Dutch company Royal Boskalis and UK-based Tekmar Energy have announced a framework agreement to support the global offshore wind market, covering new product development and innovation. Tekmar expect to create 50 highly-skilled UK jobs across the sector in the long term Royal IHC, a Dutch supplier of innovative and efficient equipment, ships and services for the offshore, dredging and marine mining markets, will open its new offshore base in Newcastle at the end of October Matthew Wright, Ørsted UK Managing Director, said: Other UK and Dutch agreements include: The UK’s Jacopa Ltd have established an agreement with the Netherlands’ Machinefabriek Bosker en Zonen BV (Bosker) to sell the latter’s internationally renowned water and wastewater automatic screen equipment into UK environmental and water utility markets. Bosker, in return, will offer Jacopa’s grit removal and sewage treatment equipment in Dutch markets. Latest UK export figures from the ONS recorded a high value of £637 billion, while the UK is Europe’s number one destination for foreign direct investment. UK-based DAZN, the world’s largest sports broadcaster by volume, has announced the opening of its new development centre in Amsterdam, helping the business to grow globally. The British creative tech success story is on track to hire almost 1,000 employees in the UK this year, and have announced a further 200 for 2019 AkzoNobel will open 30 new Dulux Decorator Centres in the UK, creating and protecting over 100 jobs and bringing the total to 218 Dulux Decorator Centres, with the ambition of further growth ING have announced the refurbishment of their Innovation Lab in Moorgate. This comes after their £5 million investment in UK Fintech company Funding Options The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind sector, with almost half of global offshore wind capacity installed here in the UK. This year we have produced record levels of wind power and opened the world’s largest windfarm off the coast of Cumbria.To help grow the clean growth sector, the government is creating the right conditions to ensure businesses can seize those opportunities through our modern Industrial Strategy. Our world-leading Clean Growth Strategy sets out how we’re investing more than £2.5 billion in low carbon innovation as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation in over 3 decades.The government has also earmarked more than half a billion pounds for emerging renewable technologies to give them the certainty developers need to invest while driving down costs for consumers.The Netherlands is the UK’s third-largest trading partner and fourth-largest export market and, in the last year, Heineken – one of the UK’s largest investors – announced a further investment of £44 million, creating more than 1,000 new UK jobs.Fellow Dutch company NewCold – who operate within the frozen food supply chain – have also invested £100m in a new distribution centre in Wakefield, adding a further 70 jobs in the next two years to the current team of 200.Notes for EditorsUK-Netherlands trade It’s a privilege to host the UK-Netherlands Innovation Showcase – providing an exciting glimpse into the vibrant trading future our two innovative economies can offer in years to come. A set of new deals and agreements between UK and Dutch companies alongside the Showcase – being held as part of the Dutch State Visit – will see closer collaboration in the FinTech, clean growth and digital sectors.These include: The UK has become a beacon for clean growth, leading the world in cutting emissions whilst growing the economy and creating almost 400,000 jobs across the UK. Our Industrial Strategy identified clean growth as one of the greatest industrial opportunities for the UK. Tekmar Energy and EEW OSB are reaping the benefits, providing parts for offshore windfarms off our coasts and around the world. Moving to a greener, cleaner economy as well as reaping the benefits of global digital transformation have been identified as some of the biggest economic opportunities of our time.That is why the Government has put Clean Growth and promoting the digital economy at the heart of its modern Industrial Strategy and just days ago hosted our first ever Green GB Week to raise awareness of the need and opportunity of tackling climate change.‘Green collar’ jobs have the potential to reach two million by 2030 and there are already 1.5 million jobs in the digital industries today and this is growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. The clean growth sector alone could generate up to £170 billion in annual exports for UK businesses.The visit is an opportunity to demonstrate that, although our relationship might be changing in the context of our exit from the EU, our cooperation on trade and innovation remains indispensable.The British Royal Earl and Countess of Wessex, the City of London Lord Mayor and Mayoress and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok will attend the Showcase hosted by the Department for International Trade.International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said: CEO of Azimo, Michael Kent said: This multi-million pound order secures 180 jobs in Teesside and high utilisation in the facility for the first half of 2019. By building long-term relationships with highly productive suppliers such as EEW OSB, MHI Vestas Blades UK, and Ordtek, UK companies from across the value chain can not only benefit from UK projects, they can really take advantage of the growing global export opportunity. Business Secretary, Greg Clark said: The UK and Netherlands enjoy a rich history of trade spanning four centuries, but our two innovative economies are embracing the technologies that will ensure we share a bright trading future too. As HMTC for Europe, I’m looking forward to seeing for myself the breadth of new opportunities we have together at the Innovation Showcase, and ways in which UK companies can assist. Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart said: The Department for International Trade has played a critical role in giving UK FinTechs the support they need to thrive in the UK and to create the strong foundations necessary to scale globally. This includes making it easier for companies like us to set up in places like the Netherlands – they’ve created the blueprint for building a strong FinTech ecosystem that other nations follow. Chief Executive of DAZN Group, Simon Denyer said: Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Europe, Andrew Mitchell said: UK-based money transfer company Azimo and UK FinTech firms Currency Cloud and Vitesse are investing £5 million to scale up operations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam as a part of their expansion plans into the European market, creating jobs back in the UK Dutch company Tony’s Chocolonely has announced plans to launch in the UK in January 2019, creating 20 jobs at a new UK office. The company has the objective of improving conditions for all across the cocoa industry The total UK-Netherlands trading relationship was valued £85.8 billion in 2017 – a 14.4% year-on-year increase. The Dutch State Visit is an opportunity to celebrate the UK and the Netherlands’ more than 400-year long trading heritage. As the UK forges an independent trade policy for the first time in more than four decades, my international economic department is working with the Dutch – our North Sea Partners – towards a bright trading future too. The Innovation Showcase will demonstrate the huge opportunities for our economies – two of the world’s most innovative – to collaborate even further, creating jobs and prosperity for generations to come. We are working with our colleagues in the Netherlands to give businesses the help they need to make that future a reality, providing jobs and prosperity on both sides of the North Sea. EEW OSB announce the sale of 35 sets of transition pieces for wind turbines to Borssele 1 + 2, a Dutch wind farm project. This multi-million pound contract with Ørsted safeguards 180 jobs in Teesside, and represents EEW OSB’s first export order The global sports industry is ripe for disruption and DAZN is leading the charge. We’re a fast-growth British tech export, and our software developers are creating a market-leading product in the UK, Poland and now the Netherlands – where we have opened a new development centre that will power our global expansion plans and create hundreds of tech jobs. We’re scaling up fast and on track to hire almost 1,000 employees in the UK this year alone. The support we’ve received from the Department for International Trade to strengthen ties between the digital creative communities in London and Amsterdam has been invaluable.
Transportation companies are seeking government financial support to stay afloat following the imposition of social restriction policies across the nation, which has brought the industry to a virtual standstill.The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) stated that almost all companies in the air, land and sea transportation and services sectors had been hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.The epidemic and the government’s delayed response have crippled almost all business activities in the country. In aviation, border closures and flight cancellations had caused loss of earnings of 20 to 50 percent for airline companies since January, Kadin said.Earlier on March 26, Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) chairman Denon Prawiratmadja said that airlines had seen a drastic fall in passenger numbers since early March, which prompted all airlines to cut frequency and routes by 50 percent and above.To offset the losses, several airlines had temporarily suspended operations and laid off some employees, Denon said.The airline support services sector had also been affected, with the Indonesian Ground Handling Association (AGHI) reporting an 80 percent drop among its members in services.“If the number of flights keeps declining, the ground handling sector will collapse and several AGHI members could be facing bankruptcy,” AGHI chairwoman Ida Pangelingsir said on Monday.Land transportation is also facing a similar situation, with the PSBB policy in Greater Jakarta and the government’s call to reduce nonessential travel cutting into the sector’s earnings.Kadin data shows that land-based logistics and land transportation companies had suffered declines in revenue of respectively 25 to 50 percent and 75 to 100 percent since early March.In the capital city, the epicenter of Indonesia’s COVID-19 outbreak, demand for public transportation had dropped by an unprecedented 90 percent from early March until April 10, when the Jakarta administration imposed the PSBB for a period of 14 days.Public transportation services will limit passenger numbers to 50 percent of their capacity and restrict their operational hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.mJakarta chairman Shafruhan Sinungan of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) said on Monday that many transportation companies in the capital had to lay off their workers to offset the sudden plunge in demand. He also warned that small transportation companies could collapse if the current situation continued.“For big companies, they still have sufficient cash flow to pay their workers,” he said, but warned that they could sustain cash flow only “for the next month or two”.Carmelita said the transportation industry needed substantial assistance through a government rescue package to weather the health emergency. In particular, land transportation companies were hoping to be granted a 12-month exemption starting this month from nontax tariffs (PNBP), which was stipulated in Government Regulation No.15/2016.They also sought a six-month exemption from vehicle tax (PKB) and a wage relief scheme for drivers and other employees to cushion the epidemic’s economic impact on the transportation industry.Meanwhile, airlines have requested a six-month deferral for income tax (PPh 21 and PPh 23), airport fees, navigation fees, and jet fuel, as well as an exemption from aircraft parking fees.Airline companies also hoped that the government’s earlier tourism stimulus package, specifically the discounted tickets to the “10 New Balis”, could be reallocated as wage relief schemes for employees and flight crew that were on unpaid leave or had been laid off.Maritime transportation and shipping companies were seeking government support through a loan repayment moratorium, tax deferrals and docking fee exemption to offset potential losses from the pandemic, said Kadin’s Carmelita.President Joko Widodo in March announced additional funds of Rp 405.1 trillion (US$24.8 billion) to finance the country’s COVID-19 prevention and control scheme, including Rp 150 trillion for economic recovery and Rp 70.1 trillion in tax incentives and corporate credit as part of a business stimulus package.Topics : Kadin deputy chair Carmelita Hartoto said that the transportation industry, which had been declining since late February, had seen conditions worsen following the government imposed the social distancing policy in mid-March.“After meeting with transportation companies, it must be said that the transportation sector as a whole has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carmelita said in a press release on Monday.She said that the stay-at-home social distancing policy, combined with the closure of tourist sites and shopping centers had contributed to the sector’s plummeting earnings.Kadin data shows that sea transportation companies recorded a 15 percent decline in revenue in March. The declining trend is expected to continue as Jakarta and its satellite cities impose the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), an expanded policy that carries harsh sanctions for violators.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine ZidaneMadrid, Spain | AFP | Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted injuries will force him into patching up a makeshift defence for Saturday’s visit of Sevilla after Raphael Varane joined an increasing list of absentees.The French international limped off holding his left leg as Madrid edged out Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in a Champions League thriller on Wednesday. However, with the defending champions already having secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League behind Tottenham Hotspur in Group H, Zidane was more concerned with how Varane’s absence could affect a busy end to the year for Real.After Sevilla, Zidane’s men jet off to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup before hosting Barcelona in the Clasico on December 23.Saturday is the French coach’s primary concern, though, with Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro all suspended, while Jesus Vallejo is also sidelined by injury leaving Nacho as Real’s only fit centre-back.“With Rafa he has done some damage to himself, but we will see tomorrow when we do the scans as always,” said Zidane.“He won’t be there Saturday that is for sure. We have to look for solutions.”Real have precious little room for error as they already trail La Liga leaders Barca by eight points.And further forward, Madrid could again be without Gareth Bale due to a calf problem.“I feel for the injured players, today it is Rafa but that is why we have a squad,” added Zidane.However, the French coach didn’t rule out the possibility that the latest spate of injuries could force the club to reinforce the squad come January. Madrid could face the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool in Monday’s last-16 draw.However, Ronaldo believes the 12-time winners are capable of an upturn in form in the new year to carry them to a third straight Champions League title.“It is obvious that I like playing in this competition a lot, but the most important thing is to be able to get into the next round once more,” he said.“Hopefully Real Madrid can win it for a third straight year.”Share on: WhatsApp “We have the possibility (to sign) from January 1 and we will see what happens in these 30 days.”Injuries aside, it was another enjoyable Champions League night for Real as Cristiano Ronaldo set yet another record in the competition.The Portuguese, who is expected to pick up his fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, fired a spectacular effort into the top corner to become the first player to ever score in all six group games in the one season.Ronaldo’s European form — he has nine in the Champions League in total — is in stark contrast to his struggles in La Liga, where he has scored just twice in 10 appearances this season.“We wanted to end the group phase well with a win. I scored a great goal and got the record as well which is important, so I’m very happy,” said Ronaldo.
Without two of their three starting defensive linemen and two key offensive linemen the Steelers looked very average as Tom Brady picked the defense apart going 30 of 43 for 350 yards and 5 touchdowns while the Steelers offense struggled putting only 3 points on the board in the first half.However, the Baltimore Ravens 26-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons helped as they remained in a tie atop the AFC-North Division.The next game is another must game against the red hot Oakland Raiders who are coming off a bye. The Raiders are on top the AFC-West with a 5-4 record but have been blistering in their last five with a 4-1 record. They have an explosive running game and Jason Campbell has brought an exciting air attack as well. The Raiders’ defense has been one of the best in the game.The Steelers as usual had an outstanding second half, especially fourth quarter as they put 23 points on the board but they had fallen too far behind, and Brady didn’t let up.Brady maintained his mastery of the Steelers, throwing three touchdown passes to rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski, who played his senior season at Woodland Hills, and scoring one himself as the Patriots bounced back from a humbling 20-point loss to the Cleveland Browns. No NFL team wins more on its home field than Pittsburgh, but no opposing player wins there like Brady, who has won six of seven overall against the Steelers and four of five at Heinz Field. He now has 14 career touchdown throws and three interceptions against the Steelers.“They beat us in all phases,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.The Steelers played most of the game without wide receiver Hines Ward (concussion), whose streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception ended.“I wanted to go back in, but they wouldn’t let me,” Ward said.Brady methodically led drive after drive by throwing underneath Pittsburgh’s two-deep zone defense. The quick throws to Wes Welker confused the Steelers’ defense and negated Pittsburgh’s oft-successful blitzing schemes.The Steelers, unable to solve New England’s defense for most of three quarters while trailing 17-3, took advantage of a 38-yard pass interference penalty to advance to the Patriots 8 late in the third quarter. But Roethlisberger threw incomplete on second and third down, and Jeff Reed missed a chip-shot 26-yard field goal—his seventh miss of the season.Pittsburgh finally got into the end zone on Roethlisberger’s 6-yard throw to Emmanuel Sanders with just over 12 minutes remaining. By then, the game was all but over.Pittsburgh was without Roethlisberger’s blind-side protectors, left tackle Max Starks (neck, out for season) and left guard Chris Keomeatu (knee, ankle) and, with backups playing, Roethlisberger was sacked five times. Rashard Mendenhall was held to 50 yards on 11 carries one week after Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis pounded New England’s No. 29-ranked defense for 184 yards and two touchdowns.The Raiders game will be the first time in years that the game will be huge to both teams. The Raiders must win to stay in first place in the AFC-West where they are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs. The same is true for the Steelers who are tied with the Ravens on top of the AFC-North. A loss by the Steelers and a Ravens win would not only drop them out of the North lead but would put them in jeopardy of losing a playoff spot.Basically the Steelers are going to have to find a way to win without the injured players which may include Ward, or watch another season go down the tubes after an impressive start. After the Patriots blowout are Steelers still an elite team or just another good team that may or may not make the playoffs?New England hammered the Steelers 39-26 in every aspect of the game Sunday night making one wonder if the Steelers are still a championship contending team. TOUGH NIGHT AT THE OFFICE —Steelers running back Mewelde Moore stands on the sidelines during final minute of loss to the Patriots Nov. 14. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
What makes each individual unique? Nature1 reported a surprising thing about “the” human genome that is becoming apparent as more individuals’ genes are examined. The first part is not surprising; the last part is:When the finished sequence of the human genome was unveiled last year, biologists said that it told a story of harmony for the human family. Every one of us, it turns out, shares 99% of our DNA with all the other people on Earth. But it’s our differences that really fascinate us. And at last week’s annual genome meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, scientists revealed a wealth of data indicating a surprising conclusion about human diversity – much of it might be explained by large structural differences between individual genomes, not by tiny differences in individual genes. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Some of us have more copies of a gene than others do. That’s just the beginning, Erika Check reports from the meeting: “we also have varying numbers of deletions, insertions and other major rearrangements in our genomes.” Check claims that some of these differences are being acted on by natural selection. Europeans, for instance, have an inversion not seen in Africans or Asians that is correlated with having more children, “a classic sign that the inversion confers an evolutionary advantage”. Others at the meeting were also confident that “structural differences are important in human evolution,” and that among sections where there were differing numbers of copies of stretches of DNA, “natural selection is actively working on these genes.”What’s more, he [Duc-Quang Nguyen, U of Oxford] found that many of these genes belong to groups that seem to help us interact with our environment. For instance, many work in the immune system, and affect how we fight off disease. These are exactly the sort of genes that could explain our diversity – why some of us get asthma when exposed to air pollution, or why some of us can eat plenty of cheeseburgers without gaining weight. “We knew these variations existed, but this year we’re asking, do they matter?” says Ewan Birney, head of bioinformatics for the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, based in Cambridge, UK. “The answer seems to be yes.” We’re still one human family, of course; but our DNA landscapes are a lot more varied than we had thought.1Erika Check, “Large genomic differences explain our little quirks,” Nature 435, 252-253 (19 May 2005) | doi: 10.1038/435252b.DNA keeps surprising us. The old picture of a relatively static library occasionally mutating to provide grist for natural selection is out. Now, we see that even among our own species – all of us being interfertile – there are remarkable differences not in just a DNA letter here or there, but in whole stretches of DNA sometimes 100 base pairs long or more. What this all means is not clear. It may be that most of our genomes cannot tolerate much divergence (see 11/26/2004 entry), but a certain fraction can vary quickly to provide robustness against changing environments and diets as people groups migrate into new areas. If so, thank God for this variability. Consider the differences in habitat between the frozen tundra, rain forest, the Sahara, grasslands, Asian steppes, forests and coastlands. The food available, air pressure, climate, insolation and biota can vary considerably. But even that explanation is simplistic; Americans go on vacation to Iceland, China and the Serengeti, don’t they? And international marriages usually produce offspring possessing “fitness,” whatever that is (see 10/29/2002 entry, “Fitness for Dummies: Is it Running in Circles?”). Darwinists cannot claim they understand this variability any more than anyone else; that is why Check calls this a “surprising conclusion.” Thankfully, it is still politically correct for her to say, “We’re still one human family, of course.” But this knowledge through a Darwin filter could feed a new eugenics (compare 04/22/2004 and 10/12/2001 entries). When Darwinists claim that certain genes are being acted on by natural selection, some individuals are going to appear more fit than others. Certain gene patterns may be deemed unfit to reproduce. Don’t think we’ve learned our lesson and are beyond that. One only has to visualize North Korea (02/11/2005 commentary) to consider how such information could be quickly twisted for evil. “Diversity” is the politically-correct word now, but “Unity” is potentially just as potent a rallying cry for demagogues. Associating a DNA inversion to more fecundity is unwarranted. There are many more factors than one stretch of DNA entering the picture of reproduction rates. If that were true, why are Europeans having so few kids, and worrying about their countries being overrun with foreigners? Africans and Asians seem to be overcrowding their parts of the world just fine without the inversion. The claim overlooks the many social, moral, religious, pragmatic and economic factors that go into the equation. Darwinists bluff about selection pressure and genes undergoing active selection when the picture is far too complex to draw such conclusions (see, for instance, 03/28/2005 and 01/17/2005 entries). They can’t even get one mutation in one gene to correlate well with fitness (see 02/04/2005 and 09/07/2004 entries), let alone large structural variations. Besides, the genome itself appears to be a pawn in the hands of numerous, complex epigenetic regulatory factors (see 06/03/2004 and 10/27/2004 entries). The new data about human genomic variability should remain fair game for all honest scientists, especially those outside wearing designer lab coats instead of Darwin-brand straitjackets.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
27 August 2013 Former South African president Nelson Mandela was honoured on Monday with the inaugural Lifetime Award for Global Peace from the Mahathir Global Peace Foundation. Receiving the award on Mandela’s behalf during a ceremony at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Putrajaya, Malaysia, South African President Jacob Zuma said: “We are humbled as South Africans to share president Mandela with the world. “At the same time, we are truly proud that our country, and the struggle for liberation in particular, produced such an international icon.” Zuma, who arrived in Malaysia for an official visit on Sunday, said that the 95-year-old statesman was still “in a critical but stable condition” in hospital in Pretoria, where he was admitted on 8 June and has been receiving treatment since for a recurring lung infection. “While wishing him good health, we also have to celebrate his legacy, and learn from it, in order to build a better world.” Zuma added that Mandela was also “no stranger to Malaysia”, having led South Africa in cementing ties with Malaysia during his presidency, and being a personal friend of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “In a rare gesture for a foreign head of government at the time, Dr Mahathir was among the first to meet Mr Nelson Mandela at the airport in Zambia in 1990, soon after his release from prison,” Zuma said. “In the meeting they later held at a Zambian government guest house, Dr Mahathir presented Madiba with a silver keris, the symbol of Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy system of government.” The award, Zuma said, would further highlight the need for peace in the world, “as it has been given to a man who has demonstrated a remarkable ability for forgiveness and reconciliation, which are the building blocks for a peaceful society”. It was this commitment to reconciliation, Zuma said, that stood at the core of the Mandela legacy. “It influenced both his efforts to build a new democracy at home and his contribution to the resolution of conflicts in the larger world. “When others doubted whether it was still possible for old enemies to beat their swords into ploughshares, he showed us how.” SAinfo reporter
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Luka Modric on Real Madrid crisis: This isn’t bad luck; our starts are s***by Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLuka Modric blasted his Real Madrid teammates after defeat to Real Sociedad.The midfielder questioned the attitude for the start of the 2-0 reverse.”Many of us are not at our level,” Modric said in the mixed zone.”We cannot take a s*** at the beginning of every game.”We have to be clear, it’s not a matter of luck.”We are creating a lot but the ball won’t go in and we are giving a lot but there are reasons that explain why things are not going well.”
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Hoeness takes new swipe at Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegenby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has taken a new swipe at Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.Hoeness has been angered by Ter Stegen’s claims that he deserves Germany selection ahead of Bayern’s Manuel Neuer.He snapped: “I would have expected him to be cornered and say things are not going that way. It has damaged the reputation of an impeccable athlete like Manuel.”Hoeness claims Ter Stegen has made Neuer sound like “old scrap that should be removed after the Euros”.He also slammed the German Federation for not taking action against Ter Stegen.”I do not expect any reaction from you,” he explained and added: “Their only virtue is to go for a walk in the forest and whistle.”
KELOWNA, B.C. – The founder of Canada Jetlines is taking over as chief executive of Canadian discount carrier Flair Airlines Ltd.Jim Scott replaces Flair founder and former president Jim Rogers, who will remain an adviser until 2019 after selling his shares in the Kelowna-based company.Scott is a former airline pilot who led Canada Jetlines between 2012 and last year.He will be joined by Jerry Presley, who represents the majority owners, as executive chairman. He was previously an adviser to Canada Jetlines.The changes come more than six months after Flair’s purchase of NewLeaf Travel Company’s assets.Flair Airlines currently flies from seven Canadian cities: Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Vancouver. It has plans to soon announce an expansion of its fleet and route network.The airline faces the prospect of competition with the launch next summer of WestJet’s discount Swoop airline and Canada Jetlines.Flair operates seven aircraft and plans to add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft later in 2018. Four more planes are slated to be added to the fleet in 2019 to accommodate nearly 1.5 million passengers.
WASHINGTON – Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 1.7 per cent in July, the second straight monthly decline as the broader housing market appears to have lost some of its momentum despite an otherwise solid economy.The Commerce Department said Thursday that newly built homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 last month, down from 638,000 in June and 654,000 in May. Despite the slowdown, new-home sales have risen 7.2 per cent year-to-date.Steady hiring gains and signs of stronger economic growth have boosted demand for housing. But higher mortgage rates and a tight inventory of homes on the market has made affordability a challenge for many would-be buyers.The Northeast suffered a steep 52.3 per cent plunge in sales, while sales in the South — the largest regional new-home market — slipped 3.3 per cent. Sales rose in the Midwest and West.The average sales price has risen 5.8 per cent from a year ago to $394,300. This increase reflects a shift toward more expensive properties: 60 per cent of the new homes purchased in July cost more than $300,000, up from 56 per cent in 2017.Existing home sales have also slipped over the past four months, the National Association of Realtors said in a separate report Wednesday. Existing homes — a larger share of the real estate market than new construction — sold at an annual pace of 5.34 million in July, a decline of 0.7 per cent from June.Buyers looking at properties worth more than $500,000 have plenty of options, and sales at that price point and above are rising, the Realtors said. But sales of homes worth less than $250,000 are flat or falling.While hiring has been robust this year, inflation has eaten away at average wage growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Homebuyers also face higher borrowing costs as the interest charged on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.53 per cent last week, up from 3.89 per cent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.