Image source: Getty Images. I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Peter Stephens | Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021 Many UK shares continue to trade at low prices after the 2020 stock market crash. For example, the FTSE 100 is trading around 10% down on its level from a year ago. Even after its recent rally that’s seen it rise by 30% since its low from March 2020. This suggests there may well be scope to buy high-quality companies at low prices.Meanwhile, low interest rates and a continued loose monetary policy could have a positive impact on the stock market. This could potentially lead to a long-term stock market recovery following the current challenges faced by a wide range of industries across the FTSE 350.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Low valuations among UK sharesEven after the recent stock market rally, many UK shares now appear to offer good value for money. This doesn’t mean they’ll always rise in price in future. But it could provide scope for greater capital returns versus buying fairly valued or overvalued stocks. After all, the stock market has always fully recovered from each of its previous downturns.Therefore, taking a long-term view on today’s share prices could allow an investor to capitalise on low valuations within the stock market. This may mean there’s scope to achieve a higher return than the wider market has managed in the past.That’s because history shows us that buying while the stock market is at a low ebb can be profitable. In the coming years, a likely rise in valuations could have a more positive impact on today’s undervalued shares versus their index peers.Monetary policy stimulusRecent monetary policy stimulus could also have a positive impact on UK shares. Although this isn’t guaranteed, policymaker action may help to catalyse the performance of the wider economy. This may result in improved operating conditions for a wide range of businesses that helps them to merit higher valuations when being analysed by investors.Certainly, there are likely to be a number of challenges ahead despite the existence of a loose monetary policy. However, over the long run, UK shares could provide relatively high returns that have a positive impact on an equity portfolio.Potential threats to growthAs mentioned, many UK shares are facing tough operating environments at the present time. This situation may persist over the coming months. Certainly since coronavirus remains an ongoing threat to growth. This may lead to disappointing returns from equities versus other assets.However, through buying UK stocks while they trade at low valuations and holding them for the long run, it may be possible to earn relatively high returns. They may be helped by policymakers taking action that helps to boost the financial performance of a wide range of companies. As well as helping improve investor sentiment in the coming years. Enter Your Email Address Are you on the lookout for UK growth stocks?If so, get this FREE no-strings report now.While it’s available: you’ll discover what we think is a top growth stock for the decade ahead.And the performance of this company really is stunning.In 2019, it returned £150million to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.We believe its financial position is about as solid as anything we’ve seen.Since 2016, annual revenues increased 31%In March 2020, one of its senior directors LOADED UP on 25,000 shares – a position worth £90,259Operating cash flow is up 47%. (Even its operating margins are rising every year!)Quite simply, we believe it’s a fantastic Foolish growth pick.What’s more, it deserves your attention today.So please don’t wait another moment. Get the full details on this £5 stock now – while your report is free. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares See all posts by Peter Stephens Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. 2 reasons why I’d invest in UK shares right now FREE REPORT: Why this £5 stock could be set to surge
It is also worth mentioning Alex Cuthbert’s jinking try that sealed victory in 2012. The Cardiff Blue had scored well in the Heineken Cup before the region fell out of the competition and he bagged a try last weekend, despite his team having to climb a mountain.Maybe a big man will lift the crowd this weekend, with both teams desperate for a victory.Ireland v EnglandAt the double: Greenwood celebrates his second in 2003The last time England were building towards ‘something special’ they had a championship decider in Dublin.It is far too early to say that this Sunday’s clash will decide the whole tournament. However, Ireland will still want to guard against history repeating itself. That day, in 2003, England ran riot with Will Greenwood scoring twice and team-mates Tindall, Dallaglio and Luger all dotting down while Jonny Wilkinson helped himself to 15 points. The score was 6-42.England now have a multi-skilled No 12, men who can bash and a fly-half who racks up points…While we are looking at tries, legend Brian O’Driscoll has only scored 3 times in this fixture since 2000 – although he does have one drop-goal – but Ireland have won 8 of their 11 6 Nations matches when O’Driscoll has been named in the starting line-up. Two notable victories in amongst those came in ’06 and ’09. In 2006, 2 tries from Shane Horgan and a score from Denis Leamy were enough to see the Irish past the English and saw them take a Triple Crown. In 2009 they won by a point, with a close-range try from O’Driscoll helping them to a 14-13 success.No doubt many expect a nip-and-tuck affair at the Aviva, with some magic from a centre or a fly-half simply stretching out the win. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS DUBLIN – MARCH 30: Will Greenwood, the England centre celebrates with team mate Jason Robinson after scoring his second try in the RBS Rugby Union International match between Ireland and England at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland on March 30, 2003. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) Moment of magic: Wales flanker Martyn Williams bursts away from the French to score an impossible try in 2008By Alan DymockROUND TWO of the RBS 6 Nations throws up some intriguing match-ups, with Scotland facing a white-hot Italy, an out-of-sorts Wales facing a flailing France and Ireland’s match with England being billed as ‘winner takes all’.If we look into the past, though, have these matches thrown up any interesting pointers?Scotland v ItalyTekkers: Sergio Parisse let’s fly with a drop goal in 2009Italy have beaten Scotland 6 times, while Scotland have triumphed on 7 occasions. Italy won the first time in 2000, and the last time, in 2012. The try count is also equally balanced with 19 Scots dots only slightly better than Italy’s 17. Neither team are the most prolific of scorers, but we all remember that remarkable day in ’07 when Italy scored three times in the first six minutes.The biggest poacher in that time? Well, the only current squad member who has scored more than once in this match is Andrea Masi, with 2. Perhaps this is because, traditionally, this fixture is won with the boot. Luciano Orquera and Greig Laidlaw will be hitting for the sticks on Saturday, but they have some way to go before they get near to the legends of the tee. Diego Dominguez nudged 8 penalties in his games against Scotland in the 6 Nations, while Chris Paterson claimed a stonking 21 three-pointers in total against Italy.While we are at it: does anyone remember the bulging polymath Sergio Parisse knocking over a drop-goal in 2009?France v WalesThis is a game that tends to bring out big pack performances. The likes of Morgan Parra, James Hook, Stephen Jones, Jean-Baptiste Élissalde and Dimitri Yachvili have all built scores thanks to penalties won off the back of grunting forwards. However, do you remember the try brace from Lionel Nallet in ’11, or even the two tries from Martyn Williams in ’05? Remember Nugget at it again in ’08 when he dummied and darted to an impossible score to help Wales and a magical Shane Williams topple France and claim a Grand Slam? One year later, of course, Nallet and a try-scoring Thierry Dusautoir made sure Wales lost for the first time in almost two years as they squeezed them out in the Stade de France.
Everything you need to know ahead of this West Country Derby LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Gloucester: Louis Rees-Zammit; Ollie Thorley, Chris Harris, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May; Danny Cipriani, Joe Simpson; Val Rapava-Ruskin, Jack Singleton, Fraser Balmain, Ed Slater, Matt Garvey, Ruan Ackermann, Lewis Ludlow (captain), Jake Polledri.Replacements: Franco Marais, Logovi’i Mulipola, Jack Stanley, Danny Drake, Jack Clement, Stephen Varney, Tom Seabrook, Charlie Sharples.Bristol: Max Malins; Alapati Leiua, Semi Radradra, Siale Piutau, Henry Purdy; Callum Sheedy, Andy Uren; Jake Woolmore, Harry Thacker, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Joyce, Chris Vui, Steven Luatua (captain), Ben Earl, Nathan Hughes.Replacements: Will Capon, Yann Thomas, Max Lahiff, Ed Holmes, Dan Thomas, Harry Randall, Tiff Eden, Luke Morahan.If you don’t want to miss this top-of-the-table clash, we explain how to find a reliable live stream for Sale v Exeter wherever you are.How to watch Gloucester v Bristol from outside your countryIf you’re abroad, but still want to watch your local Premiership coverage, like Sale v Exeter, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network.VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Premiership live stream you would at home.Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs. Familiar foes: Luke Morahan gets tackled against Gloucester (Getty Images) We recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroadWe do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing. Gloucester v Bristol live stream: How to watch from the UKGloucester v Bristol, which kicks off at 7.45pm on Friday evening, will be shown live on BT Sport EXTRa 2 in the UK, with coverage starting at 7.45pm. If you don’t have a BT contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can still easily watch it online.That’s because BT Sport has a contract-free monthly pass that allows you to get instant access to all four of their sport channels for just £25.That’s great value given they are showing every Premiership match played behind closed doors live and will also be covering the European Champions and Challenge Cup knockout stages in September and October. Plus, you can cancel at any time because there’s no contract.Get a BT Sport Monthly PassIf you’re from the UK but are overseas when Sale v Exeter takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.Gloucester v Bristol live stream: How to watch from EuropeIf you’re in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you can watch Gloucester v Bristol (kick-off 8.45pm) through the live and on-demand streaming service DAZN.Gloucester v Bristol live stream: How to watch from the USAIf you live in the States, the official broadcaster of Premiership matches is NBC, with matches streamed on NBC Sports Gold so you can watch them anytime and anywhere.The NBC Sports Gold Pass for rugby is $79.99 and includes coverage of the Gallagher Premiership, European Champions and Challenge Cups, and Guinness Six NationsGloucester v Bristol live stream: How to watch from JapanDAZN, which allows you to live stream sport or watch it on demand, is the place to go to watch Gloucester v Bristol in Japan (kick-off 3.45am on Saturday). The service is compatible with smart TVs and phones, tablets, PCs, streaming sticks, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and more.Find out more about DAZN here Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.Check out ExpressVPN Gloucester v Bristol live stream: How to watch from anywhereAlthough there will be no shouting from the Shed this Friday, it’s still a West Country Derby and there promises to be plenty to savour in thsi Gallagher Premiership clash.The hosts make two changes to their starting XV following the big win over Worcester Warriors last week. Matt Garvey gets his first start and the exciting Louis Rees-Zammit in the starter blocks at full-back.Meanwhile, England tighthead Kyle Sinckler makes his first start for the Bears, having come off the bench to make his debut in a narrow victory over Saracens last weekend. On-loan Sarries Max Malins and Ben Earl also come into the starting line-up for the first time.In January, Bristol beat the Cherry and Whites by 34-16 with a sparky second-half performance and the boot of Callum Sheedy proving vital. Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
To combat the fake news phenomenon, RSF believes that the priority should be placed on the reliability of online content rather than on repressive policies that are hard to implement and pose a threat to free speech. In this regard, RSF urges the EU to recognize and support the Journalism Trust Initiative, which makes it easier to identify reliable news and information by means of a series of indicators measuring media transparency, editorial independence, the use of journalistic methods and respect for journalistic ethics. In order to better protect the online information and communication space from the threat of trolls, those online mercenaries created by authoritarian regimes, and from the accelerating spread of false information, RSF urges European countries to quickly join the ”Information and Democracy” initiative that RSF launched in November 2018 and which is already backed by some 20 democratic countries. News Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia Finally, RSF proposes that the EU should give itself the means to impose targeted, individual sanctions on those responsible for serious violations of press freedom and journalists’ safety in third countries, in line with the “Magnitsky” mechanism in effect in the United States. When fundamental rights are violated, and especially in cases of violence against journalists, RSF proposes that NGOs and press freedom defenders should be able to urgently contact the European Commission and ask it to quickly intercede with the relevant national authorities. In her “mission letter” to Jourová, Von der Leyen voices her desire to give a new impetus to European democracy and says Jourová’s leading priorities will include combatting disinformation and defending media pluralism.“The prioritization of press freedom and media pluralism by the Commission’s future president is a positive signal,” Majerczak said. “During the campaign for the European elections, RSF proposed 10 ways for the EU to prioritize the defence of freely and independently reported news and information during the next five years. We now hope that this promising start, seen in the new Commission’s architecture, is translated into concrete actions. We will be paying close attention.”Jourová, the Czech Republic-designated commissioner to whom the values and transparency portfolio has been assigned, is commissioner for justice in the outgoing Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, whose term will end on 31 October. RSF urges her to demonstrate the same independence and integrity in her future role as she has in her current post.To defend media freedom, independence and pluralism in a continent in which abuses against journalists are on the rise, RSF calls for a periodic review of respect for press freedom in all EU member countries on the basis of an independent report that can lead to country-by-country recommendations and to sanctions in the event of serious violations. In the proposed new European Commission that President-elect Ursula von der Leyen unveiled on 10 September, the “Neighbourhood and Enlargement” portfolio has been assigned to the commissioner designated by Hungary, Orbán’s former justice minister László Trócsányi.“How are we to believe that László Trócsányi will ensure respect for the rule of law, press freedom and media pluralism in candidate countries when he has been the architect of the illiberal regression in his own country?” asked Julie Majerczak, RSF’s representative to the European institutions. “This choice raises questions about the Commission’s determination to promote the rule of law, human rights and press freedom within the EU and in third countries.” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the appointment of a European Commission vice-president with responsibilities that include press freedom, but is disturbed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s former justice minister has been named as commissioner for enlargement. The European Parliament must block this appointment, RSF says. “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan September 16, 2019 Progress for press freedom in new European Commission, but concerns as well News RSF_en Related documents rsf_2019_european_platform_-_en.pdfPDF – 383.92 KB RSF urges MEPs to raise these issues with the commissioners-designate when they appear before the European Parliament at the end of the month, especially with Jourová and with Margrethe Vestager (digital affairs and competition), Didier Reynders (justice), Sylvie Goulard (digital single market), and Josep Borrell (foreign policy and security policy). News GermanyFranceBelgiumLuxembourgSpainPortugalMaltaCyprusNetherlandsSwedenFinlandDenmarkItalySloveniaCroatiaSlovakiaCzech RepublicHungaryRomaniaBulgariaPolandEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaAustriaEurope – Central AsiaUnited KingdomIreland Protecting journalistsMedia independenceInternational bodies Freedom of expression Organisation June 8, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information to go further Respect judicial independence in cases of two leading journalists in Serbia and Montenegro, RSF says Receive email alerts June 4, 2021 Find out more After the hearings of the individual commissioners-designate, the European Parliament must approve the entire college of commissioners in a plenary session vote scheduled for 23 October. June 7, 2021 Find out more GermanyFranceBelgiumLuxembourgSpainPortugalMaltaCyprusNetherlandsSwedenFinlandDenmarkItalySloveniaCroatiaSlovakiaCzech RepublicHungaryRomaniaBulgariaPolandEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaAustriaEurope – Central AsiaUnited KingdomIreland Protecting journalistsMedia independenceInternational bodies Freedom of expression News RSF urges members of the European Parliament to prevent this portfolio from given to the Hungarian commissioner. Each commissioner is due to appear before MEPs at the end of the month.RSF nonetheless welcomes the fact that the freedom to inform and related issues are at the heart of the responsibilities assigned to Věra Jourová, the future European Commission vice-president for values and transparency. RSF also calls for the creation of new legislation that makes online platforms accountable for any failure to fulfil their obligation as regards the violations of freedom of opinion and expression that are rampant online.
News April 29, 2020 – Updated on May 4, 2020 JOINT OP-ED: Journalists are saving our lives, at a cost to their own News These actions against journalists during a global pandemic have brought into full view what the World Press Freedom Index research has shown over the years: authoritarian regimes and populist leaders have been sharpening their methods of media repression and control. Some governments use laws that feign to protect national security, combat terrorism, and quash disinformation to crack down on fact-based reporting and imprison journalists. Others use sophisticated surveillance technology to target and intimidate journalists and their sources. Organisation In fact, in at least 38 countries, Reporters Without Borders has documented press freedom violations, including censorship, arbitrary detention, harassment, and violence related to coronavirus coverage. Instead of partnering with the media to ensure citizens have access to accurate information and resources to protect themselves, governments have moved quickly to crack down on the media in order to control information about the pandemic. RSF_en News Brendan Smialowski/AFP Hungary’s nationalist government recently passed a “coronavirus law” that gives Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sweeping powers and punishes journalists who publish “false” information about the pandemic, with prison sentences of up to five years. Authorities in Egypt have blocked news websites for allegedly spreading false information about the virus. The Chinese government has disappeared journalists and whistleblowers, expelled foreign journalists, and imprisoned citizen journalists for attempting to cover COVID-19. In the United States, the White House has attacked and scapegoated the press to deflect critical questions. At certain points, the administration even barred government health and science experts from speaking to the reporters. The level of misleading information, rhetoric, and posturing has led some broadcasters to stop carrying the full White House briefings on-air. May 13, 2021 Find out more Dokhi Fassihian is the Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders USA, the US office of Reporters sans frontierès. She is responsible for programs that advocate for the freedom, independence and pluralism of journalism in the United States, Canada, the English-speaking Caribbean. For women reporters and journalists of color, the hostile environment towards the press is being experienced in very personal ways. Vicious and racist comments on social media, threatening e-mails and letters, gross invasions of personal privacy, and sexual and physical assaults are some of the many deplorable ways that women and people of color are intimidated and attacked. The International Women’s Media Foundation reports that two out of three women journalists surveyed by their organization indicate that they have experienced online harassment, and 40 percent admit the experience has caused them to avoid reporting on certain topics. Reporting on the devastation and death of COVID-19 – many without health insurance themselves or basic necessities like masks and gloves – adds another layer to the stress reporters already feel, and requests for mental health counseling are on the rise. Follow the news on Americas In a joint op-ed, RSF USA Executive Director Dokhi Fassihian and Kathy Im, Director of the Journalism and Media program at the MacArthur Foundation, argue that the often-risky work journalists across the world are doing to report on coronavirus is saving lives, and that it is our duty to protect the lives of journalists. United StatesHungaryEgyptChinaAmericasEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa Asia – Pacific Covid19 Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says United StatesHungaryEgyptChinaAmericasEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa Asia – Pacific Covid19 June 3, 2021 Find out more So, as reporters work nonstop to cover the pandemic, often at great risk to their own personal health and safety, it is imperative that we, as a society, come together to sustain trusted news providers. We also need supportive institutions that defend press freedom and assist reporters in trouble now more than ever. Because as the world turns to journalists for information that can save lives, it is our job to protect theirs. Even in leading democratic societies, press freedom has eroded steadily and significantly. Americans might be surprised to learn that the United States is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Last year, a number of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grantees were affected by a disturbing pattern emerging at the U.S.-Mexico border: Customs and Border Protection officials were allegedly targeting journalists and documentary filmmakers for secondary screenings, searching their belongings and electronic devices, and questioning them about their “propaganda” and “fake news” activities. Receive email alerts On April 21, Reporters Without Borders released its 2020 World Press Freedom Index, which ranks 180 countries on the level of freedom journalists have to do their jobs and bring news and information to the public. Not surprisingly, the report reveals that in the past year, a culture of hostility and violence toward the press was further entrenched in democratic and authoritarian states alike. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, it is critical that these attacks on the press do not go unspoken. RSF’s findings are especially troubling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlights the need for fact-based journalism to combat the spread of the virus. When journalists face barriers to freely and reliably report about the global pandemic, the consequences are deadly. NOTE: This op-ed can also be found on the MacArthur Foundation website and in the Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership’s May 2020 newsletter. And today, the rules of engagement that guide our daily lives are also changing the ways news is covered. Social distancing requirements have led local government agencies to transition to virtual meetings, severely diminishing the public’s right to observe and participate in the decision-making process. In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson has barred reporters from attending his daily press briefings and tasked his staff with selecting reporters’ questions, which they must submit by e-mail an hour prior. In Illinois, parts of a key government transparency law were suspended due to COVID-19. City Bureau’s Documenters are finding that Chicago agencies are posting details for remote participation with short or no notice, sometimes with inaccurate dial-in information. Kathy Im is Director of the Journalism and Media Enduring Commitment at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation where she manages a $25 million portfolio of investments. She is also the architect of the Jack Fuller Legacy Initiative, which supports journalism and media activities in Chicago. Reports WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists June 7, 2021 Find out more to go further 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Help by sharing this information
Amid a deepening political crisis and continuing opposition street protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, Venezuela’s security forces and paramilitary groups have stepped up efforts to silence the media. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns their attempts to suppress free speech and the freedom to inform. Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News to go further New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets Follow the news on Venezuela RSF_en Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information January 13, 2021 Find out more Organisation News VenezuelaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ViolenceFreedom of expression August 25, 2020 Find out more May 15, 2017 – Updated on May 16, 2017 Censorship and persecution: net closes on Venezuelan media Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela News Members of the police, Bolivarian National Guard, Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and pro-government paramilitary groups have repeatedly targeted, insulted or arbitrarily arrested reporters covering opposition demonstrations, and have seized and destroyed their equipment.According to the National Press Workers Union (SNTP), the first four months of the year saw more than 200 attacks on journalists. During the most recent national day of protest, no fewer than 19 journalists throughout the country were the victims of acts of aggression by the security forces.Mounting censorshipIn addition to these acts of physical violence, the authorities have been finding other ways to limit media coverage of the protests and to censor independent and opposition media outlets.Websites and radio stations such as Hit 90.7 FM, Studio 92.1, Punto Fijo Stereo 90.3 and Jet have been closed, while opposition TV stations that have been broadcasting coverage of the protests online, such as Vivo Play, VPI (Venezolanos por la Información) and Capitolio TV, have been blocked or deprived of a broadcast signal by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL).The same fate was inflicted on foreign TV broadcasters, including Argentina’s TodoNoticias and Colombia’s El Tiempo Televisión, on 19 April. They were the latest international media outlets to be harassed in a range of ways that have included expulsions, the seizure of material and equipment, and censorship.“The Maduro government’s growing authoritarianism is extremely worrying,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “Its violent harassment of journalists is in the process of destroying the freedom to inform in Venezuela, a country where it was already very difficult for independent and opposition media to work. The authorities must stop obstructing journalists, whose reporting is vital during such turbulent times.”Venezuela’s devastating two-year-old economic, social and political crisis has intensified since President Maduro’s abortive attempt in March to transfer power from the National Assembly to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and thereby govern by decree with no checks and balances.A climate of widespread violence has accompanied the many demonstrations called by the opposition to demand early general elections without waiting for Maduro’s presidential term to end in December 2018. At least 40 Venezuelans have died during protests since the start of April.Aside from the censorship, one of the gravest consequences of this persecution of the media is the difficulty that Venezuelans now have in quickly obtaining reliable and objective information about the crisis and about the acts of violence by the government against its own citizens.Venezuela is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. News VenezuelaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ViolenceFreedom of expression June 15, 2020 Find out more
ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Up to 52 inches of snow fell in Wyoming and up to 42 inches of snow fell in northern Colorado on Sunday and there were more than a dozen reported tornadoes in the Texas panhandle that damaged homes and flipped vehicles.Denver got a massive 27 inches of snow in the biggest snowstorm they have had since 2003, and the second biggest snowstorm in March in recorded history. This storm was also the fourth biggest snowstorm for any month on record.Cheyenne, Wyoming, got nearly 30 inches of snow, making it the biggest snowstorm in the city’s history.Blizzard warnings were verified in Wyoming and Colorado as winds gusted 30 to 50 mph for several consecutive hours.On Monday morning, this storm moves east into the Midwest where winter storm warnings have been issued.Meanwhile, a new storm is moving into the West Coast with heavy snow and strong winds from Oregon to Arizona.There are 11 states on alert for heavy snow, strong winds and avalanche danger from California to Illinois.As that weekend snowstorm moves from the Rockies into the Plains and the Midwest, locally 6 to 9 inches of snow is possible from Illinois to Minnesota on Monday.That second storm will move from California into the Plains and the Gulf Coast by Tuesday and Wednesday with a threat for tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail.It looks like the worst severe weather day will be Wednesday from Arkansas to Alabama, where strong tornadoes are possible.Meanwhile, in the East, a large wildfire broke out Sunday due to strong winds and very dry conditions.A red flag warning continues Monday until 5 p.m. for New Jersey, parts of Pennsylvania and into Delaware and eastern Maryland.Dry conditions will persist in the Northeast Monday along with very cold temperatures for this time of the year.Wind chills Monday morning are running below zero in upstate New York and into New England with temperatures in the teens for the I-95 corridor.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Will code end two-tier tears?On 25 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today A new code is to protect the rights of staff providing local governmentservices while working for private sector contractors, but will it proveeffective? Asks Ben Willmott The willingness of private sector companies to bid for local governmentcontracts will come under scrutiny following a new code of conduct designed toprevent two-tier workforces. The code, which covers contracts between localauthorities and private companies, will mean new staff will get pay andconditions in future, including pensions which are no less favourable thantransferred staff. Currently, existing local government staff who transfer to private companieshave their pay, conditions and pensions protected, but new starters do not havethe same protection. The code, announced earlier this month by local government minister NickRaynsford, will be enforceable through a new dispute resolution mechanism to befinalised over the next five weeks. Unions have claimed it is a significant victory for workers and will preventcontractors employing staff on different terms and conditions for the same job.However, some employers and employment law experts are concerned it mightprevent the private sector from competing for local government contracts. Philip Sapwell, chair of local government HR body Society of Chief PersonnelOfficers’ (Socpo) pay and employment relations group, welcomed the code in principle,providing it did not deter the best private sector contractors from bidding torun local government services. “We would welcome anything that clarifies the rules because it is anambiguous area. Anything that brings greater fairness into the arena is apositive development. But I would be concerned if it put the better qualityprivate sector organisations off entering into contracts.” Sapwell stressed it was essential that the new dispute mechanism was thoughtthrough properly. “I am interested to know how the code is going to beenforced through the dispute resolution mechanism. What powers will it have?How will it make a judgement over what is comparable?” he asked. The code will require contractors to confirm their obligation to protect theterms and conditions of transferring local government employees, including theright to ongoing access to the local government pension scheme or analternative good quality occupational pension scheme. Besides local authorities, the guidance will also apply to police, fire,waste disposal and passenger transport authorities, Transport for London, andthe London Development Agency. The CBI accused the Government of moving the goalposts for private sectorstaff over the code and undermining its own att-empts to improve publicservices. CBI’s director general Digby Jones said: “The Government wants toimprove the delivery of public services but this is a significant stepbackwards and raises real questions about whether ministers are ready to takethe tough decisions necessary for meaningful reform. “By enforcing an inflexible pay structure, the Government has made itharder to reflect differences in regional economies,” he said. “Whatthe unions want is to replicate old local authority employment practices withno reform. Many privately employed public service workers know that ‘different’does not mean worse.” Jones also highlighted the CBI’s concerns over the Government’s disputeresolution plans and raised the possibility of third-party interference in everydisagreement. “Firms could be left permanently uncertain about thelegitimacy of terms and conditions they agree with staff.” Restricts private sector Many public private partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Initiative (PFI)employers would be extremely worried about the code says Emma Burrows, head ofemployment at City law firm Trowers and Hamlins. “Arguably, it restricts the private sector’s ability to deliverservices in the most efficient manner. This is not just because it increasesstaff costs, but also because it makes it harder to improve productivitythrough introducing incentives such as performance-related pay which might beseen as less favourable to public sector terms.” Burrows said the code might create a two-tier workforce among contractors’staff – those providing local government services and those who are not. However, outsourcing specialists Capita, which has secured numerous localgovernment service contracts, said the company would be happy to implement thenew guidelines. John Tizard, director of policy and public affairs for Capita Group, said hedid not forsee any particular problems. “We offer competitive terms andconditions for all our 17,000 employees – whether they have joined throughTransfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – TUPE – or directly,”he said. Tizard said the firm’s low staff turnover demonstrated its commitment to allstaff. “We will continue to work with our managers, public sectorcustomers, staff and trade unions to address and implement the code on ‘twotier’ to ensure we deliver to our customers and for our business.” The CIPD’s lead adviser on public policy Diane Sinclair hopes changes willnot place too much emphasis on the importance of terms and conditions at theexpense of other issues impacting on the working environment. “The code is not the only answer for good employee relations in thepublic sector and outsourced services,” she said. “It is not onlyterms and conditions that are important to achieve the reform of public services,but overall workplace culture, including issues such as work-life balance andlevels of personal autonomy and control. It is also important to create theright environment to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce.” John McMullen, head of employment law at Pinsent Curtis Biddle, said thecode gave local authority workers much greater protection. “This goesbeyond what is required by TUPE because it does not just protect public sectorworkers transferring to the private sector but also new starters who work onthe same contracts,” he said. McMullen agrees the code may well undermine the competitive advantageprivate sector contractors have traditionally had in bidding for localgovernment contracts. “The cost of contracting may well become moreexpensive and in-house teams more competitive. There may not be such anemphasis on cutting costs and more on service delivery and efficiency,” hesaid. Union victory McMullen added that he would not be surprised if central government and NHSstaff were given the same protection in the future – something which theTransport and General Workers Union has already called for. The GMB and Unison proclaim the code as an important victory for the unionmovement. Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis, said: “When this codecomes into force, private companies will be prevented from winning contracts bycutting the pay and conditions of staff and it will have to compete on a levelplaying field for the first time. “I am confident that when it comes to competing on quality, the publicsector will beat private sector companies hands down and more contracts willreturn in-house.” www.odpm.gov.ukFactfilePension arrangements for new joinersunder the new code will mean the service provider will have to offer one of thefollowing pension provision arrangements:– Membership of the local government pension scheme, where theemployer has admitted body status within the scheme and makes the requisitecontributions– Membership of a good quality employer pension scheme, eithera contracted-out final salary-based defined benefit scheme or a definedcontribution scheme– Employers providing defined contribution or stakeholderschemes must match employee contributions up to 6 per cent Related posts:No related photos.
Polar regions have great sensitivity to climate forcing; however, understanding of the physical processes coupling the atmosphere and ocean in these regions is relatively poor. Improving our knowledge of high-latitude surface fluxes will require close collaboration among meteorologists, oceanographers, ice physicists, and climatologists, and between observationalists and modelers, as well as new combinations of in situ measurements and satellite remote sensing. This article describes the deficiencies in our current state of knowledge about air–sea surface fluxes in high latitudes, the sensitivity of various high-latitude processes to changes in surface fluxes, and the scientific requirements for surface fluxes at high latitudes. We inventory the reasons, both logistical and physical, why existing flux products do not meet these requirements. Capturing an annual cycle in fluxes requires that instruments function through long periods of cold polar darkness, often far from support services, in situations subject to icing and extreme wave conditions. Furthermore, frequent cloud cover at high latitudes restricts the availability of surface and atmospheric data from visible and infrared (IR) wavelength satellite sensors. Recommendations are made for improving high-latitude fluxes, including 1) acquiring more in situ observations, 2) developing improved satellite-flux-observing capabilities, 3) making observations and flux products more accessible, and 4) encouraging flux intercomparisons.
Research by Zoopla has revealed the total earned by agents every year in fees from sales and lettings, highlighting how it pales into insignificance compared to the Stamp Duty paid by home movers to HMRC.The company’s Research and Insights Director Richard Donnell (left) told delegates at Friday’s Negotiator Conference that while buyers, renters, landlords and vendors combined spend £3.9 billion on agency fees every year, the government collects £9.27 billion in residential Stamp Duty, or nearly two-and-a-half times as much.The duty is also increasing; HMRC’s latest figures show that last year the amount of duty paid on average by purchasers increased by 7%, largely due to the increases duty for properties in the higher price brackets.Stamp Duty problemsAgents have become increasingly vocal about the problems that Stamp Duty is creating, particularly in the £500,000-plus sales market, including lower sales and greater difficulties getting buyers to make an offer as they baulk at the huge Stamp Duty bill.This, economists agents and politicians have been pointing out, is an example of the famous Laffer Curve.It is a theory made popular during the 1980s in the US and it argues that there is a point at which people will begin curtailing their economic activity if taxation gets too high.Many agents believe the Stamp Duty system brought in by George Osborne is already tipping the market into Laffer curve territory, and that the figures from Zoopla support this point of view.This is particularly important in London, Donnell’s research reveals. Of the £3.9 billion earned by agents each year, £1 billion of comes from London while £2.9 billion originates from the rest of the UK.HMRC Richard Donnell stamp duty Zoopla December 2, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’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 » Housing Market » Unfair imbalance? Agents earn £3.9bn from fees but HMRC takes £9.4bn in Stamp Duty previous nextHousing MarketUnfair imbalance? Agents earn £3.9bn from fees but HMRC takes £9.4bn in Stamp DutyResearch by Zoopla shows reveals how much agents earn from sales and lettings, and yet it’s nothing compared to the tax take by government from home movers.Nigel Lewis2nd December 20190720 Views