Mayor must balance business needs with homes

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TrizecHahn in retreat from Milan

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Quake hits Zagreb, PM appeals for social distancing as residents rush onto streets

first_img“We will do our utmost to make the best estimate of what to do at the moment. There are protocols when it comes to an earthquake. But when it comes to an earthquake combined with the global pandemic, then it is a much more complicated situation,” Bozinovic told local media.Plenkovic said the quake, with a magnitude of 5.3 according to GFZ, was the biggest to hit Zagreb in 140 years. It struck 6 km north of the city and was felt across the Western Balkans.Zarko Rasic, head of the Zagreb Emergency Medicine Institute, a children’s hospital, said a 15-year-old was in a critical condition after being found by an emergency services team under a collapsed building and another minor had been admitted with head injuries from a falling roof. He did not give further details on the persons’ identities.The Zagreb Fire Department said firefighting and rescue operations were ongoing at several locations. Read also: Croatian designer launches ‘cheerful’ virus mask linePlenkovic said the army had been called in to help clean up debris in Zagreb and urged citizens to “stay outside and keep your distance”.”The situation is contradictory, we invited people to stay at home to avoid spreading of the corona virus, and now we are advising them to leave their homes,” Plenkovic told a press conference.GFZ downgraded the magnitude of the quake from an initial reading of 6.0.”It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt,” one witness said, adding that it was followed by several aftershocks.A Reuters reporter on the scene saw a church bell tower damaged, some buildings fell down as people fled apartments and took to the streets.The government convened an urgent cabinet meeting and said it would hold another press conference on Sunday afternoon.The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.4, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude earthquake. Topics : A large earthquake struck near the Croatian capital Zagreb on Sunday, leaving a teenager critically injured after an apartment building in the city collapsed, the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences and a hospital official said.Another minor was badly injured and the quake caused several fires and power blackouts in parts of the capital, hospital and emergency services said.Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic called on citizens to remain outside their homes amid potential aftershocks. Plenkovic and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic also appealed for people rushing onto the streets to keep social distances from each other as the country struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus. So far, Croatia has reported 206 cases of the virus and one death.last_img read more

Pandemic risks pushing millions more into child labor: UN

first_imgFriday’s report pointed out that the crisis would likely cause a significant rise in poverty.According to the World Bank, the number of people in extreme poverty could potentially skyrocket by up to 60 million this year alone.”As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labor,” ILO chief Guy Ryder said in a statement.The relation between swelling poverty and a surge in child labor appears clear, the report said, pointing to studies from some countries indicating that a one-percent increase in poverty leads to at least a 0.7-percent rise in child labor. Millions of children could be pushed into work by the coronavirus crisis, the UN said Friday as it braced for the first rise in child labor in two decades.In a joint brief, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, noted that the number of children locked in child labor had declined by 94 million since 2000.But the UN agencies warned that “the COVID-19 pandemic poses very real risks of backtracking.” ‘Coping mechanism’ The brief pointed out that children who lose one or both parents during the coronavirus crisis could be forced to step in as breadwinners or find themselves more vulnerable to exploitation.Girls, it warned, were particularly vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work.”In times of crisis, child labor becomes a coping mechanism for many families,” UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in the statement. The agencies voiced alarm at mounting evidence that child labor has risen as schools have closed during the pandemic.They noted that temporary school closures were now affecting more than one billion pupils in over 130 countries.And even when classes restart, parents might no longer be able to pay for school.The brief proposed a range of corrective measures, including the elimination of school fees, and urged countries to boost social protections and provide easier access to credit for poor households.”As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future,” Fore said.”Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers.”According to the most recent ILO estimates published in 2017, around 152 million children were forced into work from 2012 to 2016, including 73 million in hazardous positions.The UN is to release fresh data on the extent of child labor globally next year.  The report also stressed that the crisis could push children already working to put in longer hours under worsening conditions.Others could be forced into the worst forms of labor, seriously threatening their health and safety, it said. Topics :last_img read more

At Allegheny County League of Municipalities Conference, Governor Wolf Warns of Fiscal Cliff Facing Pennsylvania

first_img Budget News,  Fiscal Cliff,  Press Release Seven Springs, PA — Governor Tom Wolf joined the Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM) at their Annual Spring Conference today to discuss the issues facing municipalities across Pennsylvania. With Pennsylvania facing a more than $2 billion budget deficit, the state is facing a fiscal cliff for the 2016-17 year. The impact of failing to address this financial crisis will directly affect local municipalities.“If Pennsylvania’s financial house is out of order, then the commonwealth cannot be the full partner that local communities need us to be,” said Governor Wolf. “Today, I want to reassure you that I will continue to fight for a fair, smart, and honest budget in Harrisburg so that our local communities can have fair taxes, good schools, and manageable operating costs. Let’s get Pennsylvania back on track together.”In March, Governor Wolf let the Republican 2015-16 budget become law in order to move on from the budget impasse and address the state’s financial challenges in the 2016-17 budget. However, if the General Assembly does not approve a responsible plan to solve this crisis this year, every Pennsylvanian will suffer real, immediate consequences.At the conference today, Governor Wolf outlined four changes at the state level that will avoid these severe consequences and make local communities more successful:The state needs to level the playing field of the tax system by alleviating the inherently unfair reliance on local property taxes, which places an especially tremendous burden on older and poorer communities.Pennsylvania needs to improve its schools by taking on a larger state share of the education funding burden and distributing state proceeds according to a fair funding formula. Pennsylvania will not prosper if we don’t commit ourselves to fair and adequate funding of our schools.The commonwealth needs to work with local municipalities to address the legacy costs that communities are faced with, including municipal pension costs.Finally, Harrisburg needs to pass a fiscally responsible budget that addresses the state’s deficit. Pennsylvania has been downgraded five times in five years by the Standard and Poor, Moody’s, and Fitch credit agencies, and this financial mess has already hit local communities in the form of cuts to education and human services.“The policy environment in Pennsylvania has grown increasingly hostile to older municipalities over the past half century, particularly in our heavy reliance on local property taxes to fund essential services” said Governor Wolf. “We need to change course when it comes to shaping the environment in which our state’s municipalities operate and serve.”ALOM is a voluntary umbrella organization of boroughs, townships, cities, home rule municipalities, municipal authorities, and Allegheny County officials which coordinates a systematic and cooperative approach to municipal legislation and services. The League works with government associations to encourage intergovernmental cooperation and improve government liaisons. The three-day conference addressed topics such as pensions, education, workforce development, public utilities, infrastructure, healthcare, emergency preparedness, and the opioid epidemic.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf At Allegheny County League of Municipalities Conference, Governor Wolf Warns of Fiscal Cliff Facing Pennsylvania April 08, 2016center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Five ways to put your equity to work for you … believe it or not, one is to take a holiday

first_imgNathan Birch used equity elsewhere to buy this Gold Coast property for $161,000 last year and has seen its value go to $230,000. He rents it out for $240 a week.TURNING your home into an income earner for the family has become increasingly popular as interest rates hit record lows. Here are five strategies to make the most of the equity you’ve built up.Property investment group BInvested.com.au head Nathan Birch, who built up major property portfolio by reinvesting equity into further properties, said homeowners had several strategies at their disposal to put their equity to work for them.He recommended five – only two of which actually involved further funds going into property. Nathan Birch’s real estate investments includes four residential properties in Queensland. Deposit for an investment property Putting home equity up for a deposit to buy another property was one of Mr Birch’s key strategies to build a multimillion-dollar portfolio. He believed that building wealth through property was key to a passive income and early retirement. “With multiple investment properties where rent is covering the repayments, you can set yourself up for the future,” he said in a statement. “Look for properties that are below market value, have high growth potential and a strong cash flow.” The upstairs deck of the Mount Coolum investment unit that’s rented out at $520 a week. Education Using home equity to upskill and ultimately increase your salary or add value “can be another way to invest your equity wisely”. “Look for a skill gap in your current workplace where you can add value and let your employer know that you’re interested in learning a new skill.” Rest and Rejuvenation Surprisingly given all the hype of growth in household debt, Mr Birch believed that using some of that home equity for a short break can be a good thing. “It might sound counter-productive to spend a little of your equity on a short-term experience, but a short break to hit reset can help you gain a fresh perspective and clarity on what you’ve achieved and where you’re heading.” He justifies it by saying a break could help “refocus on the long-term view”. Invest in other wealth-building opportunities He said there were other investment opportunities that could put your equity to work. “Can you start a new business? Invest in shares? Invest in start-ups? Invest in new currencies?” But he said do the research and make “an informed decision about the best use of your coin”. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK FREE: GET THE COURIER-MAIL’S REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO INBOX Mr Birch paid $370,000 in 2011 for this three storey unit in Mount Coolum. He bought this Gold Coast house in 2014 for $200,000, has seen another $80,000 added to its value and currently rents it out at $250 a week.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus23 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market23 hours ago Renovate an existing property Mr Birch’s strategy when deciding whether to use equity to renovate a property was to ask himself “is this renovation going to make a return, will it stop me losing more money, or is it just an emotional decision?” He said it was important to know what the work was being done for and how it would help long-term goals because “not all renovations will bring a financial return”. “Do the minimum but make sure the property is kept up to standard. If you have a badly maintained property, you’ll attract bad tenants. Similarly, if you don’t repair things like faulty taps, they’ll cause you more trouble down the line.” WHAT A MILLION-DOLLAR MAKEOVER GETS YOU IN BRISBANE HOUSE SOLD FOR LESS THAN COST OF UNIT NO RBA RATE RISE FOR A GENERATION last_img read more

UK roundup: Pension Insurance Corporation, Pension Protection Fund

first_imgThe transaction adds to PIC’s written business in 2014. The company currently dominates the UK bulk annuity market, writing more than half of all business in 2013.The trustee board and the sponsor, FreemantleMedia, were both advised by KPMG.In other news, figures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) showed the aggregate deficit for 6,150 UK defined benefit (DB) schemes remained relatively stable over April.However, the figures – calculated via s179, which estimates the deficit of schemes on a PPF-level benefits basis – officially show an increase in the deficit from £70bn to £112.3bn, after a change in the assumptions used in s179.The fund recently reduced the effective yield used in the discount rate, and updated mortality assumptions, fuelling the deficit rise.Over April, the schemes witnessed asset increases of £6.3bn, as the total level hit £1.15trn.Liabilities increased by £48.7bn to £1.26trn, with deficit levels reaching £112.3bn.The fund stressed that the rise in liabilities was purely down to the assumptions within s179, and that, when using the now outdated calculation, deficits only rose by £1bn.Funding ratios among the 6,150 schemes averaged at 91.1%. The Freemantle Group Pension Plan has completed a £47m (€57m) buy-in insurance arrangement with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).The deal covers liabilities for some pensioners and deferred members for the scheme, whose sponsor is known for popular British reality shows The X Factor and The Apprentice.Chairwoman of the trustee board, Sarah Tingay, said PIC’s selection as insurer was based on its price and the offer of a structure that met the needs of the sponsor.“A transaction of this nature is never easy to put together,” she said, “but, with advice from KPMG and a flexible and proactive attitude from PIC, we were able to secure our members’ benefits for the long term.”last_img read more

Campaign group urges ABP to vote for carbon-free Shell

first_imgA group of 67 Dutch professors has urged the €409bn civil service scheme ABP to support a resolution at Royal Dutch Shell’s annual general meeting in May to make the energy firm carbon-free by 2050.In a letter, published by Dutch daily newspaper NRC, the signatories argued that Shell’s promise last November to halve the carbon footprint of its products by 2050 was insufficient to meet the climate targets of the Paris agreement.In the opinion of the professors – who formed part of an association of private green-minded shareholders, named Follow This – Shell could become carbon-free by investing its profits in sustainable energy rather than in oil exploration.The professors said they wanted their pension contributions to be deployed to turn Shell into a sustainable firm. They said the only alternative for ABP was to divest from Shell – an approach being advocated by NL Fossil Free, another Dutch pressure group.Many of the signatories to the letter were conducting research on climate, ecology and geophysics. They included Fieke van der Lecq, professor of pension markets at Amsterdam’s Free University and Herman Wijffels, professor of sustainability and social change at Utrecht University.Wijffels is also co-founder of the Sustainable Finance Lab, former executive chairman of Rabobank and former chair of the Social and Economic Council.In the past, ABP has voted against resolutions tabled by Follow This. In 2017, it opposed the group’s call on Shell to set CO2 emission targets that would keep global warming considerably lower than two degrees Celsius.At the AGM, just 6.3% of shareholders supported the resolution, although supporters included large Dutch asset managers, such as MN, Achmea IM, Actiam and Van Lanschot Kempen.At the time, ABP said it opposed the resolution as it also involved emissions as a result of the use of fossil fuels sold by Shell, so-called “scope three” emissions. ABP agreed with Shell that the oil giant could not be held responsible for these emissions.However, Shell later announced that it would halve its emissions, including those from its products.In 2016, ABP also opposed a resolution from Follow This, arguing that shareholders should not step into the board’s shoes. However, according to the professors, this problem could be solved by requesting the board to set goals.last_img read more

Hardware store trip gives Ferny Hills renovator a huge lift

first_imgHe has incorporated floating cabinetry and warm timber reveals to change the space dynamics of the four-bedroom house. SEE WHAT ELSE IS FOR SALE IN FERNY HILLS Timber cabinetry in the kitchen.“I enjoy doing projects at home, sometimes the stairs, the bathroom, the deck, the bench and downlights.”Curving the timber around the pool deck was a particularly challenging project. >>>FOLLOW THE COURIER-MAIL REAL ESTATE TEAM ON FACEBOOK<<< The architectural engineer who lives here has turned his renovation into a series of weekend projects.IT’S the house that cages rocks, bends timbers, lifts carpets and floats cabinets and it’s not Hogwarts.The secret behind Ron Van Sluijs stylish Ferny Hills renovation is to work within your means.“When I was a student, I wanted to have really nice furniture, I couldn’t afford that so I just built it myself.”Now a professional architectural engineer, Van Sluijs is making ‘okay money’ but he’s the first to admit he’s not rich so he had to be smart about the renovation of his 13 Wanawong Court home.Ripping up the carpet was his first smart move.“The whole house was carpeted, but if you lifted a little bit of carpet you could see very polished hardwood floors,” he said. The exposed staircase with timber pigeonhole bookshelf built into the wall. Timber framing around the window reveals. And he has done it without spending a fortune.“I wasn’t rich so I had to be smart with what I could do,” he said.A trip to the local hardware store saw him load up on plywood decking boards which he mitre cut to put in the window reveals.“They cost next to nothing and all the joinery in the house I’ve used those decking boards.”He has renovated bathrooms, the kitchen, stripped back the staircase and built a pigeonhole bookshelf above.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 Construction of the curved timber pool deck with clamps in place. The granite theme begins at the entrance to the property with this mailbox. Mr Van Sluijs is now selling his home and moving to acreage.It is being sold by Bradley Butten of Professionals Priority Ferny Hills with offers over $699,000 invited. Lifting the carpets has revealed a beautiful polished timber floorboard.It has delighted Mr Van Sluijs to continue the timber theme throughout his renovation of 13 Wanawong Court, Ferny Hills, over the last 14 years ago. Floating cabinetry is a feature in the bathrooms.Outside, rock baskets feature from the front mailbox to the retaining wall with timber planter boxes. Twenty tonnes of granite have been used to form a caged retaining wall. The finished curved pool deck. Another challenge has been the bathroom.“The bench talks to the mirror, talks to the louvres on the right and the built-in shelving unit with the laundry basket with big handles made from double decking board.”last_img read more

Sweden’s newest freight port opens for business

first_imgAs explained, this is an energy-efficient navigation beacon with the technology to position-monitor and remotely adjust the buoy’s light intensity. Stockholm Norvik Port also took delivery of the first two straddle carriers of a total of eight straddle carriers that will handle containers at the port. Photo credit Per-Erik Adamsson/Ports of Stockholm. Initially, the straddle carriers will be manually operated but are intended to be completely automated and operate autonomously within the next couple of years. Work is ongoing to complete the other part of Stockholm Norvik Port, the RoRo terminal, which is planned to open during the autumn. The port provides modern and efficient transport solutions through its proximity to the major shipping fairways, a natural depth of 16.5 metres, and good land infrastructure connections, including a newly built railway line. As the new port is in the middle of the growing Stockholm Miller Valley region, it is expected to bring considerable environmental advantages, as more goods would be transported by sea instead of by road. They will be operated remotely from a control centre in the port’s main building, with no operator on the cranes themselves, and 80 per cent of the lifting will be automated. The container terminal is now open, both for vessel calls and for shore-based business operations at the port. The buoy is part of the EU Intelligent Sea project, which is using digitalisation to improve safety and efficiency in shipping fairways. What is more, a smart buoy was installed in the shipping fairway just outside Stockholm Norvik Port in March. center_img Over the past few months, Stockholm Norvik Port has been receiving new environmentally-friendly equipment that would ensure efficiency at the port’s facilities. The largest container cranes in the Baltic Sea have been in place at Stockholm Norvik Port since March. Sweden’s newest freight port Stockholm Norvik Port has been commissioned into service having welcomed its first containership on May 27th, 2020. The container terminal is run by Hutchison Ports, one of the world’s largest container terminal operators, with 52 ports in 27 countries. The Unifeeder vessel SCA Tunadal claimed the port’s maiden container ship call, marking the final stage of the port’s development. The construction of the port was launched in September 2016. “We are looking forward to being able to offer our customers the best possible service, at a newly built port that provides an efficient port infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment,” explains Lawrence Yam, CEO, Hutchison Ports Stockholm. “It is a fantastic feeling to be able at last to open Stockholm Norvik Port and to know that we can now assure the sustainable transport of goods to and from the greater Stockholm region for many, many years to come,” said Johan Wallén, Marketing and Sales Manager at Ports of Stockholm. The cranes each measure 120 meters tall at their maximum height setting and have a lifting capacity of just over 80 tonnes. The cranes can serve the largest vessels of the world without any height restrictions.last_img read more