Hong Kong leader says coronavirus now spreading ‘out of control’

first_imgTopics : The deadly coronavirus is spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 100 new cases confirmed, the finance hub’s leader said Sunday as she tightened social distancing measures to tackle the sudden surge in infections.The finance hub was one of the first places to be struck by the virus when it emerged from central China.  But the city had impressive success in tackling the disease, all but ending local transmissions by late June.  Lam announced new social distancing measures last week, shuttering many businesses including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transport.Restaurants were ordered to only offer takeout services in the evenings. On Sunday Lam announced even more regulations, including plans to make it compulsory to wear masks inside any public indoor venue — and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work for home. As hospital wards fill, officials are also scrambling to build a further 2,000 isolation rooms on barren land near the city’s Disneyland resort to monitor and treat those who test positive, she added. Hong Kong was already mired in recession when the pandemic hit thanks to the US-China trade war and months of political unrest last year.The new partial lockdown has compounded the economic misery. On Sunday, Lam called for landlords to look at lowering rents in the notoriously expensive city where inequality is rampant.She said further social distancing measures would be rolled out if the daily infection rate did not ease in coming days. However, she said she was keen to avoid ordering people to remain at home.”We can’t just make a simple and extreme move to cut everything at once,” Lam said. Authorities say testing will be ramped up, targeting high-risk populations such as taxi drivers and restaurant workers after clusters were found within their ranks.Some of the new infections have swept through elderly care homes, a major cause of concern given how deadly the coronavirus is to older people.So far, 12 people have died after contracting the virus in Hong Kong — four in the last fortnight.Lam said officials would try to strike a balance between protecting health and keeping the economy partially afloat.”It’s hard to tell what kind of measures we will need to roll out… many places have ordered people to stay home,” she said. “We haven’t adopted that in the last six months because we wanted to maintain a normal life for everyone.”center_img However, in the last two weeks, infections have spiked once more and doctors fear the new outbreak is now spreading undetected in the densely packed territory of 7.5 million people.On Sunday chief executive Carrie Lam said more than 500 infections had been confirmed in the last fortnight alone, nearly a third since the outbreak began. On Sunday 108 new infections were recorded by health authorities, a daily high for the finance hub, bringing the total to 1,886 cases.”I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control,” Lam told reporters.last_img read more

Home loan arrears hit five-year high with mining regions suffering most

first_imgEight of the 10 regions with the highest 30-plus delinquency rates were in either Western Australia or Queensland. Picture: iStockHOME loan arrears have hit a five-year high, with Queensland and Western Australia in the crosshairs, the latest Moody’s Investors Service report has found.Moody’s vice president and senior analyst Alena Chen said regions with exposure to the resource and mining sectors dominated the list of areas with the highest delinquencies in May 2017. “Eight of the 10 regions with the highest 30-plus delinquency rates were in either Western Australia or Queensland, and many of these regions are exposed to industries directly or indirectly related to mining and resources.”HIP POCKET: Household debt front and centre: RBA AWARD-WINNING: Take a tour: State’s best homes of 2017 More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoWEEK’S BEST: This home sale has topped QLD Moody’s Investors Service said the proportion of Australian residential mortgages more than 30 days in arrears rose to 1.62 per cent in May 2017, which was the highest rate seen in five years. In May 2016, it was at 1.5 per cent.Analysts expected to see delinquencies continue to increase this year because of weaker conditions in areas that rely on mining, high underemployment and a less favourable housing market.“The mining downturn has dampened economic growth in resource-reliant states, such as Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and we expect this situation will weigh on mortgage performance for some time.”Underemployment was estimated at 8.57 per cent on average nationwide in August, with unemployment at 5.6 per cent.“Underemployment results in lower income and reduced capacity to make mortgage repayments, increasing the risk of delinquencies and defaults,” Moody’s said. *Follow SOPHIE FOSTER on Twitter and Facebooklast_img read more

Italian government to ‘help’ pension funds invest in domestic economy

first_imgItaly’s finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan has made a commitment to help create the conditions for “spontaneous” investment by pension funds in the Italian economy.Speaking at a conference hosted by government-backed pension think tank MEFOP in Rome, Padoan said the government wanted to act as “facilitator” to make sure institutional investors met the demand for finance from Italy’s corporate sector.Padoan, who is heading the EU finance ministers’ council Ecofin as Italy takes the EU presidency for the next six months, spoke of “market failure” in Italy as, he says, “there is no investment in assets with specific duration or in specific sectors or geographies – this is not a problem that only concerns Italy, as Australia, as head of the G20 in 2014, has also put it at the top of its agenda.”He added: “I will make sure the ministry I represent makes all the effort and provides all help needed to foster spontaneous investment by pension funds in the economy. Government action can facilitate the creation of new markets, in full respect of the autonomy of investors.” Mauro Maré, MEFOP chairman and professor of finance at Università della Tuscia, cited data from pension regulator Covip showing investment in Italian listed companies from pension funds amounted to 0.9% of overall assets in 2013.Total assets for the sector (including first-pillar casse di previdenza) topped €170bn at the end of last year.Maré proposed a solution where pension funds would set up by themselves a fund for investment in the real economy, with an ad-hoc governance structure.Other solutions being discussed is having state bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti borrow money from pension funds and redistribute it to firms.Italy has also created ‘minibonds’ to facilitate the issuing of credit by SMEs, although the market has failed to grow.However, experts at the conference expressed conflicting opinions on whether Italian pension funds should be compelled to finance the domestic economy.Some are worried that, if the government dictates what assets pension funds invest in, it would be equivalent to nationalising them.The recent nationalisation of pension assets in Hungary and Poland were mentioned as examples of what could happen if pension funds were influenced too greatly by the government.Nicola Rossi, professor of economics at University of Rome Tor Vergata, said: “Forcing pension funds to invest in the real economy would be the same as taxing them, so the government may as well tax them. That is a lot easier.”Padoan added: “Expropriation, taxation, financial repression, obligation are words that I would never use to describe the relationship that politics wants to have with institutional investors.“The problem is how to favour a global environment for investors that incentivises investment in the long term, for instance, in infrastructure. As EU president, Italy is particularly concerned with this shortfall.“Therefore, it has asked that investors who are already investing for the long term are used better, and that a system of incentives and rules is created so that, ultimately, there is more spontaneous investment in these assets.”Padoan reiterated that the country’s debt was “sustainable” and praised the reforms of the first pillar undertaken by his predecessors.He said: “The Italian pension system has taken many steps forward in recent years with a series of reforms, which have been recognised internationally from institutions such as OCSE.“In terms of public debt, there are many indicators today showing that Italy, especially the sustainability of welfare expenditure in the long term, is among the best-performing countries.“The only way of keeping debt sustainable in the long term is growing because, without growth, we will fall back into a debt crisis. This is why Italy has pushed for growth to be a priority. All EU partners agree wholeheartedly, and this priority has been confirmed officially.”As his tenure at Ecofin began, Padoan’s goal has been to convince his peers to put economic growth at the top of the list of priorities for the Commission in the months to come.He said: “Growth has not been a priority for the past years, as the EU has focused on other issues.”Panellists at the MEFOP conference, which focused on the sustainability of the pension system and its role within the economy, warned that demographic and economic forces in Italy were making the old grow older and richer, while young people struggled to find economic stability and faced the prospect of not having a public pension.They said Italy should think about comprehensive welfare reform to avoid “intergenerational conflict”, which would include further changes in the first pillar system and stimulate growth in the second pillar.last_img read more

Estonian pensions back launch of forestry fund

first_imgBirdeye Capital’s first fund, the Birdeye Timber Fund (BTF), is roughly €7m in size and has returned around 8% since launch at end-2013.LHV was an anchor investor in BTF, which marked its first investment in timberland.Around 15% of its €900m of assets are invested in Estonia, while forest investments make up on average 0.5% of its fund portfolios.Kristo Oidermaa,
 portfolio manager at LHV, said: “Our commitment to invest in BTF2 was driven by our previous good co-operation.“Timberland is a suitable investment vehicle for the pension fund due to the natural growth component, inflation protection and requirement for long-term good management standards.”Swedbank, a new investor with Birdeye Capital, said it was investing up to €10m in BTF2.Kristjan Tamla, head of Swedbank Investment Funds, said: “SEPF sees this as a long-term investment that primarily serves as a diversifier in our globally balanced portfolios.“The performance of timber assets is largely determined by the natural growth of forest and everyday forest management, such as cutting. We see that these components have little correlation with global equity and bond markets.”He added: “In addition, the ownership of Estonian forestland is still quite segregated, with private individuals owning small plots. Part of the Birdeye strategy is to consolidate smaller land plots and achieve efficiencies of scale in managing larger forest areas.”There is no fixed or formal target return for BTF2, but the performance fee is based on a 6% hurdle rate.The fund will continue to raise capital until October 2019, with an option to extend for a further 12 months. Estonia’s two biggest pension fund managers – Swedbank Estonia Pension Funds (SEPF) and LHV Pension Funds Estonia (LHV) – have become anchor investors in Birdeye Timber Fund 2 (BTF2), a real estate investment fund investing in Estonian forestland.The fund is run by Birdeye Capital, an asset manager owned and run by forestry and investment management professionals.Sander Pullerits, manager of BTF2, said: “Investing in Estonian forestland will help to hedge against inflation risk and presumably offers a more stable return than, for instance, investments in stock markets.”He added that the expected return would be made up mainly of biological timber growth and the increase in portfolio value as a result of its sustainable management.last_img read more

Gender-bending proposal a threat to high school sports (US)

first_imgFox News 4 December 2014 Minnesota’s governing body for high school sports passed rules on Thursday that one critic said could hypothetically put a future NFL linebacker at power forward on a girls basketball team.The Minnesota State High School League voted that boys who “self-identify” as girls and girls who consider themselves boys will be able to compete on and against teams of their preferred gender under the policy that will begin in the 2015-2016 season.“When there is confirmation of a student’s consistent and uniform gender-related identity…the student will be eligible to participate in MSHSL activities consistent with the student’s gender identification for the balance of the student’s high school eligibility,” reads the policy. Executive Director Dave Stead noted earlier this year that the NCAA and 32 states already have “some sort of policy or procedure” in place regarding transgender student-athlete participation.The league’s media specialist tweeted out, “Minnesota will become the 33rd state to implement a policy for transgender high school athletes.”The policy requires transgender student-athletes to provide a written statement from a parent or guardian affirming the gender identity and a note from a health care professional regarding the student’s consistent gender identification.http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/04/minnesota-high-school-league-votes-on-transgender-athletes-sport-policy/last_img read more

Arsenal loan Medley to Gillingham

first_img Loading… Advertisement Arsenal have concluded a loan deal with Gillingham for Zech Medley. The youngster, who played for the under-23s last term, has been with the Gunners since arriving from Chelsea in 2016. Medley also played in the Europa League two seasons ago. Now the 20-year-old is set to join Gillingham for the entire upcoming season. “We are delighted that Zech has joined us,” manager Steve Evans told Gillingham’s official website. “The lad has taken his time, spoken to numerous clubs and he is a superb addition. read also:Serena Sings Karaoke After Pulling Out of Tennis Match Due to Illness “I would like to acknowledge the support of Mikel Arteta and his staff at Arsenal for agreeing that Zech should continue his education here. “He is actually a Medway boy, he went to school in Gillingham and his family still live here, in many ways he is one of our own.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The WorldDid You Know There’s A Black Hole In The Milky Way?Top 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All Time7 Enigmatic Discoveries That Left Everyone BaffledProbably The World’s Most Beautiful Ceilings!7 Facts About Black Holes That Will Blow Your MindCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayPortuguese Street Artist Creates Hyper-Realistic 3D Graffiti7 Truly Incredible Facts About Black HolesCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?Who Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Will You Recognize Celebs In Their Kid Photos?last_img read more

Le Vent takes step up ladder

first_img Davy Russell never let the front-running Balbir Du Mathan out of his sights and produced Liz Doyle’s 7-4 favourite to lead early in the straight before they bypassed the final fence because of low sun to win by eight lengths. “It’s coming together with him. He made two shockers in Naas but still ran a really good race against a really good horse,” said Doyle. Press Association “He was doing fantastic work at home and today he showed that work was right. He set a very, very strong pace. Patrick has a clock in his head and I knew that if he was going that pace, he was comfortable doing it. He burned off his rivals and nothing had a chance. “He has pace, he stays and he jumps. He’s got everything and I think he’s a really nice horse for Mr and Mrs Wylie. He’s one to look forward to. We’ll probably go the bumper route and go to Cheltenham. He’s really a chaser in the making. “He’s by Presenting, so his pedigree says he’ll go on good ground, and when you see him gallop at home he really flicks his toe out. The good ground at Cheltenham should suit.” “Davy said he travelled so well and to keep him to two and a half miles for the time being. We’ll probably go for the PJ Moriarty and have another look at him over the trip. “I’m still not sure with him. His dam is by Dr Devious so he might be a three-mile horse. Davy was delighted with the way he jumped. He was good long and short and he got a great feel from him. “I think the Martalines all want better ground. When he hit the better ground today coming out of the back, he picked up the bridle. “Hopefully he’s a nice horse, he still has a lot to prove. He beat some nice horses today, but he has to go and do it in Graded company. Hopefully he’s a nice horse for the festivals.” Le Vent D’Antan has been introduced at 16-1 for the JLT Novices’ Chase and the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival by RaceBets. It has not been the best of meetings for Willie Mullins but at least he took the concluding race on day three, the Thornton’s Recycyling INH Flat Race. Up For Review (9-10 favourite), owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, comfortably landed the odds by 10 lengths from Beyond The Obvious in the hands of the trainer’s son, Patrick. “I started working him in October and had him ready to run on November 1, but I just did too much with him and he went over the top so I decided to put him away,” said Mullins snr. Le Vent D’Antan went one better than on his fencing debut when taking the Ballymaloe Original Country Relish Beginners Chase at Leopardstown.last_img read more

Other Sports Despite India boycott threat, shooting excluded from 2022 Commonwealth Games

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. London: Unfazed by India’s boycott threat, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief Louise Martin said that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 Birmingham edition. For the first time since 1974, shooting has been excluded from the Games roster due to logistical issues but the CGF president maintained that shooting has never been a compulsory sport in the Games. “A sport has to earn the right to be in the Games,” Martin told Britain’s ‘Daily Telegraph’. “Shooting has never been a compulsory sport. We have to work through it but shooting will not be in the Games. We have no space anymore.”  Shooting has always been one of India’s strong points in the Commonwealth Games with the discipline yielding seven gold medals including 16 podium finishes at the last edition in Gold Coast. Protesting the move, India has threatened to boycott the 2022 Games. The country’s Olympic body (IOA) president Narinder Batra has sought approval from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju in this regard.  According to the report, Birmingham’s had offered to hold two shooting events but the offer was rejected by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), which wanted a full program.Cricket includedWhile shooting was excluded, Cricket is back in the CWG after a gap of 24 years. The game has made just one appearance at the CWG previously, with men playing in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, where South Africa finished on top of the podium. The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games will take place from July 27 to August 7 and the cricket competition will feature eight international teams. “Today is an historic day and we are delighted to welcome the sport of cricket back to the Commonwealth Games,” said CGF President Dame Louise Martin. “This is a truly historic moment for women’s cricket and for the global cricket community, who were united in their support of this bid,” read a statement from Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council.All eight match days will be held at Edgbaston cricket ground, which played host to a number of memorable matches during the ICC men’s World Cup this summer, including England’s semi-final victory over Australia. ICC said it was delighted and honoured that the Commonwealth Games Associations voted to include women’s T20 cricket at Birmingham Games.”We are delighted that women’s T20 Cricket will be part of Birmingham 2022, an event that represents the biggest female and para sport programme in Commonwealth Games history. Today’s landmark announcement is another indication of the extremely bright future for women’s cricket,” Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said.The ICC will be responsible for the competition terms and the conduct of cricket, by way of providing match officials and ensuring matches are played as per the laws of the game. The CGF and Birmingham 2022 will be responsible for delivery of the CWG 2022. “We believe the Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic platform to showcase the exciting sport of Women’s T20 Cricket and continue to help grow the game globally,” she added. Shooting will not be part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.First time since 1974 that shooting has been excluded due to logistical issues.ISSF wanted a full program of shooting. center_img highlightslast_img read more

Jose Mourinho explains John Terry substitution in defeat at Man City

first_imgChelsea manager Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to substitute captain John Terry at half-time in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.The 34-year-old was replaced by Kurt Zouma with City leading 1-0 – the first time he has been taken off by Mourinho in the Premier League.The Chelsea boss confirmed that Terry was not injured and that tactics were behind his decision to replace him.”It was clear to me Zouma has to play,” said Mourinho after Sunday’s game.The former England captain fell out of favour under previous managers Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez but played every minute of every league match last season under Mourinho, skippering Chelsea to their first Premier League title since 2009-10.Mourinho said in May that Terry would have left Chelsea without him. “I don’t know if you asked questions to Rafa Benitez, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, to the ones that never played him,” addedMourinho when asked about his decision to bring off his captain against City.”I’m the one you shouldn’t ask because I’m the one that plays with John in every game.”I made John captain. I recovered John from a difficult situation with other managers.”I brought my captain off and he was on the bench and still captain on the bench because the armband is just an armband. “I can tell you he was not dancing in the dressing room and I can also tell you he was not having a bad reaction.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more