Fresh face for Forfars bakery chain

first_imgBrighton-based bakery chain Forfars is rebranding its shops as Forfars Fresh, in an effort to highlight its fresh and local credentials.The company has already revamped 15 of its 20 shops with new signage, menu boards and staff uniforms, while its fleet of six vans has also been rebranded. The remaining outlets will be completed in the next few weeks.”Speaking to customers, it became clear that they are interested in issues such as food miles and their carbon footprint, but didn’t realise that Forfars was a local business that makes its products fresh every day,” said marketing manager Patrick Sanford. “We want to communicate to people that we aren’t part of a large multinational and that we try to source locally whenever we can.”The new oatmeal and burgundy colour scheme is reflected in the staff’s new uniforms, while new menu boards in the shops provide information about how and where products are made.”There is so much competition on the high street these days that craft bakeries have to change with the times. We cannot afford to stand still,” added Sanford.last_img read more

Gallup Poll: Nearly 40% of Americans won’t take COVID-19 vaccine

first_img (Photo supplied/Indiana State Department of Healtth) Now that the coronavirus vaccine is here, the next question is how many people will take it.A week before the first vaccine was approved, a Gallup poll found 37-percent of Americans say they won’t take it. Distrust is especially high among minorities.I-U Health senior vice president Tory Castor says the hospital network isn’t requiring its own employees to get vaccinated, and won’t browbeat patients into it. But she says I-U is trying to serve as a reliable source to help people understand the fast-changing information about the virus and the vaccine.House Public Health Chairman Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), a retired surgeon, says the fact doctors and nurses are first in line may give others confidence in the vaccine by the time it’s more widely available.President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and three of the four living former presidents plan to get vaccinated publicly to build confidence in the vaccine. Pence and his wife Karen were vaccinated, publicly, on Friday with Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Governor Holcomb has said he’ll get vaccinated as well, but won’t “cut the line.” Indiana Hospital Association president Brian Tabor suggests once the vaccine is more widely available, other government leaders, sports starsm and members of the media could follow suit. WhatsApp Gallup Poll: Nearly 40% of Americans won’t take COVID-19 vaccine Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter WhatsApp IndianaLocalMichiganNews Pinterest Pinterest Google+ Facebook Previous articleBerrien County’s “Shop With A Cop” goes through changes due to COVID-19Next articleIndiana unemployment figures hold steady from October Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. By Jon Zimney – December 20, 2020 1 399 last_img read more

Chocolate Leaves

first_imgUsing leaves from landscape plants to mold chocolate leaves for your holiday desserts may awe guests, but University of Georgia food safety specialists say it isn’t worth the health risks.“I have multiple concerns with using real leaves (to craft chocolate leaves for use with foods),” said Judy Harrison, a food safety specialist with UGA Extension. “First of all, a consumer would need to be sure the leaves are not toxic or have toxic substances that could migrate into the melted chocolate. They also have to be concerned about using leaves that have been exposed to pesticides or fungicides because some of these are systemic.”Pesticide residuesIn addition to pesticide residues on leaves, Harrison is concerned about residues that could be inside the plant. Pesticide residues on ornamentals are not the same as those used on food crops.“People usually express concerns about the possibility of pesticide residues in food, and pesticides used on ornamental plants are not necessarily the same ones approved for use on food crops,” Harrison said. “They should also be concerned about insects or insect eggs that could be transferred from the leaves to the food they are making.”UGA Extension county agents have received calls about using leaves as molds for making chocolate leaves, following a recent article in a popular Southern magazine. The recipe recommends using leaves from rose, camellia or other nonpoisonous plants as molds for chocolate leaves.Use fondantTo keep your family safe, Harrison recommends making fondant leaves when creating a chocolate-leaf-topped cake.“Fondant is meant to be used with food and is a much safer approach to decorating those beautiful holiday cakes. Most craft stores sell the supplies,” she said. “Any brand of fondant and cookie cutters can be used.”For more food safety information from UGA Extension, see the website read more

Fruit Shape

first_imgFrom elongated tubes to near-perfect spheres, vegetables come in almost every size and shape. But what differentiates a fingerling potato from a russet or a Roma tomato from a beefsteak? Researchers at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have recently found the genetic mechanism that controls the shape of some of our favorite fruits, vegetables and grains.In an article published Nov. 10 in the journal Nature Communications, horticulture Professor Esther van der Knaap and her team at UGA detail the genetic traits that have been shown to control the fruit, leaf and seed shapes of plants.“We may be able to explain the shapes of many fruits and vegetables through a similar mechanism to the one we described in tomatoes,” van der Knaap said.“We found that in tomatoes, plant cells in the fruit divide in a column or in a row and that will determine their shape,” van der Knaap said. “We also found that this mechanism is likely the same in several other plant species: melons, cucumbers, potatoes. We’ve even been able to go as far as finding that the same mechanism controls the shape of rice grains as well as leaves.”The discovery of the genetic pathways that control shape is important for plant breeders, but the information is also crucial for a better understanding of plant evolution and development.As part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, van der Knaap’s team expanded on her previous work to locate the genes that account for the wide variety of tomato shapes and sizes.In those studies, she found that the genetic sequences that control the shape and size of tomatoes do so by controlling cell division or cell size. Each of these genes tells a small part of the story about how the fruits form, said van der Knaap. Some affect the size and shape of the fruit at the later stages of development, just before the fruit is ripening. Others affect the shape and size much earlier, even before flowering.Finally, van der Knaap’s team located similar sets of shape-control genes in plants other than tomato.For instance, in the potato — which is very closely related to the tomato — the gene that controls potato tuber shape is found in the same location in the genome as the gene that controls tomato fruit shape. In other plants, the shape-control genes may not be in the same place, but it is believed that they act in the same manner, controlling the horizontal or vertical structure in cell division.For a more complete understanding of this research, visit For more information about the van der Knaap lab, visit This research was funded by NSF IOS 0922661 and USDA NIFA AFRI 2017-67013-26199.last_img read more

BNEF: Eight Consecutive Year of $250-$350 Billion in Global Green Energy Investments

first_imgBNEF: Eight Consecutive Year of $250-$350 Billion in Global Green Energy Investments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:2017 looks certain to be the eighth successive year in which global clean energy investment has been in the range of $250 billion to $350 billion; there is a good chance that it will end up a touch higher than last year’s figure of $287.5 billion. Once again, we have seen substantial reductions in the cost of renewable energy, so that 2017 will certainly see another record for new capacity installations.Prices agreed for renewable electricity at auctions around the world have continued to plummet, with the latest records held in photovoltaics by Mexico in November at an average of $20.77 per MWh, and in onshore wind also by Mexico, at an average of $18.60 – or, in you prefer, by India in October at $40.52 with no inflation indexing. In offshore wind, the U.K. auction in September saw projects for commissioning in 2022-23 win through with bids fully 50% below the 2015 auction.2017 also saw relatively new markets break into the big league as destinations for clean energy investment, including Mexico ($5.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2017), United Arab Emirates ($2.4 billion in the same period), Argentina ($1.7 billion) and Egypt ($1.3 billion).Another notable 2017 milestone was the record for the biggest renewable energy corporate power purchasing agreement ever – see number 8 in the break-out below – plus arguably the biggest wind farm repowering ever (the 350MW Wieringermeer project in the Netherlands) and, most importantly, the most solar capacity ever installed in one country in a year, namely an incredible 50GW-plus in China.Electric vehicles made great progress in 2017, with this year likely to have seen EV sales globally surpass 1 million for the first time, a big leap from just under 700,000 previously (see box on our “10 Predictions”). More significant than the current numbers, however, were the announcements during the course of the year of planned bans on pure internal combustion engines – the Netherlands by 2030, India “within 13 years”, China by a so-far-undefined date in the future, the U.K. and France by 2040. EVs still make up less than 2% of global vehicle sales, but they are certainly starting to loom in the rear-view mirror of the internal combustion sector.At the start of the year we predicted a deepening debate about the implications of what we called “base-cost renewables” – renewables with levelized costs that are not just grid-competitive, but that significantly undercut the costs of all other sources of power. That debate has indeed intensified, fueled by the record-low costs of wind and solar that we saw during 2017.The question is no longer about how to promote wind and solar to enable them to grab a small share of each electricity market, but how to reform the rules of the power system so that as much super-cheap but variable renewable electricity as possible can be integrated into it. “Market design” is the hot topic.All in all, therefore, 2017 was a good year. We started by predicting that “our little flotilla will sail on – perhaps not serenely, but more or less as it did in 2016,” and so it turned out.What about 2018? Maybe it is the short days and fading light of mid-December in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is hard right now to feel 100% relaxed about the next few years – even if the eventual direction for the world’s energy and transport systems seems more apparent than ever.One reason is that progress towards renewables and low-emission transport can be accelerated, or just as often, held back by political forces. Promising new markets can go in, and then out, of the fast lane. South Africa, for instance, was a star of renewable power deployment via auctions, investing $15.4 billion in clean energy between 2012 and 2015. And yet, in 2017, investment is likely to end up at little more than $100 million, the victim of Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements with developers of new projects.More seriously for the global picture, the Trump administration in the U.S. has not only set back international climate efforts by committing to quit the Paris agreement, but has been nibbling at the foundations of that country’s renewable energy boom. First, it proposed subsidies for generation sources that could keep 90 days of feedstock onsite (coal and nuclear), then the President got the chance to impose tariffs on imported solar cells, and finally the tax reform bill being discussed in Congress at one point threatened to undercut severely the all-important Production Tax Credit for wind and the Investment Tax Credit for solar. It appears – cross fingers – that the final version this week may more or less spare the PTC and ITC.So far, those developments have not changed hard reality for renewables, but they have affected confidence. Whether by cunning coordination or not, the Trump administration’s broad program, from removing regulations on power station emissions, to tax and trade measures, and international diplomacy, all point in one direction – and that is to preserve the country’s ancient fleet of coal-fired power stations rather than decarbonize.It is not just politics that provides inertia. The fact that vast amounts of coal-fired capacity are already installed around the world means that it is a struggle to change the mix in more than an incremental way, especially when that coal is plentiful. This year has seen the seaborne coal price extend its recovery from lows reached in 2016, and it has also seen the Global Carbon Project estimate that world CO2 emissions are likely to have increased by 2% in 2017, the first rise for four years.There are also risks in the markets at the end of 2017 that, if they came to pass, could wash over the economy generally, and therefore indirectly over investment in clean energy and transport too. One is that the financial markets look more exposed than for many years, with interest rates rising or soon to start rising almost everywhere, and share prices sitting on top of a 19% gain on the S&P 500 Index in 2017 alone. In more idiosyncratic markets, bubbles seem to be the air, whether in art with a Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450 million, or in crypto-currencies with bitcoin up from $952 to almost $18,000 this year alone.But let’s not be too cautious. It is the festive season after all. Clean energy and transport continue to enjoy powerful long-term trends in their favor. The pace of technological change is picking up, in particular in the areas of power storage and machine learning, after a decade in which change seemed to be mainly about scale, not about kind.More: Long-Term Clean Energy Optimism, Short-Term Cautionlast_img read more

Home is Where You Park It: Tips on Making Your Van a Home

first_imgIf you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine. Expand + RelaxThe space outside the van (your living room) is just as important as how you organize the inside. Travel with things that make being outside comfortable. Make your kitchen easy to use outside. Get comfy chairs, a hammock, and a big cooler for your brews. When you live in a van, nature is your real home, and you have the ability to make it as comfortable as you want. Plus, it expands your living space by one bajillion.Stop backpacks and jackets from flying around with a simple bungee cord.Secure + Secure AgainThe frustration of driving around with objects falling out of the cabinets will ruin even the best of days. Secure your decorations, and use tape, zip ties, and bungee cords, anything to save you from the mess that happens on back country roads and unsecured cabinets. It’s unavoidable and at some point, your powder deodorant will fall from a countertop and explode and never come out of your howling wolf rug. Pick it up, zip it back in its case, and tuck it away. Secure and secure again.Wind Down + Get FancyWe have two night time rituals that make it feel like we’re not sleeping in a van at all! We burn small candles while we’re getting ready for bed, and run an essential oil diffuser. We don’t even do that when we’re living in a house. Find a few small rituals that make #vanlife feel like #meditationlife. Having them centered around bedtime works well because that’s a time when you have to be IN the van, instead of enjoying the living room you built for yourself outside (see Expand + Relax).Make. Your. Bed.An unmade bed in a van is an un-made van. Making the bed is two-fold.1. It makes the van look clean.2. The bed is the second floor in a van, and with dirty climbing packs and wet jackets being slung onto it, having the bed made is one more defense against having to wash the sheets. Worth it!We hope these van tips help you to make your van-house a home. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. Please comment with any suggestions for other #vanlife lovers! There are so many built out vans rolling down the streets and #vanlife is old news on Instagram. How do you turn your plywood stuffed, gorilla tape decked, van build into a home, unique to you? With six months under our now smaller belts (#vanlife will do that to you), we’ve learned a few things about how to spruce up your metal box on wheels.Decorate + PersonalizeIn our opinion, the best way to decorate your van is with objects from your travels. We started with bare bones and now the van is full of memories from adventures. Sometimes seasonal (currently we have a gord on our dashboard), sometimes found, sometimes gifted. Whatever it is, have memories around you and the space doesn’t seem nearly as small.Note tape to keep narwhal in place, and colorful gord in the background.Organize + ReorganizeWith a space so small you HAVE to utilize it all. When an object has a designated spot, and you go to look for it, and it’s in the space you assigned it, the day is incredible and nothing will go wrong. It’s glorious. Make sure cabinets have separators and walls so nothing is rolling around or knocking over while traveling. Keep cabinets closed with gear ties (like we use) or child locks. Put an organizer between the two front buckets seats to organize items you use daily while driving.last_img read more

Member services expanded since last Bar fee increase

first_imgMember services expanded since last Bar fee increase Member services expanded since last Bar fee increaseWith a desire to improve programs supported by and benefiting Bar members — and citing declining reserves — the Board of Governors is now considering increasing annual membership fees.The Bar Budget Committee has recommended fees for active members be increased from $190 to $265, and for inactive members from $140 to $175 annually. (See story in November 1 News.)It has been 11 years since the Bar’s last fee increase and a number of major programs have been added — and existing programs expanded — to improve the Bar’s effectiveness, efficiency and member services. Among those improvements have been the creation of an Ethics School for errant lawyers, a grievance mediation program, more aggressive prosecution of the unlicensed practice of law, the opening of the Center for Professionalism and the expansion of the Law Office Management Assistance Service. Lawyer RegulationWhen the last Bar annual membership fee increase was approved, the Bar’s grievance operation basically performed three functions, according to Tony Boggs, director of the Legal Division. “We could investigate, discipline or dismiss cases,” he said.A lot has changed.“Now we’ve got a lot of tools in the tool belt,” Boggs said. “We’ve got mediation tools, we’ve got probation tools, we’ve got remediation tools, and we’ve got restitution tools.”Ethics SchoolOne notable change came at the behest of 1991-92 Bar President Ben Hill, who steered the Ethics Schools through the board. There lawyers facing minor grievance charges can get the cases dismissed in exchange for attending classes aimed at helping them avoid future problems.Boggs said on average around 150 lawyers a year attend the Ethics School and most have praised its lessons and benefits.The grievance program also took over the running of the Bar’s fee arbitration program, which led to better coordination between that operation and the grievance process.Grievance MediationIn 1997-98, then Bar President Edward Blumberg inaugurated the grievance mediation program. That is frequently used, commonly for communication-related problems, to resolve disputes, Boggs said, and has proven to be a success.Just started is the Attorney-Client Assistance Program (ACAP), which seeks to screen grievance complaints to determine which can be settled cooperatively between clients and attorneys. A trial program run in the Tampa branch office won high praise from both attorneys and consumers.But with all those new programs, the Bar grievance operation has continued its basic function — investigating complaints and when justified seeking sanctions against errant lawyers. It continues to be acknowledged as one of the best such operations in the country.For the period 1990 through 1999, the number of disciplinary orders and opinions from the Supreme Court ranged from 326 to 595, an average 458 for that period.UPLIn response to member requests, the Bar’s Unlicensed Practice of Law Department has grown tremendously since 1990, when it had two attorneys.In May 1991, the Board of Governors voted to turn prosecuting operations over to state attorneys and a year or so later added a third lawyer to help on investigations in South Florida. In 1993, the board decided to have the Bar again begin prosecutions, faced with increasing public harm from legal technicians and other self-proclaimed nonlawyer legal experts.Then 1994-95 Bar President Bill Blews wanted more to be done. At his urging, the Board of Governors approved a dramatic expansion of UPL operations, adding branch offices in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, in addition to the existing one in Ft. Lauderdale. The department, which a few years earlier had two attorneys, now has six-and-a-half attorney positions.The results, according to Bar UPL Counsel Lori Holcomb, have been dramatic. Instead of relying on volunteers to prosecute cases, staff counsel work directly with the UPL circuit committees. And where circuit committees rarely saw a Bar UPL counsel, now one attends virtually every meeting, either in person or by phone. That has speeded up the investigation and handling of about 700 complaints received by the Bar each year.“It’s enabled us to do our job more efficiently and effectively,” Holcomb said. “Because we have the attorneys and the attorneys staff the committees, the committees meet more regularly and they’re able to move the cases through the system.”ProfessionalismIn 1990, professionalism was a much studied issue with The Florida Bar, but little more. Now it’s a full-fledged program, working with a Supreme Court commission to encourage lawyers to be their best.The genesis came from 1995-96 Bar President John DeVault and 1996-97 President John Frost, both of whom made improving lawyer professionalism a top priority.DeVault appointed Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead to chair the Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism, which recommended setting up the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and creating the Center for Professionalism at the Bar. At a retreat held at Frost’s first Board of Governors’ meeting and devoted to professionalism, then Chief Justice Gerald Kogan signed an administrative order creating the commission and the center.Since then, there has been no holding back the committee, the commission and the center.“It’s helped in identifying the problems that have frustrated lawyers who labor in the system,” said Paul Remillard, director of the Center for Professionalism. “It’s formulated solutions and developed methods to improve professional behavior, leadership and enhanced the trust of those we serve.“It has also provided a means for much more accessible and meaningful ethics training.”Summarizing the accomplishments of the center, commission and committee in the past four years isn’t easy. But here’s one telling statistic: Since opening, the center has conducted 150 professionalism seminars, reaching 17,000 students and awarding more than 50,000 CLE credits.Besides CLE, there has been a resource library set up and a website and newsletter created. A subcommittee works with law schools recognizing faculty for teaching professionalism, a handbook has been developed for law students, and another subcommittee works on diversity issues. There’s a historical video series featuring leading lawyers and judges, an annual master’s seminar, a professionalism award, student essay contests and a mentoring program.The work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Bar’s Young Lawyers Division received the 2000 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for its Practicing with Professionalism seminar that each new Bar member is required to take. The Center for Professionalism, which provides instructors for one day of those two-day courses, submitted the application on behalf of the YLD. The Bar’s Center for Professionalism’s efforts were also recognized by the ABA with the Gambrell award for 1999.LOMASProviding a broad range of practice management information services to members of the Bar, the Law Office Management Assistance Service also has expanded greatly since the last fee increase.“Many practicing lawyers lack the preparatory foundation needed to manage or market their law practices effectively,” said J.R. Phelps, LOMAS’ director. “For the most part, law schools do not teach practice management principles such as trust accounting compliance, docket control, prevention of client conflict of interest, malpractice-avoidance principles, cost-effective marketing and the integration of high-tech equipment into the law practice, all of which serve to reduce malpractice incidences through sound business procedures.”Phelps said LOMAS exists to provide Florida attorneys with those types of assistance.“In a time when information is overwhelming, LOMAS provides probably the highest quality filter to information for Florida lawyers on practice management in the country,” said Charlie Robinson, who sat on the committee which created the LOMAS concept.Robinson said the 19 other states which now have practice management programs “look at Florida and J.R. as the granddaddy of the whole concept.”LOMAS fields more than 10,000 calls from Bar members each year on topics such as establishing and maintaining a conflict-of-interest system; maintaining a trust account; effective client communication techniques; effective docket control and calendaring procedures; as well as basic information on how to establish and operate a solo practice. When LOMAS began operations in 1980, it focused on conducting educational programs and on-site law office consultations. Phelps said LOMAS now promotes effective management techniques for both lawyers and support staff in a manner flexible enough to respond to the immediate demands of today’s ever-changing law office environment. LOMAS also has been asked to take a more active role in the Bar’s grievance process by rehabilitating attorneys experiencing law office management-related problems. Phelps said LOMAS has developed a number of special preventative programs aimed at attorneys whose practices place them in a high-risk group for grievances.Because of the many exposures LOMAS has received from appearing on Bar programs, the LOMAS staff now averages 35 calls each day for assistance by members on a broad range of practice management topics.“With the addition of e-mail the telephone calls have diminished, but e-mails are increasing in number every day,” Phelps said.LOMAS also realized that members needed a state-specific resource for computer software information, and the Board of Governors approved the addition of a LOMAS staff analyst to conduct reviews of software products. LOMAS now consists of three full-time practice management advisors and one full-time administrative secretary.To fill the need for law office personnel education regarding the handling of trust funds, LOMAS produced a videotape titled “How to Maintain a TRUSTworthy Trust Account,” which annually sells more copies than any other videotape offered by the department. This past year LOMAS revised the videotape and now sells a second edition of the tape.With more and more Bar members going directly from law school into the practice, LOMAS now offers an entire package of materials directed at helping these members establish a practice in an ethical and professional way. During the past year a new videotape titled “Starting Anew” was added to address the unique needs of members with more experience who may decide for whatever reason to transition their practice in a different direction by starting their own firm.In the early 1990s, as the Internet became a new communication vehicle, LOMAS worked to educate the Board of Governors of the potential and to create the initial impetus for November 15, 2000 Regular Newslast_img read more

Top Democrat Pelosi rips up Trump speech

first_imgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday, in a pointed political gesture after listening tight-lipped to the president tout his achievements to Congress.The tension between Trump and his Democratic nemesis was palpable from the outset, as Pelosi extended her extended her hand for a handshake — and the president failed to return the favor.Seated in silence behind the president in the House of Representatives, Pelosi frowned, repeatedly shook her head and smiled disbelievingly until he finished speaking and Republicans erupted in applause — at which point she rose and very visibly tore up the papers in front of her. Pelosi’s gesture capped a night where the country’s bitter political divide was on full display, as Trump’s address earned a triumphant reception from the Republican half of Congress — but sullen silence, boos and jeers from the Democrats present.Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate, said that the speech was “more like a Trump rally than a speech a true leader would give”.”It was demagogic, undignified, highly partisan and in too many places, untruthful,” he said.The White House was quick to hit back at Pelosi, saying she had insulted the Americans honored in Trump’s speech, from a veteran airman to a premature baby or a mourning military family.”That’s her legacy,” it said.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham doubled down, tweeting: “Tearing the speech up is not going to tear up the accomplishments of this President.”His fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Pelosi had “embarrassed herself” by ripping up the speech.”So pathetic,” he added on Twitter.Topics : Asked afterwards by a reporter to give a reason for her gesture, Pelosi replied: “Because it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives.”And in a follow-up tweet, the 79-year-old Pelosi said Democrats would “never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done.”  [email protected] tears up of State of the Union speech.#SOTU #SOTU2020— CSPAN (@cspan) February 5, 2020Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House six weeks ago, and the flashpoint with Pelosi comes one day before the US Senate is all but certain to vote to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.During the impeachment crisis, Trump, 73, has repeatedly assailed the speaker for her impeachment “hoax,” branding her “nervous Nancy” and “crazy Nancy” on Twitter.last_img read more

Good news for first home buyers as housing finance hits 4-year low

first_img Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:24Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:24 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p270p270p180p180pAutoA, 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 Rate1xFullscreenWhy the struggle is real for first home buyers01:25 Ridiculous offer: Free car with house Buy a penthouse … and a pub MORE: Total dwellings -3.8%Owner occupier -4.2%Investor -2.8%YOY:Total dwelling -7.7%Owner-occupier -18.1%Investor -11.5% (Source: ABS) Master Builders Australia’s chief economist Shane Garrett said falling house prices in Sydney and Melbourne meant “investors have been deprived of a major carrot”.“Rental prices are rising more slowly than at any time in a quarter of a century. This is great news for renters — but won’t put many smiles on the faces of investors.”“Perhaps the biggest game changer has been APRA’s interventions which have made it more difficult for investors to secure financing.” The withdrawal of investors and owner occupiers has opened the door for first home buyers, according to experts.NEW housing loans have hit their lowest level in four years, latest ABS figures show — and here’s why that’s extremely good news if you’re a first homebuyer.New lending crashed to its lowest level since August 2014, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance data out Friday, falling 3.8 per cent in the month seasonally adjusted.In what’s become a boon for first home buyers, both investors (-2.8 per cent to their lowest level since July 2013) and owner-occupiers (-4.2 per cent — lowest level since July 2015) have begun holding off.center_img The year-on-year figures showed how big the changes were (September 2017 to September 2018), overall down 7.7 per cent led by a shocker by owner-occupiers (-18.1 per cent) and investor finance (-11.5 per cent).RateCity research director Sally Tindall said “the one group taking advantage of the cooling housing market is first home buyers”.FHBs “marginally increased their share to 18 per cent in September, up 0.2 per cent from the month before”, a big deal given how much they have been shut-out in recent years.“This time last year, no-one predicted the falls in new lending would be this significant, particularly for owner occupiers,” Ms Tindall said.“The good news now is the door is wide open for first home buyers, provided they’ve got a decent deposit saved up. Banks are still in the business of writing loans. It just takes a bit more time and paperwork.” FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK ABS HOUSING FINANCE: More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours ago(Sept 2018, seasonally adjusted) Monthly change: Buy a houseboat and pay it off in 10 weekslast_img read more

Treasure unearthed in Indian temple in Kerala

first_img 72 Views   one comment Share FaithLifestyle Treasure unearthed in Indian temple in Kerala by: – July 1, 2011 Share Sharing is caring!center_img Tweet Share By Ashraf PadannaKochiBBC NewsThe temple was built in the 16th Century by the kings of TravancoreTreasure, thought to be worth billions of rupees, has been unearthed from secret underground chambers in a temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala.Precious stones, gold and silver have been found at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, unnamed officials say.The riches are thought to have been languishing in the temple vaults for more than a century, interred by the Maharajahs of Travancore over time.They have not been officially valued and inspectors are taking an inventory.Inspectors say they will continue cataloguing the treasure for at least one more week.Unofficial estimates say that the treasure discovered so far over four days of inspections may be valued at more than 25 billion rupees ($500m). But historians say that assessing the true value of these objects is likely to be extremely difficult.Nevertheless security has been stepped up at the temple: “I have instructed the police chief to reinforce security further following the findings and it would be there permanently,” Oomen Chandy, the state’s chief minister said.Concealed richesThe Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple was built in the 16th Century by the kings who ruled over the then kingdom of Travancore. Local legends say the Travancore kings sealed immense riches within the thick stone walls and vaults of the temple.Since Independence, the temple has been controlled by a trust run by the descendants of the Travancore royal family. After 1947 the kingdom of Travancore merged with the princely state of Cochin, which eventually became the present-day state of Kerala.The inspections at the temple began after India’s Supreme Court appointed a seven-member panel to enter and assess the value of the objects stored in its cellars, including two chambers last thought to have been opened about 130 years ago.The Supreme Court also endorsed a ruling by the high court in Kerala, which ordered the state government to take over the temple and its assets from the royal trust. It also ordered the trust to hand over responsibility for the temple’s security to the police.The initial court petition was brought by a local lawyer, Sundar Rajan, who filed a case in the Kerala High Court demanding the takeover of the temple, saying that the current controllers were incapable of protecting the wealth of the temple because it did not have its own security force.Royal wealth?The current Maharajah of Travancore Uthradan Thirunaal Marthanda Varma, who is also the managing trustee of the temple, appealed to India’s Supreme Court.He said that as Maharajah he had every right to control the temple because of a special law enacted after independence, which vested the management of the temple with the erstwhile ruler of Travancore.But his appeal was rejected – Maharajahs have no special status in India and they are treated like ordinary citizens.The members of the Travancore royal family consider themselves to be servants of the presiding deity at the temple, Padmanabhaswamy, which is an aspect of the Hindu God Vishnu in eternal sleep. This is why they historically entrusted their wealth to the temple.But there was a public outcry when the Maharajah attempted to retain control of the temple by citing the special law, with many arguing that the wealth belonged to the people now.The vaults were opened in the presence of the panel, and observers, which include high court judges, temple officials, archaeology authorities, Sundar Rajan and a representative of the current Maharajah.last_img read more