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3/06/2008

Sydney's Coolest Summer in 50 Years Leaves Empty Cafes, Gloom


Australia
Sydney residents and tourists are cursing La Nina as the harbor city says goodbye to the summer that wasn't.

While the La Nina weather pattern is delivering rain to farmers after the worst drought in a century, it's cutting profits for cafe owners, travel agents and insurers. Insurance Australia Group Ltd., the nation's largest home insurer, last week posted a sixth straight profit decline after hail storms cost it A$105 million ($97 million). The yearly `Symphony in the Park,' which usually attracts 80,000 people, had 700 this year as the orchestra played behind a tarpaulin during a downpour.

``Everyone always thinks Australia is the best place for perfect weather, but I'm not sure I'll believe it any more,'' says Minsoo Seo, a 28-year-old marketing executive from Korea's Jeju Island, as he gazes at the waves crashing toward Bondi Beach on Australia's last day of summer.
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