Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed the much-rumoured stamp duty holiday, raising the threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March next year.Unveiling today’s mini-Budget, he said the changes would take effect immediately, cutting the average stamp duty bill by £4,500, with 9 out of 10 house buyers paying no stamp duty at all.“If you stand by your workers we will stand by you,” Mr Sunak told the Commons. Rightmove reported that within first half-hour of the announcement, traffic to its website jumped by 22%.Help for landlordsThe Treasury has confirmed that landlords will also benefit from the temporary stamp duty reforms, From today the 3 per cent stamp duty levy on the purchase of additional dwellings by landlords in England and Northern Ireland will change from covering the first £125,000 of a property to the first £500,000. Thereafter the rates will be 8 per cent on the next £425,000, 13 per cent on the next £575,000 and 15 per cent on the remainder. The measures will be in place until 31 March 2021.Ben Beadle of the NRLA welcomed the change to the stamp duty rates for the purchase of rental homes, but said the Chancellor should go further. “The additional rates should be scrapped in cases where landlords invest in properties adding to the overall supply of housing,” he said. “This includes investing in new build and bringing empty homes back into use.”There was also a boost in the Budget for agents, many of whom have been furloughed. Mr Sunak announced that though the furlough scheme would end in October, employers will be given a £1,000 bonus per person to take furloughed staff back on, providing they were employed through to January.Industry welcomes moveThe news has received a warm welcome from a property industry still recovering from a near total shutdown of the market during lockdown.Tim Hyatt, head of residential at Knight Frank, said: “Moving house has a clear multiplier effect for the wider economy, different sized businesses in all areas feel the knock-on benefit.“Today’s announcement to temporarily cut stamp duty will act as a shot in the arm for UK housing and further bolster a market which has come out of a state of suspension.“However, in order for a fully functioning market to return, the availability of higher loan-to-value mortgages must also be improved to support first time buyers across the country.”Patrick Littlemore, CEO at London estate agency, Marsh & Parsons, commented:“We welcome the Chancellor’s temporary stamp duty holiday on properties under £500,000 until the end of March next year. This is a chance for buyers to secure a home at a discount and for sellers to take advantage of this injection into the property market.“We advise potential buyers and sellers that the selling and buying process can be lengthy so quick action is necessary. We are still seeing high levels of interest for London properties, be it first time buyers, people looking for a pied a terre or a home closer to outdoor space post lockdown. We experienced our busiest June we’ve had in eight years for new sales being agreed and expect transaction levels to significantly rise thanks to the Chancellor’s incentive.Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement this afternoon that he will be raising the threshold at which buyers will pay stamp duty to £500,000. This a is a welcome commitment by the government and we are glad that they have listened to our calls to help sustain the property market following lockdown.“These measures will enable people looking to buy a home to have the confidence and stability to be able to move forward with their purchase, which in turn will have a knock on effect on the wider economy as people buy white goods and furniture.”Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “The immediate increase in the Stamp Duty threshold will help sustain the rebound in housing market activity across England. The benefits will be immediate; nine of ten transactions in England will no longer be subject to the tax and in London and the South East, home to more expensive properties, homebuyers can save up to £14,999 overnigh“The government will expect the change to stimulate more housing sales over the second half of the year and that savings made by buyers will be reinvested in home improvements, white goods and furniture, rather than bidding up the cost of housing.”Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, commented: “Today’s package of measures announced by the Chancellor demonstrate that we are all in this together. Schemes to create youth employment, the furlough employers incentive and boosts to tourism and hospitality are all very welcome. We know that for the private rented sector, these measures have an important knock-on effect in helping to support many tenants’ finances and their ability to pay their rent.“Including landlords in the Green Homes grant is a positive incentive to improving energy efficiency in the PRS and ultimately keeping energy costs down for tenants.“Despite these positive plans, some renters will continue to face financial difficulties. Here, the role of agents is key in maintaining equilibrium in the rental sector, supporting them through managing their arrears and ensuring lines of communication are kept open between tenant and landlord. Helping tenants maintain their tenancy wherever possible is the best outcome for everyone.”Kevin Shaw, managing director of residential sales at LRG, said: “We welcome the immediate implementation of Sunak’s stamp duty holiday. The post-lockdown property market is looking stronger than initial forecasts suggested, and this initiative will continue to drive its recovery and boost the upward curve that the market now finds itself on. It will also help to alleviate any lingering fears over how the market may fare this year due to the pandemic.“This ‘holiday’ should also go some way to help stimulate the market for younger people, which should be a real priority for the Government – it should be doing all it can to help younger generations get onto the property ladder. Not having to pay stamp duty may encourage more first-time buyers to purchase homes, especially in regions where the threshold is relatively low to the cost of housing.”Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, welcomed the move but called for a wider review of stamp duty thresholds. “I am pleased to hear that the property industry’s calls for a stamp duty reform have finally been heard,” he said.“Sunak’s stamp duty reform has come at the right time and will have an immediate impact on the volume of sales agreed in the coming weeks. With nearly one fifth of UK adults considering a home move in the next 12 months, this stamp duty holiday unlocks great potential for the market.“There is no denying that stamp duty has previously put buyers off entering the market; 41% of our clients believe there should be a wholesale reduction in stamp duty across all price brackets. Meanwhile, over a quarter wanted the government to abolish stamp duty on all homes under £500,000.“There should be a flurry of fresh buyers entering the market imminently, with the hope of completing their transactions before the tax break comes to an end. We hope the government considers a wider reduction across all price brackets in the near future.”Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters Property, commented: “This is excellent news during a challenging time for the market and if implemented immediately as promised, should help to kick-start activity. Without doubt it will help first time buyers and we must look after them, they are vital to the market.”Anthony Codling of property portal twindig was more cautious, however. “It will be interesting to see if the stamp duty cut leads to a thriving UK Housing market and provides the confidence in buying selling moving that we need,” he said. “I hope I am wrong, but history suggests otherwise.”Referring to the Chancellor’s boost to the hospitality sector, he added: “We may be being encouraged to eat out to help out. but we are certainly not being encouraged to move out.”Buy-to-let concernsHowever, there was concern the buy-to-let market did not appear to be included in the stamp duty holiday.“The government’s stamp duty holiday is welcome news for the housing market overall, but there needs to be more clarity on what this will mean for buy-to-let landlords,” said Franz Doerr, CEO of flatfair.“Thousands of landlords have already left the sector in recent years, and support to help increase the number of homes available for rent will be sorely needed with the numbers of renters expected to increase as incomes plummet and mortgages become harder to get thanks to the economic impact of Covid-19.“The government needs to realise that homeownership at all costs is no longer sustainable, and should have announced more to support both renters and landlords.”Jamie Cooke, managing director of iamsold, the UK’s largest property auctioneer, added: “This is massively positive for the property sector. The market return since the easing of lockdown has been strong, and this is a good move from the Government to help to sustain the positive sentiment.“As for auction, this could see a strong return of buy-to-let investors who are perhaps sitting on cash reserves, although we assume the three per cent investor surcharge will remain.”Boost for London and South-EastThe stamp duty changes will help buyers in London and the South-East the most, with four out of five (79%) first-time buyers in London paying no stamp duty on their purchase, compared with just one quarter (25%) under the previous £300,000 threshold for first-time buyers.The Chancellor’s move to raise stamp duty threshold means the capital’s first-time buyers will save an average of £5,845, which could help them meet new, higher deposits imposed by lenders.In the South-East, the proportion of first-time buyers paying no stamp duty at all on their purchase will increase from 65.2% to 96.6%. Existing homeowners will also benefit substantially, with 86.4% of purchases across England becoming stamp duty free and just over half (55.3%) of all onward purchases in London incurring zero tax.Rob Houghton, CEO of home-move portal reallymoving said: “This tax giveaway could have a significant impact on the market, particularly in more expensive locations such as London, where the majority of first-time buyers have still been liable to pay stamp duty, and the South-East.“First-time buyers fortunate enough to have secure jobs and large deposits stand to benefit the most, however, and many still face considerable challenges including an insecure jobs market and the withdrawal of higher loan-to-value mortgages.” No stamp duty for most Londoners Chancellor cuts stamp duty Stamp duty cut first-time buyers July 8, 2020Richard ReedWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » COVID-19 news » Chancellor confirms immediate stamp duty holiday – raising threshold to £500,000 previous nextRegulation & LawChancellor confirms immediate stamp duty holiday – raising threshold to £500,000Budget announcement by Rishi Sunak means no stamp duty will be liable on first £500,000 of any purchase until 31 March 2021Richard Reed8th July 202008,616 Views
n The HGCA has collaborated with the Flour Advisory Bureau to produce a new multimedia educational resource called The Grain Chain (www.grainchain.com). This offers children aged five to 16 a fun way to learn about the ’field to fork’ cycle of how wheat is grown and used to produce breads and cereals, plus advice on eating for health and vitality.n Sweet bakery and ingredients specialist Dawn Foods recently celebrated 15 years at its Evesham site with loyalty awards to nine members of staff who have been with the company since its start-up in the town.n The annual Scotch Pie Championship was taking place as British Baker went to press with a record number of entries. A total of 68 bakers and butchers competed in the annual competition. Entries included Graeme Trotter’s Zurek pie in honour of his 30 Polish staff, filled with Polish smoked sausage, boiled potatoes and eggs.n Defra minister Lord Rooker was alerted to impending supply shortages for key raw materials by the Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery Association last week. Lord Rooker said he knew that prices were continuing to rise, but the BCCCA was the first trade association to have alerted him to the uneasy balance between supply and demand for many products, with stock levels now low.n Wholesaler Bako’s Northern and Scotland divisions are putting their quarterly price list and Today’s Bako monthly magazine online in an effort to reduce paper. Bako estimates the two publications have consumed nearly half a ton of paper since their launch in January 2005.
AAIB Special Bulletin S1/2019 published: 25 February 2019The AAIB has published a Special Bulletin on the loss of Piper Malibu aircraft N264DB. The Special Bulletin includes validated factual information gathered in the early stages of our investigation. It also explains the aircraft permissions and pilot licencing requirements relevant to a US-registered aircraft carrying out a cross-border flight within Europe with a passenger on board.We have gathered evidence from radar, weather reports, video of the aircraft on the seabed and interviews with witnesses. Some operational aspects are yet to be determined, such as the validity of the pilot’s licence and ratings.Our priority now is to go through the evidence, much of which is extensive and complex, so we can piece together what happened between the aircraft being lost from radar and it coming to rest on the sea bed. This will help us understand the potential causes of the accident.We continue to speak to the families of the pilot and passenger to keep them updated on the progress of our investigation. If any urgent safety issues arise during our investigation, we will issue a further Special Bulletin. When our investigation has concluded, we will publish a final report.The AAIB has published a Special Bulletin on the loss of Piper Malibu aircraft N264DB.Update 4: 7 February 2019Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations.In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage. The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship. The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close. The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.Although it was not possible to recover the aircraft, the extensive video record captured by the ROV is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.We expect our next update to be an interim report, which we intend to publish within one month of the accident occurring.Update 3: 4 February 2019Having identified a priority search area last week, the AAIB agreed a search strategy with Blue Water Recoveries Ltd to maximise the chance of locating the aircraft wreckage.The AAIB commissioned specialist vessel Geo Ocean III and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd commissioned FPV Morven and the search area was divided between the vessels. Both vessels began their search on the morning of Sunday 3 February.Early in the search, the Morven identified an object of interest on the seabed using its side-scan sonar equipment. It cleared the immediate area for the Geo Ocean III to use its underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to survey the area of the seabed in which the object was located. Based on analysis of ROV video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft, registration N264DB.The ROV carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage.Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage. The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police.The image shows the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration.We intend to publish an interim report within one month of the accident occurring.Update 2: Wednesday 30 January 2019Since we opened our safety investigation on Tuesday 23 January, we have been gathering evidence such as flight, aircraft and personnel records, and have been analysing radar data and air traffic tapes. We have been working closely with other international authorities and have kept the families of those involved updated on our progress.On the morning of Monday 28 January, we were advised by the Bureau d’Enquêtes & d’Analyses (BEA), the French safety investigation authority, that part of a seat cushion had been found on a beach near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula. A second cushion was found in the same area later that day. From a preliminary examination we have concluded that it is likely that the cushions are from the missing aircraft.From the moment we were notified of the missing aircraft, we have been looking at the feasibility of conducting an underwater seabed search for aircraft wreckage. Based on a detailed assessment of the flight path and last known radar position, we have now identified a priority search area of approximately four square nautical miles. Through the Ministry of Defence’s Salvage and Marine Operations (SALMO) Project Team, we have commissioned a specialist survey vessel to carry out an underwater survey of the seabed to try to locate and identify possible aircraft wreckage.Due to the weather and sea conditions, we currently expect our underwater seabed search to start at the end of this weekend and to take up to three days. Side-scan sonar equipment will be used to try to locate the wreckage on the seabed. If the wreckage is found, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be used to visually examine the wreckage.We are aware that a privately operated search is also being conducted in the area, and we are liaising closely with those involved to maximise the chance of locating any wreckage and ensure a safe search operation.Our remit is to undertake safety investigations to establish the cause of accidents. We do not apportion blame or liability.Update 1: Wednesday 23 January 2019On Monday night, a US-registered Piper PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft (registration N264DB) was lost from radar north of Guernsey. The aircraft was en route from Nantes, France to Cardiff, United Kingdom, with one pilot and one passenger on board.In accordance with international protocols, the AAIB is investigating the loss of the aircraft. Since Tuesday morning, we have been working closely with international authorities including the US National Transportation Safety Board, the Bureau d’Enquêtes & d’Analyses (BEA) in France and the Junta de Investigación de Accidentes de Aviación Civil (JIACC) in Argentina.We will be gathering all the available evidence to conduct a thorough investigation. However, if the aircraft is not found it is likely to limit the scope of the investigation. AAIB Special Bulletin S2/2019 published: 14 August 2019The AAIB has published a second Special Bulletin on the loss of Piper Malibu aircraft N264DB. This Special Bulletin highlights the danger of exposure to carbon monoxide in both piston and turbine engine aircraft.Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin). It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide.When our investigation has concluded, we will publish a final report.
Upcoming Matador! Soul Sounds Tour Dates:April 27th – House of Blues Parish (10pm-midnight)July 12-15th – Saint Paul Soul Jazz festival, FranceJuly 27th – Imagina Funk festival, SpainOct 6th – Joshua Tree Music Festival, CAView All Tour Dates After premiering at Brooklyn Comes Alive in the fall, Matador! Soul Sounds have kept busy, embarking on their inaugural tour and releasing their highly anticipated debut album, Get Ready, in March. The group—led by The New Mastersounds guitarist Eddie Roberts (who celebrates his birthday today) and Soulive drummer Alan Evan and featuring keyboardist Chris Spies, bassist Kevin Scott, and vocalists Kim Dawson (Pimps Of Joytime) and Adryon de León (Orgone)—has taken the scene by storm, offering up a hard-hitting and passionate fusion of jazz, funk, and soul.Today, Live For Live Music is proud to premiere a new song, “Go On, Love” from Matador! Soul Sounds’ ever-growing catalog. “Go On, Love” is buoyed by the group’s charismatic vocalists, Kim Dawson and Adryon de León, who lead the song with their powerful performance. Their soulful vocal acrobatics are grounded by the rest of the band, with the slinky, hypnotic instrumental groove underlying the song offering a captivating contrast to the track’s explosive vocals. Toward the end of the number, the song finds its triumphant resolution—featuring de León and Dawson teaming up in unison with precise harmonies while the band enters a more melodic and cascading bridge—before returning to the main theme to close out “Go On, Love”.In addition to the release of “Go On, Love” coinciding with Roberts’ birthday, the new track doubles as a celebration of the start of the iconic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which will take over the Crescent City for the next two weeks. The members of Matador! Soul Sounds will be among the thousands of musicians and music lovers making the mecca to New Orleans, with the band scheduled to perform at House of Blues Parish on Friday, April 27th, from 10 p.m. to midnight.You can take a listen to the latest from Matador! Soul Sounds, the powerful soul anthem “Go On, Love”, below, along with quotes about this new tune from Eddie, Adryon, and Kim. To catch the band live (spoiler: you’ll want to), you can check out their upcoming tour dates or head to Matador! Soul Sounds’ website here. Happy birthday, Eddie! We’ll see you down in Jazz Fest! “This has been an exciting year for me getting a lot of new things going. This track represents a lot of that work, and I thought it was appropriate to share with you all on my birthday!” – Eddie Roberts“The tune provides a glimpse into the mind of a woman empowered by an overwhelming knowledge of her needs… to be without a man who has been dragging her down for years. It’s a classic soul theme set to a sonically classic rhythm track with discreet modern twists.” – Adryon de León “She’s exhausted and fed up. We all have a line. She found hers, and in doing so, she has discovered strength she had forgotten that she had. Soul music is honest at its core. This song is about as honest as it gets.” – Kim Dawson
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study announced today that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the prestigious Radcliffe Medal on May 25 during Harvard’s Commencement week.Awarded on Radcliffe Day, the annual gathering to celebrate the institute’s commitment to excellence and inquiry, the medal honors individuals whose lives and work have had a transformative impact on society.Radcliffe Dean Lizabeth Cohen called Clinton a “champion for human rights” and for the welfare of all, a “skilled legislator,” and “an advocate of American leadership to create a world in which states live up to their responsibilities.”A former first lady, Clinton served as a U.S. senator from New York from 2001 to 2009 before taking over as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. She was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2016, the first woman candidate for that office from a major political party.“Hillary Clinton’s life and career are an inspiration to people around the world,” said Cohen, who is also the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in Harvard’s Department of History. “We commend Secretary Clinton for her accomplishments in the public sphere as a champion for human rights and the welfare of all, as a skilled legislator, and as an advocate of American leadership to create a world in which states — to quote Secretary Clinton — ‘have clear incentives to cooperate and live up to their responsibilities, as well as strong disincentives to … sow discord and division.’ We salute her commitment to a life of public service and the resilience it takes to live and work in the public eye.”“Whether in Arkansas, Washington, D.C., New York state, or traveling around the globe as secretary of state,” Cohen said, “Secretary Clinton has provided a model of what it takes to transform society, often under scrutiny: tireless effort, toughness amid the political fray, and an enduring capacity to envision a better future.”Previous medalists include U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Prominent Civil Rights leader and congressman will address Afternoon Program Related Radcliffe Day will feature a tribute to Clinton from Albright, a global affairs trailblazer, followed by a wide-ranging keynote conversation between Clinton and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey ’92.The day’s program will open with a panel titled “Toward a New Global Architecture? America’s Role in a Changing World.” In 2009, Clinton outlined a vision for a global architecture with both incentives to cooperate and disincentives to cause friction. Nearly a decade later, the U.S. is still grappling with complex questions about its role in global affairs. Nicholas Burns, the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard Kennedy School and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and undersecretary of state for political affairs, will moderate a discussion exploring these issues with the foreign-policy experts Michèle Flournoy, David Ignatius, Meghan O’Sullivan, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.The Radcliffe Institute is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Each year, the Institute hosts 50 leading scholars, scientists, and artists from around the world in its residential fellowship program. Radcliffe fosters innovative research collaborations and offers hundreds of public lectures, exhibitions, performances, conferences, and other events annually.The institute also is home to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, the nation’s foremost archive on the history of women, gender, and sexuality. Lewis named Harvard Commencement speaker
In the wake of Europe’s devastation in World War II, the close-knit relationship between the democracies of Western Europe and the U.S. has been so resolute, so foundational, that it became the dominant narrative of the liberal world order. The partnership has had its ups and downs — such as over the Vietnam War, and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — yet its importance and relevance was never in doubt.But now, as the U.S. and its allies prepare to meet in Brussels on July 11-12 for a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), that bedrock bond seems increasingly shaky.Since President Trump took office, he has repeatedly questioned NATO’s value and spoken in lukewarm terms about U.S. defense obligations there. In recent weeks, he has threatened to impose stiff tariffs on European imports, saying the European Union (EU) was set up to “take advantage” of the U.S. President Trump reportedly urged French President Emmanuel Macron to pull France out of the union, dangling a favorable bilateral trade deal as incentive. He has spoken dismissively of German leader Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful head of state, while praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, viewed widely as an existential threat to Eastern Europe and NATO.“I think there’s a pervasive sense in Europe … that this administration is drifting away from this rock-solid alliance that we’ve had for seven decades,” said Nicholas Burns, the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, M.P.A. ’10, who is from Germany and has studied and worked in European politics, agrees. Europeans are “nervous and anxious in a way that I haven’t perceived since the Cold War, because the maneuvers of the administration in Washington are making Europeans’ heads spin, and it deprives Europeans of a sense of stability that allows them to do other work,” she said.To help ease these tensions and expand an area of teaching and research, Burns and Clüver Ashbrook are overseeing a new academic program designed to further students’ understanding of the U.S.-Europe relationship and encourage them to dive into practical public policy issues and challenges in that arena.The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship will dig into economics and trade issues; security policy, including cyber issues and threats; the challenges facing democracy, such as the surge of nationalist movements, terrorism, and transnational organized crime; and diplomacy as a tool for global problem-solving and peacekeeping. The program also will look at the role of regional players, including Russia, Ukraine, and former states of the Soviet Union.Students and faculty will focus on and try to work through big-picture questions about the vitality of democracy on both continents, taking on such concerns as what to do about immigration; Britain’s pending departure from the EU; the surge of well-financed populist political candidates; the viability of political, economic, and legal institutions in the EU and the U.S., including a free press and the internet; and how to address Putin’s relentless attacks on their democracies.“What is the West today; what does the West really mean; what is the life in what we define as our Western values — are we actually still talking about the same things? And what should define this relationship for the 21th century?” asked Clüver Ashbrook, the project’s executive director. She and Burns, its faculty director, will continue to run the popular Future of Diplomacy Project at HKS.The Europe project leadership team includes Karl Kaiser, co-chair of the European Union seminar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard and a former director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, and Manuel Muñiz, dean of the IE School of International Relations in Spain and senior associate of the Trans-Atlantic Relations Initiative at HKS.In early July, the project will co-host a three-day conference in Spain with the IE School to discuss the current concerns confronting the trans-Atlantic relationship. The conference, which will feature Harvard faculty along with European policymakers and practitioners, is planned to become an annual event.In the fall, the project will begin offering three courses on Europe each academic year. Once a permanent faculty chair dedicated to European teaching and research is established, the slate of courses will expand. Each semester, fellows will lead intensive study groups on challenges or issues, and former European public-service figures will visit to debrief students about their experiences and weigh in on critical debates.Next year, Burns and former NATO Ambassador Douglas Lute plan to conduct a study reimagining NATO to coincide with the alliance’s 70th anniversary and to organize conferences in Cambridge and Paris to mark the centennial of the Treaty of Versailles.With many senior officials having left the State Department since 2016, Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and Greece who spent 27 years as a diplomat, says there’s a necessary professional and intellectual “passing of the torch” from the Cold War to the post-Cold War generation going on at universities and think tanks.“We do want to train the next generation of Atlanticists. We want young millennials to feel as connected across the Atlantic as we did, because it’s still vital,” he said. “This is not yesterday’s story.”Burns said the project is not a response to Trump’s often-hostile attitude toward Europe. The need to return European public policymaking and U.S. relations to the front burner goes back years, he said.Between Japan’s economic rise in the 1980s and China’s ascendancy as a global power over the last two decades, much of U.S. foreign policy that hasn’t centered on the Middle East has shifted toward Asia. And though that focus is logical, the U.S. sometimes seems to have forgotten how important its relationship with Europe remains. The continent is America’s largest trading partner and the largest investor in its economy. And NATO contains a large block of U.S. allies, said Burns.With the University home to the country’s first school of government, “We want Harvard to play a role in … promoting further understanding of the value of the trans-Atlantic relationship. There’s so much here. We ought to be teaching more about this, [have] more fellows, more intellectual firepower by our students and faculty trained on these issues,” said Burns. “It’s an academic effort, but it’s being produced in part because the relationship needs help.”Europe is under a lot of pressure and in a “battle of ideas” against Russia and its supporters, who rail against the very notion of Western democracy, said Burns.“We need to remind ourselves, through academic research, study, fellowships, training, why this is important — the future of the free world,” he said.
Southeast Asia nations launch $1 billion green development initiative FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and major financiers on Thursday launched a facility to spur more than $1 billion in green infrastructure investments across Southeast Asia.The facility offers loans and technical assistance for sovereign projects in areas such as sustainable transport and clean energy, the ADB said during the meetings of ASEAN’s finance ministers and central bank governors.“Through the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility, ADB will support ASEAN governments in developing green and climate-friendly infrastructure projects,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a statement.It will mobilize a total of $1 billion, including $75 million from the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), $300 million from the ADB, $336 million from KfW, 150 million euros from the European Investment Bank, and 150 million euros from Agence Francaise de Developpement.ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.More: Southeast Asia launches $1-billion facility for green infrastructure
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“I have never seen such a cyclone in my life. It seemed like the end of the world. All I could do was to pray… Almighty Allah saved us,” Azgar Ali, 49, a resident of Satkhira district in Bangladesh.Mohammad Asaduzzaman, a senior police official in the coastal district, described the destruction Amphan left in its wake.”Devastation is huge. Many villages are flooded. It tore off tin roofs, snapped power lines, and uprooted trees.”Designated a super cyclone, Amphan has weakened since making landfall. Moving inland through Bangladesh, it was downgraded to a cyclonic storm on Thursday by the Indian weather office. And the storm was expected to subside into a depression later. Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than three million people, moving them to storm shelters before Amphan struck. But the evacuation effort was focused on communities that lay directly in the cyclone’s path, leaving villages on the flanks still vulnerable.Read also: ‘Super cyclone’ bears down on Bangladesh, IndiaTelevision images showed upturned boats on the shore, people wading through knee-deep water and buses crashed into each other. The airport in Kolkata, West Bengal’s state capital, lay under water.Pradip Kumar Dalui, a official in the state’s South 24 Parganas area, said that storm waters breached river embankments in several places, flooding over half a dozen villages, that were home for more than 100,000 people.”Many mud houses have been destroyed because of the wind or fallen trees,” Dalui told Reuters by telephone. Electricity lines and phone connections were down in many places, but so far no deaths had been reported in this area, he said.The cyclone came at a time when the two countries are battling to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and some evacuees were initially reluctant to leave their homes for fear of possible infection in the packed storm shelters.Cyclones frequently batter parts of eastern India and Bangladesh between April and December, often forcing the evacuations of tens of thousands and causing widespread damage.While the evacuation again saved countless lives, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dreaded the cost of repairing property and infrastructure wrecked by Amphan.”Area after area has been devastated. Communications are disrupted,” she said. “We do not know if the damages will run into thousands of millions of rupees, will take three, four days to fully assess the extent of damage.” Rescue teams searched for survivors in eastern India and Bangladesh a day after the most powerful cyclone in over a decade devastated coastal villages, destroying mud houses, ripping out electricity poles and washing away bridges.The full extent of the casualties and damage to property inflicted by Cyclone Amphan would only be known once communications were restored, officials said, but at least a dozen people died in the Indian state of West Bengal and eight in neighbouring Bangladesh.Most deaths were caused by trees uprooted by winds that gusted up to 185 km per hour, and a storm surge of around five metres that inundated low-lying coastal areas when the cyclone barrelled in from the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday. Topics :
Statement Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement:“Our thoughts are with the officers and other victims of this horrifying violence. This is a reminder of the danger that those who seek to keep us safe face every day and we are thankful for the law enforcement personnel who put themselves in harms way to protect the people of our commonwealth.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf September 17, 2016 Governor Wolf Statement on Shooting in Philadelphia SHARE Email Facebook Twitter