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Bank of Scotland: Companies have been reporting increasing confidence since January



Bank of Scotland: Companies have been reporting increasing confidence since January

Company self-confidence in Scotland increased in the initial 6 months of the year, inning accordance with a study

Financial Institution of Scotland Research study discovered the self-confidence of the business, based upon the potential customers offer for sale, orders as well as earnings, increased by 3 indicate 20%.

Business are enhancing their financial investment as well as employment strategies, with the variety of financial investments increasing 11 factors over the following 6 months to 13% compared with January.

The financial institution’s “Company in Britain” record discovered that even more business were seeking brand-new work, however the variety of troubles in hiring proficient employees increased by 2 indicate 45%.

The variety of raise raised by 6 indicate 21%.

Fraser Sime, Regional Supervisor for Scotland at the Financial institution of Scotland, claimed: “Services in Scotland have actually been really durable as well as have actually remained to adjust to these rough times.

” Although companies are ending up being progressively certain as indicators of leveling out in the landscape, the unpredictability bordering Brexit is still in the foreground throughout Scotland.

” Nevertheless, we see business taking careful actions towards development, intending to raise their financial investments as well as work with even more personnel.

” Currently we should remain to sustain these business to guarantee that they make the most of all the chances that the present environment supplies to expand as well as accomplish success.”

The study discovered that business recognized Brexit as the greatest threat to business in the following 6 months, as led by 29% of participants.

Practically fifty percent (45%) anticipate an unfavorable effect on their service if no profession contract is gotten to with the EU.

The Financial institution evaluated the actions of 1,516 British companies, 136 which are based in Scotland.

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Catcher James McCann returns after six weeks on injured list with hamate fracture



Catcher James McCann returns after six weeks on injured list with hamate fracture

James McCann returned to his usual squat behind the plate on Saturday, catching for none other than the Mets starter with a six-pitch arsenal.

With McCann’s left hamate fracture, ensuing surgery and rehab behind him, the Mets backstop played for the first time in six-plus weeks, batting ninth, in the Mets’ game against the Marlins in Miami. Right-hander Chris Bassitt was on the hill for the Amazin’s, pitching to McCann again for the first time since May 2 against the Braves at Citi Field.

There is perhaps no other starting pitcher on the Mets’ starting five that missed McCann more than Bassitt, who has a 2.61 ERA in five starts pitching to him. That battery works so well because McCann is known to do extensive homework on his starters, and Bassitt’s toolbox features a sinker, cutter, slider, fastball, curveball and changeup that requires patience and quick-thinking behind the plate.

Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has said Bassitt is at his best when he’s throwing all six of his offerings confidently. While McCann sat on the IL, it took nearly a month for Bassitt to get on the same page with Mets backup catcher Tomas Nido. During that stretch, Bassitt allowed 22 earned runs in 26 innings, making for the worst spread of starts in his eight-year career.

It should be smooth sailing for Bassitt with McCann back behind the plate, beginning with the righty’s 15th outing of the year on Saturday. For McCann, he will try to start anew and have a better season offensively than the numbers he posted to begin the year.

McCann is hitting a pedestrian .196/.266/.286 with one home run, six RBI, two walks, two doubles and 11 strikeouts across his first 21 games of the season. In the 28 games that Nido filled in for the injured McCann, the backup catcher hit .225/.281/.236 with nine RBI, six walks, one double and 23 strikeouts. Patrick Mazeika, who also helped replace McCann, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday.


Adam Ottavino is quietly having one of his best seasons in three years. The veteran reliever, who pitched for the Yankees from 2019-2020 before landing with the Red Sox last year, has a 2.60 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 30 relief appearances for the Mets this season. His 27.2 innings pitched are fourth-most in the relief corps, behind Drew Smith (31.2 IP), Edwin Diaz (28.2 IP), and Seth Lugo (28.1 IP). His 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings are second-most on the Mets pitching staff (minimum of five innings pitched).

Ottavino has allowed one earned run in his last 19 relief appearances, posting a 0.50 ERA with nine hits, five walks and 18 strikeouts in that span. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings against the Marlins on Friday, including leaving the bases loaded in relief of Smith in the seventh inning. He’s holding right-handed hitters to a .147 batting average this season, and has posted a 0.71 ERA with three walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 games on the road this year.

The Mets acquired Ottavino in March, just days after the MLB lockout was over and spring training had finally begun. The Brooklyn native posted a 4.21 ERA in 69 appearances for the Red Sox last year, striking out 71 batters in 62 innings. But he hasn’t had a season this good since 2019 with the Yankees, when he recorded a 1.90 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 66.1 innings and 73 outings.


The Mets have done a solid job squashing their division so far this season. They are 23-8 against the NL East this year, including an 11-1 mark in their last 12 games against division rivals. The Amazin’s have lost back-to-back games against NL East opponents only once all season, which took place more than two months ago at Washington and Philadelphia on April 10-11. Their .742 winning percentage is the best intradivisional record in baseball, and they’ve outscored their NL East rivals 162-101 this year.


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Magic’s secrecy during NBA draft process could lead to long-term benefits



Magic’s secrecy during NBA draft process could lead to long-term benefits

What seemed like a 180-degree turn really wasn’t. The Orlando Magic knew what they were doing all along.

The Magic chose Duke star Paolo Banchero at No 1 overall. He was too good to pass up for one of the league’s worst offenses. He can score in a multitude of ways such as transition, pull-up jumpers and offensive rebounds.

Banchero wasn’t the expected choice on well-respected mock draft boards like CBS Sports and ESPN. Most thought he’d be a top-three pick, likely landing with the Houston Rockets, but the Magic kept who they desired most a mystery until the last minute.

Why the secrecy?

The answer is simple — strategy.

“It helps you do business better,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday night. “Whatever partners you’re trying to engage with — whether it’s an agent, another team or whomever — they trust you more if they know you can be discreet with managing your information. It’s a smart way to do business. It’s a part of our strategy of success.”

There was a method to the Magic’s magic. They worked out several prospects during the lead up to the draft, including Jaden Ivey, Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren. Not Banchero.

It wasn’t unusual for the Magic not to have their future picks partake in pre-draft workouts. Jalen Suggs, a 2021 lottery pick out of Gonzaga, didn’t workout for them.

Banchero had multiple conversations with the Magic that included how coach Jamahl Mosley plans to use him and how he’d fit on the team.

“Talking to coach Mosley, he told me he just wanted to teach guys how to play and how to play efficiently,” Banchero said. “I feel like I really thrive with that.”

Banchero averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game at Duke, but his fit is about more than numbers.

All the while, the Magic were operating in stealth mode.

The Magic likely earned respect from a lot of teams by keeping their intentions clandestine, including from the teams at Nos. 2 (Oklahoma City) and 3 (Houston). The influence of social media and power held by agents, who can leverage that information to benefit their clients, makes leaks inevitable.

The Magic took control instead and buttoned up.

“Honestly, I think that serves a good purpose because not only is it important for us to keep our information discreetly so the players know they can trust us,” Weltman said. “But it’s also important when teams call because I believe we’re a team that other teams know they can make discreet phone calls to and it won’t get out. The way you manage information is a big part of this business.”

The next stage comes July 1 when free agency opens. Maybe the Magic’s tactfulness will pay dividends immediately and help accelerate their rebuild. Leaks can weaken a team’s position in the market. A 22-win team, second-worst in the NBA last season, has to be even more meticulous.

“You never know what’s going to come up. You never know what other teams are trying to do behind you,” Weltman said. “I can tell you we’ve had conversations with every team, including those right behind us [in the draft]. I could flip the question and say, ‘What’s to be gained [by talking]?’

“It’s the best way to do business.”


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Bonnie Blodgett: Challenging a challenger of garden myth, as experience advises



Bonnie Blodgett: It’s nearly time to tap the sap of my Autumn Blazes

I was invited to an online gardening presentation last week, put on by New Society Publishers and starring one of its authors, the famed Ontario botanist and gardener Robert Pavlis.

In his talk, “Plant Science for Gardeners: Essentials for Growing Better Plants,” Pavlis gently skewered not EVERY misconception we garden writers routinely pass on to our readers as if it were fact, but a handful of the more popular ones. With relish.

Bonnie Blodgett

I will offer a sample here, by way of either fleshing out or flat-out correcting some of my own gaffes.

But first, I must remind you that I have never been awarded an advanced degree in botany (my major was journalism) or claimed to have been. In other words, I never promised you a rose garden.

Or did I?

Moreover, if I’ve led you astray from time to time, it’s not for lack of being true to the best, fact-based and scientifically proven gardening advice I’ve ever given anyone:

The best way to learn how to do something is to do it.

Not that I could change my ways if I tried. I’m too damn old, and when I was young, I was too damn young.

Faithful readers won’t be surprised to find out that YouTube videos are not my go-to when something needs fixing around the house, any more than online experts are how I solve gardening problems.

Just the other evening, for instance, as the mercury soared to a record high, I was in one of the units I rent out on Airbnb trying to figure out how to keep cool air from seeping under two French doors into an adjacent, uncooled space that I call the Tropical Jungle. (The rental unit has a window air-conditioner. Most of my house is cooled with fans.)

Conventional door sweeps being useless in this situation thanks to the wildly uneven floors, I finally rummaged around in the garage and came up with a roll of fiberglass insulation.

I knew that only something spongelike would compress to fit under the door where the floor rises, while holding its shape where the floor sinks.

The project took about 20 minutes. Guests will be none the wiser, as the thin strips I scissored to fit the bottom of each door and then secured with packing tape, were then covered with painter’s tape that matches the door color.

A handy friend had tried to solve this problem before I took over. After perusing the aisles of Menards, he showed up at my house with a length of rigid foam tubing, the kind used to insulate plumbing pipes. I told him to return the tubes and not buy anything else unless it was a pair of sponges shaped (more or less) like baseball bats.

There being no such item at Menards or anywhere else, I pressed him into service as my surgical nurse. He handed me the scissors and/or the tape while holding the door in place.

Can I monetize this? No. There isn’t a consumer-product solution for any of the one-in-a-million problems that number in the billions.

Nor is there a quick-fix solution (in-a-bottle or otherwise) for nine-tenths of the problems I find in my garden, despite the best efforts of the experts and despite our economy’s never-ending pursuit of ways to monetize everything. Some things can’t be scaled up.

I mean, how do you scale up a flexible under-door gap remover?

How many people live in 1880-vintage wood frame houses?

Why does “This Old House” also go by the name “This Old Million-Dollar House?” Because the solution that gets scaled up and put on TV is to take the house down to the studs or further, today’s homeowner having been persuaded that a house that isn’t “plumb and square” is a disaster waiting to happen. This is not because of tornadoes but what the neighbors will think. Oh, and resale? Look out!

OK, so getting back to Robert Pavlis.

I did write here some years ago that oak trees have tap roots. This, according to Pavlis, is a bald-faced lie.

It’s actually more like a little white lie.

Oak trees grow in stages, Pavlis explained, and thus have two sets of roots; the older the tree the more dependent it becomes on the second and increasingly dominant root system comprising shallow roots that extend far outside the tree canopy, sometimes all the way down the block!

But the tap root does exist, its purpose to keep the tree erect when it’s young and defenseless.

Pavlis was also enlightening on weather and climate. Garden writers (like me) who have been encouraging readers to ”push” USDA zones, on the theory that climate change is pushing our plants, are kidding ourselves (and you).

Notwithstanding my own successful experiments in zone pushing, it takes a lot more than a few degrees to change a plant’s hardiness range. Global warming involves a 3-degree uptick in heat (at which point we all die), not the 10 or 20 or 30 degrees that differentiate USDA zones.

Once again (as with his debunking of the myth that oak trees have a tap root) I must quibble with the expert. More than just temperature is involved in what we call climate change.

I plant more Zone 5 (i.e., less hardy) perennials than I used to not just because I’m betting against a return of minus-40 cold snaps but because such plants often tolerate heat better. Maybe they have root systems that go deep for water. Some even have tap roots!

It’s the shallow-rooted plants, whether they’re Zone 4 or 5, that don’t like our new weather’s extreme inconsistency and the way it enables heretofore unheard-of pestilence.

Plants are more likely to die from a long-term drought or an onslaught of baseball-sized hail or monsoon-like rains that can’t drain and get sick because of it, or, like our ash trees, get infested with a bug that used to be unable to survive our cold winters and can now, than plain old ordinary blistering heat.

My goal is to plant whatever can deal with all this, regardless of its USDA zone. Indeed, some of the toughest in the summer months are tropical and semi-tropical plants that I reward for their resilience by bringing them inside for the winter.

One of Pavlis’s facts that I can’t second-guess, because I have never grown sunflowers, is that sunflowers kiss. The truth is, they rotate their huge flower heads twice a day, first toward the rising and then toward the setting sun, to extend their window of solar-storage opportunity. Sometimes this frenetic swiveling results in what looks like kissing. It isn’t.

What was most interesting to me about Pavlis’s botany lesson was the Botany. Yes, I mean with a capital B. Things I know intuitively about plant behavior he gave names to.

What we think of as flowers are usually something else, such as bracts (euphorbia) or sepals (clematis).

As to conifers, Pavlis urged us to leave them alone, all except the yews, which can be pruned for shape (see yew topiaries) quite aggressively.

All other conifers should be handled with care … and restraint, lest you remove the living cells from which fresh foliage grows.

As a rule, it is only safe to take off new growth, the candles of a pine or the lighter-green tips of an arborvitae, for example—and to do this just as the new growth appears. This way you’ll know which is new and which isn’t.

I’ve told you about my misadventure with three blue globe spruce that are evenly spaced along a retaining wall in my front garden.

The happy ending, I have not told you about.

Having failed to curb their enthusiasm when I had the chance (by frequent pruning of their candles when they were young), I finally had no choice but to hack off all the dead wood that perpetuates the lie that these ungainly looking plants are shrubs.

I turned all three into trees.

Taming my blue globe spruce began about three years ago. Clearly, they were not the “well-behaved dwarf that makes this gem the perfect structure plant” I’d brought home on the assumption that they wouldn’t cost this much if they weren’t the good cops my garden was begging for.

Wrong-oh! They were thugs.

By hacking off the pointy tops that shot up like witch’s hats from the “tidy globes,” I gave them a horizontal habit. Removing all the dead lower branches and twigs that used to BE the tidy globes was the next and, I hope, final step.

Then, in the dense shade of the evergreen canopy where dead branches had been, I planted “Alaska” nasturtiums. They don’t mind poor soil and in fact prefer it and are not greedy when it comes to sunlight or water either.

The nasturtiums are now poised to spill over the stone retaining wall (under their own weight) and lap up the sun. By midsummer they’ll be flowering their heads off.

“Alaska” has variegated leaves. This, too, makes it the perfect choice for this site. Variegation equates with slow growth, caused by less chlorophyl, and it also equates with shade tolerance, for the same reason.

Which brings me to Pavlis’s next topic: the many ways plants fight against variegation and other “improvements” bred into them by humans, so as to revert to their “original” selves.

Pavlis showed how reversion causes grafted roses and fruit trees to send up shoots of its wilder and hardier precursor (and what to do about it: prune the suckers immediately), and why variegated hostas and heucheras and other manmade cultivars also revert.

Bottom line: If your fancy perennials are going dull green on you, it’s because it makes their life easier. Green is the color of chlorophyl. And the more chlorophyl, the more energy the plant can photosynthesize.

A Botanist (capital B) would require a semester to explain the details of this amazing process to his or her college students. I am NOT going there.

Suffice to say, it’s your job to make these lazy sots suffer a little, in return for which your variegated lovelies will receive lavish praise when garden tourists come calling. This applies also to plants with chartreuse coloring and/or streaks, splashes, speckles and the like.

So grab your hedge shears and remove that boring green leaf before its kind takes over completely. Remember what I said about scaling up? It’s not just a human thing. Mother Nature does it too! But isn’t it more fun to go against the crowd and try something new?

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