Household debt levels will continue to be a strong focus of regulators in the coming year, according to RBA.RBA Governor Philip Lowe expects to see better growth out the Australian economy in the coming financial year, but household debt levels will be a strong focus.Summing up the year in the RBA’s 2017 annual report out this week, Mr Lowe said “over the year, the Board has paid close attention to developments in household balance sheets and housing markets.”More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour ago“The coming year is likely to see better growth in the Australian economy,” he said. RBA Governor Philip Lowe expects to see better growth in the coming year. Picture: Patrick Hamilton/Economic Society of Australia“The Reserve Bank Board adjusted the cash rate target once in the year in review, lowering it to 1.5 per cent in August 2016. This followed inflation outcomes earlier that year that were noticeably lower than expected. Since then the Board has held the cash rate steady, with the stimulatory setting of monetary policy helping the economy adjust to the winding down of the mining investment boom.”He said RBA wanted “an average rate of inflation over time of between 2 and 3 per cent in a way that promotes the public interest and does not add to medium-term financial stability risks”.He said the way that RBA worked with other financial regulators through the year was “a valuable aspect of Australia’s regulatory arrangements and one that does not exist in all countries”.
In Ethiopia, where almost nine in 10 women give birth at home with little or no support, a mobile phone app is coming to the rescue.The “Safe Delivery App”, created by the Danish development organisation the Maternity Foundation, provides simplified instructions and animated films to deal with emergencies, be it haemorrhaging, birth complications, resuscitating newborns or infections.“Midwives may have skills and knowledge,” said Mesfin Wondafrash, the Maternity Foundation’s Programme Manager in the Horn of Africa state.“But they may not apply the right procedures when complications arise — even simple complications.”At the touch of a button, the app can give crucial guidelines to birth attendants, who are often traditionally educated and may lack training in up-to-date procedures that could save lives.The programme is proving vital in rural areas, where the only help many mothers get is from family members or a local woman. Described as an emergency training tool, the app is available in English and local languages.It can be pre-installed on a phone so it works even without a network connection.Officially, 85 per cent of Ethiopian babies are born at home. The hospital is often seen as an option only when major complications arise.“Women wait at home and if a complication occurs, it may be too late to access care,” Mesfin said.Testing started last year in the small town of Gimbie, 450 kilometres west of Addis Ababa. A total 78 phones with the app were given to midwives.“After a year, the capacity of the app users to manage bleeding rose from 20 to 60 per cent, and new born resuscitation, from 30 to 70 percent,” Mesfin added.
As the clouds clear and the sun shows its face, I find myself heading to Washougal.Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Horn Trail Loop, and Beacon Rock are all great spots for a day hike with a stop for lunch. For most of us, this means packing a picnic lunch, schlepping it all the way up to a good viewpoint, and then trying to eat the disheveled, overheated contents that have bumped around in your backpack for an hour or more.Recently, I opted for a different approach: I went to Our Bar in downtown Washougal, and got homemade food with farm-fresh local produce.Our Bar owners Kevin Credelle and Alex Yost have created a sunlit spot filled with wood tables and vintage store treasures — framed portraits of animals in fancy hats, an assortment of colorful ceramic dishes and mugs, and a shelf of used books. The farmers who produce the ingredients used at this farm-chic cafe are proudly listed on the menu like some high schools display football trophies.The care in seeking out vintage treasures and sourcing local produce extends to the thought and effort put into the food. The menu is a deceptively simple listing of breakfast dishes and sandwiches and everything (bread, biscuits, jam, chorizo) is made from scratch.I have a love-hate relationship with biscuits. The right biscuit can be a revelation of buttery flakiness with thin layers of bliss. A bad biscuit, and in my experience many biscuits fall into this category, is a carb-loaded hockey puck. The cheddar bacon biscuits at Our Bar have restored my faith in biscuits. This biscuit is a light, flaky drop biscuit laced with the saltiness of bacon and the bite of the sharp cheddar folded and melted in the dough.At Our Bar, I tend to order dishes that showcase the use of farm-fresh produce, such as the scramble and the Our Bar bowl. On a recent visit, the veggies in the scramble were a simple mix of broccoli and garlic. The eggs were whipped into creaminess and scrambled just to the edge of doneness topped with a hairy cloud of micro-planed Parmesan cheese. Whipped butter with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt accompanied the scramble and biscuit. The Our Bar bowl had a mix of radishes and quarter-sized slices of carrot, cabbage and snap peas — a visual and palate-pleasing mix of texture and flavor. Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram @couveeats and @rachelapinsky and on Facebook @coueeats.