Haarms scores 23 to lead BYU past Portland 95-67

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPROVO, Utah (AP) — Matt Haarms had a season-high 23 points as BYU romped past Portland 95-67.Latrell Jones led the Pilots on Thursday night with a season-high 21 points. Associated Press Tags: BYU Cougars Basketball/Matt Haarms/WCC January 21, 2021 /Sports News – Local Haarms scores 23 to lead BYU past Portland 95-67 Written bylast_img

Welch and Vermont Country Store owner urge reform of credit card fees

first_imgCongressman Peter Welch and Vermont country store owner Kathy Miller urged the House Committee on Financial Services Thursday to crack down on unfair credit card swipe fees paid by small businesses. At a hearing to debate Welch’s Credit Card Interchange Fees Act (HR 2382), Welch and Miller asked the committee to consider the plight of small retailers forced to pay close to two percent of every purchase in swipe fees to credit card companies and big banks. Miller, who owns the Elmore Store in Elmore, Vermont, said the unfair and abusive practices mean she and her husband Warren often lose money on small purchases.Welch’s legislation would allow merchants to offer discounts for cash payments and set a minimum for credit card purchases, and it would prevent card companies from charging merchants more for rewards card transactions. The bill would increase transparency by requiring card companies to disclose the terms of their agreements to merchants and consumers, and it would increase oversight by empowering the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether any practices are unfair or anti-competitive.“Credit card companies and big banks are finding more and more ways to squeeze small retailers, for whom the profit on an individual sale can be completely canceled out by the cost of the burdensome interchange fee,” Welch told the committee. “What is at issue here is a question of basic fairness and reasonable regulation of credit card and large bank practices.”Miller, a fifth generation Vermonter who has owned the Elmore Store for 26 years, said, “We have streamlined our business to reduce costs as best we can. Maintenance doesn’t get done as it should, less money goes out in payroll, but we just can’t keep absorbing these fees and survive in these tough economic times. If interchange swipe fees were fair and reasonable, Warren and I would have more money to invest back into our business.”The amount of money big banks collect in interchange fees has tripled from 2001 to 2008, costing American consumers $36 billion a year. The average family pays $300 a year in fees. Only 13 percent of those fees go toward processing and transaction costs, while 44 percent goes to subsidizing rewards programs.Miller told the committee she loses money when customers pay for a pack of gum with a credit card and she makes only two cents when a customer buys a bag of chips.“I would like to ask you on your next ride home to look and see how many vacant store fronts there are in your small downtowns. Just this winter alone, six stores closed within a 50 mile radius of us,” she told the committee. “Some days I feel like I should just turn in my keys – but too many people count on us. Elmore is a town of 850 people. We are the hub of the community. When someone needs something, who do you call? ‘Mom’ or ‘Pop’ at the Elmore Store. We are just trying to keep our doors open.” # # #last_img read more

Credit unions, entrepreneurs a ‘perfect fit’

first_imgWith their cooperative business structure, credit unions are perfectly positioned to help entrepreneurs—a population often overlooked by big banks—realize their business dreams.“There’s always that burning desire of U.S. citizens,” says Dana Sumner, co-founder of Development Finance Training and Consulting Inc. and an instructor at CUNA’s Business Lending Certification Institute. “They want to own their own business, and they feel much more confident taking that next step during positive economic times when the economy isn’t suffering like it has been the past couple of years.”As the economy recovered, there has been a greater demand from consumers seeking the financial means to start or expand their businesses. Sumner says there are new opportunities—and challenges—ahead for credit unions when it comes to business lending.Banks traditionally have felt more comfortable dealing with larger businesses, leaving a void for those entrepreneurs who need funding. Due to the cooperative model they operate under, credit unions are a “perfect fit” for lending to entrepreneurs. continue reading » 28SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Virus-hit Iran says masks compulsory from next week

first_imgHe also did not say what the penalty would be for those who fail to observe the measure.According to deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi, services would not be provided to those without masks in areas such as government organizations and shopping malls.But implementing the measure may be difficult, as according to Tehran’s mayor, many do not wear masks in places like the capital’s public transport network, where it is already mandatory.”Fifty percent of metro passengers wear masks… and even fewer in buses,” Mayor Pirouz Hanachi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.”We can’t forcefully confront people without masks,” he added. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would have to live with the virus for the “long haul”, as he announced the latest measures to combat it.Mask-wearing would be “obligatory in covered spaces where there are gatherings”, he said during a televised meeting of the country’s anti-virus taskforce.According to him, the measure would come into force as of next week, continue until July 22 and would be extended if necessary.Rouhani said the health ministry had devised “a clear list” of the types of spaces and gatherings deemed high-risk, but he did not elaborate. ‘Red’ countiesIran reported its first COVID-19 cases on February 19 and it has since struggled to contain the outbreak.The health ministry on Sunday announced 144 virus deaths in the past 24 hours, its highest for a single day since April 5, raising the total to 10,508.Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari also raised total confirmed infections to 222,669, with 2,489 new cases during the same period.Official figures have shown an upward trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.”Considering the rising numbers, I plead with you to definitely use masks outside and in covered places,” Lari said.Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.The economy is starting to suffer under the pressures of the health crisis.The country’s currency, the rial, has hit new lows against the US dollar in recent days, mostly over border closures and a halt in non-oil exports, according to analysts.The increasing virus caseload has seen some previously unscathed provinces classified as “red” — the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale — with authorities allowing them to reimpose restrictive measures if required.According to Rouhani, the measure would also be extended to provinces with “red” counties.”Any county that is red, its provincial (virus) committee can propose reimposing limitations for a week”, which could be extended if needed, he said.The government launched an “#I wear a mask” campaign on Saturday and pleaded with Iranians to observe guidelines aimed at curbing infections.One Iranian is infected with COVID-19 every 33 seconds and one dies from the disease every 13 minutes, Harirchi said on Saturday.Zanjan county in northwestern Iran has already reimposed restrictive measures for two weeks, its governor said in a televised interview.It followed a “certain indifference from Zanjan residents and as the number of our [virus] deaths picked up again in recent weeks,” said Alireza Asgari.The limitations include closing wedding halls and a ban on funeral events held at mosques, as they can lead to large gatherings, he added. Iran said Sunday it will make mask-wearing mandatory in certain areas and has allowed virus-hit provinces to reimpose restrictions, as novel coronavirus deaths mounted in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.The new steps were announced as Iran counted 144 new fatalities from the COVID-19 disease, its highest death toll for a single day in almost three months.The Islamic republic has refrained from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the pandemic’s spread, and the use of masks and protective equipment has been optional in most areas. Topics :last_img read more