Government says ‘no crisis’ as Eurostat rules against Irish Water

first_img WhatsApp Government says ‘no crisis’ as Eurostat rules against Irish Water Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal The Finance Minister says Irish Water will not be abolished or changed in any way, despite a Eurostat ruling against it.The EU body says Irish Water’s debts and spending have to be considered as part of the government’s balance sheet – even though the government wanted it treated separately.Michael Noonan says “there’s no crisis” and that the ruling won’t force the government to change its plans for the Budget.And he says the plans for Irish Water to upgrade the water network will continue unaffected:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/15noonWATER.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Sinn Féín’s warned that the only way to get Irish Water off the state’s balance sheet is to increase water charges.Donegal Deputy and Sinn Fein Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty says it’s inevitable that the government will now look to increase charges on people who can’t afford them:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/16doheWATER.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. WhatsApp Google+ Pinterest Previous articleAlan Kelly accused of ‘electioneering’ in awarding grants to his own countyNext articleMeet Irish model, Shahira Barry, who stood in for the Kardashians in upcoming E! promo News Highland Pinterest By News Highland – July 28, 2015 Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Facebook Homepage BannerNews Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry Facebook Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Google+ 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Twitter Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

Former Giants manager Bruce Bochy finds work with French national team

first_imgBochy, 64, retired at … Bruce Bochy, recently retired as manager of the Giants, has signed on to manage France’s national team as it attempts to qualify for the World Baseball Classic in 2021, according to published reports.Bochy was born in France when his father was based there with the military.“I want to stay involved and give back to baseball what it gave to me,” Bochy said, according to the report.France failed to qualify for the World Baseball Classic in both 2013 and 2017.last_img read more

Hippo to Whale: Missing Chain

first_img(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Despite claims to the contrary,2 whale and hippo evolution are poorly understood.  That’s the gist of a paper in PNAS this week1 that tries to connect the dots between hippopotami (artiodactyls) and whales (cetaceans) and other groups of mammals.  There’s lots of missing dots: The origin of late Neogene Hippopotamidae (Artiodactyla) involves one of the most serious conflicts between comparative anatomy and molecular biology: is Artiodactyla paraphyletic? [i.e., unrelated, but similar by “convergent evolution”].  Molecular comparisons indicate that Cetacea should be the modern sister group of hippos.  This finding implies the existence of a fossil lineage linking cetaceans (first known in the early Eocene) to hippos (first known in the middle Miocene).  The relationships of hippos within Artiodactyla are challenging, and the immediate affinities of Hippopotamidae have been studied by biologists for almost two centuries without resolution. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Their paper proposes a phylogenetic tree based on morphology; it rejects hippo relationship to pigs, and puts them as a sister group to whales, but puzzles remain: for example, “the position of Ruminantia [cows] is a central question, still to be solved.”  Clearly, they need more fossils: “Further progress in this debate is likely to come from morphological studies of paleontological data, whether known or still to be discovered” (emphasis added). 1Boisserie et al., “The position of Hippopotamidae within Cetartiodactyla,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0409518102, published online before print January 26, 2005.2See, for example, 11/21/2003 and 11/18/2003 headlines.  National Geographic News, reporting on this paper, calls whales and hippos “close cousins,” which is an odd statement, considering they conclude, “There is a 40 million-year gap between fossils of early cetaceans and early hippos.”And you thought the animators on PBS and the Discovery Channel had whale and hippo evolution all figured out.  From what missing links did hippos get their antibiotic sunscreen sweat? (see 05/25/2004 entry).last_img read more

SA learns from Confed cup

first_img2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee head Danny Jordaan addressing the media on lessons learntduring the Fifa Confederations cup. Deputy minister of police Fikile Mbalula talking about security issues during sporting events. (Images: Khanyi Magubane ) Fans thoroughly enjoyed themselves. during the Confederations cup tournament. (Image:MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Forfree photos, visit the image library.)Khanyi MagubaneFind out more about using MediaClubSouthAfrica.com materialDanny Jordaan, head of the 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee, has told international and South African media that the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup has been a great learning curve ahead of next year’s world tournament.Speaking to the media during a round-table briefing where he shared the lessons learned during the Confederations Cup, Jordaan said the organising committee was pleased with the overall outcome of the tournament.  “This was a test event, and I can tell you right now that the World Cup next year is going to be an exciting event, and it’s going to be the loudest World Cup ever.”Jordaan was referring to calls from sectors of the international community to have vuvuzelas (a South African trumpet used at football games) banned as they are considered too noisy.“The fans have been the real winners. The Egyptian team commented that the atmosphere was so great at their games, they felt like they were playing in Cairo,” said Jordaan.The CEO said they also had the backing of Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has been consistent in his support of South Africa hosting the two major sporting events.Jordaan told journalists that the fans had played a big role in the Confederation Cup’s success. “Nation building is the core element of the tournament. Sport is celebrated across all sectors of South Africa.”Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula addressed the issue of security for the Confederations Cup and the upcoming World Cup.Mbalula echoed Jordaan’s sentiments, saying that from a security perspective, there was no major breach of security and that all reported cases were classified as unfortunate and regarded as isolated. “Government has spent R1.2-billion (US$124-million) on security. No country is going to do that if we are not serious about the safety of those attending games.”In terms of weaknesses identified during the Confederations Cup, Jordaan noted that the late arrival of soccer lovers to the stadium had to be addressed to ensure that everyone is seated and ready by the time the game starts.The park-and-ride system was another weakness identified because of the lengthy process of transporting fans back to the different car parks. “Fans use the park-and-ride system over a period of about three hours when they go to the stadiums.“Some go early, some go late. But when the game is over, they all leave at the same time, and this caused some congestion at the stadiums, but we are working on resolving the issue.”To this end, Jordaan announced that the South African government is in the process of manufacturing 1 000 additional minibus taxis to transport fans.Ensuring a safe World CupJordaan and Mbalula came under intense interrogation from international media who quizzed the two about incidences that had occurred during the Confederations Cup.The case of the Egyptian football team in particular, who allegedly lost about R19 500 ($2 500) from their hotel, was widely reported.The team reported that they were robbed of money and other valuable items.“We are investigating this matter, and so far, we can say that this was an unfortunate incident,” said Mbalula.This however did not impress journalists, who wanted official comment on whether the incidents could mean that security was a problem for those attending the tournament.Jordaan implicitly assured journalists that a high-level security plan had been put in place not only at the stadiums, but also at the hotel rooms where the different football teams were staying.Following allegations that the Egyptian team had invited prostitutes to their private hotel rooms, Mbalula cautioned that they could not protect the teams against such actions. “We also encourage people to take responsibility and not invite security unfriendly individuals to their hotels.“However police are still investigating and we hope that the end product will be successful and bring the criminals to book.”The CEO also cautioned journalists against sensationalising crime in South Africa during sporting events.He said that while international media should report on incidences, they should verify the facts as not to create unnecessary anxiety for football fans intending on visiting South Africa next year.“Judge us on what is actually happening, and not what you might have heard happened. Please report the facts.”“I have been to many World Cup tournaments across the globe and there’s no difference with what is currently taking place in South Africa.“In terms of safety and security, everything is running smoothly and no major crime related incidents were reported.”Mbalula also added that he was proud of the police service. He said that cases brought before the department would be thoroughly investigated to prevent them from happening again next year. “We will investigate incidences case by case. We will have to check with the operation teams on the ground in terms of where we went wrong, and what we can improve.“We take our lessons from here. Where there have been problems, we will strengthen them,” added Jordaan.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] Related storiesFootball – South Africa styleConfed Cup good to goSA’s Confed Cup squad named Useful linksFifa2009 Fifa Confederations CupSA Police Servicelast_img read more

Innovation ‘funding, incentives needed’

first_img17 May 2012 South Africa must boost support and funding for research and innovation, and strengthen its public-private sector links, if it is to compete with its developing country peers, says Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor. “We would like to create conditions that will encourage the private sector to invest its research funds in South Africa,” Pandor said during her department’s budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday. Pandor said South Africa had “very able, world-class” researchers in a range of disciplines, but that, compared to many developing countries, the country did not allocate enough resources to research and innovation. She said one of the most repeated comments of a ministerial committee report on science, technology and innovation – the Nongxa report, which would soon be published public comment – was that the public science and technology sector needed to strengthen its links with the private sector.Incentives for private sector research investments “They also propose an examination of international practice with respect to incentives for private sector research investments,” Pandor said, adding that South Africa needed to draw on lessons from successful emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India. She said the Department of Science and Technology intended to improve incentives for South African researchers and entrepreneurs, and would be liaising with the board of the Technology Innovation Agency, which is tasked with funding innovation in the country, to develop a framework for an early review of the agency. Of the department’s R4.96-billion budget for 2012/13, R2.6-billion or 53% has been allocated to its public entities, but Pandor said South Africa needed a significant increase in science and technology expenditure if the country was to meet its national goals. “We are alert to the economic crisis confronting all economies, but it is vital to increase support for research if we are to retain the critical edge of an emerging world-class research destination,” she said. However, she said a welcome sign was the insertion of a spending category for science and technology in the Budget Review, which proposes that R10.7-billion – just over one percent of national expenditure – be allocated to science and technology in 2012/13. To fund local companies to develop technology, the department had also secured a commitment of R60-million over the next three years from the Treasury’s competitiveness fund, announced this year by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. “This will enable us to increase the number of companies we have on our register by a further 50 by the end of this financial year and grow them to 100 by the end of the 2014/15 financial year,” she said.Fluoro-chemicals, titanium initiatives The department was also implementing a fluoro-chemicals development programme targeting human capital development, new business formation and the development of novel processes and products. A multi-purpose fluorination pilot plant had been completed and would be launched this year. South Africa has an abundant fluorspar reserve and is competent in the handling of fluoro-chemical processes and products, Pandor said, and the government was looking to convert this strategic advantage into increased industrial activity and job creation. The department had also invested close to R108-million in titanium initiatives, including the commercialisation of a novel process for low-cost production of titanium powder, and over R100-million would be made available for the initiative over the next three years.Public-private ICT partnerships Pandor said the country’s research capacity in information and communication technologies (ICT) was also becoming a competitive advantage. Over the last 18 months, the government had announced targeted partnerships with global ICT companies including SAP, Microsoft and Nokia. These companies and others had, in the last financial year, invested over R15-million in cash and kind to the government’s ICT research and development programme, which had been matched by government funds. She said the department hoped to announce a partnership with IBM and one other multinational firm later this year.Biotechnology strategy Pandor said she would also announce a revitalised bio-economy strategy this year, adding that the department was exploring the possibility of developing human vaccines in South Africa, drawing on the experience of Biovac and other institutions. “We have initiated a feasibility study on a Cape based biotech park for health innovation, and expect to receive the team’s report in July this year,” she said, adding that the department would continue its support for the country’s tuberculosis vaccine initiative. The department would also add six new Centres of Excellence to the eight that had been set up since 2004.Research chairs, graduate programmes The South African Research Chairs Initiative would be expanded by the addition of 60 chairs, Pandor said, and the department would be partnering with the Swiss government to create two joint South Africa/Swiss research chairs, which would bring the number to 62. The National Research Foundation had also established an additional 25 post-doctoral fellowships each worth R180 000 a year for three years. In addition, the first group of 50 interns had been accepted into the department’s one-year science and technology graduate internship programme in partnership with the Da Vinci Institute and the TT100 companies. The department would spend a further R110-million on the internship programme over the next three years, drawing on the R9.5-billion economic competitiveness package announced in February’s National Budget. The minister said the implementation of the Scientific Electronic Online (SciELO) open access platform had provided free access to South African academic journals, with 22 journals currently on the platform, and with plans to grow this to 180 South African journals. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

A Detailed Review of the DaVinci Resolve Keyboard

first_imgIn this hands-on review, we take a look at Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve keyboard and how it can increase your editing efficiency.I’ve never used an editing keyboard. I’ll get that out the way before we begin. I won’t be comparing it to the editing keyboards of yesterday, or how it stacks up against other keyboards engineered for rival NLEs. I’ll be coming at this review from the following perspectives:Does this keyboard improve my DaVinci Resolve editing?Would I recommend this keyboard to those who have never used one before.So, let’s discuss design, construction, and what’s in the box.As with all Blackmagic peripherals, this unit is robust. It’s made from premium metal and weighs just under 2.5KG. This is a significant increase compared to a plastic Logic keyboard. And, while I wouldn’t suggest dropping it, it does feel like it could take a few dings. Regarding size, this is no small keyboard (58.5 x 23.5cm). In fact, I can’t fit the Resolve keyboard in my keyboard desk holder without removing the mouse. Keyboards usually lay flat and only offer a tilted profile when you extend the keyboard legs. However, the Resolve keyboard is already raised, providing a further extension when accessing the keyboard legs.This keyboard features three ports – two USB-A and one USB-C.On the rear of the unit are three ports — two USB-A and one USB-C — allowing you to connect a mouse if you’re using the keyboard away from your workspace, or even the Resolve studio dongle. The keyboard doesn’t come with a Resolve studio license like a camera. However, one could argue that, well, if you’re buying a $1000 editing keyboard, it’s likely that you already own the premium version of the software. There’s one USB-C to USB-C cable included, but if your PC only has USB ports, you’ll need to use a USB-C to USB-A cable, which isn’t included.Using the KeyboardWhen you move to any new keyboard, there’s a sense of unfamiliarity. The keyboard, for many, is a daily extension, and the slight difference in key placement, key size, or just the feel of the key can provoke a sense of the unknown. If, like me, you use an ergonomic keyboard, anything remotely different feels like learning to type all over again. Therefore, during two-week period when I used the keyboard, I was unable to take full advantage of how the keyboard would increase your proficiency, but its effectiveness was undoubtedly prevalent.Quite like Resolve’s interface, you could say the keyboard divides into working areas that correspond to the various panels.The various panels provide work areas with multiple sections and arrangements.Editorial tools, trimming tools, and transition tools are on the left.Function keys, as usual, are on the top of the keyboard.Labeled character keys are in the center.Data control are to the right.And the selling point of the keyboard on the far-right — the search dial.Let’s get the character keys out of the way, as there’s not a lot regarding the functionality of the area. It is, after all, a set of standard keys with labels.The color-coded identifying labels help delineate individual functions.However, the identifying labels are easy to spot and color-coded for specific operations — for example, green for clip and timeline movement. Unlike the Blackmagic Micro Panel, none of the keys are backlit (the CAPS LOCK button does have a red LED indication). The keys themselves, as noted by Blackmagic, are “The same type used by eSports keyboards and each key is certified for over a million operations.”Which means you don’t have to fully press the key all the way down for the action to register.The main selling points, and where the keyboard really comes into its own, are the utility buttons that surround the typing area — the keys that reduce a few mouse clicks into a single button press.On the left-hand side of the keyboard, we have the editorial tools, trimming tools, and transition tools. These keys are primarily for use in conjunction with the search dial. For example, you’d find your in-point with the search dial, select the IN key, use the search dial to jog or scroll right, press the OUT key, then insert or append the footage to your timeline.Or …By making use of intuitive trimming controls, you could hit TRIM IN (keeping the key pressed), this jumps you to the nearest edit point. You can, then, use the dial to trim your clip. It’s these highlights that really make the keyboard shine, drastically improving your edit speed. I cannot count how many times I’ve had to turn off the snap function because my mouse is increasing the trim too far, and I need that precise frame by frame.The keyboard wants to move away from the use of the mouse and instead adopt a two-hand workflow. Think Minority Report. There’s an argument that “you could just assign these functions to a key on your keyboard.” But, the likelihood is that most of the keys have already been assigned a task, and then you move into the territory of creating customized shortcuts that consist of Shift+Ctrl+Letter, and at that level, it’s a lot easier to have a designated button. I’m a regular user of the smooth cut (see what that does here), and having a button that expedites that effect is beautiful. Perhaps the principal selling point of the Resolve keyboard is the search dial. Found on the right side of the unit, the search dial is a machined metal, high-precision, rotary dial that can operate under three functions — Shuttle, Job, and Scroll.One of the most prominent features is the search dial.As each function will drastically change how the dial operates, the activation key will illuminate with a red LED to indicate what process is currently active.The shuttle control will shift the dial into a clutch mode where you can rotate the dial in increments to move forward and reverse down the timeline. You can increase the speed from x0.5-x64 (with every multiplication in between), and the process remains in operation, even when you’ve moved your hand away from the dial.The jog control will allow pinpoint precision positioning of a frame-by-frame playback, whereas the scroll control will allow you to glide up and down the timeline smoothly.Use jog for precise frame findingUse scroll to navigate quicklyUse shuttle to skim through long media files at a user-defined speedAbove the control selection, you can also choose what the search dial affects, either the source or timeline. When combined with the edit tools on the far left, you’ll begin to see how powerful and efficient the keyboard will be.The function keys have beneficial features such as the freeze frame.The function keys (F1-F12) have acquired some beneficial features, which aren’t initially present on a standard keyboard, such as insert black and (more specifically) F3 to freeze frame. You can currently press Shift+R to freeze frame, but that freezes the entire clip. When you press the dedicated freeze button, it only freezes the clip forward from the play head. You, of course, have the standard functions such as insert and overwrite — present on any keyboard — but then we see features such as Pic in Pic and Transitions.However, upon pressing them, nothing happened. I switched to trim mode, and again, nothing happened. I went through two trains of thought: “Oh no, I hope I haven’t received a busted unit.” And then: “Oh no, it’s for the cut page.” I proceeded to restore the cut page’s visibility, selected it, and hit one of the non-functional buttons to see that it was now functioning.If you’ve followed any of my Resolve coverage here at PremiumBeat, you know I’m not a fan of the cut page. I think it’s okay for new editors and those looking to reduce Resolve’s steep learning curve, but I don’t think it’s a page as advertised — for editors on-the-go and to remove the bustling layout of the edit page. However, I honestly don’t find it practical. And here’s the thing, the initial overview of the live cut page announcement mentioned that editors could use the cut page in their hotel room making dailies on a compact laptop, as the cut page accommodates smaller screens. But, if you’re on the move and using the cut page to minimize the busy Resolve edit page, then why would you be carrying around a hefty keyboard?Between the search dial and the character keys is also a timecode numerical keypad and four buttons, which will alter the sort order of the media pool. While I understand their use, outside of testing their functions when the keyboard arrived, I’ve yet to use them again. Although, I can see the ease-of-use of quickly pressing a key to reorganize your media pool when it becomes messy.ConclusionI try to endorse a minimalist approach when it comes to equipment and technology — especially equipment that’ll reside on my workspace, as space isn’t plentiful. Likewise, I think it’s too easy to fall into the trap of buying every accessory that a company produces because you feel it’ll benefit you when, in reality, the standard process was never tedious.That said, I do believe the Resolve keyboard is an excellent addition to a Resolve editor’s arsenal. And, as advertised, it increases your editing efficiency. I had hoped to use the keyboard to cut my next short film, but complications have pushed that back. So, while I only used the keyboard to edit Shutterstock Tutorials content, I can acknowledge how quickly it increased some editing tasks. I can imagine after a month or two of straight editing with the keyboard, you’d be fully versed in its operation and become a more accelerated Resolve editor.Cover image via Blackmagic Design.Looking for more on DaVinci Resolve? Check out these articles.DaVinci Resolve’s Boring Detector – Offensive or Misunderstood?Editing Pocket 6K Files in Resolve with a Low-Performing ComputerGlowing Results: Grading Skin Tones in DaVinci ResolveWorking with Super Slow Motion in DaVinci ResolveHow to Make an Object Disappear Using DaVinci Resolvelast_img read more

Thousands of migratory birds die mysteriously in Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake

first_imgCivic workers prepare to bury birds which were found dead at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Thousands of migratory birds of about ten species were found dead around Sambhar Lake, the country’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur, sending shock waves among locals and authorities.Officials said they suspect water contamination as one of the reasons for the deaths but were awaiting viscera test reports. Though the official toll was 1,500, locals claimed the number of dead birds could be as high as 5,000.“We have never seen anything like that. Over 5,000 birds died mysteriously all over the place,” 25-year-old Abhinav Vaishnav, a local bird-watcher, told PTI.When Vaishanav went on a stroll along the edge of the lake on Sunday, he took the hundreds of dark lumps strewn across the marshy land for cow dung. But it didn’t take him and his fellow bird watchers Kishan Meena and Pavan Modi to realise the lumps were bodies of hundreds of lifeless migratory birds.Case of bird flu?Carcasses of hundreds of dead birds including plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet were scattered on the edge of 12-13 km of the catchment area of the lake, leading to a possible number of over 5,000, they said. | Photo Credit: PTI  Forest ranger Rajendra Jakhar said a possible reason could be the hailstorm that hit the area a few days back. Botulism kills migratory birds at Sambhar lakeVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1401:14   “We estimate about 1,500 birds of about 10 species have died. We are also looking at other possibilities like toxicity of the water, bacterial or viral infection,” he said. A medical team from Jaipur has collected a few carcasses and water samples are being sent to Bhopal for further examination.Ashok Rao, a veterinary doctor and part of the team, said that while the exact reason for the deaths was uncertain, he ruled out the possibility of bird flu.“At initial examination we did not find any sort of secretion from the birds, which is a giveaway in the cases of bird flu,” he said. R G Ujjwal, nodal officer, animal husbandry department, joined Rao and listed possible reasons behind the mysterious calamity. “Their could be some sort of contamination in the water. The increased salinity of the water could also be another reason, as it increases salt concentration in the blood, which can further lead to slow blood flow and the internal organs like the brain may stop working,” Ujjwal said.The lake is also a favourite of flamingos, stilts, stints, garganey, gulls and a number of other species of birds.Lack of a sensible explanationJakhar informed that the lake every year hosts approximately 2-3 lakh birds, which include about 50,000 flamingos and 1,00,000 waders. The strange episode has left villagers and people of the forest department baffled for the lack of a sensible explanation.“I have never seen such a thing in 40 years of my service in the forest department. First I thought it could be because of the hail, but that occurs every year. There is no chemical waste in this water either,” said Ramesh Chandra Daroga, a local working with the forest department.Ashok Sharma, joint director, State Disease Diagnostic Centre, said that once the reason was ascertained further steps will be taken. “We don’t think it is a case of infection, but if it turns out to be the case we will take further steps to make sure it doesn’t spread,” he assured.Meanwhile, the carcasses were collected in a tractor-trolley and buried in a ditch. A total of 669 dead birds were buried while hundreds lay strewn around as the forest staff hesitated to venture into the slippery muddy areas.This is the second such incident in the state within a week. Last Thursday, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area. Their viscera too have been sent for investigation and reports are awaited. Watch | Botulism kills migratory birds at Sambhar lakelast_img read more

Room rent in hospitals exempted from GST

first_imgNew Delhi, Aug 29 (PTI) Rent paid by patients for hospital rooms will be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government said today.Issuing clarifications on levy of GST on the tariff for various accommodation services, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said the tax on rooms in the hotel, guest house or inns will be payable on the actual amount charged and not on declared or published tariff.”Declared or published tariff is relevant only for the determination of the tax rate slab,” the clarification issued in form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) said.No GST is applicable on room tariffs of less than Rs 1,000.A 12 per cent tax will be levied on the tariff of more than Rs 1,000 and less than Rs 2,500 while an 18 per cent levy would come in for room rents of between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500.A GST of 28 per cent will be charged on tariff greater than Rs 7,500.The tax will be levied on the entire amount, including charges for extra bed.”GST rate would be determined according to the declared tariff for the room, and GST at the rate so determined will be levied on the entire amount charged from the customer,” it said.For room upgrades, the FAQs said the tax applicable on the higher category rooms will be charged on the actual tariff paid.”If declared tariff of the accommodation provided by way of an upgrade is Rs 10,000 but amount charged is Rs 7,000, then GST would be levied at the rate of 28 per cent on Rs 7,000,” it said.advertisementTariff declared anywhere, like on websites through which business is being procured or printed on tariff card or displayed at the reception, will be the declared tariff.”In case different tariff is declared at different places, highest of such declared tariffs shall be the declared tariff for the purpose of levy of GST,” it said.If different tariff is declared for different seasons or period of the year, the tariff declared for the seasons in which the service of accommodation is provided shall apply.On the question of tax to be paid on rooms provided to in-patients, it said: “room rent in hospitals is exempt”.Also, any service by way of serving of food or drinks, including by a bakery would attract 5 per cent GST rate under composition levy scheme.Tax rate on services by way of admission to entertainment events or access to amusement facilities, theme parks, water parks, joy rides, go-carting, casinos, race-course, ballet and any sporting event such as IPL would be 28 per cent.Entry to casinos will attract 28 per cent GST and a similar amount on the value of betting. PTI JD BALlast_img read more

In This Issue Euro falls with job losses in Spai

first_imgIn This Issue.*Euro falls with job losses in Spain… *US data is mixed… *Elections won’t have an impact on the $… *NZD trade deficit widens, forcing the kiwi lower…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!The US Dollar gains ground as European unemployment rises…Good day. TGIF! As Chuck indicated yesterday morning, he has to report to a classroom today for some continuing education and has therefore left the reins of the Pfennig in my hands. I gladly take them and will try to steer us through the economic factors which are driving the markets.  As I turn the screens on this morning, the dollar has spiked up with the dollar index jumping back up to levels we haven’t seen in over a month. The euro is the main driver of the dollar index, so it is no surprise that the euro is down this morning. The euro is dropping after a report was released showing Spain’s jobless rate rose to 25.02% from 24.6% in the previous quarter.  This was the highest jobless rate in Spain in over 35 years and increased investors’ concerns.  Other reports showed French household sentiment dropped for a fourth month and euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted.  The data certainly illustrate just how tough times are in the European economy, and investors have started pushing the euro back below $1.30.It actually amazes me that the euro has been as resilient as it has.  Spain is all but certain to have to ask for a bailout, and both Greece and Italy continue to struggle. Even the French economy is in bad shape.  French President Francois Hollande had pledged to overhaul the French economy when he took office 6 months ago.  But recently the French president has been downplaying these promises.  Hollande pledged to get deficits below 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, but that looks unlikely as the IMF expects the French economy will only grow at a .4% rate next year and the deficits remain.But investors seem to be comfortable with the fact that the European countries are going to take longer to recover. Even recent news that Greece is going to need another 2 years to meet their budget targets doesn’t seem to have bothered investors in the euro. I guess when you compare Europe with the US it really doesn’t look all that bad.We will get a better view of the US economy with the release of 3rd quarter GDP.  Gross Domestic Product is predicted to have increased 1.8% during the past quarter after rising 1.3% in the previous quarter.  While it is moving in the right direction, this would be the first time GDP was below 2% in consecutive quarters since the US economy emerged from recession in 2009.  Another report is predicted to show confidence declined slightly as the U of Mich. Confidence is projected to fall slightly. Yesterday’s weekly jobs report showed a decrease in initial jobless claims to 369K from an adjusted 392K last week.  Continuing claims remain at worryingly high levels at over 3,254,000 out of work. Another report had better news as Durable Goods orders increased 9.9% in September after a dramatic 13.1% drop in the previous month.  And finally, a report showed pending home sales dropped to just .3% during September compared to a drop of 2.6% during August. The YOY number was better, showing an increase of 8.5% which indicates the US housing market is still improving, albeit slower than many expected.As all of you know, Mike Meyer has been off the desk the past couple of weeks enjoying his honeymoon with his new bride.  With Mike gone I’ve had the pleasure of taking a few more calls than typical, and I have to say I enjoy getting back on the phones to speak with the great World Markets clients.  One of the most common questions we have been fielding lately is ‘who do you think is going to win the election’ and the automatic follow up of ‘and what will the election mean for the dollar”? I’m smart enough not to try to predict the election (it is hard enough trying to figure out where the currencies are going over the next few years!); but I do let our clients know that the elections probably won’t have too much of an impact on the direction of the dollar in the next few years.  The dollar is headed lower, and there isn’t much either party can do about it.  I know this may upset readers on either side of the political divide, as they believe their ‘man’ has the stuff to lead our country in the right direction.  But the massive amounts of debt which we have accumulated are not going to magically disappear on November 7th, and this debt is what will continue to drive the value of the dollar lower. A story which appeared in the Journal of Accountancy yesterday partially confirmed my thoughts on the election. (No, I don’t typically peruse the Journal of Accountancy, but I do get a summary of the day’s top financial stories sent to me by the CFA organization and spotted it there). The article quoted a survey which was conducted at the Association for Financial Professionals.  In the survey, 63% of executives said that the outcome of the US Presidential election won’t have a significant effect on business conditions. Unfortunately our path is already set, and it won’t be immediately impacted by the election, whether we get a change at the top or not.  That is not to say we shouldn’t vote, nor that a change in the direction of the economy is not possible.  Just that we won’t see any immediate impacts, change will take time to work its way through the economy.No, the results of the election won’t determine the short term course of the dollar, but just getting past November 6th probably will.  You see markets don’t like uncertainty, and with the election basically a toss-up many investors are not wanting to commit funds to the markets.  So the results of the election probably have less to do with the direction of the markets than just getting past them.  I know I am certainly looking forward to an end of all of the political ads!And don’t forget about that fiscal cliff which is still waiting for us at year end.  The election won’t make that go away either.  Another story I read stated that nearly 1 million jobs have already been lost due to the fiscal cliff.  The story, which appeared in the Washington Post pointed to a study by the National Association of Manufacturers which says employers are laying off workers and leaving vacant positions empty as they worry about what will happen if / when tax hikes and spending cuts take effect January 1st.  The study concluded that nearly 6 million jobs will disappear through 2014 and the jobless rate will rise close to 12% if the country is pushed off this cliff.  Scary stuff, but that is exactly what was intended.  The ‘fiscal cliff’ was instituted in order to force the hand of congress and our administration; making them make the very tough decisions which are necessary in order to push our economy toward a more sustainable path.  Perhaps the cliff is exactly the ‘tough love’ our economy needs, but the markets certainly don’t think we will be forced over it. The next two months will certainly be interesting. As Chuck reported, the RBNZ left rates unchanged yesterday and the kiwi moved higher.  But a report released overnight has the New Zealand dollar moving lower.  New Zealand’s trade deficit expanded to the widest level since 2009 as exports fell and a stronger kiwi encouraged imports.  The NZ$888 million deficit was actually a bit lower than expected.  Dairy exports, which make up nearly one quarter of annual exports in NZ, dropped 12 percent.  Central bank Governor Graeme Wheeler blamed the higher kiwi for ‘undermining export earnings’ and encouraging imports.  This is not a good sign for clients holding kiwi, as the new head of the RBNZ continues to indicate he would like to see a weaker currency. The Australian dollar also fell overnight as investors worried about demand in Asia.Then There Was This. A report by Schroder Investment Management, Ltd. dated October 23 suggests global economic growth may be reaching a saturation point.  The concept implies global demographic and climate changes, combined with an expanding consumption in emerging markets will limit global growth.  According to the story, ‘Forecasts show that by 2050, the world’s population will climb by 2 billion, or 30 percent, and 3 billion people with the ability to spend $10 to $100 a day will join the consumer market.’ World gross domestic product could jump threefold according to the report.While this would seem to be positive news, the report points out that this growth will push the global environment to its limits.  “Investors need to recognize that pressure will build for regulations more suited to resource scarcity, such as punitive taxes on companies that use environmental assets excessively.”  The report calls into question the sustainability of global growth as demand for resources dramatically increases.While the report has some scary conclusions, the news that global growth is going to increase is certainly positive and meshes with what we are expecting to see.  Commodities are going to be at an even greater premium in the coming years, and the countries who export commodities should continue to see good demand for their currencies.To recap. The euro fell overnight after Spanish unemployment increased to over 25%.  US data released today is expected to show GDP increased to 1.8% from 1.3% last quarter. The US elections are looming, but the election won’t have any impact on the dollar as the debts and deficits will remain in near term.  The NZD trade deficit widened and New Zeland’s central bank head blames the high price of the kiwi for the increase in imports. Currencies today 10/26/12. American Style: A$ $1.0325, kiwi .8187, C$ $1.003, euro 1.2894, sterling 1.6105, Swiss $1.0662. European Style: rand 8.7574, krone 5.7970, SEK 6.7325, forint 219.85, zloty 3.2184, koruna 19.3435, RUB 31.504, yen 79.80, sing 1.2233, HKD 7.7503, INR 53.575, China 6.2494, pesos 13.0745, BRL 2.0265, Dollar Index 80.228, Oil $85.55, 10-year 1.77%, Silver $31.6975 and Gold. $1,703.45That’s it for today. I spent a chilly night in the stands with my wife and daughter as we watched Brendan’s football team win their first playoff game.  Now they get to move on to the second round and face a tough opponent on Halloween night.  Mizzou’s homecoming is this weekend, and my Aunt Marilyn is flying in from Texas to attend the football game with my mom. I look forward to spending some time with my aunt, who is a real hoot and has a special attachment to MIZZOU; during her college days she was the school’s mascot, Truman the Tiger.  Hopefully Mizzou will be able to win for their big homecoming crowd.  Congratulations to the SF Giants who head over to Detroit with a 2 game lead in the World Series.  I am running late as usual, so I will get this out the door.  I hope everyone has a Fantastic Friday and a Wonderful Weekend. Thanks for reading the Pfennig.Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more