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Press release: UK-USA special relationship helps drive British exports to record heights

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first_imgUK exports of goods and services in the 12 months to April 2019 increased by 4.0% to £645.8 billion. Last week’s state visit reinforced the shared values between the UK and US, but also reminded us of the truly unique economic relationship which helps our businesses to prosper. Today’s record-breaking figures putting total UK exports at over £645 billion demonstrates the resilience of our economy, despite the increasingly uncertain global economic environment. I encourage exporters right across the country to use today’s statistics as evidence that despite global headwinds, the most prosperous countries in the world are demanding British goods at unprecedented levels. The Department for International Trade is a dedicated international economic department, helping British business succeed abroad, as never before. Goods exports to the USA increased by 11.9% to £57.6 billion, helping to drive up British exports. Demand from the US was the strongest driver of UK export growth in the 12 months to April 2019, new Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures showed today (10 June) as UK exports reached a record high of £645.8 billion.In yet another sign of the special relationship following the US State Visit last week, goods exports to the USA were worth £57.6 billion, over £20 billion more than Germany, our second largest single export market for goods.Overall, British goods exports to the world over the past year increased by £16 billion. The US was by far the largest contributor of any single country to this increase, with British exports to our closest trading partner increasing by £6.1 billion and, therefore, accounting for over a third of the total increase in value of British goods exports (38.4%).In terms of both goods and services, in 2018, the USA was by far the UKs biggest export market. The UK was the USA’s largest European export market.The unique economic relationship between the USA and UK is not just evident in our trading relationship, but also by the levels of investment in each other’s economies. Both nations are the largest investors in each other’s economies with mutual investment totalling around £609 billion. Furthermore, everyday 1 million Americans work for British companies in America, whilst 1 million Britons do the same for American companies in the UK.Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said:center_img Goods exports increased by 4.7% to £356.6 billion. Total trade between the UK and USA in 2018 worth £190.5 billion.last_img read more

Piping up, to good effect

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first_imgCharles Brenton Fisk’s daughter once said that her father was “dedicated to his work the way that some people are dedicated to a true love.” The Memorial Church’s new organ is a product of that devotion.In 1943, the U.S. government tapped Fisk, then an 18-year-old Harvard student, to work for physicist Robert Oppenheimer in the bomb-trigger division of the Manhattan Project. Later, Fisk studied nuclear physics at Stanford University, but soon the onetime chorister at Christ Church in Cambridge traded his lab talents for his workshop skills to craft some of the most complex musical instruments.Eventually another Harvard man, the spiritual heart of the University for more than 40 years, noticed Fisk’s artistry. An accomplished organist himself, the Rev. Peter J. Gomes became the driving force behind a donor-funded, $6 million effort to provide his church with the type of sound it deserved.Senior reed voicer Michael Kraft tunes the row of pipes called the Trumpette.The dream of Gomes, who died a year ago, will be realized this Sunday when the new Fisk organ, Opus 139, is officially unveiled. The inauguration begins a series of events showcasing the 16-ton instrument.A 2005 committee led by Gomes agreed that two organs instead of one were needed to fill the church’s space adequately, one for the intimate Appleton Chapel, the other for the main body of the church. For the larger instrument, they turned to C.B. Fisk Inc., the mechanical-tracker organ company founded by Fisk, whose Opus 46 had been in the chapel since 1967.“Fisk epitomizes the classical principles of organ building,” said Christian Lane, associate University organist and choirmaster. “Through a well-constructed, mechanical-action touch … you are really just controlling the wind in this amazing and voluptuous way.”In 2010, the Opus 46 was dismantled for shipping to its new home, a Presbyterian church in Austin, Texas. A 1929 Skinner Organ Co. organ took its place in the chapel.Meanwhile, the new Fisk organ slated for the church’s rear gallery was nearing completion in a town more famous for its fishing fleet than for complicated musical machines. Only a small mahogany sign with the words “C.B. Fisk” identifies the workshop in an industrial park in Gloucester, Mass. Inside, dedicated artisans draft and draw, solder and saw. Small models of every organ the company has made are perched high on ledges scattered around the space. The models are a vital step in the creative process that begins with hand-drawn sketches and ends with sophisticated, three-dimensional computer designs.There’s a collegial ethos at the workshop, a Fisk hallmark. When there is a technical problem, the workers gather to discuss a solution. A reporter’s inquiry about business titles earns chuckles and the response: “We don’t pay too much attention to that kind of thing.”The employees are a mix of the mechanical and the musical, the methodical and the meticulous. A crafter of organ reed pipes is, fittingly, a clarinetist. Another worker made his own cello. There are drummers and guitarists, former boatbuilders, cabinetmakers, engineers, and freelance photographers. Above all, they are craftspeople who love working with their hands.Fisk, the story goes, liked to call his colleagues “blue-scholar workers.”“He was the most brilliant man I ever met,” said Greg Bover, the company’s vice president for operations, who is also project manager for the Memorial Church installation.The mouth area of gold-leafed pipe on the organ’s façade.At Harvard one recent afternoon, Michael Kraft, the company’s head reed voicer, was regulating the tone on some of the organ’s 3,049 pipes, the smallest of which stands only half an inch, and the largest 32 feet. The painstaking task takes months, for good reason. Tuning the organ only affects the pitch, explained Kraft, while the voicing process gives the instrument its distinct sound.“It’s giving each pipe its voice … we are talking about color, timbre, speech, all of the different qualities of the sound. That voicing process is only done once.”Kraft, who has a master’s degree in organ performance from the New England Conservatory, then tested his work by playing a little Johann Sebastian Bach. The sound was magnificent.Harvard’s Gund University Organist and Choirmaster Edward Jones reflected on Gomes’ musical legacy. Thanks to the insistence of the longtime Pusey Minister and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, the organ’s pipes are sheathed in a brilliant 22-carat gold.“It’s a wonderful instrument. It’s musically eclectic and can do a large range of things,” said Jones. “The construction and architecture of the organ is so beautiful and has been so well thought out that it looks to my mind like it should have been here all along. I hope Peter is looking down with a big smile on his face.”last_img read more

CUNA launches COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force

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first_imgCUNA continue reading » CUNA announced Friday the formation of the Credit Union System COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force. The task force brings together representatives from the three-tiered system of credit unions, Leagues and CUNA, along with system providers and affiliated organizations, to discuss strategies, resources and best practices for credit unions  as state and local governments begin to lift stay home orders and ease safety restrictions on business operations established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.“The credit union system COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Task Force is intended to act as an indispensable resource and partner to the credit union movement as stakeholders balance member needs and staff well-being moving forward,” said CUNA Chief Engagement Officer Greg Michlig. “As a leader in the credit union movement, CUNA’s goal is to bring togeher these leaders for dialogue that will equip the movement with the knowledge and tools needed to safely navigate this new and evolving environment.”The task force will focus on operational matters, provide guidance and strategies for credit unions as they restart paused business lines and recover from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.center_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more