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  • Cities on the road to nowhere

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  • Italy’s toll tops 10,000 despite long lockdown

    first_imgThe coronavirus toll in Italy shot past 10,000 on Saturday and showed little sign of slowing despite a 16-day lockdown.The 889 new fatalities reported in the world’s worst-hit nation came a day after it registered 969 deaths on Friday — the highest single toll since the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year.Italy now looks certain to extend its economically debilitating — and emotionally stressful — business closures and the ban on public gatherings past their April 3 deadline. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italians late Saturday to be ready to spend more time cooped up at home.”If one is being reasonable, one cannot envision a quick return to normal life,” Conte said in his latest sombre television address.The monumental economic toll of fighting the pandemic has triggered a huge row among European leaders about how best to respond.The southern European nations worst-hit by the virus are urging the EU to go abandon its budget rules.The bloc has already loosened its purse strings in ways not seen since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.But Conte argues that this is not enough.France is backing a push by Italy and Spain for the EU to start issuing “corona bonds” — a form of common debt that governments sell to raise money to address individual economic needs.More spendthrift nations such as Germany and the Netherlands are baulking at the idea of joint debt.Conte said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had “not just a disagreement but a hard a frank confrontation” this week about how to proceed.”If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, the whole European structure loses its raison d’etre to the people,” Conte told Saturday’s edition of the Il Sole 24 Ore financial newspaper.The entire eurozone is expected to slip into a recession over the coming months.But Italy is facing the threat of a near economic collapse after being the first European country to shutter almost all its businesses on March 12.Some forecasts suggest that its economy — the third-largest among nations that use the euro common currency — could contract by as much as seven percent this year.It shrank by 5.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2009.Conte warned that EU leaders were in danger of making “tragic mistakes”.”I represent a country that is suffering a lot and I cannot afford to procrastinate,” Conte said.The energetic 55-year-old has seen his popularity shoot up thanks to a general sense that he has been doing all he could.A growing number of medics are warning that Italy’s fatalities could be much higher because retirement homes often do not report all their COVID-19 deaths.The number of people who have died from the new disease at home is also unknown.”This is something very different from the 2008 crisis,” Conte warned in the newspaper interview.”We are at a critical point in European history.”Topics : “Is it time to reopen the country? I think we have to think about it really carefully,” civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.”The country is at a standstill and we must maintain the least amount of activity possible to ensure the survival of all.”Italians had begun to hope that their worst disaster in generations was easing after the increase in daily death rates began to slow on March 22.But the new surge has changed the Mediterranean nation’s mood.last_img read more

  • Local authority pension funds back UK audit market reform proposals

    first_imgThe Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has welcomed proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority calling for a radical reform of the UK market for audit services.In a report published on Thursday, the competition watchdog said the so-called Big Four firms should be forced to spin off their audit work from their separate consultancy businesses.The competition watchdog also wants to open up the market to new entrants and improve competition by requiring the main audit players to work with smaller rivals to product joint audit reports.Acting LAPFF chair Paul Doughty, who also chairs the £8.6bn (€10bn) Merseyside Pension Fund, said: “We welcome the recommendations of the CMA. LAPFF has been impressed by the thoroughness and independence of the CMA’s work in the face of tremendous lobbying by the accounting industry. “Where we see resistance to the proposals from the accounting industry to the recommendations of the CMA we deduce that is because they fear they will be effective.”“More than a quarter of big company audits are considered sub-standard by the regulator. This cannot be allowed to continue.”Andrew Tyrie, chair of the CMACMA chairman Andrew Tyrie said: “People’s livelihoods, savings and pensions all depend on the auditors’ job being done to a high standard.“But too many fall short – more than a quarter of big company audits are considered sub-standard by the regulator. This cannot be allowed to continue.The CMA launched its inquiry into the UK audit market in October last year after months of public and political disquiet over the failure of companies such as outsourcing conglomerate Carillion and retailer BHS.It also followed wide-ranging criticism of the UK’s audit watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), whose opponents said it was too close to the firms that it audits. The FRC is to be replaced a new body, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), after its effectiveness was heavily criticised in an independent review in late December. Critics of the current state of the UK audit market say it is dominated by the Big Four – Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – and that there is a lack of competition and new entrants.Key role for audit committeesThe CMA inquiry is what is known as a market study and can lead to a number of outcomes to improve competition in a sector, such as recommendations to government, enforcement action or even a full-blown market investigation.Among its other proposals, the CMA wants the new ARGA to play a more aggressive role in holding audit committees to account.This could include ensuring that committees report their decisions as they hire and supervise auditors, as well as the regulator issuing public reprimands to companies whose committees fail to scrutinise their auditors sufficiently.The CMA has also said it could take more drastic action after five years if the reforms fail to deliver improvements.In response, an FRC spokesperson said it welcomed the proposals, in particular “the recognition of the key role of audit committees and the proposed role for regulation in ensuring they deliver on this.”Missed opportunities seen Reaction to the report among other stakeholders was mixed, however.Sharon Bowles, a former chair of the European Parliament’s economics affairs committee, told IPE: “I would have preferred a full operational separation of the firms’ audit and consultancy businesses because culture is at the heart of the kind of change that is needed.”Bowles also told IPE that she regretted the lobbying campaign against similar proposals in the past.“The great sadness is that we could have been here five years ago if the UK ‘establishment’ had not put its efforts behind diluting similar proposals from the EU,” she said.Another long-standing audit critic, finance academic Prem Sikka, said the CMA’s proposals were a missed opportunity.He said: “[A]nother opportunity to reform the serially dysfunctional auditing industry has been wasted. It is the third attempt in recent years by the CMA, and its predecessors, to reform the industry.“The previous attempts in 2006 and 2013 neither secured competition, choice, improvement in audit quality nor value for money and the latest opportunity has again been wasted as the CMA has continued to appease the big accounting firms with minimalist reforms and neglect the concerns of stakeholders.”The UK government has said it will respond to the CMA report within the next 90 days.last_img read more

  • Homebuyers paying more to secure property on the Gold Coast

    first_imgBuyers are paying more to secure property on the Gold Coast as demand outweighs supply.HOMEBUYERS are paying more to secure a property on the Gold Coast as demand continues to outweigh supply.New figures released by CoreLogic show the number of sales on the Glitter Strip fell 12 per cent over the year to February, 2018 with 18,434 properties trading hands.Despite the number of sales falling, property prices are up — house values increased by 6.6 per cent to $639,720, while unit values increased by 5.1 per cent to $413,238.Andrew Bell, in action earlier this year, says the Gold Coast is very much a sellers’ market. Picture Glenn HampsonRay White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said a lack of stock benefited sellers.“At present, listings in the detached housing market show a supply of about seven months — which isn’t bad and could be described as a normal market — but there is just four months’ supply in existing apartments and three months in townhouses,” he said.“This means it is very much a sellers’ market in these segments, particularly townhouses.”More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa16 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoLucy Cole says her agency is experiencing multiple offers on homes.Agents are also reporting heightened interest from prospective interstate buyers.“We’re experiencing multiple offer forms having to be signed and that’s something that wasn’t happening as often in the past,” Lucy Cole, principal of Lucy Cole Prestige Properties, said.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 7:28Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -7:28 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels576p576p480p480p256p256p228p228pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenPrestige property with Liz Tilley07:29“We’re finding families are wanting to move here and they have already done their research so they’re searching in a particular area that’s important to them.”“They might not want to move in straight away but they want to secure something now.”WANT SWEEPING COAST VIEWS?13A Ocean View, Mermaid Beach recently sold for $4.6 million through Tolemy Stevens.Tolemy Stevens, of Harcourts Coastal, said the luxury beachfront market was the best he had seen since the GFC.“I have more genuine high-net-worth buyers than I’ve ever experienced and I just don’t have the properties to sell them,” he said.“I’ve got more demand than I’ve got supply and I don’t see that demand slowing.“The evidence of this is the three recent sales I have done over the past four weeks have all been over $4 million each and have all exceeded vendor’s expectations.”BEACH HOUSE SELLS FOR $4.6 MILLIONlast_img read more

  • St. Louis Basketball Tourney

    first_imgThe St. Louis boys 6th grade basketball team lost a pair of games in their tourney over the weekend. St. Lawrence defeated the Cardinals in the first game by the score of 34-9. Scoring for St. Louis were Zach Harmeyer, Eli Tuveson, Johnny Deal, and Adam Cox all with 2 points a piece and Adam Moster with 1 point. Jacob Deutsch lead the team in rebounding.The Cardinals fell to St. Michael’s in the consolation game in a close one by the score of 13-11. It was a total team effort as all of the players contributed in carrying out an up tempo strategy and did a great job of keeping it going throughout the entire game. The Cardinals fell behind early but outscored the Trojans 9-6 in the second half, coming up just short of the victory . Adam Cox led St. Louis with 3 points while Zach Harmeyer, Mason Enneking, Jacob Deutsch, and Johnny Deal contributed 2 points a piece.St. Louis will wrap up the season next week when St. Paul visits the Activity Center on Monday, December 16th for a 6:00 start (5th grade game first) followed by the season ending game at Greendale on Wednesday, December 18th. The 5th grade game at Greendale will start at 5:30 with the 6th grade immediately after.Submitted by STL Coach Bruce Scott.The St. Louis 5th Grade Black Team remains undefeated on the season by winning two games in this weekend’s tournament.  The Cardinals defeated St. Lawrence 23-14 in the first game to advance to the championship game.  Andrew Oesterling had 12 points and Kurt Siefert 8 to pace the Cards.In the Championship game, the Cards had a rematch with St. Michaels who they defeated earlier in the week by 3 points.  The Cards had a slim 2 point lead at halftime 12-10 and outscored the Trojans 15-6 in the second half to post a 27-16 victory.  The entire team played excellent defense and distributed the ball evenly on offense as six players ended up in the scoring column.Submitted by: Mark Giestinglast_img read more

  • Nina Grace Brockman, age 83

    first_imgJpegNina Grace Brockman, age 83 of Batesville, Indiana passed away on Sunday, August 21, 2016 at St. Andrews Health Campus.  The daughter of Dony and Annie (nee: Stone) Abbott was born on May 27, 1933 in Ronceverte, WV.Nina married Albert Brockman on September 24, 1955 at St. Paul (Crossroads) Church. Together they raised six children.  The homemaker was a member of St. John United Church of Christ.She is survived by her husband Albert; children Violet Baldwin of Batesville, Jane (Dale) Gindling of Batesville, Mary (Ken) Gibbs of Avon, IN, Albert W. Jr. (Gina) Brockman of Batesville, Evelyn Hughes of Batesville, and Chester Brockman of Batesville; along with 11 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and two sisters Florence Fitchett of CA and Margaret Kirby of WV.In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her sisters Erma Surgen, Hallie Burns, Mildred Becraft, brother Thomas Abbott, two grandchildren, 2 nieces and 1 nephew.Visitation will be Wednesday, August 24, 2016 from 12:00 to 2:00pm with Funeral Services at 2:00pm all at Meyers Funeral Home in Batesville.  Rev. Linda & Dennis Frische-Mouri officiating with burial at St. John UCC Cemetery.Memorials may be given to the Ripley County Humane Society or St. John UCC c/o the funeral home.  Online information www.meyersfuneralhomes.comlast_img read more

  • Hardwick Capital Opens Greensburg Office

    first_imgThe Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce welcomed one of its newest members by holding a ribbon cutting Friday afternoon in downtown Greensburg.Kelby Owens, of Hardwick Capital Management, LLC, was joined by Greensburg Mayor Dan Manus, Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Board President Susan Burkhart and others including MainStreet Greensburg Executive Director Wendy Blake for the ribbon and cutting, welcoming the business to downtown Greensburg at 125 N. Broadway St.Hardwick Capital Management is an independent investment firm focused on cost-effective investment strategies, individualized financial advice, and portfolio management.Kelby Owens is the investment advisor who is committed to helping individuals and small businesses pursue their financial goals. The firm believes in an active approach to investing and strives to offer only high quality investments. Hardwick Capital Management is family owned company who enjoys getting to know their clients and their specific needs, with a goal of establishing long-term relationships.CEO Ken Hardwick joined in the ribbon cutting ceremonies and is excited about the opportunities to serve clients in the Greensburg and Decatur County area.Kelby Owens graduated from University of Indianapolis in 2006 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy.  Kelby started investing his own money as a hobby over 5 years ago, and found he had a passion for helping others understand how to save for retirement.  In 2016, he passed the NASAA Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam. Kelby is a member of Community Church in Greensburg, IN and also a member of the Optimist Club.  Kelby, along with his wife Liz, have 2 young boys who keep him active.  For more information or to schedule an appointment with Kelby, contact him at 812-371-1093.last_img read more

  • Franklin County residents arrested in Lawrenceburg casino drug probe

    first_imgLawrenceburg, In. — Four Franklin County residents have been arrested following a Lawrenceburg casino methamphetamine investigation.Security officers at the Hollywood Casino requested help from the Lawrenceburg Police Department after observing drug activity on Friday, March 2. During the investigation, police discovered the occupants of the fifth-floor room in question had checked out, but left baggies and used syringes behind.Police soon discovered the room was in the name of Brian Petit, 37, of Cedar Grove, and he was wanted for a drug warrant from Hamilton County, Ohio for aggravated trafficking in drugs.Police instructed hotel workers to notify police if Petit returned.About 10 days later police received a report that Petit had returned to the casino. After confirming the Ohio drug warrant was still active police went to the fourth floor room and took him into custody.While in the room police observed several other people attempting to hide items while police processed Pettit.Police arrested Pettit, Marica L. England, 45, of Rising Sun, Kelly Mills, 36, of Harrison, Ohio, Ricky Robertson, 55, Charlene M. Robertson, 56, and James Hicks, Jr., 50, all of Brookville for felony drug related charges.Reports indicate the Robertsons are married and Charlene and James Hicks are siblings.last_img read more

  • Erickson: Badgers have Bulldogs right where they want them

    first_imgHome has always been a gracious and caring place for the Badgers, as Madison has been exceptionally cruel to top-ranked teams.If you somehow forgot, here are a few reminders: The Wisconsin football team was undefeated at home for the second straight season. Men’s basketball did not lose a single game at home last year and continued that streak through the first four games of this season. Between Nov. 28 and Oct. 16, the women’s hockey team did not only stay undefeated at home (14 games), they didn’t lose a single game (32), tying the NCAA record.While home has clearly always been friendly for the Badgers, it has also been friendly for the men’s hockey team, which is 7-3-0 at home this season. Three of those wins came against top-five teams as the Badgers swept then-No. 5 North Dakota and split the series with then-No. 1 Minnesota.For a team that has yet to win on the road, playing at home has certainly been a nice comfort, particularly given the fact that they’ve been able to play so many top-ranked teams at home so far this season.Following a recent tradition – instilled by the combination of Wisconsin and at-the-time-No. 1 Ohio State in both football and basketball last season as they each upset OSU in Madison 31-18 and 71-67 respectively – men’s hockey split a series with then-No. 1 Minnesota at the Kohl Center in November.But Madison’s power to upset No. 1 teams will be put to the test again this weekend as No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth rolls into town.After winning the national championship last season, the Bulldogs did not have a very hot start, but have since climbed their way to the top.It might sound backward, but Wisconsin could not be facing Minnesota-Duluth at a better time.The last time the Badgers saw some action was over Thanksgiving weekend when they swept Mercyhurst 5-2 and 7-2.During the series, UW did not skate with a single veteran forward. Injuries continued to pile up for the Badgers, but a productive series from junior defenseman Justin Schultz and sophomore forward Mark Zengerle helped the Badgers through.So while the Badgers are still on a confidence high from the sweep over Mercyhurst, the timeliness of facing the Bulldogs now lies in the simple fact that UW has had extra preparation for the reigning national champions.Wisconsin has had a chance to focus more on its game plan and get a few names back on the roster.With a week off, the Badgers were able to heal up some of their ailments. The time also allowed head coach Mike Eaves a chance to push his guys that extra bit harder. It’s been reported via @BadgerMHockey that not a single puck was in sight during last Saturday’s practice; all the guys did was skate.Freshman defender Jake McCabe is expected to be in the lineup after a freak accident on the bench from a skate to the hand left him with a severed ligament and in need of surgery.Before the injury, McCabe started the season paired with junior defensemen standout Justin Schultz and, at the time, was the lone freshman in the starting lineup.The Badgers will also be welcoming Sean Little back to the lineup, who will help bring greater experience and depth to the forwards. Regardless, UW still lacks veteran leadership among forwards as juniors Derek Lee and Ryan Little are still hurt.But Eaves hasn’t been thankful for the time solely for the chance to get some more guys healthy – it also gave him the opportunity to focus his team on itself and grow without a threat of defeat hanging over its head, rather than preparing for another series.“We pushed each other in practice,” Eaves said in his Monday press conference. “We did a lot of competitive drills. We had high tempo drills. We covered a lot of details, and so I think we walk away from last week from the rink feeling good about ourselves and ready to continue on this week and get ready for Duluth.”With the combination of their soaring confidence, the undeniable home ice advantage and the extra week to focus on their own game, Wisconsin is very much capable of its third top-five upset this season.But don’t remind them of that. They’re just looking forward for the chance to play a game again, hoping Madison has just a little more magic in store.Kelly is a junior majoring in journalism. Do you think the Badgers will ever be able to win on the road this season? Or does Madison just have a special power? Let her know at or tweet @kellymerickson.last_img read more

  • Caribbean Airlines moves towards profitability

    first_imgTrinidad and Tobago’s state-owned airline, Caribbean Airlines on Monday reported ongoing strength in passenger revenues, cost management and network efficiency. There are continued robust performance for 2018 to date, with an increase in revenue over the period.Reporting on its unaudited half-year results for 2018, Caribbean Airlines said revenues and earnings significantly improved over the same period in 2017, despite the impact of fuel costs increasing by 32 per cent.Revenue has increased year on year by US$31.3 million or 19 per cent, while Earnings Before Interest and Taxation (EBIT – Operating Profit/Loss) improved over the same period in 2017 by US$17.8 million, or 77 per cent.Clear and sustained progress “I am delighted the team at Caribbean Airlines has seen the results of its hard work with another improved quarter, demonstrating we are making clear and sustained progress on our path to profitability,” said the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Garvin Medera.“This is being driven by our focus on a better experience for customers, combined with ever more efficient use of our resources and our route network.”Increased passenger numbers Other highlights for the six-month period from January to June 2018 include: increased passenger numbers and load factors, regionally and internationally; and increased air bridge capacity and efficiencies to service peak travel.“At the same time as improving our financial performance, we are also rapidly innovating in technology and services to improve the customer experience,” Medera added. “Our latest addition, ‘Caribbean View’, provides enhanced inflight entertainment direct to passengers’ personal devices at no extra charge to them.”‘Caribbean View’ will be officially launched on August 1 and will give passengers greater content, including movies, games and music via a dedicated app.last_img read more