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Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”

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Apple unveils new MacBook Air laptops, iLife ’11 software suite

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In a Wednesday media event, Apple Inc. released a new lineup of MacBook Air laptops and the 2011 version of the company’s iLife software suite. The “Back to the Mac” event also included a preview of Apple’s forthcoming Mac OS X Lion operating system, to be released in mid-2011.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new products at the Cupertino, California event, saying the company has “been inspired by the work [it has] done on the iPad, and [it wants] to bring it back to the Mac.” Apple has plans to import more features of its iOS mobile operating system to the Mac OS X operating system.

Jobs announced today that the “Lion” release to OS X, which is scheduled for release next summer, will include more support for multitouch and a desktop version of the company’s App Store. He said that the App Store will be available for Apple’s current OS “Snow Leopard” within 90 days, and that applications can be submitted starting next month. Jobs also announced that a beta version of FaceTime, Apple’s IOS video calling application, would be available for OS X users immediately. Several new applications will be added in OS X Lion, dubbed “Mission Control” and “Launchpad.”

“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like. Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”

In his keynote address Wednesday, Jobs announced the release of Apple’s iLife ’11 software suite, which includes the iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand programs. iPhoto has new slide show templates, while iMovie has added audio editing capabilities. GarageBand now includes several new piano- and guitar-playing lessons. iLife ’11 was released on Wednesday as a US$49 upgrade, and is also available free with new Mac purchases.

In another move to bring iOS functionality to Macintosh computers, Jobs announced an updated MacBook Air series of laptops, on sale now. The new MacBook Air uses flash memory rather than a traditional hard drive, and has no CD/DVD drive, an approach seen on the iPad tablet computer. In addition, the laptop’s battery life has been extended, even though it is only 0.68 in (1.73 cm) thick and weighs less than 3 lbs (1.36 kg). “We think it’s the future of notebooks,” said Jobs. There are now two models of the MacBook Air: an 11.6-inch (29.46-cm) version and a 13.3-inch (33.78-cm) model. Analyst Shawn Wu says the company “priced it really aggressively,” referring to the computer’s base price of US$999.

Jobs said that his company sold 13.7 million Macs last year, totaling US$22 billion. In the last financial quarter, Mac sales increased 22 percent, comprising 24 percent of total revenue for Apple. However, the original MacBook Air did not fare so well. Sales and hype over the first Air decreased soon after its introduction, and the line was overshadowed by the release of Apple’s 13-inch (33.02-cm) MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air had not been significantly updated since 2008.

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How To Find The Best Hot Tubs In Pearland

byadmin

Finding ways to increase the appeal and functionality of a home is a lot harder than most people realize. A homeowner will need to do a great deal of research before choosing additions for their residence. If a person is looking for a way to add a higher degree of relaxation to their residence, investing in Hot Tubs in Pearland is a great idea.

There are a number of hot tubs on the market. That is why a homeowner will have to do their homework before choosing one. Here are just some of the things a homeowner needs to focus on when trying to get the best hot tub.

Where Will the New Hot Tub Be Installed?

Before heading out to look at hot tubs, a homeowner needs to get an idea of where they want to put it. If the home has a deck, a person may want to think about putting their hot tub on it. Once a homeowner has made a decision on where to put the hot tub, they will need to take some measurements.

With these measurements, a homeowner will have no problem narrowing down the selection of hot tubs on the market. Going into this buying process without this type of information will generally lead to mistakes being made.

Choosing the Right Supplier

The key to getting the right hot tub is finding a reputable and experienced supplier. Before a person uses a particular hot tub supplier, they will need to do some research. Finding out how long a supplier has been in business and what type of track record they have is essential.

Once a homeowner has the important information, they should have no problem making this important decision. Getting some guidance from professionals can help a homeowner avoid making costly mistakes.

The money paid for quality hot tubs in Pearland will be worth it considering how much enjoyment a hot tub can provide. The team at Cryer Pools have quality hot tubs at very affordable prices. Call them or click here to get a look at the hot tubs they have in stock and to see how much they charge.

Al-Jazeera poll shows many Pakistanis identify America as ‘biggest’ threat

Monday, August 10, 2009

A poll commissioned by the news network Al Jazeera in Pakistan has concluded that a majority of Pakistanis believe that Pakistan’s largest military aid donor, the United States, is the “biggest” threat to the country today.

The polling was conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International. Of the more than 2,600 Pakistanis polled 11% believed Taliban fighters to be the biggest threat, another 18% believed neighboring India to be the biggest threat to Pakistan. However, 59% (1,534) of the 2,600 Pakistanis polled believed that the United States is the biggest threat to Pakistan today.

A probable cause of resentment of the United States in Pakistan are the drone attacks, which are opposed by 66% of those polled, according to Al Jazeera. Drone attacks killed four civilians in Southern Afghanistan near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Wednesday, August, 5. In October, 2006, a drone attack hit a school in South Waziristan killing 80 people causing unrest in Pakistan.

Other results of the poll showed that 67% of Pakistanis polled, oppose U.S military intervention on Pakistan soil. Another 41% support negotiations with the Taliban.

The poll also revealed that some are dissatisfied with the current government of Pakistan, showing only 11% support for the current president, Asif Ali Zardari.

A sample size of 2662 people (52% men and 48% women) across all four Pakistani provinces was utilized for face-to-face questioning. The poll was conducted on July 26 and 27, 2009 and is considered accurate to the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 2-3%.

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Pakistani President met with protest on fifth day of UK tour

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, was met with a 250-strong protest today, during his visit to Birmingham, England. The protest was held outside the International Convention Centre (ICC) venue in the British city, where the president addressed supporters of his Pakistan Peoples Party and leading figures of the Pakistani community. Al Jazeera reported that two shoes were thrown at Zardari as he delivered his address, by a man who reportedly managed to break through police barriers to make a personal protest against the President.

Pakistan is experiencing the worst flooding in eighty years and it has been reported that the floods have now hit 14 million people. The president has faced criticism for continuing his tour during the crisis and though the messages of the protesters were many and varied, shown by placards ranging from “Save Pakistan from American terror and Zardari” to “Stop killing innocent Christians, repeal blasphemy law 295 B and 295 A”, Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher said “[the] one thing they all agree on is that he should not be here.”

Inside the ICC, speaking to a group of supporters, Mr Zardari said the trip had been crucial in raising more than £20 million in aid from Britain and France and for resolving the diplomatic rift between Pakistan and Britain, caused by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments about alleged Pakistani terror links. David Cameron said on July 28 that “we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and…promote the export of terror”. The Pakistani President has said that his European tour is essential to mend the diplomatic rift these comments have caused.

The President’s son has also defended the tour, saying “He’s doing the best he can and what he thinks is best to help the people of Pakistan.” He added that “his personal presence in Pakistan would not be able to raise this much money.”

The Financial Times said the President “struggled at times to be heard above the chanting of hundreds of supporters.” The chanting from the protesters arrayed outside the ICC could also be heard from where the President gave his speech. Many were calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan the President’s trip has been kept as cheap as possible, with Mr Zardari staying in the “cheapest five-star hotel in Central London” while he met with Mr Cameron. But at today’s protest many held placards decrying the fact that while money was urgently needed in Pakistan the President was taking a tour that would cost the country. Two examples of such placards were: “Thousands dying president is holidaying” and “while Pakistan floods Zadradi enjoys”.

The demonstration was held in the shadow of the Hyatt Regency Hotel where Mr Zardari has been staying. It is one of the most expensive hotels in Birmingham but the raised bridge that links directly to the ICC does provide the best security for the President.

Mohammed Khalil, a local official from the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told the AFP that “He should be there organising for his own people. Instead he’s here with so many people. The government is paying all the expense for that. That money should be spent on the people of Pakistan, not on himself.” However the President’s son said millions had been raised from Britain and France because of the tour, and that the President would return once worldwide attention had died down.

The protest itself carried on for many hours, from before 2:00 in the afternoon until 4:25, when it ended with a prayer ceremony. The protest reflected the prominence of the Islamic faith in Pakistani culture, with a tarpaulin stretched on the ground to allow for Muslim prayer. National feeling was strong, shown by the numerous Pakistani flags being flown, and the presence of the closing religious ceremony and Islamic prayer mirrors the close-knit relationship nationalist and religious feeling have in Pakistan.

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No oil spillage after platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An oil platform owned by Mariner Energy has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico throwing thirteen people into the water, reports indicate. All thirteen men who fell into the water have been accounted for, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No injuries were reported. Smoke was billowing from the oil rig named Vermilion 380, which is reported to still be on fire.

The blast occurred at around 9:19 a.m., approximately 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay off the coast of Louisiana. The Coast Guard confirms the platform was producing oil and gas at the time it exploded. They earlier reported a one mile long and 100 foot wide oil sheen which was spotted at the site of the explosion shortly after authorities responded to the scene, but later backtracked saying they could not confirm the presence of a sheen. Coast Guard chief petty officer John Edwards of the US Coast Guard earlier said that the platform, “was not actively producing any product.” Mariner Energy also released a statement earlier saying no oil sheen was spotted.

“In an initial flyover, no hydrocarbon spill was reported,” said Mariner Energy in a press release following the explosion. “The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate.” According to Bureau of Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement spokesperson Melissa Schwartz, the platform was authorized to produce natural gas and oil at those depths, but “there were ongoing maintenance activities underway” which caused it to stop producing. The platform sits in about 2,500 feet of water, though some reports put the platform in 340 feet of water.

As a result of the explosion and fire, Bobby Jindal, the governor for the state of Louisiana said that the Vermillion 380 platform had been “shut” and that oil flowing from the bottom of the Gulf has been stopped. At least 6 other platforms are said to be connected to the well that Vermilion 380 was part of. Jindal also said the fire was burning due to flammable materials on the platform.

Apache Corporation, which has agreed to, but has not yet completed a merger with Mariner Energy, did not comment on whether the explosion would have any effect on the deal. The vice-president Bob Dye told Wikinews that “Apache and Mariner agreed to merge in April, 2010, however, the transaction has not yet closed so Mariner remains the operator of this platform”.

All 13 people have been rescued by an oil support vessel and have been transported to a nearby platform. Edwards earlier told MSNBC that all those who were in the water were “wearing some sort of an immersion suit that protects them from the water. Right now we’re focused on search and rescue and then, ultimately, as this thing progresses we’re going to be looking into the cause.”

The explosion comes only four months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig run by BP exploded in April, resulting in a massive oil spill. The platform is located about 200 miles west of the Deepwater incident.

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Marketing In Phoenix: Fourth Generation Websites Are The Real Deal

Submitted by: Allan Starr

It seems apparent to us here at Marketing Partners of Arizona that we now have seen three generations of websites, and now have entered a fourth generation. Come with me now as we revisit the progression of this phenomenon:

First Generation It was, just get a website up, and you are among the elite marketers. Content was immaterial, just having one legitimized your business and told others you definitely were with it. The early examples, even those handled by marketing agencies or advertising firms were little more than flash pages. These online flyers contained little more than basic, bare bones information, but they offered the perpetrator great credibility. This was especially strong when accompanied by a URL on business cards, brochures and stationery. Company operatives would eagerly ask anyone within earshot, Have you looked at our website? Can you estimate how long it s been since you were asked, Do you have a website? Why, today, that would be an insult!

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Second Generation These were more comprehensive, and actually ushered in the requirement for some navigation acumen on the part of the webmaster team, whether that be led by an internal staff member, business owner or outside public relations or Web design firm. Little more than electronic, print-oriented brochures, they, nonetheless, were characterized by a certain degree of sophistication, particularly in how the material was organized and presented. Now, entities who heretofore were price prohibited from producing four-color printed pieces for themselves and clients, could include colorful displays amidst the copy blocks.

Third Generation Indeed, in this phase websites had come of age with flash, blog windows, videos, sound, e-commerce capabilities, imbedded forms and no small amount of dazzle. Unfortunately, in the craze to be state-of-the-art it also signaled the birth of the website on steroids, particularly in the area of a feverish urge for information overload and to a regrettable degree unintended redundancy and irrelevance.

Fourth Generation The trend in today s websites, at least those we are asked by Marketing Partners clients to produce are far more basic. As the bloom has come off the overkill rose, website developers have been told, Keep it short, simple, but clear and strong. This, to my mind, is a stunning example of Back to the Future simplicity a new age of directness and meaningful content. Today s best practices websites seem to be trending in the direction that amounts to a refreshing backlash against the monstrosities that arose in the previous generation of website excess.

How is it around your business? I know our diverse web clients are now demanding clarity of message, super-clean layouts and calls to action. This is combined with a perceived need to include Contact Us response devices that are designed to provide a brief but adequate enough amount of information in order to help clearly determine respondents needs and wishes.

Shakespeare said, Brevity is the soul of wit, and marketers have finally come to realize that their online visitors don t want to devote much time to getting the drift of what is offered in terms of their own best interests.

About the Author: Allan Starr, founder of Marketing Partners of AZ, is former president of the Phoenix Advertising Club, governor of the Southwest District of the American Advertising Federation, and served six terms on the board of directors of The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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US unemployment rate down to ten percent

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that unemployment in the country edged down from 10.2% to 10% in November, with fewer jobs lost in the previous two months than anticipated. The latest monthly figure was discussed at a congressional hearing yesterday as president Barack Obama welcomed the news but said he is still not satisfied.

At a hearing of the bipartisan Joint Economic Committee at the Senate, lawmakers from both major US political parties cited the November unemployment figure as welcome progress. However, they also noted the economic pain many of their constituents are still feeling in an economy struggling with deep recession.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Americans at all levels, but notably the middle class, continue to struggle. “While parts of our economy are clearly stabilizing, with the Dow Jones over 10,000 again, it is clear that other parts of the economy are still struggling. We need to make sure that all Americans, not just the folks who happen to work on Wall Street, feel that we are digging ourselves out of the hole,” she commented.

Despite a generally upward trend in recent months on Wall Street, Obama, administration officials, and economists continue to caution that employment will lag behind other indicators of economic recovery.

Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the November figure, which still represents 15.4 million Americans out of work, is the lowest monthly job loss since the official beginning of the US recession in December 2007, and follows moderating figures in three previous months.

But in an economy that has lost jobs for 23 consecutive months, Hall noted that long-term unemployed continued to grow, rising by 293,000 to 5.9 million, with little change in the number of Americans employed part-time but seeking full-time work.

Democrat Carolyn Maloney asked him about economist’s predictions that it would take 10.7 million jobs created to return the country to full employment. “Well, without offering an opinion on that 10.7 million jobs, at that rate though, it would be about three years,” said Mr. Hall.

Opposition Republicans responded to the latest figures by focusing on specific sectors that continue to lag and renewing their assertions that steps President Obama has taken since he came to office, such as the $787 billion stimulus, have had little impact on the economy.

Kevin Brady is the Republican co-chair of the committee. He said while the November figures are good news, there is not much more to celebrate.”We can’t celebrate a 10 percent unemployment rate, especially when the long-term unemployment continues to grow in very troubling numbers.”

But Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings noted what he called a major improvement with job losses going from 700,000 per month at the start of the recession to 11,000 in November. “The report we received this morning is a clear indicator that the economy is slowly returning to growth,” he said.

In an appearance in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama called the jobs figure “modestly encouraging”, but noted that he will not be satisfied until there is sustained significant improvement. “We have still got a long way to go. I consider one job loss one job too many and as I said yesterday at a jobs conference in Washington. Good trends don’t pay the rent. We have got to actually grow jobs and get America back to work as quickly as we can,” he said.

The president had held a so-called jobs summit at the White House this week seeking support from business and union leaders for his economic recovery efforts.

Republicans responded with their own event on Capitol Hill, where economists such as Douglas Holtz Eakin, the former adviser to Senator John McCain who lost the 2008 election to Obama, questioned his approach to recovery. “Job creation in the United States is something that small businesses, entrepreneurs and the private sector will do but they cannot do it if they are burdened by a legacy of debt and the prospect of higher taxes to pay off that debt and that is the most troubling aspect of the policies this administration is pursuing,” he said.

In testimony to Congress this week, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke agreed with economists who caution that despite hopeful predictions of moderately strong economic growth unemployment is likely to remain high well into 2010.

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Heavy snow fall disrupts UK transportation and communications

Monday, February 2, 2009

The heaviest snow to fall for 6 years has caused transport problems in some parts of the United Kingdom, especially in London, where it was the heaviest snow for 18 years. It was caused by cold air travelling westwards towards the British Isles from Poland and Russia. As showers moved across the North Sea towards the east coast of Britain, it fell as snow. Throughout Monday, weather fronts pushed in from the south east in Belgium and France towards the South East of Britain. The weather fronts pushed their way further north and westwards.

Almost a foot (30cm) of snow has fallen in the south-east of England, halting train and bus services and making driving treacherous. Flights to and from London’s Heathrow and City airports and the outer London Gatwick and Stansted airports are suffering delays and cancellations. In some affected areas, the majority of schools have been closed.

The centre of London, which usually sees no snow at all most years, has around 4″ (10cm) of laying snow, whilst Kent, Sussex and Surrey have up to 10″ (25cm). The snow reduces further north but has still disrupted travel, with England’s Highways Agency advising against car journeys unless essential. The agency had 500 gritters clearing main roads during the night and 600 motorway patrols out in the morning. Stretches of motorway and main road have been blocked by jack-knifed lorries or closed as a pre-emptive measure.

The snow caused disruption to British transport websites, with National Rail Enquiries, Transport for London and South West Trains websites all brought down by heavy traffic. The Highways Agency’s site was also unavailable and returned with interactive features turned off. People calling and texting during the abortive rush hour jammed the mobile telephone networks. Mobile network ‘3‘ said it had seen “a very steep jump in the number of picture message sent across the network” whilst T-Mobile UK reported 73% more calls, 21% more texts and 20% more broadband bandwidth being used than usual.

The Met Office has a severe weather warning in place for England, Wales and parts of Scotland, with further snow expected across the country later in the week.

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