Unemployment drops slightly to 7.1 percent

first_img       Changes From The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2009 was 7.1 percent, down one-tenth of a point from the revised March rate and up 2.5 points from a year ago. Unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.2 percent in Hartford to 10.9 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the April unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.7 percent, down two-tenths of a point from March 2009 and up 2.9 points from a year ago. Job and employment losses moderated in April with the state actually growing employment over the month. said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. While this may be a sign of stability, it is still too early to say that the job market has turned the corner. Job gains took place mostly in construction where we would expect a seasonal boost and where the early use of Government Stimulus Funds has been focused.Job GrowthApril is a month where we typically see a downturn in unadjusted job counts as winter seasonal activities fall and the warm weather activities have not yet fully engaged. Before seasonal adjustment, Total Non-Farm (TNF) jobs fell by 1,950 and by 12,600 or -4.1% on an annual basis. This represents a small decline in the rate of annual job loss as compared to March. Construction, (+1,750 jobs or +16.4%) led the over the month growth. Retail Trade (+500 or +1.4%), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities, (+200 or +2.4%) and Administrative Support & Waste, (+400 or 5.7%) also grew unadjusted jobs over the month. Only Healthcare (+1,400 or 3.1%), Government, (+100 or +0.2% )and Education (+150 or 1.1%) showed significant annual improvement.When seasonally adjusted, April job levels grew by 500 jobs or +0.2% from March, but still remain down by 12,600 or -4.1% from April of 2008. The Construction sector grew by 500 seasonally adjusted jobs or 3.9% over March. The Retail Trade sector also grew by 400 seasonally adjusted jobs or 1.1% over March. Healthcare and Education showed small seasonally adjusted increases of 100 jobs each.Employment GrowthVermont s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point to 7.1 percent in April as a result of increases in the number of employed, (+1,400 to 334,700) and a small decrease in the number of unemployed Vermonters, (-400 to 25,500). Vermont s observed April seasonally adjusted employment, unemployment levels and unemployment rate were not statistically significant from March. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 8.9 percent, up four-tenths of a point from the revised March rate of 8.5 percent.The preliminary estimates of nonfarm jobs for April, and the revisions to the estimates for November 2008 through March 2009, incorporate substantive changes made in the Current Employment Survey estimation procedures. These new procedures are designed to bring the aggregate monthly change in jobs for individual states into closer alignment with the change in national job counts reflected in the estimates produced and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result of these changes, the November 2008 and forward estimates may not be totally comparable to previous months’ data. The impact of these changes in methodology will be better understood when we are able to make comparisons to Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. We expect to make these comparisons beginning in May of 2009. For details of these changes, please contact Andy Condon at the Vermont Department of Labor at 802-828-4153 or andrew.condon@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail).Source: Vt Dept of LaborVermont Labor Force Statistics (Seasonally Adjusted) April 2009March 2009April 2008March 2009April 2008Total Labor Force360,300359,100355,3001,2005,000   Employment334,700333,300338,9001,400-4,200   Unemployment25,50025,90016,400-4009,100   Rate (%)7.17.24.6-0.12.5Vermont s labor force, employment and unemployment statistics are produced from a combination of a Statewide survey of households and statistical modeling. The data are produced by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program (LAUS) a cooperative program with the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Vermont Department of Labor.last_img read more

Vermont, Fletcher Allen given featured roles in health quality summit

first_imgNext week’s first national health care summit meeting on health quality and costs since enactment of landmark health insurance reforms six months ago will spotlight Fletcher Allen Health Care’s success with its innovative steps in boosting quality while lowering costs. The day-long conference will convene Monday (Oct. 4) on Capitol Hill in Washington.At the suggestion of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dr. Melinda Estes, president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, will discuss Fletcher Allen’s model and experience in the conference’s first session, ‘Designing High Value Health Care: Lessons From The Field.’Dr. Craig Jones, director of the Vermont Blueprint For Health, is a panelist in another session on ‘Fostering State-Federal Collaboration And Public-Private Partnerships.’Leahy, who had often touted Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health during Congress’s year-long health insurance reform debate, had personally suggested roles for Vermont’s health care leaders in the summit meeting to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who organized the conference. She agreed with Leahy that Vermont’s example is valuable as a model for other states to study and emulate.‘Fletcher Allen has put theory into practice, forging innovations that work,’ said Leahy. ‘The impetus for reform is now the law of the land, and Vermont continues to lead on the cutting edge. Fletcher Allen and the Vermont Blueprint For Health will have the health care community’s undivided attention at this summit.’The new law actively encourages others states to follow examples like Vermont’s, and other states and regions are taking note of Vermont’s success.Fletcher Allen consistently ranks as a high-value provider because of the system’s coordinated model of health care delivery that emphasizes reliance on primary and specialty physician care, resulting in lower inpatient and outpatient service needs and in lower costs.The most recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report on Medicare payment variations validates Vermont’s efforts, showing the Burlington area (Fletcher Allen’s service area) with a service use per beneficiary rate of 82 percent of the national average ‘ the lowest rate in New England, and ranking 14th best of the 404 service regions surveyed. Statewide, Vermont also ranked high on the list.Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, a chronic care initiative, supports this model statewide by coordinating patient care through the use of ‘medical homes’ ‘ a care delivery system that was recognized in the health reform law.Both models are broadly applicable as other states and care delivery systems move to improve value and curb spiraling costs, as prescribed in the health reform law.Source: Fletcher Allen. 10.1.2010 # # # # #last_img read more

Survival Guide: 10 Essential Skills for the Blue Ridge Backcountry

first_imgYou know how to pitch your tent in the dark and you can make a mean freeze-dried macaroni and cheese, but can you ford a raging river? Do you know where to find the most consistent source of food if you’re stuck in the woods without your pre-made meal? Can you build a tent from a garbage bag, navigate without a compass, or filter water…without a filter? Our top ten backpacking skills will keep you safe in just about any situation.1. How to Hike… the Right WayIn recent years, masses of runners have come to realize that the padded shoes they’ve been wearing for decades have damaged the natural biomechanics of their running gait. Hikers are coming to the same realization about the boots and gear they wear.“I hiked 6,000 miles in just a few years before [backpacking guru] Ray Jardine showed me I was walking wrong,” says Nate Olive, a former backpacking teacher at the University of Georgia who’s currently working as a personal backpacking consultant in Athens, Ga. “The shoes we wear, the gear, the high arch support; it all creates an unnatural posture and stride.”Take Olive’s stride test: Start walking normally, then put your fingers in your ears. If you hear the thud of your steps, you’re walking wrong.“That’s the sound of wasted energy traveling through your knees and feet into the ground,” Olive says. “Add that up over a thousand miles, and you’re burning extra calories and creating extra impact on your joints that could mean the difference between finishing a thru-hike and bailing early.”Try taking off your shoes and walking barefoot. Notice that the impact is closer to the front of your foot. This is the stride you want to mimic with boots and pack on. Concentrate on landing on your forefoot, where the impact will be consumed by your body’s natural shock absorbers, as opposed to the typical heel strike, which causes the impact to travel up through your joints.How to Predict the Weather2. How to Predict the WeatherThunderstorms are a fixture in the Southern Appalachians, moving in quickly to surprise backpackers stuck in the wilderness without the convenience of live Doppler radar. Learn how to read the clouds while you’re backpacking, and you’ll know whether to head for cover or push on for extra miles.Cirrus clouds: Thin and wispy clouds forming at the highest altitudes. If they’re stagnant, they indicate good weather for the next 24 hours. If they’re moving quickly, a change in weather is coming within the next 24 hours.Cirrostratus clouds: Thin clouds that blanket the sky at a high elevation. They’re so thin, they give the sun a halo effect. Usually, these clouds indicate a storm within 12 to 24 hours. If they thicken, expect rain sooner. If lower elevation clouds are also present, the chance of rain increases.Altostratus clouds: Gray clouds that cover the sky. Expect continuous rain before the end of the day.Altocumulus clouds: White, gray, and patchy clouds forming at middle elevations. If they build and thicken, it means an afternoon thunderstorm is likely.Stratus clouds: Low-lying clouds that cover the entire sky in a gray blanket. They carry a consistent drizzle, but usually no thunder or lightning.Cumulonimbus clouds: Massive, low-lying thunderheads with a flat base and anvil top. At first, they may look like friendly cumulus clouds (white cottonballs) but watch for vertical growth. If these puffy clouds get taller and bigger, head for shelter.3. How to Cross a Raging RiverSidebarThe key to crossing fast or deep water safely is patience.“The smartest thing you can do is use a topo map to find the best place to cross a stream beforehand,” says Joe Moerschbacher, a professional adventure racer and guide who teaches a Southern Appalachian Mountaineering course in Western North Carolina. Look for a wider stretch of river—usually indicated by a thicker blue line on the map— that’s relatively straight. Avoid crossing the river in a deep bend because the inside of the bend will be calm and shallow while the outside will be deeper with faster water.If you’re standing on the bank of a deep, fast river, walk upstream to a confluence where the volume of water will be divided between two branches. Use a stick to test the river’s depth, and never cross a fast-moving river that’s deep enough to get your torso wet.Once you find a spot you feel is safe to cross, unbuckle the waist and sternum strap from your pack, so you can ditch it easily if you start swimming. Leave your boots on, but consider taking your socks off to keep them dry. Find a large, sturdy branch to give you a third point of balance, like a tripod. Face upstream, but keep your eyes on the bank you’re moving toward. Place the stick in the stream first, putting your weight on it, then bring your feet around one at a time. Move slowly, but consistently, never lingering in one spot for too long.How to Read a Topo Map4. How to Read a Topo MapEverything you need to know about the terrain you’re planning to hike is detailed in a standard topographical map. But few people understand how to read the details of those maps properly.“If you really know how to read a topo map, it becomes 3-D,” says Ronny Angell, director of the Odyssey Adventure Racing Camp and instructor of the popular Land Navigation Clinic series in Roanoke, Va. “You begin to see the features that are outlined on paper, and vice versa. You can look at a ridgeline and convert it in your head to topo.”Understanding the following basic principles of topos will let you know if you’re going to be hiking peaks, ridges, valleys, where the water is, where your steepest climbs will be. More importantly, understanding the topo will keep you from getting lost without ever having to use a compass.“Everything is a reference,” Angell says. “If your projected route takes you on a ridge, and you’re dropping elevation in real life, you know something’s wrong. If the map says you’re supposed to cross creeks, but you don’t, you know something’s wrong.”How to Make a Fire with Flint and Steel5. How to Make a Fire with Flint and SteelMatches are great, but flint and steel are weatherproof. You can soak flint and steel in water for two weeks, and it will still spark. Being able to start a fire if you’re stuck in the woods in any condition is the one skill every hiker should know. A fire will dry wet clothes, hold off hypothermia, boil water (giardia is the gift that keeps on giving), signal for help, and lift your spirits. Striking steel against flint is arguably the most dependable way to start a fire in any weather conditions, even a downpour.You’ll Need Flint: Any piece of hard rock will do. Quartzite, common in the Southern Appalachians, works well.Steel: You can buy pre-made strikers in the form of carbon steel rings, or you can use an old carbon-steel pocket knife. Stainless steel won’t work because it’s too hard to flake.Tinder: If you think ahead, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly are easy, lightweight fire starters. If you’re in the woods without cotton balls, shave dry bark from a birch tree with your knife, or find dried grasses or moss. Wood shavings from a downed tree work (the smaller the shavings, the better). If you have chapstick in your pack, use it to coat parts of your tinder for a hotter flame.Make Fire [1] Pull one soaked cotton ball apart and place it on the ground (clean your fingers of any petroleum jelly).[2] Hold the flint (rock) between your fingers with the sharpest edge facing out, above the cotton ball.[3] With the steel in your other hand, strike the flint at an angle, creating a slow, downward scrape. If you’re using a pocket knife, keep the blade closed and strike the flint with the dull end of the knife. The flint is stronger than the steel, shaving little pieces of metal from the striker, and creating sparks, which land on the cotton ball.The cotton ball should ignite quickly, creating an open flame. Build your fire by stacking increasingly bigger pieces of tinder on the flame.potable water6. How to Find Potable Water Drink from a stream or lake in the Southern Appalachians and you’re risking a bout of giardia. If you have the ability to build a fire, boiling water is still the best purification method. If you can’t build a fire, you need to find a springhead, which are actually more common than you’d think.“Springheads are everywhere,” says Richard Cleveland of the Earth School, a self-reliance school in western North Carolina. “You just have to keep your eyes open.”The easiest way to find a spring head is to follow a creek upstream, looking for smaller branches feeding into the creek. Look for the smallest feeder branch, then follow that upstream. Eventually, you will come to its source, where the water emerges from the ground. This is the springhead. The cleanest springs will emerge from vertical ground, either a stone face or earth.Dry creek beds also lead to springheads. Follow the dry creek bed as high up the mountain as you can, then dig two or three feet down with a knife or sharp rock until you reach water. Wait a few minutes for the hole to fill with water, and you should have water clean enough to drink.7. How to Hike Blister-FreeYou could get bitten by a rattler or fall off a cliff and break your pelvis while backpacking, but by far the most common injury is the blister. Nothing ruins an epic multi-day trip like these annoying, hot sores brought on by friction.Prevent them: Start with moisture-wicking socks, which will help reduce friction caused by moisture and heat. Well-fitted boots (no movement in the heel) are also key. Pre-tape hot spots, using Moleskin or Micropore. Duct tape will work in a pinch, but it doesn’t breathe. Some adventure racers have even started lubing their feet up with Hydropel or Body Glide, which are gooey substances that eliminate friction between your foot and the sock.Treat them: As soon as you feel a hot spot forming, treat the blister with Moleskin or tape. If it’s a full-blown blister, lance the pocket with a sterilized needle (using alcohol or fire) and apply pressure to remove the liquid. Keep the outer skin attached, apply antibiotic ointment, cover with a bandage and wrap it with medical tape (or duct tape if you don’t have medical tape).8. How to Reduce Your Chance of InjuryMapThere are a million ways you can hurt yourself on a backpacking trip, but the contributing factor to most accidents are medical conditions that alter a hiker’s mental status, namely dehydration, malnutrition, exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia.“When hikers are suffering from a condition like dehydration, they begin to make bad judgment calls and show poor coordination,” says Christopher Tate, head instructor at the Wilderness Safety Council in Alexandria, Va. “They show poor judgment about where to place their feet, and that results in a fall.”Hypothermia is arguably the most dangerous of these afflictions, and often the easiest to overlook. If you’re soaking wet from a thunderstorm, even temperatures in the 60s can induce hypothermia. If your body temperature drops even two or three degrees, you’ll start having greater difficulty doing the simplest things and thinking rationally.Diagnose it: It’s tough to self-diagnose hypothermia, but pay attention to your fine motor skills. Are you having trouble tying your shoes or working your backpack’s zippers? That’s a sign you’re becoming hypothermic.Treat it: Building a fire is the fastest way to stay warm, but what should you do if you can’t get a blaze going?“If you’re soaking wet, leave your clothes on, but stuff a layer of leaves between your clothes and your body,” says Richard Cleveland, director of the Earth School.  The leaves stuffed into your shirt and pants will create an insulating layer that separates your body from the wet clothing while bringing your temperature back to normal.”How to Bear-Proof Your Campsite9. How to Bear-Proof Your CampsiteBears are curious animals, and there’s no way to guarantee one won’t come strolling through your camp. But you can take smart measures to reduce the chance of a late-night ursine visit.Divide your camp into four distinct areas: sleeping quarters, food storage, cooking area, washing area.Set up your tent upwind, ideally 200 feet from the other three areas. The idea is to separate yourself from the odors that might attract a hungry bear. Never cook or wash your dishes where you sleep, and clean up immediately after cooking, burning food scraps and bagging any trash that can’t be burned. Also, wash your hands and face before you sleep to eliminate lingering food odors.Most importantly, hang your food. Pack 60 feet of rope, a few carabiners, and two stuff sacks to make things easy. Black bears have been known to chew through rope to get at hanging bags, so the Forest Service recommends using the “counterbalance method” of bear bagging. Place all your food in one stuff sack, and your garbage in another, tying each bag to opposite ends of the rope. Make sure both bags weigh the same. Throw the trash bag over a sturdy branch so it hangs well off the ground. Use a long stick to push the food bag in the air, which will drop the trash bag closer to the ground, until both bags are at an equal height.You want both of the bags to hang 12 feet off the ground, 10 feet away from the base of the tree, and 5 feet below the branch to ensure clearance from any stretching, climbing, or jumping bear.10. How to navigate without a compassYou can use a watch face (one with hands) and the sun to establish basic directions. Hold the watch horizontally, and point the hour hand in the direction of the sun. Bisect the angle between the hour hand and noon and draw an imaginary line. That line is pointing due south. This is a rough method that will give you a general sense of north and south, but there’s a margin of error of up to 20 degrees. If daylight savings is in effect, subtract an hour from your current time.FireLost and Found: What to Do When You’re Lost in the WoodsMost survival situations in the Southern Appalachians are less than 24 hours long, so you probably won’t need to know how to build an igloo or skin a moose for its pelt. Still, there are a few key skills that will keep you safe when you’re lost and help rescue workers find you if a search is necessary.Surviving in the woods starts with being smart before you leave the house. First, leave a written account of your planned hike, including the trailhead where you’ll park, the trail you’ll hike, and when you expect to be back. Second, pack for trouble. There are three things you should have on you before you enter the wilderness, even if you’re only going for an hour-long day hike.[1]  Fire starters (matches, tinder, flint + steel)[2]  Two large trash bags[3]  Bouillon cubesThese three lightweight items will allow you to build a shelter, start a fire, boil water, and eat dinner. If you do get lost and it’s getting dark, stop walking. “Build a camp with whatever you have and wait it out,” says Tim MacWelch, owner of Earth Connection School, a wilderness survival school. “The Southern Appalachians are fairly populated, so if you stay put long enough, you will likely get found.”In addition, you’ll eventually need to consider how to get the four essentials to survival: water, food, heat, and shelter.WATERIf you can’t find a springhead, you’ll need to boil water. First, build a bowl. Find a medium-sized log and burn out the center of it over a fire. After it’s charred, scrape away the layer of burned wood with your knife, shaping the center of the log into a bowl. Next, place several small rocks in your fire. While you’re waiting for the rocks to get hot, fill your log bowl with water from a creek. After the stones are hot, use two sticks like chopsticks to remove them from the fire and place them in the bowl of water. A few hot rocks should bring the water to a boil quickly. Let it boil for a few minutes, remove the rocks, and after the water cools, it should be safe to drink.FOODUnless you’re proficient in identifying edible plants, it’s not recommended that you forage for food.“There’s too much stuff out there that could hurt you,” says Reggie Bennett, a former Air Force survival instructor and owner of the Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia. “More importantly, you’re going to expend more calories looking for edible plants than you’ll get from those plants.”Instead of plants, eat bugs.“There’s more nutritional value in one ounce of termite than in one ounce of steak,” Bennett says.Three Rules for Eating Bugs[1]  Only eat bugs with six legs or fewer (no spiders or centipedes).[2]  Eat the bugs that hide from you. Beetles, ants, termites, crickets, worms, and grubs in trees—they’re all safe to eat and they’ll give you plenty of caloric value.[3]  Deadfall is your friend. Turn over a downed log and you’re likely to find a host of bugs that are safe to eat. You might even find a snake, which Bennett says tastes like chicken.SHELTERYour first order of business when lost isn’t building a fire, it’s building a shelter. “Most people don’t understand the priorities when they enter the wilderness. They might take food and water, but they don’t understand how important a shelter is,” says Bennett, adding that a proper shelter can keep you warm in the absence of a fire, while protecting you from the elements. “If you can get a shelter up, then start a fire, you’re going to get rescued.”If you packed trash bags, follow these instructions for building a tube tent.The Trash Bag Tube TentContractor bags (55 gallon) work best, but household garbage bags work in a pinch.[1] Slice the bottom seam of each bag.[2] Run a stick (or string if you have it) long ways through both bags[3] Brace the stick between the low-hanging branches of two trees. You want the branches to be low enough to the ground so the bottom of the bag creates a flat surface on the ground.The tube tent is open on both ends so you don’t suffocate, but surrounds you everywhere else, trapping your body heat and keeping the elements at bay. For extra insulation, stuff the tube with leaves.If you’re stuck in the woods without a trash bag, build a debris hut. “This is the only natural shelter that will keep you warm without a fire,” says Richard Cleveland of the Earth School. “You’ll probably be uncomfortable, but you’ll make it to morning, and that’s what’s important.”The Debris HutFind a sturdy ridge pole about 12 feet long. Latch one end to the side of a tree, or rest it between the fork of a low-hanging branch and the tree, or on a fallen tree or exposed small boulder. Taper the other end to the ground. Then place sticks on both sides of the pole, like ribs. Stuff the structure with leaves, packing each layer of leaves down as you fill. Then pack the outside with leaves, moss, bark—whatever you can find. When you’re finished, you should basically have a large, debris sleeping bag.FIREIf you’re not practiced in the art of building a friction fire (rubbing sticks together), forget trying to build one in the woods during a survival situation. Flint-and-steel-ignited fires are the most beginner-friendly survival fire you can build. Always carry a small pocketknife with you. You can find a rock to use as the flint, and tinder can be shaved from a tree, but you have to bring the steel with you in order to build a fire. •last_img read more

Colombian Cocaine Kingpin Gets 45 Years In US Jail

first_imgBy Dialogo October 22, 2009 A court in Miami sentenced Colombian drug kingpin Diego Montoya to 45 years in prison following his guilty plea on trafficking, murder and racketeering charges. Montoya, 48, whose Norte del Valle cartel once supplied well over half the Colombian cocaine smuggled into the United States and Europe, had agreed to serve the time as part of a plea deal back in August. Once an FBI top-ten fugitive, he also signed a document detailing his rise to the top of Colombia’s cocaine underworld. Prosecutors estimate that between 1990 and 2004, Norte del Valle exported more than 1.2 million pounds (500 tonnes) of cocaine, worth in excess of 10 billion dollars, from Colombia to the United States. Federal judge Cecilia Altonaya gave Montoya the maximum prison sentence requested by prosecutors, but dismissed a dozen other charges against him after he remorsefully pleaded guilty. She also ordered Montoya to pay 500,000 dollars to the family of John Garcia, a former associate of his who was kidnapped and beaten to death in 2003 on suspicion he was an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the document drawn up by prosecutors, Montoya, later known as “Don Diego,” entered the drug trade shortly after his father’s death when he was just 14 years old. Starting as a driver, he later managed a cocaine lab before rising rapidly through the ranks to head the organization that emerged as heir to the infamous Cali cartel and its rival in Medellin, run by Pablo Escobar. Montoya was captured when police stormed a ranch in western Colombia in September 2007, despite his efforts to flee as a government helicopter approached. Within an hour he was found hiding under leaves in a creek-bed. Just over a year later he was extradited to the United States. Colombian authorities believe Montoya was behind more than 1,500 murders in the country. His brother Eugenio pleaded guilty to conspiring to import cocaine in January this year and was sentenced to 30 years in a US prison.last_img read more

Indonesia eyes ‘travel bubble’ for four countries in Asia Pacific

first_imgAs neighbors begin talks on reopening borders, Indonesia is aiming to create “travel bubbles” with China, South Korea, Japan and Australia, despite COVID-19 infections nationwide showing no signs of slowing down.Earlier this month, Singapore said it would announce a “fast lane” arrangement with China, while Thailand was in talks to create travel bubbles for tourism that would allow the quarantine-free flow of people between Bangkok and few cities in China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia was paying close attention to the trend, but officials were still discussing ways to have such a “travel corridor”. The term “travel bubble” or “travel corridor” refers to an agreement in which countries that are successfully containing the outbreak can open their borders to each other to allow free movement within the bubble.“We are exploring what [foreign] countries are discussing over travel corridor arrangements, but in essence, we are now working on the principles the Indonesian government needs to have if we implement [a travel corridor],” Teuku said recently.The Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister has been discussing the issue with the Foreign Ministry, as well as the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, with an official saying that they had specifically looked to China, South Korea, Japan and Australia to boost Indonesia’s tourism recovery.“The four countries were chosen because many tourists and foreign investors in Indonesia come from those countries,” the office’s undersecretary for tourism and creative economy, Odo Manuhutu, said on Friday. Despite the plan, he said businesspeople would probably be the first and only ones to travel to and from those countries in the near future.“Hopefully, tourists will gradually follow and visit [Indonesia] after the investors,” he said.Read also: Worst period ever: Indonesia’s foreign tourist arrivals fall to lowest level since 2009The Foreign Ministry, Odo said, was still discussing the requirements for the establishment of travel bubbles before signing an agreement with the four countries.Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan said travel restrictions caused by the pandemic had greatly affected the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), a landmark trade deal that had been in negotiations for a decade.After being ratified earlier this year, the agreement will take effect on July 5.“We’ve already lost a tremendous amount of momentum in our economies because of our economic crises caused by the pandemic,” Quinlan said recently.Even though businesspeople could work remotely during the pandemic, the travel restrictions remained a problem affecting the economic ties of the two neighbors, he added.“I think certainly my own government realizes that when we move to lift travel restrictions […] we have with Indonesia, business travelers who need to do business to get our economies working should be a priority.”He said international students would be their next priority, while tourism would still need more time to rebuild, as interest in visiting Indonesia remained high among Australians.Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) deputy chairwoman Shinta Kamdani said businesses had been gearing for the IA-CEPA trade deal through virtual meetings.“But it is not possible to do virtual meetings all the time. We need to have policies on how we could move beyond virtual meetings and under what conditions. Probably, there would be exceptions [for essential businesses to freely and safely travel across borders],” she said.Many countries, including Indonesia, currently require a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, which, according to Shinta, was just too long for a business trip.Read also: AP II sees passenger numbers surge as travel restrictions easeLawmaker Meutya Hafid called on the government to act quickly to prevent Indonesia from being left behind.“The concept of doing business and [international] traveling will greatly change in the future, and Indonesia must conduct massive lobbying to ensure it is not left behind [in the global arena], especially in terms of people-to-people interactions,” she said.Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman, however, said Indonesia was not up to par with China, Australia, South Korea and Japan in terms of its COVID-19 response, let alone creating travel bubbles.”The idea of travel bubbles, or COVID-19 corridors, is actually opening borders or entrances between countries that are equal in terms of pandemic control while having strong economic and tourism relations. There’s a certain level of trust there,” he said on Tuesday.He added that the basis to negotiate the travel bubble was when countries had no new cases, and currently in the Asia Pacific region, only Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan meet the criteria. Meanwhile, in ASEAN, he said, only Vietnam and Thailand were so far fit for the plan to create travel bubbles.Indonesia’s daily infection rate has increased by around 1,000 new cases on average in the past week. The Health Ministry announced 1,017 new confirmed cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 39,294.For Indonesia, the most realistic plan is to have strict COVID-19 control in selected islands such as Bali but only after authorities expanded and improved testing, tracing and isolation within the next month, Dicky said.”The government has to work extra hard to control the pandemic with massive and aggressive testing and tracing, as well as measures to isolate and treat [patients] so that economic recovery and reopening tourism are possible,” he said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Low maintenance property with plenty of privacy on the market

first_img20 Chital St, Chermside West.FOR Judith Nicol, putting her father’s property on the market has been quite a journey.Mrs Nicol said her father passed away in February, aged 99.“It has been hard,” Mrs Nicol said.“He spent 13 years there, and they were the happiest years since he lost my mum.” 20 Chital St, Chermside West.Twenty years ago, property developers Mirvac were inspired to build a small settlement of lowset homes – a style that has remained unique to these few specific streets in Chermside West.Mrs Nicol said the three-bedroom, two-bathroom property at 20 Chital Place would suit a couple looking to downsize.She said the community and people in the street were so caring.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019“They used to tell dad to leave his garage door up six inches every morning so they knew he was OK,” Mrs Nicol said.“There were really wonderful to me too, and kept an eye on dad for me.” 20 Chital St, Chermside West.The kitchen has a practical layout and offers open plan living in the central hub.The main bedroom, with new carpet, is located at the back of the home and has a good sized ensuite.Madeleine Hicks Real Estate selling agent Allie Coutts said: “This pocket is particularly striking for the neighbourly attitude they share. “They really keep an eye out for each other and it is demonstrated in practical, non-intrusive ways such as driving those in need to shops or hospital and mowing lawns,” Ms Coutts said.“There is such a lovely respectful feel in the homes and the street. This home is light and spacious, and ready for the new owners.”center_img 20 Chital St, Chermside West.The 450sq m low maintenance property offers plenty of privacy.Two bedrooms and a generous sized family bathroom are located at the front of the home. last_img read more

UK roundup: Royal Mail and union to discuss CDC option

first_imgRoyal Mail is to discuss the introduction of a collective defined contribution (CDC) pension scheme with a guaranteed defined benefit (DB) element, following mediation talks with its main workers’ union.Talks between the company and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) looked to have broken down this year after the union threatened strike action over Royal Mail’s proposed “cash balance” scheme to replace its DB fund, which will close at the end of March 2018.Following mediation talks between the company and the union, mediator Lynette Harris – a professor at Nottingham Trent University and a member of the UK government’s Central Arbitration Committee – recommended that the two parties commit to the introduction of a CDC scheme, with an element of DB guarantee.Harris also recommended establishing a “pensions forum” to support the introduction of the new scheme. The forum would focus on lobbying government for the changes to legislation that would be necessary for a CDC scheme to function. Last month, a UK parliamentary committee launched an inquiry into the CDC concept, also known as ‘defined ambition’.In a notice to the stock exchange, Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail and the CWU are continuing talks with the aim of reaching agreement on the full range of issues under discussion. Agreement on certain issues is more advanced than on others but all issues remain open for negotiation and final agreement.”CWU’s video update to members regarding the negotiations with Royal MailRoyal Mail said the mediation talks had “helped both parties to better understand their respective positions”.Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary for postal workers at the CWU, said there had been a “fundamental change” to the attitude of Royal Mail towards the discussions. “I’m pleased to report that the strong position that we have taken has absolutely changed [the] direction in these negotiations,” he said. “We have, I think, a far more philosophical agreement with the employer as to how we take things forward. We’ve got to deal with the detail.“The employer has now accepted that we will develop one pension scheme for all of our members, that it will be a wage in retirement scheme, that there will be an element of DB guaranteed and there will be an element of shared risk.”Harris’ other recommendations included auto-enrolling members into the highest level of contributions for its DC scheme, two pay increases and a reduction in working hours.Both Royal Mail and the CWU emphasised that Harris’ report was not an agreement, but that discussions were ongoing.Xafinity to merge with Punter SouthallTwo UK consulting groups are to merge some of their operations. Xafinity, which listed on the UK market earlier this year, is to buy the investment consulting, actuarial and administration businesses of Punter Southall Group for up to £153m (€174m).At the same time, Punter Southall Group is to buy Xafinity’s independent trustee business, HR Trustees, and merge it into its existing PS Independent Trustees subsidiary.Jonathan Punter, co-founder and CEO of Punter Southall Group, said clients would benefit from “increased scale and expertise”.Paul Cuff, co-CEO of Xafinity, said the acquisition would enable the company to be a “clear alternative” to the “big three” consulting firms in the UK, Aon, Mercer, and Willis Towers Watson.Strathclyde Pension Fund ‘fully funded’Scotland’s biggest public sector pension fund is fully funded, according to its latest triennial valuation. The £20.8bn Strathclyde Pension Fund was 105% funded as of 31 March 2017.The scheme recorded a 23% investment return in the 12 months to the end of March, boosted by favourable currency fluctuations .At its latest committee meeting, the pension scheme’s trustees approved two new investments in its direct infrastructure portfolio, of £50m each into Hermes Infrastructure Fund II and Dalmore Capital Fund 3.Legacy DC scheme costs down on £24.9bn of assets Providers of legacy UK workplace pension schemes have reduced costs and charges to 1% or less on an estimated £25bn of assets under management over the past four years, according to a joint-update from the government and regulator.The government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have worked with pension providers to bring down costs in legacy schemes since 2013, when a study from Office of Fair Trading identified around £30bn of assets in such schemes as being at risk of poor value for money. A subsequent report published by an independent project board, commissioned to investigate high charges, found that £25.8bn of assets in defined contribution workplace pension schemes were potentially exposed to charges of more than 1%.Last December, the FCA and the Department for Work and Pensions found that assets under management exposed to this level of charges had dropped by £20bn. Continued work with and by pension providers since then meant that costs and charges in these legacy schemes had been reduced to 1% or less on a further estimated £4.9bn of assets, bringing the volume of DC scheme assets facing lower costs and charges to £24.9bn.last_img read more

Vattenfall appoints new chief executive from within

first_imgBorg, who has been Vattenfall’s CFO since 2017, will take over her new role on 1 November. Vattenfall has appointed Anna Borg as its new CEO and President, succeeding Magnus Hall. The appointment comes as Magnus Hall revealed in July that he had decided to leave the company after six years as CEO. Among other things, Borg has been Senior Vice President for Vattenfall’s Business Area Markets, led the Nordic Sales business, the Swedish Heat business, as well as the European B2C business. The recruitment for a new CFO will commence immediately. “Anna Borg has a broad and deep experience that makes her very well suited to be CEO at Vattenfall. She has been involved in setting the company’s new strategic direction and is the right person to now take on and continue its execution,” said Vattenfall’s Chairman of the Board, Lars G Nordström. “Anna is a good leader and knows Vattenfall and the energy sector from many years as an employee, manager and member of the Executive Group Management.”last_img read more

AquaTrojans Battle Bulldogs In The Pool

first_imgThe EC AquaTrojans went 1-1 on Tuesday as they hosted the Batesville Bulldogs. Batesville’s girls won 102-78 while EC boys won 127-52.EC Individual Winners include:  Jacob Weber-200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke; Jakob Paff-200 IM, 100 Backstroke; Ashley Bortlein-50 Freestyle; Dustin Schantz-50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle; Emily Betts-1 meter diving; Ethan Ayers-Edds-1 meter diving; Alexis deLong-100 Butterfly, 100 Backstroke; Olivia Nixon-100 Freestyle; and Alex Ketcham-500 Freestyle.EC won 4/6 relays. On Thursday, Senior Night, EC takes on bitter rival Harrison Wildcats. Support our seniors and the EC AquaTrojans.Courtesy of AquaTrojans Coach Brandon Loveless.last_img

Video: Bruce tried to tap up De Bruyne during post-match interview

first_img “He’s going to stay here and come here,” Bruce joked. “That’s an exclusive coming out of Newcastle tonight. He’s had enough of Manchester City and he’s going to come to play for Newcastle!’ Promoted Content10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do8 Things That Will Happen If An Asteroid Hits EarthBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?World’s Most Delicious FoodsTop 10 Iconic Personalities On TV NowThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreThe Biggest Cities In The World So FarThe Highest Paid Football Players In The World7 Famous And Incredibly Unique Places In ThailandOnly The Chosen Ones Can Appear On-Screen Even After Their Death7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The Universe Steve Bruce hilariously interrupted a Kevin De Bruyne post-match interview to joke he was signing for Newcastle United. Steve Bruce Hilariously Tried To Tap Up Kevin De Bruyne During Post-Match Interview The Belgian midfielder was speaking to the official club website after guiding his side into the FA Cup semi-finals following a 2-0 win away at St James’ Park. But just as he was analysing the game, former Manchester United defender Bruce came behind him and jokingly put his arm around De Bruyne before stating that he was Newcastle-bound. Loading… center_img De Bruyne couldn’t help but laugh before he and Bruce exchanged pleasantries and the interview resumed. On his 29th birthday, De Bruyne opened the scoring with a first-half penalty after Gabriel Jesus was fouled before Raheem Sterling added a second to set up a semi-final meeting with Arsenal at Wembley. Playing in a slightly deeper midfielder role but still running the game and causing problems galore for Newcastle, De Bruyne was happy to return to winning ways following the defeat to former club Chelsea on Thursday – a result that gave Liverpool their first league title for 30 years. “We started really well, were sharp and put them under pressure,” he said, as per the Daily Star. “We should have scored more.” “We had a few problems with penalties this year. The gaffer asked me to step up and I have scored a couple now.” Read Also: Robben reveals why he came out of retirement City had some serious difficulty from 12 yards, with Sergio Aguero, Jesus and Sterling all missing in games prior to the break. But talisman De Bruyne has now rolled in his last three, including the winner away at Real Madrid in the Champions League, and firmly established himself as the team’s chief penalty taker. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more