Early details of £254m package for buses in England revealed

first_imgBuses in England have been awarded a further £254m of funding by the government to support a transition to pre-coronavirus COVID-19 service levels.A public announcement of the money – which replaces the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) with immediate effect – came on Saturday 23 May. Stephen Fidler, Department for Transport (DfT) Director, Local Transport, wrote to operators that claim commercial BSOG ahead of that date, giving early details of the new funding.Further information will follow shortly. But Mr Fidler says that the money is to “support the increased levels of services that will be needed as and when the government implements the next stages of its coronavirus COVID-19 recovery strategy.”Mr Fidler adds that the industry should now take steps to expand operations as quickly as possible while working with the relevant local authorities (LAs). Those steps include removing affected staff from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) “with immediate effect.”Buses must be added quickly as part of £254m funding packageWhile the new £254m funding scheme for buses supplants CBSSG, its terms and conditions will be much the same. However, there are some changes:Service levels will no longer be limited to 40-50% of scheduled commercial mileage. Instead, the government expects operators to increase provision as far as LAs require as quickly as possibleA one-off payment will be made available to cover the cost implications of removing staff from CJRS early. Operators will be required to submit evidence of those costs. The payment will be made as part of a wider reconciliation exercise in JuneOther costs that can be claimed include those for PPE such as hand sanitiser and cab screens; those involved with bringing buses out of SORN status; and those required to make buses fit for useOperators that did not receive CBSSG funding, but are eligible for BSOG, will be able to claim through the new scheme.BSOG will continue to be paid at pre-pandemic levels. Other payments that will be made on that basis include those for ENCTS reimbursement, home-to-school services that are not operating and local service contracts.No specific end date for the new scheme has been given. It will be subject to four-weekly reviews by DfT and the Treasury to examine its performance. Those reviews will also assess for how long it should continue to operate.The reconciliation exercise in June will cover the 12-week period from 17 March to 8 June. It will identify any overpayments or underpayments. Under those circumstances, DfT “will endeavour to equitably reconcile any difference… from within the available funding.”Social distancing advice remains inconsistentMr Fidler’s letter makes no reference to any condition for operators to enforce social distancing measures on buses. It does note that operators will be required to ensure that they are “not heavily loaded.”Guidance issued to operators by the government on 12 May noted that while maintaining a 2m distance is desirable, it is not a rule. The guidance adds that “there are situations where this may not be possible, for example… on busier services.” Mr Fidler’s letter advises recipients that the guidance should be followed.However, when conducting the daily coronavirus COVID-19 press conference on Saturday 23 May, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “Even a fully-restored service will only be capable of carrying – at best – one fifth of normal capacity, once social distancing is taken into account.”Mr Shapps’ message also contradicts earlier statements from at least two of the big groups. They have confirmed that passenger numbers will be capped at 25% of the bus’s seating capacity.DfT has invited operators with questions about the new scheme to contact it via email at [email protected] with the Scottish Government and Welsh Government around ongoing financial support for buses in those countries when movement restrictions begin to be lifted are ongoing.last_img read more

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Mindy Korth Joins Colliers, Leaves CBRE

first_imgColliers International in Greater Phoenix has appointed Mindy Korth, a top commercial real estate executive with nearly 30 years of experience in the Phoenix market, executive vice president, adding depth to the firm’s investment sales expertise.Korth will drive Colliers’ investment property sales by pinpointing prime business opportunities for clients, developing business strategies and conducting comprehensive sales transactions. She will collaborate closely with other Colliers’ brokers.Korth’s well-rounded expertise includes a keen understanding of all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, location and market intelligence, and loan acquisitions.“Mindy is a team player with extensive transactional skills and outstanding relationships with national clients who have trusted her with major complex deals for years,” said Bob Mulhern, managing director of Colliers. “The recent addition of Mindy and several other talented brokers places Colliers into a robust position for 2014.”Prior to joining Colliers, Korth served as CBRE’s executive vice president of investment properties for 29 years, including 22 years at Trammell Crow Company prior to its merger in 2006 with CBRE, completing transactions valued at more than $2.5 billion and representing more than 18 million square feet.She was part of the top producing Phoenix Trammell team from 1996 to 2003 and in 2005 and 2006. She was a Trammell Top 50 National Producer in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. She has consistently been a CBRE-Phoenix Top 20 Producer since 2007.Korth started her career as a certified public accountant at Deloitte before entering the commercial real estate industry.“I’m excited to jump in and develop a pipeline of investment property sales for our clients,” Korth said. “The opportunity to propel Colliers’ client services platform and work under Bob Mulhern’s dynamic leadership is invigorating.”AZRE magazine named her Big Deal Office Sales Broker in 2012 and People to Know in 2008, 2009 and 2011. NAIOP named her the Investment Broker of the Year in 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2010.Korth is a board member of the Discovery Triangle Development Corporation and Balsz Community Education Foundation. She is the former board chair of Eight/KAET Public Television’s Community Advisory Board and Valley Partnership.She also is a member of Social Venture Partners of Arizona and Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women having served on both boards. Korth is involved with ULI Arizona, NAIOP Arizona and International Council of Shopping Centers. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University.last_img read more

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Prepandemic coronavirus antibodies may react to COVID-19

first_imgTwo preliminary retrospective studies in the United Kingdom, sub-Sahara Africa, and the United States suggest that some people who were never infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 have cross-reactive antibodies against it—perhaps from previous exposure to similar human coronaviruses.SARS-CoV-2 and the common coldThe first study, published late last week in Science, was the result of an accidental discovery by researchers at Francis Crick Institute and University College London while testing the performance of sensitive COVID-19 antibody tests by comparing the blood of COVID-19–infected donors with that of those who had not had the disease.They found that blood samples from some noninfected donors—particularly children—contained antibodies that could recognize both SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other common coronaviruses, such as those responsible for the common cold.To confirm their results, the researchers analyzed more than 300 blood samples collected from 2011 to 2018. While almost all samples had antibodies against coronaviruses that cause the common cold, 16 of 302 adults (5.3%) had antibodies that would recognize SARS-CoV-2—regardless of whether they had recently had a cold. Only 1 of an additional 13 adult blood donors (7.7%) recently infected with other coronaviruses had cross-reactive antibodies. Of samples from 50 pregnant women, 5 (10%) had such antibodies.In contrast, 21 of 48 children aged 1 to 16 (44%) had cross-reactive antibodies, with those aged 6 to 16 most likely to have them.Lead author Kevin Ng, a doctoral candidate at Francis Crick Institute, said in an institute press release that children may be more likely to have these antibodies because they are more often exposed to other coronaviruses. “These higher levels we observed in children could also help explain why they are less likely to become severely ill with COVID-19,” he said. “There is no evidence yet, however, that these antibodies prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection or spread.”The anti-coronavirus antibodies found in the blood of COVID-19–naïve donors were able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the S2 subunit of the virus’s surface spike protein. Senior author George Kassiotis, PhD, also of Francis Crick Institute, explained in the release that the S2 subunit, which allows the virus to enter human cells, is similar among both SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses that cause the common cold.Targeting the S1 subunit, which enables SARS-CoV-2 to attach to cells, has been thought to be the only way to prevent infection. “But there is now good evidence that some antibodies to S2 can be just as effective,” Kassiotis said. “This is exciting, as understanding the basis for this activity could lead to vaccines that work against a range of coronaviruses, including the common cold strains, as well as SARS-CoV-2 and any future pandemic strains.”The authors said that the cross-reactive antibodies may be able to confer some degree of immunity and result in more mild disease in those infected. However, they cautioned against thinking that a recent common cold will protect against COVID-19, adding that evidence suggests that cross-protective immunity against human coronaviruses is unlikely to be enduring.They called for further studies to answer questions about whether the effect of immunity to one type of coronavirus is changed by exposure to another type, the difference between preexisting and new immunity, and why immunity decreases with advancing age. They are currently studying the role of antibodies and other immune reactions in protecting against COVID-19 and data on the severity of illness.Less reactivity among those infected with HIVIn the second study, published Nov 7 in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers at the University of Nebraska testing pre-pandemic blood samples from the United States, Tanzania, and Zambia identified antibodies against non–COVID-19 human coronaviruses that also reacted to SARS-CoV-2.Noting that the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in sub-Sahara Africa has remained low compared with those in America, Europe, and Asia, the authors hypothesized that the disparity could be because the region has had higher levels of exposure to other coronaviruses before the pandemic, resulting in some degree of immunity against SARS-CoV-2.The researchers compared samples from 289 adults, including 105 from Tanzania collected from March to May 2019, 99 from Zambia from 2017 to early 2019, and 85 from Lincoln, Nebraska, from 2005, 2007, and 2009.Levels of antibodies with cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 were six to eight times higher in the sub-Sahara samples than in the US samples, likely from previous exposure to two other coronaviruses. When cells expressing cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 were stained with some blood samples collected before the pandemic, some showed signs of reactivity, suggesting that the antibodies cross-reactive against SARS-CoV-2 had been generated before the pandemic.In the Zambian samples, those from HIV-positive blood donors had less cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 than those from HIV-negative donors, which the researchers said could be due to a weakened immune response in those with HIV. But they said that the finding needs to be confirmed in a larger sample of HIV-positive donors. None of the blood samples with cross-reactive antibodies from Tanzania or the United States were from HIV-positive donors.The authors called for future research with a larger sample and deep, long-term analysis of the nature and role of the cross-reactive antibodies. “The function of these SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive antibodies and whether they provide any protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection or disease progression is still unclear and cannot be resolved with retrospective cross-sectional sampling,” they wrote.last_img read more

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Steelers keep playoff hopes alive

first_imgBEN ROETHLISBERGER (Photos by Shelley Lipton)PITTSBURGH (AP)— The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) ended the New York Giants’ winning streak with a familiar formula.Ben Roethlisberger passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, Le’Veon Bell rolled up 182 yards of total offense, and Pittsburgh’s resurgent defense harassed Eli Manning into a flurry of mistakes in a dominant 24-14 win on Sunday.Manning completed just 24 of 39 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns and two picks in the red zone for the Giants (8-4), whose six-game run ended with a thud. Beckham was largely a non-factor despite a game-high 10 receptions for 100 yards.New York managed just 56 yards rushing and couldn’t convert on it few opportunities. Both of Manning’s interceptions came near the Pittsburgh goal line and the Giants missed on all three of their fourth-down attempts.last_img read more

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Marion, da flower lover

first_imgBy Emma SunMARION Da Costa likes to travel to different places whenever she has the chance. When she is not…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

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On Thanksgiving, here’s how to be grateful

first_imgIn honor of the spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude, today and tomorrow I’m posting examples of great nonprofit thank-yous.Today, I want to share two effective videos – one with a budget and one done with next to no budget!The first is from WaterAid:The second is from CentroNía and is dedicated to donors, volunteers, and community partners. The DIY video was filmed and edited by Jonah Best, a summer 2012 Summer Youth Employment Program intern. CentroNía is a nationally recognized, award-winning educational organization that provides affordable, high quality education, professional development and family support services in a bilingual, multicultural environment to more than 1,500 children.Happy Thanksgiving!last_img read more

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The 5 stages of freelance tax grief

first_imgSome of you may find taxes painless, because you are well-organized and responsible about the entire process.This post is for the rest of us.Stage 1: DenialIt’ll be easy, right? You kept pretty good track of your receipts this year, right? Um, okay, so most of them are curled in a slowly-disintegrating ball of paper at the bottom of your closet, getting regularly dripped on by your rain boots. And you haven’t gotten 1099s from three separate clients and you’re pretty sure that one contractor actually ended up fleeing the country and maybe you should have been saving more than the change rattling around in your retro He-Man coin bank (not deductible, by the way).But… deep breaths.Hey, how bad will it REALLY be if you just sorta forgot about taxes this year?Okay, very bad. Okay, yes, that is how they took Capone down. But you aren’t making people sleep with da fishes or whacking stool pigeons, or whatever! You’re harmless! You’re just a wittle defencewess fweewancer twying to scwatch out a wiving! Surely the Government doesn’t need YOUR information!… dammit.Stage 2: AngerWHY? WHY do you do this to yourself every year, subject yourself to all of this disorganization and subsequent angst? There are people who meticulously itemize every expense, who keep their business and personal finances pristine, who probably work out five times a week and floss three times a day and never get asked by Netflix if “they’re still watching” after six hours and eat only organic raw locally-sourced avocadoes and their hair never gets frizzy and they never feel inadequate doing the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle and WHY can’t you be more like THEM?You know what? You should not even pay taxes, because you should not even earn money. Money is evil. You are going to move to a cave in the woods and eat only honey that the bees will give you WILLINGLY and then everybody will be sorry.You’ll be like Thoreau. Thoreau of the Bees.AAGGGGGGHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.Stage 3: BargainingIf you can count half of your lunches out as expenses and not get audited, you will become such a good person. Like… Angelina Jolie PR-item good. You’ll adopt a half-blind hedgehog and nurse it back to health. You’ll happily donate half of your free time to helping your mother with her computer (she spilled coffee on it again; also, what is a Snapchat, and why?). You will cease wasting energy scrolling through your high school enemy’s online photo albums and making witty but fundamentally unfair observations. You will stop glaring at people on the subway even when they block the doorway like dazed cattle headed to the stockyard. You will meditate. You will crochet. You will radiate love and goodwill towards all humankind. You will hear birds sing! And smell flowers! And you will appreciate life…… if, please oh please God, you just do not get audited this year, even though you definitely deserve to because you’ll misplace a zero somewhere because your math is haphazard at best because you NEVER STUDIED IN CALCULUS, DID YOU? DID YOU?!!!IF YOUR TAXES PASS MUSTER YOU WILL CALL UP LISA STEWART FROM NINTH GRADE AND APOLOGIZE FOR CHEATING OFF OF HER DURING THAT ENTIRE CLASS!Stage 4: DepressionSo you’re now on your second glass of cheap wine and seventh high-fructose-laden cookie, curled up in a nest of cryptically-labeled receipts (what does “January meeting thing” even mean?) and papers containing messy calculations. Buck up, kiddo! Things aren’t so bad. You can do this!… why are these receipts all wet? Oh, right. The tears.Stage 5: AcceptanceGive in. Call an accountant. Scrape together your sad little lists and chicken-scratched math, and sit white-knuckled across from her as she does your taxes a) legally b) well.Write a melodramatic blog post about freelancer tax prep. What a wild ride, huh? But, phew, at least now your taxes are done forever and you’ll never have to do them agai——-Pause.Sigh.Begin collecting 2015 Ball o’ Receipts. Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.last_img read more

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