Late-night taxis to keep on running

first_img Louis Baker, head of professional practices group at Crowe Clark Whitehill The government has changed its mind about abolishing the tax relief for late-night taxis, so black cabs will keep on running for employees of law firms. Many firms will be well aware the relief provides income tax and National Insurance contribution exemption against the costs incurred in an employee having to take alternative transport to get home. The relief is only available when (irregularly) employees are required to work late to at least 9.00pm, and by the time they go home either public transport has stopped running or it would be unreasonable to expect them to travel home by their normal means – hence the name ‘late-night taxi’ relief. It was originally proposed that the relief end in April 2012, but the government backtracked in early December after deciding that abolishing it would negatively impact on certain groups of employees and create more paperwork and administration – something no firm would welcome. In addition, the government found during its consultation on the abolition of tax reliefs that the vast majority of businesses were not happy about the plans to do away with the relief. Businesses from a wide variety of sectors argued that the relief is used by a diverse range of employees and that it is of real benefit to the lower paid. I’m sure most law firms will also agree with additional arguments that were put forward concerning safety and security, as it was suggested that the current relief helps employers to manage these risks by providing female employees with safe transport home. Better safe than sorry! Check the HMRC manual for a full description of the late-night taxi benefit and the working conditions required to take advantage of it.last_img read more

Volga moves space shipment

first_imgThe AN-124 flight operated from Nice, France to Yubileyny, Kazakhstan before the sensitive consignment was transported by rail to the Baikonur launch site. Upon arrival, the satellite container was moved to a clean room where it was unloaded and prepared for deployment. The shipment was carried for SDV Logistique International, France on behalf of prime contractor Thales Alenia Space.  The consignee was Russia’s Krunichev State Research and Production Center.  www.volga-dnepr.comlast_img

Mammoet moves for Phillips 66

first_imgThe required boom length for the lifts was 149 m, however the available assembly space was limited to 108 m. To overcome this challenge, Mammoet used a process designed in house that assembles a portion of the crane in the air.During the crane assembly process, Mammoet completed over 30 lifts, each over 25 tons (22.7 tonnes).Throughout the project’s lifting scope, Mammoet executed 16 lifts, the heaviest weighing 600 tons (544 tonnes). www.mammoet.comlast_img

Junior lawyers ‘lose confidence’ in SRA after Matthews prosecution

first_imgThe Junior Lawyers Division says it has lost confidence in the Solicitors Regulation Authority to fairly prosecute young solicitors whose judgement is clouded by pressures of work.Charlotte Parkinson, chair of the JLD, wrote last week to SRA chief executive Paul Philip calling for an immediate review in its approach to handling junior lawyers who report mental health issues or a toxic working environment.Her criticism follows the high-profile prosecution of recently-qualified Claire Matthews, who lied to cover her mistake of leaving sensitive documents on a train. Matthews was struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal but has given notice she will appeal, supported by lawyers working pro bono.Parkinson said the JLD was ‘remarkably concerned’ that the SRA had continued its prosecution given what Matthews had reported about her mental health at the time of the misconduct. If her condition was brought up only during the hearing, Parkinson said, the SRA should have adjourned the hearing immediately to consider the risk.‘Given the circumstances of Ms Matthews’ case, we do not believe that the SRA’s decision to prosecute was reasonable,’ added Parkinson.The Matthews case had echoes of previous cases involving Emily Scott and Sovani James where young lawyers were banned despite reporting toxic work environments and working under extreme pressure.Parkinson said: ‘Regrettably, taken in the round, the Sovani James, Emily Scott and Claire Louise Matthews prosecutions have shaken our faith in the SRA’s judgement to the point where we do not have confidence in its approach to regulatory matters.’The JLD is calling for the SRA to examine its own approach and regain the trust of solicitors, particularly addressing the issue of junior lawyers being unwilling to report a toxic culture in their firm for fear of being prosecuted themselves.Parkinson added that the SRA’s recent approach runs the risk of mistakes being concealed for fear of disproportionate sanctions – in turn increasing the risk that mistakes are not rectified and defeating the purpose of regulation.The JLD has also written separately to the SDT to outline concerns about the sanction imposed against Matthews, in particular questioning an apparent disparity between the penalties applied to barristers and solicitors.last_img read more

Traction equipment ordered

first_imgUKRAINIAN locomotive builder GP NPK Electro-vozostroeniya has placed a €120m order with Siemens for traction equipment to be installed in 100 DS3 electric locomotives being built for Ukrainian Railways at Dnepropetrovsk.Developed jointly by the two companies, the DS3 is a mixed traffic design able to accept power at 3 kV DC and 25 kV 50Hz. The traction package includes three-phase asynchronous motors, and Siemens will supply compact IGBT traction converters, auxiliary converters and locomotive control systems; Siemens Ukraine will be responsible for assembly and commissioning.Rated at 4800 kW, the 90 tonne locomotives will have a maximum speed of 160 km/h. A prototype (above) has already been tested. nlast_img

Gears 5 is now playable on Xbox One and PC with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

first_imgThe official release date for the eagerly anticipated Gears 5 is 10th September. However, if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate you can install and play now. Some reviews have already gone live and are praising the heart pumping firefights and great shooting mechanics. Our very own Carl Jones will be a posting full reviews of the campaign and multiplayer in the near future.Gears 5 begins directly after the events of its predecessor. After discovering the fate of her mother, Kait is desperate to uncover the truth behind her family, and how exactly it might connect to The Swarm threat encroaching upon humanity’s safety. However, you don’t step into her shoes just yet. There is a total of four playable characters: Kait, JD Fenix, Del Walker and series favourite Marcus Fenix.View the Gears 5 launch trailer below:Gears 5 comes complete with five different game modes. Campaign is, as you would expect, the main story-driven mode, Escape is a new, aggressive, high-stakes co-op mode featuring a three-player suicide squad that must work together to take out enemy hives from within, Versus sees teams pitted against each other over various maps and game modes, Horde pits your team against wave after wave of enemies in a desperate fight for survival and the Map Builder lets you create your own custom Escape mode maps to play and share with your friends.I’ve found the sheer overwhelming violence of the Gears series strangely captivating over the years and I have high hopes for Gears 5.Check out the official Gears 5 website for more information on the game.last_img read more

Clinton Initiative for The Caribbean launched In Miami

first_imgThe initiative, coming just over six months after hurricanes battered many islands in the Caribbean, is aimed at bringing together leaders from across sectors to develop new, specific and measurable plans that will advance the recovery and promote long-term resiliency across the region, according to a statement.Following the devastating hurricanes that tore through the Caribbean region in September 2017, local leaders of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda approached Clinton to help them build back better. High level Caribbean government residentsThe Action Network formally launched with a day-long invitation only event and saw participation from more than 350 leaders, including high-level representatives from government such as Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit.Dominica was battered by Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017. Also in attendance was Governor Kenneth Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose islands were battered by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria last September. Struggling to recover from $150 billion hurricane damage The focus was on the immediate and long-term hurricane recovery needs for the Caribbean islands, which faced back-to-back hurricanes that caused over $150 billion in damage last Fall. Some communities are still struggling to recover. In Puerto Rico, more than 150,000 are without power and many lack access to clean drinking water. One of the biggest challenges for recovery has been the lack of an emergency communications system as the next hurricane season quickly approaches.The Clinton Foundation says it is using its past work in Haiti to model its future help in the islands battered by storms in 2017, adding that it’s ready to move forward with building homes and schools in Dominica and installing solar power in hospitals and clinics in Puerto Rico.“The [Caribbean] has many treasures,” Clinton said as he opened the UM event, “but it’s also one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to the ravages of climate change.”NetHope DonationMeanwhile, with the start hurricane season less than two months away, the Patterson Foundation is providing $250,000 to NetHope to create the Caribbean Disaster Response and Preparedness Program. NetHope works with global leaders in technology and philanthropy – including Microsoft and Facebook – to change the world through technology and were part of the official Clinton meeting Tuesday.During the 2017 hurricane season, NetHope deployed its teams across the Caribbean to provide emergency telecommunication services, including the provision of connectivity to first responders and communities in over 80 locations across Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and St. Martin.last_img read more

Egypt registers 176 new COVID-19 cases, tally nears 100,000

first_imgEgypt records 223 new COVID-19 cases People wearing face masks walk on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on June 12, 2020. Egypt witnessed on Friday a record of 1,577 single-day new COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections confirmed in the country since mid-February to 41,303, said spokesman with the Health Ministry. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa) People wearing face masks walk on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on June 12, 2020.  (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)Egypt reported on Tuesday 176 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections in the country to 99,115 the Health Ministry said in a statement.Also on Tuesday, 19 patients died from the coronavirus, raising the death toll to 5,440, according to the statement.Meanwhile, 899 patients were cured and discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 73,828, the ministry revealed.Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8.Amid declining deaths and infections, Egypt has been easing restrictions over the past two months as part of a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.Egypt and China have been working together on fighting the pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise.In early February, Egypt provided aid to China to help its fight against COVID-19, and China later sent three batches of medical aid to the North African country.Related Egypt’s COVID-19 cases surpass 150center_img Egypt records 139 new COVID-19 caseslast_img read more

Teen parents to learn basic parenting skills

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! EducationLocalNewsTertiary Teen parents to learn basic parenting skills by: – June 20, 2013 Tweetcenter_img Adult Education Officer, Martha AndreTeen parents in the village of Pichelin will be better able to care for their children after a summer parenting program organized by the Adult Education Division (AED).In an interview with Dominica Vibes News, education officer Martha Andre said the parenting program came about because of a need in that community and it is the mandate of the AED to address those needs.“We know there are a number of young men and women who are parents and they too are children, so we want them to get on board with this program to learn some of the basic parenting skills that are needed for good parenting, guidance and counseling, building self and morals,” she said.Mrs. Andre noted that this program is being undertaken with a view to improving moral values within society, as it appears to have fallen by the way side.“We would like to see an improvement in our whole moral development from the family base, because when you take it from the family base then the child goes into the school community then into the community at large”. The idea is to prepare children from the family standpoint, so that they can become good members of society. In order to achieve this, “we must strengthen our moral development at the family base”, the education officer said.Meanwhile, education officer for the south Jude Williams said “we saw that there was a need for a teen parenting course because we have noticed that over the years there has been a high level of teen pregnancy”.He said there are teen parents who may not know how to raise a child and so there is the need for some experienced persons to “provide them with direction and give them a boost and better knowledge on how to raise children properly in society.”The program will only be held in the community of Pichelin as part of the AED summer program which begins on 15th April.To obtain further information regarding the program, interested persons can call the AED at telephone numbers (767) 266-3088 or 266-3305. Dominica Vibes News Share 61 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

Dairying in Lebanon: Milk for health and wealth

first_imgWhen one thinks of the country of Lebanon, dairying is not the first thought that comes to mind. Most people associate Lebanon with its civil war, the suicide bombing of U.S. Marines back in 1983, the 2006 war and being right next door to the current conflict in Syria. Let me share with you another side of Lebanon, hidden from most people: its dairy industry.advertisementadvertisementRecently, I spent time in Lebanon as a volunteer with the Farmer-to-Farmer program, which is under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The program provides voluntary technical assistance to farmers, farm groups and agribusinesses in developing and transitional countries.Land O’Lakes oversees the Farmer-to-Farmer program in Lebanon. They arranged and coordinated my assignment, which was spent working with two plants to manufacture cheese. One plant had a dairy herd for its milk supply, and the other purchased farm milk.Before I discuss dairying in Lebanon, let me provide some general information about the country. Lebanon traces its history almost to the beginning of civilization. It is home to the second-oldest inhabited city in the world, Byblos. Byblos was home to the Phoenicians, traders who developed the basis of our current alphabet.Throughout history, due to its strategic geographic position and natural resources, Lebanon has been controlled by many of the world’s powers – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. After World War I, France gained oversight of Lebanon and did so until Lebanon began its first steps toward independence in the early 1940s.One of the challenges facing Lebanon, and a cause of its civil war from 1975-1991, is its religious make-up. About 50 percent of the population is Muslim, 45 percent Christian and 5 percent Druze, with the remaining 5 percent practicing Judaism or some other religion.advertisementAs a compromise among the various religious groups, the country’s president is a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shiite Muslim, with its parliament about evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.Lebanon is a small geographic country, about four-fifths the size of the state of Connecticut. Its average width is 35 miles, and it has 140 miles of north-to-south coastline bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Israel borders Lebanon on the south and Syria on the east and north.Almost immediately, as one leaves the Mediterranean and heads east, the Lebanon Mountains start and reach a height of more than 10,000 feet. Then, on the eastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, there is the agriculture-rich Bekaa Valley. The Anti-Lebanon Mountains and Syria border the valley on the east.One of my biggest surprises about Lebanon is the strong consumer interest in dairy products – primarily soft, fresh, white cheeses and yogurt and yogurt-like products.Some of the cheeses included labneh (the Lebanese version of cream cheese), ackawi and halloumi, a cheese that is often fried or grilled. Cheese was served at every Lebanese meal I consumed. A common breakfast food is manakish, a pizza-like dough smothered with cheese that is delicious.Based on my observations, dairy products are plentiful and readily available. The major grocery stores I visited had large dairy cases with an abundance of cheese and yogurt. The dairy cases were much larger than those I am familiar with in the U.S. In addition, I saw many stand-alone stores selling dairy products.advertisementThe two dairy plants I worked with sold most of their products through their own retail stores. One of the plant’s flagship stores is located on the centuries-old Damascus Highway, just a few miles from the Syrian border.At certain times of the day, the store was so filled with customers it was difficult to get inside. The retail price of the two most common cheeses, halloumi and labneh, was about $5 per pound and $2 per pound, respectively.The Lebanese also like their own style of ice cream, which is chewy and thick, and comes in a variety of flavors and colors. I noticed numerous stand-alone ice cream stores.It was a common occurrence to see a car pull in front of an ice cream store, a passenger jump out of the car and rush into the ice cream store and then come out with a handful of cones, piled high with ice cream in a variety of colors.The extra chewiness and thickness of Lebanese ice cream comes from the addition of a thickening powder made from orchids grown in Turkey.Like many countries outside the U.S., little shelf space in Lebanese grocery stores was devoted to fluid milk. The largest container of fluid milk I saw was 1 liter (about a quart), and the retail price was about $2. There was both fresh, local fluid milk and imported, ultra-high-temperature pasteurized fluid milk.Now to the dairy farm and plant side in Lebanon. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated there were about 25,000 dairy cows in Lebanon prior to the 2006 war. Due to the war, the national dairy herd declined to about 18,000 head.One of the plants I worked with had a dairy herd of 10 cows, which I was told was about average size in Lebanon. The cows were Holstein, Brown Swiss and some Holstein-Swiss crosses. Based on the farm’s records, I estimated annual milk production per cow at about 15,500 pounds.During the summer, the cows graze. This particular farm grazed its cows on ski slopes. Yes, there is snow in Lebanon. There was a makeshift stanchion barn with portable milking machines. Milk was transported, after each milking, directly to the plant.Feed is expensive, with a purchased dairy grain mix costing about $450 per ton. During the winter, cows are fed alfalfa hay, which is also expensive.The owner told me his cost during the previous winter for alfalfa hay was similar to the grain costs, about $450 per ton. During July 2015, farm milk delivered to a plant received about $32 per hundredweight.One of the plants I worked with would easily pass inspection in the U.S. The plant was modern and followed stringent sanitary requirements. Cheese and yogurt packaging was done in air-controlled rooms. In fact, a group from Land O’Lakes had provided HACCP training at the plant.The plant was waiting on certification to export cheese outside of the Middle East. Besides cow milk, the plant also manufactured cheese from goat and sheep milk. Goat milk was paid the same price as cow milk, but sheep milk was about $45 per hundredweight.In addition to the Farmer-to-Farmer program and Land O’Lakes, there are other efforts to improve and grow the dairy industry in Lebanon. Starting in 2012, the FAO in partnership with the Lebanon Ministry of Agriculture implemented a program called “Milk for Health and Wealth.”The program emphasizes three benefits of the dairy industry: it provides consumers with a healthy and nutritious food; dairy farming is one of the better ways for people in rural areas to improve their livelihood; and the ripple effect of dairy farming provides economic benefits beyond the farm.Based on published reports, this program is successful and continues to provide assistance to hundreds of small Lebanese dairy farmers.It is gratifying to see the “world’s organization” recognizing the importance of the dairy industry and that dairying provides both “health and wealth” benefits. Maybe this program in Lebanon can spread to other parts of the Middle East.The next time you read or hear about Lebanon in the news, remember its people are large consumers of dairy products, and it has a viable dairy industry which is striving to grow and expand.  PDCalvin Covington is a retired dairy cooperative CEO and now does some farming, consulting, writing and public speaking.PHOTO 1: In addition to the Farmer-to-Farmer program and Land O’Lakes, there are other efforts to improve and grow the dairy industry in Lebanon. Starting in 2012, the FAO in partnership with the Lebanon Ministry of Agriculture implemented a program called ‘Milk for Health and Wealth.’ PHOTO 2: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated there were about 25,000 dairy cows in Lebanon prior to the 2006 war. Due to the war, the national dairy herd declined to about 18,000 head. Photos provided by Calvin Covington. Calvin CovingtonRetired Dairy Cooperative CEOEmail Calvin Covingtonccovington5@cs.comlast_img read more