Start & Co celebrates 40 years

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Start & Co celebrates 40 years previous nextAgencies & PeopleStart & Co celebrates 40 yearsThe Negotiator12th September 20170907 Views Newquay estate agency Start & Co is celebrating its 40th year by purchasing the freehold of its own premises.After four decades of leasing from a landlord, the firm has made the move with the help of a business loan from NatWest.Founded by Brian Start in 1977, Start & Co is a family business run by Brian, his wife Marilyn and their two sons, Bradley and Jonathan and six local employees.Brian said, “After so many years we are all tremendously pleased to be moving into our own premises as our business celebrates its 40th anniversary. We have banked with NatWest since we started and the team’s support was absolutely essential to this next phase of Start & Co’s life cycle.”NatWest Business Relationship Manager, Darren Lewarne said, “Start & Co are Newquay’s longest-established estate agent and provide essential services for many people in this area. It’s rewarding to see the business marking this landmark year with such a positive development and I am very pleased to have been able to assist them with this fantastic move.”Start & Co 40 years Start & Co purchase freehold September 12, 2017The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

Press release: Digital revolution to use the power of data to combat illegal wildlife trade and reduce food waste

first_imgBusiness Secretary, Greg Clark, said: Jeremy Wright will also announce government’s contribution to new fund, which will be up to £30 million, to spark a wave of tech innovation World-first ‘data trust’ could see conservationists sharing audio and image data to help tackle illegal wildlife trade This is part of Government’s modern Industrial Strategy which will harness the power of technology to help make a real difference to people’s lives From cutting food waste to tacking illegal wildlife crime, our innovators are working to harness the huge potential of data and artificial intelligence to solve international challenges. Our modern Industrial Strategy identifies our unmatched heritage and strength in AI as a huge opportunity for the UK. We are leading the world in its development and use, benefitting from the highly skilled jobs and economic growth this technology creates. AI has the potential to revolutionise wildlife conservation and strengthen the technological tools needed to end wildlife crime. In order to harness this opportunity, however, we need to be able to distribute large-scale, well-curated data sets to machine learning experts. WILDLABS partners are very excited about collaborating with the ODI and Office for AI to deliver simple mechanisms that make it easy and safe for the conservation community to share data. It’s collaborative efforts like this that will help us save threatened species around the world. Technology is already making our lives easier in many ways but there is still so much untapped potential that we can deliver for social good. As a world-leader in emerging technologies, the UK is best placed to foster these opportunities. The new policies announced today, backed by new funding, will encourage industry to deliver technological innovation to address issues as diverse as animal poaching, food waste and loneliness. WRAP’s work focuses on forging powerful partnerships and delivering ground-breaking initiatives to support more sustainable economies and society. Carefully building and understanding the evidence which galvanises action is at the heart of everything we do. These pilots will give us the opportunity to build on our experience and explore different ways to create an environment where organisations can confidently share their data. Pioneering digital technologies such as artificial intelligence could be used to crack down on global challenges as part of a world-first ‘data trust’ programme to be piloted in the UK.More than £700,000 will be invested in the initiative to tackle issues such as illegal wildlife poaching and food waste mountains. The funding will help organisations such as WILDLABS Tech Hub and WRAP design the frameworks required to exchange data between organisations in a safe, fair and ethical way.The aim of the scheme, which will be run by the Open Data Institute and the Government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence, is to exploit the power of data exchange between organisations with the raw data and those with expertise to process it to tackle major global issues.Exploring the potential of data trusts was a key commitment of the AI Sector Deal, a joint policy by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity.The news comes ahead of a speech in which the Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright will announce a package of measures to spark a wave of innovation in tech for social good.This includes the government’s partnership with the Social Tech Trust to establish a fund of up to £30 million to provide access to finance and position the UK as a global leader in socially transformative tech. A further £1 million will be available to incentivise organisations to use tech to help tackle loneliness and bring communities together.Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said:center_img Increasing access to data can help people, communities and organisations make better and more timely decisions – such as which energy supplier to use, the route a bus should take, or whether to invest in creating a new product. But the people and organisations that have data, use it, and are affected by its use need to trust that it is stewarded well and shared equitably and for agreed purposes. Data trusts are one potential way to increase sharing of data and unlock more social and economic benefits from data while protecting other interests such as people’s privacy, corporate confidentiality or, as in the pilot we’re doing on data about endangered animals, our environment. The ODI is also looking at other approaches to increased access to data, including data sharing models such as those adopted by the European innovation programme Data Pitch, where large organisations share data with startups in order to fuel innovation and answer specific challenges. The Digital Secretary will also announce new measures to boost tech driven by social purpose during his speech at Doteveryone in London this morning.This is part of his vision for ‘tech for good’ which will champion technology as a force to change lives for the better, increase engagement between the social and tech sectors and ensure charities understand how they can use technology to achieve their mission.These include:A Social Tech Venture Fund, administered by the Social Tech Trust, which will see government support the foundation of a fund of up to £30 million to support innovative solutions to encourage people to be healthier and help them to build connected communities. The Social Tech Venture Fund will increase access to finance and position the UK as a global leader in socially transformative tech;£1 million to incentivise organisations to develop solutions to tackle loneliness and bring communities together;Government backing for the Digital Agenda Impact Awards to showcase and celebrate tech for good innovations from across business, government and charity organisations;A collaboration with the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) and its network of social sector partners to explore how best to support charities to embed digital in their strategy, services and culture;Naming the organisations to benefit from a share of Government’s £1 million Digital Leadership Fund, which aims to boost charity leaders’ digital knowhow and how they can use technology to benefit their respective causes. Winners will include Age UK, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Cornwall Museums Partnership.Charities are already using digital technologies to support their work. Breast Cancer Care developed the BECCA app, which gives patients information and emotional support after their treatment has completed. More than 15,000 women have used the app in the first year and the creators hope to reach 20,000 more by 2020.Today’s announcement builds on work the Government has already done in supporting the use of tech for social good. This includes helping to bring together the private, charity and public sectors to embrace technological advances to improve people’s lives and the country’s productivity.ENDSNotes to editorsQuotes from organisations involved in data trust pilotsSophie Maxwell, from WILDLABS Tech Hub said: The Open Data Institute (ODI) is using funding from the Office for Artificial Intelligence and InnovateUK to support its work on the data trust pilots. This is part of Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, putting pioneering technologies at the heart of plans to build a Britain which is fit for the future.Data trusts operate by allowing multiple individuals or organisations – such as supermarkets, conservation charities or local authorities – to give some control over data to a new institution – the trust – so that it can be used to create benefits, either for themselves or other people, or both. That benefit might be to create new businesses, help research a medical disease, or empower a community of workers, consumers or citizens.The Office for Artificial Intelligence is based in central government and responsible for overseeing implementation of the UK’s AI strategy, policy.About the Open Data InstituteThe ODI was co-founded in 2012 by the inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and artificial intelligence expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt to show the value of data, and to advocate for the innovative use of data to affect positive change across the globe. It is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan company headquartered in London, with an international reach. We work with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem, where people can make better decisions using data and manage any harmful impacts.The AI and Data Grand ChallengeThe Industrial Strategy sets out Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity. Artificial intelligence and data is one of the four Grand Challenges which will see AI used across a variety of industries and put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.Further information on the winners of the Digital Leadership FundSuperhighways (c/o Kingston Voluntary Action)Kingston Voluntary Action will partner with London Plus, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action and the Foundation for Social Improvement to support small local charities to expand existing training – from basic software skills through to helping leaders embed digital tools and services.Tech TrustTech Trust will expand its occasional Charity Digital Tech Conference webinars to be a regular programme and create a live stream of the events so up to 200 organisations can take part remotely, increasing accessibility of the service for charities.Social Enterprise KentSocial Enterprise Kent will host two-day Digital Leadership workshops for local social enterprises centred around cyber security. This will help charities create a digital strategy, take advantage of online tools, and learn how to best utilise social media. They will fund 15 social sector courses, reaching 105 social enterprise leaders.CosmicCosmic will host 10 three-day Digital Leadership workshops, produce an e-learning platform for South West charity leaders and host a Digital Charities Summit in March 2019 to share learning.VoscurVoscur will expand their training programme to 110 organisations through five two-day workshops, supported by a webinar series and host virtual drop-ins.Cornwall Museums PartnershipCornwall Museums Partnership will expand their Rural Proofing Digital Leadership Programme by subsidising 90 places on 4 new Digital Leadership Insights and Ideas Seminars, a two-day Digital Leadership Deep Dive Board Retreat and a new Digital Leadership e-learning module for rural heritage organisations.Age UK, MidlandsAge UK Midland will expand their Be Digital programme and roll-out their face-to-face workshops to train leaders in teams rather than individually, to share learning throughout the Age UK network, embedding digital in their organisation.Age UK, South LakelandAge UK South Lakeland will expand their training beyond Cumbria to nearby districts with digital skills gaps by hosting 27 additional workshops for up to 30 people.The Guide Dogs for the Blind AssociationGuide Dogs’ will expand their Digital Transformation programme to digitally upskill their trustees and senior leadership on e-learning platforms and face to face workshops to enable them to provide meaningful digital services to 500,000 visually-impaired citizens.DotEveryoneDotEveryone will improve their existing training programme material and deliver five additional workshops.Media TrustMedia Trust will increase the reach, relevance and accessibility of their digital marketing strategy training workshops and target socially and economically disadvantaged areas that have a high level of charities.School for Social EntrepreneursThe School for Social Entrepreneurs will expand the reach of their two-day workshops, benefitting more charity leadersSocial Misfits MediaSocial Misfits Media will expand their current training programme by partnering with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Lightful to equip 360 leaders across 120 organisations in five regions.Examples of ‘tech for good’ companies who have benefited from Government support:Government helped to establish Bethnal Green Ventures an early-stage investor in companies and organisations that use technology to radically change people’s lives for the better. It is best known for its 12-week accelerator programme, which provides investment, co-working space and intensive mentoring and support. To date, Bethnal Green Ventures has supported 95 ventures, investing £1.9 million and having a combined positive impact on 18 million lives.GoodGym supports runners to get fit by doing ‘good’. Its platform helps runners to help others by enabling them to come together to tackle problems as part of their run. Partner organisations like AgeUK refer isolated older people who are then matched with runners on regular visits. GoodGym is a charity and free to participate in though many runners donate £10 monthly.Nationwide’s ‘Open Banking for Good’ is a challenge fund calling on fintechs to use Open Banking technology to help address financial inclusion issues. Nationwide has made £3m available to fund solutions. This financial inclusion fintech fund was formed as part of Cabinet Office and DCMS’s Inclusive Economy Partnership. Richard Swannell, Director, WRAP Global, said: The Open Data Institute defines data trusts as a legal structure which provides independent, third-party stewardship of data for the benefit of a group of organisations or people.The new plans include:A partnership between leading conservation charities , WILDLABS Tech Hub and technology experts to reduce the level of illegal trade of wildlife by sharing image data to assist border control officers around the world in identify illegal animal products from their smartphones.Audio data could be used to train algorithms to detect gunshots or the underwater sound of illegal fishing vessels coming into protected areas then real-time alerts will be pinged to rangers.WRAP will be working with food and drink businesses to track and measure food waste to develop solutions which could see savings passed on to consumers, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and water usage.Royal Borough of Greenwich and Greater London Authority will be looking at how data collected through their Sharing Cities Programme, could help make certain data available in a data trust, including energy consumption data collected by sensors and devices in buildings; data about parking space occupancy and the availability of charging bays for electric vehicles. This third pilot is funded by Innovate UK through the ODI’s R&D programme.Jeni Tennison, CEO at the Open Data Institute said:last_img read more

Wynton Marsalis returns to Harvard

first_imgHarvard University announced today that Wynton Marsalis will continue his two-year lecture series with an appearance at Sanders Theatre on Sept. 15. Currently the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis is an accomplished musician, composer, bandleader, and educator who has made the promotion of jazz and cultural literacy his hallmark causes.Marsalis’ second lecture, “The Double Crossing of a Pair of Heels: The Dynamics of Social Dance and American Popular Musics,” will be accompanied by live performances by acclaimed dance professionals, including Jared Grimes, Nelida Tirado, Eddie Torres Jr., Heather Gehring, and Lou Brockman.“In this lecture, I will address the dynamic relationship between American music and social dance in our culture,” Marsalis said. “It will focus on what our dancing and music tells us about our traditions, our sense of community, and our rituals of courtship.”Marsalis kicked off his lecture series in April before a sold-out house with “Music as Metaphor,” a two-hour journey through the history of American music that included live musical interludes. Illustrating his gift for combining prose and music with wisdom and humor, Marsalis led the crowd through a narrative that explained the evolution of jazz and the blues, and revealed how American music was vital to the development of the nation’s collective history.“Wynton Marsalis’ visit to Sanders Theatre last spring was an extraordinary synthesis of performance and spoken word, full of captivating musical moments, but, more than that, wonderfully incisive in exploring music as a metaphor for aspects of contemporary life,” Harvard President Drew Faust said. “I greatly look forward to welcoming him back.”Marsalis’ lecture is one of several arts events that will take place throughout the year as Harvard celebrates its 375th anniversary. The Marsalis lecture series highlights the University’s focus on the arts since a 2008 presidential task force called for an increased arts presence.A native of New Orleans, Marsalis is one of the nation’s most highly decorated cultural figures. In addition to winning nine Grammy awards, he was the first jazz musician to receive the Pulitzer Prize for music. His international accolades include an honorary membership in Britain’s Royal Academy of Music, the highest decoration for a non-British citizen, and the insignia of chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction. He has more than 70 albums to his credit, which have sold more than 7 million copies. Marsalis is also the first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full spectrum of jazz: from its New Orleans roots to bebop and modern jazz. By creating and performing an expansive range of new music for everything from quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, and tap dance to ballet, Marsalis has expanded the vocabulary of jazz and created a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers. Harvard awarded him an honorary doctorate in music in 2009.Tickets for Marsalis’ lecture at Sanders will be free. They will become available for the Harvard community today and for the public on Sept. 8. For information on obtaining tickets.last_img read more

Goodbye Dell EMC World, Hello Dell Technologies World!

first_imgWhen we launched Dell Technologies we created a unique family of businesses to serve the increasing desire of companies to have a one-stop shop for their digital, IT, workforce and security transformation needs. As the last year and half has unfolded it has become increasingly clear that many of you would also like a one-stop show where you can learn about the strategy, products, technology and know-how required to make transformation real in your business.So today we’re announcing that Dell EMC World is now… Dell Technologies World!How much is the show changing? It isn’t so much changing as its getting bigger and better. You’ll still have all the things you loved about Dell EMC World: general sessions, breakouts, hands-on labs, the solutions pavilion, training courses and certifications, and of course… the party. But now you’ll see an increased presence from each of our businesses – Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware – providing you all the information you’ll need to realize your digital future.But the evolution doesn’t stop at just Dell Technologies World, after all, not everyone can make it out to Las Vegas for our annual show – that’s why the Dell EMC Forum will now become the Dell Technologies Forum.  The Dell Technologies Forum will be visiting over 60 cities this year starting in May and will expand in scope to cover the full breadth of Dell Technologies.Now, you may be asking, what about VMworld, RSA Conference or Spring One Platform – is anything changing with those shows? The short answer is no – nothing at all.   These shows are huge and over the years have built up a loyal and dedicated following. Our aim for 2018 is simply to continue to grow our audience and deepen the level of content at each.Let me be the first to invite you to Dell Technologies World. Register here, and I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!last_img read more

Fearing University shutdown, on-campus students seek off-campus housing

first_imgFollowing the announcement that Notre Dame would be implementing at least two weeks of online classes in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, there were murmurs among many students who thought the University would shut the campus down after the two weeks. This unease and the possibility of being told to leave campus before the semester is over has led many students residing on campus to look into off-campus housing.Junior Jim Broderick said he and his friends talked about looking into an off-campus place Tuesday, Aug. 18, before University President Fr. John Jenkins’ spoke to the student body.“When we saw that Monday results were so high, we were like ‘Oh shoot. Let’s look into [housing]’ just to get an idea of what’s available and what our options are,” Broderick said.Broderick said he considered living off-campus before the year started but ultimately decided to stay on campus because of his role as vice president of O’Neill Family Hall.Currently, Broderick said he is in preliminary research and waiting to see the University’s next steps.“I just don’t know the University’s plan,” Broderick said. “So it’s kind of like a waiting game to see how things will shake out in terms of what their plans are like how the case COVID cases look on campus.”Broderick said he is more optimistic about staying on campus for the entire semester than he was when classes first started.“I think from a logistical standpoint, it would be very complicated for the University and extensive,” Broderick said. “And I think that students kind of got the message that [the University] was trying to send with the two weeks of online classes now as almost like a warning to kind of behave because otherwise, they will take drastic action.”Meanwhile, junior Lizzie Cunningham is not convinced that students will be living on campus until the end of the fall semester. She said these sentiments have led her to extensively search for an off-campus apartment.“My friends and I were talking and none of us really thought that we were going to make it all the way to November, which was really sad to think because we’ve been away from each other for so long,” Cunningham said. “But we were all thinking we want to stay together if we do get sent home. So we weren’t really actively looking but we were like, if we get sent home, we want to go home. We’d rather find somewhere to stay together.”Junior Makira Walton echoed this skepticism, and said in an email that she is “not confident at all” the University will remain open for on-campus students.Walton — a resident of Pangborn Hall after she could not return to her home hall, Pasquerilla West Hall — said she is currently in the research phase of searching for an off-campus apartment along with five of her friends.However, apartment space close to campus is a popular commodity. Cunningham said she and her friends were supposed to view an apartment at University Edge last week, but the complex filled up, and they were waitlisted. She cited Notre Dame renting out apartments to quarantine students as one of the reasons she thinks housing isn’t readily available.“Right now, we actually don’t have anywhere anymore that we’re looking,” Cunningham said. “We’re slowly trying to find new places, so we’re kind of in a worse spot now than we were the beginning.”Cunningham has been in contact with the Office of Residential Life to find out how her housing contract would be affected by her decision to move off campus. She said it was unclear if she would get her money back since she signed an incentive contract her sophomore year where she pledged to live on campus through the end of senior year for a discount on room and board.In a statement to The Observer, Leah Kicinski, assistant director of residential life, said students may cancel their housing contract at any time by contacting residential life.“Room and board will be prorated, and the cancellation may be subject to a $500 fee,” Kicinski said in regards to refunds on housing.While on-campus students are still living on campus during the two-week virtual instruction period, the fate of the semester remains somewhat in limbo as students await the news of how instruction will look going forward.In the event that the University does send students back to their hometowns, Cunningham said she believes the University should play an active role in assisting students with other local housing options.“I think the University needs to realize that some people can’t go home. Just because they’re not comfortable there, and it’s like not safe for them, even,” Cunningham said. “I think it would be great if they were like, ‘We can help you if you’re not comfortable’.”Tags: coronavirus, off-campus housing, Office of Residential Life, Room and Boardlast_img read more

Chuck Cooper & More Join Carnegie Hall’s West Side Story

first_imgChuck Cooper(Photo: Bruce Glikas) View Comments Tony winner Chuck Cooper, a handful of fellow Broadway alums, 14 high schoolers and more will join the previously announced Skylar Astin, Bianca Marroquín and Morgan Hernandez for Carnegie Hall’s presentation of West Side Story. Cooper takes on the role of Doc/Krupke, with Astin as Tony, Marroquín as Anita, Hernandez as Maria, Donald Jones Jr. as Bernardo, Manuel Stark as Riff and Peter Gerety as Schrank.Performances are set for March 4 through March 6 at the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens. Amanda Dehnert directs the production, which is the culmination of Carnegie Hall’s Somewhere Project, a citywide exploration of the musical by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents.Cooper won a Tony Award for The Life. His additional Broadway credits include Amazing Grace, Romeo and Juliet, Finian’s Rainbow, Lennon and Caroline, or Change; he recently appeared in Cabin in the Sky with City Center Encores!. Jones can currently be seen on Broadway in Aladdin, where he is making his Broadway debut. Stark made his Main Stem debut last season in Gigi; his additional credits include The Most Happy Fella and Little Me with Encores!. Gerety’s Great White Way credits include Lucky Guy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Never Gonna Dance.The ensemble will include Alex Aquilino, Angel Blanco, Olutayo Bosede, Ariana Crowder, Karli Dinardo, Zack Everhart, Hannah Florence, Damon J. Gillespie, Sam Lips, Robin Masella, Raymond Joel Matsamura, Melissa Hunter McCann, Dashi Mitchell, Emilio Ramos, Julian Ramos, Alex Ringler, Sherisse Springer, Clay Thomson, James Tolbert, Jessica Walker, Michelle West and Ricardo Zayas. Additionally, 14 high school students from New York and New Jersey will join: Kaitlyn Benzant, Kendall Carter, Emanuel Figueroa, Alexis Garcia, Fabian Garcia, Sebastian Garcia, Reyna Guerra, Anijah Lezama, Alexa Maetta, Hallie Richardson, Sydney Richardson, Jillian Schear, Martina Viadana and Daniella Zunic.last_img read more

Trade-Case Decision Leaves Trump in a Position to Gut U.S. Solar Industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Politico:A federal trade panel declared Friday that surging imports of solar panels have hurt U.S. manufacturers — a decision that will allow President Donald Trump to penalize Chinese companies but could also choke off the fast-growing green energy industry in the U.S.The U.S. International Trade Commission voted to uphold a complaint brought by two domestic solar manufacturers that complained that the low-cost imports had damaged their businesses. The decision was opposed by the much larger U.S. solar installation industry, which has seen the influx of the cheap panels spark a boom in construction of giant solar farms and rooftop systems around the country.The issue will give Trump the opportunity to erect trade barriers he has hailed as key to his strategy to revive domestic manufacturing, and at the same time hit the Chinese companies that have largely evaded previous U.S. import penalties to become the leading suppliers of solar cells and panels. Administration officials say the trade case hasn’t been a central one for the president, but they are increasingly confident Trump will favor tariffs when the commission sends the White House its recommendations in the next couple of months.In a statement, the White House said Trump would make a decision that “reflects the best interests of the United States,” and it praised the solar-makers, saying the domestic “solar manufacturing sector contributes to our energy security and economic prosperity.”The case could also give Trump a platform to advance his “America First” agenda and tout his effort to revive the ailing coal sector. Coal companies have complained that the Obama administration waged a regulation-heavy “war on coal” while tilting federal tax incentives and loans to renewable energy sources in order to advance climate change policies.“[Trump] could easily reward his buddies in the coal industry who would really like to see high-priced solar panels competing with coal for space on the grid,” said Clark Packard, a policy analyst and trade lawyer with the conservative think tank R Street Institute, which opposes tariffs. He added: “He may just want to stick it to people — your coastal elites who never would have voted for him who are more likely to use solar panels. He’s looking for any circumstance to impose tariffs, it doesn’t seem he cares what they are.”Trump has not weighed in on the case so far, though his administration has reopened the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and China, and he has regularly blasted China and other countries for what he calls unfair trade with the U.S.“He’s a protectionist, there’s no doubt about it, and he’s not very sympathetic to the renewable energy,” Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow for the Peterson Institute of International Economics. “As much as you can predict any president, I think his conclusion is foregone.”The complaint brought by Georgia-based Suniva and Oregon-based SolarWorld USA has brought sharp opposition from most of the U.S. solar industry, which has seen its growth skyrocket as costs for the technology fell to a fraction of what they were a decade ago. Aided by federal tax incentives and state-level programs, large solar power installations have sprung up across the country, driving down costs for those plants to levels that are now competitive with coal and natural gas power power stations. That’s lifted employment in the sector to 260,000 even as the number of U.S. companies that make solar cells and panels sinks. More: Trade panel puts solar tariff decision in Trump’s hands Trade-Case Decision Leaves Trump in a Position to Gut U.S. Solar Industrylast_img read more

US agencies report plans to detect H5N1 in birds

first_imgMar 20, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The chiefs of three federal agencies, predicting that the H5N1 avian influenza virus will enter the United States, today unveiled their joint plan for quickly detecting the virus.”We’re closely monitoring the rapid spread of the H5N1 virus overseas,” said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. “We now believe it is likely that we will detect it within our borders in the United States. It is critically important to understand that the detection of this virus among birds will not signal the start of a pandemic among people. The time is now to expand our early warning system.”Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, along with Johanns, conducted a joint press conference today to prepare people for the possible arrival of the H5N1 virus in the US. The news conference was broadcast live via the Internet.The interagency plan, which received final approval today, Johanns said, relies on a number of methods to screen wild birds, notably birds migrating along the Pacific flyway to and from Alaska.The recent rapid spread of H5N1 in other countries underscores the likelihood of the virus spreading to the United States.”It is increasingly likely that we will detect the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian flu in birds within the US borders, possibly as early as this year,” Norton said. She outlined a plan for systematic monitoring of birds that includes:Testing of sick or dead wild birdsTesting of live wild birds, particularly the highest-risk species, using capture and sampling (not killing birds)Targeted sampling of hunter-killed birdsMonitoring and testing of sentinel animals, including backyard poultry flocks and waterfowl placed in wetlands to mix with migratory birdsTesting of environmental samples, including water and avian fecal samplesSystematic investigation of sick or dead wild birds offers the highest probability of detecting H5N1 early, Norton added. Authorities expect to collect 75,000 to 100,000 samples for testing in 2006. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Interior Department have tested more than 16,000 birds in the Pacific and Atlantic flyways since 1998, according to a news release. The birds have all tested negative for the lethal H5N1 strain, but 22 low-pathogenicity avian flu isolates have been identified.Samples will be tested at the appropriate laboratories, Norton said, but she cautioned that initial positive tests are considered presumptive, not definitive. Positive samples will be sent to the USDA’s national laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmatory testing.”We anticipate that presumptive H5N1 results may be announced 20 to 100 times this year,” she said. There could be dozens of reports of H5N1 without any highly pathogenic strains, she added.Discussing how the agencies will collaborate, Johanns said:The Interior Department will monitor wild birds through the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the US Geological Survey (USGS), as well as the National Park Service (NPS).The USDA has a connection to wild birds through its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Agricultural Research Service, although its main focus is domestic flocks.HHS is chiefly responsible for human health.Johanns also described efforts to prevent the possible spread of H5N1 virus from wild to domestic birds.”None of us can build a cage around the United States,” he said. He emphasized that the nation’s $29 billion poultry system is highly biosecure, so the presence of H5N1 in migratory birds does not necessarily mean that commercial poultry will be infected. Further, he said the US has demonstrated an ability to handle outbreaks of highly pathogenic viruses, even as recently as 2004.In addition, producers will be compensated for destroyed birds, and they have demonstrated that they’ll notify the government at the first signs of illness among their birds, he said.”Unlike what we have seen in some countries, where producers are reluctant to report the virus because of economic losses, our producers know their loss will be covered if they call us,” Johanns said. Although he mentioned the possibility of limited vaccination in a ring around affected areas, he said culling of infected flocks would be the chief approach to eliminating the virus if it reaches commercial poultry.Leavitt provided an overview of preparations for a human pandemic that hewed closely to his talks at pandemic meetings in several states. He reiterated a point made by all three secretaries as they sought to prepare people for the arrival of the virus in US birds without provoking undue fear or panic.”At this point, if you’re a bird, it’s a pandemic,” Leavitt said. “If you’re a human being, it’s not. It’s as simple as that.”See also:USDA news release about the interagency briefingLink to recorded Webcast text of US strategy for early detection of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in wild birds, Mar 13, 2006 (91 pages) read more

Funding levels recovering steadily at Swiss pension funds

first_imgPositive market developments and rising discount rates helped Swiss Pensionskassen improve their funding levels by approximately 300 basis points, consultancies estimated.PKSBB, the CHF15bn (€12bn) pension fund of Swiss federal railways SBB, fared particularly well, reporting a funding level just above the 100%-mark for the first time in more than a decade.Its 101.8% funding level marked an increase of 270bps year on year and means that, for 2014, its participants will not have to pay any additional contributions as part of a recovery plan.Meanwhile, average funding levels at Swiss pension funds improved to 102.9% for pension funds in general, according to Towers Watson, or even to as high as 110.8% for private pension funds, according to Swisscanto. The Towers Watson Pension Index calculated that the funding level increased by 400bps quarter on quarter from 99.1% as reported per end-September 2013, while Swisscanto worked out an improvement of 320bps for private pension funds and 270bps for public pension funds to 102.7% year on year.A slight increase in the discount rate also helped lower liabilities and improve funding levels in turn.Within the Towers Watson sample, the discount rate improved by 16bps, while liabilities shrank by 2%.Swisscanto reported a 6.1% average rate of return for its sample, similar to the one published by Towers Watson at 6.2%.UBS calculated a similar average return at 5.89%, but the Credit Suisse index showed a slightly lower average return at 5.75%.The PKSBB is at the lower end of the spectrum, with a return of 5.4% for 2013.In a statement, the pension fund stressed that, despite the recent improvement of its funding levels, its financial buffers were still wanting.The PKSBB is one of the funds currently looking to introduce variable pensions for future pensioners to ensure sustainable, long-term financing.last_img read more

ICPO director: No intel on alleged Badjao handlers

first_imgAlso under the ordinance, any person,syndicate or group who utilize and exploit minors, disabled and infirm personsin the mendicancy trade shall suffer a penalty of P2,000 in fine andimprisonment of not less than two months./PN ILOILO City – “We have never heardabout or monitored individuals or criminal groups forcing Badjaos to go to thestreets and ask money from the public.” The city police director said therewere reports that the Badjaos were sending to their families in Jolo, Sulu themoney they collected here. “I already tasked my intelligencepersonnel to conduct monitoring,” Defensor said. Still, said Defensor, the ICPO wouldbe conducting an investigation. Begging and giving alms to beggars arepunishable under City Regulation Ordinance 2002-400. “Paranglivelihood na nila ang pagpakalimos.Our government is spending much money for their fare back to Mindanao but theykeep coming back. For them, mendicancy is an easy way to make money,” lamentedDefensor. Mendicants are liable to fines of P500,imprisonment of not more than a year, or both fine and imprisonment. On theother hand, giving to beggars is punishable by a fine of P500 or communityservice. This Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO)director Police Colonel Martin Defensor Jr. stressed when asked if there is asyndicate behind the proliferation of mendicant Badjaos in the city.last_img read more