European stocks were higher early Friday, with the benchmark Stoxx 600 up 0.36%, as markets look for a positive end to the week after three straight declines.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4% after U.K. first-quarter GDP showed 0.1% growth but was dampened by squeezed household incomes and strike action. France’s CAC 40 was 0.77% higher, while Germany’s DAX was up 0.3%.
U.S. stock futures were higher Friday as regional banks rebounded and traders tried to end a volatile week on a high note.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 147 points or 0.44%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.46% and 0.3%, respectively.
Asia-Pacific markets are trading mixed after the U.S. posted more data that showed inflation was easing. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.12% and closed at 3,272.36, dragged lower by in academic and educational services stocks. The Shenzhen Component lost 1.23% and led losses in the region, ending at 11,005.64. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also fell 0.7% ahead of its first-quarter GDP figures. Japan’s Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend and rose 0.9%, closing at 29,388.3.
Bank of England raises interest rates
The Bank of England yesterday raised interest rates by a quarter of a point to 4.5% as it forecast inflation would stay higher for longer than previously expected and the economy would perform more strongly. Its monetary policy committee (MPC) voted by a majority for a 12th successive increase in borrowing costs, continuing its most aggressive rate-hiking cycle since the 1980s as it tries to dampen double-digit UK inflation. The central bank’s key base rate is now at its highest level since 2008, when the global economy was in the grip of the financial crisis. Threadneedle Street said UK inflation was expected to stay higher for longer than previously forecast, with the measure of annual price rises on course to remain above the Bank’s target of 2% until after the next election.
The rate has been stubbornly high in recent months, after falling by less than expected in March to 10.1% – the highest in the G7 group of wealthy nations. The Bank now expects inflation at the end of the year to be above 5%, compared with its below-4% forecast in February. It adjusted the prediction because of high food prices, which are increasing at their fastest annual pace since 1977, and a resilient jobs market. “Let me be clear, inflation remains too high,” the Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, told a press conference after Thursday’s announcement. “We have to stay the course to make sure inflation falls all the way back to the 2% target. “We are acutely aware of how difficult this rise in food prices is for people and especially for those people on lower incomes. We do see that food price inflation will start to slow.”
The shadow chancellor, said the rate rise would add to the financial pressure on households: “The prime minister should take his fingers out of his ears and admit his personal responsibility for a Tory mortgage crisis leaving so many worse off.”
The Treasury said it had summoned supermarket representatives to a meeting in Downing Street on Thursday regarding food prices, and would “engage” with the industry on the impact on consumers. “The government understands the concern among the British public about the current level of food prices and their impact on household budgets, which is why halving inflation this year is a top priority,” it said. The Bank suggested high inflation was persisting in part because of companies pushing up prices to protect profit margins, and said inflation in food and energy was likely to come down more slowly than it had risen.
Debt of gratitude to Liberation generation ‘can never be repaid’
Chief Minister Kristina Moore paid tribute to Occupation hero Bob Le Sueur – who died last November aged 102 – and his ‘Liberation generation’ contemporaries who fought for the Island’s freedom . During a special States sitting Deputy Moore, taking part in her first Liberation Day as Chief Minister, said that those Islanders who showed such resilience during the Occupation were owed a ‘debt of gratitude that can never be repaid’. Mr Le Sueur, who was made an MBE for services to the community in 2013, risked arrest and death during the German Occupation by helping and hiding Russian slave workers who were smuggled around safe houses in the Island. Paying tribute to Mr Le Sueur, Deputy Moore said: ‘Bob was a great storyteller who did so much to ensure that the experience of occupation cannot be forgotten. One of the greatest privileges of being a journalist and then being a Member of this Assembly is the opportunity to meet so many wonderful Islanders.
‘I know that Liberation Day meant so much to Bob. It stirred memories and emotions for him – as it has done through the years for many thousands of men and women. Bob Le Sueur has his own unique place in our Island’s story and he will never be forgotten. Bob was a campaigner for peace and freedom right until his last day.’ The Chief Minister spoke of the struggles that those who experienced the Occupation went through to secure the Island’s freedom and rebuild after 9 May 1945.‘Nobody knows the importance of that more so than our Liberation generation,’ Deputy Moore said. ‘Islanders who saw through five years of occupation in Jersey, Islanders who were evacuated or deported and Islanders who fought for their King and their Bailiwick – they all stood for freedom and all contributed to rebuilding our island after 1945.‘To everyone who is part of that unique and special generation and who are either here in the public gallery, listening on the radio, watching at home or braving the elements in Liberation Square, we pay tribute to you and wish you all a very happy Liberation Day.
And to those who are no longer with us, we remember them today. We remember their stories and we remember their sacrifice. ‘We commemorate and celebrate today alongside our friends, allies and fellow liberal democracies from across Europe and the world. ’The brief 20-minute sitting, which was attended by chair of the Channel Island All Party Parliamentary Group Sheryll Murray MP, Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, Reed Gusciora, Mayoress Scherer of Bad Wurzach and German Ambassador to the UK His Excellency Miguel Berger, also referenced the ongoing war in Ukraine – a reminder that liberation is as important today as it was in 1945. ‘It is so important that we take time to remember this period in our history and not allow the painful experience of our Occupation to be forgotten. That is why when we reflect on similar events occurring in other parts of the world, we do relate to those nations. For example, we stand with Ukraine and we can all be proud that Islanders have contributed the most per capita to supporting its people. ‘We mustn’t forget that the Nazi Occupation took place within living memory ending 78 years ago today and there are people in the world today who are still experiencing similar deprivation. ‘Occupation is, we know, not unthinkable and unfortunately not unrelatable .‘Indeed, today we are reminded that our freedom, liberty and democracy which we so cherish and for which are forebears fought so hard is precious and not to be taken for granted.’
New walking and cycling route to be created in Jersey to mark King’s Coronation
Plans have been announced for a new walking and cycling route in St Helier to mark the Coronation of King Charles III. The ‘Coronation Way’ will provide an improved route to nearby secondary schools and cycle paths for Islanders living in north-eastern parishes, according to the government. Work on the route is expected to take place later this year. St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft said he backed ‘any initiative to increase the access to green spaces and healthy walking for St Helier parishioners’. He added: ‘I hope this project will be delivered quickly given the amount of new housing our parish is receiving.’
The government, Andium Homes and Parish of St Helier have all been involved in the plans. Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said: ‘To deliver this project, there are a number of practicalities we need to address, including appropriate resourcing. It is therefore likely to be an ongoing project and will include public consultation.’ However, St Helier Central Deputy Lyndsay Feltham said that she was surprised by the lack of consultation and would like to see more collaboration between ministers and Deputies in the future. Deputy Feltham said she would be supportive of the route ‘if it works well for a number of constituents’. Chief Minister Kristina Moore added: ‘We are in the early stages of planning, but I anticipate that work will start this year, with the completion of the Ann Court housing scheme and the creation of additional new public space.’
Headland of rubble could be built at Harbour entry
A 40-metre headland of building rubble will be built near the entrance to the Harbour, if government plans are approved – because there is nowhere else to put it. States Members are expected to be asked to give their backing to the plan – as well as a scheme to increase the size of growing mounds of hazardous waste nearby – at their sitting on 18 July. The new West Headland will rise 40 metres above mean sea level, or 26 metres above the height of the rocky seawall which surrounds the La Collette reclamation.
Its formation – which will happen over the next two years, if permission is granted – is a stark illustration of the challenge the Island faces: how does it cope with the amount of waste we all create? Islanders, and the government, are responding to this challenge – 30% of what households throw away is recycled, and a £4m investment by one local business means that most of the inert rubble that is delivered to La Collette is recycled as aggregate, soil and sand. But can we do more? And is the current system of waste disposal – with each parish being responsible for its own collection, some doing it themselves while other contracting it out – the most cost-effective and efficient? The government’s recycling officer, Piers Tharme, concedes that our consumer culture – which has developed since the Second World War – has led to a ‘throwaway society’ which has encouraged consumption then disposal. He believes that this has to change – as global warming starts to have an impact on our lives and resources become increasingly scarce. Being a small Island with 100,000 people, Jersey will always be limited in what it can recycle, Mr Tharme says, but this does not mean we cannot do more. Indeed, he argues, we have to.
Car-charging system to be upgraded
Jersey Electricity has announced a £600,000 investment to future-proof the Island’s electric-vehicle network. Jersey’s network of electric chargers was first installed in 2012 and updated in 2018. It currently consists of 109 charging points in publicly accessible places, such as car parks. Peter Cadiou, Jersey Electricity’s director of commercial services, explained: ‘EV charging technology has rapidly developed in recent years, so now is the right time to upgrade the public EV charging network.’ The network is made up of standard 7kW chargers, fast 22kW chargers, rapid 50kW chargers and one ultra rapid 150kW charger. All 109 chargers, aside from the single ultra rapid charger, will be replaced and upgraded, with all chargers now having the capacity to deliver 22kW. A 7kW charger adds four miles per ten minutes of charge, whereas a 22kW charger adds 13 miles per ten minutes of charge. The one ultra rapid 150 kW charger adds 100 miles per nine-minute charge. As part of the upgrades, Jersey Electricity are also making improvements to the back-office system that operates the chargers.
Demand for electric vehicles has risen sharply. According to Driver and Vehicle Standards (DVS), there were 1,365 electric vehicles in Jersey at the end of 2021. Just one year later, this number had risen by more than 30% to 1,789.Due to their potential as a low-carbon alternative to fossil-fuelled vehicles, the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is a key facet of the carbon neutral roadmap – the government’s plan to get the Island to net-zero emissions by 2030.Mr Cadiou said: ‘This means our network will be future-proofed and ready to support the Island with its aspirations for low carbon transportation.’ Chris Ambler, chief executive of Jersey Electricity, said the upgrade supported ambitions for a zero-carbon future. He explained: ‘As more people switch to low-carbon transportation… the Evolve network is ready for investment now to meet the future demand for public charging.’ The upgrades are expected to be rolled out over the next six months.
Jersey’s speeding hotspots revealed in new data
Speeding hotspots across the Island have been revealed, with Victoria Avenue among the worst. Data from a freedom of information request has shown that more than 60 instances of speeding were recorded on the Island’s busiest road between April 2022 and the same month this year. The highest speed – 70mph – was recorded shortly after 6am on 28 February. The limit is 40mph. Paul Davies, a St Helier Centenier, said that the morning, when people were travelling to work, was a common time for speeding on the Avenue. He encouraged Islanders to ‘slow down’, saying: ‘Give yourself plenty of time. In an island nine miles by five it doesn’t take very long to get to where you are going to.’
Several speeding incidents were also recorded on Les Ruisseaux at Grands Vaux – which has a 15mph limit. Mr Davies said the issue was Island-wide, adding that speeding near the Airport was more frequent owing to Islanders ‘not going early enough’ to catch their flight.St Peter Chef de Police Joao Camara said that the honorary police were ‘proactively’ dealing with speeding.‘It is not as prevalent,’ he said. ‘We used to see lots of boy racers, but that has definitely curtailed. On the Five Mile Road they go from La Pulente to St Ouen – they would hurtle down there. Mr Camara added that officers were aiming to catch Islanders who were doing ‘excessively dangerous speeds’. Roads policing lead Inspector Callum O’Connor said that the States police used ‘various methods’ to focus on hot-spot speeding areas, including online reporting, intelligence, Crimestoppers and feedback from communities. He said: ‘This information is used to identify areas and specific roads that will become “hot spots” for officers to focus their attention on, with the aim of increasing safety and reducing offending.’
£250,000 sail art hoisted into position at Horizon development on Jersey’s Waterfront
A £250,000 steel sculpture that rises more than seven metres above the ground is the latest addition to Jersey’s growing collection of public art. Erected in the past few days, Sail, by Chinese artist Zheng Lu, now dominates the public space at the heart of the Jersey Development Company’s Horizon apartments, adjoining the St Helier Marina. The development is being built by French contractor Groupe Legendre. Representing the movement of a sail in the wind, the piece is constructed from more than 300 stainless steel tubes and was commissioned from the percentage-for-art contribution for the new housing development. In Jersey with a team from his Beijing studio, the artist personally supervised the installation of the piece, which was placed by crane into its permanent location, visible from a number of different points leading to the new development. Describing how the commission was developed, Mr Lu said: ‘I visited the site previously with [public art consultant] Chris Clifford and I wanted to do something related to the sea and to this specific location. ‘I made a design for the space, but I then decided to enlarge the work because I felt that it needed to be a bit taller and wider to get the relationship with the surrounding buildings right.’
Born in 1978 in Inner Mongolia, Mr Lu studied at Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts from 2004 to 2007. While still at school, he won the LVMH prize, which offered a three-month scholarship to the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Acclaimed for his sculptures and installations, Mr Lu’s work has been displayed in galleries across the world. The artist is especially known for work which captures nature in motion, often the flow of water or the movement of droplets of liquid. Digital art platform Colossal described some of his previous sculptures in the following way: ‘Challenging our expectations and understanding of physics, smooth, chrome-like surfaces reflect the surroundings and change in the light as the viewer moves around them, further adding to the perception that the sculpture itself is in motion.’ The Jersey commission, which followed a procurement process considering the work of more than 20 international artists, involved constructing a piece capable of withstanding the special conditions on the St Helier Waterfront, where the climatic conditions, especially the strength of the wind, made it important that the work could combine its necessary structural strength with a deceptive sense of lightness.