Friday, 31 August 2012

Across USA, pace of jobs recovery is all Over the map

After cutting its staff by 30% in the recession, Dura-Bond Industries is hiring 75 workers for a planned Pittsburgh-area factory that will make pipeline coatings to feed a natural gas drilling boom that's lifting the state's economy.

In West Palm Beach, Fla., a far more tenuous rebound in residential and commercial construction is underway. Uncertain whether the recovery will strengthen, land planners Ken and Wendy Tuma have added just two employees to their staff of 22 recently, opting to put in extra hours themselves to handle the slightly heavier workload.

Pennsylvania and Florida, both key battleground states in this fall's presidential election, highlight a jobs recovery that's been uneven across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. While Pennsylvania has regained 57% of the jobs it lost in the recession, Florida has recaptured just 19%, based on average monthly employment gains in the second quarter.

INTERACTIVE: Where the jobs are More than three years after the Great Recession ended, the U.S. has recovered slightly less than half of the 8.8 million jobs that vanished in the downturn, producing a patchwork of thriving state economies, some still troubled and many in a wide in-between. Generally, energy strongholds are leading the jobs recovery. The Rust Belt has made significant strides on an auto industry rebound and rising exports but is still well off pre-recession peaks. And states pummeled by the housing crash are trailing.
About half the states have recouped about a third or fewer of their lost jobs. Just four, and Washington, D.C., have returned to peak employment, according to USA TODAY's analysis of quarterly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics starting from January 2007.
IHS Global Insight expects nearly half the states to return to peak employment by the end of 2013, more than four years after the recovery began. Twenty-three states aren't expected to reclaim all their lost jobs until 2015 or later.

The wide disparities among states could help tip the election, possibly benefiting President Obama in swing states that have recovered most or all of their lost jobs and giving Republican nominee Mitt Romney an advantage in states that are lagging."It's not a conclusive factor, but it's an important part of the environment," says Steven Schier, a political science professor at Carleton College in Minnesota.
Neither candidate appears to have a clear edge. Six swing states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire and Ohio — are within 1.5% to 5.1% of their pre-recession employment peaks. The other six —North Carolina, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and Nevada — are 5.2% to 12.6% below their peaks.

Nationwide, the glacial payroll recovery can be traced to a bruising downturn sparked by a real estate crash that decimated household wealth and set off a credit crisis that slowed lending. In July, U.S. unemployment ticked up from 8.2% to 8.3%, and the jobless rate rose in 44 states, the most states to post a monthly increase in three years.The slow upswing is affecting regions of the country less uniformly than previous recoveries, says IHS economist Jim Diffley. In the Northeast, for example, a high-tech rebound is bolstering job growth in Massachusetts and New York, but a slowdown in pharmaceuticals is hobbling New Jersey. The real estate downturn, meanwhile, has hampered Florida and Georgia far more than Tennessee and Kentucky, both of which are benefiting from the auto industry comeback.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, attributes the current recovery's 50-state hodgepodge to the fact that industries such as technology, biotech and global finance are no longer concentrated in hubs such as New York and the Silicon Valley, but rather are spread across the country."You can find pockets of strength everywhere and pockets of weakness everywhere," he says.
Here's a look at the jobs recovery in some of the strongest, weakest and middle-of-the-pack states.
Fuel and food drive leaders

Just four states — oil-producing strongholds North Dakota, Louisiana, Alaska and Texas — have returned to peak employment, riding a global energy boom. Other energy and agricultural states in the nation's breadbasket, including Oklahoma, Nebraska and South Dakota, are within a percentage point of their peak. All these states lost relatively few or no jobs in the downturn and have benefited from a worldwide surge in food and energy prices.
North Dakota, for example, grew payrolls through the recession. Unconventional drilling techniques are extracting oil from rock formations, pushing the state past Alaska as the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas. Since 2007, oil production in the state has increased fivefold, and employment in the mining and logging sector has swelled from 5,000 to 22,000. The surge is causing hotel-room shortages as roughnecks flood the state for three-week stints, boosting payrolls in leisure and hospitality and professional and business services to all-time highs.
"We are the land of milk and honey," says Andy Peterson, president of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.
Entrepreneur Shannon Gangl is reaping benefits on all fronts. Occupancy at his three hotels in Bismarck has risen from 65% to more than 80%, leading him to boost staffing to 250 from 200.
A Montana Mike's franchisee that Gangl recently opened in Minot to take advantage of the oil boom set a national company record for opening-week sales. Hiring 130 workers for the restaurant was so tough that he's paying them twice what employees earn at his other eateries in the state, forcing him to charge an extra $2 per entrée.
And with sales at his concrete-pouring company up fivefold vs. three years ago, Gangl stopped taking bids for 2012 projects two months ago. He recently bought several 10-seat planes to shuttle oil executives from offices in Bismarck to Williston oil fields. "The opportunities are endless right now," he says.
Some states roar back
Some states lost jobs moderately in the downturn and have rebounded strongly on technology, biotech and natural gas drilling. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, for instance, each lost more than 4% of their payrolls but have recouped more than half those losses.
A natural gas drilling boom in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale near Pittsburgh has nearly doubled energy-industry employment the past five years and offset sharp job losses by Philadelphia's budget-strapped city government, according to BLS and Moody's. The natural gas frenzy is lifting makers of the pipes needed to transport the fuel to electricity producers and chemical manufacturers.
Dura-Bond laid off 150 of its 500 workers in the recession as financing for long-haul gas pipes dried up, Vice President Jason Norris says. But since then, sales are up 50%. Besides building the pipe-coating plant, slated to open this fall, the Export, Pa., company has increased staffing at its three existing Pennsylvania factories by 10% to 400. "I have a lot more business because of the Marcellus," Norris says.

In the Boston area, growth in technology and biotech is driving the recovery, even pushing up employment in the formerly beleaguered construction industry to a four-year high in July. Tocci Building Cos. recently hired about seven employees to oversee construction of a $1 billion office and lab center in Cambridge that will house life sciences firms. Demand for such projects is so high that Tocci was turned down by several subcontractors, says executive Laura Handler. After cutting 40% of its 100 workers in the recession, payrolls have climbed back to 75.
Utah and Colorado have mounted even more robust comebacks, partly as a result of growth in both high-tech and natural gas exploration. Employment in each state fell 6% to 7% but more than half those jobs have returned.
Manufacturing climbs back
The Rust Belt was hit more severely in the downturn as manufacturers intensified a strategy of moving jobs overseas and replacing employees with automation. Ohio, Illinois and Michigan have reclaimed about a quarter to a third of their lost jobs as a result of the auto rebound, strong exports of factory machinery and efforts to diversify decades-old industrial bases.
While Michigan has led the auto rebound, the nascent lithium battery industry has fizzled because of weak electric vehicle sales. The state has lost more than 10% of its population, which has shrunk its tax base and contributed to an 8% decline in state and local government payrolls. Michigan's employment is still 7% off its peak.
Ohio has fared somewhat better — payrolls are 5.1% below peak — thanks in part to a diverse economy that features a roaring steel industry that's supplying area natural gas drillers and the growth of a biomedical cluster in Cleveland.

The Columbus area — a mix of corporate headquarters, manufacturers, universities and health care facilities — has nearly recovered all the jobs it lost in the slump. Kenny McDonald of Columbus 2020, an economic development group, largely credits an aggressive effort to persuade 200 companies to locate or expand in the area over the past 18 months.
Quantum Health, a 280-employee manager of health benefit plans for corporations, has added 50 workers so far this year and plans to hire another 475 by 2014, says CEO Kara Trott. The firm was considering moving to Texas or Colorado to tap a larger pool of bilingual job candidates but was swayed by about $7 million in city and county incentives.
Housing-bust states lag
States hurt most in the real estate crash — Nevada, Florida, Arizona and California — have made small strides in recovering their lost jobs, but are among the furthest from their peak employments. The bust crushed household wealth and slashed construction industry payrolls by nearly half or more.
Few of those construction jobs have returned. And plummeting real estate values and property taxes have forced the states to chop state and local government payrolls.
Yet a technology boom in Northern California is aiding that state's recovery. Gumas Advertising in San Francisco has boosted its staff from 14 to 22 this year to handle new business from social media and other tech firms, says CEO John Gumas.
And travel and tourism is leading a modest recovery in all four states. Florida has recouped nearly 70% of jobs lost in leisure and hospitality on increased business travel, according to BLS and the West Palm Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Still, a sense of caution pervades the business community, says Dennis Grady, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. Russell Greene, CEO of Grand Bank, trimmed his staff to 62 from 100 as capital shrank to $16 million from $50 million. And while small-business loan applications have increased lately, he hasn't opened the lending spigots.



Thursday, 30 August 2012

Asaram Bapu and four others had a miraculous escape when their helicopter crashed

GODHRA (Gujarat): Religious guru Asaram Bapu and four others had a miraculous escape when their helicopter crashed just ahead of landing at a local college here today, police said.

They sustained minor injuries in the incident, police said.

"The chartered helicopter Asaram Bapu and his followers were travelling in developed a technical snag prior to landing at Godhra Science college and fell from a considerable height," police officials said.

It fell on the ground after losing balance and the impact was so powerful that it lay tilted on the ground, they said.

Bapu and the pilot had to be taken out after breaking the glass. They were rushed for treatment to a nearby Ashram hospital, officials said.

The guru was scheduled to address a two-day satsang (religious) function organised here, they said.

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  1. Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu survives chopper crash

    Times of India - 8 hours ago
    VADODARA: Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu had a narrow escape when the helicopter he was travelling in, crashed at Godhra on Wednesday.
    DGCA begins probe in Asaram Bapu's chopper crash‎ Economic Times
    DGCA begins probe in Asaram Bapu`s chopper crash‎ Zee News
    Asaram Bapu chopper crash: DGCA begins probe‎ Daily Bhaskar
    MSN India Newstrack India
    all 71 news articles »
  2. Asaram Bapu's helicopter crash lands in Gujarat

    NDTV - 21 hours ago
    Godhra: Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu and four others had a miraculous escape when their helicopter crashed just ahead of landing at a local ...

  3. Narrow escape for spiritual guru Asaram Bapu as his helicopter ...

    India Today - 22 hours ago
    Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu had a narrow escape when a helicopter in which he was travelling crash landed in the central Gujarat town of ...

    India Today
  4. Mirculous escape for Asaram Bapu, helicopter crashlands in Godhra - 1 day ago
    Ahmedabad, Aug 29: Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu had a mirculous ... Asaram Bapu is safe and he has proceeded to address his satsang, said ...
  5. Close shave for Asaram as copter crashlands

    Indian Express - 12 hours ago
    Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu had a narrow escape when his helicopter made a rough landing in Godhra on Wednesday, breaking into three ...
  6. Indian guru's copter crash caught on video - 16 hours ago
    Raw footage as renowned Hindu spiritual leader Asaram Bapu survives a ... "The chartered helicopterAsaram Bapu and his followers were ...
  7. Gurukul deaths: Panel asks Asaram to keep his date in Aug

    Indian Express - 22 Aug 2012
    The state government-appointed Justice (retired) D K Trivedi Commission on Wednesday askedAsaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai to fix ...
  8. Protests against Asaram in Junagarh

    Jagran Post - 4 days ago
    Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai both are accused in the mysterious death of Dipesh and Abhishek Waghela near Motera Gurukul in ...

    Jagran Post
  9. Bypass road turns a death trap

    Times of India - 13 Aug 2012
    A total of 86 persons have lost their lives here followed by the road connecting Asaram Bapu road and Bhanwarkuan road where 72 persons ...
  10. Live! News as it happens

    Rediff - 1 day ago
    16:24 Pilot sustains minor injuries, Asaram Bapu safe: Here's 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Indian ghost students causing UK millions in tax losses


LONDON: Indian ghost students coming to Britain after getting “admission” at fake colleges are causing the British government millions of pounds in tax losses each year.

An Indian racket is causing these losses by selling fake college documents. The documents obtained by the Daily Times are signed letters from two colleges, each falsely stating that a person was enrolled as a student and therefore could be exempt from paying council tax. If the fake student was living with another person, the note could entitle the liable individual to a discount of 25% on his council tax bill.

The false letters were given to the Daily Times by an Indian fraudster, Kiran Kumar, of the UK Study Link, a company in east London that helps to arrange college and university courses across Britain for overseas students. As he detailed his £350 charge for providing a letter, Kumar said, “Everyone is doing it all over the country. You save so much money thanks to the letter. I’ve arranged loads for people and everyone is happy.”

In reality, it is only the fraudsters who are pleased. According to the Britain’s National Fraud Authority, council tax fraud costs local authorities an estimated £131 million each year, of which £92 million is undetected single person discount fraud. A report last year by the British Audit Commission said there was a “potentially significant risk of fraudulent claims for student discount” and warned “it could represent a financial loss similar in scale to single person discount fraud”.

Daily Times undercover reporter, alerted to the activities of Kumar, visited his office in East Ham, east London. There, Kumar explained to the reporter how he could obtain a letter. “Just imagine how much council tax you [could] save in three years,” he said, adding, “And then after that you can get another letter to say you are now on a different course.”

Kumar counted out a £200 deposit and said the first document would be available for collection within days. When the reporters returned, he demanded the remaining £150 fee, saying, “The college man is taking a big risk, I’m just getting £50 out of this.” The document he provided was a letter headed “Kingston College of IT and Management” with an address in Rainham, northeast London. The college’s website says it offers a variety of courses in subjects including business management and IT.

The letter, titled “Exemption to Council Tax”, provided a student registration number and falsely claimed the “student” was enrolled on a one-year course for an advanced diploma in management. It was signed and bore the college’s stamp. Council tax in Hayes, in the London borough of Hillingdon, where the reporter claimed to live, ranges from £948.50 to £2,845.50 a year, depending on the property band.

The second document delivered by him was a letter headed “Shepherd Business School” with an address in northwest London. It falsely stated the “student” was enrolled on an 18-month postgraduate course in tourism and management. Council tax in Newham, east London, where the reporter said he lived, ranges from £834.90 to £2,504.70 a year.

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Curiosity spots mysterious 'UFO' zooming across Mars' horizon

LONDON: NASA's Curiosity rover has captured a strange white light dancing across the horizon of Mars and four blobs hovering in the sky, which UFO hunters claim are alien ships monitoring humans' baby steps into the universe. While the images are certainly a curiosity, NASA and photography experts insist they are nothing more than blemishes on the images, picked up by the camera lens sitting on the rover at a distance of 350 million miles away.

NASA has not commented on any of the strange sightings so far, but alien hunters have suggested that these are alien ships monitoring humans' baby steps into the universe, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

"Four objects caught by Mars Curiosity, very difficult to make out on original image so I have used a few filters to highlight," the paper quoted him as saying, referring to the four pin-points of light pictured in the skies of Mars. "What are these four objects? UFOs, Dust particles, or something else? As always you decide," the user said.

According to the Huffington Post, video analyst Marc Dantonio, who has worked on projects for the US government, said that these are simply 'dead pixels' in the image - a regular problem in the world of graphics. Another video appears to show an object rising from the horizon, followed shortly afterwards by another small object.

Curiosity, a six-wheeled vehicle the size of a compact car, landed inside a vast, ancient impact crater near Mars' equator on August 6 after an eight-month, 570-million-Km voyage through space.

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British Civil Aviation Authority Highly Interested In Pilots' UFO Sightings

German trade union says no Lufthansa strike on Wednesday
FRANKFURT Aug 29 (Reuters) - German trade union UFO said it would not hold a strike at national carrier Deutsche Lufthansa on Wednesday, Aug 29. But if any strikes would be staged on Thursday, Aug. 30, then UFO would make an announcement on ...
See all stories on this topic »
British Civil Aviation Authority Highly Interested In Pilots' UFO Sightings
Huffington Post
Despite the fact the UK's Ministry of Defense officially ended its UFO investigations in 2009, it appears that the British Civil Aviation Authority decided -- unbeknownst to the public -- to continue collecting reports that involved UFOs with possible ...
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'Bullet' UFO spotted over Turkey
A unique, bullet-shaped UFO was spotted and filmed over an unidentified area of Turkey and posted to YouTube on Tuesday. What makes this UFO sighting notable is the shape of the unidentified flying object and the streaming chemtrail left in its wake.
See all stories on this topic »
UFO Alien ROUND UP – UFO Evidence, Alien Abduction, Mars Rover & More ... (blog)
Over the last weekend, I have met with many in the UFO enthusiast community. At a gathering, I spoke with the group of experts, investigators and former government employees that have demanded the truth be revealed to the public. I have conducted many ...
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Did Neil Armstrong Take UFO Secrets to the Grave? (Video)
Did Neil Armstrong know more about UFO sightings on the Moon than he told the public? Was it the reason he left NASA and became a very private citizen? That's the theory cropping up on the web and discussed in the video attached below. According to...
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Giant UFOs Captured Near Moon's Surface
New video showing mile-wide UFOs orbiting Earth's moon was filmed the day after Neil Armstrong passed away. This footage is startling, and may forever change the way people think about flying saucers. Does this new information, once and for all, prove ...
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UFO or Crazy Cloud? 'Weird Cloud Atlas' Helps You Decide
Smithsonian (blog)
There are way more types of clouds in the world than “big, white, and puffy,” despite what the drawings of nearly every five year old or, let's face it, adult would suggest. Varying with altitude, moisture content and how the atmosphere is moving ...
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Smithsonian (blog)
* Pay talks between Lufthansa, union collapse
UFO union says will take massive strike action. * Strikes may come with only a few hours' notice. * Lufthansa shares down 1.5 percent (Adds Lufthansa quotes). By Peter Maushagen. FRANKFURT, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Passengers of German airline Lufthansa ...
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Flugbegleiter der Lufthansa streiken ab Mittwoch
Wall Street Journal Deutschland
Der Deutschen Lufthansa droht zum Ende der Hauptreisezeit ein empfindlicher Streik: Die Gewerkschaft der Flugbegleiter UFO hat 19.400 Kabinenmitarbeiter von Deutschlands größter Fluglinie zum unbefristeten Arbeitskampf aufgerufen. Schon ab Mittwoch ...
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'East Lancs is a UFO sightings hotspot'
Lancashire Telegraph
EAST Lancashire has been described as a 'hotspot for UFO sightings' after a number of reports to police were made. Five sightings were reported to Lancashire Police over two years, it can be revealed. But enthusiasts said sightings were much more ...
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Store requires no Indians or Asians please. ???

A contractor of Australia's supermarket chain Coles has come under fire for publishing a job advertisement, which barred Indians or Asians from applying.

"Store requires no Indians or Asians please. Must speak English (sic)", read the online ad posted on Sunday.

The ad on the Gumtree website sought cleaners for a supermarket at Eastlands Shopping Centre in Hobart, according to local media reports.

It triggered outraged on social media sites, with people calling for a boycott of the store.

Local newspaper 'The Mercury' reported that the ad was later removed from the site.

A Coles spokesman yesterday admitted the ad had been posted by a contract company responsible for cleaning its Rosny store.

"The ad was placed without Coles' knowledge and we were extremely concerned to learn of the ad and its contents," spokesman Jim Cooper said.

Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks was qouted as saying that she wanted to track down the cleaning contractor to pursue possible legal action.

"It's unlawful to blanket preclude a person because of their race," she said.

Banks said she often received complaints about job ads that discriminated against particular races.

She said both the company offering the position and the publisher of the advert could be subject to legal action.

Gumtree is probably in breach (of the law) as well because the Act says you can't publish, display, etcetera, material that is discriminatory," Banks said, adding "I've had other ads in print form and other sites brought to my attention, which I've followed up with the publisher. That tends to result in it getting pulled very quickly.

Shekhar Gupta
Capt. Shekhar Gupta [ Pilot, DIAM, M.Ae.S.I., MAOPA [USA] ] 
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