British war ship in Sri Lanka boost for defence ties

HMS Defender is a Type 45 Destroyer, built in the United Kingdom and is one of the world’s most advanced warships. The British High Commission said the Ship’s visit now is a welcome signal of the closer defence relations the two countries are developing. She is equipped with the Principal Anti Air Missile weapon system, a medium-range gun, close-in weapon systems and carries a maritime helicopter that is equipped to engage surface and sub-surface targets.While in Sri Lanka the Ship’s company will meet with counterparts from the Sri Lankan Navy and also play them at selected sports. (Colombo Gazette) The British war ship HMS Defender is paying a routine visit to Colombo to take on stores and fuel before continuing with her duties in the Indian Ocean.This is the first time in four years that a RN warship has visited Sri Lanka, a country with which the United Kingdom shares a long military history, the British High Commission in Colombo said. read more

Weekly US unemployment benefit applications drop 42K to 338K seasonal factors cloud

Weekly US unemployment benefit applications drop 42K to 338K; seasonal factors cloud figures by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted Dec 26, 2013 6:37 am MDT WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012. But economists say the figures from late November and December are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.The Labor Department reported Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.Claims had jumped 75,000 over the two weeks that ended Dec. 14 before plunging last week. The Labor Department struggles to account for seasonal hiring by retailers and other businesses and for temporary layoffs of cafeteria workers and other employees at schools that close for the holidays.Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs and the recent declines are consistent with a solid job market.The economy has shown signs of improvement recently, so much so that the Federal Reserve announced Dec. 18 that it would reduce its stimulus spending on bonds by $10 billion — to $75 billion a month. The economy expanded at a 4.1 per cent annual pace from July through September, the fastest rate since late 2011 and much greater than previously thought.Hiring has been healthy the past four months. The economy added an average of 204,000 jobs every month from August through November, an improvement from earlier this year.The unemployment rate fell in November to a five-year low of 7 per cent. Still, that remains above the 5 per cent to 6 per cent rate that would signal a normal job market. And long-term unemployment remains a big blot on the economy’s performance: Nearly 4.1 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or more.Before 2008, the number of long-term unemployed had never surpassed 3 million people, according to records dating back to 1948. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

US factory production rebounded in September

US factory production rebounded in September by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Oct 17, 2016 7:19 am MDT Last Updated Oct 17, 2016 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – U.S. manufacturers boosted output modestly last month, led by greater production of construction supplies, autos and petroleum products.The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production rose 0.2 per cent in September, following a decline of 0.5 per cent in the previous month. The broader industrial production category, which includes mining and utilities, ticked up 0.1 per cent.Even with the gain, manufacturing output has been flat in the past year. Factories have been hit by several factors: weak business spending on machinery and other equipment, a strong dollar that has made U.S. goods more expensive overseas, and sharp cutbacks in oil and gas drilling that has lowered demand for pipeline.Mining output rose 0.4 per cent last month, though it has fallen 9.4 per cent in the past year. Utility production fell 1 per cent.With manufacturing production weak in the past year, factories have shed 47,000 jobs.Other reports suggest there is some hope that factories are slowly recovering. A private survey found that manufacturers boosted production and saw a rise in new orders last month, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group.With new orders rising, production may increase in the coming months. Still, that survey found that factories were still cutting jobs.And orders for manufactured goods increased in August, according to a separate report from the Commerce Department. A category that tracks business investment rose for the third straight month, a sign that business spending may be rebounding.The weakness in manufacturing has weighed on the broader economy, which grew at a sluggish pace of 1.1 per cent in the first half of this year. Still, many economists expect a mild acceleration in the second half of the year to roughly 2 per cent. read more