How selling off student debt will affect students

Written by admin on 07/30/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿论坛

By Scott Bowman

The cost of the national student loan debt held by the federal government has gathered pace to pop the A$30 billion mark, perpetuating rumours that a debt sale could be on the cards.

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Should that happen, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for students.

We first need to understand how the cost of the debt has grown so large. Australia recently removed the cap on the number of undergraduate university places, opening the doors to thousands of students who wouldn’t otherwise have gone to university. Many of these students came from disadvantaged backgrounds, or were the first in their family ever to set foot inside a lecture theatre, particularly so in regional areas. The uncapping of student places will prove to be one of the most under-recognised nation-building initiatives of our time. It will return a social dividend over the career span of every student who benefited from it.

But it has come at a price. All these new students became eligible to apply for a government HELP loan to assist with the cost of tuition, increasing the HELP debt owed to the government. There has been a $1.6 billion increase in HELP costs in 2012-13 alone.

I would be the first to call this a long-term national investment. But in reality the Treasury budget is no magic pudding and we expect the government to balance its books.

I’d be surprised if the Commonwealth were not considering three obvious options to bring the growing HELP debt under control. The first is to once again cap university places. The second is to change the loan contract terms in the government’s favour. That could mean charging interest on student loans, lowering the salary threshold at which repayments begin, or even chasing down debts from students who die or work overseas. The third option is selling HELP debt to banks and using the money to continue the uncapped student scheme.

 

Does it matter to the student who they repay their loan to? 南宁夜网.shutterstock广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,

 

Choosing option one – capping student numbers – would be a national tragedy. Option two – being tougher on loan repayments – could create a disincentive to study for all but the more privileged of students. Option three, however – selling, or to be more accurate, securitising the debt – should have no effect on students whatsoever.

Here’s what would happen if the HELP debt were securitised. Students would still enter into a loan contract with the government, as they always have. The government would still be the financier of that loan – that would remain unchanged too. And the government would continue being the collector of debt repayments through the Tax Office.

What would be different is that the Commonwealth would sell the rights to its $30 billion stream of long-term debt repayments at a reduced price of, say, $15-$20 billion today. Yes the government short-changes itself a little in the process, but it removes debt from its books while receiving an immediate cash injection – as opposed to waiting years to see that money trickle in.

In this scenario, nothing changes for the students. They continue to make their repayments to the ATO, most commonly via salary garnishing. But the ATO then hands that repayment to a bank that bought the right to the debt.

Not only is this the only option that spares students, but it gets the government out of its financial pickle as well. The bank wins because they love holding other people’s debt and since they don’t have to go to the polls every three years, they can afford to be patient.

Eventually they will recover more from that repayment stream than what they initially paid for it, although they won’t ever recover the full debt amount. There will always be a proportion of bad debtors but this would be factored into the sale price.

Critics of this plan claim there could be pressure from the banks for the government to sweeten the deal at the expense of the students. This could come in the form of interest being applied to the loans, repayments starting at a lower salary threshold, or even dead students being pursued for unpaid debt. However these are fairly weak arguments because the government could make these changes tomorrow, and enjoy the extra loan repayments all to itself, without having to bother with a securitisation deal.

There is plenty of discussion around where the value in this deal lies for government and for the banks, but virtually no debate on what is best for students. If selling the debt helps secure the future of the uncapped system, providing places for students who would not otherwise go to university, then it’s a no-brainer for me.

Scott Bowman is Vice-Chancellor and President of Central-Queensland University

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Fruit and veg keep the undertaker away

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Eating fruit and vegetables every day keeps the undertaker at bay.

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That’s the finding of a study that assessed the lifestyle of 65,000 UK adults and compared the eating habits of those who died.

Any amount of fruit and vegetable reduces the risk of death, but seven or more servings a day are particularly good, according to the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Vegetables offer almost double the benefit of fruit, which shows the Australian guidelines of two fruits and five serves of vegetables a day are spot-on.

The UK at present advocates five servings and does not differentiate between fruit and vegetables, prompting the authors to suggest a possible change to Australia’s 5+2 example.

However, only around five per cent of Australian adults meet the target, according to the latest information from the Bureau of Statistics.

“We are halfway there in terms of fruit, but we are a long way away for vegetables,” says Kathy Chapman, chair of Cancer Council Australia’s nutrition committee.

“This study shows the importance of fruits and vegetables by themselves not just in terms of obesity.

“The emphasis needs to be on vegetables. People must look for ways to include more in their daily eating patterns.”

The authors analysed lifestyle data in England’s national health survey and tracked people’s cause of death over a seven-and-a-half-year period.

They say their results take smoking and other risk factors into account.

Eating at least seven daily portions was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

The risk of death from cancer was 25 per cent lower and heart disease and stroke were 31 per cent lower.

The authors were surprised that frozen and canned fruit appeared to add to the risk, but say this finding needs further research because it could be linked to other lifestyle factors.

It also did not differentiate between sweetened and unsweetened products.

“Getting five serves of vegetables a day can be challenging. People have to look for ways to include vegetables at lunch time as well as dinner,” says Ms Chapman.

A fruit the size of a medium apple is one serve. Half a cup of cooked vegetables or a cup of salad are the equivalent of one serve, she says.

“You can include some salad in a sandwich or have some chopped up carrot or celery,” she says.

“We try to encourage people to eat whole rather than juice because juicing removes a lot of the fibre.”

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Salvos appear at abuse inquiry

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A survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officers has asked Australians to think twice about donating to the organisation.

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Allan Anderson told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse that the Salvation Army was not transparent and eliciting accountability was an “ongoing roundabout”.

Mr Anderson was abused while at Bexley Boys’ Home in Sydney between 1966 and 1971.

“I see the Salvation Army as not changed, but hidden a lot, and professing to all that they are a kind and caring organisation,” Mr Anderson said on Tuesday.

“Let me suggest to the public as a whole: think twice before you put your hand in your pocket and give when the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal comes around, for you should not give so generously.”

Boys and girls lives were damaged, he said, and any compensation should come from the organisation pockets, and “not the public’s”.

During his time at Bexley, Mr Anderson and his brother, now dead, were abused physically, sexually and emotionally.

Mr Anderson, who has developed chronic anxiety as a result of the abuse he suffered, is also seeking specific answers about the abuse of his brother, the death of a friend at the home, and unnecessary dental work done while there.

“Why is it you can’t give us what we require?” Mr Anderson said.

“Why is it you say you don’t have the information, when you get us to painstakingly take days, months, weeks and years to continually write an impact statement?

“I have gone over my story some 10 to 12 times since October 2013 to various parties of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army took my childhood, and my brother’s and my sister’s.”

He said he had been asked to write numerous statements to the Salvation Army, detailing “both good and bad” experiences in the home, and its impact on his health and employment as well as family, marriage and sexual relationships.

The inquiry continues before Justice Peter McClellan.

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GM chief Barra faces tough questions

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General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra faces tough questioning in Congress over why the company ignored a faulty ignition problem for a decade despite numerous accident reports and 13 deaths.

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Also in the dock will be the US auto safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under attack for not acting on its own evidence that the ignitions posed dangerous risks to drivers.

The hearing on Tuesday is the first in what is likely to be a mounting pile of legal troubles for the US auto giant, including a Justice Department probe and lawsuits from people injured and families of those who died in crashes allegedly tied to the ignition issue.

Analysts have already speculated that the trouble could cost the company billions of dollars in penalties and damages, on top of the huge costs of the recalls themselves.

In prepared testimony to the investigations subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barra, a lifetime GM employee, said she still does not know why it took years for the automaker to act on the ignition problem.

But she pledged to find out, and to be “fully transparent” with the answers.

“More than a decade ago, GM embarked on a small car program. Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced in that program,” Barra said in her prepared remarks released in advance of the hearing.

“When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators and with our customers.”

She said management would be “fully accountable” for the issue, and that GM “will do the right thing,” though what that entails is not clear.

Legally, GM’s 2008-2009 rescue by the government and bankruptcy reorganisation could protect it from liabilities before that, a possibility that has angered some lawmakers.

Since February, General Motors has recalled 2.4 million cars covering model years 2005-2010 over the faulty ignitions, which can abruptly switch into “accessory” or “off” position while driving, especially when the car is jolted.

That can turn off the car’s electrical systems, including its safety airbags, preventing them from inflating in a collision.

GM says it has evidence of more than 30 accidents in which the airbags did not inflate, with the ignition apparently the problem, and 13 deaths as a consequence.

The independent Centre for Auto Safety says it has tracked 303 accidents in the GM cars involved in which the airbags did not inflate.

GM’s own documentation shows that it was first aware of a problem in 2001 when the cars involved were in the pre-production stage.

The recalls – including one for 1.5 million cars announced late on Monday – deal with issues of various levels of danger from power steering failure to transmission problems.

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Berry says all mums should breastfeed

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Halle Berry has weighed into the breastfeeding debate, saying every new mother should breastfeed because it is the fastest way to shed weight.

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The actress and her husband, Olivier Martinez, welcomed their son Maceo in October 2013.

Berry bounced back into shape quickly, and says breastfeeding Maceo helped. She recommends all new mothers do the same.

“Every mother should breastfeed. It’s the quickest way to shed the initial weight and then you have to eat right.”

Berry, who has just turned 47, said having a baby was not something she’d expected to happen at her age.

“I just feel great because I have another baby,” she told Extra. “I never thought that at my stage in life another baby – and a baby boy – was coming to me, so yeah, I’m blessed.”

Berry has a five-year-old daughter, Nahla, from her relationship with ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey.

The star, who is filming the TV show Extant, makes a point of having her children with her on set as much as possible.

“What I’m learning to do, trying to right now, is find the balance,” she said.

“My baby is always with me on set. I bring my daughter after school. I have a nursery there, a playroom for her, so I try to make it as nice as I can for them to spend time with them, see them.”

Berry said little Nahla is thrilled to have a brother and tries to take care of five-month-old Maceo as much as possible.

“It’s like one of her doll babies came alive.

“She gets to take care of him, feed him, change his diapers, play with him, dress him up in different clothes like five times a day because she can, so she loves it.”

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Fyfe out of Brownlow with AFL ban

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Star Fremantle midfielder Nathan Fyfe is out of contention for the Brownlow Medal and will miss Friday’s grand final rematch against Hawthorn after accepting a two-match AFL suspension.

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Fyfe was among early season favourites for the Brownlow but he is now ineligible due to his ban after falling foul of the AFL’s crackdown on head-high contact.

He was charged with rough conduct for his high contact on Gold Coast’s Michael Rischitelli during Saturday’s match in Perth.

Fyfe bumped Rischitelli, resulting in an accidental clash of heads and both players were forced from the field with gashes.

The Match Review Panel deemed Fyfe responsible because he chose to bump instead of tackle.

The two-game ban means Fyfe will also miss Sunday week’s home clash with Essendon.

Meanwhile, Geelong onballer Taylor Hunt will miss one match through suspension after entering an early guilty plea for his contact to the head of Brisbane onballer Daniel Rich.

Fremantle’s Zac Dawson has taken the early plea on a tripping charge and has been suspended for one match.

Carlton key position player Jarrad Waite accepted a reprimand for the rare charge of staging, while Richmond small forward Jake King received a misconduct fine of $900 for his role in the same incident.

King kicked out and caught Waite in the chest during last Thursday night’s match at the MCG, but Waite reacted as though he had been kicked in the mouth.

Adelaide’s Richard Douglas accepted a $900 fine for negligent umpire contact, Greater Western Sydney co-captain Callan Ward copped a $1950 fine for reckless umpire contact, and Sydney’s Tom Derickx accepted a reprimand for rough conduct against Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury.

The early pleas mean the AFL tribunal will not sit on Tuesday.

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UN panel more cautious on Himalayan ice

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The UN climate panel says Himalayan glaciers, whose melt-water is vital for hundreds of millions of people, could lose between half and two-thirds of their mass by 2100.

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The estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revisits a blunder in its last overview that tarnished the group’s reputation when it warned the glaciers could vanish by 2035.

In a massive Fifth Assessment Report on climate impacts released in Yokohama, Japan, the IPCC said Himalayan glaciers would shrink by 45 per cent by 2100, if Earth’s average surface temperature rose by 1.8 degrees Celsius.

Under a far warmer scenario of 3.7C, the reduction would be 68 per cent.

The benchmark year – the starting point from which these reductions are calculated – is 2006.

The two estimates derive from the average of 14 computer simulations in a scientific study published in 2013, the IPCC said.

“It is virtually certain that these projections are more reliable than an earlier erroneous assessment (in 2007)… of complete disappearance by 2035,” the report said.

In 2007, the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report provided a political jolt on climate change, warning of the risk to weather systems from heat-trapping fossil-fuel emissions.

The report helped the IPCC win a co-share of the Nobel Peace Prize and gave momentum to the ultimately unsuccessful effort to forge a world climate pact in Copenhagen in 2009.

But the IPCC’s reputation was hurt when several mistakes came to light.

One was that the Himalayan glaciers could be lost by 2035 if warming continued unabated – an assessment later traced to a magazine article, and which the panel acknowledged as erroneous in January 2010.

It also erred in judging how much of The Netherlands lies below sea level.

The errors were seized upon by climate sceptics as evidence that the IPCC was flawed or biased.

An independent probe, ordered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, instructed the IPCC to carry out reforms but did not dispute the report’s core findings.

UN members have set a target of 2C maximum warming over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Many scientists say that on current trends, the planet could be on track for a catastrophic 4C.

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Wacky Thai museums draw the curious

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Been there? Done that? Thailand’s tourism officials say Australian travellers are often on return visits and have previously explored many of the Southeast Asian holiday destination’s main sights.

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They’ve wandered through the Grand Palace complex, toured the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, visited Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and marvelled at other attractions.

But, as they search for something different, more are discovering the Southeast Asian nation’s more offbeat museums.

Quirky delights sounding distinctly kooky prove decidedly interesting – showcasing everything from obscure cooking to crime to kites and even highlighting an era when elephants inflicted the death penalty on humans. Here are a few examples of the weird-but-wonderful:

– Cabbage Patch:

An oasis amid Bangkok’s bustle and a short walk from Victory Monument, Suan Pakkad (meaning “cabbage patch”, the site’s former role) was the palace of a now-deceased prince. This complex of modern buildings and relocated teak dwellings houses an archaeological museum and a repository for old musical instruments. A traditional-style house in the gardens has walls of gold and lacquer depicting Thai history.

– Congdon Anatomical Museum:

In the Siriraj Hospital’s grounds, it won’t enthrall sensitive visitors. Originally just for medical students, it displays oddities including stillborn conjoined twins (the term “Siamese twins” originated here when Thailand was called Siam) and donated skeletons of former medical professors, director Dr Sanjai Sangvichien tells me. Different floors in the building house other museums – including one on crime and punishment depicting an ancient death penalty method: an enormous rattan ball given to elephants as a toy; inside it, a convicted murder is impaled on sharp spikes whenever the animals kick or roll the ball.

– Amulet Market:

Bangkok’s biggest amulet market is alongside a famous temple called Wat Mahathat. Open daily but busiest on Sundays, it’s not strictly a museum – even if most visitors treat it as such. Saffron-robed monks are major customers, wandering between dozens of stalls displaying amulets (commonly worn by Thai Buddhists and believed to be protective) costing between $A2 and $A10,000 in the case of charms made of gold.

– Royal Barges:

A 10-minute walk from the Amulet Market, through a riverside residential area, ends at the National Museum of Royal Barges. Vessels are displayed when they’re not cruising on the Chao Phraya during festivals. Longest of the elaborately decorated collection, with distinctively carved prows, is the monarch’s personal barge – the 46-metre Suphanahong, needing 54 oarsmen.

– Hall of Opium:

In Thailand’s far-northern “golden triangle”, the government-funded Hall of Opium has dioramas and other displays depicting opium’s history, cultivation and use. There’s even a full-size replica of an opium den. The museum is on the outskirts of Chiang Rai (though also visited from larger-but-further Chiang Mai). Some guides save time by taking visitors to a smaller House of Opium in the nearby village of Chiang Saen – so it’s worth checking that you’re at the Hall of Opium and not its similarly named and privately run competitor.

– Thailand In Miniature:

Muang Boran Ancient City, an 80-hectare park in Bangkok’s Samut Prakan district, has Thailand’s leading attractions replicated in miniature. Visitors stroll between the country’s different geographical areas to see copies of famous ruins and temples – or watch handicraft-making and traditional dancing. Wooden footbridges cross expanses of water and restaurants serve dishes from different regions.

– Hospital Mansion:

Take a day or overnight trip from Bangkok through towns and farmland (tip: take the bus) to Prachinburi, 130km from the capital. I stroll through the grounds of this provincial city’s main hospital to view a 105 year-old French-colonial style mansion called Chao Phraya Abhabhubate Building, constructed for a royal visit. An identical building stands in the Cambodian city of Battambang. Though it’s Thailand’s biggest museum of traditional medicines, foreigners seem more interested in the immaculate building itself.

IF YOU GO

Getting there

Thai Airways International (1300 651 960, thaiairways广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,) flies to Thailand, as do Qantas (13 13 13, 南宁夜网.qantas广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,) and Jetstar (13 15 38, jetstar广西桑拿,). All Asian airlines flying to Australia connect through home hubs. Low-cost carrier Air Asia X (1300 760 330, airasia广西桑拿,) serves Thailand from Australia, via neighbouring Malaysia.

Staying there

In Bangkok and provincial cities options range from basic backpacker dormitories to high-rise five-stars (including links in global and Thai chains, as well as independents) and opulent resorts. One of Bangkok’s hippest properties is the centrally-located Metropolitan (+ 66 2 635 3333, comohotels/metropolitanbangkok) which has garnered publicity aplenty because of its Nahm Restaurant (see below).

Playing there

A worthwhile splurge is lunch or dinner at Nahm, considered Bangkok’s best eatery. A Thai restaurant, it’s run by an Australian. Owner-chef David Thompson, a former Sydneysider, serves exquisitely presented Thai delicacies. Nahm recently topped a list of Asia’s 50 best restaurants. Reservations are essential – even for Metropolitan house guests. There’s a choice between a la carte or set menus. The latter is memorably inexpensive (though high-priced for Bangkok): 2000 baht ($A69) per person.

Useful website: thailand南宁桑拿网,广西桑拿网,

* The writer was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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We aren’t weak against spin, say Aussies

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Australia remain adamant that their top order is not vulnerable to spin bowling despite glaring statistics from the World Twenty20 that highlight their weakness.

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Australia were bounced out of the tournament in feeble fashion following losses to Pakistan, West Indies and India, suffering spin-triggered collapses in all three defeats.

But in the wake of the 73-run defeat to India, key allrounder Shane Watson supported coach Darren Lehmann’s assertion that Australia have no concerns about slow bowling.

Across the three matches, Australia’s top five lost 14 of their 15 wickets to spinners, and on each occasion suffered early setbacks that hindered their ability to post big totals.

Only India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dismissed Cameron White for a two-ball duck, was able to break the spin dominance of Australia’s top five.

But when asked if Australia’s spin competence had plateaued since last year’s 4-0 Test mauling in India, Watson – who was dropped during the infamous homework saga during a shocking tour – said the current troubles were unrelated.

“I wouldn’t take anything from where we were from our 4-0 loss in India,” Watson said.

“Obviously we lost to spin but there were obviously a few other issues going on with our team at that stage.

“That’s certainly not the case now. I’ve tried to blank that stuff out of my mind to be fair.”

Watson said the team had improved since then and lauded Lehmann as a coach.

“He knows how to coach us better to be able to play spin and we have been playing better, even in the one-day tournament in India in October. We played their spinners very well,” Watson said.

“We’re getting better. This tournament has just been not so good.”

While admitting Australia struggled against India duo Ravi Ashwin, who claimed 4-11, and Amit Mishra, who has been arguably the best bowler of the World T20, Watson said it was in fact the seamers did the damage.

“I wouldn’t say spin played an absolutely huge role,” he said.

“There’s no doubt their quicks bowled very well first up.

“Dave Warner and Aaron Finch are as dynamic an opening (partnership) as there is in the world. But they bowled very well with that brand new ball and made it very difficult to score.

“There’s no doubt (the Indian spinners are) bowling very well at the moment. Especially Ashwin and Mishra are bowling beautifully at the moment.”

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Nine Inch Nails’ Reznor back on track

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Trent Reznor says he feels “a fresh new start” for Nine Inch Nails after the band’s latest album and world tour.

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Reznor released Hesitation Marks in September after his long, self-imposed hiatus. In the five years since the industrial rockers’ last offering, he won an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on The Social Network, married musician Mariqueen Maandig and became a father to two young boys.

“In these few years, I kind of accidentally got into scoring films. I started a new band: How to Destroy Angels; we put two records out. I tried writing a TV show for HBO, which failed. I started a family, and surprisingly, I found myself inspired by that,” Reznor told The Associated Press before playing over the weekend at the Lollapalooza festival in Chile.

And he felt like writing some Nine Inch Nails songs.

At first Reznor was hesitant about embarking on tour.

“But we started rehearsing and it was fun, it felt fresh,” he said.

“I’ve been looking at things through finite eyes. Life feels different at 48 than it did at 24. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be doing this, or people will care…

“It’s not as endless as it once seemed, so I treat it more preciously.”

While on tour, Reznor is also working on scoring director David Fincher’s upcoming film Gone Girl.

“The main thing that I’m concerned about is putting myself in positions and places that are often uncomfortable, to force myself to grow as an artist,” Reznor said.

“I don’t think I’ve written the best songs I can write. I don’t think I know how to write songs very well yet. I’m not saying that to be humble, but I’ve got a long ways to go.”

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China manufacturing up slightly in March

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China’s manufacturing activity improved marginally in March from the previous month, but analysts say the world’s second biggest economy remains weak.

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The official purchasing managers index (PMI) was 50.3 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Tuesday, up from 50.2 in February, which was an eight-month low.

The index tracks manufacturing activity in China’s factories and workshops and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

“The PMI index rose slightly in March and ended the trend of falling for three consecutive months…. It still indicates economic growth will stabilise in the future,” the statement quoted Zhang Liqun, an economist at the state-backed Development Research Centre, as saying.

The market had expected PMI to remain unchanged in March at 50.2, according to a poll of economists by Dow Jones Newswires.

A preliminary estimate by British bank HSBC, which gives greater weight to smaller companies, put China’s PMI at a weaker 48.1 in March.

Analysts largely expect the government to take steps to boost the economy, though most have ruled out a huge stimulus package, instead expecting moves such as a cut in the amount of funds banks must place in reserve with the central bank.

“The rebound this time reflects the economy remained weak, but it’s slightly better than market expectations,” said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist with ANZ bank.

“I expect the government to be more active… arranging fiscal expenditure in advance for some lagging projects,” he said.

Last month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set the nation’s annual growth target at “around” 7.5 per cent, the same level as the goal for last year.

China’s economy actually grew an annual 7.7 per cent in 2013, the same as in 2012 – which was the slowest since 1999.

The official Xinhua news agency on Monday quoted Chinese analysts as saying economic stimulus was unlikely.

“With further shrinkage in China’s growth on the cards in Q1 (the first quarter), reform will be used to fend off economic slowdown rather than an economic stimulus,” it said in an analysis.

China is due to release figures for first quarter gross domestic product on April 16.

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