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The Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney on February 6, 2018. 

Peter Parks /AFP/Getty Images

The Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney on February 6, 2018. 

Australia‘s central bank left its cash rate at 1.5 percent on Tuesday, a widely expected decision given policy makers have signaled a steady outlook for some time to come.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made the announcement following its monthly policy meeting.

A Reuters poll of 43 analysts had found all but one saw a steady outcome this week.

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SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for US space program

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Just ahead of the first scheduled un-manned test flight slated for March 2 under NASA’s multibillion-dollar Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s safety advisory panel cited four “key risk items” in its 2018 annual report earlier this month.

For Boeing, they include the capsule’s structural vulnerability when the heat shield is deployed. For SpaceX, the report mentioned the redesign of a SpaceX rocket canister following a 2016 explosion and its “load and go” process of fueling the rocket with the crew already inside the capsule. “Parachute performance” remained an issue for both companies.

“There are serious challenges to the current launch schedules for both SpaceX and Boeing,” the report said.

Two people with direct knowledge of the program told Reuters that the space agency’s concerns go beyond the four items listed, and include a risk ledger that as of early February contained 30 to 35 lingering technical concerns each for SpaceX and Boeing.

Reuters could not verify what all of the nearly three dozen items are. But the sources familiar with the matter said the companies must address “most” of those concerns before flying astronauts and, eventually, tourists to space.

The NASA risk database is updated routinely during the course of NASA’s stringent certification process, which includes data collection, tests and collaboration with SpaceX and Boeing, the people said.

The Boeing and SpaceX systems have already been delayed several times in recent years, which is common in this sector given the complexity of building multibillion-dollar spacecraft capable of shedding earth’s gravity.

NASA spokesman Joshua Finch deferred all technical questions on Boeing and SpaceX systems to the companies, citing confidentiality, but said: “Flying safely always takes precedence over schedule.”

Boeing spokesman Josh Barrett said the company “closed out” the capsule’s structural vulnerability risk when it completed its structural test program in January. While Boeing is working through a number of other issues, they “are not driving any major architectural system changes.”

“Our numbers show we are exceeding NASA’s safety requirements,” said Barrett.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said the company, working with NASA, has developed “one of the safest, most-advanced human spaceflight systems ever built.”

“There is nothing more important to SpaceX than safely flying crew,” said Gleeson, calling it “core to our company’s long-term goal of enabling access for people who dream of flying to space.”

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Greece finance chief Tsakalotos says it’s on track with reforms

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European creditors published an initial post-program report in November, stating there were “delays in the sixteen specific reform commitments due for end-2018.” These delays included arrears clearance, privatizations and the roll out of the primary health-care system.

Tsakalotos told CNBC Wednesday that the measures that still needed to be legislated are “leftovers” from Greece’s third bailout program, which ended six months ago.

The major issue, he said, is the protection of primary residences. This is a policy that was implemented during the euro zone debt crisis that suspended the seizure of primary homes for those who couldn’t repay their mortgages.

“Now we’re moving into a new system where people will be given support to be able to pay back their loans. So that’s good for the people that will turn loans that are not being paid into loans that are green loans (not potential defaults) … But it will also help the banks to clear up their non-performing loans.”

Athens doesn’t need fresh cash to stay afloat in the short term. Before ending its third bailout program in August, it received a cash buffer of about 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) — which means that Greece wouldn’t necessarily need to tap the bond markets in the coming year unless it thinks there are favorable conditions to do so.

Getting the next set of funds is more than a question of money, it’s a question of credibility, Tsakalotos said.

“We don’t see it as only as an issue of whether we need the money. We see it as an issue that covers both the creditors and the institutions. We are confident that Greece is continuing on a reform strategy. So, it’s a signaling thing more than with the money thing.”

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Wind suffers tough year in Europe 12 nations failed to install turbine

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Twelve countries in the European Union (EU) failed to install “a single wind turbine” last year, the CEO of industry body WindEurope said Thursday.

Giles Dickson said that while more and more people and businesses were benefiting from wind power, many things were “not right” beneath the surface.

Dickson added that growth in onshore wind fell by more than half in Germany last year and “collapsed in the U.K.”, stating that, in the EU, 2018 was “the worst year for new wind energy installations since 2011.” The latter figure reflected regulatory changes undertaken by EU member states following a review of state-aid guidelines.

In Germany’s onshore sector, the group explained that “lengthy permitting processes” and projects with “longer build-out periods” had resulted in a “significant decrease” in installations, which fell from 5,334 megawatts in 2017 to 2,402 megawatts (MW) in 2018.

While investments for future capacity were deemed to be “quite good” in 2018 thanks to the U.K., Spain and Sweden as well as expansion in offshore wind, Dickson said that the outlook for new investments remained uncertain.

“There are structural problems in permitting, especially in Germany and France,” he added. “And with the noble exception of Lithuania and despite improvements in Poland, there’s a lack of ambition in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Overall, Europe installed 11.7 gigawatts (GW) of gross wind power capacity in 2018. While this represents a drop of more than 30 percent compared to installations in 2017, the sector still installed more capacity than any other type of power generation in the EU last year, WindEurope said.

Breaking the figures for 2018 down further, 9 GW of installations in Europe took place onshore, with 2.65 GW coming offshore and 0.4 GW of capacity decommissioned.

Wind energy covered 14 percent of the European Union’s electricity demand in 2018, WindEurope said, representing an increase from 12 percent in 2017.

Europe boasts several large-scale wind energy projects. In the offshore sector, it is home to the world’s biggest offshore wind facility, Walney Extension, which is located in the Irish Sea and capable of powering almost 600,000 homes, according to Danish energy firm Orsted.

Walney will soon be superseded by another vast project, Hornsea One. A joint venture between Orsted and Global Infrastructure Partners, Hornsea One will have a capacity of 1.2 GW and be able to power more than 1 million homes in the U.K. It was announced last week that the first turbine at Hornsea One had started to generate power.

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