As death toll soars, UK finance minister warns economy could shrink by 30% : Report

first_imgBritain’s finance minister has told colleagues the economy could shrink by up to 30% this quarter because of the coronavirus lockdown, a newspaper reported, as the soaring death toll gave little hope restrictions would soon be lifted.The number of COVID-19 deaths in hospitals across the United Kingdom has passed 10,000 and a senior scientific adviser to the government has said the country risked becoming the worst-hit in Europe.The government has had to defend its response to the outbreak, with complaints of insufficient testing, a dearth of protective kit for medics and questions about whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson was too slow to impose a lockdown. With foreign minister Dominic Raab deputizing for him, but without the full authority of a prime minister, the government faced excruciating trade-offs between the needs of the health service and of the economy, with national morale also at stake.The Times newspaper reported that Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, had discussed with colleagues the possibility that Gross Domestic Product would shrink by 25 to 30 percent between April and June.A Treasury spokesman declined to comment on the report.Citing unnamed ministers, the Times reported that Sunak and others were pushing for social distancing measures to be relaxed for the sake of the economy, while others were resisting because of the risk of exacerbating the coronavirus outbreak.A review of the current measures, which have been in place since March 23, is scheduled to take place this week. The government is widely expected to extend them.Slow delivery The Treasury said in a statement that its emergency funding for public services now totaled 14 billion pounds ($17 billion), up from 5 billion pounds announced in Sunak’s annual budget before the lockdown was imposed.That includes funding for the National Health Service and for local authorities, who provide social care for elderly people.The Treasury spokesman said the figure of 14 billion pounds included some new funding and some previously announced, and represented a tally of everything that had been decided so far.”Our public services and its incredible workers are working with immense resolve and skill to keep us safe,” Sunak was quoted as saying in the statement.”We depend on them, which is why we are doing everything we can to provide our NHS, local authorities and others, with the resources and tools they need to tackle the virus.”Working in tandem, the Treasury and the Bank of England have announced a package of measures to stop the economy and labour market from collapsing, but there have been complaints that delivery is slow and patchy.Business minister Alok Sharma has said that 4,200 small and medium-sized businesses had received rescue loans as part of the government’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, out of a total of 300,000 firms that have made inquiries about it.When it was put to him during a BBC interview on Sunday that the firms that had received financing represented just 1.4% of those seeking help, he did not dispute that figure.Announced nearly three weeks ago by Sunak, the scheme is designed to help small and medium firms with loans of up to 5 million pounds each.Ed Miliband, the opposition Labor Party’s newly appointed business policy chief, said the government should overhaul the scheme and underwrite 100% of smaller loans.”The risk of doing too little too slowly is much greater than the risk of doing too much, too quickly,” he said on Twitter.  Johnson was starting his convalescence from the disease at his country residence on Monday after leaving hospital the previous day, with no clarity on when he would return to work.In a deeply personal video message posted on Twitter shortly after he was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital, where he had spent a week including three nights in intensive care, Johnson said “things could have gone either way” for him.He thanked the public for adhering to strict social distancing measures, saying their efforts were worth it and had created a “human shield” around the state-run health service by reducing the spread of the new coronavirus.While there was widespread sympathy for Johnson across the political spectrum over his illness, the upbeat tone of his message could not disguise the gravity of the choices now facing his government while he is away from his desk.center_img Topics :last_img read more

40,000 Swiss companies to rethink pension plans as AXA restructures

first_imgThe full-service package meant the provider took on all the risks, including longevity, regulation, returns and guarantees.In semi-autonomous solutions the insurer continues to cover longevity risk and reporting, but some of the investment risk is unloaded to the companies. This means the portfolios can take higher risks and increase potential returns, but companies may have to top-up the pension plan if there is a shortfall.AXA said it would pay for an 11% buffer for the new semi-autonomous portfolio.“It is a one time opportunity for SMEs to start [their] pension plan with a 111% funding level,” Roger Ehrensberger, senior manager at PwC Switzerland, told IPE.In total, AXA has offered CHF3.5bn in buffers to be shared among the clients that opt for the semi-autonomous solution.However, Ehrensberger pointed out that AXA had not yet disclosed the conditions linked to this offer, which might include contractual commitments.Future of VollversicherungenAffected clients could switch to one of five other providers of full-service solutions still in the market. The largest, Swiss Life, confirmed in a press release this week that it would continue to offer full-service packages.In a statement announcing its decision, AXA said it exited the market because demand for Vollversicherungen had waned – but Ehrensberger argued that the regulatory framework had also likely played a part in the decision.“The reform package Altersvorsorge 2020 that was rejected last September would have included measures to help insurers offering these Vollversicherungen,” he said.One problem insurers faced when offering full guarantees on returns and pension pay-out levels was that they were forced to invest a major part of their portfolio in fixed income.In the new pension portfolios AXA can increase its equity exposure from under 4% to 30%.“It might be the right market environment to switch to a new pension solution with a lower bond exposure but there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Ehrensberger said.In addition, he argued that there would still be a market for full-service solutions, especially for SMEs with a larger share of retirees or older employees. The second largest insurance provider of occupational pension plans in Switzerland has changed its business model to rid itself of risky return guarantees.AXA Switzerland has told 40,000 small and medium sized business (SME) clients that it would no longer offer a full-service occupational pension plan with guarantees – known as a Vollversicherung.In total decision affects 400,000 employees and retirees and CHF31bn (€26.1bn) in accrued assets.Instead, AXA said it would change the contracts into what it called “semi-autonomous solutions”, or “teilautonome Lösungen”.last_img read more

Gold Coast suburb tops the list of real estate heavy hitter John McGrath’s areas to watch

first_imgA Gold Coast suburb has made John McGrath’s top picks in Queensland.A SURGE in apartment prices has earned one Gold Coast suburb a mention on the state’s list of top locations to watch.Broadbeach Waters was John McGrath’s top pick of Queensland suburbs, revealed in the latest McGrath Report 2020.He said the “bridesmaid to Broadbeach” was outshining its beachfront counterpart in terms of apartment price growth. John McGrath“Broadbeach Waters is benefiting from the ripple effect with a 15.2 per cent rise in apartment prices to a median $501,250 in the 12 months to June 30 compared to just a 1.9 per cent gain to $530,000 in Broadbeach,” he said.“Buyers might not get beachfront living but they can buy canal-front just a few blocks away from the surf with plenty of local restaurants, bike paths for families and a nearby rainforest walk.” MORE NEWS: How to decipher Tinder-style property listings While the suburb recorded significant price growth during the period, CoreLogic data shows it was based on 49 sales whereas Broadbeach’s median was based on 342.Kollosche agent Jamie Harrison warned the data wasn’t so black and white.He said villas and duplexes were likely classified as apartments because most of the properties on offer in the suburb were houses, and many of those have sold more than $1 million. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:12Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:12 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhen is the best time to sell or buy? Property cycles explained02:13 MORE NEWS: The Coast’s most popular suburbs “A few of those might be strongly influencing the overall median,” he said.However, he agreed that many people did prefer Broadbeach’s quieter neighbouring suburbs.“There are a lot of people want to buy close to Broadbeach but don’t want to be right in the heart of it,” he said.“I think a lot of people like the idea of proximity but don’t want to be in a 30-storey tower.”He said a few smaller boutique apartments on the verge of Broadbeach were much more appealing to some buyers.Other suburbs on Mr McGrath’s list of top picks were Oxley, Hendra, Chermside West and Gordon Park.last_img read more

Golar LNG closes FLNG Hilli Episeyo post acceptance financing

first_imgImage courtesy of Golar LNGGolar LNG said it has closed the FLNG Hilli Episeyo post acceptance debt financing, after repaying a $640 million construction financing and drawing down $960 million lease financing by CDDC Leasing.The company noted in its statement that after the closing, the company received an additional $320 million of liquidity.The net increase in liquidity to Golar after settling remaining Hilli Episeyo capital commitments as well as amounts due to minority (10.89 percent) shareholders Keppel and Black and Veatch as a result of the drawdown down, is expected to be approximately $200 million.The drop down of 50 percent of the base tolling income to Golar LNG Partners is expected to be concluded shortly, Golar LNG said.Following the financing close, Golar’s CEO Iain Ross said that, in addition to the closing of the Sergipe financing in April, the company’s “major capital commitments are fully funded.”The only exception is the FSRU Nanook which has a 25-year charter and on which financing discussions are well advanced.last_img read more

Lasting IQ harm from teen dope use

first_imgNZ Herald 28 Aug 2012The persistent use of cannabis before age 18 has been linked to lasting harm to intelligence, according to a large study.Analysis of more than 1000 New Zealanders found those who took up cannabis in adolescence and used it for years afterwards experienced an average decline in IQ of eight points when measured at age 13 and 38.People who did not begin using cannabis until they were adults, with fully formed brains, did not show the same declines.Experts here and abroad say the findings are significant and could offer some explanation for the “teenage stoner” stereotype.Lead researcher Madeline Meier of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, said quitting cannabis later in life did not appear to reverse the loss of intelligence.Higher IQ correlated with higher education and income and better health, she said.“Somebody who loses eight IQ points as an adolescent may be disadvantaged compared to their same-age peers for years to come.”The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined individuals in the Dunedin Cohort study, which has followed 1037 people born in 1972-73 in Dunedin from birth.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10829929last_img read more

State Senate Republicans identify 2019 priorities

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — Recently, the Senate Republican Caucus announced our 2019 legislative priorities. During the next several months, we will work to prioritize the following initiatives:Maintain an honestly balanced budgetLike all hardworking Indiana residents who balance their checkbooks, we know that responsible government means making tough choices and spending within our means. This legislative session, we will work to pass a two-year state budget that funds priorities and protects reserves.Protect vulnerable children Due in part to the drug epidemic, the Department of Child Services’ (DCS) staff and resources are being stretched too thin when it comes to protecting our state’s children. We will support operational reforms as well as an appropriate level of new funding for DCS.Support education With more than half of the state’s General Fund devoted to K-12 education, Indiana spends a higher percentage of its budget on education than all but two other states. We will maintain that strong commitment to students, teachers and schools in the next budget.Improve school safetyProtecting schools from violence takes vigilance on the part of every Indiana resident. At the Statehouse, Senate Republicans will work on school-safety improvements based on the recommendations made to Gov. Holcomb last year, including allowing Secured School Safety Grantsto be used for mental and behavioral health services.Advance workforce development To address Indiana’s long-term skills gap, the General Assembly has implemented many workforce-development reforms in recent years. In 2019, we will focus on changes to ensure our existing training programs result in meaningful career paths for all Indiana residents.To stay up to date on what is happening at the Statehouse during session, visit iga.in.gov to view session meetings, committee hearings, calendars, proposed legislation, vote tallies and more.last_img read more

Mourinho: Wenger is ‘failure specialist’

first_img “He is a specialist in failure. I’m not,” said Mourinho, whose side play City in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday. “If supposedly he is right and I’m afraid to fail, it’s because I haven’t failed many times. “Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m not used to failing. “The reality is he is a specialist. Eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure. “If I do that at Chelsea, eight years, I leave London and I don’t come back.” As defending champions, the title is Manchester United’s to lose, not leaders Chelsea’s, Mourinho argues. Mourinho is Chelsea’s most successful manager after twice winning the Premier League in his first spell and was reappointed by Blues owner Roman Abramovich last summer on a four-year contract, which the Portuguese hopes to extend, but only on merit. “I don’t want eight years,” Mourinho said. Press Association Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho described Arsene Wenger as “a specialist in failure” as he responded to the Arsenal manager’s Premier League title race taunt on Friday. “I just want my contract of four years to do my work and after that (I will) deserve or not deserve a next contract.” After delivering his riposte to Wenger, Mourinho was reluctant to discuss further the Premier League title race, with his attention on the FA Cup. Mourinho’s most recent trophy as Chelsea boss was the 2007 FA Cup and his side could end Manuel Pellegrini’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple with a second successive victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening. Chelsea were expected to “park the bus” in a defensive performance at the Etihad Stadium last week, but surprised with a counter-attacking display which earned a 1-0 win courtesy of Branislav Ivanovic’s goal. Mourinho, who is without key defenders John Terry (gluteal muscular strain) and Gary Cahill (calf), will not alter that approach. “There are not two games the same,” he added. “Is the approach the same, in the sense we are going to try to win in spite of playing the best team in this country? Yes. “We don’t want a replay, we don’t need a replay. “We are not going there to try to get a draw and to bring the game to Stamford Bridge. “We want to play, we want to try to win. If we do, we do. If we lose, we lose.” On Friday morning Wenger declared the title is Chelsea’s to lose and insisted anyone who claims their team are not in the race does so out of fear of failure. Mourinho has repeatedly played down Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season, describing his side as the “little horse” in the race and making them third favourites behind Manchester City and the Gunners, despite currently leading the standings. last_img read more

Lloyd to Brathwaite: Turn potential into reality

first_imgLONDON, England (CMC) – Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd believes Carlos Brathwaite can be among the best all-rounders in the world but needs to show the consistency required to get to the highest level.Brathwaite smashed an amazing 101 off 82 deliveries last Saturday as West Indies went down by five runs to New Zealand in a nerve-jangling World Cup encounter in Manchester.The hundred was his first in international cricket and Lloyd said it spoke volumes about Brathwaite’s potential.“I’m hoping that after his hundred against New Zealand, Carlos Brathwaite realises that he can be as good as any all-rounder in the world,” Lloyd wrote in his tournament column.“He hits the ball so well and is a top-class cricketer; he’s not a T20 player alone, as his performance at Old Trafford demonstrated.“There’s no doubt in my mind that Carlos can make big scores and win games for the West Indies, but now he needs to turn his potential into reality.”West Indies’ batting has been generally under par for the tournament and Brathwaite’s century was the first of the campaign for the Caribbean side.Asked to chase attainable totals of under 300 against Australia and New Zealand, West Indies’ batting came up short on both occasions resulting in two of their four defeats in the tournament to date.Lloyd, who presided over West Indies’ World Cup successes in 1975 and 1979, said the Caribbean side’s batsmen needed to follow the example set by New Zealand Kane Williamson in terms of constructing innings in one-day cricket.Williamson stroked a magnificent 148 against West Indies to lift his team out of trouble at seven for two in the first over. The knock followed up his unbeaten 106 against South Africa three days earlier.“Everyone in this tournament is making hundreds, but it says a lot that Carlos is the only West Indies player so far to do so,” Lloyd pointed out.“We have the talent it’s just a case of pushing on and batting long. In that regard, they need to look at the example set by Kane Williamson. The New Zealand captain didn’t break sweat at all and just knocked it around on his way to a match-winning 148.”West Indies lie eighth in the 10-nation standings on three points, and face India tomorrow in their next match at Old Trafford.last_img read more

Ojo Emerges Best Overall Athlete as Lagos Dominates Maltina School Games

first_imgIn other awards, Sikirat Anifowoshe won the Best Junior Girl award with gold medals in 100 m and 4 x 100 gold races while Moses Okon of EUBA Junior Secondary School, Lagos won the Best Junior Boy athlete with gold medals in 400 m and 4 x 100 relay.Ojo also doubled as the Best Senior Girl with gold medals in the events that gave her the best overall winner just as Onyebuchi Nnebedum of Christ Redeemer College, Anambra State won the Best Male Athlete with gold medals in Javelin and Shot Put events.Aside the sporting aspect of the day, all the athletes were treated to high level entertainment as rave of the moment, Mayorkun and Teni stimulate the crowd with some of their favorite lyrics. Calisthenics display from school children rounded up a memorable final day of competition for all the participants.The programme was later rounded up with a dinner party for all the athletes and officials where prizes were given out to deserving winners in all the tracks and field events competed for in the three-day national finals.The Maltina School Games is a new intervention in School Sports by the country’s number one family drink from the stable of Nigeria Breweries PLC.Over 20 million children have been impacted in this maiden edition of the Maltina School Games which many describe as a new chapter in sports development in Nigeria.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The maiden edition of Maltina School Games ended last night as 17-year old Joy Ojo of Ijaiye Housing Estate Senior High School emerged as the Overall Best Athlete of the national final that was rounded up at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.The budding star won three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x 100 meters races to become the first winner of the major prize and earn for herself a scholarship to any federal university of choice.Aside Ojo’s feat, Lagos State also emerged as the overall winner of this maiden edition with 21 gold, 15 silver and 5 bronze medals just as Federal Capital Territory (FCT) placed second with 4 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze. Kano State placed third with 4 gold, and 6 bronze medals. Anambra took the rear position with 3 gold, 4 silver and 11 bronze medals. Finance Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan (Right) poses with some of the deserve medals winners yesterday at the final of maiden edition of Maltina School Games in Lagos… yesterdaylast_img read more