Vermont tax revenues ahead of targets, still shaky

first_imgVermont Secretary of Administration Neale Lunderville announced today that Vermont’s September tax revenue figures were above targets for the General Fund and Education Fund, but were slightly below target for the Transportation Fund.General FundSeptember is the third month of fiscal year (FY) 2011. General Fund revenues totaled $117.72 million for September 2010, and were +$8.75 million or +8.03% above the $108.97 million consensus revenue forecast for the month. Year-to-date General Fund performance of $281.65 million was +$12.44 million, or +4.62% ahead of year to date target of $269.21 million. This +$12.44 million overage is almost fully attributable to a one-time bank franchise receipt in August and likely one-time corporate income tax receipts this month as discussed below.The current forecast does not project a return to fiscal year 2008 revenue levels until fiscal year 2013.The monthly targets reflect the revised Fiscal Year 2011 Consensus Revenue Forecast approved by the Emergency Board at their July 14, 2010 meeting. Statutorily, the State is required to revise the Consensus Revenue Forecast two times per year, in January and July; the Emergency Board may schedule interim revisions if deemed necessary. The next Emergency Board meeting will be scheduled for January 2011.Personal Income Tax (PI) receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Personal Income Tax receipts for September were recorded at $55.76 million, or -$0.30 million or -0.54% below the monthly target of $56.06 million.Corporate Income Taxes for September, which are also reported net-of refunds, were recorded at $22.26 million against a target of $11.95 million, or +$10.31 million (+86.30%) above target.Lunderville noted that, “Approximately $7.2 million of the favorable monthly results in the Corporate Income Tax was associated with a very small number of corporate estimated payments. We are concerned that these estimated payments may be overstated and that some portion will be refunded when corporate income tax returns are filed. Our economists view this above target result as a one-time event and not indicative of an economy improving more quickly than expected.”The consumption taxes experienced mixed results for September; Sales & Use Tax receipts of $17.51 million exceeded the monthly target by +$0.52 million (+3.05%), while Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $12.60 million fell below target by -$0.09 million (-0.69%).The year to date results for the four major General Fund categories are as follows: Personal Income Tax, $133.67 million (-0.03%); Sales & Use Tax, $53.55 million (+0.80%); Corporate, $23.01 million (+60.11%); and Meals & Rooms Tax, $34.08 million (+0.01%).The remaining tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and “Other” (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). The results for the month of September were as follows: Insurance Tax, $0.49 million (-60.28%); Estate Tax, $0.55 million (-63.52%); Property Transfer Tax, $0.68 million (-19.38%); and “Other”, $7.88 million (+2.27%). Year to date results for these categories were: Insurance Tax, $8.28 million (+1.70%); Estate Tax, $2.67 million (-32.46%); Property Transfer Tax, $2.05 million (-15.95%); and “Other”, $24.33 million (+25.53%). The majority of the favorable year to date results in the “Other” category were due to unanticipated settlement activity for the prior month in Bank Franchise Taxes.Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue for September. Total non-dedicated Transportation Fund receipts of $19.32 million for the month were slightly below target by -$0.02 million (-0.08%), against the monthly target of $19.34 million. The year to date non-dedicated Transportation revenue was $54.50 million versus the target of $54.48 million (+$0.02 million, +0.04%).Individual Transportation Fund revenue receipts components for September were: Gasoline Tax, $5.25 million or -11.03% behind target; Diesel Tax, $1.43 million or +3.47% ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $5.03 million or +4.97% above target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $6.02 million or +6.36% above target; and Other Fees, $1.61 million or -0.73% short of the monthly target. The September year to date Transportation Fund revenue results were: Gasoline Tax, $16.10 million or -3.89% short of target, Diesel Tax, $3.56 million or +2.98% ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $12.42 million or -3.31% below target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $18.06 million or +6.69% above target; and Other Fees, $4.35 million or -3.02% short of target.Secretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund (“TIB”). TIB Fund Gas receipts for September were $1.41 million or -10.86% short of target; year to date receipts of $4.19 million were -6.61% below target. TIB Fund Diesel receipts were $0.17 million or +5.04% above target for the month; year to date TIB Diesel receipts were $0.50 million or +19.53% ahead of target. TIB Fund receipts are noted below the following table:Education FundThe preliminary “non-Property Tax” Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 11.9% of the total Education Fund sources) were released today by Secretary Lunderville. The non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts for September totaled $12.94 million, or +$0.24 million (+1.87%) above the $12.71 million target for the month. Year to date Education Fund revenues were $37.29 million or -0.34% behind the year to date target of $37.41 million.The preliminary individual Education Fund revenue component results for September were: Sales & Use Tax, $8.76 million, or +3.05% ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.51 million or +4.97%; Lottery Transfer, $1.66 million or -8.89%; and Education Fund Interest, $0.01 million against a target of -$0.01 million (percent not meaningful). Year-to-date results were: Sales & Use Tax, $26.78 or +0.80%; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $6.21 million or -3.31%; Lottery Transfer, $4.28 million or -3.58%; and Education Fund Interest, $0.02 against a target of -$0.01million (percent not meaningful).Conclusion“There has been a noticeable loss of momentum in the economic recovery,” said Secretary Lunderville. “Consumer and business confidence remains low and continues to be a brake on the recovery.”“Compared to prior fiscal years, September year to date results for fiscal year 2011 have exceeded fiscal year 2010, but remain 4.2% below fiscal year 2009 and 2.5% below fiscal year 2008 for the same three-month period,” continued Lunderville. “The current forecast does not project a return to fiscal year 2008 revenue levels until fiscal year 2013.”“It’s very important to note that absent two unusual and unexpected revenue events – tax settlement activity in August and estimated corporate taxes in September – general fund revenue would be essentially on target for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011,” Lunderville concluded. “While we are pleased to be ahead of target, this is not an indication of the economy improving quicker than expected.”Source: Lunderville. 10.15.2010last_img read more

CVPS honors retiring CEO Bob Young, plans for future with Larry Reilly

first_imgCentral Vermont Public Service (NYSE-CV) honored retiring leader Bob Young at the annual meeting of shareholders today, and set out a bold new vision aimed at improving value for customers, shareholders and the state of Vermont. Lead Director Bill Sayre honored Young for transforming CV during his tenure as president, and presented him with a framed page from the Congressional Record that included a speech from Representative Peter Welch, D-VT, who feted him on the House floor. ‘When Bob Young became president, that utility faced many challenges,’ Welch said in the speech. ‘He faced them directly: rising costs, transmission system upgrades, a customer base that wanted reliable power but green power. Bob Young succeeded in making CVPS an award-winning company. He focused on customer service and environmental concern and stewardship, proving that green power could be reliable and affordable.’ Sayre showed a brief film of Welch’s speech, and praised Young for what he called his gentlemanly ways even in difficult times. ‘Bob had to orchestrate the complete reorganization of the company in the late ‘90s, the rebuilding of a clean, affordable power supply over the past few years, and the rehabilitation of CV’s reputation starting on day one,’ Sayre said. ‘Perhaps most importantly, he led senior management, the board and employees through a cultural transformation that is the stuff of business textbooks. Through it all, Bob remained focused on the big picture, and provided employees and the board of directors with a steady hand and calm, thoughtful guidance. ‘Bob revamped this company from top to bottom, improving its way of thinking, its environmental footprint, its commitment to customers and Vermont, and indeed its very soul. The CV Bob leaves today is a dramatically better company than the one he took over on December 31, 1995, and he deserves tremendous credit for that,’ Sayre said. ‘I am truly proud of the work we have done,’ Young said. ‘We’ve turned CV into a solid investment, a civic leader, an environmental steward, a great place to work, and a values-based, customer-focused business that is the envy of many in the industry. We’ve certainly faced many trials and tribulations over the years, but we’ve acted with integrity, and our employees have become true ambassadors for the company.’ Young praised CV’s employees, who he said were committed to customers and shareholders alike, and his successor, Larry Reilly. ‘He’s humble, intelligent, collaborative and focused, and he constantly espouses a belief that I have held every day at CV: Value creation for shareholders has to begin with value creation for our customers,’ Young said. On that point, Reilly announced a new CV vision: to be the best small utility in America. ‘We think we already are one of the best small utilities in America ‘ but we aren’t satisfied with that,’ Reilly said. ‘We’ll work extremely hard to get even better.’ Reilly said CV would work to improve already-high customer satisfaction and reliability; provide rates that are competitive in the Northeast; protect the environment; give customers new tools to manage energy consumption and reduce their costs and environmental footprints; demonstrate and expand CV’s corporate citizenship; and provide exceptional value for shareholders over time. ‘All that adds up to a tall order,’ Reilly said. ‘But the board, officers and employees are committed to our new vision, and will work hard every day to achieve itâ ¦ From J.D. Power scores to third-party assessments of CVPS SmartPower®, from total shareholder return to independent reviews of our corporate governance and management, we will look at every aspect of the company. Measures we’ll rely on will include bond ratings, dividends, carbon footprints, environmental achievements, bill comparisons, service quality matrices, surveys and a host of other independent measuresâ ¦ ‘CV already excels in many, many ways, and we wanted to create a vision to help management and employees build on our successes, ward off complacency, and continue to improve our value for all stakeholders,’ Reilly said. ‘I think we’ve done just that. This will not happen overnight. Just as it took many years for Bob Young to lead the way to CV’s turnaround and make the company the success it has become, we are in this for the long haul. We have no illusions about how much work will be required to achieve our vision. ‘But CV and its employees have demonstrated a substantial ability to develop and implement plans to improve service, reliability and value over a period of years. The difference this time will be that we are beginning from the great spot that Bob will leave us, with a team of employees dedicated to each other, our customers and our shareholders.’ May 3, 2011. Photos of Bob Yound and Larry Reilly courtesy of CVPS.last_img read more

Senate confirms Kraninger as bureau director

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The Senate yesterday voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger to lead the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. She will take over for Mick Mulvaney, who has served as acting director since November 2017. NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger reached out to Kraninger following the vote to congratulate her on the confirmation.The Senate voted 50-49 to confirm Kraninger; she will serve as director for five years.“NAFCU is consistently engaged with the bureau on issues critical to the credit union industry and we look forward to working with Director Kraninger to ensure a healthy regulatory environment in which credit unions can grow, thrive and successfully serve their membership,” said Berger.“Additionally, we will continue to advocate for a tailoring of regulation at the bureau to reign in unscrupulous behavior by Wall Street banks and bad marketplace actors while exempting credit unions from burdensome regulations that will simultaneously raise costs on their members.”last_img read more

Converting your core? Pay attention to change management

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Steve Comer Steve Comer, Director of the Financial Services industry at Hyland Software.For the past 13+ years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform their business through … Web: www.hyland.com Details I’ve been a Cleveland Cavaliers fan for a long time, well before LeBron James joined the team – both times. I remember seeing Zydrunas Ilgauskas make his debut in 1997, back when the team played in Gund Arena. And I remember wondering what would happen after George Gund sold the team to Dan Gilbert and the arena changed its name to Quicken Loans. Would the team still be the Cavaliers? Would my favorite players still be there? Everything was changing, and I didn’t like it all. Those memories bubbled up recently when we learned Quicken Loans Arena would become Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. What would this mean for the Cavs and all the other teams that make their home there? Was even more change coming?Later we’d learn the name change simply coincides with the debut of the arena’s two-year renovation project.  But, still, it made me stop and think.And that’s exactly what your employees and members will do when they first hear you’re undergoing a core conversion. They’ll wonder if the organization’s complementary applications, like your content services platform, will easily integrate with the new core. They’ll wonder if late nights reconfiguring solutions are in store. And, inevitably, someone will ask, “Should we talk with our solution vendors first?” (The answer, by the way, is yes.)Change management eases any core conversionNo matter how well-architected your conversion blueprint or how long you’ve pre-planned, a core conversion frays nerves on every level of the organization. In a way, it’s like racing a car and deciding to change the engine in the middle of the competition. Will the car run right afterward? Will it be better? Or worse? A smart change management plan is the best way to combat this same thinking among employees. Here’s where to start:Find the perfect change agentsChange agents are your core conversion champions. They will help lead important projects and stick close to others, so it is vital that your champions stakeholders, strong communicators and have an uncanny ability to adapt to challenging situations and lead teams through them.Communicate to everyone – and communicate oftenYour CEO should deliver broad messages about the conversion to the entire company on a regular basis, change management experts suggest. Managers and supervisors should dig into the details with employees, fielding questions and finding answers.Show employees how it’s relevant and why it’s desirableThe more everyone understands how the core conversion fuels the credit union’s long-term goals the better the process will be, even if it is a little rough. Outline to employees the challenges the credit union faces without making the change and how the conversion helps the credit union overcome those challenges. If possible, include how employees’ work lives will change for the better, too.Recruit outside championsVendors who know their software solution can easily and seamlessly integrate with the new core can ease fears by showing staff how they have integrated with the core in the past. Whether you have already partnered with the vendor or are searching for new partners and solutions to implement soon after or alongside the core conversion, this third-party validation can go a long way to easing concerns and answering questions.Don’t stop communicating after the conversion goes liveMake sure you continue to provide updates on the conversion as it gradually becomes part of everyday life. Share both disappointments and successes and regularly request feedback from employees. Don’t forget your other business processesBefore we wrap up, here’s another thing to consider. As you start to undertake the project, don’t forget that they often consume a ton of time and resources.  Be wary of the ripple effect the project has on surrounding business processes and applications.  Make sure you understand the effort required to optimize and integrate with all ancillary systems and budget the appropriate amount of time and resources. Remember that vendors like Hyland are more than happy to share best practices and provide support during the conversion process. Our team is committed to helping you leverage your data-driven technology to best serve your members, now and into the future. Make sure other technology vendors feel the same way and can back it up with world-class training and support.last_img read more

Biden Asked Republicans to Give Him a Chance. They’re Not Interested.

first_imgMASON, Texas — The change at the Sunday prayer service was so subtle it went unnoticed by several congregants. Tucked in between calls for divine health and wisdom, the Rev. Fred Krebs of St. Paul Lutheran Church, who rarely brings up politics, fleetingly mentioned this month’s presidential election.“We pray for a peaceful transition,” he told his congregation of 50 people. The carefully chosen words underscored the political reality in Mason, a rural, conservative town of roughly 2,000 people, after Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump. Not everyone thought the election was over, and not everyone said they would respect the results.- Advertisement – Like Mr. Biden and his supporters, the Smiths saw this election as a battle for the country’s soul. To unify with Mr. Biden would be an admission that the battle is lost, and that the multicultural tide powering his victory will continue its ascension.“Everything I worked for, Biden wants to give to the immigrants to help them live, when they don’t do nothing but sit on their butts,” Mr. Smith said.“And if those protesters come here, if they go tearing up stuff, I guarantee you they won’t be in this town very long,” he added. “We’ll string them up and send them out of here — and it won’t be the same way they came in.” – Advertisement – It is all a far cry from how Mr. Biden framed this election, from the Democratic primary race through his victory speech last weekend. He cast the moment as a chance for the country to excise the political division Mr. Trump has stoked, promising to repair the ideological, racial and geographic fissures that have grown into chasms since 2016. Announcing his campaign, he called it an opportunity to restore “the soul of the nation.” Last weekend, he declared, “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”But on Election Day, Republican turnout surged across the country — particularly in rural areas like Mason, which along with its surrounding county had among the largest percentage increases in voter participation in Texas. Democratic dreams of a landslide were thwarted as Republicans notched surprise victories in the House and emerged as the favorite to retain control of the Senate. In the days since, thousands of Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters have gathered across the country, including in Texas, to protest Mr. Biden’s triumph as illegitimate.“We’re willing to accept the results, as long as it’s fair and done correctly and certified correctly,” said Sherrie Strong, another supporter of the president’s. She, like others, took Mr. Trump’s position that it was strange that he had been leading in numerous places because of in-person votes on Election Day, only to be overtaken once mail-in ballots were counted on election night and over the days that followed. (The delay in counting mail-in ballots in several states was because of restrictions imposed by Republican state legislatures.) “It’s just a little upsetting when you go to bed at night, and all of a sudden, four days later, these votes are magically appearing,” Ms. Strong said.Mr. Biden’s message did have political appeal, motivating a crucial slice of voters who helped him lead Democrats back into power.Ann Mahnken, a 72-year-old lifelong conservative who attends the Lutheran church, said the prospect of his bringing the country together was why, after voting for Mr. Trump in 2016, she chose the Democratic candidate this time. “My Democratic friends think Biden is going to heal everything and unify everyone,” said Jeanie Smith, who attends the more conservative Spring Street Gospel Church in Mason, which is about 100 miles west of Austin. “They are deceived.” Karen Bell, who was also at the rally, said her distrust centered on mail voting.“In these swing states, he was ahead, and then all of a sudden in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, they stopped counting,” Ms. Bell said, echoing conspiracy theories about vote counting. “And then we wake up and suddenly Biden is ahead. These mystery votes all came in for Biden and zero for Trump. Something is definitely fishy there.”Asked for any evidence of widespread election fraud, in light of the fact that election officials including Republicans have consistently dismissed such claims, Ms. Bell cited conspiratorial right-wing sites like Infowars. Election officials have made it clear: There is no evidence of widespread election fraud.No matter what happens next, “I will not believe that the election was fair,” Ms. Bell said. “I will not believe that he is a legitimate winner.” Ms. Smith, 67, and her husband, Dennis, 69, tied their unequivocal support for the president — even in defeat — to larger cultural concerns. On Monday in Dallas, hundreds of Mr. Trump’s supporters gathered outside the city’s election office in a “Stop the Steal” protest promoted by the state Republican Party. The message from speakers and attendees went further than expressing fears of election fraud, amounting to a wholesale rejection of a Biden presidency and of the Republican elected officials who acknowledged it. One speaker said of the Republican lawmakers who had called Mr. Biden the president-elect, “Remember who they are when you go to the polls next.”“This is contempt of half of the country by the other half of the country,” said Paul Feeser, 61, who attended the protest in Dallas. “So if the conclusion was for Biden, I would look at it as illegitimate, and I and many others expect to be part of the so-called resistance — as Trump resisted.” “I could not stand the way our country is,” she said. “I didn’t want to go through four more years of that, not in my senior citizen lifetime. I didn’t want to go through four more years of the chaos and the division.”Mark Lehmberg, a fellow parishioner who voted for Mr. Trump this year after sitting out 2016, said he had given up on the concept of unity — and he advised Ms. Mahnken to do the same. He backed the president because he did not want the economy to shut down over the coronavirus.“The relationships have already been jeopardized,” Mr. Lehmberg said. “It’s going be hard — impossible — to get people to come together.” His wife, Andrea, was more optimistic.“I think every president that we’ve had has never intentionally hurt our country,” she said. “They’re going to do their best and that’s all we can hope for.”Mr. Biden, she added, “is not going to do some intentional crash of our country.”Her hopefulness stood out in a landscape of dread. Pastor Krebs, the Lutheran minister, said the reason the election felt existential to some was that it represented a referendum on more than just politics.As a community leader who arrived in Mason shortly before the 2016 election, he said, he has seen how the city’s views of the president are wrapped up in other issues, including the white majority’s relationship with Latino residents and a backlash to Black Lives Matter protesters striving for political power.At the same time, Pastor Krebs said, sweeping generalities don’t do justice to the complexity of the community.“Defining people strictly by their parties is not a good thing,” he said. “And I’ve learned that sometimes people think more deeply when they get into a conversation than when we just start labeling one another.” “Now you want healing,” she added. “Now you want to come together. You have not earned it.”That is the hard reality Mr. Biden is facing, even after winning a race in which he secured a larger share of the popular vote than any challenger since 1932. Towering before him is a wall of Republican resistance, starting with Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, extending to G.O.P. lawmakers’ reluctance to acknowledge his victory and stretching, perhaps most significantly for American politics in the long term, to ordinary voters who steadfastly deny the election’s outcome. – Advertisement – The feeling that Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede is justified, and that Mr. Biden’s rise to the presidency should not be recognized, is not universal for Republicans. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe Mr. Biden won, including about 60 percent of Republicans.But other polling has provided mixed results, including a survey from Politico/Morning Consult showing that the number of Republicans who do not believe this year’s election was free and fair has doubled, from 35 percent before Election Day to 70 percent.In Texas, conservatives have been crowing after Democratic hopes of flipping the state blue and winning control of the Legislature failed to materialize. Even so, state leaders have also fallen in line with the president’s baseless attempts to paint the election as unfair — and the state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, has offered $1 million for anyone who produces evidence of voter fraud.But even in Mason, some who supported the president urged the party to move on. “This is over — it’s just what it is,” said Jay Curry, 44, who was arriving to eat at the Willow Creek Cafe and Club with his wife and two children.The president’s refusal to concede “just means more turmoil and more division,” Mr. Curry said. “We’re divided. It’s red and blue. And they’re against each other more than they’re trying to help anybody.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

Toyota expects 79.5% annual operating profit drop due to virus

first_imgToyota forecast a near-20 percent drop in annual sales to 24 trillion yen, compared with 29.93 trillion yen achieved in the past fiscal year.The company’s net profit for the past year to March came to 2.076 trillion yen, up 10.3 percent on the year.”As for the global economy going forward, there is concern that there will be a sharp decline in many countries and regions due to the impact of COVID-19,” Toyota said in a statement.”While we assume that the global automobile market as a whole will gradually recover after bottoming out during April and June of 2020… the impact of COVID-19 is wide-ranging, significant and serious, and it is expected that weakness will continue for the time being.”Topics : Toyota on Tuesday said it expected a 79.5 percent drop in its annual operating profit this fiscal year as it suffers “significant” fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.The Japanese auto giant declined to give a net profit forecast for the fiscal year to March 2021 but noted that the impact of the crisis on its business was “wide-ranging, significant and serious”.The company now expects an annual operating profit of 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion), down 79.5 percent from the 2.44 trillion yen logged in the past year to March.last_img read more

Export gloom sours Pakistan’s prized mango season

first_imgTopics : Dwindling harvests, drooping demand and export supply chains hit by the coronavirus are biting into Pakistan’s mango industry, with producers of the prized fruit battling to weather a disastrous season.Across Pakistan’s “mango belt” in Punjab and Sindh provinces, farmers say a long winter and changing rain patterns have slashed production by up to half this year – just as virus shutdowns sparked border restrictions and spiraling export costs. “There are multiple problems that mango farmers are facing,” said Rana Muhammad Azim, whose family has been producing the fruit in Punjab for generations.  “The situation is extremely worrisome for us. The mangoes are ready, but no exporter is willing to take the risk and place orders,” he said, adding that he was already suffering from a 40 percent decline in the harvest.Pakistan produced more than 1.5 million tons of mangoes in 2019 – and exported a record 115,000 tons worth US$80 million – making it the sixth-largest exporter of the fruit in the world.But Waheed Ahmed, head of a produce association in Pakistan, said exports have dropped around 40 percent compared to the same period last year, with just a few months left of the season.Known in South Asia as the “king of fruits”, the mango originated in the Indian subcontinent with two dozen varieties grown in Pakistan.center_img The country’s most treasured variety is the greenish-yellow Chaunsa, known for its rich, unique flavor and juicy pulp.The fruit also helps sweeten diplomatic relations, with Pakistan sending crates of its best produce to India’s prime minister every year, regardless of the political climate between the hostile neighbors.It has also earned a place in recent literary history, with renowned Pakistan author Mohammed Hanif longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for “A Case of Exploding Mangoes”, a comic novel based on an unexplained 1988 plane crash that killed former president Muhammad Zia ul-Haq.Rotting fruitsWith much of the world’s air traffic grounded by the coronavirus, exports of the best prime, ripe fruit by plane to the United States and Europe have been particularly hard hit, but ground transport has also been badly affected.Dozens of trucks piled high with the yellow fruit were stranded at the border with Iran last month, their precious cargo rotting in the searing 40-degree heat.Even where trading has continued via sea to the key Middle East market – which accounts for 70 percent of exports – demand has plunged.Since the virus took hold shoppers are making fewer outings to supermarkets and are wary of spending on luxury items, while Pakistani migrant workers who relish the fruit have returned home. The domestic market brings far less revenue.In one bright spot, harvests were at least spared the ravages of the worst locust plague in 25 years, which wiped out entire vegetable and cotton harvests.As flights resume and border restrictions are eased, growers hope to increase exports in the second half of the season to avoid a complete lost season.”The situation has forced us to think of new solutions,” said producer Muhammad Ali Gardezi, who for the first time has taken his business online, delivering door-to-door in the age of social distancing.last_img read more

Arsenal manager Unai Emery gushes over Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez ahead of Premier League clash

first_img Comment Phil HaighMonday 1 Apr 2019 8:22 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link Arsenal won at St James’ Park in September (Picture: AMA/Getty Images)‘I respect him a lot, because he is a very good coach and has a lot of experience and a lot of titles,’ said Emery.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Here in England, he has more experience than me. It is a big reference for us, for me, as a coach, his work and his courage.’ Arsenal manager Unai Emery gushes over Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez ahead of Premier League clash Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement Rafael Benitez’s side are not completely safe from relegation yet (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)Emery knows he is in touching distance of making the top four in his first season in charge at Arsenal, which would represent him achieving his number one target since arriving from PSG.The Gunners have just eight games left to play, and with a reasonably favourable run-in, victory on Monday night would put them in the box seat for a Champions League place.‘Each match gives us the possibility to progress. First is in the table, second is improving as a team, in our system, tactically and individually.More: FootballChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘I want to be better each match and I think each player can progress. Each player can show us he is improving.‘In the table, our objective is very clear — to be in the top four. But we know this is difficult and each possibility like Monday is good. It gives us confidence for the challenge.’MORE: Martin Keown explains what sets Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk apart after superb defending against TottenhamMORE: What Jurgen Klopp said to convince Virgil van Dijk to join Liverpool over Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City Rafael Benitez and Unai Emery clearly get along well (Picture: AMA/Getty Images)Arsenal manager Unai Emery has reserved some special praise for his Newcastle counterpart Rafael Benitez ahead of their clash in the Premier League on Monday night.The Gunners can go third in the table with victory at the Emirates after Tottenham slipped to defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.Rio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starWhile Arsenal are hot favourites to do just that, Emery knows it will not be easy against a Benitez side as he holds his fellow Spaniard in the highest regard.last_img read more

This suburb has seen a double digit jump in median price in five years

first_img21 Seligan St, Albany Creek. Photo: realestate.com.auThis part of Brisbane’s north has seen its median house price jump 22.6 per cent inthe last five years, amid growing interest from families in the middle ring.The latest CoreLogic Market Trends report showed that Albany Creek has seen strong growth that’s pushed its median house price to $581,000.According to realestate.com.au data, in the last month homes sold in the suburb had teetered just above and below that level.The area, which is dominated by larger houses, has a median price for three-bedroom homes of $490,000, and $605,000 for four-bedroom ones, according to REA.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019A recent auction at 21 Seligan St over the weekend, saw a three-bedroom home sell under the hammer for $576,000, well above comparable properties.The charms of the 607sq m block included the fact that the home had been renovated with the potential for dual living. It also had a full side access double lockup garage and a large powered shed.According to Harcourts Solutions at The Gap which marketed the property, the home had 44 inspections from potential buyers, two of whom registered to bid for the auction.Other three-bedroom homes sold in the suburb this month included 9 Bevlin Court which sold for $535,000 on March 10, 8 Strathford Ave that sold for $572,500 on March 6, and 27 Kingfisher St that fetched $515,000 on the same day.Larger homes have been fetching more including 14 Daniel Drive, a four-bedder that went for $605,000 mid-month.last_img read more

Plenty of space for family to spread out

first_imgThe home at 15 Tsai Place, Kuraby.THIS two-storey, four-bedroom home is new to the market in Kuraby, close to childcare, parks, public transport and Garden City. The home at 15 Tsai Place, Kuraby has a study, formal lounge room and formal dining room on the ground floor. More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020Towards the back on the home there is an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area that opens to the poolside patio.The kitchen has a breakfast bar, plenty of work and storage space and space for a double fridge.Upstairs, the master bedroom has an ensuite with spa and walk-in robe and the three other bedrooms have built-in robes. There is also a family retreat and a small balcony on the second level. The home has fresh paint, high ceilings and side access for the boat or trailer.last_img read more