European stock markets fluctuated between slight gains and losses on Friday as investors reacted to corporate earnings and economic data. Pan European Stoxx 600 index up was flat. Frances CAC 40 is up 0.32% and Germany’s DAX was up 0.41% while the London FTSE 100 was up 0.1%.
S&P 500 futures traded flat Friday morning as investors took in a week’s worth of earnings results and a fresh round of data that showed the economy in a rut. Futures tied to the benchmark index were flat, while Nasdaq 100 futures were off 0.21% heading into the final day of trading for the week. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 17 points. All the major averages are on pace to end the week in the red, with the Dow and the S&P 500 on track for their worst weekly performances since March. Asia-Pacific markets were lower on Friday as Japan’s core inflation for March came in at 3.1%, unchanged from February, data from the Statistics Bureau showed.
This is the second straight month that core inflation has come in lower than January’s core inflation figure of 4.2%, the highest since 1981. Mainland Chinese markets led losses in the region as the Shenzhen Component shed 2.28% and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.95% Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index markets slid 2.01% in its final hour of trade, while the Hang Seng Tech index tumbled 3.58%.
Own a tree with trunk wider than a Pringles tube? Then you may soon need planning permission to cut it down
Homeowners are rushing to cut down trees in a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction ahead of the introduction of controversial protection laws, it has been claimed. Under the planned changes, any work carried out to a tree with a trunk greater than the width of a Pringles tube would require planning permission.The policy is currently out for consultation.One tree surgeon said he was receiving around two calls a day to cut trees down and that his work had been ‘much busier’ recentlJoël Freire, of Tree Matters, said: ‘What is frustrating is that normally people would be keeping these trees. ‘We have noticed a dramatic knee-jerk reaction from clients with a lot of land and trees contemplating complete removal rather than maintaining them as a result of this draconian law being discussed.’ Landscape gardener Andrew Le Maistre said for ‘anything over the size of a Pringles tin, measuring one and a half metres in height’, an Islander would ‘have to get planning permission’.He also predicted a ‘spike in work’ for tree surgeons and added that ‘people will be planting less trees thinking, “Why should I plant more trees?”.’ Mr Le Maistre claimed that the legislation ‘loosely defined’ what constituted a tree, which he said under the definition included shrubs and camellia plants.He added: ‘They [Islanders] are not going to want to plant trees knowing that in three or four years’ time they could have an issue with planning [permission].’
Meanwhile, Godel Architects director Bob Godel said the proposed legislation was ‘counter-productive’ and argued it would create ‘swathes of additional bureaucracy’ within the Planning Department Last year, the States Assembly approved plans to better protect trees by including them under the definition of development within Jersey’s Planning and Building Law.According to the government’s legislation, if a tree has a trunk with a diameter below eight centimetres, or is less than one-and-a-half metres above ground level, planning permission will not be required to carry out work to it.The proposed legislation could also mean waits of up to 28 days to allow the Planning Department time to decide whether an individual can conduct work on trees. This was revealed at a meeting last month, which prompted one resident to say the process made owning trees a ‘liability’.Mr Godel said: ‘In my view this legislation will inevitably be costly to administer and to regulate, will inevitably be underresourced by government, and will cause totally unnecessary delays to people wanting to carry out inconsequential works to whatever is deemed to be a tree on their own land.’He also said that pruning a branch that was over 5cm in diameter would ‘in future require approval via the Planning system, with all the expense and delays that that will entail; and if the work is undertaken without permission, the perpetrator could be prosecuted’
Drinking habits in Jersey revealed
Harmful’ levels of alcohol consumption remain a feature among Jersey’s population, a new report has shown. The latest Alcohol Profile shows that alcohol consumption has risen slightly in recent years, returning to the 2016 annual average of 12 litres of alcohol by everyone aged 15 or older – the equivalent of 8.1 pints of beer, or 2.6 bottles of wine per week. The report also shows that ‘harmful’ drinking – which is classified through a scoring system rather than a set ‘units per week’ calculation – remains high in Jersey, with 25% of adults falling into this category, a fall of just 1% since 2016. One in three men were classified under the ‘harmful’ banner, compared with one in six women.
The report also showed that:– Fewer Jersey adults were teetotal in 2022 (13%), compared to England (21%). – In 2021, there were 725 hospital admissions specifically related to alcohol per 100,000 population, statistically similar to the English rate of 626 per 100,000. Two-thirds of alcohol-specific hospital admissions were males.– Over the three-year period 2019-2021, the age standardised rate of alcohol-specific deaths per 100,000 population in Jersey was 10.9, statistically similar to the rate in England in 2017-2019 of 10.9 per 100,000 population.– Alcohol played a role in almost one in six of all crimes recorded in Jersey in 2022, including around a third (32%) of assaults and serious assaults, 11% of domestic assaults and almost a quarter of offences in the St Helier night-time economy.
King’s gift to help a Jersey dairy herd recover from disaster
A group of seven Jersey heifers selected as a Platinum Jubilee gift for Queen Elizabeth II have been ‘re-gifted’ by King Charles III to help an Island farm recover from the ‘beyond devastating’ loss of more than 100 cows from its dairy herd. A senior figure in the Island’s dairy industry has highlighted the empathy shown by the King to the plight of Woodlands Farm in St Helier, where only a handful of the 137-strong dairy herd survived an outbreak of suspected botulism in December. Originally earmarked to be sent to the ryal herd at Windsor to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, the heifers were then set to be a gift to King Charles after his accession on his mother’s death in September, before events at Woodlands later in the year prompted a change of plan. Andrew Le Gallais, a dairy farmer and former chairman of the Jersey Milk Marketing Board, said arrangements had been helped by the King’s representative in the Island. He said: ‘We have built a close relationship with the Lieutenant-Governor [Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd] and he understood exactly what was involved in this process and helped us in going through the protocols – there was a lot to be gone through.‘We have been very struck that this wasn’t a matter of the King signing a form that was put in front of him: he was aware of what had happened here in December and has shown great interest.
This is a personal gift from the Monarchy and a phenomenal gesture to Woodlands Farm and to the Island herd.’ The heifers are ‘in calf’ and due to give birth later this year, with their offspring set to be recorded in the Jersey Herd Book, the dairy industry’s official register, with ‘Platinum’ added to their pedigree names to mark the links between the Sovereign and the Jersey breed in the Island. A group of younger heifers may be identified and sent to Windsor next year, Mr Le Gallais added. With importing live animals not being permitted in Jersey, the King’s gesture has helped the industry recover from the loss of around 15% of its dairy herd through the botulism outbreak. Mr Le Gallais said: ‘What happened at Woodlands was beyond devastating and they have shown great resilience since that time. ‘The industry has already identified around 80 heifers which will go to help them in re-stocking – it’s not a quick solution, because it’s two years [from birth] until any milk is produced, but there’s been a lot of support.’
Jersey musician booked for dream Glastonbury gig
A singer from Jersey is to play a dream gig at Glastonbury in June – and is looking for ways to incorporate the Island’s flag into her show. Megan Langlois said she only submitted her music for consideration by the festival’s organisers after her wife, Natalie, and two of her friends ‘begged’ her to send in a song. She sent in original music, recorded at her home, and found out via email that she had been selected to play at the festival, which attracts about 200,000 people. Mrs Langlois will be playing a one-hour set on Friday 23 June. ‘It’s just going to be myself and my acoustic guitar,’ she said, adding that she had had support from her wife and two daughters, who are aged nine and 14. ‘They’re both very proud and really pleased,’ she explained. ‘I took my youngest to Glastonbury last year, so she knows what it’s all about.’
Mrs Langlois said that she had not managed to get tickets for her daughters this year, as she only found out she had been chosen to play at the festival after tickets went on sale. She added: ‘I’ve played guitar all my life, as long as I can remember. My dad taught me, then I got lessons.’ The musician described how she had grown up playing music, but began to take it more seriously after travelling to New Zealand as a young adult. ‘I went to New Zealand when I was 18. I was playing for the local restaurants, cafés and bars. I got more confident,’ she said. When not performing her own music, Mrs Langlois plays in two bands – a five-person rock group and in an acoustic duo with her wife. She is involved in the music scene, teaching guitar and running open-mic nights. She also works in the finance sector and takes care of her family.Many Islanders have been wishing Mrs Langlois luck since news of her big gig emerged – among them the team at Jersey College for Girls, where she went to school. Assistant head teacher Peter Marett, who was Mrs Langlois’ tutor, said: ‘We were so excited to hear that Megan is going to perform at Glastonbury. ‘I remember her enthusiasm for music when she performed for Cavell House as a student in my form. She was always such a promising musician.’
New Government e-bike scheme launched in Jersey
The second round of a government e-bike voucher scheme has been launched. The first tranche was made available in January as part of a drive to reduce the Island’s carbon emissions. The vouchers are worth £300 for an e-bike, £600 for an e-cargo bike or £600 for an adapted e-cycle, and can be redeemed at any registered e-bike supplier. Most e-bikes cost around £2,000, with some retailing for as much as £6,000. There were more than 1,800 applications in January and 100 vouchers were granted, with the government saying they had now increased the total number of vouchers available in the April draw to 165, with more e-cargo and adapted e-cycle vouchers on offer. A total of £300,000 from the Climate Emergency Fund has been allocated to the scheme for its two-year duration. One of the aims of the government’s Carbon Neutral Roadmap is to reduce Jersey’s transport-related emissions. Assistant Environment Minister Hilary Jeune said: ‘Transport remains our biggest source of carbon emissions on the Island, and this is something we’re absolutely committed to reducing by supporting Islanders to make the switch away from petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.’ The application window opens today, and will remain open for one week. More information can be found at gov.je/ebike.
First French visitors using new ID system to arrive in Jersey tomorrow
The first French tourists to enter Jersey under a new post-Brexit ID card scheme are due to arrive in the Island on Saturday. A delegation from the Conseil Départemental de la Manche – the regional authority which supports the Manche Iles Express ferry service – is also due to meet government representatives in Jersey and celebrate the company’s first crossing of the year. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a pilot scheme announced by Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles in March, allowing French nationals visiting for a day trip – on commercial passenger ferries – to enter the Island using their national ID cards over the summer. The change comes after the reintroduction of passport requirements – following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – caused the number of visitors from France to drop significantly, as only about 50% of the country’s population has a passport.
Before Brexit, visitors could enter the Island if they presented a carte d’identité. The breakthrough pilot scheme – enabling French nationals to use their identity card on a day return trip to Jersey between 22 April and 30 September – was the product of lengthy conversations between the Home Affairs Department and UK government officials. External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf has previously stressed the importance of the scheme to the French in terms of aiding ‘sustainability of their sea routes’, including that operated by Manche Iles Express.A statement issued by the Maison de la Normandie et de la Manche – the region’s representative office in Jersey – said: ‘Manche Iles Express is very happy to restart its services for the 2023 season and hopes that French visitors will make the most of the pilot scheme and take this opportunity to visit Jersey.’
Jersey Reds call for crowd to be ’16th man’ for one of its biggest ever games
Islanders are being urged to step up to the role of ‘16th player’ as Jersey Reds prepare for one of the biggest games in the club’s history this weekend. The Reds face Ealing Trailfinders on home turf tomorrow in a game likely to decide which side will finish top of the RFU Championship, the second tier of the English structure in which the Island side have competed since the late 1980s. But even if the Reds are top of the table, there will be no promotion due to Premiership rules. With just one game to follow on 29 April, the visitors from London will arrive with a lead of just a single point over the Reds, and with ambitions to retain the silverware they first won a year ago. Tomorrow’s winner will be in pole position to lift the Championship trophy a week later.
The home side are in uncharted territory after 11 seasons in the Championship and a previous highest finish of fourth, leaving chair Mark Morgan hopeful that home support will play a significant role. He said: ‘We saw last Saturday [when the Reds narrowly overcame fourth-placed Bedford Blues to set up the pivotal tie with Ealing] how the crowd can play a role. ‘Bedford are renowned for their passionate home support, and there was real pressure going into the game – they made it really hard for us. But having got past Blues I’d expect the pressure to be on Ealing this weekend.’ Mr Morgan said that he expected the largest crowd of the season at Stade Santander International. ‘The advance ticket sales are already pointing well above 2,000, and anecdotally I’m aware that lots of people who aren’t regular supporters have marked this date in their diaries,’ he said. ‘Ealing are coming mob-handed with around 90 in their official group, and around 250 tickets sold to London postcodes, so we hope they’ll be outnumbered and that our supporters will be the “16th player”, wearing red and ready to make some noise.’
The match has attracted significant interest from the national media, with coverage focusing on the fact that neither side is eligible for promotion to the top tier of the English game – the Gallagher Premiership. Mr Morgan said that while he could understand the frustration about the pathway to the top level being closed at present, there was still a massive amount at stake. He said: ‘We didn’t take part in the audit for promotion, and won’t be doing that until there is absolute clarity around the structure and equity of funding for clubs in the Premiership. Hopefully that position will be made clearer over the next month or two ahead of a new agreement for the professional game, which is due to be in place by summer 2024.‘But for now this is the pinnacle of sport for Jersey – it’s an incredible thing for the Island, and the club, and I hope people will recognise that and get behind the home team.’
Come on Jersey!!