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German official denounces ‘incitement’ online after mask murder


German Health Minister partly blamed ‘incitement’ against government pandemic rules on social media for murder of gas station worker by man who refused to wear a face mask .

A 49-year-old German was arrested on Sunday for the fatal shooting that took place the day before in the western town of Idar-Oberstein. Authorities said the suspect told officers he was rejecting the coronavirus measures.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn partly blamed social media ‘incitement’ for the murder (Annegret Hilse / Pool Photo via AP, File)

Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters in Berlin that the suspect initially returned home after being refused service for not wearing a mask, only to return later and allegedly shot in the head. gas station employee.

“The question is, what is the environment, what are the circumstances in which such a crime can occur? He asked. “It has a lot to do with the incitement, the hate, which is posted on social media.”

A Twitter account linked to the suspect followed several far-right political figures, including senior officials of the Alternative for Germany party. Posts from the account, which was last used in October 2019, reflect an aversion to immigrants, climate activists and government.

Spahn said songs of “traitors!” Heard during anti-containment protests during the pandemic could be seen by some as a legitimation of the violence.

“Words always end up becoming deeds,” he said.

Spahn called on the Germans to speak out if friends, relatives or neighbors start to spread conspiracy theories about the pandemic.

“We must say clearly and resolutely ‘no’ to any form of pandemic extremism,” he said.

Tributes were paid to the gas station worker on Wednesday, a 20-year-old student identified on condolence cards only by his first name, Alex.

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Somerset retirement development will be affordable housing


A RETIREMENT living development in Somerset is to be re-marketed – offering over 120 affordable housing units.

Real estate firm Alliance Homes has announced that it has completed the purchase of the vacant Marina Gardens development in Portishead.

The site was purchased from retirement housing provider Lifestory Group, which completed construction in 2019 and all 127 studio, one and two bedroom homes listed for sale and rent as affordable properties.

The £ 27.8million purchase follows approval of planning to switch use of private sale from retirement living to 100% affordable housing.

The purchase is supported by a grant from Homes England and the North Somerset Council.

Iain Lock, Director of Investments at Alliance Homes, said: “We are truly proud to bring so much affordable housing to Portishead – an area characterized by challenges of supply and affordability.

“Marina Gardens will provide a range of entry routes for guests and with priority Portishead nominations for homes leased by the North Somerset Council, this will reflect the needs of the local community.

“This purchase is one of the largest purchases in a development completed by a housing association in the South West and as such represents our ambition to provide vibrant and sustainable communities at a pace and on a scale.”

Over the next 10 years, Alliance Homes plans to help tackle the national housing crisis by developing at least 2,000 new homes for sale and rent in the West of England.

Somerset County Official Gazette:

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Railroad reprimanded for canceling competition for “poor quality of entries”


East Midlands Railway has been reprimanded by the publicity watchdog after failing to award a promised £ 5,000 prize in a competition due to “poor quality of entries”.

The Build Back Better contest was featured on the East Midlands Railway website in February and invited members of the public to submit ideas to help them ‘build back better’, with the winner receiving a prize of £ 5,000.

A reader complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the contest was subsequently canceled and therefore violated the advertising rules.

Announcement of the competition (ASA / PA)

The East Midland Railway franchise is operated by Dutch company Abellio, which told ASA that it launched the competition as part of its franchise agreement in the hope that it would generate innovative ideas.

Instead, Abellio said that they had received a high volume of entries that they considered to be low quality and that they were not convinced that any of the responses would be suitable to be implemented.

They said they were also starting to see the financial impact of the pandemic on UK rail services at this point.

The combination of the two factors led to their decision to withdraw the competition, rejecting all ideas submitted.

They acknowledged that this would be likely to disappoint entrants, but felt that they had acted in accordance with the terms of the competition, which stated that they had the right to cancel it at any time.

They had decided to cancel all future Build Better contests.

Advertising rules state that contest promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment and award prizes as described or reasonable equivalents.

The ASA said the advertising code required that a competent and independent judge, or a panel including an independent member, be appointed if the selection of a winning entry in a competition was open to subjective interpretation.

“We had seen nothing to indicate that such an independent judge or panel was involved in the decision to award the prize.

“We considered that by canceling the competition for the reasons given and by not awarding the prize, Abellio had not treated the participants fairly and had caused unnecessary disappointment. So we concluded that the competition had broken the code, ”said the ASA.

The watchdog added: “We have asked Abellio East Midlands to ensure that they award prizes in future competitions, as described in their marketing communications, to ensure that promotions are carried out under proper supervision. and to avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. “

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Somerset County extends tax-exempt status to business park; officials plan an open house | New


SOMERSET, Pa. – Somerset County Commissioners have approved an extension of the Laurel Highlands Business Park to maintain its ‘tax-exempt’ status until 2031.

And they’re taking steps to make sure the business community is aware of the Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone, board members said on Tuesday.

Recognizing that efforts to market the park have not been consistent enough in recent years, county officials are posting notice boards and planning an open house on October 8 to promote the central location and site offerings.

“Marketing of the park has been sporadic over the past 10 years,” said attorney Michael Barbera. “But it’s a hidden gem in the county and it’s part of an effort to bring it to the fore.”

Located along Route 31 between the Pennsylvania Toll Freeway and Route 219, the park was established in 2006 on land that was dug out of a former state hospital, which had closed decades earlier.

Today, the lots inside the 90-plus acre park are ready to be developed, providing access to water, sewers, natural gas, and high-speed internet – the essential infrastructure that most companies are looking for, said Commissioner Colleen Dawson.

The park is home to artisanal honey maker BumbleBerry Farms and a CNG Motor Fuels of Somerset compressed natural gas station.

But for those who don’t travel to the site, there may not be enough “awareness” of the park’s available ownership – including realtors, Dawson said.

For years, the property entrance has lacked signs informing potential developers who to contact.

This is already changing, however. A new sign has been added along Route 31 and another is planned for the toll highway.

The extension of KOIZ status that was approved on Tuesday can only help these efforts, the commissioners said.

To retain the land’s tax-exempt status until December 2031, the measure had to be approved by the county, Somerset region schools and Somerset Township.

The county’s resolution was the last one needed for the state request to finalize the move, Barbera said.

Cambria County approved its own request in August to extend KOZ’s tax-exempt status to a list of high priority development areas, including the Jackson Township Business Park along Route 22, 132 acres of property from Johnstown-Cambria County Airport and 117 acres of land in Johnstown, including the hospital corridor and the former Rosedale site.

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ECB decision to cancel tour, not government decision: British High Commissioner



Pakistan has visited England twice since the start of the Covid pandemic. © Getty

The decision of the England and Wales Cricket Council to remove their men’s and women’s teams from their series in Pakistan next month should be subject to further scrutiny after Britain’s high commissioner in the country Christian Turner confirmed that his team did not advise the ECB against touring for security reasons.

While the decision to cancel tours to England came as no surprise following New Zealand’s abandonment of its own tour of Pakistan last week citing a security threat, the reasoning of the ECB, which was centered on concerns for player welfare rather than security, was unexpected. and left them exposed to accusations of selection and choice of their assignments.

It is now clear that the advice given to the ECB was that it was safe to travel to Pakistan. In addition to Turner’s confirmation that the government‘s view has not changed, Cricbuzz has learned that the ECB’s own security assessment, carried out by consultancy firm ESI Risk, which gave the green light to the ECB. toured England three weeks ago, hasn’t changed either. .

In a video posted to Twitter, Turner said: “I share the deep sadness of cricket fans that England does not tour Pakistan in October. This is a decision taken by the ECB, which is independent from UK government, based on player concerns The UK High Commission supported the tour, did not advise against it for security reasons and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed.

“I have been a champion of the return of international cricket to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts ahead of the 2022 England Fall Tour. My thanks to all the PCB members who have worked so hard to support it. J ‘hope we hear the roar of full cricket stadiums again. In the end, cricket will be victorious. ”

England have now abandoned or postponed tours to South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan since the pandemic struck as they staged a full cricket program except the latest test against India plus early this month, in their last two summers at home. This has sparked double standard accusations, especially from PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, who was keen to point out that Pakistan has made two tours of England since the COVID strike.

While concerns about player welfare are understandable, it is ironic that the ECB’s statement indicates that the tour was canceled in part due to the time their players spent in restricted environments. Nine of their T20 World Cup squad are currently playing in the IPL, living in restricted conditions in the UAE at a time when they could have rested at home in the UK.

Given the absence of security concerns, the ECB could also have explored other options to kick off the tour. It could have allowed players who wanted an extra break to skip the short trip and fill the men’s and women’s teams with those who were ready to go. After all, England successfully selected a men’s second-string team against Pakistan this summer following a COVID outbreak during the ODI series and came out victorious.

© Cricbuzz


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FEMA disaster recovery center opens in Hudson County


The center, in Secaucus, is open to all affected residents of Hudson County. Photo courtesy of Secaucus Public Library


The center, in Secaucus, is open to all affected residents of Hudson County. Photo courtesy of Secaucus Public Library

A disaster recovery center has opened in Hudson County to help residents affected by the remains of Hurricane Ida.

The DRC is located at the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center at 1379 Paterson Plank Rd. In Secaucus. The center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Small Business Administration are available at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs, answer questions about written correspondence, and provide documentation on repairs. and reconstruction to make houses more resilient to disasters.

Survivors can ask questions or request more information in person at RDC, in addition to being online or by phone. Survivors can visit one of the DRC locations and find their nearest location through the FEMA app on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

People in the counties of Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren are eligible to apply for disaster assistance. To find other DRCs besides Hudson County, visit egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/DRCLocator.

FEMA and NJOEM are seeking to open DRCs in each of the designated counties. Other centers will open soon, according to FEMA.

Apply online or by phone

Residents with home or tenant insurance should file a claim as soon as possible. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. Those who are uninsured or underinsured may be eligible for federal assistance.

Apply by visiting disastreassistance.gov or calling 800-621-3362. For those who use a relay service, such as Video Relay Service (VRS), Captioned Telephone Service, or the like, give FEMA the number for that service.

When requesting assistance, have information available, including a current phone number, your address at the time of the disaster and the address you are currently staying at, your social security number, a general list of damages and losses and the number of the insurance policy or the name of the company if it is insured.

Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary accommodation and home repairs as well as other programs. For the latest information, visit fema.gov/disaster/4614.

For updates on this and more, check out www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be contacted at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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Russia responsible for Litvinenko’s murder, judges European Court


Russia is responsible for the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, ruled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Former Russian spy Mr Litvinenko died after being poisoned by a rare radioactive substance in London in 2006.

A statement on the court’s decision on Tuesday said: “Russia is responsible for the assassination of Aleksandr Litvinenko in the UK.”

Russia has always denied any involvement in his death.

The case was brought by his widow Marina Litvinenko, who had sworn to obtain justice for her husband and to sue the Kremlin in international courts.

Marina Litvinenko, the wife of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights. (Anthony Devlin / PA)

A public inquiry concluded in 2016 that the assassination of Mr Litvinenko – a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin – who died after drinking tea containing radioactive polonium-210 – was “probably” carried out with the approval of the Russian president.

Led by former High Court Judge Sir Robert Owen, the investigation found that two Russian men – Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun – had deliberately poisoned Mr Litvinenko by putting polonium-210 in his drink at a London hotel , resulting in an excruciating death.

He said the use of the radioactive substance – which could only have come from a nuclear reactor – was a “strong indicator” of state involvement and that the two men likely acted under the direction of the service. Russian security agency the FSB – which Mr. Litvinenko worked for, as well as the KGB.

Possible motives included Mr Litvinenko’s work for British intelligence agencies after fleeing Russia, his criticism of the FSB and his association with other Russian dissidents, while claiming there was also a “personal dimension” to the antagonism between him and Mr. Putin.

The statement on the European Court’s decision added: “The Court concluded in particular that there was strong prima facie evidence that, in poisoning Mr. Litvinenko, Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kovtun had acted as agents of the Russian state. She noted that the government had not provided any other satisfactory and convincing explanation of the events or contradicted the findings of the UK inquiry.

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Extinction Rebellion protesters target Taunton banks


CLIMAT activists greeted customers at two Taunton banks during a recent protest.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion were in town to demonstrate the role Barclays and HSBC banks play in financing fossil fuels.

They were dressed as city bankers, carrying open briefcases filled with money covered in petroleum, demanding companies “Stop the Harm” by immediately halting all new investments in fossil fuels.

They handed out leaflets and discussed the protest with shoppers as they walked around town, giving information about ethical banking.

The action was part of larger protests across the country and in London, where Extinction Rebellion activists were calling attention to the huge role they say banks and the financial sector are playing in exacerbating the climatic and ecological emergency.

The group claims that in just three years, Barclays has provided £ 62bn in financing to fossil fuel companies, including companies involved in coal, fracking, tar sands and petroleum projects. the arctic.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Taunton said: “We are here (…) to tell the truth about Europe’s most destructive bank which, despite empty promises, continues to fund the most damaging projects to the environment to the world.

“We want to inform the public that one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis is to simply switch to an ethical bank.

“You can see if your bank is causing damage by visiting www.switchit.money.”

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) report warned that all new investments in fossil fuels must cease immediately if our planet is to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate collapse.

This was corroborated in August 2021 by the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), written by 234 scientists around the world.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the latest report as heralding a “Red Code for Humanity”, emphasizing the “compelling” evidence of man-made global warming.

In May this year, HSBC bowed to investor pressure over its support for fossil fuels, pledging to phase out its funding of coal-fired power and coal mining by 2030 in developed economies. and by 2040 elsewhere in the world.

Somerset County Official Gazette:
At Barclays in Taunton

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New Supportive Living Facility Opens in Yeovil to Replace Old Nursing Home


A new supportive living facility has opened in Yeovil after a former nursing home was forced to close two years ago due to “mismanagement”.

Redlief House on Preston Road is a CQC regulated home support, home care and home care provider.

The opening ceremony yesterday (September 19) was attended by the mayor of Yeovil, Evie Potts Jones, who cut the ribbon.

Read more: Up to £ 6.5million to invest in Yeovil and Wincanton leisure facilities

CEO Melissa Parfitt and Managing Director Robert Fielder started their company Redleif Care after working at the Preston Road address when it was previously Tyndale House under the management of Carlauren Holdings.

When the pair decided to start their own home care business, they knew they wanted to operate at the 18-bedroom Preston Road site and looked for investment.

Mr Fielder said: “We wanted to be able to provide care, so we decided to start our own business. Little by little, the company grew.

Redlief House on Preston Road is a CQC regulated home support, home care and home care provider.

Ms Parfitt described it as “heartbreaking” to work at the site before, after care provider Carlauren Group closed the home on just one week’s notice in 2019 after it fell under administration due to financial losses.

The house had been vacant until February, when Ms Parfitt and her daughters got down to work on the renovations and extensive refurbishment.

Ms. Parfitt said: “The personal attachment is immense. It’s not about making money or starting a business, it’s about people. I don’t want people to be seen as numbers.

Upon arrival, the property’s front space looked like a ‘jungle’ and the interior was filled with ‘trash cans’, but the newly renovated property now offers a series of stylish and warm rooms.

The facility offers residents a rental to ensure they have living rights and can then choose the amount of care assistance they want.

Mr Fielder said: “We have 100% decision making on how we should run a care service and how the person should receive that care.

“If you have a loved one who needs care and support, they should receive first-class accommodation and top-notch results-oriented care and support. This facility offers both with the protection of a rental agreement.

Do you have a tip or a story to tell? Email me via rebecca.cook@reachplc.com get in touch.

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Global markets collapse as worries grow over superpower plans


Investors from three continents abandoned their shares on Monday, fearing that the governments of the world’s two largest economies – China and the United States – would act in ways that could undermine the nascent global economic recovery.

The Chinese government’s reluctance to step in and rescue a heavily indebted real estate developer just days before a big interest payment is due has signaled to investors that Beijing could break with its long-standing policy of bailing out local stars .

And in the United States, the world’s No.1 economy, investors feared the Federal Reserve would soon start cutting back on its massive government bond purchases, which had helped stocks hit a series of record highs since. the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The sale started in Asia and spread to Europe – where exporters to China were criticized – before landing in the United States, where stocks appeared to be heading for their worst performance of the year before. a rally at the end of the trading day. The S&P 500 closed 1.7% lower, its worst daily performance since mid-May, after losing as much as 2.9% in the afternoon.

The catalyst for the fading was the continuing turmoil at the China Evergrande group, one of the country’s top three residential property developers. The company has an estimated debt of $ 300 billion and an interest payment of more than $ 80 million is due this week.

Analysts said Evergrande’s fate was severe enough that he was unlikely to survive without the support of the Chinese government. “The question is, to what extent are there risks of an overflow in Chinese stocks and then a cascade in global markets,” said John Canavan, senior analyst at Oxford Economics.

Few entities are moving the markets like the US and Chinese governments can, through their actions and inaction, and Monday’s global fall made this clear. Until recently, investors seemed content to ignore various issues complicating the recovery, including the emergence of the Delta variant and supply chain grunts that plagued consumers and manufacturers alike.

But as of this month, as Evergrande began to falter and the likelihood of a cut – or cut – in its bond buying programs increased, the protective market bubble began to deflate. . Some U.S. investors are also concerned that tax hikes are on the horizon – including on share buybacks and corporate earnings – to help fund a surge in federal government spending, the centerpiece of which is the $ 3.5 trillion budget bill proposed by President Biden. Separately, Congress must also act to increase the government’s borrowing limit, a politically charged process that has at times upended markets.

On Monday, those currents combined, reflecting the interdependence of global markets as investors around the world sold off their holdings.

The decline was most ugly in Asia, where Evergrande’s woes – its shares fell 10.2% – caused the shares of other Chinese real estate companies to fall 10% or more. Mainland Chinese markets were closed for the day, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 3.3%.

For decades, China’s growth has been driven by investments in infrastructure, including the residential real estate market, which has been funded by huge amounts of borrowed money. Banks often lent to developers on orders from the government, which viewed building construction as a source of jobs and economic growth.

“Beijing says lend, so you lend; when or even if you get your money back is secondary, ”wrote analysts at China Beige Book, an economic research firm.

Many lenders therefore viewed companies like Evergrande as having an implied government guarantee, which meant that if the company could not pay its debts, the government would ensure that the creditors were repaid.

Now this understanding is tested. The company does not appear to have the liquidity to pay interest due this week, and credit markets are largely closed to the company. Few people expect him to be able to pay for it on his own, but the Chinese government has so far failed to move conclusively towards a bailout.

The uncertainty around Evergrande is just the latest question investors have faced this year, as the Chinese government has shown signs of straying sharply from the policies that have guided its economy for much of this year. the last decade.

Shares of Chinese tech giants, including Alibaba, have been hammered this year, as Beijing flexed its regulatory muscles on issues such as data privacy. But the implications for China’s changing policies extend beyond its borders.

Restrictions on steel production due to environmental concerns have driven down iron ore prices, which have fallen more than 40% in the past three months. And global crude oil prices – China is the world’s largest oil importer – fell 1.9% on Monday.

The price of copper, used in wiring and a raw material for Chinese real estate developers, has fallen by more than 3%, weighing on producers around the world. On the US stock markets, industrials closely linked to China also fell. Freeport-McMoRan, a Phoenix-based copper and gold mining giant, was one of the worst performing stocks on the S&P 500, down 5.7%.

Elevator maker Otis, a major supplier of Chinese skyscrapers, fell more than 2%. And construction equipment maker Caterpillar, whose second largest market is China, fell 4.5%.

Looming decisions by Federal Reserve and Congress policymakers are also weighing on stock market sentiment, analysts said.

On Wednesday, the Fed is expected to signal its intention to start reducing its purchases of government bonds, which have injected trillions of dollars into financial markets since the start of the Covid crisis in March 2020.

Substantial deficit spending by the federal government helped boost growth and support corporate profits during the pandemic. But with much of that money spent, investors are now watching closely the $ 3.5 trillion spending plan Democrats are trying to push through Congress.

There are signs that they are less and less certain of the passage of the bill. This month, stock prices of companies whose operations would benefit from another federal spending shock collapsed, such as large engineering and construction firms.

Dycom, which specializes in the construction and engineering of telecommunications network systems, is down nearly 11% since late August. Fluor, another engineering and construction company that has a major public procurement business, is pretty much down. Alternative energy stocks such as Enphase Energy and Bloom Energy also fell.

Investors are also increasingly focusing on when Congress will raise the debt ceiling, a once shallow budgeting exercise that has become increasingly politicized. In 2011, the spiteful debate over raising the debt ceiling was accompanied by a market collapse, with officials in Washington appearing to flirt with the idea of ​​not increasing the constraint on borrowing, which would be tantamount to in reality to a default on treasury bills.

“His is going to be dramatic for the good of politics, ”said Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. “People don’t like it.”

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