Sunnier outlook! Countrywide revises previously gloomy earnings predictions upwards

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Sunnier outlook! Countrywide revises previously gloomy earnings predictions upwards previous nextAgencies & PeopleSunnier outlook! Countrywide revises previously gloomy earnings predictions upwardsBritain’s biggest estate agency says first half of year hasn’t been as bad as expected as sales pipeline improves, but debt refinancing has been delayed.Nigel Lewis24th July 201801,838 Views Countrywide has rushed out news of better-than-expected earnings for the first six months of the year, two days ahead of its interim results due on Thursday.Last month its share price took another tumble when it revealed attempts to halve its debt through equity financing. It also said earnings for the first six months of the year would be £20 million lower than expected.The debt refinancing is now taking place but proving more difficult than envisaged. Countrywide originally planned to announce a new structure for its £192 million debt this week. But this has now pushed this forward to early August.Countrywide debt“The company is continuing to engage in constructive dialogue with its lending banks and its shareholders,” the statement says.Countrywide’s initial outlook for the first half of 2018 appears to have been too pessimistic. The company says that, although earnings will still be down on last year, its results have been “slightly better”.“The Group has made significant progress in building back industry expertise and staffing levels in sales and lettings and has seen an increase in the register of properties available for sale and the pipeline of agreed sales,” the statement says.Countrywide says it expects business to improve during the rest of this year. The second half has been traditionally been its strongest, plus help is at hand from robust performances within its surveying and financial services operations.interim results bairstow eves Countrywide debt restructuring July 24, 2018Nigel 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 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

News story: UK & USA test Naval power systems

first_imgThe project has demonstrated the capability to manage the energy demands of novel future capabilities such as the Dragonfire Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) currently being developed by Dstl & industry.The Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS) uses innovative high-speed & lightweight flywheels to provide high-power electrical pulses that these future systems require, reducing the impact of these systems to the rest of the ship, while avoiding the widely reported safety concern around battery-based systems.Fundamental to the success of the project has been the collaborative testing of the FESS at both UK and US facilities. This was undertaken under the Advanced Electric Power and Propulsion Project Arrangement (AEP3), an arrangement between Dstl and DE&S in the UK, and NAVSEA’s Electric Ship Office and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the USA. USA testing was also supported by US Coalition Warfare Program (CWP) funding.Both nations utilised a Power Hardware-In-the-Loop (PHIL) approach, where a ‘real’ FESS was integrated into a virtual ship power system emulating a RN ship operating in real-time. This approach offers a cost effective way to develop the hardware and de-risk its integration into a real ship, as well as to develop control and operating approaches.After testing the FESS at the Florida State University’s (FSU) CAPs facility, the FESS was brought back to the UK and tested at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Scotland. This has allowed the UK to develop its PHIL capabilities and allowed both nations to validate their facilities and models against each other.This work forms part of a planned wider de-risking activity to enable the RN to successfully integrate future energy intensive loads.Andrew Tate from Dstl, said: This project gave us a great opportunity to showcase the Power Hardware in the Loop (PHIL) test-bed that we’ve developed at PNDC. This test bed lets us connect real-world hardware, like the FESS, to simulated naval platforms to evaluate the impact on the ship during different operational scenarios. This testing can accelerate equipment development, de-risk integration challenges, and limit the need for costly shore demonstrators. In the case of the flywheel the 2-stage testing at PNDC, and coordinated product development with the supplier, has resulted in a significant improvement in the responsiveness and stability of the FESS system. Kyle Jennett, the PNDC MOD programme Technical Lead said:center_img This technology was originally developed by the Williams F1 team and was brought to us for potential use in Defence. We saw an attractive option to bolster defence capability through the provision of more robust and futureproof power systems for naval ships. The development of FESS and the close working we have achieved with DE&S, GKN, PNDC and our US partners has now provided a significant addition benefit in the development of real-time modelling capability and PHIL testing facilities at PNDC.last_img read more

Phil Lesh Joins Midnight North To Perform ‘Game Of Thrones’ Theme During Jazz Fest Afterparty [Watch]

first_imgMillions of people and television fanatics around the country were glued to their television sets on Sunday night for the highly-anticipated new episode of HBO‘s hit series, Game of Thrones. Down in New Orleans however, music fans were trading their televisions for tickets to all of the hottest late-night afterparties taking place throughout the Louisiana city during the opening weekend of this year’s Jazz Fest.One of the late-night shows on Sunday happened to be that of Midnight North, who were playing at Gasa Gasa. To add to the festival’s opening weekend festivities, the rock band was joined by Phil Lesh, who sat in to play on a number of Grateful Dead covers, in addition to a live rendition of the Game of Thrones theme for fans who may have skipped Sunday’s episode in exchange for some groovy music.Related: New Orleans Edition Of The Funk Sessions To Take Place Between Jazz Fest WeekendsThe performance of the television cover also featured Lesh’s son Grahame, who handles guitar duties in Midnight North in addition to his role in the Terrapin Family Band. The familiar television theme was presented with looser ease than that of the orchestral-heavy original. Fans can watch the video below to relive the band’s cover during Sunday’s performance. Last night was not the first time Phil Lesh ventured into the world of Game of Thrones. Some fans may remember when Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band treated fans to a Thrones-themed jam at Terrapin Crossroads back in 2013. It’s worth noting that Game of Thrones‘ creator, George R.R. Martin, is an avid fan of the Grateful Dead, and can often be seen hanging out backstage at Dead-related shows.last_img read more

Pecking order

first_imgIt has long been known that diversity of form and function in birds’ specialized beaks is abundant. Charles Darwin famously studied the finches on the Galapagos Islands, tying the morphology (shape) of various species’ beaks to the types of seeds they ate. In 2010, a team of Harvard biologists and applied mathematicians showed that Darwin’s finches all actually shared the same developmental pathways, using the same gene products, controlling just size and curvature, to create 14 very different beaks.Now, expanding that work to a less closely related group of birds, the Caribbean bullfinches, that same team at Harvard has uncovered something exciting: namely, that the molecular signals that produce those beak shapes show even more variation than is apparent on the surface. Not only can two very different beaks share the same developmental pathway, as in Darwin’s finches, but two very different developmental pathways can produce beaks of exactly the same shape.“Most people assume that there’s this flow of information from genes for development to an inevitable morphology,” says principal investigator Arhat Abzhanov, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology (OEB). “Those beaks are very highly adaptive in their shapes and sizes, and extremely important for these birds. In Darwin’s finches, even one millimeter of difference in proportion or size can mean life or death during difficult times. But can we look at it from a bioengineering perspective and say that in order to generate the exact same morphological shape, you actually require the same developmental process to build it? Our latest research suggests not.”The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The Caribbean bullfinches, geographic and genetic neighbors to Darwin’s finches, are a group of three similar-looking species that represent two different branches of the evolutionary tree. These bullfinches have very strong bills that are all exactly the same geometric shape but slightly different sizes.“They specialize in seeds that no one else can touch,” explains Abzhanov. “You’d actually need a pair of pliers to crack these seeds yourself; it takes 300 to 400 Newtons of force, so that’s a really nice niche if you can do that. But the question is, what developmental changes must have occurred to produce a specialized beak like that?”Ricardo Mallarino and a team of undergraduate field assistants had to collect eggs from wild nests in the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. The birds breed in dome-shaped nests with small side entrances, often in the tops of tall cacti. Photo courtesy of Ricardo MallarinoA new and highly rigorous genomic analysis by co-author Kevin J. Burns, a biologist at San Diego State University, has shown that among the three Caribbean bullfinch species, this crushing type of beak actually evolved twice, independently. Convergent evolution like this is common in nature, and very familiar to biologists. But understanding that phylogeny enabled Abzhanov, lead author Ricardo Mallarino (a former Ph.D. student in OEB at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and colleagues in applied mathematics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to perform a series of mathematical and morphogenetic studies showing that the birds form those identical beaks in completely different ways. Such studies must, by their nature, be performed early in the embryonic stage of the birds’ development, when the shape and tissue structure of the beak is determined by the interactions of various genes and proteins.“In the small bullfinch you have almost a two-stage rocket system,” says Abzhanov. “Cartilage takes you halfway, and then bone kicks in and delivers the beak to the right shape. Without either stage, you’ll fail. In the larger bullfinches, the cartilage is not even employed, so it’s like a single-stage rocket, but it’s got this high-energy, synergistic interaction between two molecules that just takes the bone and drives its development straight to the right shape.”In embryos of the small bullfinch, Loxigilla noctis, the control genes used are Bmp4 and CaM, followed by TGFβIIr, β-catenin, and Dkk3, the same combination used in Darwin’s finches. Embryos of the larger bullfinches, L. violacea and L. portoricensis, use a novel combination of just Bmp4 and Ihh.“Importantly,” Abzhanov says, “despite the fact that these birds are using different systems, they end up with the same shape beak, and a different shape beak from Darwin’s finches. So that reveals a surprising amount of flexibility in both the shapes and the molecular interactions that support them.”The finding offers new insight into the ways birds — the largest and most diverse group of land vertebrates — have managed to adaptively fill so many different ecological niches.“It is possible that even if the beak shape doesn’t change over time, the program that builds it does,” explains Abzhanov. “For evolution, the main thing that matters for selection is what the beak actually looks like at the end, or specifically, what it can do. The multiple ways to build that beak can be continually changing, provided they deliver the same results. That flexibility by itself could be a good vehicle for eventually developing novel shapes, because the developmental program is not frozen.”Following a standard process in studies of developmental biology, Abzhanov’s team began with measurements of the morphological differences between species, followed by observations of gene expression in bullfinch embryos and functional experiments using chicken embryos. Along the way, mathematical models helped the team to quantify and categorize the beak shapes they were seeing.A comparison of beak developmental patterns and eventual beak shapes reveals a high degree of flexibility in their relationship. Image courtesy of Ricardo Mallarino“We used geometric morphometric analysis, looking at these beaks as curves,” says co-author Michael Brenner, Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics at SEAS and Harvard College Professor. “The beak shapes would turn into contours, contours were digitized into curvatures, and curvatures were turned into representative mathematical formulas. This provided our biology colleagues with an unbiased way of determining which of the different species had beak shapes that were identical up to scaling transformations, and which were in a completely different group.”In order to observe gene expression in the developing bullfinch embryos, Mallarino and a team of undergraduate field assistants had to collect eggs from wild nests in the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. The birds breed in dome-shaped nests with small side entrances, often in the tops of tall cacti. In accordance with strict fieldwork regulations, Mallarino’s team collected only every third egg laid, which required them to return to the nests daily, climbing dozens of trees and cacti to carefully label every new egg. Laden with radios, notebooks, markers, heavy ladders, and a special foam crate for the delicate eggs, the team ventured into remote field sites at dawn and returned to camp before noon to incubate those they collected.“They’re much more fragile than a chicken egg, and extremely small,” says Mallarino. “We just walk very carefully.”“It’s a big logistical operation,” he adds. “It’s five months of really, really hard work under the sun in crazy conditions, but when it works it’s really rewarding. At day six or seven you have a perfect, live embryo with a beak beginning to form, and you can learn so much about it.”The next step in this work is to widen the lens yet again and compare the morphological development of a broader group of birds.“In time, hopefully we’ll see how the great diversity that you see among all these highly adaptive bird beaks may actually evolve at the genetic level,” says Mallarino. “That’s the greater challenge.”In addition to Abzhanov, Mallarino, and Brenner, co-authors included Otger Campàs, a former postdoctoral associate at SEAS; Joerg A. Fritz, a graduate student in applied mathematics at SEAS; and Olivia G. Weeks ’13.This work was supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

Overseers, Alumni Association directors elected

first_img Related Incoming Alumni Association president seeks to deepen engagement with worldwide community of graduates Focusing on people and placecenter_img Seven alumni have been elected as new members of Harvard University’s Board of Overseers and six as directors of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). The University announced the election results today at the HAA’s annual meeting following the University’s 368th Commencement.The seven new Overseers are:Alice Hm Chen, Berkeley, Calif.M.P.H. ’01Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director, San Francisco Health Network Janet Echelman, Brookline, Mass. A.B. ’87, magna cum laudeVisual Artist, Studio EchelmanVivian Hunt DBE, LondonA.B. ’89, cum laude, M.B.A. ’95Managing Partner, U.K. and Ireland, McKinsey & Company, Inc.Tyler Jacks, Cambridge, Mass.A.B. ’83, magna cum laudeDirector, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyJohn B. King Jr., Washington, D.C.A.B. ’96 (’95), magna cum laudePresident and Chief Executive Officer, The Education TrustReshma Saujani, New York CityM.P.P. ’99Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Girls Who CodeRyan Wise, Des Moines, IowaEd.L.D. ’13Director, Iowa Department of EducationFive of the new Overseers were elected for six-year terms. Echelman will complete the remaining four years of the term of Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar ’93, who has been elected to the Harvard Corporation.Wise will complete the remaining year of the term of James Hildreth ’79, who resigned from the board in view of other professional obligations.The new Overseers were elected from a slate of nine candidates who were nominated by an HAA committee as prescribed by the election rules. This year marked the first time that eligible voters had the opportunity to cast their ballots online. Harvard degree holders cast 36,735 ballots in the election, an increase of about 37 percent from 2018, when the total was 26,765.The primary function of the Board of Overseers is to encourage the University to maintain the highest attainable standards as a place of learning. Drawing on the diverse experience and expertise of its members, the board exerts broad influence over the University’s strategic direction, provides essential counsel to the University’s leadership on priorities and plans, has the power of consent for certain actions (such as election of members of the Harvard Corporation), and directs the visitation process by which a broad array of Harvard Schools and departments are periodically reviewed.The six newly elected HAA directors are: Bryan C. Barnhill II, DetroitA.B. ’08City Manager of the City Solutions Group, Ford Smart MobilityEthel Billie Branch, Flagstaff, Ariz.A.B. ’01 cum laude, J.D. ’08, M.P.P. ’08Former Attorney General, The Navajo NationSalomé Cisnal de Ugarte, BrusselsLL.M. ’94Managing Partner, Hogan LovellsAdrienne E. Dominguez, DallasA.B. ’90, cum laudePartner, Intellectual Property, Thompson & Knight LLPChristina Lewis, New York CityA.B. ’02, cum laudeFounder and Chief Executive Officer, All Star CodeZandile H. Moyo, Los AngelesA.B. ’00, cum laudeBusiness Development and Social Impact Manager, Califia FarmsThe new directors were each elected for three-year terms. They were chosen from a slate of nine candidates, who were nominated by an HAA committee as prescribed by the election rules. This year, Harvard degree holders cast 38,182 ballots in the election.The HAA board of directors is an advisory body that guides the fostering of alumni community-building and creating University citizens of alumni and alumni volunteers. The main work of the board focuses on developing volunteer leadership and increasing and deepening alumni engagement through an array of programs that support alumni communities worldwide.last_img read more

Plants’ Health Checkup

first_imgGeorgia gardeners are itching to get to the best young plants at the nursery. To get the best, give them a thorough examination before you buy, say University of Georgia experts. “The most important thing is to check the roots,” said Paul Thomas, an extension horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “You want to see fuzzy hairs on the ends of all the roots.” You can’t judge roots by the color. Some plants, like azaleas, have naturally tan roots when they’re healthy. Most perennials have healthy white roots. But fuzzy root hairs almost always mean the plant is healthy. “Orchids are the exception,” Thomas said. “They don’t have root hairs.” The best way to check the roots is to gently slip the pot off the plant. If it doesn’t slide off easily, it’s probably root-bound. Choose another plant, or plan to repot it. “If the root ball looks good, you can usually just put the plant in a pot that’s one inch bigger all around,” Thomas said. “Use fresh soil when replanting, to cut down on disease.” If the plant is root-bound, you can still work with it. “Remove the bottom quarter-inch and the top quarter-inch of the root ball with your fingers,” he said. “Then take a clean pocketknife and make several incisions on opposite sides the length of the root ball. These will allow roots to expand once repotted.” You can open and tease the roots out, but Thomas doesn’t recommend pulling the root ball apart. “Most plants have delicate roots,” he said. “Too many broken roots can be fatal. Work carefully and slowly.” After you check the roots for a healthy life-support system, check for diseases and insects. The most common pest problems in young nursery plants include whiteflies and aphids, said Beverly Sparks, a UGA extension entomologist. “To avoid problems, inspect the plants closely for all stages of the insect,” Sparks said. “The immature stages of whiteflies are found on the underside of leaves. They often go unnoticed until the adults emerge and fly around plants.” Aphids are small and can go unnoticed until the population is large and the plant’s new growth curls, twists or dies back. “With heavy populations,” Sparks said, “you may also notice an accumulation of honeydew, a sticky secretion.” If you don’t find the pest until you get home, the case may be terminal. “Most of these type problems take persistence, time and knowledge of the pest biology and control options to eliminate the pest,” Sparks said. “It’s often more effective to replace infested plants than to fight the battle.” Diseases can be even more complicated to detect and diagnose. Some that are easier to spot are: Fungal leaf spots. Fungi cause these. Usually, spots are round to irregular with a tan to grey center and a dark border (brown or purple). They’re found most often during wet springs and falls. Powdery mildew. Look for white to grayish, powdery spots on the leaf or stem. They may cover the entire leaf. Powdery mildew occurs most often in spring and fall when nights are cool. Rust. Look for orange to rust-colored pustules on the leaf underside. “Avoid plants showing these symptoms,” said Jean Woodward, a UGA plant pathologist. “Don’t buy a plant with leaf spots or blights, because you will bring the disease into your yard and battle it always.” You can’t “cure” it, she said. “Don’t buy plants that look off-color or weak, either. They probably have a root rot disease,” she said. “Healthy roots are really the key to healthy plants,” Thomas said. “You can revive most plants with healthy roots by applying fertilizer and then sitting it in a sunny window.”last_img read more

Siemens wins turbine contract for 325MW wind farm in Texas

first_imgSiemens wins turbine contract for 325MW wind farm in Texas FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Siemens Gamesa has won turbine orders for two wind projects in Texas with a total installed capacity of 325MW.The projects, being developed by an undisclosed client, comprise the supply of 65 SG 5.0-145 wind turbines and a multi-year service agreement. Deliveries will begin in the summer of 2021 with both sites expected to be commissioned by end of that year.The win takes Siemens Gamesa’s total installed capacity close to 6GW in Texas.Siemens Gamesa onshore North America CEO Shannon Sturgil said: “An order of this size evidences the strong suitability and success of the SG 5.0-145 for the US market. We are proud to contribute enough low cost, clean energy for nearly 100,000 average US households to Texas, a leading state in wind energy.”The SG 5.0-145 wind features a control system with “enhanced blade aerodynamics to optimise power generation”. It has a flexible power rating that ranges between a 4.0 and 5.0, to provide a “tailored solution that fits specific site conditions”.Siemens Gamesa has supplied 22GW in the US, across 34 states, providing enough energy for over 6.5 million average US homes.More: Siemens Gamesa scores 325MW Texas orderlast_img read more

Did Mount Everest shrink?

first_imgScientists suspect that Mount Everest may have shrunk by at least three feet following Nepal’s massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015. Satellite data suggested the mountain may no longer measure 29,029 feet in height.A team of thirty scientists will be on the mountain this spring, lugging up specialized equipment to precisely measure the mountain. With new technology, they will be able to determine the height of Everest to the centimeter Everest was last officially measured in 1955.Mount Everest is 700 feet taller than the second tallest mountain, K2 in the Karakoram Range in Pakistan. This expedition could take up to six months due to the extreme conditions needed in order to safely summit the highest mountain on earth. After they place the equipment on the summit, it will take four days to determine the accurate measurement.Mount Everest sits at the border of Tibet and Nepal, and both the Nepalese and Chinese governments must be consulted in order to conduct the expedition.Learn more here.last_img read more

Escape to the mountains for a weekend of great music under the stars!

first_imgOn July 27, a rock band backed by the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. PSO Rocks! “Still Stardust, Still Golden – Woodstock at 50,” will revisit the songs that made this three-day festival one of the most iconic events in music history. One Giant Leap – “The Planets” and Beyond, on July 20, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the First Moon Landing with a multimedia extravaganza! Tour the galaxy with music and fascinating imagery of official NASA video footage and photos of planets and space scenes, projected onto the big screen. This imagery will provide an exciting backdrop to the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Gustav Holst’s, “The Planets.” Here are some of the highlights of this year’s concert series. For the full concert lineup or to purchase tickets visit our website.   For those who want to turn their music festival experience into a Weekend Getaway, our one- and two-night package deals offer discounts on concert tickets and lodging at Shrine Mont. Rooms in the historic hotel and other cabins and cottages on the pristine 100-acre property make it convenient to walk to concerts in the evenings and visit local attractions during the day. The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, now in its 56th season, will feature eight outdoor concerts this summer, from July 19 through September 1. Our concerts take place at Shrine Mont, a beautiful historic retreat and conference center, in Orkney Springs, Va. Its location at the foot of Great North Mountain provides a stunning backdrop for our evening concerts, and the venue’s modest size allows for great views of the stage from both the covered pavilion and lawn seating areas.   The best part is our low price of $10 per child forlawn admission (ages 3-17) andfree lawn admission for children 2 and under! If you want to spend the night orweekend at our venue, package deals also include the children’s discounts on concerttickets plus accommodations at Shrine Mont for ages 4-12 (ages 3 and under stayfor free).  We love to see families Come Together to enjoy great music under the stars at SVMF!center_img Our 2019 summer season will kick off July 19 with The Drifters, The Platters and Cornell Gunter’s Coasters, all known for their classic Doo-Wop and Motown hits, including “Under the Boardwalk,” “Only You,” “Yakety Yak,” “Up on the Roof,” “This Magic Moment,” and many more. Other concerts in our lineup include The Beach Boys on July 26, The Oak Ridge Boys on Aug. 9 and Home Free on Aug. 10. and Judy Collins on Aug. 31. SVMF will also be celebrating the 50thanniversaries of two historic events this summer. Our concertseries will come to a close on Sept. 1 with the Hot Strings and Cool BreezesMinifest, featuring The Travelin’ McCourys, Sierra Hull and Justin Moses, andThe Becky Buller Band. The lawn is a great seating option for families. Spread outon the lawn with chairs and a blanket and enjoy a picnic dinner before themusic starts. If the kids get a little restless, they can frolic and play inthe grass or pal around with friends and siblings in a safe environment. last_img read more