Covid19: UK Payment Holiday Extended for 3 months

The UK government has told banks to give more time to millions of people struggling with debts owing to the coronavirus crisis.

Credit card, store card, catalogue credit and personal loan customers will be able to defer repayments for another three months.

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The help was first ordered by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in April.

Anyone taking advantage of the freeze must still pay back the debt at the end of the deferral period.

This has prompted debt charities to warn of the potential for individuals’ financial problems to simply be stored up for a later date.

The FCA said that if borrowers could resume their repayments they should do so, to avoid getting into more serious difficulty in the future. Banks may also be stricter in who qualifies for the payment deferral, and might only agree to a reduction in minimum repayments.

The regulator stressed that using the payment deferral should not affect a borrower’s credit rating. However, it warned that loan providers did have other ways to check on whether payment holidays had been taken, such as asking for bank statements, when making decisions on whether to agree to credit applications.

Although these extensions are currently proposals, banks only have until Monday to comment and the FCA expects the rules to be implemented soon after.

Help for people with car finance, payday loans, rent-to-own deals, pawnbroking, and buy-now-pay-later agreements will be updated by the regulator at a later date.

Most Banks are currently offering interest free overdraft up to a certain amount with reduced interest rate.

Check for details on your banks website. Most application can be done online.

Source: BBC News

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Covid19: Air pollution falls sharply across the world

With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced.

Scientists say that by May, when CO2 emissions are at their peak thanks to the decomposition of leaves, the levels recorded might be the lowest since the financial crisis over a decade ago.

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Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.

Emissions of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply.

But there are warnings levels could rise rapidly after the pandemic.

An analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief suggested there had been a 25% drop in energy use and emissions in China over a two week period. This is likely to lead to an overall fall of about 1% in China’s carbon emissions this year, experts believe.

Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded significant falls in nitrogen dioxide, which is related to reduced car journeys and industrial activity. The gas is a serious air pollutant and also indirectly contributes to the warming of the planet.

With aviation grinding to a halt and millions of people working from home, a range of emissions across many countries are likely following the same downward path.

While people working from home will likely increase the use of home heating and electricity, the curbing of commuting and the general slowdown in economies will likely have an impact on overall emissions.

Source: BBC News

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State of emergency declared in Australia due to worst bushfire fire

Authorities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have declared a state of emergency as massive bushfires rage south of Canberra.

It is the worst fire threat to the territory in nearly two decades, officials said.

The main blaze, in the territory’s south, is burning over more than 18,500 hectares.

Residents in suburbs of Canberra have been urged to “remain alert” for potential evacuations.

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“The ACT is now facing the worst bushfire threat since the devastating fires of 2003,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr told reporters on Friday.

“There’s now no higher priority for the ACT government at this time than the bushfire threat.”

The small territory, located between Sydney and Melbourne, has about 400,000 residents.

In 2003, bushfires in the suburbs of Canberra killed four people, injured another 500 and destroyed or damaged 470 homes.

Similar weather conditions were being recorded on Friday, authorities said.

Three US firefighters died on the same day after their aircraft crashed over a fire zone near the city, in the Snowy Mountains region.

Earlier this week, photos of bushfires in the area turning skies red were shared widely on social media.

It prompted authorities to issue warnings against “disaster tourism”, following several reports of people driving near active fire zones to take pictures.

“I want to reinforce the message to disaster tourists they’re not welcome as this fire approaches,” Mr Barr said.

Since September, bushfires in Australia have killed at least 33 people and destroyed thousands of homes. More than 11 million hectares of land has been scorched.

Source: BBC News

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PGIM Real Estate acquires office building in Berlin

PGIM Real Estate, the property focused arm of PGIM, has acquired an office building in Berlin on behalf of its European value-add strategy.

Bought for an undiclosed amount, the property is located in Berlin City West, with a lettable area of some 24,500 dquare metres over nine floors. It includes 410 underground parking spaces. It is located within walking distance of the Kurfürstendamm, Bikini Berlin shopping centre and the Berlin Tiergarten.

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Current tennants include BDO, Union Investment, Kauhof Group, and the Institute for Quality Assurance and Transparency in Health Care.

Dominik Brambring, head of transactions for Germany and the Netherlands at PGIM Real Estate, said: “Berlin is a real estate market with significant growth potential. It continues to gain recognition from national and international companies, driving high demand for adequate office spaces, which is offset by a relatively low supply. This acquisition demonstrates again our ability to identify attractive properties in a highly competitive market, in line with our investment strategy and in the interest of our institutional investors.”

Source: Investment Europe

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UK annual house prices increase below 5% on average

Annual house price growth across the UK’s major cities increased to 2.9% in October as southern markets showed signs of recovery.

Property values in London rose by 1% in the past year, the strongest pace of growth for two years and reversing the 1.1% dip recorded during the previous 12 months.

There was also evidence of firmer pricing in cities across southern England, according to the latest Zoopla Cities House Price Index for October.

But it was not all good news, with the rate at which house prices are rising slowing to below 5% in the most buoyant cities for the first time since November 2012.

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The housing market is currently at an interesting crossroads. During the past two years, the market has been characterised by subdued or falling prices in London and southern regions, where affordability has become increasingly stretched, and rising property values in cheaper northern markets.

But there are signs the situation is now changing. House prices in London registered their strongest gains in two years, while less than a quarter of London postcodes suffered falls in October, compared with 85% a year ago.

The shift in house price momentum in the capital has been driven by a decrease in the number of new properties for sale, which has restricted supply.

At the same time, there are signs that demand is picking up, which, combined with the falling supply, is pushing prices higher.

By contrast, although growth in property values is still strongest in northern cities, there are signs that the pace of gains is beginning to slow, with no city posting annual house price inflation of above 5%.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the General Election on December 12 is expected to bring forward the traditional seasonal slowdown seen in the run up to Christmas
Source: Zoopla Property News

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Climate Change is the cause of Venice flood says Mayor

Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.

The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years would leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

A man crosses the flooded St. Mark's Square in high water levels in Venice, 13 November 2019

“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.

Man City Footballer Rahaem Sterling buys row of terrace houses to kick start Fiancee’s Property business

Raheem Sterling’s fiancée Paige Milian, 22, who has a young son with Raheem, announced that they had bought the complex on Instagram .

She wrote: “After months of studying property development, I achieved my qualification to become a property developer in 2018.

 

“We then started a search of properties to add to our portfolio and was then successful in purchasing six brand new houses.

“We plan to add more projects to our portfolio in the future.”

The six new two-bedroom houses are in an unfashionable part of Stockport

The 24-year-old snapped up the six two-bedroom houses in an unfashionable part of Stockport, Greater Manchester, for an estimated cost of £166,000 each.

 

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Court rules police ban on Extinction Rebellion protest is unlawful

A police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London last month was unlawful, High Court judges have ruled.

The Metropolitan Police imposed the ban, which prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests, under the Public Order Act.

But judges have ruled that police had no power to do this because the law did not cover “separate assemblies”.

Activists say the police could now face claims for false imprisonment from “potentially hundreds” of protesters.

The Met said it would “carefully consider” the ruling.

The protests cost £24m to police and led to 1,828 arrests, with 165 people charged with offences, the Met says.

During the court hearing, the force had argued that the ban was the only way to tackle widespread disruption.

Announcing their judgement, however, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled in favour of Extinction Rebellion.

Lord Justice Dingemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if co-ordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of the public order Act.

“The XR [Extinction Rebellion] autumn uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not therefore a public assembly… therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under public order Act.”

The judges noted that there are powers within that act which may be used lawfully to “control future protests which are deliberately designed to ‘take police resources to breaking point”‘.

Source: BBC News

Memorial garden open at Leicester City helicopter crash

A memorial garden dedicated to the five people killed in the Leicester City helicopter crash has opened on the site of the disaster.

Crowds in front of photos

The garden, opened on the crash’s first anniversary, is named after the club’s chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was among those who died.

It was grown using compost made from the floral tributes left at the site.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said the garden would show people “the type of person” Mr Vichai was.

On 27 October 2018 the chairman’s helicopter crashed shortly after taking off, killing all those on board.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's image in garden

Floral tributes

Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, members of Mr Vichai’s staff, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz also died when the helicopter spiralled out of control after taking off from the club’s stadium.

On Sunday 27/102019 there was a private, multi-faith ceremony at the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden, attended by players and members of the victims’ families.

The garden, which is outside the King Power Stadium, was then opened to the public at 14:00 GMT.

leicester-win
Leicester City was the English Premier league in 2016

Source: BBC News