South Auckland Mad Butcher owner dies suddenly after business goes into liquidation | Stuff.co.nz

A young butcher has died suddenly, less than a week after his shop went into liquidation.

Roy Green, 38, and his wife Amanda had owned Pukekohe Mad Butcher, in south Auckland, for five years.

Green was well-known in the Franklin community and supported various sporting and charitable organisations.

He and his staff had featured in several Stuff stories, most recently for their support in donating meat for the Franklin County News Smiles for Christmas appeal.

The company was placed into liquidation on Tuesday and Victoria Toon of Corporate Restructuring Ltd was appointed liquidator.

Toon is seeking claims from creditors until June 3.

Mad Butcher Pukekohe is one of a string of Mad Butcher stores that have been liquidated over the past year.

It is not yet known if the store closed due to the impacts of Covid-19 or a separate matter.

FACEBOOK/SUPPLIED
About six weeks ago, Pukekohe Mad Butcher owner Roy Green took to Facebook to thank locals for their support, and urged them to stay safe.

In November, Mad Butcher Northcote on Auckland’s North Shore closed its door for good when its franchise agreement with Mad Butcher Holdings ended and was not extended.

It followed the closure of Mad Butcher stores in Glen Innes and Albany earlier last year after the companies running them were placed into liquidation.

In a video with TVNZ during alert level 4, Green said many stores like his were struggling.

“We’re just struggling big time, we need to sell meat to actually make any money,” Green said.

“And at the moment we’re not selling meat, so we’re not making any money.

“The money I do have in the bank is all going to outgoings at the moment, it’s just a tough struggle.

The shop had been turning over $92,000 per week prior to the lockdown but was making no money in level 4, TVNZ reported.

JACKSON THOMAS/STUFF
Mad Butcher store numbers have dramatically decreased over the past few years (file pic).

“The stress at the moment we’re under trying to pay everyone is ridiculous.

“I’ve spent nights awake in bed.

“Some nights I’ve sat there crying, wondering what I’m going to do next. It’s just not fair.”

On April 25, a post to the Mad Butcher Pukekohe Facebook page said the shop would not be opening in alert level 3.

The Mad Butcher opened on the first day of the lockdown, saying it met the definition of an essential business, but they were eventually told to shut.

Mad Butcher store numbers have dramatically decreased over the past few years. There have been more than 20 outlet liquidations, of which six franchisees have been liquidated since 2017. The numbers do not include stores that have closed at the end of franchise agreements.

In a statement, police said they were called to reports of a sudden death at a Tuakau property just after 10pm on Sunday.

“Police are not treating the death as suspicious and it will be referred to the coroner,” a police spokeswoman said. 

Tributes to Green have been posted on social media, with his local club Tuakau Rugby League saying he was a huge part of their community.

Green coached his son’s under 6 team and was a “committee member that went above and beyond to support our club” the post read

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‘No FUR-loughs’: BBC commentator stages hilarious Zoom ‘business meeting’ with his two dogs  | Daily Mail Online

‘No FUR-loughs’: BBC commentator stages hilarious Zoom ‘business meeting’ with his two dogs

A BBC Sport commentator and his two labradors have entertained fans on Twitter with a hilarious video of a team meeting on Zoom.

Andrew Cotter, 46, who lives in Cheshire, posted a video last month of his dogs Olive and Mabel competing in an eating race and a tug-of-war over a toy.

Now the trio have returned in another video where they are holding a company meeting.

When posting the video Andrew commented: ‘Still having the company meetings online.’ 

Andrew Cotter, 46, and his labradors Olive and Mabel have returned in anther hilarious video. This time the trio are holding a business meeting

At first both labradors seem to struggle with the technology as Andrew walks them through turning on their cameras.

He says: ‘Mabel you are connected but you need to start your video. Down at the bottom of the screen there’s a little camera, looks like a biscuit, if you just nudge it with your nose.’ 

Andrew tells his dogs that they won’t be furloughed and that the dogs are expected to show the same loyalty to him. 

It doesn’t take long for Mabel to start staring into the distance prompting Andrew to pick her up on her lack of focus.

‘This is one of the things that we have to address,’ he says, ‘the lack of focus at times because well there’s the inappropriate stuff with Kevin the Doberman from accounts as well but one thing at a time.’

Part way through the performance reviews Mabel is is told to turn her camera off if she needs to scratch so the rest of them don’t have to see it

She reappears after scratching with a green squeaky toy in her mouth, much to the annoyance of Andrew who says he has to mute her to continue talking with Olive

He then delivers the annual report: ‘You’ve pretty much ruined the sofas. 913 squirrels chased, none caught, so not a good return.’

The report seems to bore Mabel though who turns away and begins scratching herself.

Andrew tells her to switch her camera off if she needs to scratch so that the rest of them don’t have to see it. 

Mabel returns to the video after having retrieved a squeaky toy.

Olive receives a message from head office telling her ‘you’re a good dog, yes you are. Who’s a good dog? You’re a good dog.’

Towards the end of the video Mabel leaves the call and Andrew considers firing her but doesn’t because ‘she gets such good results’.

Olive is allowed to sign off from the meeting after being told she is a ‘good dog’ but Mabel (pictured) is told to start addressing some of her shortcomings

Replying to the video on Twitter, one person said: ‘Andrew, you’re brightening up my life and it was already pretty good anyway! Keep em coming!’

Another, Eloise Baily said: ‘Andrew, Olive and Mabel…and you a bit…have easily been the best thing to come out of lockdown. Genuinely, thank you.’

While Graham Love commented: ‘You just raised the game .’

In April, Mabel and Olive shot to internet fame after Andrew Cotter posted a video of him commentating as the dogs competed in an eating race and a play fight over a toy.

Describing the eating match in the earlier video Andrew says: ‘Mabel heavy tail use, happy to be alive, everything is amazing. Olive more steady, wasting little energy, very much of the old Labrador school of serious business.

‘Olive, focused, relentless, tasting absolutely nothing… Nothing left but the bowl to lick now.

‘Great rivals but great friends. You see the swapping of bowls there at the end.’

Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds even retweeted the clip with laughing emojis.

‘No FUR-loughs’: BBC commentator stages hilarious Zoom ‘business meeting’ with his two dogs 

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Texas judge JAILS defiant hair salon owner who opened her business despite stay-at-home orders | Daily Mail Online

Texas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail on Tuesday for refusing to shut down her business in accordance with stay-at-home orders. Pictured in mug Tuesday

The defiant Texas salon owner who refused to close her business despite stay-at-home restrictions and repeated court orders has been sentenced to seven days in jail. 

Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon a la Mode in Dallas, appeared in court on Tuesday where she was sentenced to seven days behind bars and $7,000 – $500 for each day she opened her business’ doors.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s started phase one of Texas reopenings last week, but did not allow salons to resume business – but that didn’t stop Luther from opening up. 

Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé found Luther in criminal and civil contempt of court and told her she owed local leaders an apology.

He gave her the opportunity to admit fault and offered to commute her sentence if she apologized for ‘being seflish’, but Luther refused to admit she did anything wrong. 

Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé found Luther in criminal and civil contempt of court on Tuesday and sentenced her to a week in jail and to pay $500 to the court for every day she opened her salon. Luther pictured in court Tuesday

The Judge gave her the opportunity to admit fault and offered to commute her sentence if she apologized for ‘being selifsh’ but she refused saying: ‘I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish’

If the salon continues to operate, the judge ordered Luther to pay $500 each day through May 8, which is when Texas will allow said salons and barbershops to reopen

‘I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I’m not going to shut the salon,’ she said before the judge.  

If the salon continues to operate, the judge ordered Luther to pay $500 each day through May 8, which is when Texas will allow salons and barbershops to reopen. 

‘The defiance of the court’s order was open, flagrant and intentional, Moyé wrote in his decision. ‘The defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action.’ 

Luther reopened her Dallas business Salon a La Mode on April 24 and repeatedly ignored court orders to close up shop

Luther pictured holding her citation and speaking to the media after she was cited by City of Dallas officials for reopening her Salon A la Mode in Dallas, Friday April 24

Luther pictured being issued a citation by Dallas City officials on Friday April 24

A man carrying a rifle and Texas flag stands with salon owner Shelley Luther, left, and others in front of her salon on Friday April 24

Luther had received multiple citations for opening her business on April 24. 

On April 24 she received a cease and desist letter from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

She received a court-issued temporary restraining order on April 28 mandating she close her business.

Last week on Wednesday Luther shared a Facebook Live video saying she intended to remain fully open and that it was her right to. 

‘I’m still here, I’m standing for your rights and Salon A La Mode is open for business,’ she said.

On April 25 at an Open Texas rally to reopen businesses in Frisco, Texas, she ripped her cease and desist letter that was issued Friday into pieces before a cheering crowd.

Luther is one of many Texans who are rallying for the state to completely lift all closures and lockdown measures to reopen the economy. Pictured April 25 speaking at Open Texas rally in Frisco

Luther pictured speaking at an Open Texas rally in Frisco, Texas on April 25 where she ripped up the citation the state issued her for opening her salon

Luther says that her business needs to be open because her hairstylists need to work to provide for their families. She argues that her salon is a safe and clean environment that doesn’t pose a threat in spreading COVID-19.

‘I can’t afford to not stay open, and my stylists can’t afford to stop working anymore,’ Luther said to ABC13 over the weekend. ‘We’re about to lose everything and haven’t gotten any help, so I had to make a decision.’  

There have been widespread protests to lockdown measures in Texas, with hundreds calling on Gov. Abbott to full open the state despite his incremental opening plan.

In Texas, there are more than 33,900 cases of COVID-19 and 925 deaths.

Texas judge JAILS defiant hair salon owner who opened her business despite stay-at-home orders

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Coronavirus: Business owner pockets $150,000 from Government wage subsidy, and he’s not paying it back | Stuff.co.nz

The managing director of a construction firm says he has made $150,000 profit from the Government’s wage subsidy, and he has no intention of paying it back.

Tony Black, of Black Steel, received $239,000 as part of the Government’s $10 billion emergency payout to ensure businesses could pay staff during lockdown.

Black says the shutdown has so far cost him about $80,000, and he’s planning to have his 40 employees back at work on Tuesday, when tens of thousands of workers in the construction, restaurant and manufacturing industries are expected to return to work under alert level 3 conditions.

Black says his business is in good shape and will likely emerge out of lockdown with plenty of work, but may still incur losses over the three month period that the wage subsidy covers.

“At the moment, I’m keeping that as security for my guys’ wages and stuff because I have to keep paying them.

“I don’t believe there’s any legislation in place to enforce anyone to give it back. It was just a stupid idea from the beginning from our Labour Government.

“I’m at a loss as to why the government gave away so much money in a lolly scramble.

Tony Black, is managing director of Black Steel.

“I’m going to use it to pay my staff and keep my cashflow up and ensure that my guys have still got a job in five months time.”

On Friday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson warned the Government was coming after businesses who had wrongly received wage subsidies.

He said $17.5m was being repaid by more than 1200 companies, most of which had been paid in error. 

A specialist investigations team from the Ministry of Social Development is working with the IRD to ensure the scheme was not being abused, and random and targeted audits into 2435 wage subsidy claims and 292 allegations of abuse of the scheme had led to 56 applicants being asked to repay just over $1m.

Robertson said the false claims represented a “fraction” of the 500,000 claims for $10.3 billion that had been paid out so far.

Black said the Government was “stupid” to pay out three months of wages in one go.

“We’ve got people making really big decisions without a lot of forethought, and it frustrates the hell out of me. Our government seems to be giving money away left right and centre.” 

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Finance Minister Grant Robertson says there are a team of investigators keeping an eye on wage subsidy claims.

Black said his business, which does steel fabrication for residential construction in the Auckland area, had outgoings of $190,000 a month for rent, insurance and wages alone.

“The amount of money I need to keep running is massive.”

He said many other businesses in the construction sector didn’t need the millions of dollars in wage subsidies they received to survive.

And he accused the Government of overestimating the threat of the virus, pointing to Australia who have had a similar rate of coronavirus as New Zealand with less stringent lockdown measures.

“Had our Government stuck with level 3, we wouldn’t have needed that grant. It’s a physically transmitted disease, it’s not bubonic plague.

“Most people in this country haven’t got a clue what this is going to cost the country. They’re spending taxpayers’ money like there’s no end to it. 

“I’ve been through many recessions without any help. It cost me everything I had, and I pumped everything I had into it. Sometimes you’ve got to take the swings and the roundabouts.”

Black said operating in level 3 would present challenges, and staff would inevitably have to take more sick days.

“The second they get a sniffle or something, they can’t work. There are going to be a lot more costs running my business.

“I treat my staff like family. I’ve said as soon as we get down to the right level, I’m putting on a huge barbecue to say thanks. I look after my people.” 

A spokesman for the Ministry of Social Development said employers were notified at the time of applying for the subsidy that they may be subject to civil proceedings for the recovery of any amount received that they’re not entitled to.

“They could face prosecution for offences under the Crimes Act 1961 if they have provided false or misleading information; failed to meet any of the obligations about how to use the subsidy; or received any subsidy or part of a subsidy they were not entitled to.”

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China tells the US to mind its own business after Pentagon chief criticised Beijing over coronavirus | Daily Mail Online

China has hit back at the US telling it to mind its own business after the chief of Pentagon accused Beijing of misleading Washington and being opaque about the coronavirus pandemic.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said he does not trust that the Chinese leaders are being truthful about the global crisis even now.

Beijing today condemned the US over Esper’s comments, urging America to stop its political spin and spend more energy on the disease outbreak and its economy.

The news comes as Wuhan today revised up its death toll by 50 per cent, revealing that nearly 4,000 people, instead of 2,579, have died from the illness in the area.

Zhao Lijian (pictured on April 8), a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, grilled US politicians and told them to focus on their own problems at a daily briefing on Friday

Zhao’s criticism comes after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper (pictured in an NBC show) accused Beijing of misleading Washington and being opaque about the coronavirus outbreak

China has revised the death toll in coronavirus ground-zero Wuhan, revealing that nearly 4,000 people have died from the illness in the area. The file picture from January 24 shows people wearing face masks queuing to see doctors at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan

Continuing the Trump administration’s criticism of China’s handling of the virus outbreak, Esper told NBC’s ‘Today’ show on Thursday that he finds it difficult to believe information from the Chinese Communist Party.

‘They’ve been misleading us, they’ve been opaque if you will from the early days of this virus. So I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now,’ he said.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, grilled US politicians at a daily briefing in Beijing on Friday.

He accused American leaders of covering up the truth of the pandemic and shifting its responsibilities by stigmatising China.

The official highlighted the ‘open, transparent and responsible’ attitude from China and praised the country’s ‘most comprehensive, strictest and most rigorous’ prevention measures.

Wuhan officials today said many fatal cases were ‘mistakenly reported’ or missed entirely in an admission that comes amid growing global doubts about Chinese transparency. Medical workers are pictured ready to swab samples from people for COVID-19 in Wuhan on April 16

Coronaviruses are so named because their structure has jagged edges which look like a royal crown – corona is crown in Latin (Pictured, an illustration of the COVID-19 virus released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Zhao slammed Washington for linking the coronavirus to a virus lab in Wuhan.

‘Anybody with any sense would know that [America’s] aim is to muddy the waters, divert people’s attention and evade its responsibilities.’

He stressed that the origin of a virus is a scientific problem and needs professional opinions.

Esper’s scepticism about the Chinese came in the wake of reports that the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.

Donald Trump (pictured on Wednesday) said the US was trying to determine whether or not the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats in Wuhan

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his government was ‘doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation.’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Chinese ‘need to come clean’ on what they know.

But Zhao told a daily briefing yesterday that WHO officials ‘have said multiple times there is no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a laboratory.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday rejected as counterproductive attempts to blame Beijing for delaying informing the world about the coronavirus, the Kremlin said.

Putin and Xi spoke after US President Donald Trump’s administration berated China for not sharing data more quickly.

China’s President Xi Jinping (R) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, pictured November 2019, spoke after the US criticised China for not sharing information on the virus more quickly

Political tensions between China and the US have escalated after the two countries accused each other of being the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zhao last month claimed on Twitter that the virus might have been brought to Wuhan by the US military.

He defended his accusation as ‘a reaction to some US politicians stigmatising China’.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has killed more than 145,000 people and infected over two million worldwide since the crisis began in Wuhan last December.

China tells the US to mind its own business after Pentagon chief criticised Beijing over coronavirus

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Call for veil of secrecy to be lifted as £5.5bn public money spent bailing out big business

The transparency of the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) has been called into question as it was revealed that another £3.6 billion has been drawn on, making a total £5.5 billion that big business has been bailed out with. 

Launched by the Bank of England and the Treasury in March, the CCFF allows large corporates which are able to issue investment grade debt to access newly created money from the central bank in exchange for commercial paper (short term debt). This means big businesses are being bailed out with public money.

Yet this is done under a veil of secrecy. The Treasury and the Bank of England refuse to divulge which corporates are being bailed out with public funds.

The CCFF scheme has also run into criticism because it favours big business at a time small and middle-sized companies are at great risk of being lost for good during the lockdown the Government has imposed. A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey found a majority of firms have just three months of cashflow or less. A report by The Corporate Finance Network of accountants predicted that almost a fifth (18 per cent) of Britain’s five million small businesses would not be able to survive the next month.

To qualify for the CCFF, a firm needed to be investment grade, as defined by a rating agency, which applied to just over 100 companies in the UK according to rating agency Fitch. After much criticism, the Chancellor of the Exchequer expanded the scheme, but the Bank of England criteria are still tight and rule out many businesses.

In the first week of the CCFF (23 March – 1 April 2020), the Bank of England bought nearly £1.9 billion of commercial paper from companies. The Bank bought up a further £3.626 billion of commercial paper between 1-8 April, bringing the total bailout so far to over £5.5 billion. The scheme will operate for at least 12 months.

Individual firms are allowed up to £1billion from the CCFF. There appears to be no limit to the amount of money the Bank of England is willing to create to fund the scheme. 

Coronavirus
Bank of England (PA)

Confidentiality agreement

The Bank of England states that “The names of issuers and securities purchased or eligible will not be made public.” In the CCFF scheme guidelines it adds: “We require companies that participate in the facility to sign a confidentiality agreement with the Bank.”

EasyJet is one of the few companies that reported its usage of the CCFF, announcing that it had drawn £600 million from it last week. However in doing so, EasyJet may have violated a confidentiality agreement with the Bank of England.

Despite the confidentiality agreement, housebuilder Redrow which last week revealed 80 per cent of its workforce had been furloughed said it will now have access to an extra £300m of banking facilities from the CCFF scheme which are currently undrawn. FTSE 250 listed housebuilder Crest Nicholson Holdings PLC also said it has furloughed three-quarters of its staff and added that it has qualified to apply for the CCFF on Thursday.

Greggs also said it secured £150 million from the fund after closing bakeries and furloughing thousands of staff with the taxpayer paying 80 per cent of the FTSE 250 bakery chain’s wages.

The Treasury refused to comment on why the public are unable to see which other corporates have been bailed out with public money, saying the Bank of England were taking a lead on the matter.

The Bank of England is yet to reply to our questions on why the public should not know which corporates public money is bailing out.

Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Positive Money is a campaign for a fair and sustainable money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy system. 

Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money said: “It almost seems as if the Treasury and the Bank of England have engineered a way to bailout big businesses with public money without the public ever having to know. The severity of the current crisis does not mean that bailouts should be concealed from the public eye.

“The lack of transparency is made even more worrying by the fact there are no social or environmental conditions attached to the CCFF. We already know that an airline has been given hundreds of millions of pounds through the scheme. This begs the question of who else could be getting a bailout behind the scenes.

“The Bank of England should at the very least scrap the confidentiality of its bailout scheme going forward. The public has a right to know where public money is going.”

Meanwhile Rishi Sunak’s small business relief schemes have been criticised for qualifying out many of the businesses they are meant to protect.

Scores of ‘new-economy’ companies which rely on flexible work set-ups to survive have saying they have been found to be ineligible under coronavirus rescue schemes because they don’t meet the criteria.

The post Call for veil of secrecy to be lifted as £5.5bn public money spent bailing out big business appeared first on The London Economic.

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Golf club bans touching of the flag | The Golf Business

A golf club in London has issued a directive to all its golfers that they must not touch the flag on any of the holes, in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Epping Golf Course has said it will implement other measures as well.

©: Tristan Jones

“We will attempt to make sure that scorecards’ registration and payment for drink and food are available through window service to avoid people having to come into the clubhouse if they don’t want to,” stated Epping’s owner, Neil Sjoberg.

Numerous golf events ranging from the Scottish Girls’ Open Championship to The Masters have been postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of golf clubs have also reported that the virus has hit at least one member, and in most cases the club has remained open.

In response, to assist the golf industry in the UK, BIGGA, the PGA, the GCMA and the R&A have produced this guideline document for UK golf clubs: https://ocs-sport.ams3.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/sg/2020/03/COVID-19-Golf-Industry-Guidelines.pdf

‘Your golf facility needs to have a senior group of managers who are in constant contact and can spring in to action if something happens. This should be your club manager / secretary, course manager / head greenkeeper and PGA professional and any other relevant department heads. During a period of heightened risk, meet on a daily basis and provide an update on staff absence, business pressures such as stock levels or machinery maintenance and other matters. When the crisis subsides, this group should continue to meet on a monthly basis to ensure policies are maintained and updated,’ it states.

‘Engage in a dialogue with the other golf clubs in your immediate area and discuss an action plan. If one of your clubs is forced to close, is there a reciprocal arrangement in place to allow members to play at a different facility?’

One golf club manager welcomed the document.

“That was very, very useful as it allowed us to sit down and work out some kind of battleplan,” Simon Payne, secretary at Cowglen in Scotland told The Herald.

“Up until then, I think people were maybe a bit blasé about this but when you consider the wider ramifications, they are huge.

“There are knock on effects for green fees, subscriptions, bookings, our suppliers, from diesel for machinery to drink in the bar. If bar staff or catering staff are off, then takings are down. It’s everything.

“The worst-case scenario is if the greenkeeping staff have to go into isolation, then the course doesn’t get maintained.

“The course is the number one thing for members. You can tell a volunteer how to lock the clubhouse but you can’t suddenly upskill someone to cut a green.

“We are coupling up with other clubs in the area with a kind of buddy system to help each other out just in case.

“Our course manager has a group of trusted friends at other courses so there will at least be a limited maintenance to keep things going should the worst happen.”

“People are handling pins, they are handling ball washers and rakes in bunkers. We started going through potential risks and they just grow and grow.

“Like a lot of clubs, the over-65s are a relatively large element here. Their health and well-being on our premises is paramount.

“The older golfers may now be considering just staying away and it will be interesting to monitor numbers going forward.

“While everybody has to take responsibility, we’ve just tried to do as much as possible to at least give members the confidence that we can operate as best we can.

“Many clubs are living hand to mouth. The impact of this could be hard to take for some.”

“I’ve been here for 30 years and the weather recently has been the worst I can remember in terms of getting out to play. But the addition of the coronavirus has made it a whole lot worse.

“It’s a minefield. We don’t know how long it will be like this for. The Beast from the East a couple of years ago was the first time we had ever closed the place down entirely. Nobody was on site, it just shut.

“But this virus is a different kettle of fish. It’s the unknown. When the snow melted, you knew we would be back. But who knows with this?”

A Scottish Golf spokesman added: “In these difficult times it is important to highlight the health benefits of golf as a sport that allows players to exercise outdoors in the fresh air where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low,” in response to the release of this document.

This content was originally published here.

China wants to ‘take over’ Australia by dominating politics, business and the media | Daily Mail Online

Retiring ASIO boss issues a chilling warning that China seeks to ‘take over’ Australia

Retired ASIO chief Duncan Lewis (pictured) has accused the Chinese government of using ‘insidious’ foreign interference

Retired ASIO chief Duncan Lewis has accused the Chinese government of using ‘insidious’ foreign interference operations to ‘take over’ Australia’s political system.

Anyone in political office could be a target, the former spy chief told the political journal Quarterly Essay in an interview to be published next week.

Mr Lewis claimed Chinese authorities were trying to ‘place themselves in a position of advantage’ by in political, social, business and media circles, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday, citing the interview.

‘Espionage and foreign interference is insidious. Its effects might not present for decades and by that time it’s too late,’ he said.

‘You wake up one day and find decisions made in our country that are not in the interests of our country.’

In the interview, Mr Lewis warns covert foreign intrusion into the heart of Australian politics is ‘something we need to be very, very careful about’.

His remarks come after Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Senator James Paterson were denied visas to travel to China for a study tour after they criticised its human rights record.

In an opinion piece published in The Australian on Thursday, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Xining accused the MPs of having double standards and showing disrespect.

‘It is cynical that in a country boasting freedom of speech, different views from another nation are constantly and intentionally obliterated,’ Mr Wang wrote.

In the interview, Mr Lewis warns covert foreign intrusion into the heart of Australian politics is ‘something we need to be very, very careful about’ (pictured is a reeducation centre in Xinjiang province)

‘Understanding truth succumbs to being politically right. A people said to be audacious and adventurous like kangaroos are scared of stepping out of the comfort zone of ideas and thinking.’

Mr Wang said Australians would be astounded to know the Chinese people overwhelmingly supported the government’s decision to ban Mr Hastie and Senator Paterson.

Mr Lewis retired in September after five years as the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

In October, a Four Corners investigation lifted the lid on dubious relationships between a number of Beijing-backed entities and Australia’s top tertiary institutions.

The program revealed a University of Queensland professor who received $2.6million in taxpayer-funded grants used the money to set up a tech company in China which monitored members of the Uyghur minority group.

His remarks come after Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie (left) and Senator James Paterson (right) were denied visas to travel to China for a study tour after they criticised its human rights record 

China analyst Alex Joske from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warned our institutions are being infiltrated by China-owned or backed entities, and singled out UQ for its ‘concerning activity’.

‘[The university] engages in particularly high levels of collaboration, some of which has raised serious human rights concerns,’ Mr Joske told Four Corners.

Mr Joske also warned the Australian National University in Canberra, the country’s top ranked tertiary institution, has more than 30 joint projects with Chinese defence universities.

More than 700 Chinese navy sailors, including some armed with guns, arrived in Sydney in June

He said the university, which receives defence funding for its artificial intelligence programs, trained a Chinese PhD student working on drone swarms.

In July, a flotilla of three Chinese warships with 700 sailors on board arrived a for a secret visit to Sydney.  

Sailors were lined up on the ships in combat uniform, with some carrying guns.

Since coming to power, President Xi Jinping has invested heavily in the People’s Liberation Army Navy – in a bid to project Chinese influence across the Pacific and beyond. 

Three Chinese warships arrived at Sydney’s Garden Island for a four-day stopover just days after it was revealed China had confronted an Australian vessel in the South China Sea

The ship arrived on a ‘secret visit’, amid heightened concern about Beijing’s growing clout and military muscle flexing

China wants to ‘take over’ Australia by dominating politics, business and the media

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New flight announced from Norwich Airport | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk Business News | Eastern Daily Press

New 80 minute flight to start from Norwich to Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 15:52 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 03 October 2019

Richard Pace, managing director of Norwich Airport. Pic: submitted

A new flight is to start from Norwich to Cornwall it was announced today – which cuts the journey time from seven hours by car to just 80 minutes by air.

A sunny scene in Newquay. Pic: ArchantA sunny scene in Newquay. Pic: Archant

Loganair continued to expand its growing network at Norwich Airport by announcing its fifth route – a new service to Cornwall Airport Newquay. The airline is already the largest operator at Norwich, offering regular flights to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Manchester and Jersey and employing a team of more than 30 pilots, cabin crew and engineers locally to support its services.

The new service, which will transform the journey from East Anglia and the south-west launches on April, 3, 2020, with fares from £59.99, one way.

All Loganair fares include a free checked baggage allowance, allocated seating and in-flight refreshments.

Monday and Friday services will operate throughout the summer, with extra Sunday services from May to September and a further additional Wednesday flight in July and August. The 80-minute flight is much speedier than the lengthy car journey or the time by rail, taking more than eight hours.

Loganair has announced a new route from Norwich to Newquay. Pic: submittedLoganair has announced a new route from Norwich to Newquay. Pic: submitted

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The new route launch is part of a programme of new connectivity to Cornwall which Loganair is announcing for summer 2020, including links to Newcastle, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “With more and more people holidaying in the UK, avoiding expensive Euro exchange rates or enjoying a staycation with friends and family, we’re confident that the routes will do well.

“In addition to leisure users, we believe that economic links between East Anglia and Cornwall will also mean a healthy level of business demand. Although we’re initially launching the Norwich-Newquay route with summer services, we’re keen to look at maintaining flights year-round if it proves viable.”

Richard Pace, managing director of Norwich Airport, said: “We welcome Loganair’s expanding commitment to Norwich with the announcement of this exciting new service to Cornwall Airport Newquay. This is a further example of Norwich providing and strengthening the essential links East Anglia needs to have with important destinations for the benefit of our business community and leisure consumers.”

This content was originally published here.

Nissan boss confirms Sunderland blow – Brexit ‘not helping’ | Business News | Sky News

Nissan has told staff in Sunderland the company will not make the new X-Trail there, as previously planned.

The firm had been expected to make the announcement to workers in the coming week but brought this forward after Sky News learned of the change of plan yesterday.

Today, Nissan’s Europe division boss wrote to Sunderland factory staff confirming the news and telling them the model will continue to be made in Japan.

Gianluca de Ficchy said the decision was a mixture of investment needed for emissions regulations and reduced sales forecasts but added uncertainty over Brexit had also played a part.

He said the announcement would be “interpreted by a lot of people as a decision related to Brexit” and that “uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future”.

He added: “With the UK’s departure from the EU on March 29th getting closer every week, we have a taskforce in place, reporting to me, that it is considering all of the possible scenarios and the potential impact on business.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for our UK team and partners. Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai.”

nissan in sunderland

Sky News reporter Becky Johnson, who is in Sunderland, said: “The main sentiment that I’m feeling from people I’m speaking to here is one of defiance.

“You have to remember that in the referendum almost two-thirds of people here voted to leave the EU.

“I’ve spoken to one man, whose two adult children in their 20s both work at Nissan, and he said to me ‘let Nissan leave Sunderland, we will be okay, we will find something else’.

“Others say Brexit is being used as an excuse by businesses – that is what people think.”

Becky Johnson also spoke to a man who supplies parts to Nissan, who voted Remain. She said: “It was always his fear… that (Brexit) would ultimately lead to businesses like Nissan pulling out of the UK. So a real split of views here in Sunderland.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Nissan’s announcement is a blow to the sector and the region, as this was to be a further significant expansion of the site and the workforce.

“The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost. They have reiterated today their commitment to the UK by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020.

“The UK automotive industry is a vital sector for the British economy which draws on our combination of rich automotive heritage and cutting edge innovation.

“Its role in providing high skilled well paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the UK a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

MPs have said Brexit uncertainty is to blame for Nissan’s decision.

The company had pledged to manufacture the new SUV model in the UK four months after the 2016 referendum – a move seen as a major vote of confidence in the country’s manufacturing outside the EU.

The news casts doubt over Nissan’s future investment in the UK, and stokes debate about the future of British car manufacturing less than eight weeks before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU

Nissan employs about 7,000 people in Sunderland

Many Remain supporters said the withdrawal was a worrying indicator of Brexit having a corrosive impact on the British economy.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “The Conservatives’ botched negotiations and threat of a no deal Brexit is causing uncertainty and damaging Britain’s economy.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said it could be a turning point in Brexit uncertainty, and said it showed that big companies were “very seriously reconsidering their future here”.

“I’m afraid that where Nissan leads the others, Toyota, Honda, BMW, the rest of them, we’re going to see a down scaling of their operations in the UK,” he said.

Sir Vince added: “The whole industry is rethinking its approach because it originally saw Britain as a gateway to Europe and that gateway is now closing.

“I think Brexit is a major factor, it may be one of several. Not just for Nissan but the same calculations are being made throughout the car industry.”

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the withdrawal, if confirmed, “represents a serious blow to the communities that depend on the jobs Nissan creates and supports”.

He said the Conservatives’ “chaotic handling” of negotiations was having a “devastating impact on business investment”.

Julie Elliot, Labour MP for Sunderland, said she would ask the government to intervene to protect jobs in the city.

“But we cannot deny the inevitable role that Brexit plays,” she continued. “The constant uncertainty, the chaotic government. None of it is conducive to encouraging business investment in this country.”

Conservative pro-Remain MP Anna Soubry said it was “difficult not to be angry” that the manufacturer may pull production.

Unite’s assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Steve Turner, said it was “beyond disappointing” that Unite members heard about their futures and the holding back of planned Sunderland investments through the media and not directly from the company.

“These rumours are disturbing and will cause the workforce to have a very anxious weekend even though production of the X-Trail would have necessitated additional jobs on site,” he said.

In the 2016 referendum, Sunderland voted 61.3% to leave the EU.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said there was “increasing worry” about the European and global economy.

He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’ve seen a big slowdown in China, it’s had a knock-on effect.

“We’ve seen Italy now go into recession, we’ve seen the German economy slow down, we’ve seen the French economy slow down. Really we do need to avoid any disruption to that European trading system.”

Nissan employs about 7,000 people in Sunderland, and was thrust into the heart of the Brexit debate in 2016 when it received a letter from government ministers offering undisclosed reassurances about the company’s future competitiveness.

Four months after the referendum, the Japanese car maker said it would build its next-generation Qashqai sports utility vehicle and a new X-Trail model in Sunderland.

The X-Trail is currently produced exclusively in Japan.

This content was originally published here.