Kings of Leon have landed their third consecutive No.1 album on the ARIA chart as their sixth album Mechanical Bull debuts at top.
The Nashville rockers' sixth studio release bumps off Keith Urban's album Fuse, which drops down two spots to No.3.
Another new entry is Drake's Nothing Was the Same at No.2, which becomes his first Top 10 entry and highest charting album all in the same week.
Jason Derulo's third album Tattoos has debuted at No.5, becoming his third Top 10 album.
Jack Johnson is down three places to No.6 with From Here to Now to You, while the fourth Top 10 debut is Jessie J with Alive at No.7.
Pink's The Truth About Love has dropped two spots to No.8 and Rudimental's Home moves up five places to No.9.
Avicii's album True plummets eight places round out the Top 10.
Meanwhile Katy Perry's Roar has spent another week at No.1 on the singles chart.
The top three all hold steady this week, with Miley Cyrus at No.2 with Wrecking Ball and Redfoo at No.3 with Let's Get Ridiculous.
The big mover is John Newman with Love Me Again, which charges up four places, pushing Derulo's Talk Dirty down to No.5.
OneRepublic spends a third straight week at No.6 with Something I Need, Lana Del Rey is down a couple of places to No.7 with her Summertime Sadness and Drake climbs a place to a new peak of No.8 with Hold On, We're Going Home.
Avicii has slipped to No.9 with Wake Me Up, while Lorde is back up two places to No.10 with her EP The Love Club feat Royals.
AUSTRALIAN SINGLES CHART
1(1) Roar - Katy Perry (CAP/EMI)
2(2) Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus (RCA/SME)
3(3) Let's Get Ridiculous - Redfoo (INR/UMA)
4(8) Love Me Again - John Newman (ISL/UMA)
5(4) Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo Feat. 2 Chainz (WAR)
6(6) Something I Need - OneRepublic (INR/UMA)
7(5) Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais (INR/UMA)
8(9) Hold on, We're Going Home - Drake Feat. Majid Jordan (UNI/UMA)
9(8) Wake Me Up - Avicii (UNI/UMA)
10(12) The Love Club Feat. Royals - Lorde (UNI/UMA)
AUSTRALIAN ALBUMS CHART
1(-) Mechanical Bull - Kings Of Leon (RCA/SME)
2(-) Nothing Was The Same - Drake (UNI/UMA)
3(1) Fuse - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)
4(3) AM - Arctic Monkeys (DOM/EMI)
5(-) Tattoos - Jason Derulo (WAR)
6(3) From Here to Now to You - Jack Johnson (UNI/UMA)
7(-) Alive - Jessie J (UNI/UMA)
8(6) The Truth About Love - Pink (RCA/SME)
9(14) Home - Rudimental (WAR)
10(2) True - Avicii (UNI/UMA)
AUSTRALIAN STREAMING CHART
1(1) Roar - Katy Perry (EMI)
2(2) Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus (SME)
3(3) Wake Me Up - Avicii (UMA)
4(4) The Love Club EP - Lorde (UMA)
5(6) Counting Stars - OneRepublic (UMA)
6(5) Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo Feat. 2 Chainz (WAR)
7(9) You Make Me - Avicii (UMA)
8(7) Burn - Ellie Goulding (UMA)
9(8) La La La - Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith (EMI)
10(10) Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke Feat. T.I. Pharrell (UMA)
AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY CHART
1(1) Fuse - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)
2(2) The Very Best Of Slim Dusty - Slim Dusty (EMI)
3(-) The Buegrass Album - Alan Jackson (SME)
4(3) The Great Country Songbook - Troy Cassar-Daley Adam Harvey (SME)
5(-) A.M - Chris Young (RCA/SME)
6(6) Red - Taylor Swift (BIG/UMA)
7(3) 40 Years Of Pride - Charley Pride (RCA/SME)6 (WAR)
8(6) A Hell Of A Career! - John Williamson (WAR)
9(7) Crash My Party - Luke Bryan (CAP/EMI)
10(8) The Story So Far - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)
Asian markets have slumped as the US government edged towards a shutdown over a budget battle.
The face-off in Washington also sent the US dollar lower, while the euro suffered selling pressure from a crisis in Italy that has left the country's five-month-old government on the brink of collapse.
Tokyo on Monday fell 2.06 per cent, or 304.27 points, to 14,455.80, Sydney shed 1.66 per cent, or 88.2 points, to end at 5,218.9 and Seoul eased 0.74 per cent, or 14.84 points, to 1,996.96. Hong Kong shed 1.50 per cent, or 347.18 points, to close at 22,859.86.
But Shanghai rose 0.68 per cent, or 14.64 points, to close at 2,174.67 after a survey by banking giant HSBC showed Chinese manufacturing expanded further in September.
Traders have been spooked by the latest row on Capitol Hill, with the US government on the brink of shutting down after the House of Representatives approved a Republican bill seeking to delay President Barack Obama's health care law.
Legislators now have until midnight on Monday to reach an agreement to keep the government open, but analysts say the chances of a breakthrough are slim.
Obama has threatened to veto any bill that undercuts his sweeping health overhaul, while Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says his chamber will reject the bill.
Adding to the crisis is a deadline to raise the country's borrowing limit, which comes up in mid-October. With Republicans determined not to raise the debt ceiling unless Obama gives way on the health bill, there are fears that Washington will run out of cash and default on its repayments.
'Things are far from the 'panic stage', but they don't have to be for investors to be spooked by the apparent intractability of the US political deadlock,' said Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano.
The impasse weighed on the US dollar on Monday, with the unit weakening to Y97.87 from Y98.24 in New York on Friday.
The euro fell to $US1.3500 and Y132.16 compared with $US1.3519 and Y132.88.
The single currency suffered selling pressure after Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called a vote of confidence in his left-right government, as former premier Silvio Berlusconi pulled his party's ministers out of the coalition.
President Giorgio Napolitano will have to mediate to find a way out of the latest political impasse, and has said he would dissolve parliament, triggering new elections, only 'if there are no other solutions'.
On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, fell $US1.35 to $US101.52 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for November was down 95 US cents to $US107.68.
Gold cost $US1,340.86 at 1805 AEST, compared with $US1,324.60 on Friday.
In other markets:
- Taipei fell 0.69 per cent, or 56.81 points, to 8,173.87.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co shed 2.43 per cent to $Tw100.5 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.52 per cent lower at $Tw75.9.
- Wellington eased 0.97 per cent, or 46.29 points, to 4,736.39.
Telecom fell 1.9 per cent to $NZ2.33 and Warehouse Group was off 2.92 per cent at $NZ3.66, while Air New Zealand rose 0.33 per cent to $NZ1.52.
- Manila slipped 2.95 per cent, or 188.01 points, to 6,191.80.
Alliance Global Group fell six per cent to 23.50 pesos while SM Investments dropped 4.41 per cent to 7.80 pesos.
Although Melbourne's auction clearance rate is almost 20 per cent higher than it was last year, and the housing market appears to be improving on a weekly basis, a lot of buyers continue to be prudent.
The reason? They are more knowledgeable about real estate values. And their experience of the 2007-09 global financial crisis gave rise to a strong savings ethos and an awareness that house prices can fall as well as go up.
Tighter lending criteria by banks and others mortgage finance providers is also keeping buyer exuberance in check.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the Reserve Bank had been easing, or reducing, interest rates for 22 months. ''On average, by this stage in an easing cycle you would be seeing much stronger house price growth and higher levels of credit growth,'' he said.
Lending criteria had tightened considerably. ''The banks became a lot more cautious after seeing the damage the GFC caused in other countries, and the regulators have become tougher as well. The banks have the regulators looking over their shoulder,'' he said.
Estate agents continue to see the market as property-specific.
''Buyers are certainly more educated and have a lot more resources at their fingertips these days,'' said Leo Dardha, of Hocking Stuart Yarraville. ''But on the beat - at the auctions and at open for inspections - there seems to have been a kick since the federal election.''
On Saturday, Hocking Stuart sold a three-bedroom 1970s brick-veneer house in Seddon for $767,000, which was $127,000 above its reserve price. ''That's a huge amount,'' Mr Dardha said.
Saturday's auction clearance rate was 80 per cent for the 553 preliminary results reported to the Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported an interim clearance rate of 78 per cent from 715 results.
Some property types are in heavy demand. Fletchers sold a three-bedroom townhouse in Kew on Saturday for $1.3 million, against a $900,000 reserve. ''It shows how desperately short we are of good-quality apartments for people who want to scale down their accommodation,'' said executive chairman Tim Fletcher.
There are signs that property listings are on the rise but overall supply is well down on previous years. Jellis Craig director Andrew McCann said the lack of supply, coupled with stronger buying by investors, downsizers and young couples, had contributed to multiple bidding at auctions.
Only 4 per cent of properties sold in Australia sell for more than $2 million, but Melbourne snares a disproportionate share of these high-priced sales. Mr McCann said the $2 million-plus market had strengthened - a view shared by Jonathan Dixon, of bayside specialist JP Dixon. Six months ago, the bayside suburbs were market underperformers, but Mr Dixon said demand had now ''gone up a notch''.
REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said Saturday's results were further evidence of a strengthening market: ''With the clearance rate improving and property prices going upward as well, we're set for a fairly strong final selling season for the year,'' he said.
APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said Melbourne was on track to achieve house price growth of 7 per cent in 2013.
There will be only about 60 auctions on grand final day next Saturday.
U2 frontman Bono has recalled running for his life from protestors who shouted “Make Bono history” after him.
The singer and activist has been a supporter of the Make Poverty History series of campaigns since they began in 2005.
But the slogan was turned on him recently in Germany.
He tells The Guardian: “I was chased down the street by a bunch of anarchists wielding placards and shouting ‘Make Bono history!’ – which, even as I was running for my life, I thought was a pretty good line.”
In the same week, he says, he was also booed by young entrepreneurs in Tanzania, who believed he was arguing for Africa to be seen as a place in permanent need of charity.
“They thought I was peddling this idea of a supplicant Africa, which could not be further from the truth,” he says.
“So we’re doing something right: we’re annoying capitalists in Africa and anti-capitalists in Europe.”
Bono admits his political activities have adversely affected U2′s profile over the years. “The band thought this would sink the ship 10 years ago – hanging out with politicians and corporations is very unhip work.
“But I think the U2 audience have turned out to be incredibly subtle in their understanding. We have a relationship now with our audience that exists outside the media.
“When you have been singing into somebody’s ear for 20 years through a set of headphones, people tend to know if you are an asshole or not. Public opinion does not drive U2′s audience.”
Metal Hammer are following up the success of the Heavy Metal Truants charity bike ride with a series of eBay auctions offering limited-edition memorabilia from Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Bullet For My Valentine and others.
The cycle trip in June saw a troop of hardy souls including Maiden manager Rod Smallwood and Hammer editor Alexander Milas travel 171 miles from London to Donington in time for the Download festival.
They’ve raised £80,000 for Childline, the Teenage Cancer Trust and Nordoff Robbins – and now that total is set to increase.
Items in the Monster Rock Charity auction include signed Maiden artwork, a guitar signed by Rammstein, one signed by BFMV and an amp signed by Black Sabbath, Slipknot and others.
Find out more – including a video documenting the Heavy Metal Truants ride – on the Metal Hammer website.
Music Radar’s free online exhibition is taking place now – bringing you the chance to win a £1200 Gibson guitar.
The Acoustic Expo presents a series of virtual booths to help you choose your next instrument from models by Gibson, Faith, PRS, Lowden, LR Baggs, Marshall, Takamine, Guild and HK Audio.
There’s a mini-tuition series offering lessons in the styles of Ben Howard, Jake Bugg, Chet Atkins, Newton Faulkner, Seasick Steve and others.
And there’s a stack of artist interviews with Corey Taylor, Foy Vance, Scott Matthews, Ben Taylor and more.
MusicRadar’s Acoustic Expo runs until tomorrow. Check it out now – and enter here for your chance to win a £1200 Gibson J35.
Clutch have been forced to cancel a series of US shows after frontman Neil Fallon was told a recurring back problem meant he needed surgery.
The band have rescheduled most of their September dates in January, with one in October and one called off altogether.
The band are touring in support of well-received tenth album Earth Rocker, which was released in March and is nominated for Album Of The Year at the 2013 Classic Rock awards. They recently released a video for their track Crucial Velocity, below.
Fallon reports: “I’ve learned that a childhood injury to the neck, a genetic predisposition for spinal disease, and 20-some years of head banging will exact a toll.
“I’ve been diagnosed with an ugly case of cervical spinal stenosis and two herniated discs. In some instances these conditions can be treated non-surgically. This is not the case for me.
“I have been advised by several neurosurgeons that my spinal cord has already been damaged and that I risk further damage were I not to address the situation.
“For this reason, I’ve decided to take care of this ASAP. Rescheduling a tour turns my stomach, but I believe this is the wisest choice given the prognosis.”
Fallon will go under the knife next week, when surgeons will connect three vertebrae together using a titanium plate. He reports: “I have faith that I will be back in the saddle for our October-November tour. On behalf of my spine, deepest apologies to those who had been looking forward to seeing Clutch over the next two weeks. We’ll make it up to you.”
It cost more to make then many Hollywood blockbusters and, in certain circles, it has generated a similar hype.
Now the gaming world is preparing for what it has dubbed the 'most exciting' event in the entertainment calendar - Grand Theft Auto V will finally go on sale.
The video game reportedly cost around STG170 million ($A292.15 million) to make and market - more than films such as Avatar - and has sparked so much interest that stores will open their doors at midnight on Monday for special launch events.
Experts are tipping the game to smash sales records and estimates suggest it could generate one billion during its first year on sale when gamers are predicted to snap up some 25 million copies.
Tom Butler, social media editor of gaming site IGN.com, said thousands of workers have taken the day off for the launch or plan on calling in sick.
'Grand Theft Auto V will be the biggest entertainment launch of the year and possibly all-time with levels of consumer anticipation outstripping Harry Potter and Twilight,' he said.
'With gamers queuing at midnight to be among the first to play and the developer boasting thousands of hours of game play, there's no surprise that we're likely to see an outbreak of GTA flu this September.'
The gaming site polled 10,995 readers to ask whether they would take time off work on Tuesday when the GTA V goes on sale.
According to its findings, 5,059 readers said they booked the day off as holiday.
Another 2012 (19 per cent) said they would phone in claiming to be unwell while 3,884 (35 per cent) said they would wait to get their hands on the game.
Fans are expected to start queuing outside stores stocking the game tomorrow when a handful of shops will open their doors for night-time launches.
The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series - which sees players buy virtual prostitutes - has accumulated sales of 135 million copies since its 1997 debut. GTA IV has reportedly sold more than 25 million copies since its 2008 release.
Emergency workers involved in a massive effort to rescue stranded flood victims in Colorado, where more than 500 people are still unaccounted for, are bracing for a fresh pounding from storms.
Officials said efforts to locate those in need of help were hampered by flood damage to many mobile phone towers.
New flash floods were expected to inundate the area, which thousands were forced to evacuate.
Raging floodwaters in the city of Boulder, already confirmed to have killed at least four people, apparently claimed the life of a fifth on Saturday - a 60-year-old woman swept away in the torrent.
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that the woman was 'missing presumed dead', after floodwaters destroyed her house, and officials warned the toll will likely climb further.
'There might be further loss of life,' Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle told reporters on Sunday. 'It's certainly a high probability.... With an army of folks and an air show, we're hoping to reach everyone as soon as possible.'
But some additional help was on the way, with President Barack Obama declaring a major disaster in Colorado and ordering federal aid to support state and local efforts.
'Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,' the White House said.
And the Wyoming National Guard was helping the evacuation effort after Governor Matt Mead activated five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 20 crew members, the state's military department said.
In the disaster zone, helicopters circled above submerged houses in a search for survivors in the western US state, with hundreds still missing.
About 350 people were unaccounted for in Larimer County alone, from where about 475 people were evacuated, according to the sheriff's office.
In neighbouring Boulder County, 231 people were unaccounted for, according to CNN, though authorities cautioned that the numbers were fluctuating.
'It is no doubt an epic event,' Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told The Denver Post. 'It is a once in 500 years or 1000 years situation.'
Search and rescue teams are being deployed to assess the situation and contact stranded residents.
The US National Guard provided seven helicopters to help get people out of danger.
About 1200 residents were pulled out of the Pinewood Springs area by the National Guard and Fort Carson personnel, state authorities said on Twitter.
But many others are still awaiting rescue, which authorities said could take days for some.
Impassable roads forced authorities to use a helicopter to evacuate 200 residents from Jamestown, northwest of Boulder, according to news reports.
Residents' furry friends were also stranded by the torrential rains.
'Our victims' advocates told me tonight there were almost as many pets as people getting off the evacuation helicopters today,' the Larimer County Sheriff's Office tweeted.
Officials said there were widespread power outages as streets became raging rivers after the state received months' worth of rain in just a few days.
Rain began pelting the state earlier this week, in Boulder, which saw 18.3 centimetres of precipitation in about 15 hours beginning from Wednesday night, with more downpours likely over the weekend.
Pictures from helicopter cameras showed heavy rain had reduced the towns of Jamestown, Lyons and Longmont to little more than islands, with ready-to-eat meals being dropped to stranded, anxious residents below.
Spain's accumulated public debt soared to a record high at the end of June, the Bank of Spain says, shattering government targets despite a relentless austerity squeeze.
Spain, which boasts the eurozone's fourth largest economy, had racked up an unprecedented public debt of 942.8 billion euros ($A1.36 trillion) by mid year, the bank said on Friday.
The figure was equal to 92.2 per cent of the nation's total annual economic output - up 14.7 percentage points from the same period last year.
With just half of the year gone, Spain had already missed its target of limiting the public debt to 91.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013, the figures showed.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government is battling to rein in the soaring public debt by curbing spending.
The ensuing budget cuts have sparked angry street protests as Spaniards endure a two-year recession which pushed the unemployment rate to 26.26 per cent in the second quarter of this year.
High unemployment leads to lower tax income and bigger social security bills for the state, making it even harder to plug the hole in Spain's public accounts.
Rajoy's Popular Party government says it is determined to pursue austerity measures to help the country save 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014.
It aims to curb the annual public deficit from 7.0 per cent of economic output last year to 6.5 per cent in 2013, on the way to finally bringing it below the European Union-agreed ceiling of 3.0 per cent by 2016.
The Bank of Spain also revised up the first-quarter figures to show the public debt amounted to 90.1 per cent of gross domestic product rather than 88.2 per cent, in line with recent downward revisions of Spain's economic growth.
Christine McVie will make a guest appearance with Fleetwood Mac at two of their upcoming UK shows, Stevie Nicks has confirmed.
The news follows speculation that the retired vocalist could sing with her former bandmates once more, after she told BBC Radio 2: “If they ask me, I’d play.”
She’d attended several Mac shows since retiring in 1998, but hadn’t previously taken the stage with Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and ex-husband John McVie.
Now Nicks tells the BBC: “She’s going to come and do a song on the second two shows. I think it will probably be Don’t Stop. I don’t know – but she’s coming to Ireland to rehearse with us.”
A band spokesman was not able to clarify which of Mac’s eight shows she referred to, although it’s likely to be their appearances in London on September 24 and 25.
It’s not likely that McVie will make guest appearances further afield after Nicks explains: “She doesn’t want to fly. She doesn’t want to come back to America.”
And she reflects that she didn’t realise how much her co-singer brought to the band until she’d left. “From the very beginning, we made a pact that we would be a force of nature together – and we were.
“We had a lot of power when there were two of us. That wasn’t really so noticeable to us, because we just had, it until she left.
“Then I realised how much power we had when she was there, and how when she left she took 50% of the power with her. I felt powerless in many ways.”
Fleetwood Mac UK datesSep 20: Dublin O2
Sep 21: Dublin O2
Sep 24: London O2 Arena
Sep 25: London O2 Arena
Sep 27: London O2 Arena
Sep 29: Birmingham LG Arena
Oct 01: Manchester Arena
Oct 03: Glasgow Hydro
Bruce Dickinson has shouted down an online rumour that he’s involved in a $500m deal to build killer drones for the US military.
The Iron Maiden frontman has been the subject of speculation after stories circulated on the internet that his aviation firm took part in the manufacture or repair of unmanned armed flying machines.
The use of drones in war zones has proved controversial, with some claiming they kill more innocent parties than people defined as legitimate targets.
The story appears to have arisen via the website of South African firm Conference Speakers. In a page now removed they named Dickinson as a client available to give corporate talks, and listed the military contract among his business achievements. That led to stories from bloggers, one of whom labelled the singer a “rock’n'roll warmonger.”
A spokesman for Iron Maiden tells NME: “This is a totally inaccurate and malicious piece of writing that seems to have stemmed from an unfortunate mistake in terminology on a, website that the writer of said blog has used as a starting point to go off on a flight of sheer fantasy.”
The truth, says the spokesman, is that Dickinson an
The spokesman adds: “The future implementation of HAVs is a likely global trend which has massive positive implications in many areas of life. Both Bruce and Rod are proud to be involved with a British company at the cutting edge of this technology.
“Rather than being involved in attacks in the Third World, HAVs are designed to offer much-needed assistance to civilians, businesses and governments that would be unavailable otherwise, due to the unique nature of these incredible vehicles.”
The spokesman also offers an explanation for the military link, saying: “As with many far-sighted technological advances, early adopters and financial supporters tend to be military-based, as they have the resources to invest and develop, be that everything from space-travel to medicine.
“Possible military use of HAVs in future could be for heavy-lifting, transportation or high altitude detection of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), or similar, thus saving lives, both military and civilian.”
Dickinson, a keen pilot who flew Maiden round the world during their Somewhere Back In Time world tour, launched his firm Cardiff Aviation Ltd last year. His move followed the demise of charter airline Astreus, which whom he’d worked as a pilot and marketing manager. Cardiff Aviation has since created 70 jobs and is looking to launch its own airline in the coming year.
Asian markets have mostly edged up, with a rally on Wall Street and an upbeat global economic outlook helped by receding fears of a US-led strike on Syria.
However, profit-taking on Wednesday capped gains after the previous two days' advances, while firms linked to Apple dipped in a lacklustre response to its latest range of iPhones.
Tokyo ended flat owing to a late sell-off as dealers cashed in after a four per cent gain since the weekend that was fuelled by Japan's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics and stronger than expected growth data.
The Nikkei ended 1.71 points higher at 14,425.07, while Sydney added 0.64 per cent, or 33.2 points, to 5,234.4 -- a 2013 high. Seoul closed 0.49 per cent higher, advancing 9.79 points to 2,003.85.
Shanghai rose 0.15 per cent, adding 3.28 points to end at 2,241.27, after another round of Chinese indicators that suggest the world's number two economy is picking up after a slowdown this year. However, Hong Kong was 0.32 per cent down in the afternoon following four straight sessions of gains.
US President Barack Obama vowed in a national address in Washington on Tuesday to give diplomacy a chance before launching a military attack on Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people last month.
The Assad regime earlier in the day agreed to a proposal by Russia to 'place the chemical weapons under international control and then have them destroyed'.
The news soothed tensions on global markets, which slumped last month as traders bet on an attack by the US and its allies, which they feared could spark a wider conflict in the Middle East.
Improving confidence among investors helped the dollar up against the yen, which is considered a safer bet in times of uncertainty.
In the afternoon the greenback bought 100.43 yen, compared with 100.40 yen late New York and well up from the 99.60 yen in Asia on Tuesday.
The euro fetched 132.91 yen and $US1.3253 against 132.48 yen and $US1.3251.
Regional markets were given a positive lead by Wall Street on the back of the Syria developments and the economic data out of China and Japan that suggest a healthy pick-up in the global economy. The Dow rose 0.85 per cent, the SP 500 added 0.73 per cent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.62 per cent.
Oil prices were mixed as easing Syria woes reduced concern about supply from the Middle East. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, eased 30 cents to $US107.09 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for October gained 18 cents at $US111.43.
Both contracts had hit multi-month peaks in August, at the height of the Syrian crisis.
Apple-linked firms were broadly lower, with investors less than enthusiastic about the US firm's latest iPhones, which it unveiled on Tuesday. There was also disappointment that a trumpeted low-cost phone was not as cheap as had been hoped for.
Taiwanese assembler Hon Hai fell 1.3 per cent to Tw$76.00 and camera-lens supplier Largan shed 6.4 per cent to Tw$945.00, while in Tokyo parts supplier Murata Manufacturing Co. fell 2.6 per cent.
Gold cost $US1,367.60 an ounce at 0705 GMT compared with $US1,372.04 late Tuesday.
Australian shares are close to their highest point for the year as investor confidence is boosted by a decisive federal election result and encouraging Chinese economic data.
Stocks are also being boosted by the need for major construction projects in Japan - Australia's second largest trading partner - ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Easing anxiety over Syria after Russia suggested that Syria place its chemical weapons under international control has also influence trade.
Major resources companies, the big banks and other blue-chip stocks had led the Australian market higher, Lonsec senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said.
'The result of the election has injected a bit of confidence and positive sentiment. That's flowed over yesterday and today,' he said.
Recent economic data from China indicated that the Chinese economy was performing quite well, providing a boost for Australian resources stocks.
BHP Billiton rose 26 cents to $35.90, Rio Tinto added 93 cents to $62.88 and Fortescue Metals was six cents higher at $4.51.
Among the major banks, Westpac was 48 cents richer at at $32.41, National Australia Bank gained 26 cents to $33.44, ANZ firmed 23 cents to $30.17 and Commonwealth Bank jumped 27 cents to $73.90.
Elders rose one cent to 10.5 cents after the rural services provider announced that it had nearly completed refinancing the group and would slash about 10 per cent of its staff.
The statement in full reads:
Serpentine, the British melodic rock quintet currently in pre-production for their third album with producer and songwriter Gary Hughes [of Ten] have parted company with lead vocalist Matt Black, who wishes to move into a different direction musically, away from the melodic rock sound the band are associated with.
The band, who were initially fronted by Shy/TNT vocalist Tony Mills, burst on to the scene in 2010 with their critically acclaimed, and Japanese charting, Touch Of Heaven album, and went on to release their second full album Living And Dying In High Definition, in 2011.
Mills, who departed in 2011 to concentrate on TNT, was replaced by the hitherto unknown Matt Black and a series of UK tours with the likes of Crashdiet, Ten, FM and Romeo’s Daughter cemented Serpentine’s reputation as an exciting live band, which led to appearances at many major festivals at home and abroad.
This decision was reached while writing for their next record, when it became apparent that the music the band was composing was at odds with the direction Matt wanted to take.
Serpentine’s Gareth David Noon commented: “We wish Matt all the very best for the future. He has been a tremendous asset for Serpentine in the live arena and we remain on excellent terms. Matt had certain ideas for the band but the truth is that the rest of us had a clear vision for the next record that we weren’t prepared to compromise on. Serpentine is evolving and we will be back with a bang in 2014.”
On his departure, Matt says: “It has been a tough choice to make, but I want to take a different road in my musical style. I would like to thank Serpentine, the management and fans for all the amazing support, friendship and good times we’ve shared. It’s been an honour to share the stage with such amazing musicians. I wish the band all the best for the future and I sincerely hope they continue to do the ‘business’ on and off stage.”
Serpentine’s search for a new vocalist has already started and the band have been flattered by some of the candidates who have so far applied. A shortlist will be drawn up shortly prior to auditioning.
Any other interested parties can apply by messaging the band’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/
Voices,” and the other is for the title track.
The order was issued on Friday by federal Judge Denise Cote.
She is ordering Apple to make changes to its contracts to ensure it does not repeat the kind of price fixing that resulted when it colluded with publishers in 2010.
The judge ruled in July that the collusion occurred despite Apple's insistence that it acted fairly. The Justice Department said on Friday it was pleased with the order. It said consumers will benefit from lower e-book prices.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr says the company will appeal the July decision. He says Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing.
Despite uncertainty over Syria and a disappointing jobs report at the week's close, all three leading indices posted gains for the holiday-shortened week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.19 (0.76 per cent) to 14,922.50. The broad-based SP 500 advanced 22.20 (1.36 per cent) to 1,655.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 70.14 (1.95 per cent) at 3,660.01.
Markets were closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
The week's gains were a big improvement over August, which saw the steepest monthly declines for the Dow and SP 500 since May 2012.
Perhaps the week's biggest bright spot was US August auto sales, with the industry selling 17 per cent more cars than a year ago. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all posted double-digit gains.
The robust auto sales lifted stocks on Wednesday and 'spilled over into better sentiment in general,' said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.
Markets also digested Monday's news that Verizon would buy out Vodafone's 45-per cent stake in their Verizon Wireless joint venture for $US130 billion ($A143.16 billion). Verizon plans a record $US25 billion debt offering associated with the deal in the next week or two, a person close to the situation said.
On Tuesday, Microsoft turned heads when it announced a $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business in a bid to become a bigger player in the smartphone business.
Some analysts see increased merger and acquisition activity as a sign of rising confidence in the economy.
Analysts were also cheered by an invitation from Apple announcing a September 10 event in California. The gathering is widely expected to launch two new versions of the iPhone, including a less expensive model expected to appeal to China and other emerging markets.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was preparing to ship iPhones to China Mobile in a long-anticipated deal. Apple closed the week 2.3 per cent higher at $498.22.
The news on autos, telecommunications and Apple helped offset Friday's disappointing jobs report. The Labor Department reported a gain of 169,000 jobs in August, below the 177,000 projected by analysts. The report also slashed the jobs estimates for June and July.
The report, while 'not a disaster,' was weak enough to suggest that the Federal Reserve will either delay its plans to taper its bond-buying program, or reduce the program even more gradually than previously thought, said William Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates.
'I don't think the economy, as sluggish as it is, can take too much in the way of tapering,' Lynch said.
Investors are also skittish over the Obama administration's efforts to launch a military strike on Syria in response to Syria's purported use of chemical weapons.
Crude oil prices Friday pushed to a 28-month high of $US110.53 in New York amid US-Russian tensions over Syria. But equity markets have reacted inconsistently to Syria news, sometimes dropping in recent weeks on Syria headlines, and sometimes not.
'Of all the risks out there, the one that has the highest probability to hurt the market in the near term is the Middle East situation,' said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
'The market's not as focused on it as I think it probably ought to be.'
Congressional debate on Syria is expected to dominate next week's news. The economic calendar is relatively light, with August retail sales and inflation data due on Friday.
The calendar also includes a September 12 meeting with Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White and leading exchanges in the wake of the August 22 outage at Nasdaq Stock Market caused by a tech glitch.
Anthony Conroy, a trader at BNY Convergex Group, predicted the market would trade in a 'tight range until we get more clarity on the Fed and more clarity on Syria.'
And while the axe icon was honoured to be asked, he had a very good reason for saying no.
Drummer Appice and bassist Bain are back together in Last In Line, which also features Dio co-founders Viv Campbell and Claude Schnell, plus Andy Freeman in place of the late, great frontman.
Asked if there’s anyone he’d still like to work with, Appice tells My Global Mind: “There are lots of cool people. It would be fun to play with Eddie Van Halen – we both know Eddie. We almost played with him one time, a long time ago.
“Jimmy and I were putting something together. I called him and he called me back, and I didn’t know it was him. ‘Vinny, it’s Eddie.’ I went, ‘Eddie?’ Then I caught on.
“I said, ‘You’re probably busy, but we were thinking about you. We thought we’d start at the top for guitar players.’ He said, ‘Aw, man, that’s really cool, and I appreciate it, dude. But I’m joined with my brother.’”
Appice has worked with some big names in his time, but for him they don’t come bigger than his stint with John Lennon, which took place in 1975 while he was working with his first professional band, BOMF.
The nine-piece were managed by Jimmy Iovine, who was working with the ex-Beatle at the time, meaning they were often in New York’s Record Plant studios at the same time. Appice recalls: “One day they needed handclaps and they said, ‘Can you guys come down and do some handclaps for us?’ The band and I went down and we saw John in the control room. We were like, ‘Oh shit, it’s John Lennon.’
“We did handclaps – that’s me on Whatever Gets You Through The Night. A couple of days later he comes up and hangs out. We were like, ‘Oh fuck’ when we were playing. But he dug the band so we did a gig with him, at the New York Hilton for Lew Grade.
“We did three videos and we did eight songs in the studio with John producing. You’d hear him in the headphones telling you what to play. We’d play pool with him. It was just insane – that was a highlight.”
Last In Line played a brief debut tour in the UK in August, which was curtailed by guitarist Campbell’s cancer treatment. Appice has vowed there’s more to come from the band. Last night Campbell reported: “Did my second to last chemo today – only one more to go. Strangely, my hair’s already started to grow back a little.”