What’s Wrong With Shipping Container Housing? Everything.

first_imgWhat’s wrong with shipping container buildings? Nothing, if they’re used for the right purpose.For a temporary facility, where an owner desires the shipping container aesthetic, they can be a good fit. (Look, I’ve even done a container project!) For sites where on-site construction is not feasible or desirable, fitting a container out in the factory can be a sensible option, even though you’ll still have to do things like pour foundations on site. It probably won’t save you any money over conventional construction (and very well might cost more), but it can solve some other problems.The place where containers really don’t make any sense is housing. I know you’ve seen all the proposals, often done with a humanitarian angle (building slum housing, housing for refugees, etc.) that promise a factory-built “solution” to the housing “problem,” but often positioned as a luxury product as well. This post on ArchDaily got me started on a Twitter rant about the unsuitability of containers for these projects, and the larger trend of online design publications not bothering to ask any questions and run these press releases as “news.” Not to mention the architects themselves presenting this idea as a feasible solution to a major problem. A short list of why this won’t work1. Housing is usually not a technology problemAll parts of the world have vernacular housing, and it usually works quite well for the local climate. There are certainly places with material shortages, or situations where factory built housing might be appropriate — especially when an area is recovering from a disaster. In this case prefab buildings would make sense. But doing them in containers does not.2. If you are going through the trouble of building in factory, why not build to a dimension that is appropriate for human habitation?With only 7 feet clear inside a built-out container, you are left with the building code minimum room width as your typical condition. It’s hardly an ideal width, and it is not difficult to ship wider modular units: modular home builders do it all the time.3. InsulationAll surfaces of the container need to be insulated, and this means either building a new set of walls on the inside or outside of the container. If walls are furred out on the interior, this is convenient for plumbing and electrical lines but it narrows the usable space of an already small box. It also allows for a huge amount of thermal bridging unless the floor is built up with insulation on the inside (which brings up a host of other problems). If the exterior is insulated it no longer looks like a container, and then you have to pay to clad the entire thing over the insulation. In either scenario you’re duplicating all of the walls that you started with. Improper insulation will result in heavy condensation on the inside of the metal exterior walls.4. StructureYou’ve seen the proposals with cantilevers everywhere. Containers stacked like Lego building blocks, or with one layer perpendicular to the next. Architects love stuff like this, just like they throw around usually misleading/meaningless phrases like “kit of parts.” Guess what — the second you don’t stack the containers on their corners, the structure that is built into the containers needs to be duplicated with heavy steel reinforcing. The rails at the top and the roof of the container are not structural at all (the roof of a container is light gauge steel, and will dent easily if you step on it). If you cut openings in the container walls, the entire structure starts to deflect and needs to be reinforced because the corrugated sides act like the flange of beam and once big pieces are removed, the beam stops working. All of this steel reinforcing is very expensive, and it’s the only way you can build a “double-wide.”5. StackingOne recent competition boasted that because containers can be stacked nine high, concrete floors could be provided every 9th floor with stacks of containers in between. That load still needs to travel down through the building, and still then requires columns. Those floors every ninth floor need to hold the entire weight of nine stories of building above, which makes it dubious that you’d really be saving much on structure. The foundation also needs to be built similarly to a “regular” site-built building, and this is one of the most expensive pieces. Stacking also requires a large crane and an area for staging the prefabricated container modules, which can be hard to arrange on a dense urban infill site.6. Utilities and mechanical systemsIn a large building, you’ll still need a lot of space to run utilities. Because of the problems with insulation mentioned above, you will need to install a very robust HVAC system to heat and cool the building (that Mumbai tower would literally be a deathtrap without cooling). You will have a hard time taking advantage of passive strategies like thermal mass if you maintain the container aesthetic. You’ll also end up with low ceilings, as even high cube containers are only 9-foot-6 in overall exterior height, so any ductwork or utilities start cutting in to headroom.7. RecyclingPart of the container narrative is that it’s “green” because we have a surplus of containers that can be reused. This is somewhat true, but in reality many existing container projects use brand new containers from China (which are still very cheap to buy). Used containers need to be thoroughly cleaned because there is a risk they may have been used to transport something toxic in the past.What you get with a container is cheap structure, if you can use the box basically as is. As soon as you remove anything (including the ends) you need to hire welders and buy steel. Architecture is more than structure, though, and structure on its own is not particularly expensive, especially when you are building a space as small as a shipping container, so the savings here are minimal. Relatively untrained people can build a room that size of simple wood framing in a day without needing to rent a crane or learning how to weld for about the same cost (or less) than buying a used container. Competition winner GA Designs had proposed the shipping container skyscraper as a solution to slum housing conditions in India. There are a number of glaring problems with this idea (some of which Llyod Alter takes on in a post on Treehugger). RELATED ARTICLES center_img Shipping Containers Turned Into ApartmentsMaison Idekit: The Container Home Evolves Q&A: Is Warren Thatcher’s “Build a container home” guide worthwhile? Q&A: Can I build a Passivhaus using recycled shipping containers? Q&A: What kind of insulation would you recommend for a 20′ shipping container being renovated into a home/studio space?Q&A: Low carbon and low cost? Planterwald Mark Hogan is an architect and the principal of OpenScope Studio in San Francisco. This post originally appeared at his website Markasaurus.last_img read more

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Ram temple will be built at right time: V.K. Singh

first_imgUnion minister V.K. Singh today said that Ram temple will be built at the right time and as promised in the NDA manifesto. The Union minister for external affairs was here to attend a convocation ceremony of a private university. Speaking about Mumbai terror attack mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s entry into Pakistan’s politics, Nr, Singh said that it depended on Pakistan if it wanted to become a terrorist nation. We should not be concerned about it and the decision should be left to Pakistan, he said. Mr. Singh, in the event, also said he accidentally entered politics and had never planned it.“I wanted to serve the society after retiring from the army and joined a Anna Hazare’s movement. But, I distanced myself from the movement when it started taking a political shape. Then I accidentally came into politics,” he said.last_img read more

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Measleslike Virus Likely Culprit in U.S. Dolphin Die-Off

first_imgA measleslike virus appears to be the chief cause of the droves of dead dolphins that have washed ashore along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States this summer, researchers announced yesterday. Since 1 July, 333 bottlenose dolphins have been recovered from beaches between New York and North Carolina—10 times the number usually recovered at this time of year.In early August, the large number of strandings prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to declare an Unusual Mortality Event. The declaration freed up federal funding to assist NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program to retrieve and assess the mammals’ remains. The results of their investigation point to a type of morbillivirus as the cause of the die-off—a group that includes viruses that cause measles in humans and distemper in dogs. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team’s detective work combined traditional techniques that examined tissues from dead animals’ lungs, brains, and lymph systems with molecular techniques to probe for the presence of the virus. So far, researchers have examined 33 dolphins; 32 have tested positive for morbillivirus. Genetic sequencing has confirmed that 11 carry the type of morbillivirus that infects only dolphins, porpoises, and whales.“Along the Atlantic seaboard this [outbreak] is extraordinary; this is the largest outbreak that we have had since the 1987 die-off,” said Teri Rowles, head of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, in a teleconference with reporters. Morbillivirus was also responsible for a devastating 1987 die-off which killed more than 700 dolphins.Many wild dolphins exposed during that epidemic probably developed immunity to the virus, Rowles says. But a population’s immunity is slowly eroded over time; animals born since 1987 are probably susceptible, Rowles says.The virus may have taken hold when the dolphin population reached a tipping point, with enough susceptible individuals to sustain its spread, says veterinary epidemiologist Stephanie Venn-Watson of the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California. The epidemic will continue until the number of susceptible animals dwindles, researchers predict. There is no feasible way to vaccinate or treat the animals, they add.It is difficult to predict how many bottlenose dolphins will ultimately succumb to the disease, and the documented strandings probably represent just a fraction of the infected animals. It is also not clear whether the virus will spread to other dolphin species. Typically, morbillivirus strains don’t spread beyond closely related species, researchers say.As for any threat to people, “there is no indication that this virus could jump into humans,” says virologist Jerry Saliki of the University of Georgia in Athens. However, morbilliviruses suppress the immune system, so many of the washed-up animals are sick with secondary bacterial infections that are communicable to other mammals. Under some circumstances, rotting carcasses could pose a threat to beachgoers and other mammals. NOAA plans to continue to monitor the spread of the infection and investigate whether marine pollution could be worsening the impact of the outbreak. Rowles explains that high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, known to suppress mammals’ immune systems, have been reported in some areas along the eastern coastline. “We will be monitoring those areas very closely,” she adds.last_img read more

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Years after shutting down, U.S. atom smasher reveals properties of ‘God particle’

first_imgIn a scientific ghost story, a U.S. atom smasher has made an important scientific contribution 3.5 years after it shut down. Scientists are reporting that the Tevatron collider in Batavia, Illinois, has provided new details about the nature of the famed Higgs boson—the particle that’s key to physicists’ explanation of how other fundamental particles get their mass and the piece in a theory called the standard model. The new result bolsters the case that the Higgs, which was discovered at a different atom smasher, exactly fits the standard model predictions.“This is a very interesting and important paper, because it’s a different mechanism” for probing the Higgs’s properties, says John Ellis, a theorist at King’s College London and CERN who was not involved in the work. “This is the swan song” for the Tevatron, he says.The Tevatron, a 7-kilometer-long ring-shaped collider at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, ran from 1983 until September 2011. It saw hints of the Higgs boson but never actually discovered the particle. That honor went to physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27-kilometer-long atom smasher at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. They announced their discovery in July 2012.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)As soon as physicists at the LHC discovered the Higgs, they nailed down its mass: 125 giga-electron volts, or roughly 133 times the mass of the proton. But the particle has other characteristic properties, too. Like all fundamental particles, the Higgs has a fixed and quantized amount of angular momentum or spin. It also has a property of symmetry called parity, which can be either even or odd and which affects, for example, the way the Higgs can decay into other particles. According to the standard model, the Higgs should have zero spin and positive parity. However, it’s conceivable that the observed particle could have zero spin and negative parity or two units of spin and positive parity. Many physicists would be thrilled if the Higgs had such exotic “spin-parity,” as it would point to new phenomena not predicted by the standard model.In fact, experimenters working with the two biggest particle detectors fed by the LHC—massive devices called ATLAS and CMS—have already shown with high certainty that the Higgs boson has zero spin and even parity. To do that, they studied the decay of the Higgs into familiar particles, such as a pair of photons or a pair of massive particles called Z bosons. From the angular distributions of those emerging daughter particles, physicists were able to determine the spin and parity of the parent Higgs.Researchers working with the Tevatron data took a different tack. Instead of studying the decays of the Higgses, they looked for signs of a Higgs produced in tandem with a Z boson or a W boson, particles that convey the weak nuclear force, as they explain in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters. (The Higgs was assumed to decay into a pair of particles known as a bottom quark and an antibottom quark.) From the energies and momenta of the Higgs and its partner, researchers then calculated a quantity called the invariant mass for the pair. Were the Higgs and the partner born from the decay of a single parent particle, this quantity would be the mass of that parent. In actuality, the Higgs and its partner would emerge directly from the chaos of the particle collision, so the parent particle is purely hypothetical.Nevertheless, by calculating the mass of that hypothetical parent particle, researchers were able to test for different combinations of spin and parity by proxy. If the Higgs had “exotic” spin-parity rather than the standard model characteristics, the observed invariant mass would be higher. So researchers working with the two particle detectors fed by the Tevatron—CDF and D0—searched for such high-invariant mass pairs. Finding none, they ruled out even more stringently exotic versions of the Higgs. So even though Tevatron physicists never conclusively observed the Higgs boson, they were able to put limits on its properties.Technically, the new Tevatron limits are slightly stronger than the limits set by the LHC experiments, says Dmitri Denisov, a physicist at Fermilab who works on D0. But CERN’s Ellis says that ATLAS and CMS had already essentially settled the matter.In fact, Tevatron researchers missed an opportunity to scoop their LHC counterparts on the spin and parity of the Higgs, Ellis says. Just weeks after researchers at the LHC had discovered the Higgs, Ellis and colleagues explained in a paper how the Tevatron teams might apply the invariant-mass technique to their archived data to take the “fast track” to testing the Higgs’s spin and parity. For technical reasons, the technique would be more sensitive on Tevatron data than on LHC data, they explained, because the Tevatron collided protons and antiprotons, whereas the LHC collided protons and protons. But in the end, the Tevatron analysis proceeded slowly, as CDF and D0 team members left to work on the LHC. “This result has somewhat of an ‘us too’ character rather than being first as we’d hoped,” Ellis says.Denisov agrees that lack of people impeded progress. He notes that the whole idea could have been tried even before the Higgs was found: “If [Ellis] had come to us a year before we might have been able to determine the spin and parity of the Higgs even before it was discovered.”For Higgs studies at the Tevatron, “this is basically it,” Denisov says. In the meantime, physicists working at the LHC are aiming to probe other properties of the Higgs with higher precision. In particular, they hope to measure to within a few percentage points how quickly the Higgs decays into different combinations of more-familiar particles and compare that with standard model predictions. Researchers say that work should take about 15 years.last_img read more

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PSBs wrote off over Rs 1.14 lakh crore in last 3 fiscals

first_imgNew Delhi, Mar 1 (PTI) State-owned banks wrote off over Rs 1.14 lakh crore debt during the last three financial years which was more than the amount written off in the previous nine fiscals. “The public sector banks have written off (including compromise settlements) Rs 1,14,181 crore of debt during financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015. “This amount is higher than written off amount by PSBs during the previous nine financial years from 2004 to 2012,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. He further said that non-performing asset (NPA) accounts are written-off for clearing the balance sheet and enhancing profitability after full provisions have been made within the framework of RBI guidelines and Board approved loan recovery policy of the concerned bank. “It is resorted to after exhausting various avenues of recovery. However, in case of technical write-off, the recovery efforts continue as accounts remain the books of branches,” Jaitley added. The Gross NPAs of PSBs have moved from Rs 1,17,262 crore as at end March 2012 to Rs 2,78,468 crore at end March 2015. Banks are required to report top 50 NPAs of each bank under off-site monitoring system. RBI has established Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) wherein banks are required to report credit information to RBI on large borrowers having aggregate exposure of more than Rs 5 crore. PTI NKD SAlast_img read more

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Pakistan Cricket Board should isolate India: Former ICC President Ehsan Mani

first_imgFormer International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani has criticised BCCI chief Anurag Thakur for his “inflammatory” comments on Pakistan and asked the PCB to push for India to be stripped off hosting ICC events.Mani said on Tuesday night that Pakistani cricket officials should come strong at the ICC executive board meeting in Cape Town next week. “The Indian Cricket Board President, with his immature and inflammatory statements, has given an opening to Pakistan to plead its case more effectively at the ICC meeting,” he said.Mani said that the Pakistan delegation should also demand that the ICC should ask the BCCI president to explain his position in making his statements against Pakistan. (Pakistan sponsor of terrorism, no question of playing cricket with them: Anurag Thakur)”Anurag Thakur is a politician and member of parliament of the ruling party and the ICC must ask him to explain in what capacity does he give his statements on Pakistan or any other cricket issue,” Mani said.”They must ask him to explain his position since the ICC constitution clearly forbade any of its own officials or those of member countries to make statements that bring the game into disrepute and that is what Thakur has done in his statements,” the former ICC chief said. (Pakistan Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq wants to play with India despite deteriorating relationship)Mani said for the last two years he had been advising the Pakistan board to stop playing India in the group stage of ICC events. “Now India is talking about not playing us in group stages of ICC events. The truth is that the ICC earns a lot from these Indo-Pak matches in its tournaments and India takes home the lions share under the big three governance formula. Yet they don’t want to have bilateral cricket ties with us.”advertisementMani said that Pakistani cricket officials for years had been following a policy of appeasement with India because they wanted resumption of bilateral cricket series.”But now it is clear there is lot of negativity from the Indian cricket board and even otherwise the situation is tense. So this is the best time for Pakistan to make its point at the ICC meeting.” (Please don’t go to war: Shahid Afridi’s message to India and Pakistan)A PCB official recently confirmed that due to India not playing against Pakistan since 2007 in a full bilateral series, it had suffered losses to the tune of more than USD 100 million.Najam Sethi, the former chairman of the PCB, who now heads the executive committee, told the media in Lahore that they planned to give a befitting reply to India’s recent threats to not play Pakistan in ICC events.”Yes we have been reading these statements and we will give them a strong response at the ICC meeting,” Sethi said.Sethi will be attending the ICC board meeting with CEO, Subhan Ahmad since chairman Shaharyar Khan, a former career diplomat, remains indisposed as he is recovering from a heart surgery.last_img read more

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Djoker packs Rafa: Novak Djokovic wins record 7th Australian Open title

first_imgNovak Djokovic etched his name into the record books by winning his seventh Australian Open title at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. World No.1 Novak Djokovic defeated world No.2 Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes in the Australian Open final.The victory helped Djokovic move past Roger Federer and Roy Emerson’s six Melbourne titles to take sole ownership of the record.Djokovic has now won all seven finals he has contested at Melbourne Park, including the 5 hour and 53-minute championship match against Nadal in 2012.”I would like to thank my team for supporting me. It is individual sport but you guys are always behind me and tolerating me on my bad days. I would like to thank my wife and kids, I hope they are watching, they said they will,” Djokovic said.”It is special to win a trophy when someone back in Serbia very special is there to support me and share this with. They have been with me and allowed me to live my dream and I will never take it for granted.”Make that 15 Grand Slam titles for @DjokerNole.#AusOpen #AusOpenFinal pic.twitter.com/1BpM5da0cd#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019.@DjokerNole gave this loyal fan his history-making racquet #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/FWF3yzVFMH#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019Djokovic won his third consecutive Grand Slam since returning from an elbow injury, winning the titles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018. This is also Djokovic’s 15th Grand Slam crown.Rafael Nadal lost a Grand Slam final for the first time in straight sets. He was chasing his second Australian Open title and 18th major.advertisement”I will keep fighting hard to become a better player.. I will keep fighting for the important things. I am going to keep fighting and practicing to give myself better chances,” Nadal said.Even legends do the wave @rodlaver #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/Nspf1TFDG8#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019A drop shot so good even your opponent applauds.Soft touch from @RafaelNadal #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/dv8lZQc2uR#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019Djokovic came out all guns blazing and broke Nadal in the Spaniard’s first service game to race ahead 4-1 in the opening set, before holding firm to seize the early advantage in the contest at Rod Laver Arena.Sending love all the way down under!!! @DjokerNole @AustralianOpen #idemooo #NoleFam pic.twitter.com/3Pe6Ra9TJnJelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) January 27, 2019The ruthless Serb then increased his grip on the match by winning the second set, sealing a decisive break to go ahead 3-2 before fending off Nadal’s attempts to come back.History Maker.The moment you win your seventh #AusOpen title.@DjokerNole #AusOpenFinal pic.twitter.com/7HC5Gwyfuh#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2019The peerless Serb broke Nadal five times while conceding only a single break point. Having won only two points off Djokovic’s first seven service games, Nadal finally prised a break point in the fifth game of the third to get back on serve but it quickly disappeared in a maelstrom of power hitting.Djokovic held serve, and knuckled down to complete an astonishing rout. He fired a furious forehand down the line to bring up two championship points, then sealed the title when the Spaniard sent a backhand long.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

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The Best College Gameday Signs from Week 3

first_imgThe photoshop work on this sign deserves a ? #GameDaySigns pic.twitter.com/5yWEbmPn1Z— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 17, 2016This was from last week but worth bringing up:One of the better #GameDaySigns this morning pic.twitter.com/KsIM0zW8iG— Gary (@Gmb4) September 10, 2016 …And Solange…my fav #GameDaySigns pic.twitter.com/OkWUMUV0q3— DeeElleAay (@DeeNyceTii) September 17, 2016 Every Saturday, football fans do their best to come up with their most creative signs to try and appear on ESPN’s College Gameday show, which aired in Louisville this week for the Florida State-Louisville matchup. Here are the best signs from week 3:Young hustler pic.twitter.com/7Xnok3Sxv2— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 17, 2016center_img #GameDaySigns pic.twitter.com/tdkcV29RdV— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 17, 2016https://twitter.com/CFBGamedaySigns/status/777162408615931905If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

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Spain coach praises Abel Ruiz

first_imgU17 World Cup U17 World Cup: Santiago Denia – ‘We are happy with three points’ Nisanth V Easwar Last updated 2 years ago 20:30 10/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Spain U17 Getty Images U17 World Cup Spain U17 v Niger U17 Niger U17 Spain U17 Santiago Denia praised Abel Ruiz for his inspiring performance against Niger U-17……. Spain Under-17 coach Santiago Denia seemed happy after a thumping win over Niger at Kochi on Sunday. It was a much needed win for the La Furia Roja after a defeat against Brazil in the opening group match. A brace from skipper Abel Ruiz ensured Spain full three points today.Speaking on the match, Denia said, “We are happy for the win and the three points to Spain’s account. I am happy that we played as a team.  But at the same time, we know that we need to improve on a lot of aspects.”Niger pressed us up front during the starting minutes. It was difficult with the pressure they put. After Niger had the pressure, we could make our passes and we could play our natural game. The objective is to score goals.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The coach refused to believe that they completely outclassed Niger. “No. In the African championship, they played attacking. They pressed from the middle.  We had space in the middle so we could make the most out of it. In the beginning, we played a risky game but after 10 mins, it was easy for us to play. In the end, we had players who could cope with the pressure”, said the Spanish boss.Denia wholeheartedly praised Abel Ruiz and said, “It’s not the worry that Abel Ruiz missed chances, its the work of the staff to tell players to improve in a certain way. My feedback is positive about Abel. He has in this category for last two years for Spain and Barcelona. He will continue to be good. He has a bright future for the national team and Barcelona.”last_img read more

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Justin Bieber Responds To Message From Arkansas Quarterback

first_imgArkansas quarterback Nick Starkel at Razorbacks game vs. Ole Miss.OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI – SEPTEMBER 07: Nick Starkel #17 of the Arkansas Razorbacks warms up before a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)It should go without saying that a quarterback’s undershirt isn’t what makes him play well or poorly in a given week, but in college football, small bits of minutiae and superstition can be blown out of proportion. When an SEC team like Arkansas loses to one of the worst teams in all of FBS, you’ll see plenty of people grasping at straws over the result. This week, it is quarterback Nick Starkel, and his Justin Bieber shirt.The former Texas A&M transfer threw five interceptions in the Razorbacks’ shocking 31-24 loss to San Jose State, one of the worst Group of Five teams over the last few years. SJSU only converted one of those picks into a touchdown, but the final one handed the ball back to the Spartans and allowed them to run out the clock.Starkel has become somewhat famous in the college football world for his devotion to pop star Justin Bieber. Most notably, he made a tradition of wearing a Bieber shirt under his uniform during games.It has officially made a comeback… @justinbieber pic.twitter.com/rh6yyh6Mix— Nicholas Starkel (@NickStarkel) July 16, 2019 Again, nothing about this explains the five interceptions. Still, Starkel felt the need to address the shirt after what was likely the worst loss of his career.After the game, he tweeted that he was “done with the distractions,” and he had ripped the shirt in half.Bieber shirt has been ripped in half and thrown away. No more nonsense. No more distractions. All I’m focusing on is this team and this season. Nothing else. ✌🏼— Nicholas Starkel (@NickStarkel) September 22, 2019He may not have expected to draw a reaction from Bieber himself.The Biebs hopped on his Instagram story to let Nick Starkel know that he is disappointed in the decision.2019 hogs is Justin Bieber being disappointed at Nick Starkel for throwing away the game day Bieber shirt… what a time to be alive pic.twitter.com/hLCm5n6Wwq— kendra rich (@kendra_rich) September 22, 2019Arkansas has the look of a last-place finisher in the SEC West after the SJSU loss, the Chad Morris era doesn’t look to be progressing in the ways many thought it would, and now the Razorbacks have lost one big Belieber.It is definitely a tough week in Fayetteville, for sure.[TMZ]last_img read more

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Thrustmaster of Texas Broadens Business Scope

first_imgDOEN is one of only five marine waterjet manufacturers in the world building water jets up to 5,500 hp (4,000 kW).To meet the demands of large scale,  Thrustmaster has introduced two new models to the DOEN waterjet product lineup.The new 400 / 450 series Thrustmaster water jets extend the power range to 8,500 hp (6,400kW) accommodating vessels of over 230 ft. (70 m) in length.The new models stay true to the exclusive stainless steel jet pump configuration using DOEN’s axial flow design, as explained by Thrustmaster.The stainless steel casting impeller configuration results in higher thrust throughout the speed range and unrivalled cavitation resistance.A fast supply vessel can now be equipped with Thrustmaster’s water jets and Thrustmaster’s retractable steerable thrusters in the bow of the vessel for a complete propulsion package from one supplier.The manufacturing of the Thrustmaster waterjet product range in Houston, TX is a significant extension of Thrustmaster’s existing portfolio of commercial thruster models.Thrustmaster’s 2009 investment of USD 40 million in a new state-of-the-art 200,000 sq ft thruster manufacturing facility laid the groundwork for this latest chapter in Thrustmaster’s effort to become the leading supplier of marine propulsion and maneuvering equipment, which now includes the ability to produce large orders of water jets.In addition to providing spare parts service and quick turnarounds for spare parts lists and quotes, the company also offers preventative maintenance services on all of their thruster models.Press Release; July 15th, 2014 zoom The recent addition of DOEN water jet technology has allowed the Thrustmaster of Texas Inc. to extend spare parts and maintenance services of its entire water jet line-up.last_img read more

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Province Launches Workforce Strategy

first_imgA new provincial Workforce Strategy will help to address the economic challenges presented by a shrinking workforce and help Nova Scotians to acquire the right skills for good jobs. Premier Darrell Dexter unveiled Nova Scotia’s Workforce Strategy, part of the jobsHere plan to grow the economy at Advanced Precision, an aerospace, defence and oceans technology manufacturing company in Dartmouth today, Nov. 22. “As the population gets older, people are retiring from the workforce and too few people with the right skills are available to replace them,” said Premier Dexter. “Nova Scotia’s workforce strategy is about helping us adapt and overcome our new demographic reality.” The Workforce Strategy describes a number of actions under three priority areas: increasing the amount of learning and skills development in the workplace; helping Nova Scotians to prepare for and connect with good jobs; and growing the workforce, both in numbers and skills. “Nova Scotia’s working-age population will decline by 47,000 people over the next decade, creating a situation in which there are jobs without people and people without jobs,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More. “The workforce strategy calls on all of us — every worker, potential worker and employer, as well as every business, industry sector and government — to think about what we can do now to be more competitive in tomorrow’s labour market.” The strategy provides supports to help young people and their parents make informed decisions about career options, and expands adult learning and online learning opportunities. It provides programs for Nova Scotians who are unemployed or underemployed and returning to the workforce or looking for their first job. It also targets groups that are under-represented in the workforce: women, African and Aboriginal Nova Scotians, people with disabilities, older workers, low-skilled individuals and those who may face other barriers to finding work. “A successful workforce strategy means all able and available Nova Scotians can fully realize the opportunities in front of them, including the many high value jobs that will come with the shipbuilding contracts,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. “Nova Scotians will be ready with the right skills and education to meet the job opportunities of the future, and businesses will benefit by having a rich diversity of skilled workers, each contributing ideas and knowledge that will foster better productivity and strengthen their competitiveness.” Advanced Precision is taking advantage of government programs to get their workforce ready to meet the needs of the future. “We’ve made a significant capital investment in state of the art machinery. In order for the company to realize all the benefits associated with technological advancement, our workforce must have the essential skills required to make the most of our investment,” said Susan Elliott, manager of human resources, Advanced Precision.” This is a situation where we reap the immediate benefit of increased efficiency and are positioned to take on more complex work in the future.” The strategy can be downloaded by going to www.gov.ns.ca.last_img read more

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US prepared to talk to Iran with no preconditions

first_imgBellinzona (Switzerland): US is willing to speak with Iran “with no preconditions”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday, but stressed his country would continue working to rein in Iran’s “malign activity”. “We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo told a joint news conference in Switzerland with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, adding that “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”last_img

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Former Roughrider Justin Cox gets one year in jail for assault on

first_imgREGINA — A one-time player with the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders has been sentenced to one year in jail for assaulting his former girlfriend.Former defensive back Justin Cox pleaded guilty in September to assault causing bodily harm for the August 2017 attack.A judge in a Regina courtroom sentenced Cox to nine months in jail for the assault and another three months for breaching his bail conditions by contacting his former partner and trying to convince her not to testify against him.The 24-year-old woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, was pregnant at the time with Cox’s baby and was left bloodied, bruised and with a broken nose.She was able to escape the vehicle they were driving around in and flagged down a bystander who took her to hospital, but not before Cox tried to climb into the rescuer’s vehicle to get to his partner.She moved across the country and gave birth to a boy.“It is not unreasonable to say that Mr. Cox was being driven by a blind and uncontrollable rage,” Justice Leslie Halliday said Friday.“He was clearly a danger to the victim and the public at the time. He was not about to give up in the pursuit of the victim.”As part of his sentence, Cox is not allowed to contact his victim or his son directly or indirectly. He is not allowed to mention her on social media either. The woman said in her victim impact statement read by the Crown at a sentencing hearing last month that she feared for her life the day Cox attacked her and still lives with the trauma.She said he began assaulting her in the parking lot of a Regina mall where they had gone so she could get a pregnancy test. She said he continued to beat her as he drove through traffic to the site of Taylor Field, where the team used to play.She said Cox repeatedly harassed her and had women he was dating harass her through messaging apps in an attempt to convince her not to testify.The court document said that at one point Cox texted her father saying, “Your daughter better help me in court before it’s too late” and “She was a lowlife when I met her.”Cox played one full season with the Roughriders and was named the club’s rookie of the year in 2016.He was let go from the team in April 2017 after he was arrested on a different assault charge. He was found not guilty.(CJME, The Canadian Press)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Indian Affairs facing Metis outrage

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe federal government has asked the Canadian Standards Association to help define who is a member of the Metis Nation.The organization that will put the Metis information together also sets the standards for many household products.That is not sitting well with Metis leaders across the country.Clement Chartier is the president of the Metis National Council and he spoke to APTN National News about the issue.last_img

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Canadian internet users looking more beyond Google and Facebook report

first_imgTORONTO – Google and Facebook continue to be the juggernauts that dominate how Canadians use the Internet but a new “non-duopoly” trend may be emerging, suggests a report by the measurement firm comScore.When looking at how Canadians used the internet throughout 2017, growth in time spent with the Top 100 most popular online properties excluding Facebook and Google sites was consistently strong.“What we’re starting to see in Canada is folks outside out those two are showing some increases … there’s a growth outside of the duopoly,” said Bryan Segal, comScore’s vice-president of sales, in advance of Thursday’s release of the Global Digital Future in Focus report.“Time on the internet is not decreasing, it’s just you see there’s other channels (growing) and time is being proportioned (there). There’s definitely a shift.”Earlier this year, Facebook reported that it saw its numbers of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada decline for the first time ever.Meanwhile, the growing social media platform Snapchat was highlighted in the comScore report for its growth.While Snapchat has not yet cracked the Top 5 apps used by the most Canadians — those are Facebook, FB Messenger, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps — it is No. 5 in the U.S. and U.K.But among Canadian users, comScore reported that Snapchat accounted for over 10 per cent of the overall time spent on social media apps, more than Instagram and Twitter combined (although Facebook was still far and away the leader at approaching 80 per cent).Segal said he wasn’t surprised by Snapchat’s growth and “significant slice” of the market, given the app’s younger base of users.“The core population Snapchat goes after is a highly, highly digitized millennial audience that is severely app-focused … and they spend a lot of time (online),” he said.“Canadians are definitely spending time on this entity and I think it’s encouraging to see additional players.”The comScore report looks at digital trends in 13 markets, including Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S., and found that while there’s a global shift toward “mobile-only” consumers who have given up completely on using computers, Canadians were still keen users of laptops and desktops.A little over 10 per cent of the Canadian market was mobile-only as of December 2017, which was an increase of 4.8 percentage points over the course of the year. Meanwhile, mobile-only users represented about 30 to 40 per cent of the markets in Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Spain, and nearly 80 per cent in India.The report did find that Canadians spent almost twice as much time with smartphones (nearly 4,000 minutes in December, or a little over two hours a day) versus how long they were using computers (just over 2,000 minutes, or about an hour a day). The time Canadians spent on computers was the highest of all the countries studied, which Segal admitted he found a bit surprising.“It’s not a mobile-only world, it might be a mobile-first world, but desktops are still really, really key,” he said.When it came to online video consumption, Canada ranked third in most videos viewed per user, and second in most hours spent watching video content on computers.Segal said when he talks to his international comScore counterparts about the Canadian market they find many of the stats linked to video streaming “quite eye-opening.”“We’ll always get asked, ‘Hey, was that a rounding error?’ And it’s like, ‘No, they’re pretty serious business.’”last_img read more

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Apple to substitute Watch Series 3 repairs with Series 4

first_imgSan Francisco: Running low on inventory for the older model, Apple has informed its retail staff to substitute some Apple Watch Series 3 repairs with the Series 4 globally, the media reported. The company announced the change in an internal memo that was delivered to Apple Store repair staff and the iPhone maker’s Authorized Service Providers around the world, 9To5Mac reported on Monday. As of now, Apple has not provided any details about how long would the Series 3 constraints and Series 4 upgrades scheme last. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The new repair and replacement upgrade for the Apple Watch is the latest of several instances of the company substituting Apple Watch repairs with newer models. The iPhone-maker released its Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular connectivity built in 2017. The 38mm variant of the watch currently costs Rs 28,900, while the 42mm GPS variant is priced at Rs 31,900 in India. Launched last October, the price of Apple Watch Series 4 GPS is Rs 40,900 for the 40mm variant and Rs 43,900 for the 44mm version. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “As usual, it’s not guaranteed that all locations will acknowledge existence of this internal policy, especially given that there is no definitive end date, so your mileage may vary,” the report said. In January, the company announced that some first-generation Apple Watches and Apple Watch Series 1 could qualify for Series 2 replacements, due to supply constraints on repair parts for the older models. Earlier this month, Apple confirmed that repairs of certain Apple Watch Series 2 models will be fulfilled with equivalent Series 3 models due to temporary shortages of unspecified Series 2 parts, the report added.last_img read more

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UK investigates China state TV over forced confession claim

LONDON — Britain’s communications regulator says it’s investigating China’s state TV channel over a complaint about fairness and privacy.Ofcom said in a statement Wednesday it is looking into China Central Television, or CCTV.The investigation follows British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey’s complaint against CCTV and its international division, China Global Television, for airing what he says was his forced confession while imprisoned in China. He says that violated U.K. broadcasting rules.Humphrey and his wife were hired by pharmaceuticals maker GlaxoSmithKline to look into a security breach, but were themselves arrested after the Chinese government began investigating alleged bribery at the company.Ofcom promised “appropriate action” if it found rules were broken.CGTN, which is available on free and pay TV in the U.K., didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment.The Associated Press read more

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WatchOwning 4 million house in Vancouver no blessing as seniors face 2000

VANCOUVER — Lynne Kent says owning a home in Vancouver that’s valued at $4 million isn’t the blessing it may appear to be.She and her husband are among a small group of homeowners in British Columbia facing a tax bump on homes assessed at over $3 million who say they simply can’t afford it — a claim that some are questioning.“I think the whole property value escalation is more of an albatross than a benefit, and have seen it that way because this whole escalation is really pushing us out of our home,” said Kent, 71.The school tax increase introduced in the B.C. budget would be set next year at 0.2 per cent on the portion of property valued above $3 million. It would increase to 0.4 per cent on the portion above $4 million.For the Kents, that would mean an extra $2,000 annually.Kent and her husband bought their three-bedroom bungalow in the Kitsilano neighbourhood in 1972 or 1973 for about $40,000, which was their household income at the time. They renovated the 1923 home in 1982, themselves.As retirees, they live on Canada Pension Plan and Old-Age Security payments, plus some savings, she said.They could sell their home, and are eligible to defer both the new tax and property taxes, but Kent says that’s not the point.“We raised our kids here, we have grandkids who are in university, who are part of our family life here. We hope to have great-grandkids here. It’s our home. We didn’t buy it as a money-making asset, we bought it as a home,” she said.Kent said she disagrees with the concept of deferring taxes on an ideological basis, since it means the province is stuck with the tab in the meantime.“We want to pay our taxes. It’s not that we don’t want to pay our taxes, but we want them to be fair,” she said.The school tax sparked a protest last week that prompted Attorney General David Eby, who represents many multimillion-dollar home owners in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey, to cancel a town hall because of security concerns.A online petition with almost 13,000 signatures characterizes it as a cash grab on a “vulnerable minority” that disregards incomes, financial circumstances and the ability to pay.But Brendon Ogmundson, deputy chief economist for the British Columbia Real Estate Association, says he thinks the tax has been blown out of proportion.It will be rare that someone who owns a home valued at more than $3 million can neither afford the tax, nor defer it, he said.“There’s going to be cases where it might be true, for whatever reason, that there’s a hardship. And the government should look at those cases. But in general, we’re talking about very wealthy households, whether they got there through income or the increase in their home prices,” Ogmundson.The tax will affect fewer than three per cent of homeowners in the province, he said, and therefore won’t have much of an impact on the real estate market, if any.Tom Davidoff, associate professor of strategy and business economics at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder school of business, said the tax is so low, relative to property values, that it will be negligible even after many years of accrual.Davidoff said it’s a smart tax for places like Vancouver, where housing supply is limited and it’s difficult to build more because of limited space and zoning restrictions.“If you tax a $4-million house, other than the person in the house who has to pay the money, which of course is a negative for them, nothing bad happens in the economy,” he said.“When you do income taxes or sales taxes, you can chase away actual economic activity.”Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, said the net wealth in homes today has increased in B.C. by over $650 billion in the past four decades. One third of that wealth has gone to people over 65 and five per cent has gone to people under 35, he said.While he said he understand seniors’ concerns about the school tax, it’s a problem that many people would like to have.“There are literally hundreds of thousands of younger British Columbians and renters of all ages who would love to see their standard of living shrivel before their eyes in a way that actually nets them over $5 million, while they were sleeping and raising their kids and watching their televisions and cooking in their kitchens, because that is how this wealth accumulation has unfolded,” he said.Even if the bubble bursts and the value drops by half, many of those homeowners will still have a couple of million dollars in their pockets if they sell, he said.Some are still wary, however. Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says it could represent a slippery slope to an extension of the tax to less expensive homes.And she pointed to families not unlike the Kents, who have children and want to pass their homes on to the next generation, which may not be able to afford the taxes on them.From Sims’ view, it doesn’t matter if a home is assessed at $8 million. The homeowners don’t deserve a “surprise” $16,000 new tax each year, she said.“On paper, their homes have ballooned in assessed value,” Sims said. “That is why this is really unfair, because it’s based on assessed value, not (price) when it’s sold.” read more

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TSX advances amid Fitch downgrade of Spanish banks hopes for more stimulus

by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 12, 2012 4:45 pm MDT TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed higher Tuesday amid hopes for more stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve even as a downgrade of Spanish banks added to strong doubts about the effectiveness of a planned bailout for that country’s financial sector.Rising mining stocks helped take the S&P/TSX composite index up 95.51 points to 11,497.3. The TSX Venture Exchange shed 7.01 points to 1,269.7.The Canadian dollar was up 0.43 of a cent at 97.4 cents US.Traders were encouraged by comments from a Federal Reserve official that he supported more measures to stimulate the economy.Charles Evans, president of the Fed’s Chicago bank, told Bloomberg News that he supported action to produce faster job growth. Last week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he was ready to act if the economy needs, but made no promises.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 162.57 points to 12,573.8, the Nasdaq composite index was 33.34 points higher at 2,843.07 and the S&P 500 index gained 15.25 points to 1,324.18.Ratings agency Fitch said it was downgrading 18 Spanish banks as a result of a previous downgrade of the Spanish sovereign debt on June 7. Fitch said it had conducted stress tests, both on the Spanish banking sector as a whole and on individual banks, updating results from tests done in 2011.Eurozone finance ministers said Saturday they would make €100 billion available to Spain to revive banks crushed by bad real estate loans. But early relief about the deal turned to doubt as traders worry the money will just add to the Spanish government’s already considerable debts and perhaps force it to seek its own sovereign bailout.That investor wariness was evident on bond markets where the yield on Spain’s 10-year benchmark bond shot up 0.28 of a point to 6.81 per cent, a record high and dangerously close to the seven per cent yield that has forced other countries to seek rescue loans. The bond rate fell back to 6.67 per cent in late trading.Italy’s yields rose to just over six per cent amid market frustration that European authorities seem unable to get ahead of the debt crisis.“What we’ve had over the last year and a half is reactionary policies out of Europe,” said John Tsagarelis, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.“They have to become more proactive.”There was also nervousness ahead of Sunday’s election in Greece. The worry is that a left-wing party that advocates tearing up the country’s bailout agreement will be the big winner. If that happens, Greece could end up leaving the eurozone with unpredictable consequences for other debt-laden eurozone countries such as Italy.The TSX was also supported by a major deal for transportation giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B), which could reap up to $9.6 billion from the sale of business jets and related services.One of Warren Buffett’s companies, NetJets Inc., has signed a deal to buy up to 275 Bombardier Challenger business jets that could be worth up to US$7.3 billion. Bombardier said it has also signed a 15-year service and maintenance agreement for the aircraft, worth as much as an additional US$2.3 billion if all options are exercised. Its shares jumped 22 cents or 6.03 per cent to $3.87 on heavy volume of 21.2 million shares.The gold sector was up about 0.9 per cent as August gold gained $17 to close at US$1,613.80 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) ran ahead 51 cents to C$40.46 and Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) rose nine cents to $8.57.The base metals sector was up 0.9 per cent as July copper edged a cent lower to US$3.34 a pound. Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) climbed 34 cents to C$10.62 and Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) improved 56 cents to $31.81.Oil prices were higher after three days of declines as traders also closely watched a quarterly meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday.Some members of the cartel have suggested recently that OPEC is producing too much crude and the group could decide to cut supplies to help boost prices. The July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 62 cents to US$83.32 a barrel and the energy sector rose 0.36 per cent. Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM) ran ahead 42 cents to C$11.23 and Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) rose 64 cents to $28.97.Bargain hunters have been attracted to the TSX over the last week in the wake of a string of sharp slides in May as the eurozone debt crisis worsened and worries grew about the pace of the global economic recovery. The TSX is still down almost 10 per cent from its 2012 highs in late February.In other corporate news, Canadian agribusiness Viterra (TSX:VT), which is on the verge of being acquired by Swiss commodities giant Glencore, says its profit rose to $67 million in the second quarter. That is more than double what it had the same time last year. Earnings came in at 18 cents a share, beating analyst forecasts by six cents. Viterra shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the $6.1-billion takeover offer but the deal still requires certain approvals in Canada and abroad. Viterra shares added a penny to $16.12. TSX advances amid Fitch downgrade of Spanish banks, hopes for more stimulus read more

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