Australians give $30b to charities in 2016

More Australians are giving their time but fewer are giving money than a decade ago.

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However, the amount of money those 81 per cent Australians who do donate to charity give has risen substantially, with $12.5 billion in donations made in 2016, government figures released on Monday show.

Nearly four in nine adults volunteered their time in 2016, adding up to 932 million hours in 2016 – an increase of 96 million hours in a decade.

“These are incredible figures and show just how the generosity of spirit of Australians is well and truly alive,” Social Services Minister Christian Porter said.

The figures show that more women made donations than men but men generally gave more – on average $867 compared with $671.

As well, a higher proportion of women did volunteer work and they averaged more hours during the year than men.

People who made donations were most likely to do so because they believed they were giving to a good cause or charity.

More than half of those who didn’t donate to charity said it was because they couldn’t afford it.

The government figures also show business philanthropy increased to $17.5 billion in the 2015/16 financial year – a massive jump from the $3.3 billion given a decade earlier.

Almost half of this came from small and medium-sized businesses.

“Small businesses, in particular, are very much a part of their local communities, whether it’s contributing directly to the local sporting club or seniors group with financial contributions, in kind contributions, prizes for local raffles and contributions to bigger community-focused activities like a new community hall,” Mr Porter said.

Larger businesses were moving away from one-off donations to forming partnerships with not-for-profit organisations.

THE GENEROSITY OF AUSTRALIANS

* $12.5 billion total donations from individuals in 2016

* 14.9 million people made donations (81 per cent of adults)

* $764 average donation ($200 median)

* 44 per cent of adults volunteered a total of 932 million hours

* Average time volunteered was 134 hours

* Businesses donated $17.5 billion in 2015/16

* $9 billion was from large companies and $8.5 billion from small and medium business

* Trend towards businesses forming partnerships with not-for-profit organisations

Bayliss ponders England spots for Ashes

England coach Trevor Bayliss says Ashes places are still up for grabs with a new generation of top-order batsmen yet to fully cement their places in the team.

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Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan played their part in the series victory over the West Indies, which was clinched by a nine-wicket win inside three days at Lord’s on Saturday.

However, questions remain over their readiness to face Australia in their own backyard.

Bayliss has indicated they remain in pole position, although the likes of Alex Hales, Keaton Jennings, Haseeb Hameed and Gary Ballance should not give up hope just yet.

He said: “That’s the big question, whether the three guys we have been speaking about all summer have done enough.

“They have shown they are good enough. But are they good enough for long enough? Are they tough enough, especially for an Ashes series?

“We will be discussing other players we have had in the team over the last 12-18 months. They will get a hearing, but it will be hard to go past these three guys.”

Asked if the batting line-up for the Ashes tour had been decided, Bayliss replied: “Not 100 per cent, but I am sure when we sit down in a week or two to discuss that squad, we will be talking about batters that have played for us in the last 12 to 18 months.

“There are another two or three county matches to play, and that will be a factor too.

“I think our opposition in the Ashes is far from stable either.”

Westley and Stoneman are among a group of players who will now link up with their counties, but Alastair Cook and bowler Jimmy Anderson will take a break while Stuart Broad is to undergo a scan on the heel injury which hampered him during the third and final Test.

The search for a long-term partner for opener Cook as well as numbers three and five remain priorities, but Bayliss is convinced the right candidate for at least one of those positions is already firmly on board in the shape of skipper Joe Root.

He said: “I would always have him at three. Joe is comfortable batting at four … [but] I think he will end up at three at some stage in the future.

“He is by far our best player, and personally I believe that is where your best player should be.”

England will head Down Under on the back of home series victories over South Africa and the Windies, and determined to return with the urn still in their possession despite having issues to address.

Bayliss said: “We are not going over to make up the numbers. We are going to leave here with a view to win, simple as that.”

Greek PM urges IMF to decide on bailout

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the International Monetary Fund should decide whether it will fund Greece’s current bailout programme by the end of the year and help Greece conclude a key bailout review on time.

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Euro zone governments in June approved another 11th-hour credit line for Greece, worth nearly $US10 billion ($A12 billion), after the IMF said it would join the country’s current bailout, the third since 2010, in principle.

“We can live with or without the IMF presence,” Tsipras said in a press briefing at a trade fair in Thessaloniki on Sunday. “What we cannot do is live with the IMF setting one foot in and leaving one foot out.”

The end of the year would be a “reasonable timeframe” for the Fund to decide, he said. Athens intends to wrap up its next bailout review quickly, he said, adding that Greece would be financially independent in 2018.

The euro zone and the IMF have loaned Greece about 260 billion euros ($A387 billion) since 2010. In return, Greece has imposed austerity measures that have cut its output by a quarter and eliminated thousands of jobs. The lenders review Greece’s progress quarterly before approving loan payouts.

Tsipras’ government and the IMF have often locked horns over Greece’s fiscal progress, its economic targets and reforms in the labour market. Greece adopted more austerity measures for 2019 and 2020 to convince the Fund to join its programme and push for further debt relief.

Tsipras came to power in 2015 promising to end austerity but then signed up to the new bailout, worth 86 billion euros. He said on Sunday the government would assess fiscal progress for 2017 and offer handouts to the vulnerable, if Greece exceeded its targets.

Greece exceeded its goal for a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt servicing – in 2015 and 2016.

N Korea requires global response: NATO

North Korea’s “reckless behaviour” is a global threat and requires a global response, the head of the NATO military alliance says.

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NATO has not been directly involved in the crisis, which saw Pyongyang carry out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test a week ago, but has repeatedly called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“The reckless behaviour of North Korea is a global threat and requires a global response and that of course also includes NATO,” NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with BBC television.

Asked whether an attack on the US Pacific territory of Guam would trigger NATO’s Article 5, which requires each member of the alliance to come to the defence of any other, Stoltenberg said: “I will not speculate about whether Article 5 will be applied in such a situation.”

“We are now totally focused on how can we contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict,” he said.

“There is no easy way out of this difficult situation, but at the same time we have to … continue to work for political solution, continue to press also the economic sanctions.”

The United States and its allies had been bracing for another long-range missile launch in time for the 69th anniversary of North Korea’s founding on Saturday, but no fresh provocations were spotted while the North held numerous events to mark the holiday.

Throughout last week, South Korean officials had warned the North could launch another intercontinental ballistic missile in defiance of UN sanctions and amid escalating tensions with the United States.

Thousands of homes wrecked by huge Mexican quake, death toll at 90

The 8.

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1 magnitude quake off the coast of Chiapas state was stronger than a 1985 temblor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands. However, its greater depth and distance helped save the capital from more serious damage.

Late on Saturday, authorities in the southern state of Oaxaca said there were 71 confirmed fatalities there, many of them in the town of Juchitan, where the rush to bury victims crowded a local cemetery on Saturday.

Television footage from parts of Oaxaca showed small homes and buildings completely leveled by the quake, which struck the narrowest portion of Mexico on the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

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Aftershocks continued into Sunday, and scores of people were wary about returning to fragile buildings hammered by the initial tremor, sleeping in gardens, patios and in the open air.

Piles of rubble lay strewn around damaged streets, where the shock was still visible in the faces of residents.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat told Mexican television the quake hit 41 municipalities and had likely affected around one in five of the state’s 4-million strong population.

“We’re talking about more 800,000 people who potentially lost everything, and some their loved-ones,” he said on Sunday.

Soldiers remove debris from a partly collapsed municipal building after the earthquake in Juchitan, Mexico.AP

In Juchitan alone, more than 5,000 homes were destroyed. Hundreds and thousands of Mexicans were temporarily left without electricity or water, and many in the south were evacuated from coastal dwellings when the quake sparked tsunami warnings.

At least 15 people died in neighboring Chiapas, and its governor Manuel Velasco said some 41,000 houses were damaged, estimating nearly 1.5 million people were affected. A further four deaths were also registered in Tabasco state to the north.

President Enrique Pena Nieto declared three days of national mourning, and pledged to rebuild shattered towns and villages.

However, some residents interviewed expressed frustration that the poor southern regions were still not getting the help they needed from the richer north and center of Mexico.

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