Stocks slide as slow growth in China weighs on earnings

NEW YORK — Stocks opened broadly lower after two major U.S. companies dropped after saying that weakness in China’s economy was weighing on their results.Caterpillar, a bellwether for industrial companies, has been warning investors that higher costs related to tariffs would hurt its bottom line. The weak results weighed down the entire sector.Nvidia led the tech sector lower as it cut its forecasts, also blaming weakness in China, which is the world’s second-largest economyChina is facing its worst economic slowdown since the global financial crisis and the impact is being felt widely among the many U.S. companies that rely on China for sales, especially industrial and technology companies. The slowdown is being exacerbated by continuing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.In July-September, China’s economy expanded at 6.5 per cent, the slowest pace since the financial crisis.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index lost 32 points, or 1.2 per cent to 2,632 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 364 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 24,372. The Nasdaq composite fell 116 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 7,048.CHINA BLUES: Caterpillar and NVIDIA plunged as a slowdown in growth in the world’s second largest economy, China, hurt their results. Apple recently warned that iPhone sales are slipping in China.The slowdown is adding to Caterpillar’s problems, and its fourth-quarter profit fell short of Wall Street expectations. Caterpillar fell 7.8 per cent to $126.12. The stock is down 18 per cent over the last 12 months, compared with a 7 per cent drop in the S&P 500.Deere & Co., a key competitor, fell 2.4 per cent to $157.69.Chipmaker NVIDIA lowered its revenue forecast, citing a slowdown in China. CEO Jensen Huang called the quarter “extraordinary, unusually turbulent, and disappointing.” The stock fell 15.2 per cent to $135.86.TRADE TALKS LOOM: Talks aimed at resolving the impasse over Chinese technology policy and other issues are due to resume in Washington this week, led by the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Analysts say there might be moves to trim China’s massive trade surplus with the U.S. that could stave off further hikes in punitive tariffs imposed by both sides. However, they expect gaps to remain on key problems such as China’s blueprint for state-led development of leading technologies.ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 3 per cent to $52.07 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2.4 per cent to $60.13 per barrel in London.OVERSEAS: The British FTSE lost 0.1 per cent. Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 per cent and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.78 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.6 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat, as was South Korea’s Kospi.BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 2.73 per cent.Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press read more

Volkswagen unveils fullyelectric SUV for China market

Volkswagen is planning to release a fully-electric SUV in China which could compete with Tesla’s Model X.The German automaker said Sunday the ID. ROOMZZ will be unveiled at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show and will be available in 2021.Volkswagen says the zero-emission vehicle can go approximately 450 kilometres (280 miles) before the battery has to be recharged. The concept car includes a fully-automatic driving mode which allows seats to be rotated 25 degrees to create a lounge-like atmosphere.The announcement comes one month after Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged by U.S. regulators with defrauding investors during its massive diesel emissions scandal.Volkswagen has said it will boost electric vehicle production to 22 million over the next decade. It made fewer than 50,000 battery-only vehicles last year.The Associated Press read more

Montreal startup Element AI nabs US102 million in investments for expansion

TORONTO — A Montreal startup is getting a total of US$102 million from Microsoft, Intel and several other investors that will fund the eight-month-old company’s drive to become a leader in artificial intelligence.Element AI chief executive Jean-Francois Gagne says the new round of funding will pay for 250 jobs and offices in Toronto and Asia that the company aims to have in place by January.Gagne says Element AI’s goal is to create a Canadian publicly listed company that brings AI capabilities to traditional industries, such as manufacturing and financial services.In addition to the prominent technology giants, some of the funding will come from National Bank and Fidelity Investments Canada.Gagne says confidentiality agreements prevent Element AI from saying how much it received from each investor or how much of the total equity was purchased by the new investors.Gagne co-founded Element AI in October with fellow entrepreneur Nicolas Chapados, the Real Ventures fund and Yoshua Bengio, an AI pioneer and professor at the Universite de Montreal. read more

UN raises disappearances with Lanka

“The Working Group deals with cases of enforced disappearances wherever they occur,” the experts said at the end of the Group’s session, expressing their “deepest concern that after 20 years since the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, enforced disappearances continue to occur in many countries, often in a persistent manner.” It examined 17 reported cases of enforced disappearance under its urgent action procedure, as well as more than 400 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones. The Working Group also finalized and approved its 2012 annual report, which includes chapters on 97 States and two general comments. It also reports on all new cases and those already under consideration, and the Working Group’s major concerns and observations. The report will be presented at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, in March 2013. The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Guatemala, Japan, Spain, Sri Lanka and Togo to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. It also met with non-governmental organizations and family members of disappeared persons. Members of the Working Group also held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation.The Working Group met with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, established in 2006 in accordance with article 26 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to exchange information on their respective activities and discussed about the coordination of common initiatives. Finally, in the context of the session, the Working Group’s official missions to Libya and Spain were confirmed for 2013. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has had discussions with Sri Lankan officials on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general.A statement by the working group today said that during its 98th session held in Geneva, from 31 October to 9 November 2012, the independent human rights experts studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. read more

President assures solution on missing persons issue

President Sirisena was in Puthukkudiyiruppu today to declare open a new garment factory by the Hirdaramani group. Addressing the gathering at the event, the President said that when he spoke to the employees of the factory they spoke to him about a few concerns they had. President Maithripala Sirisena today assured that he will look to resolve the issue on persons reported missing during the war.The President gave the assurance when he visited Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu, a town which was once under LTTE control. President Sirisena said that the people in the war affected North cannot be kept happy simply by infrastructure development but by winning their hearts. (Colombo Gazette) Among the concerns raised was poor infrastructure facilities in some areas of the North despite the end of the war seven years ago.However some employees had also raised concerns over Tamils reported missing during and soon after the war and over the arrest of several Tamils under anti-terrorism laws. President Sirisena said that he took all the concerns into consideration and assured the Tamils employed at the factory that he will address their concerns.Hundreds have been reported missing, particularly in the North and the Government has already said it will establish a missing persons office to look into the issue.The Government has also said it will repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) under which several Tamils were arrested by the former Government over suspected terrorism links, and replace it with a new law. Audio Playerhttp://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pudukudueruppu-Garment-Opening-HE-speech-FM.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. read more

Four fishermen arrested by Lankan Navy released

Five fishermen from Pudukottai, who were arrested for fishing in Sri Lankan waters last month, were released by a court on Wednesday. The four were produced before Oorkavalthurai Court in Sri Lanka, which ordered their release, Rameswaram Assistant Director of Fisheries K T Gopinath said. Four fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy, were on Thursday set free by a court in the island nation, a senior fisheries official said, according to the Press Trust of India.The fishermen from this island town were arrested on November 1 on charges of fishing in Sri Lankan waters and remanded to judicial custody. All those released are expected to return home by tomorrow, the official said. (Colombo Gazette)

Signed contracts to buy US homes barely up housing market starting 2014

Signed contracts to buy US homes barely up; housing market starting 2014 weaker than in 2013 by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Feb 28, 2014 12:48 pm MDT WASHINGTON – The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes was essentially flat in January, a possible sign of a softening real estate market.The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index inched up 0.1 last month to 95. The index has fallen 9 per cent over the past 12 months as sales momentum has faded.Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases: A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.Higher mortgage rates, rising prices and a tight supply of homes have restricted sales in recent months. Snowstorms across much of the country also delayed purchases. The Realtors project that sales will total 5 million this year, down from 5.1 million in 2013.Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Marcoeconomics, thinks home buying could slow further through March.“The bad news is that existing-home sales need to fall a bit further to move fully into line with the pending-sales index,” he said in a client note.The rising costs of buying a home have contributed to a slowdown in signed contracts over the past seven months. Sales of existing homes plummeted in January to the weakest pace in 18 months, the trade group said last week.Some of the price pressures will be eased if more homes come onto the market in the months ahead. One way to increase the supply is through the construction of new homes, a sector not measured by the Realtors’ indicator on sales.Purchases of new homes rose 9.6 per cent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the Commerce Department said this week. That was the fastest pace since July 2008 and could lead to an uptick in construction.More homeowners might also choose to put their properties on the market, a possibility suggested by a decline in underwater mortgages at the end of 2013, according to a report Friday by real estate data provider Zillow. Homeowners are considered underwater if they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.A decline in underwater mortgages should enable more Americans to list their homes for sale because they would no longer be unloading their homes at a financial loss.The share of mortgage holders with negative equity in their homes fell to 19.4 per cent in the final three months of last year, down from 27.5 per cent during the same period in 2012. Still, the negative equity rate remains four times the level of a healthy housing market.So even if the supply of homes increases, it will be several years before the market returns to its usual conditions.“Negative equity likely won’t be back to normal levels for another five years,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, file photo, a for sale sign with a sale pending hangs in front of a house in Mount Lebanon, Pa. The National Association of Realtors reports on the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in January on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) read more

UK new car market falls again in May

UK new car registrations fall -4.6% in May with 183,724 units registered.Demand for petrol and AFV vehicles increases, but diesel registrations fall -18.3%Year-to-date market broadly stable, down -3.1% with 33,000 fewer cars registered compared with 2018.SEE CAR REGISTRATIONS BY BRANDDOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE AND DATAThe UK new car market declined by -4.6% in May with 183,724 units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The fall reflects continued uncertainty over diesel and clean air zones as well as the removal of incentives for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Meanwhile, the underlying economic and political instability continues to affect consumer and business confidence.Declines were recorded across all sales types in the month, with registrations by private consumers, fleets and business buyers declining by -5.0%, -3.0% and -29.0% respectively. Most vehicle segments experienced a fall in demand, however, executive and dual purpose vehicles bucked the trend, with registrations growing 9.1% and 16.0%. While demand for superminis and small family cars fell, these vehicles remain the most popular taking a combined 56.3% of the market.Modest growth in registrations of petrol (1.0%) and alternatively fuelled vehicles (11.7%) was not enough to offset the significant decline in demand for diesels, which fell for the 26th consecutive month. Ongoing anti-diesel sentiment and the forthcoming introduction of low emission zones continues to affect buyer confidence.However, thanks to significant industry investment in new technology, the latest diesels are safer and cleaner than ever before and will not face charges or restrictions anywhere in the UK.Meanwhile, petrol electric hybrids experienced increased demand, up 34.6% to 7,785 units. Battery electric cars also recorded a significant rise of 81.1% yet this segment still only represented 1.1% of the overall market. However, following recent trends, plug-in hybrids experienced another substantial decline, down -40.6% inMay and -25.1% year-to-date. This compares with a 36.2% increase in the first five months of 2018 and is further evidence of the removal of the purchase incentive for PHEVs.This story has been amended to reflect that battery electric vehicles represented 1.1% of the market in May 2019, rather than 0.6%Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,Confusing policy messages and changes to incentives continue to affect consumer and business confidence, causing drivers to keep hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.New cars are safer, cleaner and more advanced than ever and, with sophisticated safety, efficiency and comfort features as well as a host of attractive deals on offer, there has never been a better time to invest in a new car.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Diamondbacks hire Coles Hinske as hitting coaches

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have hired Darnell Coles as hitting coach and Eric Hinske as assistant hitting coach.The team also announced Monday that Dan Butler will serve as bullpen coach and Kyle Torgerson as an assistant athletic trainer.Coles replaces Dave Magadan, who parted ways with the team after three seasons earlier this year.Coles played 19 major league seasons with eight teams, last with Colorado in 1997. He served as Milwaukee’s hitting coach from 2015-18 and spent time coaching for Detroit and Washington.Hinske won a World Series with Boston and another with the New York Yankees during 12 big league seasons. He also was a coach with the Chicago Cubs during their 2016 run to a World Series championship.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press read more

Womens soccer puts past behind them focused on No 10 Nebraska and

Junior forward Nichelle Prince (7) dribbles with the ball during a game against Minnesota on Sept. 17, 2015. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe No. 17 Ohio State women’s soccer team returns home in search of its first win in two weeks.The Buckeyes suffered a loss to then-No. 13 Minnesota and tied Wisconsin last weekend. OSU also lost redshirt senior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker for the season due to injury.The Buckeyes face off against tenth-ranked Nebraska in the first of two home games this weekend. Redshirt senior defender/forward Morgan Wolcott doesn’t anticipate Nebraska being an easy comeback game.“Nebraska always gives us a challenge,” Wolcott said. “They are a physical team … and we’ve struggled against them. (The team) feels prepared coming off of last weekend, which didn’t go as planned.”Nebraska has a 7-3-0 record in 2016, and the Cornhuskers will be coming to Columbus off of their most recent loss to Michigan. Overall, Nebraska has been playing a very consistent game with no notable statistical difference between its goals scored or its shots attempted in the first and second halves. The Buckeyes take on Iowa this Sunday at noon. Iowa owns a 6-4-0 record, with its two most recent losses being against Big Ten teams, Michigan and Michigan State. Before the Hawkeyes play OSU this weekend, Iowa takes on Penn State. The Hawkeyes have scored almost two-thirds of their goals in the second half. The Buckeyes have allowed 15 goals this season, 11 coming in the second half.OSU is determined to not allow the outcomes of their recent games affect their performance for the future.“Sometimes we get caught off guard … we need to get back to the basics of our system,” Wolcott said. “We tried to complicate things too much.”To keep things simple, the team has adopted a new mantra. In practices, the Buckeyes try to “get one percent better every day.”“If we can just keep getting one percent better, we feel like by November, when post-season comes, we’re going to be the team we want to be, but right now I’m pretty happy,” said senior forward Lindsay Agnew. “We have a great group of girls, so we just have to keep it going.” read more

Sanwa makes an attractive wedge of a Windows only multitouch mouse

first_imgAt October’s big Back to Mac event, Steve Jobs explained Apple’s logic in not introducing multitouch displays to their laptops and desktops even as they embraced it in mobile devices. According to Jobs, multitouch is meant to be horizontal: trying to do it in a vertical configuration for long periods of time just leads to shoulder pain and the so-called condition of “gorilla arm….” which is why Apple is concentrating on bringing touch to Macs with products like the Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse.We think Steve Jobs has a point there, and so it’s nice to see some other mice makers taking the same approach to desktop multitouch under Windows as Apple is taking with the Mac. The latest peripheral maker to join the multitouch game is Sanwa, who have just rolled out an attractive multitouch mouse called the MA-TOUCH1 that talks to your computer via a wireless nano dongle. Features include four-direction scrolling, two-finger swipe support and, of course, the usual left, right and middle clicks.I think it’s a more attractive mouse than the Magic Mouse, and you can choose colors from black, red, silver and white. Intriguingly, it’s a Windows only product, despite the fact that the Mac already supports the gestures needed to make it work. Daringly exclusive!Read more at Akihabara Newslast_img read more

Questioning of Irishman held over Gary Hutch murder continues

first_img http://jrnl.ie/3060263 High Court says UK parliament must have vote on starting Brexit >Dog which ran away after its owner was killed at the Dublin mountains has been found dead > Short URL Nov 3rd 2016, 11:28 AM 8,680 Views 8 Comments Thursday 3 Nov 2016, 11:28 AM Share5 Tweet Email1 Pictured is the funeral of criminal Gary Hutch at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street. Source: Photocall IrelandIt is not clear at this stage where the new suspect, who has not been charged with any crime and wouldn’t be formally accused until shortly before trial, is being held.A secrecy order placed over the case following the arrest by the investigating judge continued to be in operation today, preventing public officials from making any comment.A spokesman for the Guardia Civil in Malaga said: “I am not at liberty to say anything.”A well-placed source said: “An Irish national was arrested in the municipality of Estepona yesterday morning morning by officers investigating the murder of Gary Hutch.“Searches of several properties have also taken place.”The man who was arrested yesterday would be well-known around the MGM Gym in the area. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Source: Garda Press OfficePOLICE WERE CONTINUING to quiz an Irishman held over the gangland murder of Gary Hutch.Sources close to the case confirmed he had been arrested in the Costa del Sol resort of Estepona yesterday morning and several properties had been searched.This is part of a new operation to track down those involved in the September 2015 killing.The man is expected to appear in court at the weekend, although Spanish police have 72 hours to hold him and can apply for an extension.Gardaí are understood to have travelled to Spain to take part in the new operation, which follows the operation in mid-September dubbed Operation Geraneo. By Gerard Couzens Questioning of Irishman held over Gary Hutch murder continues The man was arrested yesterday in relation to the September 2015 death.last_img read more

Search for cougar closes popular Columbia River Gorge trail

first_imgA popular hiking trail in the Columbia River Gorge is closed while authorities search for a cougar.The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area announced the temporary closure of the Angel’s Rest Trail and nearby Palmer Mill Road on Thursday morning. Authorities are searching for the cougar, which reportedly killed at least one goat Wednesday night.Rick Swart, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman, said a landowner in the Bridal Veil area saw a cougar feeding on or attacking at least one of his goats Wednesday night. The landowner fired a shot at it, according to Swart, and called law enforcement.Authorities responded, Swart said, and went out with spotlights to try to find the cougar. They saw a cougar and also took a shot at it, Swart said.The Scenic Area initially reported the cougar was wounded, but Swart said Thursday afternoon that there is no confirmation of the cougar being injured.Authorities have set up a trap and trail cameras, Swart said. They don’t plan to deploy dogs to search for the cougar, though that remains a possibility.last_img read more

Some Boeing machinists plan Washington state rally

first_imgEVERETT — Some Machinists union members planned a rally Wednesday afternoon in Everett in favor of voting on Boeing’s last contract offer.Local union leaders rejected the offer last week because they said it was too similar to one voted down last month. Some members say they want another chance to vote on a contract that would keep production of the new 777X — and jobs — in Washington.Meanwhile, Boeing has received bids from 22 states for the 777X production. The company says it plans to narrow its options this week to a “handful.”last_img

Petition sent to Walker asking for predator control reform

first_imgA petition signed by 150 Alaskans sent to Governor Bill Walker, asks for changes to state predator control programs. The letter sent Monday asked the governor to replace lethal predator control methods with non-lethal techniques, to terminate use of radio collars to locate and kill wolves, and to prohibit intensive management programs within 5 miles of federal conservation lands, like national parks. According to petitioner, wildlife advocate and biologist Rick Steiner of Anchorage, signers hail from 28 Alaska communities and include former Alaska Board of Game members, and a former Fish & Game Commissioner.Listen nowlast_img

Dorasani prerelease event live streaming Vijay Devarakonda finally set to help his

first_imgDorasani pre-release event posterTwitterThe makers of Dorasani (Dorasani) starring Anand Devarakonda and Shivathmika Rajashekar are holding a grand pre-release event. Vijay Devarakonda will attend the function, which will be live streamed on YouTube.A love story with native flavour featured in the trailer of Dorasaani has caught the attention of many filmgoers, who are eagerly waiting for its release. After watching its trailer, Ranjith Kumar‏ (@TheGabbeta) tweeted, “Quite impressed with the trailer of #Dorasaani . Apart from the love theme, the authentic flavour of nativity is going to be the biggest asset. All the best to the team and @madhurasreedhar.”Vijay Devarakonda’s brother Anand and senior actor Rajashekar’s daughter Shivathmika are making their acting debut with Dorasaani. Hence, there is a lot of curiosity and the promos of the film have doubled the viewers’ expectations. The movie is scheduled for worldwide release on July 12. The makers are holding a grand pre-release event as a part of its publicity activities.Madhura Sridhar Reddy is co-producing Dorasaani with Yash Rangineni under his banner Madhura Entertainment. The producer is live streaming the function on the YouTube channel of his music label – Madhura Audio. He tweeted, “#Dorasaani Grand Pre Release Event Tommrow (July 7th) at JRC Conventions, Filmnagar Hyd, from 6 PM Onwards.”Anand Devarakonda’s elder brother Vijay is a popular star. Many expected the latter to give him a much-needed push to him. But the Geetha Govindam starrer has been maintaining a silence over the film and he has not even said a word about it or his brother either on social media.Now, the buzz in the media is that Vijay Devarakonda is finally taking some time out of his busy schedule to attend the pre-release event of Dorasani, where he will be the chief guest. His presence is expected to get much-needed attention to the movie. It needs to be seen what he will say about his brother and the film at the event.It is also said that Allu Aravind, Dil Raju, Koratala Siva are also going to attend the event. Shivathmika’s father Rajasekhar and Jeevitha are also expected to make it to this pre-release function of Dorasani, which is also telecast live on TV9 Telugu and few other TV channels.last_img read more


Survey Reveals Texans Opinions On How To Fund Public Schools As Legislative

first_img Listen 00:00 /10:05 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Emree Weaver/The Texas TribuneState Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, and colleagues speak during deliberation of the House School Finance plan.A majority of Texans approve of spending more on education and want property taxes limited, though support varies between demographic breakdowns, according to a survey by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.Gov. Greg Abbott declared both school finance and property tax overhaul emergency items for Texas lawmakers this session, which is scheduled to wrap up next week. Researchers surveyed registered Texas voters at the end of March 2019, finding broad support for increased spending on schools including pay raises for teachers and librarians, as well as expanded funding for early childhood education programs and school districts with higher percentages of low-income students. A plurality, but not majority, of Texas voters supported additional funding bilingual programs and extracurricular activities. Most respondents said they were unfamiliar or only a little familiar with the state’s “Robin Hood” plan, which through its recapture provision sends money from school districts with high property values to districts with lower property values. Two-thirds of respondents either strongly or somewhat approved of the program. At the same time, 40% indicated the state should make ending recapture a priority. News 88.7’s education reporter Laura Isensee has all you need to know about school finance in Texas.Respondents mostly favored three ways to pay for increased school spending: closing corporate tax loopholes, ‘sin’ taxes and an oil and gas severance tax. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed supported closing loopholes that allow large corporations to use the assessed value of properties similar to their own instead of a property’s actual value, researchers said. Survey results indicated a majority of support for legalizing and taxing casino gambling and recreational marijuana, and increasing alcohol taxes. Respondents also indicated support for a tax on oil and gas producers who extract natural resources for consumption out of state. Lawmakers had proposed funding school finance changes with an increased sales tax, an idea that ultimately will not see a vote on until 2021. Surveyors found Texas voters were opposed to increasing the sales tax, especially among African American and Latino voters.A majority of respondents also said property taxes were either very high or high. Four percent said they considered property taxes low or very low. Nearly 80% of respondents supported establishing caps on how much money school districts, cities, counties and other jurisdictions can raise through property taxes.Differences in opinion largely fell along demographic and political lines. Rural and more conservative voters tended to oppose tax increases – both on property and ‘sin’ taxes – while urban and suburban residents were more open to those taxes, said Pablo Pinto, director of the Center for Public Policy at the Hobby School.“The other big divide that we see, and we’ve seen it in previous surveys as well, is a generational one,” Pinto told Houston Matters. “Younger generations – people under 40 – are more willing to see the government stepping in, and they’re more willing to entertain paying higher taxes to support those services.” Another divide — white democrats tended to be more supportive of “tax and spend” policies than African American and Latino democrats, Pinto said.The regular 2019 legislative session ends on Monday, May 27th.Listen to the full conversation with Pinto on Houston Matters in the audio, below: X Sharelast_img read more


Mines No Safer Despite 1 Billion In Fines Fe

first_img by NPR News Howard Berkes, Robert Benincasa 8.22.19 11:09am An audit of the federal system that fines mining companies for unsafe conditions found no evidence that more than $1 billion in mine safety penalties over 18 years deterred unsafe mining practices.The four-year long audit from the Office of Inspector General of the Labor Department says its analysis of Mine Safety and Health Administration accident and violations data “showed no correlation between penalties paid and the safety of mine operations.”The audit was prompted by a 2014 NPR investigation of thousands of mines and mining companies that did find such a connection. Specifically, NPR found that mines that persistently ignored their penalties had injury rates 50 percent higher than mines that paid their fines. In total, NPR examined the safety records of mines that had failed to pay nearly $70 million in penalties, some with delinquent fines that were decades old.The auditors instead reported data for mining companies, not individual mines, and in a statement to NPR acknowledged taking a different approach with their review.”We focused on mine operators as they are responsible for the safety of miners and are assigned the financial responsibility for penalties,” the OIG’s statement explained.The office did not respond to specific questions NPR submitted and declined a request for an interview.The audit doesn’t say whether the measures of safety and violations applied only after mines or mining companies failed to pay safety fines or while they continued to be delinquent. NPR’s analysis of delinquent fines and safety applied only to mines while they were delinquent.The auditors also measured safety by looking at raw numbers and averages of “serious accidents” and “serious violations,” which is not the primary safety metric used by MSHA. The agency instead typically uses “incident” or injury rate, which takes into account the number of injuries that occur in a mine during the hours worked.This shows that “penalties just aren’t high enough to deter bad behavior,” says Wes Addington, the executive director of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center in Whitesburg, Kentucky.Addington once conducted his own analysis of delinquent mine safety penalties and their impacts on safety.The audit shows that “violations are just a cost of doing business,” Addington adds.He also calls the audit “superficial” and “poorly designed” because it mixes coal mines with what are called metal and nonmetal mines. “Coal mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States,” Addington says. Including other mines in the analysis “skews the data. They don’t have the injuries and violations coal mines have.”The auditors did recommend that MSHA not permit mining companies to operate new mines if they have outstanding penalties at existing operations.”Without holding mine operators accountable for their safety record or delinquency status prior to commencing operations at a new mine, mine operators have less of an incentive to prevent future safety hazards,” the audit says.MSHA says it does not have the legal authority to deny mine operators the ability to open new mines due to unpaid fines.The NPR investigation found that mining companies continued to operate multiple mines, and continued to put thousands of miners at risk, even after persistent failure to pay mine safety fines. In one case, the operators of the Kentucky Darby mine amassed nearly $3 million in safety fines after a deadly accident that killed five miners. That includes $500,000 in fines the owners of the mine failed to pay for safety failures that contributed to the tragedy.In that and many other cases, NPR found that MSHA failed to use some of its authority to force companies to pay and to seek closure of mines that were persistently delinquent.The auditors found that MSHA has used that authority more often since the NPR investigation in 2014, and noted more aggressive focus on delinquent and unsafe mines in both the Trump and Obama administrations.The audit said MSHA deserves credit for collecting the vast majority of mine safety fines – roughly 90 percent in the 18 years reviewed.But the auditors also recommended that MSHA develop ways to measure the effectiveness of penalties. MSHA says that’s difficult because fines are “one of many variables” used to make mines safe.MSHA has recently resisted public disclosure of mining companies that fail to pay penalties. NPR sued MSHA in federal court last year under the Freedom of Information Act after the agency failed to provide its current delinquent mines data. A settlement resulted in the release of that data, which showed that the nation’s top delinquent mine owners are companies owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his family.In a rare move in May, MSHA and the Justice Department sued the coal companies owned by the Justice family for failure to pay $4.7 million in unpaid mine safety fines.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR. Mines No Safer Despite $1 Billion In Fines, Federal Audit… Wade Paynelast_img read more


Crusade against dengue in North 24Pgns

first_imgKolkata: In the wake of some reported cases of dengue in various parts of North 24-Parganas, the state health department has started a massive anti-dengue campaign throughout the district.Incidentally, it may be mentioned here that in the past few days, many of dengue cases were reported from Habra and its adjoining areas. Many have been undergoing treatment at Habra State General Hospital with dengue. Health department officials have visited the hospital on number of occasions and issued necessary guidelines to the hospital authorities. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe health department has asked the North 24-Parganas district administration to take awareness drive as to take some precautionary measures. All the municipalities and Panchayat functionaries have been instructed to undertake various campaigns to combat dengue and other mosquitoes-borne diseases. The district administration has been asked to organise awareness campaigns and urge people to ensure that there are no empty cups, broken furniture and used materials on rooftops or nearby areas. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSimilarly, the authorities of schools and other educational institutions, central and state government offices will be asked to clear the roofs regularly. According to a senior administrative official, the officer-in-charge of various police stations will be requested to ensure that there was no accumulation of water on the seized goods such as vehicles that have met with road accidents. The district officials have been asked to submit a report to the health department regarding the implementation of anti-larvae drive. According to senior health official in the district, the accumulated water in empty plastic cups, containers and broken furniture are the potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. The district administration has also asked all the panchayat officials and municipalities to spread awareness among people through leaflets. Municipalities have been asked to keep rapid action teams so that they can quickly go to the places where suspected cases are reported. Health workers under various municipalities have been asked to visit individual houses and housing complexes to examine the overhead tanks and underground reservoirs.last_img read more

Microsofts Accounting System

first_img Are you tracking your income and outgo in Microsoft Excel? Creating invoices with Word? Managing vendor, customer and employee lists in Outlook? If so, you’re an ideal candidate for the newest addition to Microsoft Office: Small Business Accounting 2006. After a couple of failed attempts, Microsoft has delivered a surprisingly well-appointed accounting program that’s a strategic component of Microsoft Office.Small Business Accounting is unlikely to make a dent in Intuit QuickBooks’ 80 percent-plus market share; nothing has in more than a decade. And this first version of Small Business Accounting would make an even poorer substitute for the other top entrepreneurial bookkeeper–Sage Software’s Peachtree Complete Accounting.But according to Microsoft, a very large share of entrepreneurial businesses is still wide-open to wooing. Its research shows that accounting programs are used by only a little more than half of all entrepreneurial businesses, with the rest using a patchwork of spreadsheets, contact managers, paper records and outside bookkeepers.Could it be that Peachtree and Quick-Books are in some way deficient? Certainly not. Both deliver 99 percent of the core accounting functionality needed by any small business. They differ mostly on the margins, the choice between them often turning on an entrepreneur’s preference for an implementation or reliance on a particular feature. For example, one entrepreneur I know uses FIFO (first in, first out) to cost his current inventory, but builds in a little cushion for his margins by using a Peachtree LIFO (last in, first out) report to tell him how much to pay for new, price-sensitive commodities. He couldn’t do that in QuickBooks or Small Business Accounting–and few small businesses need to. But many entrepreneurs have unique ways of using these all-purpose tools.That tendency could work in Microsoft’s favor because even the first incarnation of Small Business Accounting promises versatility. More than just an accounting program, it’s an integral part of the company’s grand vision of enterprisewide information management that will get reinforced with the year-end release of Office 12.With a familiar interface and a street price of $49 to $149, the stand-alone version of Small Business Accounting is an easy buy. But its true utility is only realized as part of Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 (about $500 street), and as with any accounting program, its real cost can’t be measured in dollars, but in time either saved or lost.Nice DebutMicrosoft Small Business Accounting 2006 is a remarkably capable accounting system with perks like inventory, job costing, online banking and a robust data-sharing structure (see ” The Bottom Line “.) Many features are shallower than those in Peachtree or QuickBooks, but that’s to be expected with a new code base.Microsoft deftly mixes the features and conventions competitors have developed over years of trial and error with those borrowed from Office. For example, Small Business Accounting opens up to a home page where you’re reminded of things to do today–vendors to pay, debtors to nudge, products to order. A flowchart-and-tabs navigation method is mixed with an Outlook-like desktop, making it easy to visualize common processes–like the path from job quote to payment–or to hop among the main accounting modules.Allowing you to set access permission levels for five concurrent users, Small Business Accounting is a comfortable fit for companies with up to 25 employees (depending on transaction volumes). But it lacks an accountant’s review capability that would let you delegate some functions to an outside accountant.The program’s centerpiece is its ability to address a problem familiar to most of us: having to manually update the same information in several different Office components and other Windows programs. Small Business Accounting can synchronize its customer, vendor and employee databases with those in Outlook’s Business Contact Manager. You can maintain and share customer histories, track opportunities, and easily e-mail quotes, purchase orders and invoices. Small Business Accounting also seamlessly integrates with Word so you can create templates that put your company’s personal stamp on external communications and end-of-period financial statements.Small Business Accounting’s own financial reports are minimal, but it easily swaps records and lists with Excel, where you can what-if various business opportunities and do advanced budgeting, charting and sales forecasting. QuickBooks and Peachtree have similar links but aren’t quite as adroit.Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting offers many potentially time-saving capabilities, but only for those already committed–or willing to commit–to Outlook and other Office applications. From the overhead that SQL Server imposes to the use of Outlook as your company’s nerve center to the many other choices in productivity tools, with their ensuing update schedules and security issues, choosing Small Business Accounting has a lot of implications.If all you need is accounting, Peach-tree or QuickBooks will be simpler, better alternatives for the foreseeable future. But if you’re ready to sign on to Microsoft’s vision of end-to-end information management, Small Business Accounting 2006 could be a great leap forward. The Bottom Line Pros: A familiar interface and wizards ease the setup of your books, importing from Excel and QuickBooks, and data sharing with Microsoft Office components. A broad set of accounting tools includes inventory, job costing, an informative cash-flow forecaster, an audit trail for backtracking, and online connections to banking, bill paying and ADP payroll services.Cons: Many modules–inventory, for example–lack depth and flexibility, and SQL Server slows the program. There is no easy way to share limited accounting data with an outside accountant, and some Office components have proved insecure in the past.Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur’s technology editor. 5 min read This story appears in the March 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Listen Now Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. March 1, 2006last_img read more