Tesco reduces space given to bakery

first_imgTesco has cut the amount of bread it has on display in a bid to reduce wastage.In a half-year update on its ‘What matters now: using our scale for good – Tesco and Society Report 2013’, the retailer has today revealed that just under half of the bakery items it sells (47%) are wasted.Twenty-five per cent of the wastage has been down to the consumer, 14% through processing losses, 5% through field losses, and 4% through retail waste.Bakery was also the biggest wastage ‘hotspot’ for the retailer when broken down by category, with 41% of its total food waste for the first half of 2013/14 coming from bakery.To try and tackle the problem, it said it has “changed how bakeries are run in over 600 stores” in order to minimise waste, and is also sharing tips with customers about how to use leftover bread.These bakeries, located in its larger stores, have been rearranged to reduce the amount of bread on display, leading to better stock control and less waste, said Tesco.In addition to this, surplus bran from milling is being sent for use as animal feed, and bakery managers will be trained on new systems in order to reduce wastage without reducing quality and availability. The retailer said it would also be building more accurate IT systems for ordering stock and planning daily production in-store.The new food waste figures revealed that, in the first six months of this year, 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in Tesco stores and distribution centres.In an address to the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen today, Philip Clarke, chief executive, Tesco, will give an update on the progress made to tackle food waste, where he will say: “When I said earlier this year that Tesco wanted to lead in reducing food waste I wasn’t just talking about reducing food waste in our own operations. I meant making a difference from the farmer’s field to the customer’s fridge and beyond.“Over the last six months, my team of experts have put together food waste footprints from the farmer’s field to the customer’s bin. We’ve worked with a range of suppliers and experts across the globe, including WRAP. The output is really simple, but it gives great steer on where to act.”Richard Swannell, director, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), said: “We welcome Tesco’s approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain, and by identifying the hot spots, they can tackle these areas effectively. Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so.”Tesco has tracked 25 of its best-selling products to understand levels of food waste and where it occurs from farm to fork.last_img read more

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FARC Guerrilla with Alleged ETA Ties Is Arrested in Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo April 12, 2011 The Colombian authorities have arrested Víctor Ramón Vargas Salazar, a noted member of the FARC guerrilla group and allegedly linked to the armed Basque separatist organization ETA, according to a press release issued on 8 April. The Spanish authorities had issued a red notice seeking Vargas’s arrest on account of the ties he is said to have with ETA, while he is charged in Colombia with aggravated criminal conspiracy for purposes of drug trafficking, the announcement indicated. Vargas was arrested in the town of Caucasia, department of Antioquia (in northwestern Colombia), according to the press release, which described Vargas, known by the aliases of Chato and Juancho, as a member of the support network of the FARC’s Caribbean bloc. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, a communist group) is the country’s chief guerrilla group with forty-six years of armed struggle against the Colombian state and currently has around eight thousand fighters, according to the Army. The statement also noted that Vargas “allegedly coordinated attacks in Spain with ETA, against current (Colombian) president Juan Manuel Santos and former presidents Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) and Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002).” In addition, it affirmed that the noted guerrilla supplied the FARC’s Caribbean bloc with weapons, ammunition, and false documents and was also responsible for coordinating the illegal exploitation of gold mines in the southern part of (the department of) Bolívar (on the Caribbean coast), an activity that brought in more than two billion pesos (one million dollars, at current exchange rates). According to the statement issued by the authorities, that money represents the second-largest source of financing for that FARC bloc. The announcement of the arrest of this noted Colombian guerrilla with alleged ETA ties took place on the eve of Monday’s start of a two-day official visit to Spain by President Santos.last_img read more

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Lakers find no humor in rim shot

first_imgAfter meeting with reporters, Jackson walked into the locker room and found Odom sitting at his locker. He asked one question, “Did you put a body on Parker?” and got into a box-out position as they talked. “Perfect bounce,” Odom said. “For him.” Parker made the second of two free throws – the Raptors went just 15 of 26 from the line – for a 95-92 lead. Bryant missed his 3-pointer at the other end and the Lakers now need a victory Sunday at Cleveland to break even on this trip. “The more years you’re in the league, you kind of learn how to make the ball bounce your way,” Bryant said. “You learn how to get up for certain games, how to attack teams. You become more of a cerebral player. That just comes with experience.” So it was that the Lakers returned to the familiar themes of youth and inexperience. They went into the fourth quarter down 72-65, put a lineup of Odom and four reserves on the floor and wound up trailing by 12 when Bryant returned for the final 8:36. Bryant was kicked in the left leg and went down briefly but stayed in the game after a timeout. He scored 10 points in the fourth but the Lakers made their run with Brian Cook, Smush Parker and Maurice Evans hitting consecutive 3-pointers. “It’s better that we gave ourselves an opportunity tonight as opposed to not even giving ourselves a chance to win it,” Bryant said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! They caught up to the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter Friday, erasing what had been an 11-point deficit with 5:41 to play, only to have the road catch up to them in the final minutes of a 96-92 loss, dropping the Lakers to 3-4 on this eight-game trip. On their final possession, Kobe Bryant faked Jorge Garbajosa into the air, pulled up from beyond the 3-point arc and watched his jumper hit the front rim and bounce out. TORONTO – There was no law of physics that could explain it, what happened with 12.8 seconds left in Friday’s game, when Toronto’s Chris Bosh missed a free throw so short that somehow it bounced off the front rim perfectly to Anthony Parker. On their 12th night away from home, playing their third set of back-to-back games, while enduring their longest trip in 17 years, the Lakers had to accept that such bounces always seem to veer in the direction of the team that needs them the most. center_img “Just a touch short,” Bryant said. It might as well have been the theme of the night for the Lakers, who are just 4-8 in their last 12 games. No play hurt more than Bosh’s missed free throw and Parker’s rebound. If Lamar Odom had grabbed the ball, the Lakers would have had a chance to win or tie trailing 94-92. Instead, Bosh short-armed the free throw only to have it bounce right to Parker. All Lakers coach Phil Jackson could do on the bench was sit with his arms crossed and stare in disbelief. “I couldn’t even see if Lamar went to Parker’s body or not and really boxed him out or just went to the boards,” Jackson said. “That was a critical rebound. It changes all the dimensions of what you’re going to do on the next sequence.” last_img read more

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What do you get when you cross Queen, a Baby Shark and a school bus?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseI may be banned from chaperoning school field trips in the future.My daughter is 11 and, while I think she still likes hanging out with her dad, I fear her age will soon dictate me falling into the “definitely not cool” category. Because of this, I try to take as many opportunities to hang out with her as possible, hence my day spent on a recent school field trip.The bus ride there was around 40 minutes or so and I sat in the back seat of the bus with my daughter and her fifth grade friends, learning the girls’ favorite hand clap games, getting the scoop on all of the boys’ antics and learning the latest happenings in their junior high world. From there, the field trip was very fun and all went quite smoothly.Minutes into the bus ride home, some of my new back-of-the-bus friends had resumed their hand clap games. A couple of the girls started quietly singing some charming little fifth grade girl songs. Then I heard one of the little girls start singing in a very sweet voice, “We will we will ROCK YOU!” Immediately an idea popped into my mind that would surely secure the vote for me being a super cool dad.“Girls,” I said, “Why don’t you combine your hand clapping games with singing your songs like this.”With that statement, I rhythmically smacked my hands on the bus seat in front of me and then clapped once: smack-smack CLAP, smack-smack-CLAP. The eyes of the girl who had been singing shone with euphoria as she joined in singing, louder this time: “We will we will ROCK YOU!” along with my clever back beat. Quick to jump on the now coolest-dad-in-school rocking bandwagon, my daughter and the rest of her friends in the back third of the bus joined in by the next refrain grinning ear-to-ear, adding their voices and percussion of their own.My idea proved to be quite appealing to the jubilant fifth graders packed on the bus. In less than a minute, every last one of them was incredibly united in rhythmic clapping and song. It was like we were in the middle of some musical.To add further cool dad points, I then showcased my knowledge of Queen’s classic lyrics and chimed in: Buddy you’re a boy make a big noisePlayin’ in the street gonna be a big man some dayYou got mud on yo’ faceYou big disgraceKickin’ your can all over the placeSingin’“WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU!” the entire bus full of now screaming fifth graders replied vehemently in unison.It was at this point, about 5 minutes into the 40+-minute long bus trip, that I realized my error. I looked up toward the front of the bus to see the handful of teachers and fellow chaperones turned back in their seats with looks of concern and exasperation in their eyes. They briefly tried to quiet the roar but quickly realized those efforts would be ineffective and would probably only lead to the creation of less desirable behavior. Soon enough, they resigned themselves to silent desperation, knowing their not-so-silent fate for the next 35 minutes.My gaze next locked with the stress-filled eyes of the now red-faced bus driver reflected in the rear view mirror. His face was growing redder with each raucous stanza that rang out from row after row (after row) of fifth-grader filled bus seats behind him. I slumped down in my back seat of the bus to avoid the glares of the other adult passengers on the bus.Despite the high volume of the performance, it was really very well sung for an impromptu concert version of the beloved rock song. Unfortunately, though, after a couple more minutes of Queen, the song selection changed abruptly and degraded even more abruptly as one student shouted out the first line of the dreaded “Baby Shark” song: Baby Shark da-da-da-doo, Baby Shark da-da-da-doo, Baby Shark da-da-da-doo, Baby Shark!Six months ago, I was blissfully unaware that this song even existed, but now it seems that somehow every American child aged 3 to at least 12 knows every word to this inane, irritating song. If you do not believe me, just find a child in this demographic and say, “Baby Shark.” You will, no doubt, learn it and hear it ad nauseam.Approximately 147 verses of “Baby Shark” later, the bus singers switched songs several more times, with each song being somewhat more irritating than the previous. When we finally slowed to a stop back at the school, the bus driver just let out a long sigh as he opened the door and rubbed his temples. By the time we exited the bus, the nerves of all of the adults were very visibly frazzled. A couple of the chaperone moms eyed me with suspicious disdain as I walked off the bus (one of them grinned, though). A teacher sternly looked at me and apologized: “I am so sorry. Our students do not normally behave in this manner.”I just smiled and said, “Oh they were fine. I thought that was some pretty great singing.”A bus full of fifth graders singing in unison at the top of their lungs really was pretty great — just think of what they could have been doing instead. I saw some of them even put their iPads down for a few minutes. And, as I may officially be off the chaperone invite list, I just want to say I am truly thankful for teachers, bus drivers and what could be my last opportunity (Baby Shark and all) to be the coolest dad on the bus.From myself and all of the OCJ/OAN team, thanks for a great 2018 and we sincerely hope your blessings far outweigh your challenges this special time of year. Happy Thanksgiving!last_img read more

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Rackspace Cloud Grows to U.K. – Hosting VMware and Xen in Harmony

first_imgRelated Posts How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud mike kirkwood Tags:#Announcements#cloud#Cloud Providers#Data Centers Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for …center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Today Rackspace announced that it plans to bring both public cloud services and VMWare-based private cloud to the U.K. by the end of 2010.Rackspace isn’t shy about its model and expertise. The company has refined the hosting experience into an energetic art form. It even has a name for that passion: “fanatical support.” It’s this focus on customers that is partially behind the two-pronged approach in the U.K. In all likelihood, Rackspace would probably prefer the Xen powered public cloud infrastructure by itself, but the company needs to support VMware in order to reach those customers that it also hosts.Pat Matthews, VP and GM for cloud at Rackspace told us that there’s an evolving conversation happening with companies that host infrastructure and their move to cloud solutions. He says there’s a growing need to connect cloud infrastructure to hosted infrastructure – and that some of Rackspace’s customers are becoming the first customers of the new venture.The VMware solution is designed to support hybrid hosting solutions that combine the best features of cloud computing and managed hosting. It’s expected that VMware’s vCloud will help Rackspace enter into the market with enterprise-optimized cloud services that meet existing private cloud or virtualization deployments.Rackspace’s public cloud services use the Xen hypervisor. The company seems proud of the work it has done to leverage Xen in providing a powerful and cost-effective cloud infrastructure that is offered as a full suite of APIs. Rackspace is letting customers automate provisioning (and de-provisioning) cloud resources into their applications, for example as a practical tool optimized for customers.Launching Cloud in UK MarketRackspace plans to launch the offering in the U.K. at the end of the year. The company’s existing cloud infrastructure grew last year by 125% and it’s that pattern of current hosting partners becoming cloud customers that was a key reason in it investing in the U.K.Disclosure: Rackspace is a sponsor of ReadWriteWeb. Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more

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Google Tightens Its Grip on Android

first_imgGoogle is exercising more control over what partners and carriers can do to the Android mobile operating system, reports Bloomberg Businessweek after speaking with a dozen or so executives of key companies in the Android ecosystem. Going forward, all licensees will have to submit their plans for Google’s approval, including those for new partnerships, plans for interface changes, the addition of new services and other code changes. Failure to do so will mean losing early access to the most recent updates to the mobile software, which can greatly affect time to market, and therefore, the companies’ bottom line.Bloomberg Glosses Over “Facebook Phone” DetailsOne of the complaints, says Bloomberg, is that Google has recently began asking partners to sign “non-fragmentation clauses,” which gives Google the final say over how the companies can change the Android code base. In particular, Facebook executives are unhappy with this request, as this allows its competitor on so many other fronts – search, social, advertising – to have say over what Facebook can or cannot do to its Android-based device.Bloomberg reported this news without even noting that, up until now, the so-called “Facebook phone” has been fully in “rumor” territory. The social network has repeatedly denied working on such a device. In fact, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch responded to the company’s blanket denial last fall by saying: “How do you know when a Facebook PR person is lying? When their lips move (or they issue a statement!)”In later months, both INQ and HTC revealed Android devices with deep Facebook integration and many soon forgot about the rumored Facebook-branded phone.If the new report is to be believed, then it looks like Arrington was right to call out the social network for not being truthful. Facebook is building a phone – and it’s an Android phone.Control or Quality Control? Facebook wasn’t the only company directly named in the new report. Verizon also had issues with the fact that Google tried to delay the release of its Android devices that use Microsoft’s Bing search engine, too.Google, in turn, says these new measures are about “quality control, fixing bugs early, and building toward a ‘common denominator’ experience,” John Lagerling, director of global Android partnerships at Google told the news outlet.But the newer restrictions have prompted complaints to the Justice Department, says Bloomberg. Google has tightened up too much, its partners feel.In Google’s defense, some control over what can be done with Android may not be a bad thing. We don’t want to see more tablets running non-tablet optimized versions of Android, nor to we want to see the tablet-ready Honeycomb squeezed onto mobile phones. In the race to be first out with the latest and greatest, some device manufacturers are making choices that end up hurting the end user’s experience of Android.However, if Google is using its position to do more than bug-checking and quality control, as it says, there is room for concern. Tags:#Android#Google#mobile#news sarah perez What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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Saunders and Monroe want Golovkin-Alvarez shot

first_img‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Lyceum averts disaster, escapes Arellano to stay unbeaten Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren is confident his boxer will face the winner of Golovkin-Alvarez should he beat Monroe Jr.“If Bill comes through he will fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin,” said Warren. “It’s all in his hands now. He knows what he gets out of this fight if he wins and I believe he will deliver.”– ‘Shot at redemption’ –Monroe, 30, is boxing for the first time in a year and has registered two points-wins since being stopped in six rounds by knockout specialist Golovkin.“He took a beating before and if he quit before when there were three belts on the line, he will certainly quit when there’s one belt on the line,” said Saunders.Monroe, from New York, refused to be drawn into trash talk but is hoping Golovkin beats Alvarez so he can have a re-match.“It’s a shot at redemption,” said Monroe. “I think Canelo is just going to win but I want Triple G (Golovkin) to win so I can get him back.“If you look at my fight with Golovkin and his fight against Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs, he doesn’t deal with fast fighters.“I’ve had a 12 week camp for Billy Joe, but I only got six weeks’ notice for Golovkin. I never had big backers and money guys in my corner to make things happen, so when a shot like that comes up you take it.”He added: “Billy Joe has had a great promoter like Frank Warren in his corner. All the fights have been in his own backyard. Willie Monroe Jr. of the US is checked by the referee after being knocked down in the first round by Gennady Golovkin from Kazakhstan during their Middleweight World Championship bout at the Forum Arena in Los Angeles, California on May 16, 2015. Golovkin won the fight by knocking out Monroe Jr. in the sixth round. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTONGennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s eagerly-anticipated bout will be watched by a global television audience, but it is not the only world middleweight title fight on Saturday.Billy Joe Saunders’ second defense of his World Boxing Organization belt against Willie Monroe Jr. in London will not attract the same attention or glamour but is nevertheless significant since the winner is likely to face the victor of Golovkin-Alvarez clash, which takes place a few hours later in Las Vegas.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Golovkin, from Kazakhstan but based in California, defends the other three versions of the world title (World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation) against Mexico’s Alvarez in a clash between boxing’s biggest stars now that Floyd Mayweather Jr has gone back into retirement.For Saunders, there can be no more excuses about motivation after an inactive and frustrating reign as champion. The 28-year-old English boxer won the WBO belt from Ireland’s Andy Lee in December 2015 but due to injuries and postponements has only fought once since, an unimpressive points win over Artur Akavov at a leisure centre in Scotland in December.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBut Saunders (24 wins, 0 defeats, 12 KOs) feels rejuvenated and credits new trainer Dominic Ingle with improving his conditioning ahead of facing American Monroe (21 wins, 2 defeats, 6 KOs).‘Confidence boost’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Great Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders (L) is declared winner after defeating Turkey’s Adem Kilicci during their 2008 Olympic Games Welterweight (69 kg) boxing bout on August 10, 2008 in Beijing. AFP PHOTO JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON“You can say lack of motivation but when you’re in touching distance of something great, that alone gives me motivation,” Saunders told reporters on a conference call from his training base in Fuerteventura, one of the Spanish Canary Islands.“The way the Ingles go about their business is second to none. My fitness is on a different level. I’m fit enough now to fight 15 rounds, every minute of every round. That alone boosts my confidence by leaps and bounds.“I know what is around the corner, I want to test myself against one of the greats. Willie had his chance (against Golovkin in May, 2015). I want to beat Willie Monroe in a better way than Golovkin did.”Golovkin, 35, and Alvarez, 27, are recognised as the best middleweights in the division and Saunders thinks the champion will prevail this weekend.“I think it will be a very close fight but Canelo looks like he has overdone it in training, he looked fatigued in training and he’s overdone it,’ said Saunders, from Hertfordshire, northwest of London.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments “He hasn’t had to go into a lion’s den with all these screaming fans against him.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

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Rico Maierhofer retires from basketball after injury-prone career

first_imgWarriors start playoff road, without LeBron James there at the end MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting “Thank you to the entire San Miguel Corporation,” said Maierhofer, whose stint with NorthPort from 2015 to 2017, was the only time he didn’t play with SMC in his career.“My family and I are forever grateful for the opportunity and had been blessed with three championship rings all from the SMC Family,” said Maierhofer. “Maierhofer also thanked his wife Jeck for taking care of their four children, his parents, and the Lord.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue LATEST STORIES SEA Games hosting troubles anger Dutertecenter_img ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss The lanky 6-foot-6 forward was a winner in both the collegiate and professional ranks having led De La Salle to the 2007 title and was a two-time champion in the PBA with the Purefoods franchise and San Miguel.He was also a champion with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.“It was truly a wonderful experience, but unfortunately, due to an injury-prone career I am announcing my early retirement from playing professional basketball,” said the 33-year-old Maierhofer via Instagram.He suffered his worst injury in April 2016  when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament while he was with Globalport—now known as NorthPort—in the PBA. MANILA, Philippines—Rico Maierhofer is calling it a career after almost a decade of professional basketball. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles View comments Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power gridlast_img read more

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9 months agoMan City’s 2 goal Gabriel Jesus: Aguero always helping me

first_imgMan City’s 2 goal Gabriel Jesus: Aguero always helping meby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus was delighted with his brace for their 3-0 win over Wolves.The Brazilian striker is now joint top scorer with Sergio Aguero on 14 goals and after bagging seven goals in his last three game – and Gabriel says his fellow striker has been an inspiration to him.“Sergio is an amazing player and helps me a lot,” he said.“When he plays, he helps the team and when I play, I want to help the team as well. He has been a great help.“I’m playing better and I’m scoring goals, which is important for any striker.“I am playing for an amazing club and I need to keep scoring and to play well.”Gabriel also revealed he is no worse for wear after his collision with the post in the first-half, adding: “I’m good – I have a little pain at the back of my head and it’s obviously dangerous when you hit your head like that, but I’m good and feel fine.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Going steadily towards stability

first_imgAllaying the critical state of the slumping Indian economy, the impact of which has been coming to light from different sectors, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of a third set of decisions pertaining to the export and housing sectors will likely revive the economy and take it closer to a place of stability. With a Rs 50,000 crore export incentive scheme and a Rs 10,000 crore special window to provide last mile funding for unfinished housing projects, targeting these crucial sectors are especially vital as they are drivers of several other associated economic activities. This fresh set of announcements seek to boost exports which had contracted 6.05 per cent in August, and ease the plight of home buyers. These large scale corrective steps came following the big announcements to first, to encourage private sector investment, and then try and bring about stability in the crucial banking system by means of a merger of select public sector banks. With respect to the housing sector, instating a special provision, a fund to provide last-mile funding for housing projects that are not categorised as non-performing assets (NPAs) and are not undergoing National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings is particularly a striking move as it focuses on the construction and completion of unfinished units. There are several projects that are stalled due to funding issues should now get moving with this new norm. Along the lines of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, the government intends to contribute to the fund while other investors would be LIC and some other institutions and private capital from the likes of banks and sovereign funds. Close to 3.5 lakh dwelling units (non NPA and non NCLT) in the country are plagued with last mile funding problem. The government’s contribution to this fund, which is to be professionally run with experts from housing and banking sectors, is said to be Rs 10,000 crore and the other investors are expected to contribute a comparable same amount. In a step to increase bank credit for home buyers, the guidelines for external commercial borrowing will be relaxed to facilitate financing for home buyers who are eligible under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and this is in addition to the existing norms for ECB for affordable housing; the interest rate on house building advances will be also lowered and linked with the 10 Year Government Security yields. Not only is this a welcome change for the common buyer seeking a home, a specific point of government servants was also considered as they form a major chunk of demand for houses. This move is directed towards the purchase of freshly constructed houses, most of which are built away from the heart of the main city. Encouraging settlements in new areas and developing them in the process is quantitatively a marker of economic growth and qualitatively, a sign of prosperity as human settlement brings with it the scope of all the necessary changes that turn a place from a piece of land to centre of peaceful living complete with all the basic essentials from food to convenient services, to institutions for healthcare, education, recreation, etc. and generating just about as much employment. As the seed of economic growth is allowed to germinate, the development form these efforts approach fruitition, another class of components will be readied to drive the economy towards greater achievements and sustained prosperity. Also Read – A compounding difficultyWith the other major announcement on the export front, instating the Scheme for Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) to replace the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) is the highlight. The new set of measures for exports sector came include steps that would comprehensively address tax and duties refunds for exporters, improve credit flow to the export sector, and launch of a special free trade agreement (FTA) utilisation mission. Both MEIS and the new RoDTEP are designed to incentivise exports by giving them rewards to offset the duties they pay to export their products. The rate of reward under MEIS varies between 2 per cent and 7 per cent of the free-on-board (FOB) value, depending on the item and the country it is being exported to. The new scheme will be a greater incentive to exporters but details are not specified as the rewards will be calculated on the basis of the actual duty paid. Textiles and all other sectors which currently have incentives up to 2 per cent over MEIS will transit into RoDTEP from January 1, 2020. The Finance Minister has announces that in effect, RoDTEP will more than adequately incentivise exporters than the existing schemes put together. The revenue foregone is projected at up to Rs 50,000 crore per year. Another measure to free up working capital of exporters has been the announcement of a fully electronic refund module for the quick and automated refund of input tax credits which will become operational by the end of this month. In order to increase bank credit to exporters, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) will expand the scope of its Export Credit Insurance Scheme to provide a higher insurance cover to banks that are lending working capital for exports. The situation at present is that banks are covered for 60 per cent of what they lend to exporters for working capital. An increase in this to 90 per cent is the new norm. Credit flow to exporters has come down by 35 per cent but this move should increase export credit by about Rs 4,000 crore in the first year and Rs 5,000 crore in the second year. This initiative will come at a cost of about Rs 1,700 crore per year to the exchequer and would enable a reduction in the overall cost of export credit inclusive of interest rates, especially to MSMEs. In tandem with, the Reserve Bank of India is also looking into modifying the priority sector lending norms for the export sector to release an additional sum of Rs 36,000 crore to Rs 68,000 crore as export credit. Along with giving credit and incentives to exporters, the reforms package also comes with ways to make the export sector more efficient and globally competitive. The entire process of export clearances will be digitised and all offline or manual processes will be eliminated to reduce the time to export. An action plan to reduce the time to export and turn-around time in airports and ports benchmarked to international standards is said to be implemented by December 2019. With a view of making exports more competitive, steps include working with exporters to help them best exploit the advantages of the various free trade agreements India has signed with other countries, increasing the testing and certification infrastructure in India, and enforcing the time-bound adoption by industry of all necessary mandatory technical standards. In order to bring the dividends from pushed-up exports to people in general, India will also now host annual mega shopping festivals in four places. Also Read – An askew democracyThe newly announced package of measures for boosting exports and lending a much-needed helping hand to the housing sector will steadily not only revive the economy but also bring it at a pedestal where prosperity from fundamental economic development will set in motion necessary development in various other sectors directly influencing the common man. Duly directing attention to the stressed sectors, a fillip to the housing sector, in particular, is one to ensure this elevated level basics. Having witnessed the dip in growth and a general situation of recession, the priority of reviving the economy is very correctly in place as a healthy economy is a most primary component of a thriving nation and its people.last_img read more

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