Breaking the monopoly

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Brazil to test vaccine as Europe emerges from lockdown

first_imgThe WHO has been holding clinical trials to find a treatment for COVID-19, which has killed more than 382,000 people and wrought vast economic damage since emerging in China late last year. Cautious reopening But outside of Latin America nations are cautiously reopening schools, beaches and businesses after months of quarantine, even as some still face rising numbers of cases.European nations among the hardest hit by the outbreak have mostly flattened out infection curves. They have turned to the tricky task of balancing economic recovery against the risk of a second wave of cases.Germany will plough 130 billion euros ($146 billion) into a stimulus package to kick-start an economy severely hit by the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced.Berlin will also ease its blanket travel warning for European nations from June 15.Italy — the first country badly hit in Europe — opened its borders to European travellers Wednesday, hoping tourism will revive its recession-hit economy three months after its shutdown.But with health experts warning over reopening too quickly, some fear foreign visitors may be reluctant to travel. “I don’t think we’ll see any foreign tourists really until the end of August or even September,” said Mimmo Burgio, a cafe owner near Rome’s Colosseum. “Who’s going to come?” Austria announced it would scrap virus controls on all land borders, except for Italy.Belgium will reopen its borders to travellers from the EU, Britain and members of Europe’s passport-free travel zone on June 15.But Britain — with the second highest death rate in the world after the US at nearly 40,000 fatalities — is still advising against non-essential travel. Vaccine testing The race to find a vaccine meanwhile gathered pace.   Europe’s four largest economies — France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — are forming an alliance to speed up production of a vaccine on European soil, Dutch officials said.Brazil said it would begin testing a vaccine being developed by Oxford University next week, the first country outside Britain to take part in the study. The vaccine will be tested in Brazil on 2,000 health services volunteers, said the Federal University of Sao Paulo, coordinating the study.Testing a vaccine in Brazil “is very important because we are in the acceleration phase of the epidemiological curve,” the university’s president Soraya Smaili told AFP.Authorities imposed curfews across a vast swathe of the Brazilian state of Bahia in the country’s hard-hit northwest.”It is necessary and urgent to impose greater restrictions, after recording extremely high [infection] rates,” in the area, said Bahia governor Rui Costa.Brazil has the world’s second highest COVID-19 caseload after the United States, with more than half a million cases and 31,000 deaths.In Africa, which has so far escaped the worst of the pandemic, police in Senegal arrested more than 70 people after protests tinged by violence broke out in several cities. Crowds demanded a nighttime coronavirus curfew, imposed by President Macky Sall on March 23, be lifted.The country has recorded nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus, 45 of them fatalities. Topics : Focus on Americas “For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together,” Tedros said.”We are especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.”Chile’s government said it was extending a three-week shutdown of the capital Santiago and its population of seven million as the death toll there reached a new daily record.Health officials said 87 people had died in the previous 24 hours, and nearly 5,000 new infections were recorded. Chile has now registered more than 113,000 infections and 1,275 deaths.  Researchers in hard-hit Brazil on Wednesday said they would begin testing a coronavirus vaccine developed in Britain, while across the Atlantic European nations began reopening borders in a bid to emerge from months of devastation caused by the disease.Authorities in Brazil — the latest frontline of the pandemic, with deaths and infections on the rise — imposed fresh restrictions in the country’s northeast after reporting “extremely high” numbers of cases.Concern over the spread of the coronavirus in Latin America has increased even as the health crisis has eased in other regions of the world. “The Americas continues to account for the most cases,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing in Geneva.The UN body also said it would resume trials of hydroxychloroquine a week after halting them following a study in The Lancet medical journal that suggested the drug could harm COVID-19 patients.The U-turn came after The Lancet itself cast doubt on the study after it was widely contested by scientists.Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday suggested that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not help prevent infection in a statistically meaningful way, however.last_img read more

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Get foot in Pine Rivers market before prices peak

first_imgThe home at 22 Grenadier St, Bray Park, is on the market in one of Mark Rumsey’s hot suburbs.WITH Pine Rivers still proving affordable for first homebuyers, a real estate expert is predicting a year of solid growth for the ­region.Mark Rumsey of David Deane Real Estate said he predicted market activity would remain strong throughout 2018.“I expect prices will continue to edge higher as the university draws closer to completion and the inner city prices start rippling out and having their affect,” he said.“Strathpine, Lawnton, Bray Park, Petrie and Kallangur will be the stars, however all suburbs will feel the effect.”More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019Mr Rumsey said he expected the lower end of the market to “surge ahead” and push up prices across all price brackets.“We are fortunate to still be affordable for first homebuyers with median prices still hovering around $400,000,” he said.“Investors will like the solid prospects for reasonable rental yield of 4.5-5 per cent and the good prospects of capital gain.“Units and townhouses are well under true market value and should correct in the coming one to two years.”Mr Rumsey said the heat in the lower end of the market would have a flow-on affect at the higher end.“Families and couples can take the opportunity to upgrade to their dream homes cashing in on selling at higher than average prices and the cheap interest rates still on offer,” he said.“This year would definitely be a good time to enter the market (but) saving for a deposit could be difficult if prices were to accelerate faster than ­savings.”last_img read more

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EIOPA details first stress test for workplace pension funds

first_img“The stress test will retrieve valuable information on the sensitivity of IORPs (Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision), sponsoring undertakings and members and beneficiaries to such a scenario,” Bernardino said.The regulator said it was running the stress test and the quantitative assessment alongside each other to minimise the burden on IORPs.Both exercises will run until 10 August, the deadline for data to be submitted to the national supervisory authorities (NSAs).On 19 May, there will be a workshop with participating IORPs, and a Q&A procedure for the institutes will go on between May and August.From the end of August into September, EIOPA will then carry out what it described as a centralised quality assurance of all submissions, and finally, in December 2015, it will publish the results of the stress test analysis.The stress test exercise will be conducted in seventeen European countries and cover both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pensions.EIOPA said it would use the quantitative assessment to gather data from pension funds on the potential uses of its controversial holistic balance sheet (HBS) idea – which critics have said is too standardised – within an EU-wide supervisory framework.The outcomes would, it said, help EIOPA in further developing its advice to the European Commission on EU solvency rules for IORPs.At the same time, EIOPA has published responses to the consultation it launched last year addressing further work on the solvency of IORPs.Among other things, the paper discussed possible uses of the HBS, such as an instrument to set funding requirements.The responses reveal many negative reactions to this idea from the pensions industry.The UK’s BT Pension Scheme questioned whether EIOPA’s proposed one-size-fits-all approach was the best way forward.“Developing and complying with a mandatory and prescriptive regime predicated on the use of a holistic balance sheet will inevitably be time-consuming and costly for IORPs,” it said, adding that it did not see that this would lead to better outcomes for IORPs or their members than the processes already used locally.On the sponsor side, umbrella employers’ association Gesamtmetall in Germany described applying more solvency requirements to pension funds via a “Solvency II-like” approach using the HBS methodology as “objectively unnecessary and counter-productive”.Jerry Moriarty, chief executive of the Irish Association of Pension Funds, told IPE: “Like most people in the pensions industry, we struggle to see why EIOPA is proceeding with the stress tests, since the European Commission has taken the issue of solvency away from the IORP review that’s currently taking place.“It seems to us this is going to cause quite a bit of work and cost to schemes but doesn’t add anything to the protection of schemes across Europe, as it’s largely an academic exercise.” The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has announced details of its first stress test for occupational pension funds, as well as a quantitative assessment of the solvency of the institutions.The stress test is aimed at judging how resilient pension funds are to tough market scenarios, as well as a longevity scenario, the EU regulator said.Gabriel Bernardino, chair at EIOPA, said: “Pension funds are already experiencing a challenging environment with low interest rates and rising life expectancy.”He described the long period of low interest rates – combined with the fall in asset prices as risk-on financial markets had been reappraised – as a key vulnerability for the occupational pensions sector.last_img read more

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Irish Marriage Referendum: I’m gay and I’m voting No. Here’s why.

first_imgHere are the testimonies of two men which every voter should see before going out to the polling station in Ireland next Friday (22nd). Keith Mills is gay, agnostic and a dedicated blogger on Eurovision. Paddy Manning is gay, Catholic and a celebrity blogger and political pundit. Keith Mills and Paddy Manning give powerful and compelling reasons for voting NO to redefining marriage on May 22. Use your vote. Vote No. See more at www.keepmarriage.orgKeith Mills believes that it’s important for him, as a gay man, to speak out about his belief that children deserve a mother and a father whenever the circumstances of life allow, since too many people are being bullied into silence. He explains that the referendum is not about equality because already, through civil partnerships, we have a means of giving gay couples legal protection and recognition – in a ceremony that is almost identical to civil marriage, right down to saying the words “I do”.Furthermore, Paddy Manning points out that a gay or lesbian relationship is simply a different thing to a marriage. “Marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents. Recognising difference is not discrimination.”Keith agrees that the referendum is about children “because everyone knows marriage IS almost always about children – and because the government wants to change the section of the Constitution on the family.” But in order to have children, gay men like him either need to adopt or to use surrogacy. Surrogacy, he says, “turns children into commodities, putting adult desires above the rights of children, having babies made to order and wombs for rent.” If the referendum passes, as Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Chairman of the independent Referendum Commission, confirmed last week, it will make it very difficult for Irish law to give preference to motherhood and fatherhood compared with having two parents of the same sex.A Yes vote pretends there is no “distinction” between the union of two men or two women and the union of a man and a woman. It also says it doesn’t matter if a child is deliberately deprived of either a father or a mother.Source: http://www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/two-gay-men-campaigning-against-same-sex-marriage-in-ireland/16168last_img read more

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Mali hosts 4th International Urban Music and Fashion Festival

first_imgThe Malian  town of Selingue recently hosted the fourth edition of the International Urban Music and Fashion festival. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures, and market some of the artists’ worklast_img

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Wildcat Netters Fall Short To Lions

first_imgFranklin County High School Boys Varsity Tennis falls to Rushville Consolidated High School 3-2. #1 Singles Jack Stirn 6-1, 6-0 vs. Jake Carroll#2 Singles Brant Ertel 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (6-8) vs. Marlin Hershberger#3 Singles Landen Wuestefeld 1-6, 0-6 vs. Sam Smith#1 Doubles Kurt Oetzel & Lonnie Schwartz 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (7-9) vs. Braiden Hunter & Cameron Jackman#2 Doubles Will Wade & Evan McMillin 7-5, 6-3 vs. Bryce Berkemeier & Alex WainwrightCourtesy of Wildcats Coach Dylan Little.last_img read more

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Bulldogs Middle School Teams Victorious Over Wildcats

first_imgThe Batesville 7th Grade improved to 4-0 with a victory over Franklin County. The Dogs started off a little slow leading at the half 16-12. Batesville came out ready to go in the 2nd half, led by Cade Kaiser who gave an instant energy boost, he was extremely active on both sides of the court. Batesville continued with solid energy and effort the rest of the game that led them to a 42-22 victory. Batesville was led in scoring by Jacob Stenger with 19 points, followed by Cade Kaiser with 13. Will Jaisle 6 points, Jake Chapman 3 points, and Gage Pohlman with 1. The 8th Grade won a close one at Franklin County by a score of 30-28. Franklin County played very physical and with a lot of energy to keep the game close all night. The Bulldogs struggled most of the night offensively but ultimately got enough stops defensively to win the game. Chris Lewis and Jack Grunkemeyer led the way with 7 points apiece, followed by Sam Johnson (6), Conner Drake (4), Gus Prickel (2), Carter Bohman (2), and Deacon Hamilton (2). Batesville moves to 4-0 on the season heading into the holidays.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Tyler Burcham.last_img read more

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Canaries held at home

first_imgNorwich and Fulham laboured to a goalless draw in Saturday afternoon’s Barclays Premier League clash at Carrow Road. Berbatov missed last weekend’s defeat at Manchester United, and soon needed more treatment after he was caught in the face by high boot from Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson and had to go off to the changing room to have stitches in a blooded nose. Norwich almost made their man advantage count as Elliott Bennett’s run down the left found defender Javier Garrido in the left side of the penalty area. The on-loan Lazio man pulled the ball back to Becchio, but his first-time shot lacked pace and was straight at Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer. At the other end, Damien Duff saw his effort blocked by Michael Turner, while Berbatov’s clever flick released Duff on the overlap, but his angled shot was deflected over the crossbar. Norwich defender Russell Martin, captain in place of Holt, planted a free header wide from Johnson’s deep ball into the Fulham penalty area. Fulham started the second half brightly, with midfielder Sidwell testing Norwich keeper Mark Bunn with a 20-yard effort. Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong then took the full force of Bryan Ruiz’s strike in his face as the visitors stepped up a gear. The hosts finally produced some pressure of their own as the hour mark passed, with Robert Snodgrass again the creator down the right before Bennett crashed in a goalbound effort which was blocked by Cottagers captain Brede Hangeland. Fulham made a change after 64 minutes when Emmanuel Frimpong was replaced by Holland defender Urby Emanuelson. Both sides made a substitution with 15 minutes left as Mladen Petric replaced Hugo Rodallega for Fulham, while Norwich sent on Canada forward Simeon Jackson, as Bennett was withdrawn. Johnson stabbed wide from the edge of the box before Kei Kamara came on to replace Becchio for the closing stages of a match which desperately needed a spark. However, the Sierra Leone international’s main contribution was to clatter into Schwarzer at a corner, as the game fizzled out. While a point will edge both sides closer towards safely, there was little creative spark. New Norwich signing Luciano Becchio, in for injured captain Grant Holt who suffered a back spasm on Saturday morning, headed a couple of half-chances wide. Even the return for Dimitar Berbatov from a hamstring injury could not inspire Fulham, with a 25-yard effort from Steve Sidwell at the start of the second half about the best of the visitors’ few chances. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Stoke boss Hughes defends Chelsea

first_img A number of incidents from last weekend’s Barclays Premier League fixtures brought the topic of simulation back to the fore once again. And three of those involved Chelsea players going to ground in their 2-0 home win over Hull, with Willian and Diego Costa being booked for diving either side of Gary Cahill apparently throwing himself to the turf but going unpunished. Press Association “So it is about getting the right decisions from referees, although it is not easy for them to deal with. “I think more and more these days there is more skill in it, with players prepared to go down to gain an advantage even when there has been absolutely no contact whatsoever – that is incorrect, and should not happen. “There is a grey area in terms of players having contact and players just going down without any, so that is what needs stamping out.” Meanwhile, Potters midfielder Glenn Whelan has indicated he wants to stay with Stoke for the rest of his career. Whelan, with the club since 2008, is out of contract next summer and Hughes said on Thursday that an offer of a new deal has been made to the Republic of Ireland international which he is yet to respond to. Quoted by The Sentinel on Friday, Whelan, who last started a Stoke game in early October, said: “I will be just keeping my head down and working as hard as I can to get back in the team, and see where it takes me. “That has done all right for me since I’ve been at Stoke so I’m sure I’ll be okay come the end of the season. “I would definitely like to stay. I have always enjoyed coming in for training and pulling on the red and white jersey. That’s no different now. “It’s difficult because I’m not in the team at the moment. I haven’t actually sat down with the manager or anyone on the board, so where the stories have come from of late I’m not sure. They haven’t come from me. “If we can get something sorted out, it’s not me wanting to leave. For as long as I still have a chance of playing I’ll be doing all I can to spend the rest of my career here.” Tigers boss Steve Bruce described the Cahill incident as being ”like something out of Swan Lake”. But when Hughes, whose 12th-placed team are table-topping Chelsea’s next league opponents, was asked ahead of that meeting if he thought the Blues were particularly guilty of diving, he said: “No – they are no worse than anyone else in my view.” Speaking at his press conference ahead of Monday’s clash at the Britannia Stadium, ex-Chelsea striker Hughes admitted referees currently have a tough task on their hands trying to distinguish between incidents where a “soft” foul has been committed and where there has been no contact, with a player going down deliberately. At the same time, though, the Welshman – who in October defended Victor Moses, the winger on loan at Stoke from Chelsea, amid accusations he dived in a victory over Swansea – does not regard simulation as “a problem right through the game”. Hughes said of the diving debate sparked by last weekend’s incidents: “There is a focus almost every week, and more often than not it changes from one week to the next. “An incident in a game will be highlighted and people will surmise there is a problem right through the game, but I don’t think that is the case. “I think there will always be players maybe anticipating tackles coming in, and when a defender doesn’t, then that can lead to embarrassing situations for the people involved because it looks like they are trying to gain an advantage. “It is important that if somebody is fouled, the right decision is made, even if it is a soft foul – a correct decision is a foul, or a penalty. That is not simulation in my view. Stoke manager Mark Hughes feels Chelsea are no worse offenders than any other side when it comes to diving. last_img read more

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