‘Shovel ready’ essential services make headway during COVID-19


While Australia slowly experiences a progressive relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, stimulus plans are being rolled out to sustain businesses across the nation. The construction sector is a key focus, placing ‘shovel ready’ projects in the limelight to help revive its slowing economy. With its crews on the frontline building some of the largest pipelines across Australia and New Zealand, specialist in water infrastructure, Interflow, has been spearheading ‘shovel ready’ essential services for communities across Western Australia.

Interflow is a self-performing contractor employing over 600 people, providing end-to-end solutions for water networks across Australia and New Zealand. The Company carries out works in the planning, design, construction and maintenance phases of pipeline infrastructure within water, wastewater, stormwater and road and rail culverts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled essential service providers like Interflow to develop swift and innovative methods to meet the water infrastructure needs of the region. The Company’s crews are constantly on the frontline, performing complex engineering solutions in the most extreme conditions. As such, the ability to rapidly respond to urgent infrastructure requirements is now more important than ever.

Ready to mobilise

Interflow’s Business Development Manager for Western Australia, Steven Paradiss, emphasises how ‘shovel ready’ projects can

Firms rush to register as MSMEs, but most may not get loans: Officials


As small businesses and start-ups line up to register as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), most do not stand to benefit from the government’s relief package, say officials.

The government had last month announced loans worth Rs 3 trillion for an estimated 4.5 million that are facing a liquidity crunch since last year.

While the term loans — that are collateral-free and automatic — have been made available till October 31, only businesses that have outstanding loans of up to Rs 25 crore would be eligible.

This saw a surge in start-ups and small businesses across the country logging in to the MSME Ministry’s registration portal — Udyog Aadhaar — hoping to get a shot of liquidity through the loans, as well as other benefits.

Experts, however, say the loan scenario looks bleak.

“These new loans are categorised as ‘additional working capital finance’ for firms which have already been granted loans and those with a turnover up to Rs 100 crore. These will amount to a maximum of 20 per cent of the firm’s outstanding credit as of February-end. Also, the outstanding credit needs to be

Covid-19 crisis: Emirates, Etihad extend 50% salary cuts till September


Emirates has extended the 50 per cent salary cuts until September as the Dubai-based carrier steps up measures to preserve cash, according to an internal memo.

The basic salary reduction, which took effect on April 1, will be applied to all employees at grade 4 and above, the airline said. “We continue to navigate the impact of Covid-19 on our business and are reviewing all possible options to preserve our cash position.”

Similarly, Abu Dhabi’s has extended its salary cuts until September, with a 25 per cent reduction for junior staff and cabin crew and 50 per cent for employees at manager level and above, a representative for the carrier said in an email. Housing allowances and other unidentified benefits continue to be paid, according to the statement.

Trump Drifts From Constitution, Former Military Chief Warns


Colin Powell, who served as America’s top military officer and top diplomat under Republican presidents, said Sunday he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden, accusing Donald Trump of drifting from the US constitution.

In a scathing indictment of Trump on CNN, Powell denounced the US president as a danger to democracy whose lies and insults have diminished America in the eyes of the world.

“We have a constitution. We have to follow that constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” Powell said.

A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was the latest in a series of retired top military officers to publicly criticize Trump’s handling of the mass anti-racism protests that have swept the United States since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis.

A tipping point appeared to have been reached last week among the normally reticent retired officers when Trump threatened to use the active duty military to quell protests in US cities, setting off a confrontation with the Pentagon leadership.

“We are in a turning point,” Powell said, blasting Republican senators for not standing up to Trump.

“He lies about things. And he gets away with it because

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