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The pound continues to be a focus point as cable dropped below 1.30 amid Brexit woes but also as the amid rising cases across the country, adding to economic concerns surrounding the recovery.
By Justin Low As the ruins of New York’s World Trade Center smoldered following the September 11 attacks of 2001, skeptics doubted it could ever rise again. As schools gear up for the first online start, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto said despite the challenges, school communities are excited to get back to school.
The pound continues to be a focus point as cable dropped below 1.30 amid Brexit woes but also as the UK is potentially seeing a return of virus restrictions amid rising cases across the country, adding to economic concerns surrounding the recovery.
But the key focus in the market remains on risk sentiment and all eyes are on how the tech plunge is going to play out after yet another rout yesterday.
The Nasdaq chart is reflecting some interesting technical observations so that will be a considerable factor in determining the bias/sentiment over the coming sessions.
For now, US futures are reflecting a calmer mood with S&P 500 futures up ~0.4% and Nasdaq futures up by ~1.1% going into European trading.
That said, the mood remains rather fragile and after days of heavy losses, a slight pullback here isn’t hinting at much just yet. The rout may take a bit of a breather but it certainly feels like a slight nudge is all it takes for it to continue once again.
What are your views on the market right now? Share your thoughts/ideas with the ForexLive community here.
Rebuilt After 9/11, World Trade Center Threatened Anew by Coronavirus
Sept. 8, 2020Updated 6:57 a.m. ET
NEW YORK — As the ruins of New York’s World Trade Center smoldered following the September 11 attacks of 2001, skeptics doubted it could ever rise again.
Now, as the 19th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the grand vision set forth after its destruction has largely been realized. But the rebuilt World Trade Center complex is under threat anew – this time, from a microscopic virus.
“People are much more worried about someone coughing on them than someone blowing up a building,” said Vishal Garg, chief executive of mortgage refinance startup Better.com, headquartered at 7 World Trade Center adjacent to the site known as Ground Zero.
After the Twin Towers and surrounding buildings were destroyed by al Qaeda hijackers, killing 2,753 of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day, the economy of lower Manhattan was devastated.
But a plan was born, and a lengthy metamorphosis turned the disaster zone into a giant pit, then a walled-off construction site, and finally, some $25 billion later, a tourist attraction and business center with three skyscrapers, a transportation hub, a museum and a memorial.
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled its completion, with a performing arts center under construction and a fourth and final skyscraper planned. Six months after New York City began shutting down due to COVID-19, the World Trade Center and the once-bustling Financial District are now eerily devoid of crowds.
“It’s pretty melancholy. A bit gloomy,” said James Busse, a retail stock broker taking a cigarette break nearby.
Ground Zero became both a solemn memorial and a leisure destination. Choked-up visitors to the 9/11 museum or memorial could step onto an esplanade of children eating ice cream or out-of-town visitors admiring the glass-sheathed towers.
One World Trade Center, America’s tallest building at 1,776 feet (541 meters), was built with a bomb-resistant base, as the old World Trade Center had been attacked in a truck bombing in 1993.
The vision laid out in Daniel Libeskind’s 2003 master plan drove a renaissance that has diversified the local economy, previously reliant on finance.
The public and private sectors have invested some $25 billion in reconstruction, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land.
“Everybody coming to New York wants to come to Ground Zero,” Libeskind said in an interview. “It is the center of New York. It is the great public space.”
At its heart are two reflecting pools designed by Michael Arad, marking the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood, with a pair of four-sided waterfalls draining into an abyss. The names of the victims are etched into its bronze borders.
Pre-pandemic, hundreds of visitors would gather there. But on a recent afternoon a family from Wichita, Kansas, were the only people at the south tower pool.
(Graphic: Lower Manhattan employment – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-SEPT11/SCENE/jznpnxqrypl/employment.jpg)
TWIN TOWER NOSTALGIA
Nostalgia over the Twin Towers grew after they were destroyed along with so many innocent lives, but they were unloved in their time.
Completed in the 1970s, the World Trade Center replaced a neighborhood known as Radio Row with an oversized block containing the Twin Towers and little else. The site was frequently called a “windswept plaza.”
“The problem with the World Trade Center is that it never really was that good,” said Carl Weisbrod, a former city planning official who worked on the redevelopment of the new site. “What’s emerged is a central business district that is now a model for the 21st Century as opposed to a sort of a historical artifact of the 20th Century.”
Planning the new site stirred public emotions associated with the attack on the United States, the loss of life and fears of working in tall buildings again.
Critics say the end result still lacks affordable housing and lament the absence of a direct rail link to major regional airports. Architectural critics have called One World Trade Center lackluster.
But there is agreement that, considering all the interests and complexities, it works.
“They did a really wonderful job of knitting it back in the city, but still honoring that sacred site,” said Leslie Koch, president of the complex’s Performing Arts Center.
(Graphic: Lower Manhattan hotel development – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-SEPT11/SCENE/nmovaqbggva/hotel.jpg)
THE MOVERS ARE HERE
In New York’s vertigo-inducing real estate market, prices rarely drop except after events like 9/11 or a recession, and prices are falling again now.
Downtown Manhattan rents are down 1.4% through July, the largest annualized fall since 2010, said Nancy Wu, an economist with the real estate database StreetEasy.
As of 2019, the neighborhood’s rental market was the city’s fastest-growing. But the inventory of available apartments rose 80 percent this July from a year earlier, Wu said.
Guy Khan, director of banking at a financial services company, said the downturn was apparent around his home near City Hall, with chain stores and mom-and-pops closing and neighbors fleeing for the suburbs.
“You see moving trucks every day,” he said.
Developer Larry Silverstein acquired a 99-year lease on the Twin Towers from the Port Authority for $3.2 billion just six weeks before 9/11. He has spent the past 19 years rebuilding.
In 2015, Silverstein forecast the entire site would be rebuilt by 2020, but that changed after the planned anchor tenant for 2 World Trade Center pulled out.
“Life is so unpredictable,” he said.
Silverstein and Libeskind, the master planner, see the pandemic as a temporary pause in downtown Manhattan’s ascendance, noting how predictions of decline after 9/11 proved wrong.
“People said New York will never come back. And it’s the same thing during the pandemic,” Libeskind said. “But I don’t believe it. New York is too resilient,” .
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Gabriella Borter; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Anne Arundel schools Superintendent George Arlotto ready for fall semester, trading in-person visits for online classes
As schools gear up for the first online start, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto said school communities are excited to get back to school despite the challenges.
Throughout the pandemic, the school system had worked to get Chromebooks to children and increase connectivity. So far, the school system has acquired 55,000 Chromebooks, with 32,000 more ordered.
“We’re virtual, and obviously, it’s new for all of us — it’s new for our staff, our students, our parents and the community, but we’re really excited to get the school year started,” Arlotto said.
In an interview with The Capital, the superintendent went over how the school communities have prepared for the online semester of the 2020 to 2021 school year and what the online start looks like compared to his 30 years of working in education.
“It’s going to be completely different because I’m normally (in schools) for the first two weeks of the school year. I am rarely in this office before four or five o’clock in the afternoon,” Arlotto said from his office.
In replacement of his in-person visits to schools, Arlotto said he would have to ask teachers for permission to shadow the Google classrooms while also working with his regional assistant superintendents to check in on schools.
“I’ll go into the virtual classroom and sit and listen to the conversations and sit and listen to the relationship building that will be going on during the first week of school,” he said.
This summer, teachers and staff have logged in an accumulation of over 130,000 professional development hours dedicated to online learning.
By the end of the summer, the system filled over 560 school positions, 24% of which are “diverse” – the largest percentage since the system began tracking over 10 years ago, said school spokesperson Bob Mosier.
As students log on, the first crucial piece is creating relationships and so teachers have received an online educator toolkit, said Arlotto.
In part, the toolkit offers teachers information and resources on how to build relationships with students in an online environment. Arlotto explained that this process had gone on since March when schools first shut down to help slow the coronavirus spread.
In combination with professional development, the school system has worked to offer better online instruction.
“In that process, they are learning about building relationships and navigating the online environment with their students,” he said.
For teachers, the first week back really means connecting with students.
Maria Cote, a Spanish teacher at Annapolis Middle School, said she would spend the first couple of days getting to know her students because that is the best way to get them to learn.
“The students have to think that the teacher cares about them before they care about learning,” Cote said, referencing a quote she once heard.
“In order to give the kids a safe environment, they have to feel a connection to the teacher, so they’re willing to learn.”
The school system will also work to assess students and where they are within the first weeks of school. The system bought a diagnostic assessment software called iReady for elementary schoolers to determine students’ academic levels.
At the middle and high school levels, assessments will vary based on the content area or course, but the diagnostic evaluations can be done in collaboration with the central office administration and teachers.
The school system will return to taking attendance, Arlotto said. Elementary schools will track attendance in the morning. For secondary students, attendance will be taken class by class, similar to what would happen if students were back in school buildings, he said.
Parent Latoya Victor with her son Kahmel Williams receives a new Chromebook at North County High School to help with distance learning. The school system is working toward a one-to-one system for students and Chromebooks. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)
But because of the unique circumstances for some children who cannot log on because of internet connection issues or lack of a device, schools are working with families. As a solution, the school system is creating an alternative attendance process, Arlotto said.
“We realize that not every student is going to be in exactly the same place or family, and so, we are giving sort of lots of space for the teachers when they take attendance,” he said.
For example, if a student cannot check-in at the start of class but can log on or contact the teacher, the teacher then can go back and correct the attendance, Arlotto said.
The student code of conduct will also still apply to the online environment. Students who misbehave can still be subject to disciplinary actions like suspension. Though online learning proves to be a new environment for schools, dealing with disciplinary behavior is not, said Arlotto.
In the spring, principals and central office administration had to respond to disciplinary issues, but the overall process is an evolving one, he said.
“The expectations remain the same in terms of their positive interaction with their peers and their teachers or adults, and so we will enforce the student code of conduct as best we can,” Arlotto said, adding that students could be excluded from online classes.
But in general, teachers can take students “out of class” online by holding a separate Google meet or call on Google voice to address what is going on and bring in additional help from counselors to principals.
Author: Naomi Harris