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North Korea’s Kim pledges thousands of new homes in storm recovery effort: state media

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to help typhoon-hit areas recover and to build at least 25,000 houses over the next five years, state media said on Wednesday.

Visiting one of the worst-hit areas of North Korea, Kim expressed regret over the more than 50-year-old houses in which people have been living and urged the military to embark on a more ambitious construction plan, KCNA said.

The visit came after Kim appeared to shed tears at the weekend as he thanked citizens for their sacrifices, in the most striking demonstration yet of how he is relying on his “man-of- the-people” persona to tackle his country’s deepening crises.

The military has reached a construction level of 60% for at least 2,300 houses in the Komdok area in South Hamgyong province, northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, the state media said.

Kim said new houses were now only built when the old ones were brought down by natural disasters, and called for a “revolution” in construction plans, starting with building 25,000 houses during his five-year plan set to be unveiled in January.

Last week, Kim called on his country to embark on an 80-day “speed battle” – to attain economic goals before a congress in January to decide the new five-year plan.

North Korea has had a tough year because of the impact of anti-coronavirus measures, international sanctions and several typhoons that battered towns.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Pamplin Media Group – Oregon construction contractors gloomy as 2020 grinds on

Project cancellations on the rise in contracting, while residential building flourishes


COURTESY: REED'S CROSSING - Residential construction work hold strong, like this at Reed's Crossing in Hillsboro, but many commercial projects are being canceled during the pandemic.

A recent survey by the Association of General Contractors found growing pessimism among contractors amid rising project cancellations.

In terms of business volume returning to a normal level relative to a year ago, 38% of respondents said they expect it will take more than six months.

In June that number was 30%.

An AGC spokesperson said the likely reason for the gloomier view is that 60% of respondents report a scheduled project has been postponed or canceled, up from 32% in June.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying recession drag on, companies both expect to lay off staff and then hire them back.

Twenty three percent of firms said they expect to furlough employees temporarily and/or terminate employees to reduce headcount in the next 12 months, but 40% expect to recall employees and/or add new employees.COURTESY: REED'S CROSSING - Residential construction work hold strong, like this at Reed's Crossing in Hillsboro, but many commercial projects are being canceled during the pandemic.

In the 2019 Workforce Survey, 72% of firms expected to add employees.

Despite unemployment running as high as 16% in 2020, 52% of respondents reported difficulty filling some or all hourly craft positions. Salaried positions were also proving hard to fill, with 28% of firms complaining.

Forty-one percent of firms report a decrease in headcount over the past 12 months, 27% an increase, and 46% no change.

While construction employment increased in August by 16,000, gains were limited to residential and select nonresidential categories. There was a net decrease of 11,000 in nonresidential construction employment, including nonresidential building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction.

Between July 2019 and July 2020, New York City lost the most construction jobs (-26,500, -16%), while Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. added the most construction jobs over the year (4,800, 6%). Walla Walla, Washington, had the largest percentage gain (25%, 300).

Construction spending inched up 0.1% to a

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Programmatic ‘key driver of UK digital media quality improvements in 2020’

Programmatic has fuelled the boost in media quality across the UK, outperformed global averages across desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video, according to new research.

The Media Quality Report from Integral Ad Sciences provides global benchmarks for viewability, brand safety and suitability, and ad fraud across digital environments and channels

Key findings:

• Programmatic has fuelled the boost in media quality across the UK
• UK programmatic buys outperformed global programmatic averages across desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video
• The UK has cemented itself as a leader when it comes to brand risk reduction
• UK viewability continued to rise in the UK across all formats and environments driven by strong programmatic performance throughout H1 2020
• Ad fraud levels in the UK remained steady throughout H1 2020

Programmatic buys fuel boost to UK digital media quality

The UK has cemented itself as a leader when it comes to brand risk reduction. Video inventory in particular, achieved lower rates of brand risk when purchased programmatically, with mobile web video programmatic risk falling 1.8 percentage points to 5.6% when compared with the six months prior. For desktop video, the risk of being placed next to contextually unsuitable or unsafe content decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 5.3% in H1 2020.

When compared to the average worldwide risk, UK programmatic buys continued to outperform global programmatic averages across every environment measured – desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video.

Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science, comments: “The strong performance of programmatic buys is most likely due to the wide use of pre-bid filters. This data should offer UK advertisers the confidence to further invest in programmatic to drive efficiency for their campaigns across platforms.”

UK

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