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Worms Work Better.

first_imgChemicals are routinely tested on lab mice before they’re placedon the market. A new technique used in a University of Georgialab may reduce the number of mice needed for testing.Phil Williams, an environmental health scientist with the UGACollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, uses microscopicworms called nematodes to determine the toxicity of chemicals.Worms Cost Less and Work Better”When new chemicals are developed, at some point, animaltesting is required,” Williams said. Using animals in testingrequires proper facilities and a lot of money.”Plus, many people don’t like mice, or any animals withfur, being used for these tests,” he saidThe nematode Williams uses, Caenorhabditis, is foundnaturally in the soil. Its nervous system functions much likethat of humans. “It can’t show everything in relation tohumans, but there’s a lot we can learn from it,” Williamssaid.Mice and rats, most commonly used for laboratory testing, aren’talways the best choices. “The closer biologically an animalis to a human, the more likely we can predict human reactions,”he said.Won’t Replace Higher Animals Williams is finding nematodes very effective in early stagesof toxicity testing. But he doesn’t expect them to replace otheranimals entirely.”At some point, higher animals are always going to haveto be used,” he said. “There are some things you justcan’t learn without using higher animals.Nematodes’ effectiveness in testing for toxicity could reducethe number of new chemicals tested.”A company could make a thousand new chemicals and couldnever afford to screen them all using higher animals,” hesaid. “Using the nematode, we can easily and quickly determinewhich new chemicals to continue testing.”For chemical testing, nematodes are still in the developmentstages. But on the environmental side, they’re much closer tobeing used outside the lab.Quicker Soil Tests In Less Soil”Sinceit’s a soil organism, I’ve use it to predict environmental affectsof chemical exposures,” Williams said. He also uses themwhen testing soil samples for toxicity.Earthworms are used for soil tests, too, but they require alarger soil sampling, and results take up to 14 days. The nematodetest uses just 3 grams of soil and gives results in 24 hours.”Earthworms require about 400 grams of soil for testing,”Williams said. “When you’re working with hazardous soil,you’d much rather work with just 3 grams.”Analytical soil tests are so advanced they can detect minuteamounts of chemicals on a site. But detection isn’t enough.”The biological effects to humans and animals aren’t answeredby these tests,” he said. “You have to use organismsto see what the biological effect will be.”In December, the American Society for Testing Materials plansto vote on adopting the use of nematodes for soil testing.Used For Food Science Testing TooNematodes may have other uses, too. Williams is working withUGA food scientists to detect food-borne pathogens. Nematodesappear to have great potential in detecting clostridium botulinum,the organism that causes botulism.”Botulism affects the nervous system, which makes thenematode a perfect testing specimen,” he said.Williams also uses nematodes to test new medical imaging agentsfor a pharmaceutical company. “These agents are taken internallyfor medical diagnostics and then traced through the body,”he said. “The company can chemically make these productsfairly easily, but screening and approval is a long process.”Nematodes can greatly streamline the screening.In the future, Williams sees nematodes greatly reducing thenumber of mice and rats used in laboratory testing.”You could release a chemical into the environment for20 to 30 years and then look back and see what the effects were,but that’s not ethical,” Williams said. “You could exposehumans to the chemicals, but we would never do that. So we haveto use animal models to try to help us predict effects.”last_img read more

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Making Tomatoes Safer

first_imgWhen vegetable farmers harvest crops, they often rely on postharvest washing to reduce any foodborne pathogens, but a new University of Georgia study shows promise in reducing these pathogens — as well as lowering labor costs — by applying sanitizers to produce while it is still in the fields.Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes are major causes of foodborne diseases and of public health concern in the U.S. Tomato-associated Salmonella outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have increased in frequency and magnitude in recent years, and fresh produce accounted for 21% of E. coli outbreaks reported to the CDC over a 20-year span.Initially researchers were going to study the use of a nonchlorine-based sanitizer made of two food additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate — as a postharvest wash solution. However, at the suggestion of a producer involved in the study — Bill Brim of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia — they designed the study using the solution in a preharvest spray, said Tong Zhao, associate research scientist with the Center for Food Safety on the UGA Griffin campus.While producers commonly use chlorine-based disinfectants — including chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide — to treat produce postharvest, the preharvest application of bactericides is not a common practice, Zhao said.Building on previous studies of levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate that showed the combination substantially reduces both Salmonella and E. coli on romaine lettuce without adversely affecting lettuce quality, Zhao hoped to prove the combination’s effectiveness on reducing foodborne pathogens on tomato plants contaminated with Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes.In the field studies, the spray treatment significantly reduced the total bacterial population on the surface of tomatoes, determining that this preharvest treatment is a practical, labor-cost effective and environmentally friendly approach for the control and reduction of foodborne pathogens. The study was recently published in the journal Food Control.“This combination of chemicals had never been used for preharvest treatment,” said Zhao, who studied the combination 10 years ago as an alternative to chlorine treatment as a postharvest wash. “Free chlorine is easily neutralized by organic material, which is a big problem when you are using it to reduce pathogens.”In both laboratory and field tests, tomato plants were sprayed all over with a solution containing five strains of E. coli, five strains of Salmonella and five strains of Listeria specially grown for the study in the lab.To test the effectiveness of the chemicals in the lab as a preventative and as a treatment, tomato plants were separated into three equal groups then sprayed with the bacteria solution. The first group was treated with acidified chlorine as the positive control, the second with a treatment solution containing levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate as the test group, and the third treated with tap water only as the negative control.For the three plots used for farm application testing, the positive and negative control groups were treated the same way, and a commercial product — Fit-L — was diluted according to the manufacturer’s description and used as the treatment solution. Before treatment studies on the farm, two concentrations of the treatment solution were tested for safety on tomato seedlings in the greenhouse.Results from the studies showed that the application, used either as a preventative or as a treatment, significantly reduced the populations of inoculated Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Salmonella and L. monocytogenes on tomato plants.“I have to express appreciation to the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association for funding this and other research that is of benefit to agricultural producers in the state,” Zhao said.In addition to being effective and affordable, preharvest treatment with levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate to reduce pathogens also saves labor costs for producers who need workers to perform postharvest washing and drying of produce before packaging.“This method can easily be adopted using equipment that most farms are already using,” Zhao said. “Preharvest treatment is very effective, efficient and easy considering the amount of labor needed for postharvest washing.”For more information on the UGA Center for Food Safety, visit cfs.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

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Australian Solar Installations Set Record in 2017

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Australia, one of the world’s biggest users of rooftop solar panels, likely added the most new capacity on record last year as electricity users sought to ease escalating power bills.A preliminary estimate by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator of 1.05 gigawatts installed last year would be a record for the country, the government body said in an emailed statement Friday. While subsidies and generous feed-in tariffs helped boost growth earlier this decade, last year’s gains were driven by users seeking to sidestep a surge in the cost of electricity and a push by vendors into the commercial sector, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.“We are on track to have had the biggest year yet for installed small-scale solar capacity” in 2017, according to the regulator statement. “What we have seen is that homeowners and businesses continue to embrace solar panel systems, which is driving increased levels of capacity across Australia.”The shift to solar may have quickened as power prices spiked last year on tight supplies of coal and gas, which fuel the bulk of generation capacity on the national electricity market. BNEF estimates the cost of solar systems for residential customers has declined 44 percent since 2012.“The payback period for residential solar is now as low as it was in 2012, when super-generous feed-in tariffs and subsidies drove a massive boom in installations,” said BNEF’s Sydney-based analyst Annabel Wilton.Rooftop solar will account for as much as 24 percent of Australia’s electricity by 2040, according to BNEF’s 2017 New Energy Outlook. When combined with small-scale batteries and demand response initiatives, up to 45 percent of the country’s total power capacity will be located on owners’ properties—known as behind-the-meter-capacity—by 2040.More: Surging Power Bills Spark Rush for Household Solar in Australia Australian Solar Installations Set Record in 2017last_img read more

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Disciplinary details

first_imgFlorida Bar programs designed to help lawyers avoid mistakes that could land them in the grievance system appear to be working, as the number of lawyers disciplined has declined in recent years. Despite that decline, the Bar with the one exception of the Board of Dentistry continues to discipline a higher percentage of its members than professions regulated under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Health, according to 1999-2000 fiscal year figures. And the Bar does it in a system that is much more open to public involvement than both DBPR and Department of Health. A comparison of Bar grievance statistics and those from other professions shows that, as a whole, the Bar was almost twice as likely to discipline one of its members. “What is abundantly clear is that The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court take regulatory responsibility very seriously,” said Bar President Herman Russomanno. “The Florida Bar’s regulatory system is highly rated among other states, and we have again confirmed that it is highly effective in Florida.” The disciplinary rate for lawyers is 0.64 percent, while the disciplinary rate is 0.06 percent for certified public accountants, 0.56 for contractors, 0.33 percent for engineers, 0.31 for Realtors, 0.32 percent for doctors, 0.45 for nurses, and 1.15 for dentists (see chart). While the number of lawyers has steadily increased from 56,379 in 1996-97 to 61,014 in 1999-2000, the number of final orders in disciplinary cases in that time frame has decreased from 428 to 391. In 1996-97, there were 36 disbarments, 127 suspensions, 66 public reprimands, 36 disciplinary resignations, 88 admonishments, and 71 probations of 428 total final orders (with four injunctions). In 1999-00, with 4,635 more total members of the Bar, 35 lawyers were disbarred, 132 were suspended, 43 were publicly reprimanded, 30 resigned, 57 were admonished, and 93 were placed on probation, out of 391 final total orders (with one injunction). “I hear the rumor that lawyers are doing better, which is great for the citizens of Florida. Instead of just disciplining lawyers, what we’re trying to do is equip them to be better lawyers with our diversionary programs,” said Tony Boggs, director of the Bar’s Legal Division. Those diversionary programs include grievance mediation, fee arbitration for resolving clients’ fee disputes, ethics school, and a new program launched this month called the Attorney and Consumer Assistance Program. The ACAP program will feature full-time lawyers and staff personnel available to speak directly to consumers about problems with their lawyers and, hopefully, resolve those problems faster and avoid going through the full-blown grievance process. “It’s modeled after what we think is the best of the best, and should diminish the number of grievances,” Boggs said. “When people call The Florida Bar and say they have a problem with a lawyer, before ACAP, all we could do is give them information on disciplinary procedures and give them pamphlets so they could make a decision on their own whether there was enough of a problem for them to file a grievance,” Boggs explained. “Now, with ACAP, we will have staff people available to speak to them to determine whether they have a gripe or a disciplinary complaint. We will find out what is the nature of the problem and determine whether it can be resolved without filing a grievance,” he said. For example, the problem may simply be: “My lawyer won’t return my phone calls.” ACAP will help forge a speedy resolution between the parties. And that, Boggs said, will be not only good for the frustrated client, but for the attorney who will have an opportunity to settle problems without the full force of The Florida Bar getting involved. In addition, the Bar provides regulatory and professional activities that include a continuing education program with ethics requirements, lawyer speciality and certification programs, consumer education programs, and a security fund to reimburse clients who have lost money through a lawyer’s wrongful taking. “Even House Speaker Tom Feeney recognizes the excellent work the Bar does, saying `The Florida Bar has done a remarkably good job of disciplining its errant members.’ [The Florida Bar News, March 1],” Russomanno said. “Gov. Jeb Bush should also be pleased that the Bar is the ideal of a `privitized’ government function, with no economic cost to taxpayers,” Russomanno said. Besides prosecuting lawyers who violate rules, the Bar actively protects the citizens of Florida against the unlicensed practice of law. Currently, public members make up 45 percent of the unlicensed practice of law and fee arbitration committees. The Bar’s diversionary programs are more extensive than those for other professions. Professionals regulated by DBPR, for example, may receive a letter of guidance, but the department is issuing fewer of those than in the past, said spokeswoman Lonnie Parizek. In a prepared statement in the DBPR annual report, Secretary Cynthia Henderson said: “Our philosophy for licensing is that we, the state, must work proactively to ensure that the professions and businesses we license provide a reliably high quality of service. It is our goal to enhance the perceived value of a Florida license, among our licensees and those they serve. We believe that this can be accomplished through continuing education of our licensees and their customers, our citizens and visitors.” The only profession in Florida with a greater disciplinary rate than lawyers at 0.64 percent (391 actions for 61,014 lawyers) are dentists. Of 10,317 dentists licensed to practice in Florida, there were 119 actions, giving dentists a 1.15 disciplinary rate for 1999-00 fiscal year. Diversionary programs for dentists entail simply a letter of guidance from the Board of Dentistry, which “tells dentists they have stepped over the line and here’s how to avoid doing it again,” said Tallahassee dentist Richard Chichetti, president of the Florida Dental Association who served on the regulatory Board of Dentistry from 1986 to 1994. Such letters of guidance, he said, are for infractions of a lesser nature. If a dentist’s problem involves drug or alcohol abuse, the board diverts them to the Physician Recovery Network, Chichetti said, “because sometimes an addicted dentist may be doing everything ethically right and needs help.” From his perspective of serving on the board of dentistry for eight years, Chichetti said, “We took discipline very seriously. Dentists don’t want those practicing who are unethical or above the law. When you have one bad guy, it reflects on all of us.” The code of ethics of the Florida Dental Association, he said, “in many instances, holds practitioners to an even higher standard than what the law reads.” For example, there is no law that says a dentist can’t sell toothbrushes or dental devices to patients and not disclose that the dentist shares in the profit, or that the same products are available cheaper somewhere else. But the ethical code of the FDA does spell out that dentists must disclose that information to their patients. Unlike other professions, The Florida Bar’s disciplinary arm is an open and participatory process at all levels, with a high level of public involvement in the oversight of attorneys. Public members compose at least one-third of local grievance committees, and investigations are subject to scrutiny at every stage. In regulatory matters handled by other agencies, after a consumer files a complaint, he or she is largely left out of the process, may not attend probable cause hearings and, if no probable cause is found, may not access any records related to the complaint. contrast, the Bar shows copies of a lawyer’s response to the complaining consumer, who may attend grievance committee hearings when the lawyer is present. After a case is closed, the records except for confidential client matters become public even if no probable cause is found. No other regulatory body in Florida will confirm that a specific complaint has been filed against a professional until probable cause has been found. The Florida Bar will confirm receipt of complaints and that a complaint is under investigation. “The Bar continues to improve and expand its function to ensure that the legal profession in Florida exhibits the highest principles of duty and service to the public, their clients,” Russomanno said. March 15, 2001 Regular News Disciplinary detailslast_img
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ABA YLD cranks up hurricane relief effort

first_img ABA YLD cranks up hurricane relief effort September 15, 2005 Regular News As the eyes of the nation remain focused on the hurricane-ravaged southeastern United States, the ABA is ready to assist those impacted by Hurricane Katrina.ABA President Michael S. Greco is enlisting the ABA Young Lawyers Division and lawyers from several ABA sections to assist hurricane victims in the coming days and weeks. The lawyers will assist with insurance claims, home repair contracts, wills and other documents, and related issues.The ABA has provided pro bono assistance to storm victims since 1978, when the ABA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to utilize the ABA Young Lawyers Division in staffing a toll-free hotline open to disaster victims.The ABA has established a Web page at www.abanet.org/katrina to assist in relief efforts that will be continually updated as more information and resources are announced. Use this page to volunteer to provide legal assistance, find information on making donations, and receive guidance on how to most effectively help victims.center_img ABA YLD cranks up hurricane relief effortlast_img read more

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Šibenik has announced a public tender for a cable car that would connect Šibenik fortresses

first_imgThe aim of preparing the above documentation is to identify possible infrastructural and organizational solutions, and to select the optimal solution for the construction of a cable car in the area of ​​the city of Šibenik. RELATED NEWS: The cable car that connects the Šibenik fortresses is no longer just a dream, but a reality. reality. Of course, the city of Šibenik still has a lot of work to do, but we are actively working on the realization of this large project, which is the first prerequisite for success, which will round off and put an end to the story of the revitalization of phenomenal Šibenik fortresses. The City of Šibenik has been preparing the ground for the implementation of the project of the public cable car system, which would connect all Šibenik fortresses.  Well-known Croatian architect Nikola Bašić (author of Greetings to the Sun and the Sea Organ in Zadar) updated the idea of ​​building a cable car and escalator called “Šibenik Vertical” a few years ago. I hope Mr. Basic to apply for the announced public tender, so let a better idea and project win. center_img The estimated value of the procurement is HRK 180.000,00 without VAT, and the deadline for submission of bids is June 17, 2019. Find out more details about the procurement for the development of the preliminary design for the Šibenik cable car HERE The subject of the procurement is the development of three conceptual solutions, one of which will be selected by the Client for the development of the conceptual design, and all other architectural documentation required to obtain a location permit for the cable car that connects Fortress of St. Mihovil, the fortress of St. Ivana and the city district of Šubićevac. FORTRESS OF ST. NIKOLE IN ŠIBENIK OPENS ON JUNE 15last_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Sep. 26

first_imgRound Lake came alive with artistryBravo to the Malta League of Arts for the fantastic art event held in Round Lake on Sept. 14 and 15.The entire historic village came alive with a variety of art workshops, photo exhibits and art opportunities for participants of all ages and all levels of talent.The young, the old and everyone in between had an equal chance to be artistic.The local residents observed and enjoyed watching the groups of artists paint, draw, photograph or design a monotype print of the area homes. Many of these homeowners were thrilled to purchase the finished original works. The entire day was colorful with imagination and creativity, and the end result was enjoyed by everyone who came.Sponsored by the Malta League of Arts and carried out by energized volunteers, generous sponsors, extremely talents art teachers including Peter Huntoon, Kevin Kuhne, Carolyn Justice and other master artists, this third annual plein air festival in Historic Round Lake was a huge success. It must not be missed next year. For more information check out Maltaleagueofarts.org.Madeline SickoClifton ParkMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes In reaction to the Sept. 23 article about two young people arrested for publicly spraying swastikas, do these young people understand the meaning of the swastika symbol?Do they understand the history of that World War II time period? I am not sure they realize the magnitude of their actions.Personally, I lived through WWII with family involved in the Army, nurses who went into the death camps at the end of the war to help survivors and have many family and friends who are Jewish.Apparently, the meaning and symbolism of the swastika has changed since then.Did I miss something?Do these young people even understand the powerful historical significance of this symbol?Maybe their time would be better spent in school studying history.Mary Jean Millman ClelandCaroga Lake Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionVandals don’t know meaning of swastikalast_img read more

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In Cuba, medical students provide door-to-door virus care

first_imgIn its fight against coronavirus, Cuba is relying on its world renown health services: According to the World Health Organization the country has 82 physicians per 10,000 people, compared with 40 for Russia, 26 for the United States and 18 for China. Topics : Student doctors in Cuba are trudging from house to house trying to identify cases of the coronavirus pandemic to stop it from spreading in the Caribbean island nation.”How many people live here? Have you been in contact with foreigners? Do you know the health rules to follow?” they ask.Some 28,000 students repeat the same questions dozens of times a day, all across the country. ‘It’s not rocket science’For Carlos Lagos, 83, watching students file past his door has become the new norm.The students ask “if I feel bad, if I have a fever, how I look after myself,” said Lagos, standing at his door bare-chested due to the heat.Elder care is crucial in Cuba where 20 percent of the population is over 60.”So far I feel fine and I hardly go out,” said Dolores Garcia, 82, from behind the gate to her apartment. She’s delighted to have a face mask.”Someone who loves me a lot brought it to me,” she said.Cubans are used to going without basic necessities — there’s often a lack of soap, for example.Instead of a hydroalcoholic hand sanitizer, Cubans have been using a chlorine solution to wash their hands.With a lack of medical face masks, many have made their own from cloth, including Marina Ibanez, a 56-year-old kindergarten employee.”When I saw that people were walking around without masks… I got to work making face masks for people,” she said.Although she had no experience, she has already made 50, which she distributed to neighbors.”It’s not rocket science,” Ibanez said.center_img  ‘Solidarity and selflessness’ “We don’t have the technology of rich countries, but we have a human personnel that is very qualified, with great solidarity and selflessness,” said Caballero Gonzalez.Door-to-door care is nothing new for Cubans used to family doctors who have “always done the rounds… to look for any type of transmittable illness.”Over the past two weeks, rounds have increased in order “to reach 100 percent of the population in as little time as possible,” she said.Medical students have joined the national effort because Cuba has an abundance of them, including thousands of foreigners attracted by the country’s 25 medical faculties and the prestigious Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).”We’re already used to going door-to-door,” said second-year student Susana Diaz, 19.”There’s always a time around September-October when we do home visits for dengue. So when the coronavirus situation worsened, the university asked if we’d go door-to-door,” she said.Any suspicious illness — such as a cough or fever — is immediately reported to the local medical center.”Many thank us for what we’re doing,” Diaz said.Doctors are “much loved” in Cuba, said Maite Perez, 30, after a visit by one of the students.”I’m really happy they’re looking after our health,” she said.Perez is taking health precautions seriously: She keeps a mop at the front door to clean her shoes, categorically washes her clothes after returning home and wears a mask every time she leaves.There’s just one rule that’s proving painfully hard to adhere too: no hugging or kissing.”I just want to hold my mother and kiss her, to squeeze her… but we’re not allowed to,” Perez said. In the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Liz Caballero Gonzalez, a 46-year-old doctor, accompanies two students charged with canvassing an area that is home to 300 families each day.In a country where many people wear face masks — and some shops won’t allow customers in unless they have one — the only thing that sets the students apart is their white gowns.Crippled by six decades of US sanctions, Cuba was one of the last countries in Latin America to close its borders, desperate to keep the tourism revenue it relies on.It finally caved on March 24 and now has 212 coronavirus cases and six deaths. As a precaution, close to 2,800 people are receiving hospital care.last_img read more

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Drying up fast: less than 20 Gold Coast houses listed for $400k on Realestate.com.au

first_img2218 Springbrook Rd, Springbrook.“There is a new estate at Maudsland called Huntington Rise that hasn’t even been developed yet but we are selling even before the trees have been cleared,” she said. “There are 55 blocks but we already have 40 buyers.” In Pimpama a 26-block estate, Town Centre North, has five blocks left two weeks after launching to the market. “Most of these buyers are renting two streets away and see more value in buying a property rather than spending money on rent and they know houses won’t be cheap forever with the amount of land left.” 70 Flora Terrace at Pimpama is one of the cheapest buys on the Gold CoastBLINK and the $400,000 house price on the Gold Coast could be as extinct as the Dodo bird or the Tasmanian tiger.Less than 20 houses are listed for that price on realestate.com.au and property experts say it will be dead within three years.Across the nation 31 per cent of houses and 37 per cent of units sold for less than $400,000 in the year to June 2017. 14 Oakdale Ave, Nerang.Ten years ago, 62 per cent of all house sales and 68 per cent of unit sales were below $400,000. CoreLogic data shows the average number of houses on the Gold Coast market two years ago with a price tag between $300,000-$499,999 was 1273 compared to an average of 911 houses now.The average price for a house on the Gold Coast is now $620,000.First-home buyer specialist Sarah Zawadzki, from Collins House Property Group, said she had 1000 people on her books wanting to enter the market. “This week I have had a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old each searching for a home in the $400,000 price bracket,” Ms Zawadzki said.“We have more buyers than we have properties and Pimpama has some of the most affordable properties on the Gold Coast. 38 Ee-jung Rd, Springbrook.“In the next three years I don’t think Gold Coast buyers will see a house for that price anywhere but that is expected when you have a city that is growing and moving in the right direction. “It is a matter of fact that when the population grows so does everything else, including house prices, it does put pressure on the property market.” Mr Newlands said the fade out of the $400,000 price tag was due to the lack of land available. More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North3 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa23 hours ago“Land is becoming expensive because of supply in demand, there is a shortage of land so buyers are having to go out further north and west to get it,” he said. “The great thing about the Gold Coast is that we are affordable compared to big city markets and when the Commonwealth Games is gone we still have our booming construction, tourism and education industries.” 15 Mundora Rd, Springbrook.RP Data’s senior research analyst Cameron Kushler said the increases in dwelling values led to a significant reduction of sales occurring below $400,000. Mr Kushler said while houses in regional towns were not as endangered, the Gold Coast was facing the same increase as big cities. “There are far fewer properties selling below $400,000 in capital cities than there are in regional areas of the country,” Mr Kushler said.center_img 43 Tooraneedin Rd, Coomera.Ms Zawadzki said the most in-demand suburbs were Oxenford and Maudsland, with up to 10 home buyers inquiring per property.“The demand for new house and land packages is overwhelming,” Ms Zawadzki said.“It started to pick up towards the end of April and now I am getting so many calls and emails from first-home buyers wanting to get into the market that it is taking days to respond.”REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman John Newlands said: “The whole coastal strip is going to be well over the $400,000 price range before we know it but there are still plenty of opportunities to live centrally in townhouses and units for that price. 43 Tooraneedin Rd, Coomera.“The Federal Government attempted to address housing affordability in the Budget this year. It is clear that in order to improve housing affordability there is much more work to be done on both supply and demand drivers of the market.“A greater supply of stock which could potentially reduce prices would at the very least be a good start but the supply needs to be supported by sufficient infrastructure and employment opportunities.”Ray White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said the shortage of properties on the Gold Coast was due to a strong sales activity.“You can see how the Coast is transforming. “As always the growth in the market started in this lower price bracket and this ultimately fed through to those in higher price brackets. This shortage of lower-end product has driven prices higher across the board. 14 Oakdale Ave, Nerang. HOUSES LISTED FOR UNDER $400,000 38 Ee-Jung Rd, Springbrook — $335,00030 Carnarvon Court, Pimpama — $370,000 — $380,00051 Collingrove Cct, Pimpama — $379,000111 McAuley Pde, Pacific Pines — Offers over $350,000 34 Cox Rd, Pimpama — Offers over $390,00058 Carnarvon Court, Pimpama — Offers Over $390,00021 Tarlington Lane, Lower Beechmont — $395,00043 Tooraneedin Road, Coomera — $395,00014 Oakdale, Nerang — $399,00046 Crusader Way, Nerang — Offers over $399,000 11 Bedivere Drive, Ormeau — $399,000 20 Danbulla St, Pimpama — $399,00015 Mundora Rd, Springbrook — $399,5002218 Springbrook Rd, Springbrook — Offers over $399,00043 Tooraneedin Rd, Coomera — $395,00011 Trade Winds Drive, Helensvale — $399,00070 Flora Terrace, Pimpama — Offers between $380,000-$400,000Source: Realestate.com.aulast_img read more

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IORP II criticised as restrictive ‘corset’ by German association

first_imgAden said that the draft proposal and the recent debate around the inclusion of the occupational sector in the packaged retail investment products (PRIPS) regulation that would have made it mandatory to publish Key Information Documents (KIDs) showed the Commission wished to treat bAVs no different from individual life insurance contracts or other financial products.He emphasised that the involvement of sponsors and employees in investment decisions underlined this difference.“They are not in competition [with insurers] and are already strictly regulated on a national level by the BaFin,” he added.Aden was also critical of the “vague” proposals for risk evaluation measures for pension funds, which would require all schemes to conduct regular reviews of investment strategy and other factors when there was a material change in funding.“There is a real danger that Solvency II could be introduced through the back door,” he said, echoing concerns previously raised by numerous people in the industry.The chairman said that if what was proposed in the IORP Directive resulted in decisions on risk evaluation being left with national regulators, then a “practical and sensible solution” could still be found for all involved.VFPK also joined the Dutch and Finnish industry in criticising proposals for a universal pension statement as leading to an increase in bureaucracy that would scare off both employees and employers. A German pension association has criticised the restrictive “corset” of regulation proposed by the European Commission’s revised IORP Directive, noting that the vague risk evaluation measures could still lead to the introduction of rules akin to Solvency II.VFPK, the association representing the interests of company schemes, said that the proposed changes did nothing to increase the attractiveness of occupational provision (bAV) in Germany and would result in increased costs with little discernable benefit.Helmut Aden, chairman of the association, acknowledged that the Commission was attempting to increase the stability of pension systems across Europe. “What is now being proposed in the Directive is, in many areas, more expensive, provides little additional benefit and is trying to impose a standardised European corset on areas that are regulated differently in each member state.”According to the association, the proposed Directive further underlines Commission’s lack of understanding of bAVs.last_img read more