|UK economy picking up speed and outpacing peers, says OECD|
Britain’s economy has finally started to recover in line with normal rebounds after recessions and it is doing so faster than most of its peers, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Tuesday.In an update to its near-term economic forecasts before the Group of 20 meeting this week, the international organisation predicted that growth would accelerate in the second half of the year, with the economy expanding by 1.7 per cent between June and December.If that pace of expansion continues into 2014, Britain’s recovery would begin to resemble a normal upswing rather than the slowest recovery from recession that it has endured since 2010.
Presenting the biggest upward forecast revision for the UK among the Group of Seven, J?rgen Elmeskov, deputy chief economist at the OECD, said the optimism reflected improved sentiment and data, forcing the publication of British growth numbers “more than a tad higher”.Treasury officials have been delighted this summer at survey and official figures which they describe as the most consistent run of above-expectation data anyone can remember.Outwardly still cautious, knowing that the good run can come to an end, aides to George Osborne think the growth rate vindicates their stance to hold firm with deficit reduction in the face of continued economic disappointment over the past three years.The OECD’s growth forecasts for the second half of the year are more than twice those from the Office for Budget Responsibility, suggesting that the official fiscal watchdog will substantially revise up its 2013 and 2014 forecasts in the Autumn Statement towards the end of November.
The forecast expansion is also substantially higher than the Bank of England’s central predictions from last month, which suggested growth would rise to annual rates of about 2.5 per cent, a percentage point below the growth rates suggested to be possible by the OECD.Over the summer, business surveys have risen to multiyear highs and have been backed by strong data on real growth in the second quarter, business investment, the labour market and retail spending. The construction PMI index rose to its highest level since 2007 on Tuesday.This is my favorite:Pendeen forced to pull out of league
|Public toilets get cleaner as Coimbatore Corporation takes action|
Odour-filled, dirty public toilets maintained by the Coimbatore Corporation are a thing of the past. The public convenience facilities are not just clean, they also have adequate water supply, doors in good condition and proper lighting.The changeover has come about after the civic body initiated steps to improve the monitoring mechanism. Corporation Commissioner G. Latha said that her surprise visits to public convenience facilities revealed that there was no proper monitoring mechanism, which helped the contractors get away easily without fulfilling their obligations.
Now the Corporation’s sanitary supervisors visit almost 95 per cent of the 268 toilets to ensure that they are clean, have enough water, have the lights in working condition, etc. And the supervisors do it twice a day — morning and evening.The change is visible on the ground. Kanniamma, who stays in Ondipudur, said that the contractor supplied acid, bleaching powder, etc in time and ensured that they cleaned the toilet complex. The contractor also ensured their complaints regarding doors, motors that pump water, etc were addressed at the earliest. Hygiene at the toilet had visibly improved in that people no longer hesitated using them, said Lakshmi Lakshmanan, a Singanallur resident.
Commissioner Ms. Latha said that sanitary supervisors would visit every day the public toilets they were assigned to supervise and send reports over a specially designed mobile application. The Corporation would receive the same and senior officials would monitor the developments on a day-to-day basis. At places where the supervisors reported problems, the Commissioner and the contractor concerned would get the report for follow-up action. After carrying out the corrections, the contractors concerned would report to the Corporation, which would verify the claims based on the supervisor’s report. The Corporation would identify contractors against whom the Corporation received negative reports and hold over their payment. Ms. Latha said that the Corporation had so far not delayed payments to contractors as the new system had been in place for only a month now.This is my favorite:Next-Gen Kia Sedona Minivan Prototype Steps Out Again
|Sheffield speed camera ‘is not a money-maker’ – chief|
Motorists say the camera on the A57 Sheffield Parkway is a ‘money making scheme’ as figures show it has one of the country’s highest offence detection rates.A police chief has defended the use of a controversial Sheffield speed camera which caught 15,000 motorists in three years.Drivers have questioned whether the camera on the A57 Sheffield Parkway was needed and if it was a ‘money-making scheme’ after new figures showed it had snapped the ninth-highest number of motorists of any camera in the country.But Chief Inspector Stuart Walne, head of roads policing for South Yorkshire Police, said there were collisions in the area as people changed between lanes and came in at speed – although he said there had been no recent fatalities there.
He added: “This is the major arterial route into one of the biggest cities in the country – 30,000 cars go through there every day just in one direction and when you break down these figures, 15 people get a speeding ticket every day.Money raised through speeding fines goes to the Government, and when speed awareness courses are undertaken an administration fee paid to the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership is used for education or speed awareness work.Chf Insp Walne added that the cost of investigating a single road fatality would dwarf any fine charge.He said: “This really isn’t about money making - it is about trying to stop people using speed irresponsibly and causing collisions.
“It’s not an area which has had a recent fatality but it has had injury accidents, although that is reducing.”The camera is positioned where the speed limit changes from 50 to 40mph.If each of the 14,955 drivers caught between 2010 and 2012 was fined ￡60, total fines would be ￡897,300.But some offences are dealt with by other means, or waived for emergency vehicles.Rob Prior, of Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, said: “I think with the changes in the road layout it is still required now, however I would say over the next two to three months it should be removed.”This is my favorite:Wireless stocks face deep cuts to valuations
|Yosemite National Park wildfire grows fueling dangerous winds|
A colossal wildfire raging across the western edge of Yosemite National Park swept further into the park on Sunday and forced the evacuation of some its camps due to heavy smoke, according to a park spokesman.The blaze on Sunday had come within 3.2 kilometres of a key reservoir that supplies most of San Francisco’s water.The so-called Rim Fire, which has burned 54,000 hectares, caused the closure of the White Wolf area of the park on its western side, said Yosemite spokesman Tom Medema. Thirteen of 74 camps were occupied and evacuated, he said.
The flames had consumed 4,850 hectares within Yosemite, a park known for its waterfalls, giant sequoia groves and other scenic wonders, by Sunday afternoon, up from just over 5 hectares in the morning, he said.“There’s no eminent risk from the fire but the smoke impact is so heavy that we’re evacuating those areas,” Medema said.He did not know how many people were evacuated but said that one of the camps had 25 occupants.Officials said they have no plans to shut down the entire park or its top attractions.
The fire was threatening power and water supplies to San Francisco, about 320 km to the west. On Sunday, it moved to within 2 miles of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which serves 85 percent of San Francisco with water, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue.The fire had been 6.4 km from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir the day before.Jue said reservoir water remained clear on Sunday, despite threats of ash contamination.“There are strike teams and crews in place right now to assist with fire protection” near the reservoir, Jue said.
The fire also passed through two power structures that help supply San Francisco’s public facilities with electricity. Utility crews planned to make repairs on Sunday, Jue said.The utility commission has been drawing on power reserves and purchasing electricity since Monday due to the downed power structures.This is my favorite:government uses a vast search tool
|Schneider Electric to grow solar energy business in Kingdom|
Schneider aims to deploy more than 100 megawatts of its systems to be operational in large solar power plants in the Kingdom this year alone, and targets two new potential areas - buildings and homes.According to a report from the Ministry of Energy's Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department, Thailand's geography is suitable for solar photovoltaic energy production because the solar irradiation is high in both its direct and diffuse components.
The report pointed out that 14.3 per cent of the overall territory in Thailand received an average of 19-20 megajoules of solar energy per square metre per day, while 50 per cent received an average 18-19 megajoules. When compared with other countries, Thailand ranks high in the list of "sunbelt" countries that have a strong potential to produce electricity from solar power.Marc Lees, Schneider Electric's head of solar for East Asia, said the company's move was aligned with the government's evolving policies on solar energy. "Schneider Electric is currently collaborating with partners to complete solar projects in multiple provinces - Kamphaeng Phet, Ubon Ratchathani, Tak, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya - which will account for over 100MW of capacity power this year alone," Lees said.
"With the government's target to generate 3,000MW of solar energy by 2021, Thailand will be at the forefront of solar technology deployment in Southeast Asia and become a good model for solar-energy policy for neighbouring countries to follow. With its experience and success in providing solar solutions in Thailand, Schneider Electric is preparing for new opportunities in the region as markets in ASEAN start growing," he added.Parinya Phongrattanakul, vice president for energy and infrastructure at Schneider Electric Thailand, said the company had been active in the solar business here since 2010, with a focus on solar farms. With the government's new policy measures, Schneider is also looking forward to providing products specially designed for houses and commercial and industrial buildings that require installation in the range of 3 kilowatts to 1MW.
This is my favorite:City slip to Supersport in friendly
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