Business Consultant

Caribbean braces for hurricanes in coronavirus era

By Sarah Marsh and Rodrigo Campos

HAVANA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ken Hutton is worried Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas where he lives is far from rebuilt after being devastated by Hurricane Dorian last year yet he is bracing for another hurricane season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The business consultant feels lucky to have survived Dorian, which tore the hurricane shutters off his house and sucked out the windows.

Yet there is still no running water or power in his area – he relies on a generator and a well – and many of the organizations that had been helping to rebuild suspended work because of the pandemic.

“We are still in no position to be ready for another hurricane,” he told Reuters Tuesday. Already, the Caribbean has been hit by two tropical storms before the official start of the hurricane season on June 1, one of which started right over the Bahamas, Hutton added.

“There are lots of people walking around here now with post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in damages – more than a quarter of the annual output of the Bahamas or the equivalent of the United States losing the combined outputs of California, Texas and Florida, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Across the Caribbean, island nations are now facing the double whammy of a hurricane season forecast to be more active than usual combined with a pandemic that has already drained public coffers and leveled tourism, one

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Great Jobs for Retirees

Chanda Torrey found retirement wonderful for the first two weeks. Then, not so much.

Torrey, 50, of West Palm Beach, Fla., retired in mid 2019 as a Red Cross regional chief development officer. At first, she thought retirement was “paradise,” she says. “But after a few months, I didn’t know who I was. Not having a goal or something to do every day had an effect on my mental health.”

Torrey’s experience is not unusual. Retirement may sound wonderful in the abstract, and for some, it’s a perfect opportunity to leave the working world behind and travel, volunteer or spend time with grandchildren. But for others, a job is a necessity, either for their finances or for their psyche.

And now the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic has left some older people facing particular problems. Some have been forced into retirement before they were ready, and many new and existing retirees have seen their savings plummet along with the stock market.

How do you assess your next step? First, ask yourself some questions. Do you want to work full-time? If your finances don’t require full-time work, is part-time a better fit? Are you eager to tackle a whole new career, or do you want to continue primarily in the field you just left? Do you want something that can be all-consuming, such as starting your own business, or a more low-key job with fewer responsibilities? (For more self-assessment advice, see below.)

The outlook may seem grim for finding a job … Read More

Crisis Austerity in Oil-Rich Gulf May Test Political Balance

(Bloomberg) — The coronavirus pandemic is hitting Gulf Arab economies hard and emboldening the region’s dynastic rulers to push through unpopular fiscal measures that will impact their citizens. The question now is how long their resolve will last.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, tripled its value-added tax and trimmed allowances for government workers. Oman cut salaries of new state employees.

Even in the United Arab Emirates — a financial and commercial hub with the Gulf’s most diversified economy — there are calls for overhauling a so-called “rentier state” model, which depends on hydrocarbon wealth to support government jobs for citizens, generous benefits and a largely tax-free environment. A prominent Emirati lawyer recently called introducing corporate tax “unavoidable.”

Yet for all the talk of accelerating overdue changes, there were also moves to protect state jobs and shield nationals employed in the private sector, casting doubt on whether the downturn will prompt deeper reforms that outlive the crisis.

“The global economic recession has become a trigger for real reconsideration of the fundamentals of the economic models in the Gulf,” said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at Eurasia Group. “In Saudi, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman wants change, but it’s far from easy to kill off the rentier-state model.”

Austerity will affect Saudis like Mohammed, who works for the state, like almost two-thirds of his compatriots. When his pay was cut by 1,000 riyals ($266) a month after a cost-of-living allowance was canceled, the 29-year-old doctor said the

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Voices From The George Floyd Protests: ‘Please Stop Killing Us’

ACROSS AMERICA — Persistently, they have marched, raised their voices along with placards reading “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe,” the latter being among the final words of George Floyd while he gasped for air as a white police officer in Minneapolis held a knee to his neck.

Floyd’s police custody death has galvanized Americans calling for an end to police brutality and the beginning of earnest attempts by politicians and others to address systemic racism and fulfill a promise made to black Americans with the Civil Rights Act decades ago.

Floyd, who was accused by a store owner of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, isn’t the first American of color to be killed in the custody of white police officers. The list of names is long: Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Philando Castile in the Twin Cities. Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Botham Jean in Dallas.

The list goes on.

See Also: All 4 Minneapolis Officers Charged As Protests Continue

Those fighting for racial justice consider this a seminal moment in history, and they fear their message risks being lost to the considerable plunder and violence that have overshadowed peaceful voices. Here, from the streets of America, are some of the voices from the demonstrations:

Darnelle Dasne, who was demonstrating in Crown Heights, New York:

“I have an 18-year-old black boy, I have an 18-year-old queer son. Every

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