Month:

October 2020

Letters to the Editor for Friday, Oct. 18

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrumps trade policy fails in many waysGreg Autry’s Sept. 28 love letter to Donald Trump’s economic and trade policies (“Trump’s policy toward China appears to be working”) gives credit to Trump for what the president claims are his successes rather than what is actually happening.Mr. Autry conveniently leaves out a few facts.It is true that that Trump gave massive tax cuts. Mr. Autry fails to include the fact that the average American household saves about $1,600, while the wealthiest 1% saves over $200,000.While Mr. Autry claims Chinese industries ignore environmental concerns and pollute their environment extensively, he gives Trump credit for deregulation.However, Trump’s deregulations included withdrawing from the Climate Accord and gutting every clean air and clean water regulation that his EPA regulators could get their hands on.Mr. Autry claims that tariffs are affecting China while ignoring the impact on Americans.The tariffs scheduled to go into effect at the end of 2019 will cost the average American family $2,031.To preserve his farm vote, Trump has quietly bailed out American farmers at a cost of $28 billion, or three times the final auto bailout cost during the last recession. The China tariffs are now a major contributor to a looming economic crisis in Europe that could result in the loss of thousand American jobs.We all agree that China is an untrustworthy trading partner. But despite Trump’s great and unmatched wisdom, his tariff policy is failing.A coordinated policy including our European allies would have been more effective and a lot less painful.Robert KarandyBurnt HillsKelly getting a lot done as Spa mayorI am supporting Meg Kelly’s re-election for mayor of Saratoga Springs, because she is forthright and effective at getting things done. The first time I heard her speak, she was asking the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee to endorse her campaign, having just decided to run.Typical of SSDC endorsement meetings, people fired all kinds of questions. Meg answered each one clearly – knowing that some people who’d be voting on her endorsement would disagree with some of her stances.She won my admiration (and endorsement vote) for this clarity and courage, which she continues practicing to this day.Meg also gets things done that our city needs. She does this by bringing diverse interests and viewpoints together, listening and developing plans that work.There are many examples: resolution to the gun show, multiple lawsuits and labor contracts finalized, trail completion and most recently Code Blue’s two-year lease.Thank goodness Meg was on duty when City Hall caught fire.Another example of complex project management, the renovations will give us a far more functional seat for city government services. Please help return Meg for another term.Ellen D. KiehlSaratoga SpringsPratt understands Schenectady CountyAs a lifelong resident of Schenectady County, I have a keen interest in what happens here. I believe that Sara Mae Pratt is the best choice of candidate for the Schenectady County Legislature. Her candidacy is a breath of fresh air and just what the county needs.Sara Mae Pratt understands Schenectady County. She has lived here all her life. She grew up in Rotterdam and now makes her home in Alplaus. She owns a business in downtown Schenectady. She is currently involved in the county, serving as a board member of the Schenectady County IDA/CRC. She was appointed to fill a vacancy on the legislature.Pratt has received many accolades, including a 2014 Women of Distinction honor from Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a 2015 Rising Star Award from the Chamber of Schenectady County, and the 2015-2016 Rotterdam Elks Citizen of the Year award, among many others.She has received the endorsements of four political parties.If all of these people think so highly of Sara Mae Pratt, I think we should too.She will bring varied experiences to the county legislature and lead Schenectady County into the future.Ed MeskutoveczGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Freeport tops the league in dire share year

first_imgFreeport Leisure was the best-performing property share in 1998 for the second successive year, achieving extraordinary growth in what proved to be a ghastly period for the sector.The factory outlet developer’s shares followed a 149% increase in 1997 by rising 63% to 371.5p last year, easily winning Property Week’s share performance league.Fund managers continued to buy Freeport’s shares in expectation of big net asset value growth from future developments, evidenced by the 58% increase in NAV the company achieved in the year to June 1998. Freeport has the added advantage of being the only quoted factory outlet specialist.The second best share was all-Ireland company Dunloe Ewart, the product of the merger between Dublin-based Dunloe and Belfast-based Ewart. Delancey, which saw a £100m capital injection from George Soros and his associates plus the appointment of james ritblat as managing director, came in at number three. Jermyn, which had been in the lead at the half-year stage, was in fourth place, followed by NHP (formerly Nursing Home Properties), which moved up from the AIM to the main market in August. The two specialist managed Workspace companies, Workspace and Birkby, both had good years, with their shares rising 18% and 15% respectively.But overall it was a dismal year for the property sector. The average property share, as measured by the FT property index, dropped by 22% after rising 21% in 1997. Only eight of the 71 companies that started the year with a market capitalisation of more than £25m outperformed the FT All-Share Index, and just 10 saw their shares rise. The property sector was 47th out of the 52 FT sectors, the telecommunications sector topping the list.None of the seven majors sparkled. Capital Shopping Centres fared best, with its shares only dropping 18%. The worst performer was British Land, which fell 34%, thus disappearing from the important FTSE100 Index of the UK’s 100 largest companies. Other majors, however, such as MEPC, British Land and Hammerson, had sharp falls in December when liquidity was relatively low.The worst-performing shares were generally in sectors that the City believes face tough times – the City of London, secondary retail, London residential and trading.Hemingway, where chief executive Michael Goldhill and finance director Andrew Brown earned £1.84m each in 1997, brought up the rear.last_img read more

Quintain mission

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Railtrack makes haste to fill top-level void

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Traders of the lost art

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Alan White leaves BT

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Russia warns Turkey, blocks UN bid to end Syria bloodshed

first_imgThe Syrian NGO Alliance said displaced people are “escaping in search of safety only to die from extreme weather conditions and lack of available resources”.”We have hundreds and thousands of people who are fleeing… not just from bombardments but from lack of insulation, from the weather, a lack of heating. It feels like doomsday,” Razan Saffour, of the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association, told AFP in Istanbul.The group said a total of $336 million was needed for basic food, water and shelter. Education resources were also needed for 280 million displaced school-age children.Talks fail between Turkey, Russia  Russia on Wednesday warned Turkey against intervening in Syria as it blocked a UN bid to end the Damascus regime’s brutal assault on the last rebel enclave.Syrian aid workers called urgently for a ceasefire and international help for nearly a million people fleeing the regime onslaught in the country’s northwestern Idlib province — the biggest wave of displaced civilians in the nine-year conflict.Turkey, supporter of some rebel groups in Idlib, has been pushing for a renewed ceasefire in talks with Russia, which backs the Syrian regime. Ankara is eager to prevent another flood of refugees into its territory adding to the 3.7 million Syrians it already hosts. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said talks with Moscow over the past fortnight had so far failed to achieve “the desired result” and warned that Turkey would launch an offensive into Syria unless Damascus pulled its forces back by the end of the month. “An operation in Idlib is imminent…. We are counting down, we are making our final warnings,” Erdogan said in a televised speech. He called for Syrian forces to retreat by the end of this month behind Turkey’s military posts in Idlib, which were set up under a 2018 deal with Russia designed to hold off a regime advance.The Kremlin quickly responded to Erdogan’s threat, saying that Turkey should instead act against “terrorist groups” in Idlib.”If we are talking about an operation against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian republic and armed forces of the Syrian republic this would of course be the worst scenario,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.With Turkey moving large numbers of reinforcements into Idlib in recent weeks, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar emphasised that it was “out of the question for us to withdraw from our observation posts”.”If there is any sort of attack against them, we will retaliate in kind,” he told reporters in Ankara.  Russia objects to UN bid Russia, which along with Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has repeatedly vetoed UN resolutions on the conflict as it hopes for the triumph of the regime.At the United Nations, diplomats said they were unable to produce a statement on ending the fighting due to Russian objections.”We tried very hard to have a press statement calling for cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access to Idlib,” said Nicolas de Riviere, the French ambassador to the United Nations.”Basically Russia said ‘no’, which is very painful,” he told reporters.The UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, confirmed that no progress had been made either in several rounds of talks between Turkey and Russia held in Ankara and Moscow.   “To the contrary, public statements from different quarters, Syrian and international, suggest an imminent danger of further escalation,” he told the UN Security Council.Earlier this week the United Nations said the displaced were mainly women and children. It warned that babies were dying of cold because aid camps are full. The Syrian NGOs called for the warring parties to allow safe access for humanitarian groups and for a “complete ceasefire and end to human rights violations”.According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the regime offensive has killed more than 400 civilians since it began in December, adding to the toll of more than 380,000 who have died in the years of unrest.”The violence in northwest Syria is indiscriminate. Health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques and markets have been hit,” the UN head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Mark Lowcock, said earlier this week. The head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday that out of nearly 550 health facilities in northwest Syria, only about half were operational.”We repeat: health facilities and health workers are not a legitimate target,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in Geneva.Syrian troops have reconquered swathes of Idlib and retaken the key M5 highway connecting the country’s four largest cities as well as the entire surroundings of Aleppo city for the first time since 2012.Oxfam said that two of the British aid group’s local workers died in an attack on Wednesday elsewhere in Syria in the southern Daraa area.Topics :last_img read more

Philippines eyes Indonesian tourists in efforts to boost foreign visits

first_imgCarla Zaldiva, the Philippines Department of Tourism’s market development head for Indonesia, said the Philippines aims to welcome more than 80,000 Indonesian tourists in 2020.“For this year, we want to be more aggressive in our marketing campaign,” Zaldiva said on Thursday.To introduce the Philippines to Indonesians, the Department of Tourism and travel agents will participate in Indonesian travel fairs such as the Astindo Travel Fair, which took place from Feb. 21 to 23 in Jakarta.The growing middle-class segment in Indonesia and its growing desire to travel to nearby countries is seen as a huge potential that the Philippines needs to tap more, Carla said.  The Philippines has set its sights on Indonesian travelers as part of the country’s efforts to increase its foreign tourist arrivals this year.Despite the two countries’ geographical proximity, which can be covered by a four-hour flight, the number of Indonesian tourists visiting the Philippines remains relatively low compared to that of other countries such as China, South Korea, the United States and other ASEAN countries, according to the Philippines’ Department of Tourism.Indonesia ranked 14th in the Philippines’ foreign tourist visits, with 70,819 Indonesians visiting the Southeast Asian neighbor in 2019. The figure was also lower than the 76,000 booked in 2018. In contrast, 261,000 tourists from the Philippines visited Indonesia in 2019, a 20 percent increase from 217,000 in the year before. The Philippines wants to offer Indonesia its diving tourism outside of what Indonesians can find in their home country. Pilgrimage tourism is also something the Philippines can offer as a Catholic-majority country with many historical churches. “Because the Catholic population in Indonesia is also one of the highest after the Muslim population, we want to tap a percentage of that [for pilgrimage tourism],” Carla said.The Philippines is eyeing tourists from the working population, aged 35 to 40, the millennial market and family travelers.“The reasons why we are promoting in Indonesia are because of its general population and there are a lot of similarities between the two countries. Statistics show that a lot of Indonesians visiting the Philippines are traveling for the first time [abroad],” she added. “So, I think it is about the shared culture, the ability to communicate easily, the similarity in geography and it is about the feeling of you are still at home while in a different [environment].”  Carla said the biggest challenge of attracting more Indonesian to visit the Philippine was solely the cost of travel. The airfare from Indonesia to the Philippines is higher than from the Philippines to Indonesia.“We are working on [exploring] discount deals for airfares and whole travel packages.”The Philippines Department of Tourism is working with airline operators to explore better promotional deals. It is also partnering with online travel agents and travel agent consortiums to come up with affordable vacation packages.Caecilia Angela, the manager of Indonesian travel agency Sirius Tour, agreed that high travel costs made many Indonesians think twice about visiting the Philippines. Instead, they prefer to travel to cheaper Southeast Asian destinations, such as Bangkok, Singapore or Malaysia, she added. “[Affordable] airfare is important. The average round-trip ticket to the Philippines currently costs Rp 4 million [US$291.10]. If that was Rp 2.5 million less, I’m sure a lot more Indonesians would be visiting the Philippines.”The connectivity between Indonesia and the Philippines has been improving in recent years. with several direct flights connecting the countries, including Manila-Jakarta, Denpasar-Manila, Denpasar-Cebu and Manado-Davao, served by flag carriers Garuda Indonesia and Philippines Airlines.  The latter will launch a Manado-Davao route on May 17, with three flights a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. “Basically, this aims to drive tourism and business between the two countries and also connect the southern Philippines and eastern Indonesia,” said Philippine Airlines area manager for Indonesia, Bryan Sansolis. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Trump says US coronavirus spread ‘not inevitable,’ mulls new travel bans

first_imgCommunity spread means spread of an illness for which the source of the infection is unknown.US President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his administration’s response to the novel coronavirus, lashing the media for spreading panic as he conducts an evening news conference on the epidemic. (AFP/CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)More travel restrictions? Foreign nationals traveling from China within the past two weeks are currently banned from entering the US, and Trump said more countries, including South Korea and Italy where the disease has rapidly spread, could also be added to the list.”At the right time we may do it, right now it’s not the right time,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “Italy is, you know, a deeper problem, and we’re checking people coming in very, very strongly from those and at some point we may cut that off,” he later added.On Wednesday night the State Department raised its travel advisory caution level for South Korea to the second-highest, now urging Americans to reconsider traveling there.The president added that Vice President Mike Pence had been assigned to lead the charge in coordinating the government’s response and reporting back to him, taking over the role from health secretary Alex Azar. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the news conference with members of the coronavirus task force, including, U.S. President Donald Trump, Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, acting Transportation Under Secretary Joel Szabat, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (AFP/Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)Extra funding Trump’s briefing came after US lawmakers accused the administration of downplaying the crisis and underfunding the response.On Monday, the White House asked Congress to make at least $2.5 billion available for preparedness and response, including developing treatments and vaccines and buying equipment for a strategic national stockpile.Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the figure was “too little and too late,” proposing instead $8.5 billion. Trump later told reporters he would be happy to accept more money.Trump also took to Twitter earlier in the day to insist his administration is “doing a GREAT job,” blaming the media Wednesday for trying to stoke fear in a tweet in which he spelled the name of the virus incorrectly.”Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible,” he tweeted, using a derogatory name for cable news network MSNBC that suggests it is connected to the Democratic National CommitteeWall Street stocks finished mostly lower Wednesday, stabilizing somewhat after a two-session rout amid growing worries over the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.With cases being reported in more countries — and lockdowns in nations including Austria, Italy and Spain — traders are worried about the impact on the global economy.In the US, officials have voiced fears for the supply of medical products because a high proportion of ingredients used to make medicine comes from China.The Food and Drug Administration has also identified personal protective equipment, such as face masks, respirators and gowns, as being among products at risk of shortages. Topics : The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans Tuesday to be prepared to cancel mass gatherings and urged schools and businesses to develop teleworking plans, amid dire warnings that countries are not ready to contain an outbreak that has infected 80,000 people, mostly in China.”It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen,” said the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier. As of Wednesday, there were 60 cases in the United States — 15 detected through the public health system, and 45 repatriated from abroad, either from a cruise ship off Japan or from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first cases were identified.The CDC later said the latest case caught in California “did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient” — meaning it could represent the first instance of “community spread” in the US, though this was not yet confirmed.center_img President Donald Trump on Wednesday said it was not inevitable that the novel coronavirus would continue to spread in the United States, as he said he is considering travel restrictions on Italy and South Korea and appointed his vice president to lead the response.His optimism about containing the pathogen contradicted a senior health official in his own administration and came as authorities said they had identified the first case in the US that was of unknown origin.”I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that there’s a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing’s inevitable,” Trump told reporters at the White House.last_img read more

Bhutan bans tourists after first coronavirus case, India total hits 31

first_img“This is to enable rigorous monitoring, source assessment of infection and mitigate the situation.”The government also announced the closure of several schools and the postponement of international conferences and seminars for two weeks.The ministry said the patient, who had entered India on Feb. 21, had been put in quarantine in hospital in the capital, Thimpu.India’s total number of confirmed cases rose to 31, after a person from New Delhi with a history of travel from Thailand and Malaysia tested positive, its health ministry said.The coronavirus, which can cause respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia, is believed to have emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.Globally, there have been more than 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. Most of the cases and deaths have been in China but the virus is now spreading in numerous countries.Topics : Bhutan said on Friday it had banned the entry of tourists for two weeks after it confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, in a tourist who arrived from neighboring India.The tiny Himalayan kingdom, which is heavily reliant on high-end tourism for foreign exchange, said a 79-year-old American who entered by air from India on March 2 had tested positive for the virus.”The government will impose two weeks restriction on all incoming tourists with immediate effect,” the health ministry said in a statement.last_img read more