measures were not followed.
He told ABC Radio Melbourne stricter measures were likely to be enforced after the next National Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

What must close in Victoria:

The Premier flagged a shutdown of "non-essential" services yesterday afternoon, ahead of a meeting of the National Cabinet last night.
He today denied suggestions his statement on Sunday caused confusion and panic, saying "this is not static. This is moving fast".
Mr Andrews acknowledged it was "frustrating and challenging" that the advice was changing.
"But it's nowhere near as challenging as people doing the wrong thing, and then we have 10,000 people who can only survive if they have a machine to help them breathe and we don't have enough machines and doctors to get that done."

Schools prepare for online learning in case of shutdown

Mr Andrews yesterday announced the school term would end at the end of the school day today, rather than at the end of the week as originally scheduled.
The National Cabinet last night agreed to keep schools open across the country.
"Term two is scheduled to begin on April 14, unless I have medical advice not to proceed with term two," Mr Andrews said this morning.
But he said: "I'm not making that announcement today."
Tuesday will be a pupil-free day for teachers to plan for online learning in the event schools need to remain closed beyond the school holidays.
Childcare centres and kindergartens are deemed essential services under the shutdown measures.
"But this is step one. There will be further announcements to be made," Mr Andrews said.

Police able to fine, detain, arrest

Police and authorised officers will also be enforcing a mandatory self-isolation period for anyone entering Victoria from overseas.
Under Victoria's state of emergency legislation, those breaking the rules face fines of nearly $20,000 for individuals and nearly $100,000 for businesses.
Mr Andrews warned the closure of pubs was not an invitation to have large gatherings at home.
He said last week, one person at a dinner party had coronavirus and by the end of the evening almost everyone had contracted the virus.
"This spreads rapidly. If you act selfishly people will die," he said.
"Many people are doing the right thing and I'm grateful to them."
Mr Andrews said it was people's "civic duty" to distance themselves from others.
He told ABC Radio Melbourne that the Government was arranging temporary accommodation for people experiencing an escalation in domestic violence because they were forced to stay at home
Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said police saw "quite a number of breaches in relation to indoor gatherings" over the weekend.
"We are upping the ante … this is such a significant issue in terms of people's lives, Victoria Police will have a dedicated team tasked with doing those spot checks and making sure people are following the rules in terms of social gatherings," she said.
"Police have the power to fine you, arrest you, detain you and they will use those powers where needed in the interest of community safety."
Mr Andrews said nobody had been fined or charged for disobeying the self-isolation rules.

Supermarkets, shopping centres stay open

Under the stage one shutdown, shopping centres can remain open.
Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne's east, which is the largest complex in Australia, said only 10 stores out of more than 550 had closed on Monday morning.
"Our centres continue to trade as normal. The Federal Government has made it clear shopping centres continue to provide an essential service to our community," a spokesman said in a statement.
The shutdown is in place until midnight on April 13, but Mr Andrews said it was "highly likely" it would be extended beyond that.
The Government yesterday announced emergency relief packages would be provided to those in self-isolation.
On Friday, the Victorian Farmers Federation said the state had "plenty of food" and told those who were panic-buying to "settle your farm".
Full article from ABC news
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Trip Report: The 10 Best Sightseeing Activities in Singapore

Singapore has a lot to offer visitors, from modern skyscrapers to charming colonial neighborhoods, those who have the chance to explore Singapore will have no trouble filling their time, and their stomachs, with the rich cultures that can be found here.
Singapore is small enough that you can travel from one end of the country to the other in around two hours by the state-of-the-art subway system (MRT), the official language is English, and you can drink the water straight out of the tap. In addition, Singapore enjoys one of the lowest crime-rates on Earth, so you can relax knowing you can explore the city safely. It is sometimes referred to as “Asia Light” because you can get a taste of Asian culture, while enjoying easy travel and all the comforts and conveniences of one of the wealthiest cities on the continent.
I have spent a good amount of time here exploring the tiny city-state and playing tour guide for visiting friends and family members. Here is my list of the best attractions for short-term visitors to check out while exploring this fascinating city.

Marina Bay

A scenic walk around Singapore’s Marina Bay is the perfect way to take in some of the best views of the city’s awe-inspiring skyline. Marina Bay is surrounded with some of Singapore’s most famous landmarks. To the south, there is the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel with its three skyward towers crowned by a world-famous infinity pool, the ArtScience Museum, with its high-tech salad bowl architecture, and Gardens by the Bay. To the north, the imposing skyline of Singapore’s Central Business District provides a backdrop for the Fullerton Hotel with its Merlion statue, the official mascot of Singapore, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, and Theatres on the Bay performing arts center. The Theatres on the Bay building was intended to look like a microphone, but locals endearingly refer to it as “The Durian” because it also closely resembles the stinky fruit commonly eaten in Malaysia and Singapore.
Marina Bay is located at the southern end of the downtown core, where the Singapore River meets the South China Sea. You can reach the bay via the Bayfront MRT station which will drop you off underneath the upscale shopping mall that adjoins the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Be sure to stay for Spectra, a laser light, music and water show at Marina Bay that happens Sunday-Thursday 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, and 10:00 pm.

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore Gardens by the Bay was originally conceived in 2005 as part of an effort to transform Singapore into a “City in a Garden”. Consisting of 250 acres of manicured gardens, and admission is free. The main attractions are two large glass conservatories, the Flower Dome, and the Cloud forest, and the Supertree Grove.
The Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world without internal supporting columns, and is filled with hundreds of species of carefully manicured flower and plant gardens.
The Cloud Forrest is a towering structure designed to simulate high-elevation tropical habitat, and features a huge indoor waterfall. Visitors can take an elevator to the top and walk down through the various levels of the structure which contain exhibits along the way. The Cloud Forrest features an excellent exhibit on the effects of global warming in the region and the world.
The Supertree Grove consists of towering structures designed to act as artificial trees. Each tree is covered in species of ferns orchids and other plants representing different regions. Be sure to catch Garden Rhapsody, nightly at 7:45 and 8:45, a light show synchronized to music at the Supertree Grove. The electricity to power the lights and music is sustainably generated at the Gardens by the Bay.
Gardens by the Bay is carefully engineered for conservation. The conservatory domes collect rain water for the park, while electricity is generated by photovoltaic cells to generate electricity, and biomass in the form of plant trimmings from the garden are burned to generate steam and power turbine generators.
Admission to Gardens by the Bay is totally Free, but there is a fee to enter the conservatory domes. You can visit the website for the latest events and details http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html

Hawker Centers

It has been said that you can tell a lot about a culture by its food. While Singapore has a huge array of fine dining options for visitors, the hawker centers are what feed the locals. Singaporean food has influences stemming from China, Malaysia, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia, and should be on any visitor’s list of things to check out.
Hawker centers are basically food courts which first sprang up in Singapore in the 1950’s in an attempt to manage the street vendors who were setting up shop all over Singapore. An overabundance of street food was causing congestion, and made it nearly impossible to oversee sanitation. The solution was to move vendors into permanent stalls in large food centers, where health officials could ensure sanitary conditions.
In my opinion the best food in Singapore can be found in the hawker centers, and for reasonable prices too. If you are planning to sample of Singapore’s culinary delights, you might consider skipping the indoor restaurants, and head straight to the local hawkers.

East Coast Park Lagoon Food Center

This is my personal favorite choice to experience Singaporean food. Located on East Coast Park, this hawker has some of the best food in Singapore, with an amazing view of the ocean. Get there early to ensure that you can get a good table, buy a bucket of beer, and sample the rich food culture of Singapore on the beach. This is a great place to try seafood, including the infamous chili crab, one of the unofficial national dishes of Singapore. Chili crab is a whole crab cooked in a rich spicy curry. Soft fried buns are usually eaten alongside chili crab so soak up the delicious sauce. The chicken, mutton, and beef satay are also a must-try. After your dinner you can work off some of your meal by walking along the ocean, watching the large ships mooring offshore while they wait to access the Singapore Harbor.
The best way to get to East Coast Park Lagoon is by taxi, as MRT does not go there. Be sure to tell the driver that you want to go to “East Coast Park Hawker”, not “East Coast Park Seafood."

Maxwell Food Centre

Located nearby Singapore’s vibrant Chinatown, the Maxwell Food Center offers visitors the chance to try a selection of Singapore’s most famous dishes, at a convenient downtown location. Probably Maxwell’s most famous stall is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Made famous by an endorsement from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, long lines are usually present to sample the poached or roasted chicken and fragrant garlic rice. Personally I would skip the line, as the other chicken rice vendors at Maxwell are also excellent, but you certainly can’t go wrong with Tian Tian. Keep an out for roti prata at Maxwell. Roti prata is a Malaysian Muslim dish which is similar to a crepe, filled with egg, onion, and/or cheese, and served with a rich curry for dipping. Roti prata is my favorite breakfast in Singapore.

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market

Lau Pa Sat is located in the center of Singapore’s financial district. Located in the historic Telok Ayer Market building, which was originally built on what was at the time Singapore’s waterfront in 1824, Lau Pa Sat is a great place to get your grub on. The best time to go is after 7:00 pm, when they close one of the adjacent streets for “Satay Street”, where vendors compete to see who grills the best satay, or delicious skewers of marinated meat that are served with a peanut dipping sauce.

Cable Car to Sentosa

The small Island of Sentosa was built just off the southern coast of Singapore as a resort and entertainment destination. Sentosa is covered in theme parks, water parks, golf courses, and beach-front bars. Universal Studios is one of Sentosa’s main attractions, but visitors can race down a zip-line, take a bungee jump, navigate a street luge course, see one of the world’s largest aquariums, or try their luck at the casino.
You can get to Sentosa by taxi, on foot, or by monorail. My favorite way to reach the island is by the incredibly scenic Cable Car. The Cable Car consists of small gondolas on a sky-high cable that runs from Mt. Faber on the mainland, through the Harbourfront Center building, all the way across a long waterway to Sentosa. The Cable Car provides some of the best views of Singapore, and is definitely the way to get to Sentosa in style.
You can ride the cable car to Sentosa by taking a taxi to Mt. Faber, or hopping on MRT to the Harbourfront Station (Vivo City). Round trip tickets are USD $20, but even budget travelers might find the experience worth a splurge.

Chinatown

Singapore is more than 75% ethnic Chinese, so it should come as no surprise that it is home to a lively and thriving Chinatown. Visiting Chinatown offers visitors to Singapore an opportunity to experience the sights, smells, and flavors of China right in the heart of Singapore. Chinatown is made up of several blocks of colorful colonial style shop-houses just outside of the Central Business District.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the main attractions in Singapore’s Chinatown. The temple offers visitors the chance to visit an active working Buddhist temple. The structure itself is not old, built in 2007 in the style of Chinese Tang architecture at a cost of $75 million dollars. The temple gets its name because it houses a tooth that is said to have belonged to the Buddha. The tooth was discovered in a collapsed golden stupa in Myanmar in 1998, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built to offer a suitable place to house the holy relic. The temple is four stories high, with a large prayer wheel and serene garden on the roof. Admission is free of charge, including the excellent museum showcasing the history of Buddhism. The temple is located on South Bridge Road and Sago Lane, which was once referred to as the street of the dead as it was once lined with “death houses”. In Chinese superstition, it is unlucky if anyone dies in the family home, so early Chinese immigrants to Singapore sent their elderly to places like Sago Lane to await their end.
Chinatown food street is located on Smith Street, right in the heart of Chinatown. Closed to car traffic, the street is lined with hawker stalls and outdoor seating, offering a great place to try some of Singapore’s local favorites. The stalls tend to be a little more expensive on food street, than in Singapore’s plentiful hawker centers, but the lively atmosphere makes up for it. Smith Street is also home to Liao Fan Hawker Chan Restaurant (78 Smith Street). Hawker Chan has received the coveted Michelin Star award for its chicken rice in 2016, and is widely acclaimed as the cheapest place to try a Michelin Star meal in the world at well under five bucks a plate.
Singapore’s Chinatown is also one of the best places to pick up inexpensive souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Many of the streets of Chinatown are lined with shops featuring the best of Singapore’s touristy nick-knacks, and at some of the lowest prices on the island due to the amount of competition.

Little India

The bright colors and bustling streets of Little India, offer visitors a taste of the Indian sub-continent right in central Singapore. Little India holds a large share of Singapore’s hostels and budget accommodation options, so if you are traveling on the cheap, odds are you will get to know Little India pretty well. The main things to do in Little India, are shop and eat.
Little India Arcade is a small collection of shop-houses that were built in 1913. The narrow streets are closed off to traffic, and are lined with shops selling curiosities from India. This is a great place to do some souvenir shopping while exploring the fascinating wares that the vendors are offering.
The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is a colorful Hindu Temple in the heart of Little India, the temple was built in 1881 and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Inside, a statue of Kali can be seen adorned with a garland of human skulls.
Mustafa Centre is Singapore’s answer to a Walmart. This huge shopping complex is open 24 hours, and consists of sprawling labyrinth-like corridors spanning several floors of multiple buildings. If Mustafa Centre doesn’t have it somewhere, it probably doesn’t exist.
For great cheap food, stop by Sakunthalas Restaurant at 151 Dunlop Street. They serve up a variety of Indian dishes at bargain prices. Be sure to order a “teh tarik” or pulled tea to go with your meal.

Singapore Zoo

A visit to the Singapore is a great way to spend an afternoon or an evening while visiting Singapore. I am a little bit hesitant to recommend zoos to travelers, as they sometimes get a bad rap for their treatment of the animals. The Singapore Zoo is truly an exceptional zoo, and I am pleased to report that enclosures and care for the animals are first-rate. Most of the animals have plenty of space to roam. Some, like the monkeys don’t even really have cages, and can wander around in the primate area as they please. I have actually seen wild local monkeys interacting with the monkeys at the zoo on more than one occasion. The elephants have acres of land that they can walk, and all of the enclosures are clean and well cared for. Visiting the Singapore Zoo will offer you a chance to see wildlife from around the globe and you can learn about the threats to endangered animals in Southeast Asia. For a particular treat, you can even arrange to have breakfast with the orangutans.
Have you ever gone to a zoo, and half of the animals are just lying there asleep? That’s because many of the animals are nocturnal, and are mainly active at night. The Singapore Zoo Night Safari is the perfect way to see how all of the animals that are normally sleeping during the day behave once the sun goes down. On the night safari, guests are driven around the zoo on a tram, offering a glimpse into the alter ego of the wild kingdom.
The Singapore Zoo River Safari showcases the fish and animals that live in the world’s largest river systems. The River Safari is unique, as most aquariums highlight saltwater and ocean fish. It is really amazing to see just how diverse life in freshwater systems can be. The river safari also offers two optional boat tours at an additional cost.
The Night Safari, and River Safari, are available as an add-on to zoo admission, or as a separate ticket. Personally I prefer the River Safari to the zoo, as it is not that often that you have a chance to explore the Earth’s freshwater habitats in an aquarium.

Nature Reserves

Most visitors to Singapore would never guess that the ultra-modern city was once nothing more than mangrove swamps and thick jungles. While most of the tiny island has been paved, and is now home to towering skyscrapers, there are still a few wilderness areas where you can get a taste of the dense forests that once dominated the landscape in Singapore.

MacRitchie Reservoir

The MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore’s oldest reservoir, built in 1838. There is still more than 1 square kilometer of virgin jungle next to the reservoir, that hikers can explore via wooden boardwalks and trails. Water monitor lizards and monkeys are commonly seen along the trail, and the latter can even be a nuisance if you do not keep your food hidden from sight. Trails range in length from 3-11 km. It can be unbearably hot and humid in the jungle in Singapore, so be sure to bring plenty of water, and visit in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. MacRitchie Reservoir can be easily accessed by the Marymount MRT station. Where else, can you take the subway to get to the jungle to hike with wild monkeys and giant lizards?

Sungei Buloh Wetlands

Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve is located to the extreme north of Singapore, next to the causeway that separates Singapore from West Malaysia. The park is home to swampy mangrove forests and estuaries that attract all sorts of wildlife. On a typical walk at Sungei Buloh, you can expect to see water monitor lizards, monkeys, countless bird species, mudskippers, dragonflies, and even saltwater crocodiles. The trails are impeccably maintained, and flat. There are birdwatching blinds, and benches along the trail, making this more of a casual nature walk than a hike, but Sungei Buloh is still one of the best places to spot what is left of the wild animal species that once dominated the island of Singapore.

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa is without a doubt one of the strangest attractions in Singapore. Originally built in 1934 by the Haw brothers, who were the creators of Tiger Balm ointment, the sprawling complex was originally the grounds for one of the family’s lavish mansions, and an amusement park. The amusement park/grounds were intended to teach school children about Chinese culture by depicting scenes from Chinese folklore in the hundreds of statues that cover the grounds. Despite seemingly constant maintenance, the statues seem to be in a constant state of disrepair, giving the park the vibe of a long-abandoned, dilapidated amusement park, straight out of a horror movie. The main attraction at Haw Par Villa, is “The Ten Courts of Chinese Hell”, an indoor depiction describing the ten hells, and the sins that will land you in each one. Admission is totally free, and you can reach the park from the Haw Par Villa MRT Station.

Tiger Brewery

The largest brewery in Singapore, Tiger Brewery offers regular tours of their extensive operation located on the west side of Singapore. Tiger brews beer for several different brands, including ABC and Guinness. The tour costs about USD $15, and includes a generous sampling of Tiger’s brews in the tasting room. Getting to the brewery is a bit of a trek, as MRT does not go directly to Tiger. The best way is by taxi, or tour can hop on one of Singapore’s excellent public busses to save some cash. Tickets should be purchased in advance. You can reserve a spot on a tour here https://tigerbrewerytour.com.sg/
The original posting of this trip report (with pictures) can be found here https://www.mymola.com/the-10-best-sightseeing-activities-in-singapore/
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Foreign Ownership of Land Register, Safe and Secure Rentals and Airport Authority Publicising Lost Property Sales drawn from ballot + Members Day Update

How the Day Unfolded
12 Questions to Ministers were answered
1 Question to a member was answered
The General Debate was Held
The general debate is held every week on Wednesday after Question Time. The formal procedure for the debate is that a member move a motion that the house take note of miscellaneous business. Members have 5 minutes to speak to whatever issue they wish. At the end of the hour the motion lapses and no question is put or vote taken.
The speakers were:
Call Member Party Seat Topic
1. Andrew Little Labour List Housing, The Budget, The State of the Govt
2. Amy Adams National Selwyn The Labour Greens MOU & Government announcements in the past 4 weeks
3. Iain Lees-Galloway Labour Palmerston North Immigration
4. Anne Tolley National East Coast Welfare Reforms & Regional Development
5. Ron Mark New Zealand First List Immigration & the rise of New Zealand First at the expense of Labour and National
6. Craig Foss National Tukituki Andrew Little v Stuart Nash and East Coast development
7. Peter Dunne United Future Ohariu Children in New Zealand
8. Sarah Dowie National Invercargill Economic Growth and Development in Southland
9. Marama Davidson Green List Housing
10. Jono Naylor National List Recent Government Announcements
11. Louisa Wall Labour Manurewa Social Development & homelessness
12. Dr Shane Reti National Whangarei Government achievements and announcements
A transcript of the debate can be found – here
Private and Local Orders of the Day
Member’s Orders of the Day
  • The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill was read a second time. This bill is in the name of Labour list MP David Parker. This Bill amends the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to extend its provisions to apply to payments under a contract for services that are remunerated at below the minimum wage. Act and National voted against the bill but the vote was won after United Future voted in favour of the bill.
  • The first reading of the Oaths and Declarations (Endorsing the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill was not agreed to. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that a person taking any oath set out in statute may, in addition to the words of the oath, elect to state that they will perform their duties in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
    This bill saw spirited debate including the contribution of Treaty Affairs Minister and Attorney General Chris Finlayson (National – list). Arguments in favour contended that one could swear an oath on a bible to uphold the law according to their religious belief but not to uphold the principles of the Treaty that founded our nation. The counter argument was one based on the lack of need and that government agencies already uphold the principles of the treaty during their day to day activities and are required to consider them during decision making.
    The votes were:
    Party Aye Nay
    National 0 59
    Labour 32 0
    Green 14 0
    New Zealand First 0 12
    Maori 2 0
    Act 1 0
    United Future 1 0
    Total 50 71
  • The Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill was read a first time. The bill was passed 61 – 60. This bill is in the name of National MP for Rodney Mark Mitchell. This bill would give the Department of Corrections the power to issue warnings to persons who have not complied with community-based sentences, with the consequence of withholding benefit payments. It has been referred to the Social Services Select Committee.
Debate Interrupted
  • The debate on the Customs and Excise (Prohibition of Imports Made by Slave Labour) Amendment Bill was interrupted when Mark Mitchell (National – Rodney) was speaking with 9 speeches remaining. The bill is in the name of Labour’s Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare and amends the Customs and Excise Act 1996 to make goods produced in whole or in part by slave labour a prohibited import. National have indicated they will be voting against the bill.
The Biscuit Tin of Democracy
It has been a while but the biscuit tin has been dusted off and there was space for 3 bills to be drawn today. 79 bills were entered into the ballot.
The winning bills were:
Psephology Spotlight
Elections Concluded
  • In South Africa the ruling African National Congress suffered massive losses in their worst election performance since the end of Apartheid. The municipal council elections (which are conducted under MMP) saw the ANC lose majority control of many battleground cities including Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay and minor parties now are engaging in coalition talks between the ANC and opposition Democratic Alliance over who gets to control the council. In the last election the ANC garnered 62% of the popular vote whereas this year they mustered 54%. Corruption and economic woes are attributed to the swing away from the ANC. Famously President Zuma was found by the Constitutional Court to have benefited from $16 million worth of illegal expenditure to his personal home. In another example local corruption resulted in hundreds of toilets being built, row upon row, where houses should be instead.- see 1:20 in the video The ANC have promised to do a review in preparation for the next general election in 2019 and the position of President Zuma appears to be on shakey ground. However, many factions within the party are loyal to Zuma and it is thought that it is unlikely he could be brought down without a fight. Turnout was particularly key to the election results. Significant amounts of the population are still loyal to the ANC and so express their dissatisfaction by not turning up to vote, as they will not vote for any other party. Winning these groups back by 2019 is the new priority for the ANC and the opposition is hoping to win them over by bringing new leadership to local government.
  • The small African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe has a new president after their August 7 vote. The first round was held on July 17 and provisional results suggested that challenger Evaristo Carvalho, a former Prime Minister, had won but the result was annulled due to irregularities. Incumbent president Pinto da Costa boycotted the second round after claiming Carvalho engaged in fraudulent activity in round 1 meaning Carvalho was elected unopposed. Costa served as the nation’s first president from 1975 – 1991 and was elected again in 2011. He will leave office in early September.
Upcoming Elections
  • Presidential elections will be held in Gabon on 28 August 2016. The president serves a seven year term and is elected via first past the post. The issue for the opposition is that given the multitude of candidates standing (14 are approved to be on the ballot) vote splitting may result in incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba sneaking back into office much like how Ondimba was first elected in 2009. Former United Nations General Assembly President and Gabonese Foreign Minister Jean Ping is considered Ondimba’s toughest competition. Ping served under Ondimba’s father who was president of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009 and was involved in demonstrations against Ondimba which were broken up by police.
  • General elections and a constitutional referendum will be held in Zambia on 11 August. At stake are 150 members of the National Assembly, the five year term of president and an amendment to the Bill of Rights. The amendment would see Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental rights inserted alongside civil and political rights. Additionally the referendum if approved would see the rules for amendments to the constitution and bill of rights changed. In the race for president Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front is hoping to be elected to his first full term in office after winning the 2015 presidential by election. He is facing a rematch with Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development who missed out on victory by 27,757 votes last time in a race that still is disputed. The election method is two round first past the post. The Patriotic Front currently has a plurality of seats (60) in the multi party National Assembly who are elected via first past the post.
Fact of the Day – Housing the Prime Minister
All over the world Prime Ministers and leaders receive as a perk of their office a home that they can reside in throughout their tenure. In the United Kingdom it is 10 Downing Street, The French Prime Minister calls Hôtel Matignon home, The Prime Minister of Canada gets 24 Sussex Drive while the Prime Minister of India gets 7, Race Course Road (A.K.A Panchavati). In Australia the Prime Minister has The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney. In New Zealand it is Premier House but this hasn't always been the case.
In the early days of the New Zealand Parliament, premiers were required to find their own accommodation. This changed in 1865 when the capital moved to Wellington and the government acquired a simple 22-year-old wooden cottage in Thorndon’s Tinakori Road. This was a damp, flood-prone gully, but it was close to Parliament. A Wellington newspaper, elated by the city’s new status, thought the £2900 price ‘cheap’. An Auckland paper called it a ‘monstrous waste of public money’.
New Zealands sixth Premier, Frederick Weld, didn’t get to spend long in the house. Weld made many enemies by overseeing the moving of the capital to Auckland from Wellington as well as seeing the confiscation of more than a million acres of land from Waikato Maori. The finances of his government were precarious at best and his relations with the Governor soured over the withdrawal of British Troops. In October 1865 his government resigned after less than a year in the position.
With the arrival of the Vogel family in 1872 the house adopted the name “the casino” and consisted of 8 bedrooms with conservatory and ballroom. The ballroom got a hammering. They made Premier House the social centre of Wellington. In July 1876 Lady Vogel sent out 250 invitations to a calico fancy dress ball, ‘the most brilliant of its kind yet seen in this city’. The Vogels also imported New Zealand’s first lawn tennis set, though Sir Julius was too unfit to chase the ball far.
In 1884 the Vogels returned for another three years. Sir Julius was obese and gouty, so Cabinet often met in an office built in the house. In 1886 he added a lift to take him from the dining room up to his bedroom.
After the Vogels moved out, the government tried to sell the property. But the press and public fought back. Wellington people valued its spacious grounds as a public amenity. Only the furniture was sold. Some suggested turning the site into an old men’s home or a university, but it stayed empty. MPs’ salaries had been cut, and the Liberal ministers of the 1890s had to live cheaply. Premier Richard John Seddon lived in a modest ministerial residence at 47 Molesworth Street. ‘This isn’t at all a nice house; it is surrounded, like a nunnery, with a high and close and ugly wooden fence, and presents a dismal appearance’, a voter complained. Seddon’s son remembered it fondly as ‘a political house. Politics was the sole subject day after day – at breakfast, dinner and tea.’
The Tinakori Street residence, vacant since 1893, was leased out from 1896 to 1900, when it became a ministerial residence again.
The house’s fortunes recovered when Seddon’s deputy, Joseph Ward, moved in. Ward, soon to be Sir Joseph, and prime minister from 1906, named it Awarua House. Like Vogel, he enjoyed the good life. The Wards threw ‘at homes’, garden parties, receptions, garden fetes, balls and wedding receptions. Sometimes over 1000 people gathered there. When Governor Ranfurly dropped in for a chat, they served him whisky in special large glasses. Sir Joseph liked to free office hours for talking or socialising. So he spent the early morning in his study in pyjamas and dressing gown, signing the documents delivered by his chief secretaries.
William Massey, the house’s next lengthy occupant, renamed it Ariki Toa, ‘home of the chief’. During the First World War the Masseys used it for patriotic activities.
In 1925, Gordon Coates called Ariki Toa ‘a happy home … a haven of rest’. That year he rebuilt the conservatory and added an enclosed veranda above it. Four years later Cabinet again tried to sell it. ‘Sunless and damp, and the gardening costly and unnecessary’, an official sniffed. But again, public protests prevented a sale.
Ariki Toa’s role as the prime minister’s official house ended in the 1930s when George Forbes moved out. In 1935 the new prime minister, Michael Joseph Savage, a frugal bachelor, made the break permanent by choosing a smaller ministerial home in Molesworth Street. Three years later, dying of cancer, he moved into Hill Haven, 66 Harbour View Road, in the suburb of Northland. Prime Minister Peter Fraser decided to remain in Hill Haven throughout the 1940’s preferring its scenic outlook.
Sidney Holland preferred a place with a guest bathroom. He renovated 41 Pipitea Street in Thorndon. This brick house is close to Parliament, but its surroundings were still industrial, ‘with a brewery chimney quite close, a paint factory next door, commercial offices (B.P. Ltd) on the eastern boundary.’ The section had a small lawn in front and room for a clothes line behind, but the house was too small to entertain official guests.
Holland’s National successor Keith Holyoake also lived there. In 1966 the air was still ‘sodden with the smell of hops and malt from the brewery up the street, and jackhammers are busy tearing down Victorian ruins all around.’ But the economy-minded Holyoake dismissed all suggestions of building a new official residence. The Holyoakes put buckets under the leaks in the kitchen roof whenever it rained. Today Pipitea Street is still an important part of New Zealand politics and serves as the home of the National Party offices
Holyoake was not as eccentric as he might seem. Ministerial houses were seldom very flash. Every time the government changed, prime ministers-elect trotted around these places, often still occupied by defeated ministers and their families. In November 1972, for example, Norman Kirk and his wife, Ruth, went house hunting. Because they knew Holyoake had let 41 Pipitea Street deteriorate, they did not even bother to look at it. They chose a Seatoun house recommended by their ministerial driver.
The Ministry of Works looked after ministers’ houses. As many had been bought only to be demolished for motorways and other development, it skimped on their maintenance and furnishing. Television came to New Zealand in 1960, but the Ministry waited until 1965 before providing TV aerials for ministers’ houses. Ministers paid for their own sets until 1973, when Cabinet made them free – provided the screens did not exceed 23 inches (58 cm).
In 1976 New Zealand regained an official home for its prime minister for the first time in 40 years. Ten years earlier, Jocelyn Vogel had given Vogel House in Lower Hutt to the Crown to mark 100 years of Parliament in Wellington. Designed in 1933 by Helmore and Cotterill, it was one of the Hutt Valley’s last large houses designed for a family and domestic staff.
Prime Minister Robert Muldoon rushed to refurbish Vogel House in time for a dinner for the visiting Queen Elizabeth II in February 1977. He was our first modern leader able to offer VIPs proper hospitality. David Lange, who succeeded Muldoon in 1984, never liked Vogel House and kept his family in Auckland. He ‘camped’ in a tiny first floor apartment in the house, moaning about the staff folding the edge of the toilet paper in neat triangles, hotel-style. Finding it too far from the Beehive, he saw out his term as prime minister in a flat near Parliament.
After Michael Joseph Savage rejected Tinakori Street, it became ‘the murder house’, a children’s dental clinic. The Public Works Department raised seedlings at the front of the grounds. In 1977 the dental nurses moved out, leaving the property empty. In the early to mid-1980s the Ministry of Works repiled the building and fitted sprinklers, but it remained underutilised. Some wanted to redevelop the site, but the Thorndon Society and the Historic Places Trust defended its heritage qualities. It is a Category I historic place on the Trust register. In the late 1980s, Minister of Internal Affairs Michael Bassett decided to restore 260 Tinakori Road as an official prime ministerial residence. The conservation of Premier House, as they renamed it, was a 1990 Sesquicentennial project. That year Geoffrey Palmerand his wife, Margaret, became its first official residents.
Premier House has housed every subsequent prime minister. Some made it a family home, but Helen Clark and John Key kept their families in Auckland, using Premier House as a workday squat. ‘There’s a little corner which has the bedroom and the bathroom, and … I go into the bedroom somewhere around midnight or later,’ Clark said in 2002. ‘The alarm goes in the morning, I wander along to the kitchen, I turn on the jug and make a cup of tea. Then I’m out of there.’
Nevertheless, Premier House hosts VIPs, such as Prince William, who attended a barbecue there in 2010. It is also used by politicians and officials for meetings and is the venue for events such as awards ceremonies. Premier House was one of the few Crown-owned ministerial houses retained by the government recently after it reformed ministerial expenses, terminated many leases and put ministers on to flat allowances to cover their Wellington expenses.
Information provided by NZhistory.net.nz
Previous facts of the day: Speaker's flat, Urgency, Jernigham Wakefield, Sidney Holland and the Suicide Squad, 1951 the last majority election, The Business Committee, New Zealand's First Parliament in Auckland, 1947 Greymouth beer boycott, So goes Hamilton so goes the nation, Australia and Compulsory Voting
Standing Order of the Day - SO311 - Recommittal
A motion to recommit a bill to a committee of the whole House may be moved after the order of the day for the third reading of the bill has been called. There is no amendment or debate on the question.
Local Elections are coming
Elections for Mayors, Councils, Community Boards, Regional Council and District Health Boards will be held on 8 October.
This election will be via Postal vote after a possible internet voting trial was scrapped. Only those correctly enrolled by Friday 12 August 2016 will get their voting papers for the 2016 local elections sent to them in the mail.
Voting papers will be sent out from 16 September and must be received by the electoral officer by noon on Election Day, 8 October 2016.
Enrolling or updating your details is easy - go online at elections.org.nz, freetext your name and address to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56 or go to any PostShop.
If you want to nominate as a candidate you have until 12 August to submit your papers. For more information visit your council website or consult Vote 2016
To see the nominations so far received for most councils and authorities click here
The next members day is expected to be on August 24
To see today's order paper click here
To see business currently before Select Committee Click Here
To see past Members Day Updates Click Here
submitted by KiwiKibbles to newzealand [link] [comments]

Pubs, Bars or Taverns near Train Stations in Perth

So, the contributions have stopped coming in now.
Have had a lot of help, so thank you all very much.
Am gonna list all I have below.
If you have any more suggestions/comments, let me know, and I'll add them here.
Thanks all again - I hope people of Perth find this useful if they are planning any pub related activities around trains...
Overseas travelers reading this: Be advised that Australia often uses the work "Hotel" to describe a pub. You will likely find an old (For Perth) Hotel, which has been modernized, and no longer offers accommodation, just booze. Yeah - I don't understand it either...
So, without further ado:
 
MIDLAND LINE
Perth - Loads North or South of the Station, but The Globe is close.
McIver – Badlands Bar
Claisebrook – The Royal On the Waterfront, Zesto Cafe
East Perth – (Just over 1km )The Brisbane Hotel, The Queens Tavern
Mt Lawley – Loads here around intersection of Beaufort St & Walcott St, West of Station
Maylands – The Peninsula Tavern, Henry on Eighth, Swallow Bar, Miss Kittys Saloon,
Meltham – The Civic Hotel
Bayswater – Bayswater hotel (Is a hotel for staying at, but has a bar and Bistro attached)
Ashfield
Bassendean – The Bassendean Hotel, The Cork and Bottle
Success Hill
Guildford – The Guildford Hotel, The Rose and Crown, The Stirling Arms
East Guildford - The Woodbridge Hotel
Woodbridge
Midland – The 7th Ave, The Principal, The Grand Central Hotel, The Commercial Tavern
 
JOONDALUP LINE:
Elizabeth Quay - (Loads of Pubs) The Lucky Shag Bar is Popular
Perth Underground – (Loads of Pubs) The Aviary is just above
Leederville – Loads of Pubs but Niche Bar & Fibber Mcgees are Closest
Glendalough – These 4 are all nearly 2km. Pirate Bar, O.P’s Tavern, The Paddington Ale House, Herdsman Lake Tavern
Stirling - Botanica Bar & Bistro, The Saint George Hotel
Warwick – The Carine Glades Tavern, The Greenwood Hotel
Greenwood – Greenwood Sports Bar
Whitfords – The Kingsly Tavern
Edgewater
Joondalup – The Sovereign Arms, Paddy Malones
Currambine - Currambine Bar and Bistro
Clarkson
Butler – The Cornerstone Ale House
 
ARMADALE LINE
Perth - Loads North or South of the Station, but The Globe is close.
McIver - Badlands Bar
Claisebrook - The Royal On the Waterfront, Zesto Cafe
Perth Stadium Station – The Camfield (Stadium Bar – station only used on event days).
Burswood – Empire Bar, Blasta Brewing Co, The Casino has bars
Victoria Park – Broken Hill Hotel
Carlisle – The Carlisle Hotel
Oats Street – The Balmoral Hotel (1.6km)
Welshpool – The Bentley Hotel
Queens Park
Cannington
Thornlie
Beckenham
Kenwick
Maddington
Gosnells – Gosnells Hotel
Seaforth
Kelmscott
Challis
Sherwood
Armadale
 
FREMANTLE LINE:
Perth - Loads North or South of the Station, but The Globe is close.
City West - Amphoras Bar, Black Tom's
West Leederville - J.B. O'Reilly's
Subiaco – The Vic, Refuge Small Bar, The Village Bar, Subiaco Hotel - Loads of bars here.
Daglish - Juanita's
Shenton Park - The Unicorn Bar
Karrakatta
Loch Street
Claremont – Claremont Hotel, Brooklyn Lounge
Swanbourne
Grant Street
Cottesloe – Albion Hotel, Ocean Beach Hotel (known as The OBH 1.5kms), Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Mosman Park - Rodney's Bait and Tackle
Victoria Street
North Fremantle – Mojo’s Bar, Mrs Brown Bar, Piggy Food Co
Fremantle - Loads here: National Hotel, Newport Hotel, Sail & Anchor, Little Creatures
 
MANDURAH LINE:
Perth Underground - (Loads of Pubs) The Aviary is just above
Elizabeth Quay - - (Loads of Pubs) The Lucky Shag Bar is Popular
Canning Bridge – The Raffles Hotel, Mount Henry Tavern
Bull Creek
Murdoch – The Bull Creek Tavern, The Murdoch Guild Tavern
Cockburn Central – The Gate
Aubin Grove - The Quarie Bar & Brasserie,
Kwinana
Wellard
Rockingham - The Swinging Pig (about 2.4kms from station)
Warnbro - Drop Inn (about 2.5km)
Mandurah
submitted by Jonsmith78 to perth [link] [comments]

Arthur Gallard - Child of Hecate

DECEMBER 24th
“I knew you were too cute to be a railbird.”
He bites off his last word with a smile, canine glinting in the pink neon lights. When it doesn’t have the desired effect and the hand on his shoulder tightens instead, he lifts his hands from the table, two chips sliding down his left sleeve just as he flicks his fingers open. Something sparks.
The cards on the table glitter a pale green, and then the eight of diamonds flickers back to the same number of clubs. The dealer eyes him up, and he casts a glance at her, almost apologetic.
“Flush is better than a simple straight.” Seems to be his admission of guilt, his smile still plastered over his delicate features. Not that anything straight would be acceptable to the young man, but he worked with what he had. The dealer stares him straight in the eye, then breaks to nod at the man with his hand still on Arthur’s shoulder.
The grip on his shoulder tightens further, and the smile morphs to a grimace. Alright, then. When the man behind him yanks him up from his seat, he comes willingly, falling against the security guard with an almost endearing stumble to his step.
“You know she’s been stacking the deck for the past four rounds, right?” He mutters, right into the man’s ear, which doesn’t earn him the kudos he would expect for outing another cheater to the establishment. Rather, it earns him a solid punch to the gut, and nausea to boot.
His grin slips from his face, then, and the nice dinner jacket flickers back into his actual shirt, putting his lower arms on display. Even the shoes he’s wearing aren’t real, the warm brown leather of his oxfords melting back into his canvas slip-ons the moment that the guard’s fist connects to his midriff.
“Right.” He coughs, already physically being dragged through a mass of playing, dancing, laughing people. He’d quite like to be one of them at this moment, and not the person he is right now (that is, a gambler who was straight up caught cheating in a casino), but, regrettably, he is himself and he’s currently being hauled away from his dearly beloved poker table.
Squirming, it seems, has no effect on this fellow. Normally, he’d be out of someone’s grip within a minute, but he’s already in the grand entrance hall and with the amount of pressure being put on his shoulder and collarbone approaching breaking capacity, he’s slowly losing hope on anything like that happening.
“Listen, I get that it’s wrong and all, but she was cheating too, and I was just trying to fix a broken system, no need to get hands with-“ For someone as out of breath as him, having just gotten his smart smile knocked off of his face with a fist to the stomach, he’s still pretty wordy. “I know it’s pretty contrarian and all but I really wasn’t looking for trouble, just for some profit, I pinky-swear it won’t happen-“
“I ought to break that pinky of yours, along with the rest of your delicate little fingers.” The man’s low grumble shuts Arthur up, and earns him another up-and-down. He doesn’t look old enough for that deep a voice, nor does he really look strong enough to keep this hold on the boy.
“I hear a but.”
It’s risky, but it’s left his lips before he can think about not being snarky for once in his short life.
“You’re half-deaf, then. I ought to break your fingers, but I’ll settle for your kicking you out. You’re lucky it ain’t first quarter yet, godspawn.”
“Wait, no, I’ll take the fingers, just don’t-“ What is he saying?
The strong hand on his shoulders pushes and pulls, and then he’s bodily thrown out of the casino, and he really doesn’t want to be, but he’s briefly too concerned with wanting to break his hands rather than leave the building to struggle.
Why, in the name of Hades himself, would he want that? He needs his hands. They’re the most important part of him, two conduits for magic, the quick parts that steal wallets and know how to tie at least seventeen different knots. Why the hell would he-
Wait.
Another sequence of questions begins to form in the back of his mind, with the most important one being why is Santa out in february which is followed by what’s with the christmas music and then a sudden, verbal, loud -
“What day is it?”
Nobody answers him, but, glaring down at him from the sky is a moon nearly in its full quarter, and the impossibility of that hits him like a ton of bricks. It had been first quarter when he entered the casino. It can’t have been more than a few days. It can’t be a new cycle yet. But the moon is there, and so is Santa, and the realisation that it hasn’t been a new cycle, it’s been ten months, hits him like a freight train, giving him no time to recover from the bricks in any way.
Barely breathing, he already knows what he’ll find spelled out in the neon sign flickering behind him. He looks anyway.
Tackily, in gold and pink, LOTUS CASINO is spelled out for all the world to see.
Arthur curses.
Somewhere far from there, his name is spoken.
The Vegas Strip is loud, and he has no way of hearing that voice from that far away, but he does. And he shouldn’t, because it’s impossible, because the magic long since ran out, because he can’t do those things, but even demigods sometimes have miracles, and his spell holds.
Far away from where he is, someone is calling Arthur’s name, and he can hear him.
“Fiyero.” The mage-boy whispers, clenching sooty fingers to sparking fists, the name of the son of night barely leaving his lips before the hope sparks, too. Maybe, if he calls out his name, then maybe -
Then maybe all that is lost is Arthur, and maybe, if he finds the way, he can return.
He can. He will.
And if he has to lie and cheat and steal his way back to the east coast, then so it shall be.
DECEMBER 29th. LATE EVENING.
Once upon a time, he had washed up on the shore, spit out by the sea itself.
He is, again, dripping with water when he reappears. Thick white snowflakes hang in the crow-feather crown of hair on his head, slowly melting down into the dark, muddy textiles of his clothes. Arthur stands at 5’6, these days, still short but taller than he once was, long-limbed and quick-fingered. Like the mages of myth, he cannot contain himself within himself, and it’s painfully obvious that his body has tried to accommodate the energy pulsing through his veins too quickly, very poorly. Knowing him (if anyone really knows him, it’s a subject of debate all in itself), the six extra inches might be an illusion if it weren’t such a steady height, and if it weren’t such an unimpressive stature. He’s nineteen now, and no boy his age would be that short by choice. The tips of his fingers are covered in soot and slowly scale into the greyish undertone of one with divine and, decidedly, mixed heritage. That same soot-black nestles under his skin, not just on top of it, a thousand-and-one little lines of ink scrawled on his arms and shoulders, up the back of his neck, in suns and moons and stars, in prayers and curse-formulas. Those are new, too, and while some flicker sea-green with mist-magic, others are all too real. Seems that he’s brought with him ink and soot and calloused knuckles, if nothing else of value. Pale green eyes drag themselves over the landscapes, judging it unkindly. Distance is written over his face, distance from this, from the changes that pulled through the landscape when he was absent from it. He does not seem to like it, going by the way his mouth pulls into a knife-drawn line. He wears a heavy midnight crown, haphazardly sat atop curls just as dark, shifting when he tilts his head, as if expecting the landscape to change with the movement. It doesn’t.
The world has changed, and it does not change with a tilt of his head. He has changed, and that does not change with his tilted head either. Those facts are similar, but unconnected. The world has not changed because he has - the world does not care for things as small as him - and he has not changed because the world has - the world is far too big for him to have noticed changes until after they’ve occurred.
The world has changed, and he has too, and those entirely unrelated facts have somehow gotten themselves gordianically knotted up into problems. Problems that most certainly aren’t solved by his head tilting to the side, but that may yet be solved by other actions he might take. It’s about time, Arthur reckons, with his mist-magic and all the wisdom gathered in two decades of life, that he starts solving.
And so he does, stalking off decidedly towards cabin 21.
queer wizard, at your service. i reckon this counts as a re-[introduction]. if you find things need explaining, follow the links! they (should) explain said things.
submitted by little-emperor to CampHalfBloodRP [link] [comments]

stockAday: can you Wynn or lose? $WYNN

Key Stats for Wynn Resorts, Limited

As an Irishman what could get my heart pumping more than a gambling stock! So how are the chips falling?
Ticker WYNN
Sector Casinos
Latest price $108.57
Value $11,051M
Daily vol $464M
Date 19 September 2016

Useful Links

Description

Wynn Resorts, Limited is a developer, owner and operator of destination casino resorts that integrate accommodations and a range of amenities, including dining outlets, retail offerings, entertainment theaters and meeting complexes. There are 450+ tables and 700+ slot machines in Macau with another 200+ tables and 1,850 slots in Vegas. Plus there's the new outfit coming in Everett, MA!

Recent financials

The figures say it all :(
Metric 2015A 2014A 2013A 2012A 2011A
Revenue $4.1bn $5.4bn $5.6bn $5.2bn $5.3bn
EPS $1.92 $7.18 $7.17 $4.82 $4.88
But if you want to know why? Macau saw sales down 35% in 2015 (to $2.5bn) and Vegas was off a little (down 2% to $1.6bn).
The decline is primarily due to the continued weak gaming environment affecting our Macau Operations, which experienced a year-over-year decrease in casino revenues of 35.5% from $3,586.8 million to $2,312.9 million. Our VIP gaming operations drove the Macau Operations casino revenue reduction, with $57.92 billion in VIP turnover for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared to $108.08 billion for the same period of 2014.
Is that the canary in the coal mine for China? Or just that the wealthy are embracing the new president's austere views?

Competition

Let's focus on Macau first
In addition to Wynn Macau SA, each of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau ("SJM") and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited are primary concessionaires with Sands China Ltd., Melco Crown and MGM China Holdings Limited operating under subconcessions. There is no limit to the number of casinos each concessionaire or subconcessionaire is permitted to operate, but each facility is subject to government approval. Currently, there are 36 operating casinos in Macau.
Oh dear. Sounds like there's overcapacity...
As of December 31, 2015, there were 32,200 hotel rooms, 5,957 table games and 14,578 slot machines in Macau, compared to 12,978 hotel rooms, 2,762 table games and 6,546 slot machines as of December 31, 2006.
So a 2 to 3 fold increase in 10 years.
Now over in Vegas things are decidedly rosier!
During 2015, the average daily room rate increased 2.7% and visitation increased 2.9% to 42.3 million visitors compared to 2014. In addition, Las Vegas Strip resorts experienced 2015 year-over-year increases of 0.6% and 3.3% in occupancy and revenue per available room, respectively.
Companies Latest Sales Operating Profit Return on Equity
Wynn Resorts, Limited $3,999M 24% N/A
Las Vegas Sands Corp. $11,122M 32% 24%
MGM Resorts International $8,952M 22% -3%
Red Rock Resorts Inc $1,382M 34% 33%
Penn National Gaming, Inc $2,999M 29% N/A
Churchill Downs, Inc. $1,279M 21% 12%
So margins are good, but not great... and returns are N/A... why? Because WYNN's been so good at returning capital that there really is no equity left to measure returns on equity. Nice!

Cash / Debt?

Wynn Resorts, Limited has $7,345M of net debt. That is 7.8x its latest operating profit. Ooops. So in effect the aggressive pay-outs come with a catch.
Metric 2015A 2014A 2013A 2012A 2011A
EPS $1.92 $7.18 $7.17 $4.82 $4.88
Cash distribution per share $3.00 $6.26 $7.00 $9.50 $6.50

Wall Street thinks?

The professionals on Wall Street have a $102.54 for Wynn Resorts, Limited and their recommendation to clients is Hold. That implies an downside of 6% to their target.

Valuation

At 28x earnings it's hard to disagree with the brokers. Though, am a little surprised they see such good long-term growth prospects. How can I justify WYNN when RRR is on 18x and PENN on 13x?
View Peers Valuation Forecast PE Long-term Growth Dividend Yield FCF Yield
WYNN.O $11,051M 28x 23% 2% 8%
LVS $46,342M 27x N/A 5% 11%
MGM $14,389M 35x 10% 1% 0%
RRR.O $2,490M 18x 3% 1% 18%
PENN.O $1,113M 13x 5% 0% 6%
CHDN.O $2,488M 25x 12% 1% 8%

Dividends

Wynn Resorts, Limited is forecast to pay a dividend of $2.16 per share, compared with a historic dividend of $2.00 per share. That is a 8% growth. The forecast dividend of $2.16 compares to a forecast EPS of $3.88.

Catalysts

After the horror of 2015, 2016's got back on track and the business is stabilising and EPS is recovering. In the last 3 months the stock price has moved by 8% that compares with a change in the earnings forecasts of +6%. Though on a 1 year view the stock's up 60% with earnings up 20%.
On the management team's latest call with Wall Street brokers they highlighted that Macau's improving and that they'll keep up returning capital to shareholder. They even spoke of the new casino near Boston, finally getting it's construction permits. But the one thing they didn't do was talk guidance. Seems it's just not something they do!
I fear the easy money's been made on WYNN the last 12 months, as folks that believe the earnings would come back got rewarded. So, how do the chips fall from here? Is the next big event, the launch of Boston? Or will we have to bear the capex cost before we see the benefit?
What's your gamble?
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned. However I may initiate a position within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. Reddit, moderators, and the author do not advise making investment decisions based on discussion in these posts. Analysis is not subject to validation and users take action at their own risk.
Author notes: u/shane_stockflare works at a financial website, Stockflare, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Previously he worked at Credit Suisse, where he was an equity research analyst covering tech stocks and at Citigroup where he was an investment banker.
submitted by shane_stockflare to investing [link] [comments]

OC Story Chapter 9

Previous Chapter: Chapter 8

Day x of x Pain

"So, Miss, I'm sorry, what was your name again?"
.
This was a crude tactic to posture one's self as dominant in the conversation. There are several ways with which to react that could determine the first impression of intent. Any number of these could be used against her. She reevaluated her end goal and went with the most beneficial response. The entire decision making process had to be done within a second or else the pause in conversation could be seen as negative on Lahara's part.
.
"It's Lahara. And yours?"
.
"Mayor Grae. Nice to meet your acquaintance." He extended his hand with a smile but knew already by her tone that she was either arrogant or confident. Neither one was useful to Grae.
.
"Likewise." She met him with an equally tasteful grin, acknowledging how she could see through his attempts.
.
"Now, onto business." It could be read into that he was attempting to control the conversation with this line, but truth be told, it was a natural pacing after Lahara's response. She was not worried about it, as it was his office, and on his terms that they met; it was only reasonable to assume it would be on his terms that the conversation progressed.
.
However, he had left an opening, and she took it, "Yes, I'd like to discuss a potential trade deal."
.
"Yes, my assistant had informed me," He had mistakenly positioned himself into the passive role in this power struggle. If she hadn't seen the opening, he would have moved forward with framing his words so carefully as to lead Lahara into voicing her intents more lightly, taking away the potential aggression. Now, Lahara had the opening she needed to remain professional while still pressuring the Mayor.
.
If this had been a match of will and reflex, Lahara would now be in position for a kill strike. It was not, however, as she still needed her opponent. All that was accomplished was the building of the foundations for which they now both stood. No real progress had been made. Mayor Grae thought it easiest to just end the talks right here and now, as he had the socioeconomic standing to simply turn her away. This line of thinking was halted with the echoing of what Chief Reather had said to him earlier.
.
Instead of pressing, Lahara simply waited for Grae to continue, allowing him time to collect his thoughts and prepare a volley. Predictions and counters were set aside for the sake of information sharing. This was not meant to be a contest, but a collaboration.
.
Grae decided to push her, this time, "I would like to know why you think I should listen to you about this?"
.
"Surely your assistant informed you of my standing?"
.
"Lords of Teardrop Isle? You mean former standing. Now all you have is the money you collected from being forced to sell off your land."
.
"I am in a unique position, shed of my previous obligations to the land."
.
"And what makes you think this is a strength?" Grae was partially curious, but his words were designed so as to damage, not question.
.
Dodging the rhetoric, "What makes you think it isn't? All I see here is another person, whom I will judge based on the merits of their actions." She paused, as if to let him speak. The abrupt change was something Grae wasn't ready for, and as he began formulating, she continued, as the silence was her objective, "I see a land in dire needs, a people of falling aspirations, and a city that is slowly becoming a graveyard." She stared him down, "I see a person in need of help."
.
The speech was grand, he'd admit, but this was a business transaction to him, and understanding the desires of all parties was not only beneficial to the agreement, but to his curiosity, "But, what do you want?"
.
"I want to help."
.
"No, that's not what I mean. Why is it you who is coming to me? Altruism can be a selfish motivation, yes, but what is there to gain for you? I cannot believe you would not stand to gain from this transaction, and until I understand it, I will have trouble trusting your judgement."
.
"Everything is a series of gains and losses to you isn't it? Just like to those that ran these corporations into the ground, belittling their own resources with poor treatment because of gains and losses. Numbers don't mean everything."
.
"You didn't answer me though." This time, Grae stopped, leaving Lahara spent after delivering her counter. She had not yet decided what to say next, so she took the back seat and understood that he was now doing to her what she had done to him, "Truth is, everyone wants something. Safety, happiness, comfort. Life, ambition, or anything that can result in those. Of course, I'm generalizing. It doesn't make what I say any less true. People came to this island. They wanted to, because they wanted the job to earn the money to afford housing for themselves and their families. They wanted the happiness from the environment, from the housing provided. I want to keep my job, I want to keep my pride and dignity. So, I want to do right by the people, in their eyes. So, I want to fix the economy of Cowtip. See? There are people here that want to hunt, find employment or people, to leave, to protect, to uncover truth, to have a home, to break the monotony of life, and, ultimately, want to survive. I think I now know what you want."
.
Lahara was surprised to be hearing this from the Mayor. She had misread him, "To help."
.
"To help because it makes you feel good, feel better. You know why? I think I know the reason." He had honestly just come up with the theory while he was talking about his own desires, "You want to feel useful again."
.
She had enough of this pondering, "Does it really matter?"
.
"Excuse me?"
.
"If you need a reason to trust me, and that reason is what I want, then you have it. But I feel like you are just wasting my time. I get it, you're a Mayor and I'm a tourist. But look, you are a Mayor of a single territory, one in decline. My family was very well connected on a much different plane. The biggest thing I learned from my family's fall from nobility is that it shouldn't have mattered in the first place. You think it makes you better because of a title? That this gives you the right to posture yourself above someone else?"
.
"No."
.
"Then listen to me."
.
"I'm here, aren't I?"
.
"You're here, but you aren't even paying attention to what is going on. This myopia is almost assuredly how the island fell into this death-spiral."
.
"I think you've forgotten,"
.
"My place? See? You didn't listen to a word I just said."
.
Regret filled Mayor Grae's thoughts. He began to see mistakes he hadn't considered before. Such as talking to her, expecting an easy deal to be struck which favored Cimiterium's well-being. He hadn't thought of providing a reasoning.
.
Lahara didn't relent, "You fail to see how this is an olive branch. You are the one that needs assistance. I can just let you go, but I stuck my neck out to get to you and talk this over. So, do you want to talk numbers or do you want Cimiterium to be crushed under the weight of your own impotence?"
.
This day was not going well for Mayor Grae. Mental anguish was the primary consistency of his well-being since the sun arose.
.
"I'll need my financial advisers and budget committee. Honestly, I should contact the UPIO's foreign affairs board about this, too. It's standard operating procedure for a deal such as this. I'll vouch for the removal of the tariffs to the mainland UPIO ports by advocating for direct trade to the island. That should draw some attention and the desire of many businesses. What exactly did you have in mind, though?"
.
"I'm talking about your plans for the other side of the ridge."
.
"That's untapped, everyone knows there's no reason to go there except hiking and hunting."
.
"This entire island is fertile beyond belief. The soil is what is untapped."
.
"You mean to farm it?"
.
"Tell me what you know of Teardrop."
.
"Pharmaceuticals and bio-engineered crops. Thriving industry there, the bio-chemical one."
.
Lahara was nodding in approval as a teacher would a student, but she was keeping secret the fact that farming and manual labor were well below the normal numbers, "We develop the potential farmland on the other side of the ridge with Teardrop's crops. The companies will be drawn here for the fertile land and the tariff free transport you are offering. This will bring jobs and other companies from Teardrop expanding to Cimiterium. We ship the crops back to Teardrop from Cowtip, maybe allow competition between shipping start-ups, and allow the fishers here to start selling their catch in Teardrop as well. Then you regulate the fishing licenses and raise the price. This way, the most equipped companies can fish efficiently in your high quality waters just fine."
.
"Wait a minute, you're leaving trade deal territory and entering local law territory."
.
"I understand you will need to run the trade deal plans by those in the UPIO mainland, but you can regulate and set up for it without them. I don't think I need to tell you how much you need to enforce some stricter regulations on your hunting and fishing industries..." The protesters had done that for her.
.
Grae wasn't sure if she knew of the complexities of the situation, "It isn't that simple. I can take the trade deal, but the regulations would need to be discussed after the details of our talks reach the public."
.
She smiled as he had already conceded cooperation, "That works for me. When do you think we'll be able to discuss this?"
.
It was now that he realized he had already agreed to her terms without negotiating. Things seemed too skewed in his favor for his comfort though, "There are some pressing issues on the island, currently. I'll make contact about the trade deal with representatives later tonight. I can't say for certain whether they'll agree to it, though if you'd like, you can make travel to them, mainland, after the storm is over. That would certainly increase your chances of success. I'll inform them of your wishes, and they will be more fit to discuss the logistics with you." He slid a paper over, "If you could leave your contact information now...I must be going before this storm arrives."
.
*****
.
As Lahara negotiated, Dahlia was near the edge of the city. Just outside of its boundaries, she was stepping through grass damp with dew of the prior night, as it was covered with the shade of the nearby buildings for most of the day, from dawn till the arrival of clouds. They had only come in recently, with the wind, in a way that she felt meant the storm was nearer than she had presumed.
.
She had made her decision. She would seek out Shivra Nyarl herself and see for herself what he was like. Before coming to the island, she caught wind of him, but she had no idea what kind of person he might be. Dahlia was unsure how to approach him, or how he'd react. Reaching into her pocket, she remembered Anja giving her a number and telling her to let her know if she would do anything crazy, just before she got onto the bus to enter Cimiterium the first time.
.
Her head nodded side to side, "No," she said to herself, "I'm doing this on my own."
.
*****
.
As Alecksander was leaving Cimiterium into the Ridge Floor Village, Tulver was inching his way behind Myles, another member of group 1, just leaving the border of Cimiterium towards Fisher's Paradise. Maxwell remained inside Cimiterium, avoiding the conflict that seemed to be on the cusp of arriving. All other members of the gambling ring were making their way in one path or another towards the fisherman Maxwell arrived to Cowtip with, to pay their way off the island with the funds they've accumulated thus far. Since this was a cheaper option, it would mean that each member would have a small amount of spending money, so as not to be completely broke after reaching the mainland of the UPIO.
.
With Kasumi and Gorick awaiting their arrival, Myles was within detectable range. From behind the shacks they were hiding among, Gorick looked over to Kasumi and nodded. She understood that in order for their ambush to be most effective, they'd need to deal with the closer one as efficiently as possible while simultaneously striking the farther target. Without knowing what abilities they'd have, they had to make sure to keep their distance. This was not a problem for either Gorick or Kasumi, as their abilities would allow for just such combat.
.
Gorick would rely on his Five Guns of Fury Hatsu to manipulate his 5 revolvers he carries around him to increase his potential firepower. Kasumi would rely on her Modernized Ichaival Hatsu to conjure a specialized rifle to keep her distance. While doing this, she would conjure Fabled Warrior Achilles to serve both her and Gorick as their front line. With his strength, he would be able to keep them busy with close range combat while bother her and Gorick kept a safe distance before moving in for the arrest once they were taken out fully.
.
Before they would begin, Gorick would check to make sure they were attacking the right people. Knowing how close the two were, he began to use Compass to the Truth several times. Using Manipulation, he can ask his compass a question about a person, and it will point to the person within a 2 mile radius that fits the information gleamed through that question. If there is more than one, however, it will not work. This ability isn't as useful in an interrogation setting, as often times the goal is not to identify the person being interrogated, but to gather information from the one being interrogated.
.
Quietly, he spoke, "Is there someone who killed within the past few days here?"
.
The compass did not move. With this revelation, he looked over at Kasumi, communicating as much as he could silently with his facial expression. Either they both were killers, or none of them were. They still weren't sure if they were actually behind the massacre they discovered, as it could have occurred while Baruca was asleep.
.
"Are there Nen users that ran the gambling ring here?"
.
Once again it didn't move. He assumed they must both be Nen users, but he wished to confirm their role in the crime ring. Specificity would be required.
.
"Is the leader of the gambling ring here?"
.
The compass immediately reacted. It pointed past Myles, up towards Tulver, standing at the edge of the grass. Gorick pointed in his general direction, and mimed a crown. Kasumi understood.'
.
Myles was beginning to move towards Fisher's Paradise. With his ability Facebreaker, he could charge Nen into his fist, and pull it back, creating a vacuum effect that would pull in nearby objects and people to where his fist started at. His goal would be to use it to pull a person out from behind cover and punch them when in range. Still, he would need to move in relatively close for it to actually have an effect.
.
Tulver knew he wouldn't stand a chance in close range combat, so he stayed back, where Myles exceeded in fist fights. Kasumi conjured Achilles, and Gorick used his Five Guns ability. With Achilles running up towards Myles, both of the fighters were pleased to be meeting a close range fight. Tulver, however, noticed Kasumi pop up while conjuring her rifle and Gorick with his floating revolvers. He stared down at a spot in front of Myles and conjured Instant Casino as cover.
.
Before they began shooting, Tulver dove behind it as well. From a safe vantage point, Maxwell wondered if he should take this chance now to flee during the chaos. His only goal was to avoid arrest, but he felt a strange obligation to help Tulver after he had finally given him a job. He also wanted to make sure to act in any way he could to prevent loss of life. The police may have been lethally armed, but they were not killers. They were upholding the law, and sought to arrest the perpetrators fo the crimes they were investigating.
.
With the door to Instant Casino facing away from the police, Tulver entered inside, and gestured for Myles to enter as well, where they could buy time for the others to make it to the boat. Myles, however, wanted a fight. He wanted to act and protect Tulver with his ability. Waiting for their time to come was not something he desired.
.
Achilles, with his thick armor, shield in hand, and sword in his the other, was casually making his way towards the structure. Any non-major wounds he'd sustain would be able to heal, so long as they weren't his lone weak spot on his heel. Raising the shield on his left, he began to approach the corner, sword affixed in striking position. As Achilles made it to the corner, Myles used Facebreaker to pull him out, which Achilles positioned his shield first. With Achilles being sucked into range, Myles began his punch using the muscles in a full body movement.
.
The punch connected, but it was not with flesh. Since Achilles had positioned his shield first in anticipation, he was pulled into Myles's attack shield first, and the fist collided with that instead, sending Achilles back a few feet, but perfectly defended, while Myles sustained damage to his fist, limiting his combat ability. Tulver, inside, was not focused on defeating or winning the bout in any way. To him, victory would come from the rest of the members leaving Cowtip aboard the fishing boat that Maxwell entered on. Gorick and Kasumi decided to leave Myles to Achilles, while Kasumi would pepper the structure with her rifle, hopefully disorienting and distracting Tulver from Gorick, who was now leaving Fisher's Paradise to flank Myles and find the entrance into the structure to deal with Tulver one on one.
.
All Tulver could think about was what the others were doing, hoping that they'd have almost made it by now. Chief Reather was positioned back, near the docks, as a fight of Nen would mean he'd be of little use to them. His purpose was to head them off before they could escape. As the Chief was patrolling the docks, the others managed to make it to the place where the old man was preparing to leave.
.
"You looking for any passengers old man?"
.
"What was that?"
.
A different person spoke this time, "We were told that you'd let us ride on the cheap?"
.
"Ah, now who told you that?"
.
"Maxwell Clerk."
.
"Maxwell...oh, yes! A real lazy fella, that one." He rubbed his chin.
.
"He said he offered to help and you wouldn't let him."
.
"Listen, dumb ass, who you gonna believe? Him or me? Now do you want to ride this boat or not?"
.
"Of course we do,"
.
"Then be prepared to work for it!" He told everyone this, throughout the years.
.
The truth of the matter was that he rarely actually asked for help, and when Maxwell had asked him instead, he only declined because he did not want to pay him. The boat would set off in less than 15 minutes to avoid the storm. Chief Reather was still patrolling, searching for any people that might be hiding nearby, unaware of the handful that had made it to the boat already. He was only one man, after all.
.
*****
.
As Law was leading Anja and Virgil to Jeremiah and he's hideout in Fisher's Paradise, Anja's phone rang. Distressed, she hung up. Law could see the sense of excitement in her eyes, but worry was making the flicker of light murky.
.
She spoke up, "I have to go. Let me know how to get in contact with you, so I can help you out, though. I'm so sorry...it's just...something came up, and I need to go."
.
Jeremiah gave her a slip with an address on it. It was a shack address in Fisher's Paradise. The shack wouldn't be too hard to find, as they were all identified with a linear number system. This was because of the way the zoning was designed on the island. Each residential zone had its own address system for identification purposes. Advocates didn't want to change what was already there as Cimiterium shifted over to a different system to accommodate the large industrial boom it experienced years ago. Ironic, as now Cimiterium was being abandoned faster than the village's were.
.
Law made sure to keep the offer on board, "Whatever you do, please think about what we are doing."
.
"I like the idea of this and all," Virgil added, "but I really want to see what she's up to...so," He turned to follow Anja.
.
The two of them left, leaving Jeremiah and Law alone again, "Well, Law, looks like it's just us two again."
.
"They'll be back. In the mean time, you were right, they won't be enough..." Shortly after he spoke, they heard gunshots coming from not too far away.
.
They began cautiously heading towards the commotion.
.
*****
.
As the gamblers were making their way to leave the island, the CPD were enacting counters to this, and everyone else was busy on the island of Cowtip, Whisk had been making his way out of the city to find Ksaksa. Before Maxwell had found himself now trapped between two opposing forces and before the clouds of the storm had begun blocking the sun over Cimiterium, Whisk, atop Shenaga in his transformed state, had made it to where they'd thought it best to begin searching for him.
.
Shen transformed back into normal size and began sniffing. Whisk started looking about the area, searching for signs of him. Partially eaten remains, trails of dragged blood, ragged fur, and even signs of defecation. Before long, Shen appeared to have caught the scent of something familiar. The two began walking throughout the trees, eyes darting all around for any sign of him.
.
Without warning, they were startled by a voice, "What are you looking for?"
.
The voice was quiet, calm, and disembodied. Whisk was never superstitious, but if he ever imagined an encounter with a ghost, it would be something like what he was experiencing now. Shen couldn't even pinpoint where it was coming from. Could it be coming from within their minds? They were thinking along the lines of the possibility that it was that or another reason, such as a complex system of reverberations around the tree.
.
"Who's talking?" Whisk feared it might be too late for them, and they'd walked into a trap.
.
Neither Shen nor Whisk knew what Shivra Nyarl sounded like, and so, they weren't sure if it could be him. If it was, they'd have planned to immediately run away. But first, they wanted to confirm if it was Shivra, so that they could communicate to Candy what he sounded like, or be there to confirm it was him in a later event.
.
The voice now came from below and behind them, "Hey, Whisk...Are you two looking for me?"
.
Shen turned around as Whisk slowly began to look. It was Ksaksa, rising to a standing position behind them.
.
"What the hell was that, Ksaksa?"
.
"Sometimes I try and throw my voice to throw people off. Cool, isn't it?"
.
"Were you trying to throw us off?"
.
"No no no, I was just messing with you." He cheerfully declared, while thinking to himself, "...and testing Shenaga's detection abilities. It is good to know that he can be fooled, for both of our sakes in the future."
.
"Ksaksa," Whisk cut through, "are you looking for Shivra Nyarl?"
.
"Looking?" He smiled, "I've found him. I just don't want to get too close. I want to watch him."
.
As Ksaksa took out his book and began jotting, Whisk wondered about the possibility that Shivra knew of Ksaksa's gave upon himself. With Whisk's worry came Shen, coming near to comfort him. With someone as powerful as he, with what Whisk knew of him, he was certain that Shivra was equally observing Ksaksa.
.
"I think Shivra's watching you,"
.
He stopped writing, "I'm almost sure of it."
.
The sense of dread returned to Whisk, "We have to leave; get back to the city."
.
"Why?"
.
"Candy will be glad to have you safe."
.
"No she won't. I can see that you know that's a lie as well."
.
"It's no lie."
.
"I can see it on your face. If you're going to lie to me, at least convince yourself first, please." He went back to writing.
.
Whisk waited a while, "I'm worried about you Ksaksa."
.
"Oh," He didn't bother to put the writing on hiatus this time, "why's that?"
.
"I've seen what Shivra's capable of."
.
"So have I."
.
"And you aren't going to keep your distance?"
.
"I'm keeping my distance right now, as a matter of fact. You're the one who isn't, actually."
.
"Ksaksa, I don't even know what that means."
.
"It means you're thinking too literally. Don't think of distance as the length of space in between you and him. Like you said, he's watching us."
.
Whisk realized it just then. He had walked right into view of Shivra as well. Distance. There is no real space between them right now. Difference. Shivra was probably analyzing Whisk with each passing fraction of a second.
.
"Ksaksa, just come with me back to the city. The last thing I want is for another person to die."
.
After Whisk said this, Ksaksa put his book away, "Well, I guess you've backed me into a corner. You're determined to hold yourself hostage, aren't you? Well fine, let's leave before you get yourself killed."
.
Ksaksa walked past Whisk, which prompted Shen and him to follow. Shenaga was smelling the path they were walking before he'd step. He could pick up on something, but he wasn't sure what it was. There was a sense of danger that he could perceive, and was instinctively checking to make sure each step was not onto a trap, devised by nature or otherwise.
.
"Let's get you back to Candy, now." Ksaksa verbally prodded at Whisk.
.
*****
.
"So...what's your name?" Candy was cautiously curious.
.
"Zero."
.
"Zero..."
.
"Just Zero."
.
"Okay..."
.
Walking next to him she felt a completely different atmosphere than when she'd walk with Whisk. It was then that she truly understood what his current absence felt like to her. Whisk and Shen were an air of comfort. Previously she had only thought about how much she wanted to help him. But now, she was missing his company.
.
Zero picked up on her pondering look, "What'sa matter, sugar? Missing someone?"
.
"Don't call me sugar."
.
"Oh, so just the food, not the ingredients. Got it."
.
Candy's rage subsided with the thought of food. It had been too long since she last had access to a full kitchen and enough resources to make a proper meal. Walking a foreign land beside someone she didn't know, thinking about those she did and the things she normally would do gave her a physical sensation. It was cold, as if a humid breeze on a sunless day had found its way through the protection she had given herself from such forces. Zero could see this as well.
.
It was no surprise to him. He had given her little reason for trust, even from the moment they had met, though she seemed to not pay him much mind, then. In fact, he realized she hadn't been paying him much mind now. This was probably the only reason she was willingly going along with him, he decided.
.
Zero was no stranger to situations like this, though. In fact, the cold routine was even verging on the territory one might call comfort, for him. He was relishing the journey now. In no significant period of time, he'd be able to converse with Gorick, and hopefully be another step closer to uncovering his past.
.
As the two meandered along their path, the sound of gunshots resonated off the buildings. Cracks and smacks amid loud pops and bangs. There was a firefight occurring as they were approaching. After this revelation, the two picked up their pace towards Fisher's Paradise.
.
*****
.
On the opposite side of Cimiterium, Office Saph was carrying Officer Lamino from the gambler's house back to his squad car at the edge of the city to take to the hospital. Sern was just entering the city, avoiding the police as he came to a stop just inside the Ridge Floor Village.
.
"Who would have known the CPD were so active on the island?" Sern spoke to himself.
.
Moving as if he were just an average resident of the village, he made his way to the main pathway. Using every trick he knew of, he attempted to make himself as undetectable as possible to blend in with the rabble. Despite the incoming storm, and the looming sunset just around the corner, people, adults and kids alike, were still roaming. Alcoholics passed out or working their way to that conclusion slumped all along the buildings littering the main path.
.
"Ah, now there's a sore thumb." Sern declared, in a pianissimo.
.
His sights were fixed on a man walking upright, confidently, and with an even cadence. All of which were in stark contrast to the residents of the village. Alecksander had been in the village for some time at this point, walking along and checking the addresses marked on each structure as he passed. The near instant travel time of his grand speed to the village was juxtaposed against the minute crawl of the hunt for the particular building he was searching out.
.
Needles was scanning everything Alecksander wasn't, "You're too exposed here. You're introducing too many variables to our situation."
.
Alecksander ignored his desire to reply. Acknowledging his presence would only exacerbate the very thing Needles was pointing out, and they both knew it. It didn't matter anymore. The address on the next building was the one that Alecksander had written down. Looking both ways, he checked who was watching and then attempted to enter. It was locked.
.
Sern kept a close eye on him as he tried to look as though he was just another drunk, collapsed on the side of the dirt road. Not even Needles singled Sern out as the only true worry. Alecksander stepped aside as Needles used part of his body to pick the lock on the door. From Sern's perspective, it looked as though the door magically became unlocked, as Needles remained invisible.
.
He derived that Alecksander must be a Nen user, thinking, "This is gonna be fun..."
.
When Sern was sure he was out of sight, he used Aura Diffusion to keep a copy of himself where he sat, only this time moved more into the shadows to avoid detection or notice. Then, with the 10 minutes of increased Zetsu, he moved to infiltrate the very same building.
.
Inside, Alecksander looked around. As was to be expected, no one was there. The resident, Vivienne Claude, was now deceased. In fact, this was only one of her homes. As Alecksander had searched her eccentric manor, he had discovered locations of what some might consider vacation homes. Though for her, they were more like escapes to different cultures.
.
Back when Vivienne had lived here, the village was the top of the spectrum of class. It was the chandelier that hung above the artisan flooring that was Cimiterium. Every residence was a jewel on a well crafted asylum of prestige. The houses themselves are still vast, sprawling, and elite. Vivienne had not visited in some years, possibly as she may have known of the unfortunate demise of the location of one of her past favorite homes. Once a myriad of colorful architectural flourishes, now a dusty heap used to trap the less fortunate, instead of reward the most fortunate.
.
Just another symptom of the death spiral that is Cowtip's economy. A whirlpool of dread and doubt. Alecksander, himself, had doubts that he was even in the right place.
.
"How could Vivienne have lived in a place like this, with her wealth of high fashion tastes?" Questioned he, upon finally witnessing the Ridge Floor Village for himself.
.
A confirmation was all he sought. Without extensive knowledge of the village's past, he'd be left guessing on the validity of the information he'd received. Searching the rooms for any signs of Vivienne Claude's presence or even vague relation in the dark and dreary domicile.
.
Embroideries and pendants, and finally, a sign. The clue to search there was modest enough. In Ms. Claude's other properties, there seemed to always be a dresser of one dark wood or another near the front entrance. Atop the dressers were various pictures of favored animals in mediums of paint, representing no being in particular. It was simply the shape that was desired. The humonculus of what could be a living thing.
.
This was not what immediately triggered Alecksander's ease. Inside, she always kept a pair of gloves in the top drawer for excursions out of the premises. The gloves were all identical in material. Even in the dark, he could find and feel the gloves, identifying their material, and confirming that this was in fact a residence of Vivienne Claude.
.
"After all this work...all this time...these vast distances...and we may have finally found the location." He spoke to Needles.
.
"Didn't you say that the last time?"
.
"Where shall I check first? The bedroom?"
.
"That's where she always keeps her true valuables, after all." Needles knew Alecksander was privy to this knowledge, so he felt a bit silly reminding him.
.
Needles, representing the opposite of Alecksander's outlook on the world, would rather not succumb to the potential pitfalls that lie in wait should one allow themselves to be overcome with anticipation and imagery related to it. A skeptic at heart, he would rather not get Alecksander's hopes up, especially after seeing numerous set backs on their journey just to get this far. Still, to the bedroom they headed to search.
.
"My father was a strong man, able to raise me on his own like this. He set aside any thoughts about what could be reasoned as my fault in the part of my mother's death. He accomplished so much with so little help. ANd now I have a chance to finally create my magnum opus. The tools will be all mine now."
.
He thought it best to stifle Alecksander now, "Or it could be another empty house like the last one..."
.
"I've got a feeling this is the one. Any moment now and we'll see for ourselves the exquisite holding box in all its glory."
.
In the bedroom, Sern was in wait. He had managed to make it into the house through a back window undetected as Needles's own paranoia was still focused on the diversionary Aura Diffusion set up beforehand. Listening to the conversation, he decided to act on what he had heard. Just before the two entered the room, Sern grabbed the box he assumed they were talking about and headed for the window. His footsteps were enough to trigger Needles, who then alerted Alecksander. Even with Alecksander's speed, Sern had already dove out fo the window and with no clear sight-line of him as he fell, Alecksander was force to sprint to the window.
.
Below, he had just witnessed Sern slash the throat of a passed out drunk on the side of the road with one of his knives. As this occurence concluded, a conjuration of Nen had appeared. Death's Briefcase is a Hatsu of Sern's that can only be activated when someone has been killed by him. As Alecksander and Needles followed out the window, Sern placed the holding box into Death's Briefcase. Before they landed, it had disappeared.
.
"What did you do?" Rage was seething through Alecksander's teeth, hot breath seeping out from beneath his lips.
.
"How about we play a little game?" A grin skewed Sern's speech, as the anger he was seeing was only delighting him further.
.
*****
.
[continued in comments]
submitted by GuyWithSausageFinger to HxH_OC [link] [comments]

Are you going to Wynn or lose? $WYNN

Key Stats for Wynn Resorts, Limited

As an Irishman what could get my heart pumping more than a gambling stock! So how are the chips falling?
Ticker WYNN
Sector Casinos
Latest price $108.57
Value $11,051M
Daily vol $464M
Date 19 September 2016

Useful Links

Description

Wynn Resorts, Limited is a developer, owner and operator of destination casino resorts that integrate accommodations and a range of amenities, including dining outlets, retail offerings, entertainment theaters and meeting complexes. There are 450+ tables and 700+ slot machines in Macau with another 200+ tables and 1,850 slots in Vegas. Plus there's the new outfit coming in Everett, MA!

Recent financials

The figures say it all :(
Metric 2015A 2014A 2013A 2012A 2011A
Revenue $4.1bn $5.4bn $5.6bn $5.2bn $5.3bn
EPS $1.92 $7.18 $7.17 $4.82 $4.88
But if you want to know why? Macau saw sales down 35% in 2015 (to $2.5bn) and Vegas was off a little (down 2% to $1.6bn).
The decline is primarily due to the continued weak gaming environment affecting our Macau Operations, which experienced a year-over-year decrease in casino revenues of 35.5% from $3,586.8 million to $2,312.9 million. Our VIP gaming operations drove the Macau Operations casino revenue reduction, with $57.92 billion in VIP turnover for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared to $108.08 billion for the same period of 2014.
Is that the canary in the coal mine for China? Or just that the wealthy are embracing the new president's austere views?

Competition

Let's focus on Macau first
In addition to Wynn Macau SA, each of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau ("SJM") and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited are primary concessionaires with Sands China Ltd., Melco Crown and MGM China Holdings Limited operating under subconcessions. There is no limit to the number of casinos each concessionaire or subconcessionaire is permitted to operate, but each facility is subject to government approval. Currently, there are 36 operating casinos in Macau.
Oh dear. Sounds like there's overcapacity...
As of December 31, 2015, there were 32,200 hotel rooms, 5,957 table games and 14,578 slot machines in Macau, compared to 12,978 hotel rooms, 2,762 table games and 6,546 slot machines as of December 31, 2006.
So a 2 to 3 fold increase in 10 years.
Now over in Vegas things are decidedly rosier!
During 2015, the average daily room rate increased 2.7% and visitation increased 2.9% to 42.3 million visitors compared to 2014. In addition, Las Vegas Strip resorts experienced 2015 year-over-year increases of 0.6% and 3.3% in occupancy and revenue per available room, respectively.
Companies Latest Sales Operating Profit Return on Equity
Wynn Resorts, Limited $3,999M 24% N/A
Las Vegas Sands Corp. $11,122M 32% 24%
MGM Resorts International $8,952M 22% -3%
Red Rock Resorts Inc $1,382M 34% 33%
Penn National Gaming, Inc $2,999M 29% N/A
Churchill Downs, Inc. $1,279M 21% 12%
So margins are good, but not great... and returns are N/A... why? Because WYNN's been so good at returning capital that there really is no equity left to measure returns on equity. Nice!

Cash / Debt?

Wynn Resorts, Limited has $7,345M of net debt. That is 7.8x its latest operating profit. Ooops. So in effect the aggressive pay-outs come with a catch.
Metric 2015A 2014A 2013A 2012A 2011A
EPS $1.92 $7.18 $7.17 $4.82 $4.88
Cash distribution per share $3.00 $6.26 $7.00 $9.50 $6.50

Wall Street thinks?

The professionals on Wall Street have a $102.54 for Wynn Resorts, Limited and their recommendation to clients is Hold. That implies an downside of 6% to their target.

Valuation

At 28x earnings it's hard to disagree with the brokers. Though, am a little surprised they see such good long-term growth prospects. How can I justify WYNN when RRR is on 18x and PENN on 13x?
View Peers Valuation Forecast PE Long-term Growth Dividend Yield FCF Yield
WYNN.O $11,051M 28x 23% 2% 8%
LVS $46,342M 27x N/A 5% 11%
MGM $14,389M 35x 10% 1% 0%
RRR.O $2,490M 18x 3% 1% 18%
PENN.O $1,113M 13x 5% 0% 6%
CHDN.O $2,488M 25x 12% 1% 8%

Dividends

Wynn Resorts, Limited is forecast to pay a dividend of $2.16 per share, compared with a historic dividend of $2.00 per share. That is a 8% growth. The forecast dividend of $2.16 compares to a forecast EPS of $3.88.

Catalysts

After the horror of 2015, 2016's got back on track and the business is stabilising and EPS is recovering. In the last 3 months the stock price has moved by 8% that compares with a change in the earnings forecasts of +6%. Though on a 1 year view the stock's up 60% with earnings up 20%.
On the management team's latest call with Wall Street brokers they highlighted that Macau's improving and that they'll keep up returning capital to shareholder. They even spoke of the new casino near Boston, finally getting it's construction permits. But the one thing they didn't do was talk guidance. Seems it's just not something they do!
I fear the easy money's been made on WYNN the last 12 months, as folks that believe the earnings would come back got rewarded. So, how do the chips fall from here? Is the next big event, the launch of Boston? Or will we have to bear the capex cost before we see the benefit?
What's your gamble?
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned. However I may initiate a position within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. Reddit, moderators, and the author do not advise making investment decisions based on discussion in these posts. Analysis is not subject to validation and users take action at their own risk.
Author notes: u/shane_stockflare works at a financial website, Stockflare, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Previously he worked at Credit Suisse, where he was an equity research analyst covering tech stocks and at Citigroup where he was an investment banker.
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