Jul 10, 2009US warns that China may quarantine children traveling aloneThe US State Department yesterday said parents planning to send unaccompanied children to China should consider postponing such trips until China changes its quarantine policies or the H1N1 flu pandemic subsides. The agency said some unaccompanied minors, including some under 10 years old, have been quarantined on arrival in China. It is nearly impossible to predict which travelers might be quarantined, and the US continues to receive reports of poor quarantine conditions, officials said.H1N1 case count in US tops 37,000The US tally of pandemic H1N1 flu cases has risen to 37,246, with 211 deaths, the CDC reported today. The numbers are up by 3,344 cases and 41 deaths since the last CDC report on Jul 2. Wisconsin led the list with 6,031 cases and 4 deaths, followed by Texas (4,463 and 21), Illinois (3,259 and 14), New York (2,582 and 52), and California (2,461 and 31).[Current CDC numbers]US flu activity down, but still above normalUS influenza activity decreased last week but stayed above normal for this time of year, the CDC said in its weekly flu surveillance report today. More than 97% of the influenza A viruses that were subtyped were the novel H1N1. Nine states still reported widespread flu activity, while 10 states and Puerto Rico reported regional activity. Five novel H1N1–related pediatric deaths were reported. The proportion of medical outpatient visits due to flu-like illness was below the national baseline.[CDC flu report for Jun 28 to Jul 4]Pigs vulnerable to novel H1N1 fluPiglets experimentally infected with the novel H1N1 flu develop symptoms and measurable immune responses, excrete virus, and can infect other pigs (but not chickens), researchers from Germany’s Friedrich Loeffler Institute report today in the Journal of General Virology. The findings echo USDA Agricultural Research Service data. The authors voice concern that the virus will become endemic in farmed pigs and ask whether human access to them should be controlled. [J Gen Virol full text]HHS details preparedness grants for statesThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced state-by-state details of the $350 million it will grant states and territories to prepare for H1N1 pandemic and seasonal flu. State public health departments will receive $260 million, and hospitals $90 million. States receiving the most funds were (in millions): California ($22.7), Texas ($20.1), Florida ($15.5), Pennsylvania ($10.6), Ohio ($9.8), New York ($9.5), Michigan ($8.6), Illinois ($8.6), and Georgia ($8.0).[Jul 10 HHS press release]
Investor frustration with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the UK accounting establishment has reignited with demands from three major institutional investors for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to reintroduce an explicit reference to the notion of prudence into its conceptual framework.The move follows the release of a barrister’s opinion earlier this year by the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and other major institutional investors in which George Bompas QC argued that there were substantial legal flaws with IFRS.In a letter obtained by IPE and addressed to senior officials at the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC), investors also point to the true and fair view override, as well as the concept of capital maintenance, as further areas of major concern for investors.The three signatories to the 25 November letter – the Association of British Insurers, the Investment Management Association and the National Association of Pension Funds – collectively manage some £7.2trn (€8.7trn) of assets. Addressing the topic of prudence, the ABI, IMA and NAPF write: “As applied in accounting, we consider prudence to be a fundamental qualitative notion for guiding issuers (and auditors) when exercising (or assessing) aspects of accounting that require judgement, or where adherence to [IFRS] might otherwise result in outcomes that are misleading.”The letter continues: “We believe it materially correct to err on the side of caution – i.e. be prudent – in the face of uncertainty at an individual item level and view prudence as a predisposition.”The IASB removed references to prudence, or caution, from its conceptual framework in 2010. It substituted instead the concept of neutrality.The move was intended to bring the IASB’s conceptual framework closer to the US GAAP framework, which makes no reference to prudence.In a recent speech to the Federation of European Accountants, IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst defended the board’s decision to drop prudence from the IFRS conceptual framework, arguing that IFRS already adopt a prudent approach.In an echo of the controversy sparked by the Bompas Opinion, the investors also called for the FRC to review the status of its 2011 guidance on the requirement for accounts to present a true and fair view of a business’s financial position.The letter reads: “The true and fair override in the preparation of financial statements should not be considered a circumvention of IFRS but a legitimate statutory requirement in ensuring a true and fair view is reached.“The existence of conflicting QC opinions brings urgency to this issue and, therefore, we believe it important for the FRC to review and reissue 2011 guidance document.”Under UK law, Section 393 of the Companies Act 2006 requires company directors to approve only those accounts that present a true and fair view of a business’s assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss. Section 495(3) of the Act imposes an equivalent obligation on auditors.The FRC published a guidance document dealing with the notion of a true and fair view in June 2011.The document confirms “the true and fair requirement remains of fundamental importance in both UK GAAP and IFRS”.But in the LAPFF Opinion, George Bompas QC said it was questionable whether statutory accounts prepared in accordance with IFRS “will always give a true and fair view.”The Universities Superannuation Scheme, Threadneedle Asset Management and the UK Shareholders Association joined LAPFF in seeking the QC’s advice on the legality of the IFRS framework within the UK.The FRC hit back on 3 October with its own legal advice: “On the specific issue of its legality, the Department for Business has today confirmed that the concerns expressed by some are misconceived.”The UK regulator agreed, however, that there was scope for improvement in financial reporting and urged the IASB to acknowledge both stewardship reporting and prudence explicitly in the IFRS framework.Finally, in relation to capital maintenance, the investors suggest the FRC conduct research into possible disclosure requirements focused on both the determination of and justification for distributions by companies.The FRC told IPE: “We agree on the importance of prudence and have often urged the IASB to include a reference to it in their Conceptual Framework.”The statement added that the FRC would repeat those calls in its forthcoming response to the IASB’s conceptual framework discussion paper.The FRC statement continues: “We are undertaking a review of our paper on the ‘true and fair’ view. We also have work in hand on reviewing disclosures about a company’s capacity to pay dividends.”Well-placed sources close to the decision to send the letter reflects growing frustration among the UK institutional investor community with the IASB and the FRC.IPE has learned that the task of challenging the accounting establishment has until now proved to be a major obstacle to any lone investor group with concerns about IFRS.The source added that, despite a difference of opinion on detail between the ABI, IMA and NAPF, the investor and practitioner voice has this time been so strong that “some of the technocrats in the FRC” have had to step back and take notice.
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al golden gives game ball to hunter knightonAl Golden has been on the hot seat at Miami for what seems like two seasons now, and Saturday’s 58-0 home loss to ACC favorite Clemson was the final straw. Miami announced that Golden has been “relieved of his duties” in a statement this evening.Golden Relieved of his Duties Effective Immediately – https://t.co/vdB4TtmNt9— Miami Hurricanes (@MiamiHurricanes) October 25, 2015University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced today that he has relieved Head Football Coach Al Golden of his duties effective immediately. Assistant coach Larry Scott will serve as the Interim Head Coach for the remainder of the 2015 season. “Coach Golden has led our program through some very difficult times and he has done so with class, integrity and a true desire to see our students succeed on the field, in the classroom and in the community.” James said. “However, we have a proud tradition of excellence at Miami, not just in football but in all sports, and we want to compete for ACC and national championships. I simply believe that now is the time to bring the Hurricane Family together and rally behind our young men.”This is a shift from Saturday, when James stated that Golden would not be let go. Golden finishes with a 32-25 record. Miami has been stocking large recruiting classes in 2017 and 2018, so it will be extremely interesting to see what happens with those young players. [Hurricane Sports]
Story Highlights AJA’s gesture of awarding scholarships adds significance to Jamaica’s Independence celebrations AJA lauded for its positive influence on Jamaicans from its scholarship awards programme The Prime Minister’s message was contained in the AJA’s Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards Journal Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has praised the United States-based Atlanta-Jamaica Association (AJA) on the positive influence it continues to have on Jamaicans benefitting from its scholarship awards programme.In a message, contained in the AJA’s Independence Ball and Scholarship Awards Journal, to guests attending the function at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway, College Park, Georgia, on August 10, the Prime Minister said it is opportunities like those from the AJA, coupled with hard work and dedication by the recipients, that will result in lasting and positive improvements in the lives of Jamaicans, both individually and collectively, as a nation.“When a celebration such as this (Independence) is combined with a meaningful humanitarian cause which serves to advance independence in people’s lives, it is not just one of special delight, but it assumes greater importance,” she contended.Mrs. Simpson Miller said the AJA’s gesture of awarding scholarships to deserving students, adds significance to Jamaica’s Independence celebrations. She noted that the awards have and will continue to provide meaningful opportunities for the recipients to independently chart a course to shaping their destinies.“Independence is not confined to political freedom, important though it is; but is also about pursuing a path to sustained economic growth and personal enrichment. It is about equipping ourselves with the tools and necessary resources for lasting and ongoing benefit,” she said, adding that the scholarships, will also “serve to cultivate and nurture ongoing and lasting linkages between Jamaicans at home and abroad.”In his remarks, AJA President, Errol Ritchie, said commemoration of Jamaica’s 51st year of independence is a call for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora to unite in celebrating the accomplishments of their beloved homeland. This, while acknowledging prevailing and likely challenges, and the need for a positive approach to collectively finding solutions.The AJA, along with the Tropical Sports Club, awarded two scholarship awards Kristin Henry and Desiree Watkis, students attending the University of Georgia. The 2013 AJA President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service went to co-founder of Golden Krust Bakery and Grill, Jacqueline Hawthorne Robinson.Jamaica’s former Honorary Consul to Atlanta, Vin Martin, was also honoured by the association for over sixteen years of dedicated service.
Compared to a few years ago, Norway 2019 is a very different place as many of the nation’s shipping and offshore industries achieved sustained growth through some of the most turbulent times ever faced.Since the last Nor-Shipping in 2017, the number of Norwegian companies owning vessels has increased from 205 to 238. The Norwegian owned fleet has grown by 119 vessels, standing at 2,055 ships, and in turn the gross tonnage of the fleet has increased to 47.74 million GT, according to data provided by VesselsValue.These new vessels have boosted the total fleet value of the Norwegian owned fleet by USD 3.5 billion, bringing their total fleet value to USD 44 billion, ranking fifth most valuable in the world.VesselsValue mentioned Borr Drilling, Solstad and 2020 Bulkers as some of the most notable Norwegian companies.Borr Drilling, the brainchild of John Fredriksen’s former right hand man, Tor Olav Troim, has rocked the market since emerging in late 2016. As of today, Borr has 36 high specification jack-up rigs, as its fleet value stands at USD 3.5 billion.The offshore market conditions over the last few years have taken their toll on Norwegian supply boat owners, and none more so than OSV giant Solstad. In January 2019, Finanstilsynet required Solstad to revalue its entire fleet; in doing so, the total value was reduced by NOK 850 million (USD 99 million).“Solstad has long maintained its fleet valuation figures, so this reduction shows not only Solstad’s acceptance of the continued poor market conditions, but also the resultant asset prices which is a major step forward,” VesselsValue said.And last, but not the least, 2020 Bulkers. Another Troim owned company, 2020 Bulkers has ordered eight newbuild Capesize bulkers at New Times Shipbuilding since late 2017, totalling around USD 350 million. The VV value of these vessels surged to USD 453 million today.However, the money keeps coming in for Tor Olav Troim. In January, 2020 Bulkers confirmed it had secured a long term bank loan running to USD 240 million for its Newcastlemax newbuilding programme. As of this month, 2020 Bulkers has made the move to become listed on the Oslo stock exchange. This move will also be used to fund its newbuild orders to New Times Shipbuilding, showing its continued growth strategy plans for 2019 and beyond, VesselsValue explained.Image Courtesy: VesselsValue
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor signed a bill on Monday to overhaul the U.S. territory’s tax laws in a bid to attract foreign investment and help workers and some business owners amid a 12-year recession.The bill creates an earned income tax credit, reduces a sales tax on prepared food and eliminates a business-to-business tax for small to medium companies, among other things.Officials say the bill represents nearly $2 billion in tax relief at a time when the island is struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria and restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt load.“There’s still a lot of work to be done to completely transform the tax system … but we see it as a good first step,” said Cecilia Colon, president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Public Accountants.Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the earned income tax credit will result in benefits ranging from $300 to $2,000 for each worker, representing a total of $200 million in annual savings. He also said an 11.5 per cent sales tax on processed food will drop to 7 per cent starting in October 2019.The bill also eliminates a business-to-business tax for businesses that generate $200,000 or less a year, representing $79 million in savings in five years, Rossello said. Nearly 80 per cent of businesses in Puerto Rico will benefit from that measure, added Treasury Secretary Teresa Fuentes.In addition, the new law reduces the tax rate for corporations from 39 per cent to 37.5 per cent.“Today marks an important day for maintaining Puerto Rico’s competitiveness,” she said.The measure also legalizes tens of thousands of slot machines, but also limits the number of machines owned, with legislators estimating they will generate at least $160 million a year. Up to $40 million of that revenue will go to the government’s general fund, with the remaining funds directed to help municipalities and police officers.However, a federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances criticized a final draft of the bill last month, saying the island needs a much broader tax reform that improves revenue collection and promotes economic development. A board spokesman did not immediately return a message for comment.Antonio Fernos, a Puerto Rico economics and finance professor, questioned the effectiveness of the new law, which appears to generate less overall revenue.“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Why are they doing this, especially on an island that is insolvent and needs more sources of revenue?”Fernos also argued that the earned income tax credit is not enough to lure people out of the informal economy: “I don’t foresee anyone abandoning tax evasion schemes.”Danica Coto, The Associated Press
Peace River North MLA Dan Davies served as the MC of the rally, which has held at roughly the same time as other pro-resource rallies in Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers, and Langley. FSJ for LNG founder Alan Yu kicked things off by impressing the importance of the rally, especially given the short time remaining before Kinder Morgan’s self imposed deadline of whether or not it will proceed with its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after halting all non-essential work last month.Sean Surerus, who company is one of two Fort St. John-based companies involved in building Trans Mountain through joint ventures, also spoke about the positive aspects of the resource industry in Canada and especially their commitment to safety.“Our shortcuts hurt us in our sector,” said Surerus. “Every moment that we’re in the media for the wrong reasons: a challenge with a pipeline, an incident in safety, a wreck of some sort. Those are ammunition for those who do not support what we do. Every one of us, we’re representing our sector, and it only takes a moment for something to happen. And in our business, a shortcut hurts us and it hurts our sector.”The rally’s keynote speaker was ResourceEd’s Steven Simons, who prior to working with ResourceED worked for the Oil and Gas Commission for a number of years. Simons spoke about many of the same things that Vivian Krause spoke about at last month’s rally, including the trend of environmental groups conducting coordinated attacks on one specific resource industry at a time in a methodical way. Simons also hosted a seminar at NLC on that topic on Saturday night. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Local grassroots organization FSJ for LNG held its second rally supporting B.C.’s resource extraction industries in just over a month this past Saturday.Around 50 vehicles, half the number that showed up to the organization’s rally on April 21st, lined up near the UFA cardlock on the city’s south side before travelling by convoy once again to Charlie Lake. A crowd of around 50 attendees then parked at the Charlie Lake boat launch for the second half of the rally, which featured several guest speakers take to the stage, which was supplied by Surerus Pipeline. Peace River North MLA Dan Davies and FFSJ for LNG’s Craig Stevens examine the inside of one of Surerus Pipeline’s 42′ pipes. Photo by Chris Newton
TUNIS – The brokers of long-awaited talks between Tunisia’s ruling Islamists and the opposition said they will make a new attempt to open them on Friday despite doubts over who will attend.“The national dialogue launch will go ahead at 10:00 am (0900 GMT),” the UGTT trade union confederation, which has been the lead mediator in the protracted political crisis, said just hours before the planned start.“We will see which parties turn up.” The mainly secular opposition said on Thursday evening that it would not take part until Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh gives a “clear and explicit” undertaking that his government will step down within three weeks of the dialogue’s launch.The timeframe is part of a hard-won roadmap to put Tunisia’s political transition back on track negotiated by the mediators between the Islamist-led government and the opposition.But the roadmap also sets a parallel one-month timeframe for the adoption of a new constitution and electoral laws, and a timetable for fresh elections, which the government is insisting must also be adhered to.Larayedh gave a new commitment on television late Thursday to the principle of handing over to a government of independents, but again insisted his cabinet’s resignation was conditional on the implementation of other parts of the roadmap.“The government is eager and committed to stand down within the timeframes set by the roadmap but on condition that all its elements are completed in the specified order,” the premier said.The protracted haggling between the two sides has paralysed Tunisian politics since the killing of an opposition member of parliament in July, in an attack blamed on jihadists.It comes against a backdrop of mounting public anger over the growing death toll from jihadist violence, which saw two offices of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party torched on Thursday as six slain police officers were laid to rest.
The Illinois women’s basketball team hasn’t won a Big Ten game this year. That didn’t change Sunday afternoon when No. 10 Ohio State (19-1, 6-1 Big Ten) handed the Fighting Illini (6-14, 0-7 Big Ten) their seventh straight loss, 96-84. While the Buckeyes walk away with a victory, the Illini kept the game close until late in the match. “They’re as athletic as any team in the country,” OSU coach Jim Foster said. Before coming into Sunday’s game, the Fighting Illini had lost their last five games by a total of 18 points, including one overtime game. “We’re almost there, I just got to push them to get better,” said Illinois coach Jolette Law. At the end of the first half, the Buckeyes had a 44-36 lead, but it was in the second period of the game when the Buckeyes would be tested. Illinois cut the lead to four points after junior guard Tayler Hill was called for a flagrant foul. OSU then answered with consecutive 3-point plays from freshman guard Raven Ferguson and freshman forward Kalpana Beach to give OSU an eight-point lead with nine minutes left in the second half, but the lead wouldn’t last. With less than six minutes in the game, Illinois senior guard Lydia McCully hit both foul shots to knot the score at 76. The tie was short-lived though, as Hill and senior guard Samantha Prahalis drained consecutive 3-point shots to give the Buckeyes a six-point lead. “It comes with us being veteran guards and having the experience,” Prahalis said. “When the score is close like that, we need to score. We need to get a good shot.” The three points were among 10 Prahalis had in the final five minutes of the game. Prahalis led all Buckeye scorers with 28 points and six assists, followed closely by Hill, who added 26 points. While OSU only shot 48.6 percent in the first half, OSU rallied in the second half to finish with 96, their highest point total of the year. Sunday’s score was also the largest point total the Buckeyes have put up since 2009. The 84 points were the highest point total any opponent has scored against the Buckeyes this season. The Fighting Illini were led in scoring by junior forward and Ohio native Karisma Penn, who contributed 23 points. Penn was followed by junior guard Adrienne GodBold, who added 18 points and seven rebounds. Sunday’s win increases OSU’s winning streak to four, but the team is still a game behind Purdue for the conference lead. The top two teams in the Big Ten will face each other Feb. 12, when the Boilermakers travel to Columbus, Ohio. OSU will face the Fighting Illini again February 9. The Buckeyes return to action Thursday at Indiana. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.