Fed holds interest rate steady, hints at cutback

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday and raised the possibility they could be cut in the months ahead, igniting a rally on Wall Street, where investors are thirsting for a reduction. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his central bank colleagues left an important interest rate unchanged at 5.25 percent, the sixth straight meeting without budging the rate. The decision was unanimous. On Wall Street, stocks rose sharply. The Dow Jones industrials closed up 159.42 points at 12,447.52 in the index’s biggest one-day gain since July 24. The Fed’s decision means that commercial banks’ prime interest rate – for certain credit cards, home equity lines of credit and other loans – stays at 8.25 percent. The Fed has left rates alone since August, giving borrowers time to catch their breath after two years of steadily rising rates. Similarly, the Fed on Wednesday talked about the ongoing “adjustment” taking place in the housing sector. The Fed didn’t mention any “tentative signs of stabilization,” as it had in January, a view that led some to hope that the painful housing slump could be improving somewhat. The economy has been feeling the strain of the housing slump. Economic growth in the final quarter of last year clocked in at a 2.2 percent pace, a sluggish performance that is expected to continue in coming months. Investment in home building in the fourth quarter was slashed by 19.1 percent on an annualized basis, the steepest decline in 15 years. Inflation is still running above the Fed’s 1 percent to 2 percent comfort zone. An inflation gauge closely watched by the Fed that excludes volatile energy and food, was up 2.3 percent for the 12 months ending in January. In an important change, Fed policymakers got rid of language from previous policy statements that suggested their next move could be a rate increase. Instead, the Fed is now widening its options and raising the possibility that rates also could go down. Investors are betting the Fed will cut rates later this year to guard against any undue economic weakness. Many economists predict the central bank will probably start cutting rates early next year. “The needle has shifted a little more to the center. I think they are more open to easing rates than they would have been several months back,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America’s Investment Strategies Group. “They are moving away from the notion there could only be a rate increase.” The Fed is still sticking to its forecast that inflation should recede over time and that the economy – despite strains from the housing slump and troubles facing lenders and borrowers of risky mortgages – should log moderate growth over the coming quarters. That being said, the Fed did slightly downgrade its assessment of current economic conditions, saying recent barometers “have been mixed.” In contrast, at its previous meeting in late January, the Fed said recent indicators “suggested somewhat firmer economic growth.” last_img read more

TCI Premier Robinsons address preIRMA

first_img New, stringent posture on illegal construction makes fines, personal demolition and possible deportation legal says PDM Minister, law now passed Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, September 6th, 2017 – Providenciales –“My Fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, Residents and Visitors to our shores.In the coming hours, we face a storm that is by all of man’s account, is poised to have a devastating impact on countries that it comes into contact with. Turks and Caicos Islands remain in its path and we are readying all systems to be able to endure the storm. Nonetheless, it is my Government’s position that a country is as ready as its people and so yesterday, the Hon Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Health and I made contact with Salt Cay, one of the Islands that is the subject of an Evacuation Order. We were able to travel to Salt Cay and explain the effects of the Order. We are pleased that a very large percentage of the population has left Salt Cay. However a few have elected to remain. Likewise the Minister of Home Affairs and I were able to join Town Hall Meetings in Middle Caicos who for the first time has been the subject of an Evacuation Order and regrettably, the majority has elected to stay. An Evacuation Order is never taken to be taken lightly and we are still hoping and praying that these individuals will comply and will not risk life. Experience has taught us that the remote Islands of Salt Cay and Middle Caicos can easily be cut off from access to assistance and with the magnitude of this Storm, there is a great possibility of loss of and damage to property as well as a great possibility of injury and loss of life. It is always better to be safe than sorry. We call on family and friends to assist in reaching out to relatives and friends and encourage them to comply with the Order. We see similar Evacuation Orders issued for Inagua and parts of Florida.  The Government continues to encourage all residents to continue to rush in your preparations: secure your property, stock up on basic supplies but above all ensure you and your family’s personal safety. Shelters will be activated today and encourage those of you near the sea, in flood prone areas or in homes that you know are unable to withstand strong winds to seek refuge with family and friends in the first instance and then seek shelters if necessary.Today we had hoped to travel to all of the other Islands today but because of the current circumstances, we are unable to.The Hon Williams and I also used the opportunity last evening to address the creole and Spanish communities in a joint appearance on four radio Stations urging these communities to also rush in preparation. It remains my Government’s stance that of paramount importance at this time is the protection and preservation of life and though criticized, we have ceased all immigration operations to detain undocumented nationals. It is the right thing to do and we stand by it. I am therefore appealing to all documented and undocumented nationals in this country to seek refuge in safe premises.I am personally disappointed that there are instances of price gouging and that too many merchants have seen it fit to exploit consumers at this time by raising prices on critical hurricane preparedness items. It is rather unfortunate. We are as a government cognizant of the fact that preparing for the storm on the heels of readying our children for school return can be challenging and we have agreed and as Minister of Finance, I signed a Warrant to allow for the payment of salary advances to Government workers. I ask only that you be wise and remember your obligations post storm. It is not meant to bring undue hardship which if not managed properly but help during a difficult time.I am again appealing to members of the Private Sector to not be inconsiderate during these times, please allow your staff time to prepare for the Storm. There is a narrowing window and we appreciate that there are services that we continue to wish to access and we appreciate your accommodation but your staff must also be allowed to prepare for the storm. I encourage you to allow essential staff a reasonable and practical shift system that allows them to secure their property and prepare. I pray that many of you will reconsider your positions.Additionally as Acting Minister of Tourism, I am grateful to the Airlines that have arranged rescue flights for tourists that are on Island. Unfortunately airlift could not be arranged for all but we are satisfied that all Hotels and Resorts have Plans that will ensure as best it can, their guests safety. We encourage all guests to remain indoors and to take all precautions to remain safe.I am also pleased that the meeting held with stakeholders that included Telecommunication Communities, Airlines, Ferry Services, Utility Service Providers, Hotel Association demonstrated that they too are ready and have activated their individual plans. Government stakeholders continue to work hard to ensure that we as prepared as one can be to endure this storm.Today marks 9 years since the passage of Hurricane Ike, many of us in the Salt Islands have been sharing our experiences over the years and more so over the past few days. What is obvious is that many are indeed fearful but have used that fear not to paralyze themselves into inaction but to fuel their preparations. As I drove through Grand Turk yesterday and visited key places like the Prison, DDME’s Office and RTC, I was pleased with the level of preparedness. That experience though sad has been the best teacher for many of us and encourage those of you had been fortunate not to experience it to take stock of the level of preparedness of Ike survivors. This storm is the largest storm ever formed in the Atlantic and CNN has dubbed it a different type of animal. I encourage us to not be paralyzed by fear or anxiety but to prepare and pray.PREMIER CALLS A TIME FOR PRAYEROn September 6, 2008 many of us were praying to God for help from closets, under tables, compromised homes and in less than ideal situations. I am calling on us as a people to call on Him for help and mercy. Man can do as much as we can to prepare in anticipation of a storm but this country serves a God that is bigger than any storm and His voice can command stillness in the firmament that He has established by His hands. Our prayer must be for mercy and whilst many including Pastors in this island have said that this storm must come, we hold fast to our faith praying believing that God in His mercy will hear our prayer and the desires of our heart, not that we deserve it but because His mercies are new every morning and grace continues to abounds. To this end, I am calling on all prayer warriors to congregate at 5pm around this country. I want to encourage us all to leave indoor and pray and praise in open areas around the Islands. In Grand Turk, please go to the Parade Grounds, in Providenciales the Down Town Ball Park, in South Caicos, the Salina, in North Caicos in front of the DC’s Office, in Middle Caicos and Salt Cay, step outside of your homes and let us lift up our collective voices. On all Islands, if you are unable to make it to these locations, step outside wherever you are and pray. We are not looking for numbers, nor taking register, we are being obedient and know that at this stage and level of preparedness, we hand it over to Him publicly and declare it in the open heavens.”End Related Items:#HurricaneIrma, #magneticmedianews, #PremierAddress FortisTCI announces bid to hike electricity bills, cites record $42m response to hurricanes as destabilizing August 30th – One Year since Hurricane Irma named Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Forest and savanna can switch quickly

first_img Explore further Acacia savanna south of Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso. Image: Wikipedia. (PhysOrg.com) — Two recent studies have found that environmental changes can bring previously stable forests and grasslands to tipping points that produce sudden large-scale and sometimes irreversible changes in which forest can become savanna and vice versa. These findings challenge previous assumptions that changes to natural systems occur continuously and smoothly. In one study published in Science, scientists in The Netherlands, led by Marina Hirota of Wageningen University, studied NASA satellite data on forests (around 80% trees), savanna (around 20%) and treeless areas (about 5% tree cover). The group found that intermediate regions were rare, and that the rainfall was the primary factor determining which landscape would be found. The researchers also found that big shifts can suddenly occur in the type of landscape, rather than the slow, smooth transition expected.In a US/South African study also published in Science, researchers led by A. Carla Staver of Princeton University found that the degree of tree coverage generally depends on rainfall and seasonal changes, but in areas where the rainfall level is intermediate (1000-2500 mm annual) and seasonal changes are mild, fire becomes the most important factor in determining whether forest, grassland or treeless landscapes were likely to predominate. They found a tipping point at 40-45% tree coverage: below this fires spread rapidly, and above this the increased tree coverage slows down the spread of fires.Both groups studied data collected by NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites, which use MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instruments to detect vegetation coverage and determine the type of vegetation prevailing. They both concentrated on areas thought to be least affected by human activity, including subtropical and tropical parts of Australia, South America, and Africa.Prevailing theories of ecological development suggest that if the rainfall on a savanna gradually increases, the number of trees should also gradually increase until the region becomes a forest. The new studies suggest instead that the savannas remain grasslands as the rainfall increases until a tipping point is reached, at which time the savanna suddenly switches to a fully-forested area instead. Such sudden changes have been noted on a local scale but until now it had not been known that they occurred on a global scale.The findings could have implications for people whose livelihoods depend on their landscape remaining the same, since it could change rapidly, which would require people to also adapt quickly to the changes. To assist them, Hirota’s team has developed what they call resilience maps identifying regions close to the tipping point. The two studies could also help to refine climate change models, which currently assume the transition between grassland and forest is gradual and depends mainly on rainfall and temperatures. © 2011 PhysOrg.comcenter_img Study identifies two types of savannas Citation: Forest and savanna can switch quickly (2011, October 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-forest-savanna-quickly.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Why teenagers indulge in risktaking behaviour

first_imgIf you find your teenage son indulging in alcohol or drugs, do not just blame his peers. A specific imbalance in the functioning of his brain may put him at risk-taking behaviour risk, a study has found.The study conducted on animals showed that the adolescent-specific behaviour may be driven by an imbalance in activity between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – an area of the brain involved in cognitive control and inhibition – and the nucleus accumbens (NAC) which plays a central role in reward-seeking and addiction.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfResearchers from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the US said that the low activity in PFC with concurrent high activity in NAC – an imbalance which appears to exist only during adolescence – is essentially at odds with each other. This imbalance is behind the tendency that could lead to potentially dangerous behaviour, including drug use, harmful drinking, addiction, unsafe sex and risky driving, which may result in unintended injuries, violence and/or even premature death. “Understanding how specific changes in brain function during development relate to behaviour is critically important for determining why some individuals engage in excessive risk-taking behaviour during adolescence,” said David J Bucci, professor at Dartmouth College.“Our hope is that these findings will inform new means to minimise the potential for engaging in drug use and other harmful behaviours during this important period of development,” Bucci added in the paper published in the journal Current Biology.last_img read more