EPOC Co-Chair Emphasises Importance of Fiscal Prudence

first_imgEPOC Co-Chair Emphasises Importance of Fiscal Prudence Finance & Public ServiceMarch 20, 2014Written by: Peta-Gay Hodges Advertisements RelatedIMF Approves US$71.4 Million Disbursement After Third Quarter Review Story HighlightsFiscal prudence and growth are two primary areas that Jamaica must focus on to successfully implement its programme of economic reform.The media must play a key role in ensuring that the average Jamaican understands the importance of the government’s prudent management of the country’s budget.According to Mr. Byles, the country now has to control its expenditure and maximise earnings. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, says fiscal prudence and growth are two primary areas that Jamaica must focus on to successfully implement its programme of economic reform.Mr. Byles also believes the media must play a key role in ensuring that the average Jamaican understands the importance of the government’s prudent management of the country’s budget.In an interview with JIS News Mr. Byles explained that for years the country had spent more than it earned, by borrowing. He said that the debt had become unsustainable, leaving the international financial market wary of further lending to Jamaica.According to Mr. Byles, the country now has to control its expenditure and maximise earnings. “On the expenditure side, people have been asked to hold strain. There will be no pay increase. The Government has tightened up on spending, generally, and increased efficiencies in the tax collection process. That is intended to produce a surplus, referred to as the Primary Surplus,” he said.The aim is to have a surplus of 7.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This will be used to pay down the debt. This however, is a slow, tedious process,Mr. Byles pointed out, as it will take 13 years to get the debt in line with what is considered prudent.In the meantime, the government will put in place the legislative framework for the continuation of prudence in how the affairs of the country are managed, to ensure that Jamaica is on target for its debt reduction target year of 2026.To this end fiscal rule legislation was passed in the Lower House on Tuesday, March 18, putting a cap on what the country can spend.The EPOC Co-chair noted that, already, several measures have been put in place under Government’s economic reform programme (ERP). The tax code has been simplified to facilitate more equitable among the various business interests.According to Mr. Byles, the other key factor on the path to economic stability is growth. “The more growth that can be generated, the easier the (International Monetary Fund) IMF targets will become. Growth will mean more revenues, more taxes and an increase in (Gross Domestic Product) GDP. Debt to GDP ratio is a measure that is used to determine financial stability and if the GDP gets bigger, then the debt will look smaller,” he said.Mr. Byles noted that because the growth challenge is primarily a private sector issue, the government should endeavour to generate significant stakeholder confidence providing adequate opportunities for growth to encourage investment.“If Jamaica can pass all four (IMF) tests in our first year, that will have a good impact on business morale and on the international financial community. It’s like climbing a steep hill in the first year and then it plateaus off a little… so it’s not like all the taxes will go away; but there shouldn’t be any new ones. We should be able to carry through the programme thereafter. In the first year, all the tough stuff is there and we’re hoping that it will really build some confidence,” Mr. Byles stated.center_img RelatedJamaica Has to Maintain Strong Fiscal Discipline RelatedAction to Improve Procurement Process EPOC Co-Chair Emphasises Importance of Fiscal PrudenceJIS News | Presented by: PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQualityundefinedSpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreenPlay Photo: Contributed(Mr. Richard Byles (FILE)last_img read more

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Black man led by mounted police while bound with a rope sues Texas city for $1 million

first_imgErin Toberman/FacebookBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(GALVESTON, Texas) — A Black man who was led by mounted police down a Texas street while bound with a rope last year is suing the city and its police department for $1 million, court documents show.In August 2019, Donald Neely was arrested on criminal trespass charges in Galveston, just outside of Houston. Images and video of his arrest, during which two white police officers led him down the street handcuffed with a rope tied to their horses, sparked outrage.A petition filed this week in Galveston County’s district court called the officers’ conduct “extreme and outrageous” and claimed that it caused Neely injury, emotional distress and mental anguish.“Neely suffered from handcuff abrasions, suffered from the heat, and suffered from embarrassment, humiliation and fear as he was led by rope and mounted officers down the city street,” the lawsuit claims.The lawsuit charges that the arresting officers should have realized that Neely “being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive.”The lawsuit is also alleging malicious prosecution over Neely’s criminal trespass charge, which was ultimately dismissed in court.A Galveston spokesperson told ABC News the city does not comment on pending litigation.A status conference is currently scheduled for Jan. 7, 2021. Neely is demanding a trial by jury, court records show.Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology in the aftermath of the arrest on behalf of the department, saying the officers “showed poor judgment.” The department said at the time it would cease the use of mounted horses to transport a person under arrest.A subsequent investigation by the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety determined the arrest didn’t warrant a criminal investigation.Following that investigation, the department released body camera footage of the incident. In it, the officers can be heard acknowledging the optics of the scene.“This is going to look so bad. I’m glad you’re not embarrassed, Mr. Neely,” one of the officers is heard saying.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Merriam’s IKEA flips the switch on Kansas’s largest roof solar panel array

first_imgThe Merriam IKEA is now how to the largest functioning rooftop solar panel array in the state. Photo courtesy IKEA Merriam.The largest rooftop solar panel array in the state of Kansas is now fully functional in northeast Johnson County.The Merriam IKEA announced this week that it has officially turned on a new 92,000 square foot array of solar panels. The array, which is made up of 2,394 panels, is expected to produce 986,800 kWh of electricity each year.IKEA Merriam’s Annie Crandall said the solar array was part of the store’s power plans from the beginning, but that engineers anticipated the design and installation of the system would take several months after the open date to complete.At this point, Crandall said, they don’t know exactly how much of IKEA’s total electricity needs the panel array will fill, but that it will be significant.“We aren’t sure exactly how much it will contribute overall,” she said. “But it definitely puts a huge dent in our needs.”The Merriam IKEA store also has a geothermal heating and cooling system, similar to the one installed at Prairie Village City Hall in 2011.last_img read more

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Mortgage time: Improving economic activity

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The economic data released this week reflected continued improvement in the economy, but there was little market reaction. While some volatility was seen during the final days of 2013, mortgage rates ended the week with little net change.Heading into the new year, recent economic data has provided many reasons to be optimistic about the performance of the economy. The US has added an average of nearly 200K jobs over the past three months, and the Unemployment Rate has declined to 7.0%, the lowest level since November 2008. The ISM national manufacturing index held near the highest level since April 2011. Consumer Sentiment jumped to the highest level since July. Finally, Housing Starts were 30% higher than one year ago, at the highest level since February 2008. The Fed’s recent decision to taper its bond purchases reflects its confidence in the sustainability of the economic recovery.Mel Watt is scheduled to be sworn in on January 6 as the new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA is the agency that oversees the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since a large percentage of mortgage loans made today are eventually sold to or insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Watt will have a very significant influence over mortgage lending. Watt has not made public much of what he will do differently from outgoing Acting Director Edward DeMarco, but his policies are expected to be more accommodating to housing finance. Watt has stated that he will delay the recently announced guarantee fee increases that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had planned to begin charging in March.Also Notable:November Pending Home Sales increased slightly from OctoberConstruction Spending rose to the highest level since March 20092013 was the best year for the Dow stock index since 1995The Treasury will auction $64 billion in 3-yr, 10-yr, and 30-yr securities continue reading »last_img read more

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FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 death in Egypt, flu vaccine effectiveness in Europe

first_imgApr 12, 2012 Egypt reports H5N1 deathA 36-year-old woman who succumbed to H5N1 avian flu has become Egypt’s ninth H5N1 case-patient and fifth to die this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The woman, from Giza governorate, became sick Apr 1, was admitted to a hospital Apr 7, and died the same day, the WHO said. Her case was confirmed by a WHO-linked national laboratory. She had exposure to backyard poultry. Since 2006 Egypt has confirmed 167 H5N1 cases, 60 of which have been fatal. Egypt is second in the world in H5N1 cases, after Indonesia, and third in the world in H5N1 deaths, well behind Indonesia in that category but only one death behind Vietnam. Egypt’s nine cases lead the world this year, with Indonesia second at five cases. Egypt has had the most H5N1 cases each year by a good margin since 2009.Apr 12 WHO updateApr 12 WHO global case count Preliminary study: Flu vaccine was 43% effective against H3N2 in EuropeA preliminary study from eight European countries suggests that this year’s flu vaccine was 43% effective against H3N2 viruses, with antigenic drift cited as a possible contributor to the limited vaccine effectiveness (VE). The study, reported today in Eurosurveillance, was conducted by the Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe (I-MOVE) Network in France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. It focused on people in flu-vaccination target groups. Over the last 5 weeks of 2011 and the first 7 weeks of this year, providers recruited 2,090 patients with flu-like illness, 575 of whom were in the target groups. Of 935 confirmed flu cases, 867 were H3N2 viruses. Because of the small sample size, the study focused on this subtype only. Of 538 cases included in the analysis, there were 208 H3N2 infections and 330 negative controls. Among the 533 patients with known vaccination status, 179 (33.5%) had been vaccinated. The adjusted VE was found to be 43% (95% confidence interval, -0.4% to 67.7%). “The low to moderate VE we observed may be explained by a limited match identified between the circulating influenza A(H3) virus strains and the vaccine strain,” the report says, noting that the WHO picked a different H3N2 strain for next year’s vaccine in view of signs of increasing antigenic drift in the circulating strains. The report also says the median time between vaccination and illness was 105 days for cases and 74 for controls, which suggests that waning immunity might have contributed to the low VE, but the sample was too small to verify this.Apr 12 Eurosurveillance reportlast_img read more

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Home Country: Dinkahuahua

first_imgWe knew without being told what a Labradoodle was, of course. It meant that a good retriever got too close to one of those tippy-toe prancing fluffs and now there are puppies that need good homes. We’d been broken in to this world by cockapoos and peekapoos, so a genuine Labradoodle wasn’t that much of a stretch. “You’d get a dinkahuahua, of course.” “Hope it isn’t catching,” Dud said. “A Scottish terrier and a great Dane would produce some Great Scotts,” Dud said. “If one of them Australian dingos got crossed with those little Mexican dogs,” Dud said. We shrugged. The groaning continued for minutes while we got refills. “Well?” “But what would it unlock?” “A litter with an identity crisis? “You take one of them Japanese Akitas,” said a guy from the truckers’ table, “and cross him with a Boston terrier, you’d get Akitaboston.” “OK,” said our waitress, finally succumbing to the downward spiral of waning intellect, “if you had a part saluki, part terrier and crossed it with a part bull mastiffand part Llasa apso, what would you get?” “At least that would sound fairly good in a classified ad,” Doc added, nodding.center_img We looked at him and waited. “No. You’d get a bunch of ap-saluki-terri-bulls.” “This is getting bad … but now that you mention it, what if a half Yorki-half old English sheepdog got interested in a lonely papillon. You’d find yourself with yoroldpappis.” “You send that same corgi on a blind date with a shar-pei,” Dud said, “and you could end up with a bunch of card sharps.” “Labradoodles? Some lady in the city has Labradoodles,” Doc said, putting down the paper. I think that’s when Doc hit him with the napkin. “You know,” Doc said, “if you were to cross Lassie with a Cardigan Welsh corgi, you could get a colling card.” At least it gave us something to talk about over coffee. At least when it was over, no one had suggested a tryst between a shih-tsu and a bulldog. Home CountryBy SLIM RANDLES The waitress was giving us looks like she needed our seats at the counter to be empty. Especially since the dog-combo disease was spreading.last_img read more

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Brought to account

first_imgObiter, who blushes to reclaim a receipted taxi fare, has watched with awed fascination the Daily Telegraph’s exposure of how MPs have worked parliament’s expenses regime. Justice ministers are among those in the spotlight. Justice secretary Jack Straw, who receives an annual salary of £141,866, repaid the council tax for which he had wrongly claimed, but over the years received thousands of taxpayers’ pounds for improvements to a house in his Blackburn constituency, listed, under the rules, as his second home. According to the Telegraph, improvements included new garage doors, kitchen, central heating system, beds, bathroom and LCD television. Solicitor general Vera Baird, meanwhile, whose annual salary is £125,602, had her £250 claim for Christmas decorations rejected by the Commons’ fees office. However according to the Telegraph, and again entirely within the rules, we should stress, she claimed for mortgage interest payments, repairs, decorations and furnishings to a four-bedroom house in her Redcar, Cleveland constituency. Obiter suspects we will be hearing less from ministers about overpaid legal aid lawyers ‘moderating their expectations of earnings’. For the time being, anyway.last_img read more

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Saul Niges shocks: I will have a new club in three…

first_imgAtletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niges announced on Twitter that he will move to another club in three days. This season, the 25-year-old Saul has 4 goals in 37 games for Atletico.The Spaniard has been playing for Madrid since 2012. With the team, he has won the Europa League twice and the UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Cup and the country’s Super Cup once.Saul also has 3 goals in 19 games for the Spanish national team.However, the media speculate that it could be a new contract with Athletes or a new advertising contract. English Manchester United is interested in the midfielder’s midfielder.pic.twitter.com/Fjs6oGIEmp– Saúl Ñiguez (@saulniguez) May 31, 2020last_img read more

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Allidi tames the Mountain

first_imgI saw the 2 mini vans off at 8.27 am from the GS and they arrived at the course 55 minutes later where things were very quiet.  After a brief preparation the first group, a three-ball, got away 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled 10.00 am start time and it was reported that the course was in quite good condition and recovering well from the recent work although some found the greens somewhat slower than they are used to.It was a fairly quick round of golf with fine weather and unlike Pattaya, no rain, with the first group back in the clubhouse four hours & five minutes after they started.  After the negative recent reports regarding Treasure Hill it was reported that it is now very acceptable with minimum inconveniences.We had 2 Grades – A Grade for handicaps 0 to 19 and B Grade for handicaps 20 and over with 4 places in each grade.  There were also rewards for nearest the pins on the four par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.First timer Andy Todd (20 point back nine) was the winner of the A Grade section, winning on a count back from Gerd Riedler (18 point back nine) with both of them scoring 36 points.  Another count back was required with 4 golfers on 34 points to decide third & fourth places and it saw Kissy Buchanan (19 point back nine) finish third from John Pierrel (16 point back nine & 11 points on the last 6 holes) in fourth spot.  The unlucky ones were Kevin “Wayco” Waycott (16 point back nine & 8 points on the last 6 holes) and Martin “Toddy” Todd (14 point back nine).Jerry “Dobbsy” Dobbs was victorious in the B Grade with a steady 36 points and John Davis came second with 34 points.  In third place came Patrick Poussier on 28 points and Dave Marshall was fourth with 26 points.A Flight (0-19)1st Andy Todd (12) 36pts2nd Gerd Riedler (6) 36pts3rd Kissy Buchanan (16) 34pts4th John Pierrel (10) 34ptsB Flight (20+)1st Jerry Dobbs (22) 36pts2nd John Davis (22) 34pts3rd Patrick Poussier (22) 28pts4th Dave Marshall (20) 26ptsNear Pins:  2nd – Kevin Waycott, 6th – Ebrahim, 13th – Patrick Poussier, 17th – John PierrelLong Putts:  9th – Martin Todd, 18th – Mike GosdenThe Growling Swan NAGA Award (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day) was won by Volker Buley and he accepted the award in very good spirit.  Toddy then kindly paraded Deefa the Dog and of course collected many donations for the needy in Pattaya from our generous Growling Swan golfers.Thursday, Oct. 3, Mountain Shadow – StablefordWe were originally booked to play at Crystal Bay but their staff were good enough to inform me the day before that the course was extremely wet and carts would not be allowed anywhere on the golf course.  They offered us Mountain Shadow as an alternative as they have cart paths there so their offer was accepted.Jerry Dobbs, Volker Buley & Andy Todd.We gathered at The Growling Swan as the sun shone and our final number was 27 as your writer decided to delay his return for a further 4 days.  We welcomed first timers Adam, Gary & Ben from the UK and sadly said Bon Voyage to Jerry Dobbs, returning to work in Australia, Volker Buley who was off back to Germany after his brief stay and David Marshall who was returning to Queensland, Australia.I farewelled the 3 mini vans 5 minutes ahead of schedule at 8.25 am and it was reported that their journey was the usual 45 minutes and the golf course was reasonably quiet although the weather was fine.  Unfortunately I had omitted to inform Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei, who was driving to the course that there had been a change of venue so he rang me from Crystal Bay in despair but I simply re-directed him up the road.  He was in Group 1 but that was OK as Toddy allowed a couple of groups to slip in front of our first which got away 5 minutes later than scheduled at 10.05 am.Apparently the golf course was in very good condition considering the amount of recent rain and the round of golf was completed in four hours & fifteen minutes, although about four holes were played in steady rain.We had 2 Grades – A Grade for handicaps 0 to 17 and B Grade for handicaps 18 & over with 5 places in each grade.  There were also rewards for nearest the pins on the four par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.The wet conditions did not appear to worry A Grade winner Mike Allidi who carded a 70 off the stick for his 41 points and another fine round from Kevin “Wayco” Waycott secured second place with 40 points.  Takeshi Hakozaki finished third with 36 points and Gerd Riedler was fourth with 35 points.  With 3 golfers having 34 points a count back was required to determine fifth spot which went to Ebrahim (19 point back nine) and Sal Brizzi (17 point back nine) & Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei (17 point back nine) just missed out.Max “Corsets” Bracegirdle easily won the B Grade section with a fine 39 points which was 5 points better than second place-getter John Davis and Jerry “Dobbsy” Dobbs was third with 28 points.  In fourth place came Stephen Newton and Gary Monley was fifth with 26 points.A Flight (0-17)1st Mike Allidi (3) 41pts2nd Kevin Waycott (10) 40pts3rd Takeshi Hakozaki (11) 36pts4th Gerd Riedler (6) 35pts5th Ebrahim (17) 34ptsB Flight (18+)1st Max Bracegirdle (25) 39pts2nd John Davis (22) 34pts3rd Jerry Dobbs (22) 28pts4th Stephen Newton (26) 27pts5th Gary Monley (36) 26ptsNear Pins:  5th – Mike Allidi, 8th – Gerd Riedler, 15th – Martin Todd, 17th EbrahimLong Putts:  9thy – Brad Todd, 18th – Mike AllidiThe Growling Swan NAGA Award was won by Les Moloney, Muncha’s Dad and he accepted the award in good spirit.  Max then kindly paraded Deefa the Dog and collected donations for the needy from our generous Growling Swan golfers.Note:  Growling Swan Golf welcomes golfers of any persuasion – low & high handicappers alike, female golfers and beginners.  We generally play Mondays & Thursdays, meeting at The Growling Swan (formerly The Bunker Bar) in Soi Chaiyapoon at 8.00 am with transport departing at 8.30 am.  For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to petermalcolmblackburn @gmail.com.We also play bowls out of the Growling Swan every Wednesday and Sunday: Sunday is Lawn Bowls and Wednesday is Indoor Bowls.  All are welcome and for anyone that is interested the transport leaves The Growling Swan at 10.00am on each of those mornings.  For more information please contact Paul Rennison on 0843 454 005. PSC golf from The Growling SwanMonday, Sept. 30, Treasure Hill – StablefordAfter very heavy overnight rain we were presented with a fine Pattaya Monday morning as we made our way to The Growling Swan in readiness for the journey to the challenging Treasure Hill Golf Course.   The original field of 23 was reduced to 20 after three late withdrawals due to sickness which included your writer who is still battling with a sciatic nerve issue.  Nonetheless, we were happy to welcome back Dick Braimbridge from Queensland, Australia, Ken Hole from a few weeks in the UK and good friend Volker Buley from Germany.  There were also newcomers Andy Todd & Paul King from Perth in Western Australia, Peter Burke from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia and David Marshall from Brisbane.  Also, apologies to Graham “Grunter” Buckingham for not saying farewell to him prior to his visit back to the UK.Max Bracegirdle, Les Moloney & Mike Allidi.last_img read more

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