Embattled Australian carrier Qantas' credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's to "junk" status Friday after the airline issued a shock profit warning and slashed jobs. Qantas on Thursday flagged a half-year loss of up to Aus$300 million (US$271 million) and said it would axe 1,000 jobs as it struggles under the weight of record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals. That puts Qantas in what is known as "junk" status among professionals, increasing the cost of financing for the carrier and restricting access to investors that do not put their money in lower rated companies. "The downgrades reflect our view that intense competition in the airline industry has weakened Qantas' business risk profile to 'fair' from 'satisfactory', and financial risk profile to 'significant' from 'intermediate'," S&P said in a statement.
Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) - Michael Clarke claimed his third century in five Ashes Tests and Brad Haddin raised another half-century as Australia tormented England in the second Test on Friday. The skipper brought up his 26th Test ton and his sixth in nine Tests at the Adelaide ground as Australia seized the initiative in a dominant batting performance early on the second day. Clarke, dropped by Ian Bell at short leg on 91, played the captain's knock while Haddin chanced his luck to bring up his third consecutive half-century in the series. At lunch, Australia had piled on 116 runs in the morning session to be 389 for five, with Clarke unbeaten on 109 and Haddin not out 57.