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Roger Federer wins 100th career title

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailFrancois Nel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Roger Federer won his 100th career title with a win at the Dubai Championships on Saturday.The 37 year old beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to become the second male player to reach the century mark after American Jimmy Connors, who won 109 career matches.The 20-time Grand Slam Champion won his last title October in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland.Federer has won at least one Association of Tennis Professionals title in every season, except 2016 when he suffered a knee injury.He won 24 straight titles from October 2003 to October 2005.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Written by March 2, 2019 /Sports News – National Roger Federer wins 100th career titlecenter_img Beau Lundlast_img read more

Coronavirus crisis and the portals’ response to the plight of agents

first_img One of the first symptoms of another battle brewing between estate agents and the masters of the property portals came when Murray Lee of Golders Green agency, Dreamview Estates. Murray, who has been in the business for 50 years, told The Negotiator that he and other local agents formed the group after failing to gain much sympathy from their local Rightmove rep.This news propelled agents across the UK to action, with an avalanche of emails, phone calls and online comments, as the portals realised that they had a fight on their hands.When Zoopla and OnTheMarket joined the battle, it became fierce, with online interaction across the portal map.Within two days 80 other agencies, with 150 branches joined Murray to ask for more help than Rightmove had offered within its ‘deferred payments scheme’, in which Rightmove would reduce its fees by between £150 and £500 a month for qualifying agents, depending on size and sector, to help agent cashflow during the Coronavirus crisis.When agents responded with an avalanche of emails, phone calls and online comments, the portals realised that they had a fight on their hands.However, the Rightmove scheme would not start until May 1st and the fees ‘reduction’ offered was, in reality, a deferred payment scheme; in which estate agents would have to pay the money back over an agreed term of between three and six months after the Coronavirus epidemic is over.The scheme would also only apply to estate agents who have fewer than 25 branches and who have been with the portal for at least 12 months.Rightmove also offered a series of webinars with industry experts on subjects from working at home through to legislation in the current environment and managing mental health.Fever risesBy Thursday 19th March, the lobbying group had over 250 estate agencies onboard, sent another email to Rightmove. One of them, Robert Sargent, CEO, Acorn, said, “For years I’ve been very vocal about Rightmove’s attitude to the hands that feed it, but their tone-deaf response to the Covid-19 pandemic compelled me to shout louder,” he told the members.“Like you, no doubt, I’m concerned for the future of my business, and Rightmove is one of our primary monthly expenses after staff. “While portals do serve a purpose, I have always maintained that they aren’t as essential as they seem to think they are. It’s people who sell properties, not portals.”Sargent also invite all agents to join his separate Say No To Rightmove campaign which, he says, already has 150 members from the industry.OUTCOMESZoopla wins!Agents working with Zoopla have been offered three or nine months of Zoopla usage free of charge.The portal smashed the current portal battle with its announcement of two new industry-leading fee structures which will support estate agents and to help mitigate the financial impact of coronavirus on agent businesses over the coming months.The offer is available to new and existing estate agency customers of 30 branches or less (which covers over 80 per cent of the UK estate agency population), as well as overseas and commercial agents, each option has been specially designed with the needs of agents in mind, offering both flexibility and financial backing to those requiring support.The two fee structures:ZOOPLA OPTION 1:Nine months of Zoopla – freeZoopla offers nine months of portal usage entirely free, returning to normal fee levels thereafter, as part of an 18-month contract that follows the free term.This is designed to support agents who recognise the benefits of establishing a long-term partnership with Zoopla, and who make a commitment to leave Rightmove once their current contract comes to an end.ZOOPLA OPTION 2:Three (to five) months of Zoopla freeWith this option, Zoopla offers three months of portal usage entirely free, returning to normal fee levels thereafter, as part of an 18 month contract that follows the free term. There is scope for the three month free term to be extended by a further two months, depending on whether the government limitations to control coronavirus have been lifted.After the free period, agents will return to normal fee levels.For both agreements, price increases will not exceed the RPI for the duration of the contract. Agents are able to sign up to either deal up until the end of April 2020, with the new terms to take effect from 1st May 2020. Charlie Bryant, CEO, Zoopla, said, “We have consistently said that agents are at the heart of everything we do, and today’s actions demonstrate the role we can play in helping to secure the long-term success of our agent partners. It’s our aim to support and work alongside agents to unlock new opportunities, deliver the utmost value for money, and to bolster them during this difficult period. “This isn’t something we wanted to rush; we have taken the time to speak to our customers to get these options right for them. We know each agent is different, which is why we have two compelling offers available. Both options are simple, concise, and there are no hidden clauses. Available to new and existing customers, we hope that they provide a financial cushion for agents that alleviates pain points and meets their respective needs.“Following the raft of investments made across the business, in product and technology, customer success, and in recruiting a highly skilled workforce, we are confident that Zoopla is the best marketing solution for agents. Without doubt, now is the time for agents to make Zoopla their primary portal. We look forward to working with the industry throughout this challenging time, and to playing a key role in helping our agent partners to grow in the months and years ahead.”Rightmove offers 75% refundOn Friday 20th March, Rightmove made a complete U-turn on its ridiculed deferred payments scheme and announced that it will refund all its customers invoices by 75% for the next four months – the first time it has reduced its fees since being established in 2000.The dramatic announcement was revealed to the stock market on Friday , and Rightmove said it had come to the decision after listening to its customers, and witnessing a significant slowdown in the speed of the UK housing market.“Notably the number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters’ protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents,” the company says.It is understood that its CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson has been speaking on the phone to many leading estate agents over the past two days, and been ‘given an ear bashing’.The 75% reduction in fees will run from April until July will be for all its customers including agency, new homes and commercial property customers.Rightmove says this will decrease its revenues this year by up to £75 million. “At Rightmove we are doing everything in our power to rise to the challenges of COVID-19. We have chosen to utilise our position to support our customers at this difficult time,” says Brooks-Johnson.OnTheMarket cuts fees by a thirdOnTheMarket has dropped its fees by a third for three months without any strings for customers currently on its full tariff.The portal sent an email out to its customers pledging its support for agents in this difficult time, but not revealing a price reduction programme, had a change of heart.Calling it a payment support initiative, unlike its rival Rightmove which has caused widespread protest among agents with its ‘deferred payments’ system, OnTheMarket is simply reducing its fees for invoices issued in the three months starting in April.“We hope that this will go some way towards easing the pressure which agents of all sizes, in both sales and lettings, are anticipating in the coming months against the unprecedented COVID-19 backdrop,” says Clive Beattie, Acting Chief Executive Officer.“OnTheMarket exists because agents had the foresight to want their own portal in order to control their online marketing cost base. It is the core strategy of OnTheMarket as the agent-backed portal to deliver value and to provide first-class support for our agent customers.“We are resolutely focused on doing everything possible to deliver value to our customers, both in these circumstances and beyond. We are the agents’ portal. We understand the next few months are going to be tough and, as such, we believe simply kicking the monthly rate back is not helping agent partners, it’s delaying the unavoidable. We believe that offering this discount early will assist agents to control their costs in the face of such uncertain times.”INDUSTRY COMMENTS FROM THENEGOTIATOR.CO.UKAndrew Stanton, Proptech Real Estate StrategistDissent and upset, and anger is now being focused on Rightmove, yes all shares are getting hit, but Countrywide, and now Rightmove are showing they are out of step with the very industry they are in – you cannot fool all of the people all of the time – and if there is a mass exodus from Rightmove, those in the c-suite maybe deserve to be reminded who pays their salaries and bonuses.Pam Batth, nu move“RM 75% off for 4 months, OTM 33% off, Zoopla free if you ditch RM for 9 months, Choices, Choices, Choices Hmmm, they need to smell the coffee and take notice from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies just released now, it can take a year before we see results. I suggest the three major portals should do for free for a year. No ifs, no buts.”Steve Way, OxletsCount me in Zoopla – I’ve been looking for a good reason to kick Rightmove into touch, even though they’ve countered with a reduced fee. Rightmove have for too long bashed us agents for high rates and now’s the time to tell them enough is enough and walk away.I’m with OnTheMarket too and to be honest, the leads from both Zoopla and OTM combined have been steadily increasing to the point where I don’t think I actually need Rightmove anymore.Ken Houchin, Roland JamesCould the original offer from Rightmove prove to be their ‘Ratner moment’ and that by insulting their customers so badly the adverse reaction brings them down. To paraphrase “How can we charge so much? Because we think our customers are c***p.” If you don’t remember Gerald Ratner, try Google.Friendly local agencyThey haven’t done this out of the kindness of their heart as they would have you believe – they have no heart!The hundreds of membership cancellations they have received over the last couple of days have backed them into a corner and forced them to change track.I just hope that those agents that have given notice aren’t fobbed off by this, and remember that this is a mere publicity stunt and that Rightmove’s plan on charging ever increasing fees has merely been put on hold.Peter Brookes Pam Batth Steve Way Ken Houchin Oxlets Roland James Murray Lee Dreamview Estates Nu move coronavirus Andrew Stanton Rightmove online agents OnTheMarket OTM portals Charlie Bryant Zoopla April 1, 2020Jenny van Breda6 commentsMatteo Donna, Alex & Matteo Estate Agents Alex & Matteo Estate Agents 2nd April 2020 at 10:36 amZoopla should be more clear on the “three (to five) months”. We have asked them to confirm whether it is going to be 5 but still awaiting an answer from them.Our contract terminate in June. Don’t you think it is better to wait until then and get a better deal?What’s your opinion about that?Best,MatteoLog in to ReplyMurray Lee, Dreamview Estates Dreamview Estates 2nd April 2020 at 10:28 amGreat report Nigel (only 48 years this month..dont over age me!)Can I point out to Mr Bryant Zooplas offer comes with conditionshttps://advantage.zpg.co.uk/zoopla-plans/?utm_source=propertyindustryeye&utm_medium=trade-email&utm_campaign=zoopla-plansOption 1: 3-5 months free + 12 month contractOption 2: 3-5 months free + 13-36 month contractAs my colleague agent replied to the local rep “these are no options”As agents we cant commit to a new contract of any length at this stageSome may not even know if they will have a business to return toTurn again Dick Whittington as the story goesYes, free please Mr Bryant….but too review in 4 monthsListen to the voices of the business that supports you#togetherwearestrongerLog in to ReplyMatteo Donna, Alex & Matteo Estate Agents Alex & Matteo Estate Agents 2nd April 2020 at 10:43 amHi Murrey, I agree with you. To commit on a 12 months contract at the same price we are currently paying is not an option. I think they should give a discount on our current plans. Period. What are we paying for (0 enquiries 0 leads 0 valuation requests in the last month)?Log in to ReplyMurray Lee, Dreamview Estates Dreamview Estates 2nd April 2020 at 12:04 pmAgreed 100%Log in to ReplySam Hunter, Homesearch Homesearch 1st April 2020 at 10:57 amFor perhaps the first time in 20 years, agents at least FEEL like they have an opportunity to make a decision around what portals they need to involve themselves with moving forward. If nothing else, this is good news for agents and the consumer. We made the decision to build a public service into Homesearch because of the additional information we will be able to provide both Agents and Consumers. If we can improve the experience around ‘property’ as a whole and deliver the public more of what they clearly need and agents not just higher quality leads, but genuine buyers, sellers, renters and investors, it’s the best thing for all parties.53 days, 9 hours and 3 minutes to go (at the time of writing).Keep up the good work, Nigel.Log in to ReplyAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 1st April 2020 at 7:32 amThe present crisis and lock down is making all agents look at their fixed cost model, and start to think what adds value and what is an expensive millstone around their neck.Yes agents need to sell and rent stock, but increasingly property portals are seen just as the departure lounge for property, not a way of finding vendors and landlords, the lifeblood of the businesses.Many are now pouring some of their budget into social media, realising that local engagement with their customers pays as big rewards as being on a pretty faceless and brand averse digital property portal.My advice minimise your cost spend on property portals, even after these distressing times, and test drive services like Brightbee.co a simple, five click and very effective way to digitally expand your brand on social media and showcase your stock. A win win initiative, sometimes great tech can be simple to use and does not cost the earth.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Coronavirus crisis and the portals’ response to the plight of agents previous nextAgencies & PeopleCoronavirus crisis and the portals’ response to the plight of agentsAs the Coronavirus spreads across the UK, our estate agencies face a battle to keep afloat – this is how the portals have responded to the developing crisis in the industry.The Negotiator1st April 20206 Comments1,662 Viewslast_img read more

Planning application withdrawn, beloved nightclub Cellar is ‘saved’

first_imgAdditional reporting by Emily Lawford.,The Cellar, previously called The Corn Dolly and The Dolly, has hosted early gigs for successful bands such as Foals and Glass Animals. The venue has been owned since the 1980’s by the Hopkins family. A planning application to turn the Oxford nightclub Cellar into a retail space has been withdrawn, meaning the beloved venue could remain open in future.According to the City Council’s website, the application to change the underground club into a retail space was withdrawn today after it received a high volume of objections.On Facebook, the club’s owners heralded a “fantastic outcome”, and thanked “the incredible number of all you amazing supporters for taking the time to register your objection, and also for sharing your thoughts on this too.”The Facebook post, since deleted, added that Cellar was in consultation with its solicitors “to see what the next moves are likely to be”.The original planning application, put forward in August by the nightclub’s landlords, St Michael’s and All Saints, intended to refurbish the space into retail premises. It meant Cellar would have had to close its doors by early 2018.The move provoked a petition against the planned closure which was signed by over 13,000 people.In response to today’s news, Femi Williams, a Worcester College student who runs Gun Fingers nights at the venue, told Cherwell he was “delighted” by the news.“Cellar provides a wonderful and necessary platform to celebrate music that isn’t immediately commercial – something that nowhere else in Oxford does in quite the same way.“I’m delighted it’s here to stay – Gun Fingers can continue to thrive, and it’s great to see all the new nights which are popping up across all different genres offering genuinely good music. The Oxford scene is looking up again!”St Hugh’s third-year Max Reynolds, who organises Dr Feelgood, said he was “absolutely over the moon at the news”.He added: “Nightlife culture is often disregarded as superficial and unimportant, and so it is heartening that it has been recognised as having a tangible value.“Well done to all those that supported the effort to protest its closure, I look forward to getting sweaty with you all in that hallowed basement.” The Cellar, previously called The Corn Dolly and The Dolly, has hosted early gigs for successful bands such as Foals and Glass Animals. The venue has been owned since the 1980’s by the Hopkins family.last_img read more

Speech: Speech: A world beyond Europe, a time beyond Brexit

first_imgIt’s a pleasure to be here this morning at the Royal Portbury Dock.As MP for North Somerset, as well as Secretary of State for International Trade, it’s fair to say I have a significant interest in the success of a venture that supports more than 500 jobs in my constituency.And I can’t help but notice that business is booming.At the time of the referendum, we were told that just voting to leave the EU would cause such an economic shock that we’d lose half a million jobs, our investors would desert us, and we would require an emergency budget to deal with the ensuing fiscal imbalance.What’s happened since? We’ve added over 700,000 jobs to the economy, with more people finding work than at any time in the past 40 years.This upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, the OBR has calculated that we can add another 800,000 jobs without creating inflationary pressure, because there’s still slack in the economy.In 2017 we saw total UK exports rise by 10.9% compared with 2016.And what did we sell? We sold almost £50 billion worth of mechanical machinery, £41 billion worth of motor vehicles, £16 billion worth of aircraft and £14 billion worth of medical equipment.And, as I have to mention on St Andrew’s Day, some £4.3 billion of Scotch Whisky.So much for Britain not making anything anymore. And that’s before we even consider our world-leading services sector.Clearly, the vote to leave the European Union has not had the catastrophic effect on our economy that was predicted. Quite the reverse.Now is the time to raise our sights, and acknowledge that there is a world beyond Europe, and a time Beyond Brexit.My Department for International Trade exists to look to this world, and plan for that time. Perhaps more than any other part of government, we are mandated to look beyond the process of leaving the EU and to prepare for the open, global future that lies ahead.The referendum settled the question of our departure from the European Union and our manifesto made clear that we will leave the Customs Union and the Single Market as we do so.The IMF has predicted that 90% of global growth in the next 5 years will originate outside the EU. So the question is, where do we, as a nation, position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities that this growth will produce.Future relationship with the EUThe government has made clear that we want to take a balanced approach to the question of our future trading prospects. We need to maximise our access to the EU market but without damaging our potential to benefit from emerging trade opportunities in other parts of the world.The 27 nations of the European Union constitute some of our largest trading partners. As a whole, some 44% of this country’s exports of goods and services still go to the EU, although that proportion has been declining over the past decade or so.The withdrawal agreement, and the political declaration on the future relationship, have put us on the verge of securing a deal with the European Union.It is a deal that delivers on the result of the referendum, ending vast payments to Brussels, and giving the UK control over our own borders for the first time in a generation.Of course, the end of free movement does not mean the end of immigration. The UK is always open to those who want to work hard and build a life here. But now, we can offer a level playing field, ensuring that we can admit the people we need to meet business demand, wherever they come from – so it won’t matter if you were born in Marseilles, Memphis or Mumbai. The key difference is that we will set the rules according to what we believe is best for our own country.Above all else, the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration provide the stability and certainty that businesses crave, as well as a firm foundation on which to continue to operate across the EU.The political declaration proposes the creation of a free trade area for goods, combining deep regulatory and customs co-operation with no tariffs, no fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all goods sectors.This would be the first such agreement between an advanced economy and the EU, a recognition of the unique position of the UK and our economy to those of our European partners.Ambitious arrangements have been made in the political declaration for services and investment, arrangements that go well beyond WTO commitments and build on recent EU FTAs.And an arrangement on financial services, grounded in the economic partnership, provides greater cooperation and consultation than is possible under existing third country frameworks.But we have also been clear that our future relationship with the EU would recognise the development of an independent UK trade policy and not tie our hands when it comes to global opportunities.We have set out an approach which means the UK would be able to set its own trade policy with the rest of the world, including setting our own tariffs, implementing our own trade remedies, and taking up our independent seat at the World Trade Organization.FTA ConsultationsPerhaps most importantly, during the implementation period, my department will have the freedom to negotiate, sign and ratify new trade agreements..The Withdrawal Agreement means that, from the 29th of March next year, we can begun to build closer commercial relationships with our closest allies, such as the US, New Zealand and Australia, as well as laying the groundwork for improved market access for UK companies to key global growth economies.As some of you may know, we recently carried out extensive public consultations on our future FTAs with those three nations, as well as on the UK’s potential accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – known as CPTPP.Leaders across these nations have been clear in their endorsement of future trade agreements with the UK.As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan put it, we would “be welcomed with open arms”. Far from being isolated, Britain will be an ‘in-demand’ trading partner.Over 14 weeks, we asked businesses, organisations and individuals to tell us what they needed from these FTAs, and how the Department for International Trade can help them to thrive internationally.The response rate was phenomenal, far exceeding all expectations.Above all, the exercise demonstrated the interest that exists in the shape of the UK’s future trade policy, right across the country.How do we take advantage of this groundswell of interest and engagement from businesses and individuals?The answer is to harness that enthusiasm to boost exports and attract investment to this country. Clearly, businesses the length and breadth of Britain are eager to move into new markets overseas.If we want Britain to become a global exporting superpower, all we have to do is unlock that potential.Even before we get to new trade opportunities afforded by new trade agreements there are still considerable export opportunities for British businesses to exploit in existing markets. We still have ground to make up on our international competitors in many of these countries.Export StrategyOur new Export Strategy, published in August, is an important first step to doing just that.I won’t exhaust you with the detail. But suffice to say that the Export Strategy represents one of the most comprehensive export packages offered to businesses anywhere in the world, designed to inform, connect, encourage and finance exporting opportunities for businesses of all sizes.There are currently over 24,000 live export and investment opportunities on our website. Put simply, the world wants what Britain is selling. Businesses large and small can find these real-time opportunities at great.gov.uk.Royal Portbury DockAnd the Royal Portbury Dock where we now stand is a perfect example of the dynamic, global outlook that hundreds of thousands of British businesses have already embraced.In 1991 the dock was owned and managed by Bristol Council, and it was regarded as a ‘white elephant’.Since the port was privatised almost 30 years ago and reborn as the Bristol Port Company, over £500 million has been invested to turn this into one of the most capable and advanced ports in the United Kingdom.Each year, the Bristol Port Company handles some 750,000 motor vehicles, 27% of UK aviation fuel imports, 10% of coal imports, and more than 6 million tons of bulk dry goods.In all, the work done here at Portbury, and at Avonmouth, contributes over £1 billion to the British economy. Now that is something to be proud of.Integrated imports and exportsThis port, and dozens like it across the UK, shows that the UK’s global commercial footprint is not just about what we sell overseas, but also what we import into this country.It is crucial in ensuring that competition provides consumers with greater choice and at affordable prices.But in a highly integrated economy it would also be wrong to ignore the huge and necessary role that imports play in the production of goods and services for export – some 23% of all UK exports have some added value or component that originated as an import.Less than half of this value added originates in EU countries. And it shows how the United Kingdom is already closely linked to global value chains, that extend far beyond the boundaries of Europe.In the long-term, a global future for an economy as large, diverse and interconnected as ours was inevitable. Our departure from the EU, combining an open, comprehensive trade relationship there, with the possibility of creating new trading relationships elsewhere is the next phase of that journey.WTO/The changing world of tradeInternationally, of course, a wholesale revolution in the patterns of trade has already arrived. The tectonic plates of global commerce are shifting under our feet. Our future FTAs are hugely important – not least because they are strategic as well as economic tools – but in the long run, it is not what we do unilaterally, or even bilaterally, that will make the biggest difference.Instead, it is working to update and improve the rules-based international system that governs global trade.How the multilateral trading environment develops will almost certainly be the most crucial determinant of the degree of trade liberalisation that will occur and consequently the scale of future opportunities.This is an area in which the UK will play a pivotal role. The world’s fifth-largest economy taking its seat at the WTO, as a powerful and unabashed defender of free trade, will be a key moment for the United Kingdom. It is one of the most important, if seldom mentioned, aspects of Brexit.With 164 full members, the WTO is the home of the rules-based international system, and the crucible of free and fair global trade.Yet even they will admit that their current rules are in need of updating.The fundamental framework of the WTO’s rules has not changed substantially since 1995. A time before the widespread use of business email. A time before internet banking. A time before data became a valuable traded commodity, like cars and steel.Consider this: back in 1995, if I asked you whether the digital code that I have sold you on the internet to make something on your 3D printer counts as a good or a service, you wouldn’t even begin to understand the question, let alone be able to answer it!This is an example of how the real economy has moved and outgrown the rules and regulations that still attempt to govern it.It’s not just the architecture of the WTO itself that needs reform, but also the regulatory framework, which must be flexible enough to move with the new realities of the global economy, updating itself in real time.The Prime Minister acknowledged this recently in a speech at the Guildhall when she observed that goods as a proportion of UK and global commerce are declining.This will be a priority as she attends the G20 in Argentina, where she will hold trade talks with world leaders including Argentinian President Macri. The leaders are expected to agree the first ever UK Trade Envoy for the country.And as the proportion of trade in goods declines, the digital and knowledge economy are racing ahead, as new products and services emerge from the disruption that technology has left in its wake.The future of world trade has already arrived, and the United Kingdom is ideally prepared to realise all the opportunities of the digital age and embrace the possibilities of communications technology as a commercial tool.To take just one example, a higher proportion of retail spending takes place online in the UK than anywhere else on earth. More than China or the USA. More than South Korea. More than Japan.Recent research by PayPal found that in the 12 months to July, 1 in 7 online shoppers globally had bought goods from the UK – more than any other European country.In fact., overall, they found that the UK was the third most popular country in the world from which to buy goods online, behind only the US and China.There are few countries that are as prepared for the coming digital economic revolution as the United Kingdom.The world’s investors already know this – last year, the UK tech sector attracted more venture capital investment than Sweden, France and Germany combined.The simple fact is that this country is already a genuine world-leader in fields from artificial intelligence, to digital and data trade, to e-commerce and FinTech.In the knowledge economy, Britain’s shelves are already stacked with what the world wants to buy.This is not to say that we are falling behind in goods. On the contrary, those same factors that have made us a global powerhouse of the digital economy have enabled us to retain the cutting-edge of advanced manufacturing.For example, 17% of all the aerospace products sold in the entire world come from the United Kingdom.Nearly half of the world’s planes are flying on wings that have been designed, engineered or assembled within just a few miles of where we are today, either in Filton or across the water in Wales.And how do these wings reach their customers in every corner of the world? They are shipped on specialised ferries from right here in the Royal Portbury Dock.The world beyond Europe, and the future beyond Brexit, starts right here.And if you want to know if the world has confidence in this new Global Britain, then look at our investment record and see where global investors are choosing to put their money.According to UNCTAD, in the first 6 months of 2018 the UK was second only to China in terms of FDI, ahead of the United States and data published by Ernst and Young showed that all parts of the UK and all England regions are benefiting with around 50,000 jobs created as a result.In the 19th Century, Britain became the world’s first free-trading nation. In the 20th century, we helped to design and create the architecture of global trade.And in the 21st, we will help reshape the rules-based international system through our independent trade policy.Today I can announce that in April, when we become an independent trading nation once more, I will push for three key things:Firstly, the UK will aim to revolutionise the rulebook on digital trade. The existing framework of international trade is vitally important to the functioning of the global economy. Yet, as we have seen, all too often its rules are outdated and unfit for purpose, acting as a brake on the digital economy.There are too many innovative, rapidly growing companies who find it too difficult to operate overseas because of ridiculous barriers like unjustified server localisation requirements.Our ambition is to negotiate agreements that go further on digital trade than ever before.To join those agreements, such as the CPTPP, which take digital seriously.And to work in coalition with other like-minded countries to drive reform on digital services at the WTO.Secondly, we will put services at the heart of our trade policy.The mass liberalisation that has reduced barriers on global goods trade, has never been mirrored for services. Yet the UK is an 80% services economy and has huge comparative advantage across the service sectors, from accountancy and legal, to science, research and development.Services are a huge part of our present, and will be a larger part of our future, and we must play to our strengths, creating partnerships with countries around the world who want what we have to offer.This is our commitment to the British SMEs of today, so that they can become the digital giants of the future.And thirdly, we will continue to fight trade protectionism and improve international economic co-operation.This is not something that Britain will be doing alone. As the political declaration with the EU says, our unique relationship with the EU 27 will ensure that we can work together to improve global trade, while continuing to develop and operate our own independent trade policy.But our steadfast commitment to the philosophy and practice of free trade is an irreducible element of what we believe and who we are.The withdrawal agreement and the political declaration will not please everyone, and we have had some tough choices to make. Choices which many in Parliament, on both sides of the House, are yet to face up to.But the deal we’ve reached will give us a firm and stable base on which to leave the EU and build this country’s global future, a future that still encompasses Europe, of course, but also the wide fast-growing markets beyond, with all the opportunity that entails.We will maximise our post-Brexit opportunities by helping British businesses take advantage of the considerable untapped potential of existing markets.We will use our independent trade policy to negotiate new trade agreements and we will use our ability to act independently at the WTO to shape the global trade environment of the future, defending the open, free and fair trade that is crucial to the elimination of poverty, the nurturing of stability and the building block of our collective security.We are well prepared for the future of world trade. We are embracing all the possibilities of the digital economy.No other country has the same combination of fundamental strengths that will allow us to thrive in an age where knowledge and expertise are the instigators of success. Our recent export and investment performance show that sceptics have been wrong. Britain is flourishing.The divisions of the referendum need to be consigned to the past. Now is the time to set aside our differences, and lead our country to a future of freedom, success, and prosperity.In politics we cannot always have the luxury of doing what we want for ourselves, but we have an abiding duty to do what is right for our country. read more

The Backstory Behind The Allman Brothers Band’s First-Ever Rehearsal, On This Day In 1969

first_imgThe Allman Brothers Band rehearsed together as a band for the first time on this date 51 years ago in 1969. The moment sparked a journey that would bring six men united from all different directions in life together to eventually go on and pave their way through music-making history. Ultimately, the music world would remember the Allman Brothers Band as unparalleled pioneers of southern rock.New Allman Brothers Band 1971 Live Album To Premiere On SiriusXM’s JamOn This WeekAfter the irreplaceable losses of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley in the band’s early days, the ABB has since welcomed a revolving cast of characters to continue the spirit of their timeless music, but eventually closed the book with a final show at NYC’s Beacon Theatre in 2014. Despite not being together today, a true brotherhood was born and its roots continue to flourish every time their songs are played. The road, indeed, goes on forever.It all started in the mid-1960s, when brothers Duane and Gregg Allman started playing music growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida. They formed their first band, The Escorts, which eventually became the Allman Joys. The Allmans’ musical palettes expanded when they were introduced to R&B and soul, which eventually became huge cornerstones in the influence of their southern sound. Producers began to notice the brothers’ talent and moved them out west to pursue a career, consequently cutting two unsuccessful albums for Liberty Records under the name, Hour Glass.Duane’s guitar-playing was escalating quickly and so he moved back east to focus on a career as a session musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, while Gregg stayed in Hollywood to pursue a solo career. The brothers reunited a year later in Miami where they produced an album-length demo with the 31st of February, which included future ABB drummer Butch Trucks.Back at FAME Studios, Duane was making a name for himself as the primary session guitarist, recording with artists like Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, and Wilson Pickett. It’s safe to say that his time spent in the studio perfected his musical imagination and became an incubator for his inspiration.It was during these successful recordings, that he got the idea to start a new band, something “different.” His vision was clear; he wanted two lead guitarists and two drummers.Related: Butch Trucks Talks Duane Allman, The Evolution of “You Don’t Love Me” with King Curtis’ “Soul Serenade,” Releases A&R Studio Track via Peach RecordsHe recruited Jaimoe (Johanny Johanson) after hearing his drumming on a demo of Jackie Avery and the two immediately moved into his home on the Tennessee River. Berry Oakley came to mind next, after he and Duane became friends in a club in Jacksonville, Florida months prior.By this point, Phil Walden, and Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records were starting to take interest in whatever Duane was working on next. They ultimately ended up purchasing demo tracks for $10,000 from FAME owner Hall, who became frustrated with the group’s recording methods, with the intention of introducing the band with Walden’s new label, Capricorn Records.Read More About The Allman Brothers Band’s ‘Eat A Peach’ Studio AlbumDuane stepped away from FAME and relocated to Jacksonville with Jaimoe, where jamming became the primary concentration. Anyone who wanted to join was invited, thus bringing Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley, and Reese Wynan into the fold. They started playing around Jacksonville with an evolving cast of characters until Duane was finally able to get his brother Gregg back to the scene to sing and play keys, eliminating Wynan’s membership from the then-unnamed project.The six musically united for the first time on March 26th, 1969, and the first song that they played together was Muddy Waters‘ “Trouble No More”. Within a few days, they decided on a name–the Allman Brothers Band. Their careers would go on to become legendarily successful, though turbulent times would ultimately define the band with a series of untimely deaths and breakups.Forty-five after that first jam session, on October 28th, 2014, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, and Jaimoe played their last show as the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre. In true ABB fashion, the show went well past midnight, seeping into the anniversary of Duane Allman’s death. After giving their farewell speeches, the band played one more song, and it was “Trouble No More,” which fans can watch below:“Trouble No More” – 10/28/14[Video: Steve Hefter]Happy Birthday to one of the greatest rock bands of all time!last_img read more

Checking in, saving lives

first_imgSaving thousands of lives and reducing health care costs might be a matter of just picking up the phone.Harvard researchers have estimated the likely cost-effectiveness of post-discharge follow-up phone calls to smokers hospitalized with acute heart attacks. In a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers suggest that phone calls to these discharged smokers encouraging them to quit would yield significant health and economic gains.“It’s an extremely simply intervention, just some phone calls that make a big impact,” says Harvard’s Joseph Ladapo, a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School who is completing an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.In their analysis, Ladapo and his colleagues considered the likely health and economic benefits gained when nurses phone survivors of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) five times over three months to encourage them to quit smoking.“This is actually an enormous public heath care problem,” says Lapado of the more than 300,000 smokers hospitalized each year in the United States who survive AMI.Smoking is a well-established yet preventable risk factor for heart disease, and Ladapo says most hospitals routinely provide in-hospital smoking cessation counseling to smokers with AMI.But after these patients are discharged, few hospitals follow up on the patients’ smoking habits, even though studies have shown this contact can increase the number of patients who quit. Nonetheless, post-discharge smoking cessation follow-up is still uncommon, and is not considered a quality measure by Medicare, says Ladapo.“Sadly, we know from previous studies that among the survivors, anywhere from 6 to 7 out of 10 of them will still be smoking a year later. And the ones who continue to smoke have much higher rates, not surprisingly, of recurrent heart attacks.“So we decided to look at the problem differently.”With data from a meta-analysis of randomized trials of smoking cessation interventions, Ladapo and his colleagues developed a statistical risk model to project the health and economic outcomes for a hypothetical U.S. cohort of 327,600 smokers who would be admitted for AMI to hospitals this year. The cohort size was the product of the 1.26 million U.S. patients with new or recurrent AMI each year and the reported prevalence of smokers (26 percent) among patients with AMI.The researchers compared the projected 10-year effects of routine care (in-hospital smoking cessation advice) with more supportive care that coupled in-hospital advice with follow-up phone calls to patients after they were discharged.Says Ladapo, “We found that if follow-up phone calls became the standard of care, then among the 300,000 plus smokers who are expected to have a heart attack in a given year, we would get 50,000 more smoking quitters the first year, prevent 1,400 heart attacks, and save about 8,000 lives.”The researchers then calculated for the cohort the projected costs for their reduced hospitalizations, their added care and nonmedical expenditures because of increased longevity, and the subsequent reductions in productivity losses due to premature death. The researchers noted a “net positive value to society of $894 million,” with the program of follow-up intervention costing just $540 per quitter, and yielding a cost-effectiveness value of $5,050 per quality-adjusted life year.Says Ladapo, “The added follow-up intervention is so simple. The nurse calls the patients, literally just picks up the phone and calls each of them five times after they are discharged. Yet we found that if these phone calls were made, if this simple intervention became the standard of care, it would be incredibly cost-effective, especially when you compare it to more expensive medicines and high-tech treatments.”In the study’s conclusion, the researchers suggest that Medicare and other health insurers consider making follow-up phone calls for hospitalized smokers with AMI a quality measure they support.“We have an example of an intervention that can easily be applied for smokers to get them to quit, and it’s not only effective for smoking cessation, but cost-effective,” says study co-author Milton C. Weinstein, the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.“It’s generally the case that almost anything a health professional can do to get someone to quit smoking is going to be worth the money if you can get them to quit.”The study’s other authors are Farouc A. Jaffer of Harvard Medical School and the Cardiology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Erika S. Froelicher of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.last_img read more

The machinery to drive ed reform

first_imgPaul Reville knows that education reform must reach beyond the classroom to achieve its goals. For the Education Redesign Lab’s inaugural Leadership Institute symposium, to be held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE) Monday through Friday, the former Massachusetts Secretary of Education is bringing together mayors, school superintendents, and community leaders from 21 communities to discuss how to leverage government, nonprofits, and the private sector to battle key issues, such as income disparity, that can hold back students.In advance of the conference, Reville, the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration at GSE, discussed the educational needs involved.Q&APaul RevilleGAZETTE: How did this initiative begin?reville: I founded the Education Redesign Lab in 2014, shortly after I’d returned from a stint in state government. I had been really involved at that time, for about 25 or 30 years, in crafting systemic education reform for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And while I was very proud of our comparative achievement in Massachusetts, I was very dissatisfied that we had deep pockets of underachievement. And so I designed the lab to address that question, to begin to change the conversation on education reform to a much broader, holistic conversation about the lives of children, the impact of poverty on schools, and their capacity to educate young people.,GAZETTE: How did this symposium come about?reville: We felt, at the time that we were building the lab, that we were at a particular moment in history where this holistic, 360-degree interagency collaborative approach to child development and education had an opportunity to become center stage. So we brought together Communities in Schools, Promise Neighborhoods, StriveTogether, Coalition for Community Schools, Say Yes to Education, and we sat down together, checking swords and shields at the door, and said, “OK, what is it that we can conceivably work on together to advance this field? Because our time has come.”GAZETTE: How were the participants for the upcoming symposium chosen?reville: We invited mayors who share this concept. In other words, these mayors had a baseline of belief that “My city can’t be successful unless my young people are successful. In order to get my young people to be successful, it’s going to take more than just a quality school system, and therefore I’m willing to invest some of my political capital.” Oakland, Calif., Louisville, Ky., Providence, R.I., and Salem and Somerville, Mass., [had previously worked] with By All Means. And we’ve just brought in the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. [Other communities will also attend.]GAZETTE: Why mayors?reville: Mayors have the power to convene entire communities and to construct a new social compound between those communities and their families and their children. And it’s going to take a broad array of services and supports, which aren’t under the jurisdiction of a school superintendent, for example, or a school board. They’re under the jurisdiction of the mayor.For example, children who have access to high-quality summer learning tend to surge ahead each fall in their studies, and those who don’t tend to fall behind. So looking at that, most people feel, well, summer ought to be a third semester, if you will, in the education of the child, not an optional accident of birth where if you’re lucky you get access to summer camp or summer school or travel or music lessons or recreation of various kinds. Rather, every child should be guaranteed at least six weeks of high-quality summer enrichment. So a mayor might — and, for example, the mayor of Providence has done this — focus on making more of those opportunities available to a higher percentage of young people, particularly disadvantaged young people in the community.GAZETTE: You are also taking health and nutrition programs into account?reville: If you have a chronic toothache that nobody’s taking care of because you can’t afford to go to the dentist, then there’s no chance you’re going to be able to concentrate. So those things need to be attended to. If we’re serious about preparing all of our young people for success, which we argue both from an ethical standpoint as well as from an economic standpoint is imperative, then you’re going to have to make sure that these things get attended to.The number one challenge that I hear from superintendents these days is mental health problems that their students bring into school. This has nothing to do with the school itself, but it has to do with conditions of life outside of school. But unless there’s attention and support and mitigation to those challenges, they become impediments to student learning.This interview was edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

The Barn That Love Built

first_imgPhoto by Prestige Photography “People have a lot of misconceptions about Appalachia and West Virginia in particular,” says Harry Sanford. He and Chatman Neely are co-owners of the 35-acre Highland Springs Farm—and the Barn With Inn Bed and Breakfast—in Wellsburg, W.Va. “When people visit us from Pittsburgh or California or Austin, they are surprised to find that the region is more of a destination than they assumed. They’re surprised to find that organic, farm-to-table food can be sophisticated and worldly.”They may also be surprised that two gay, married men are operating a bed and breakfast in what many perceive as one of the most conservative states in the country. Sanford and Neely were legally married in Maryland in 2013, and after two decades as a couple, they finally felt comfortable owning and operating a business together.“There are close to 2,000 legal privileges that married couples have that unmarried people don’t,” Neely says, “and a lot of those pertain to property ownership and other legal protections.”“The validation of being legally married has allowed us to operate as a couple instead of as business partners,” Sanford adds. “When we go to business meetings we go as a married couple running a business together instead of two guys partnering on a business.”“It also makes me feel like I’m much more a part of my culture and my country than I ever thought I would be,” Neely says. “We’d been in a relationship for twenty years before we got married, but now we own a piece of the American Dream, and no one can take it away from us.”Part of that dream has become a reality with this spring’s grand opening of Barn With Inn, a bed and breakfast on the farm that combines rural farm life with world-class hospitality.Neely, a social worker, has long served the region by caring for its people, while Sanford, a veterinarian, has done the same by caring for its animals. The skills acquired and refined over those years of service are now serving the two men well as the owners and operators of Barn With Inn.“As a social worker, I’m compelled to show people it’s okay to let others take care of them,” Neely, the inn’s executive chef, says. The three of us have gathered in the sitting area of one of the guest rooms: a renovated hayloft where two skylights and a large picture window allow the mid-morning April sun to illuminate the room’s Victorian furniture and antique furnishings.“And I’m a scientist,” Sanford, the inn’s farm manager, says, “so I’m drawn to details and organization, and I want to plan and organize and carry out things in great detail so our guests can relax.”This balance of care and detail permeates everything about Barn With Inn. While it was once used to store hay during long winters, a local carpenter’s renovation now allows modern luxury to meld effortlessly with recycled materials: radiant-heated floors in the private bathroom, stained-glass wall sconces, cherry hardwoods, pine ceilings and poplar trim, a queen-size headboard customized from 150-year-old hand-hewn cabin posts. But the life of the farm is never far away; to complete the rustic feel two windows allow guests to peer down into the barn where donkeys, sheep, chickens, pigs, and other animals go about their day as if no one were watching.“There’s a whisper here that reminds us to listen to our interior voices,” Neely adds. “That’s what our animals do: they eat when they’re hungry, they drink when they’re thirsty, they nap when they’re tired. They have very simple but purposeful routines. That’s the experience we want our guests to have.”The cuisine at Barn With Inn centers around what’s ripe in the garden, what’s fresh at the local, organic markets, and who’s venturing out to the farm to cook a meal in Neely’s kitchen. This morning’s breakfast was a vegetable frittata courtesy of the farm’s free-range chickens and the garden’s fresh asparagus, and last night’s dinner was a four-course Italian feast prepared by two local women who recently relocated from Rome.For people who aren’t familiar with what the northern panhandle of West Virginia has to offer, the cuisine and accommodations available at Barn With Inn may be unexpected.“We have an opportunity as ambassadors of the region to remind the public that there are incredible people and opportunities in West Virginia,” Neely says. “There are other farms like ours. There are world-class wine shops and markets and art galleries and musicians.”last_img read more

KantoorKaravaan Takes Work to the Woods

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of KantoorKaravaanWe all know office-based jobs can be mundane at times, but what if you could pack up your laptop and work from the woods when the creative juices stop flowing?It appears that some forward-thinking folks in the Netherlands are doing just that with a project called KantoorKaravaan.“KantoorKaravaan offers a workplace in the middle of nature, an experience combining your professional life with the exciting and inspirational sphere of wilderness,” the company’s website proclaims. “Designed as a mobile off-grid workplace, the KantoorKaravaan sets up camp at various locations in the countryside.”The caravan includes mobile “off-the-grid” work places (trailers essentially) that come fully equipped with WiFi and solar powered espresso machines.Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.02.32 AMPhoto Courtesy of KantoorKaravaan“The inspiration to create this comes from a longing to be more deeply connected to nature,” KantoorKaravaan founder Tom van de Beek told FastCompany Magazine. “These times of technological innovation and wireless connectivity provide us with the ultimate combination: getting back to nature and self sufficiency in terms of food and energy, and still be able to do our day to day business.”The KantoorKaravaan, which can accommodate up to 35 people and provides city dwellers with vehicle transpiration from nearby public transit points, is currently camped outside of Amsterdam with plans to head for nearby national parks in the Netherlands.But its not just about ‘working in the woods’ at KantoorKaravaan.“You get tired of working behind the computer? Just step out into the wilderness, go hiking, plant atree, chop wood for tonight’s campfire, or take part at our regular meditation sessions,” the website says. “There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nature around you to its fullest extent.”Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.31.17 AMNo word yet on whether KantoorKaravaan has immediate plans for expansion into the Blue Ridge, but we can dream right?last_img read more

New credit scoring means new challenges for CUs

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Lexis –Nexis Risk solutions and Equifax yesterday  described  the details of a pilot program currently underway to examine the creditworthiness of those who aren’t eligible for credit because there is no way of  scoring them under traditional models.  According to the press release the pilot program allows 12 of the largest credit card issuers in the U.S. to use alternative data to identify creditworthy individuals who would otherwise be unlikely to obtain traditional credit..There is more here than meets the eye.   For one thing I didn’t realize just how many Americans are completely off the credit scoring radar. These “unscorables”  don’t engage with  the banking system and therefore can’t be scored .  Yesterday’s press release put that number at 15 million but this may be on the low side.  No matter what numbers you rely on, what everyone agrees on is that a disproportionately large segment of this group is composed of poorer minorities who are flocking to prepaid cards. continue reading »last_img read more