Vote-counting continues, but Republicans likely to maintain control of Senate

first_imgIn Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock is headed to a January 5, 2021, runoff with Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Sen. David Perdue is currently just over 50% in the other Senate race in that state, but with the remaining votes to be counted in that race, it’s possible that Perdue will also be headed to a runoff against Jon Ossoff. In one possible scenario, those two runoffs could end up determining control of the Senate.Democrat Cal Cunningham narrowly trails Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina, but it’s unlikely that the remaining ballots there will push him over the top.The odious Lindsey Graham and Joni Ernst will stay in the Senate. – Advertisement – Once again, the Democrats in the Senate will represent more people than the Republicans in the Senate. But once again, the Republicans are strongly favored to have control of the Senate, highlighting again how undemocratic the U.S. system is and how badly we need major reform. Sen. Susan Collins leads Sara Gideon narrowly in Maine. If Collins remains under 50% of the vote, the 4% of the vote currently going to a third-party candidate will be reallocated and could help Gideon. That’s two big ifs adding up to a very long shot, though. In Michigan, Republican challenger John James narrowly leads Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, but there’s reason to hope that the same mail ballots expected to boost Biden will also boost Peters.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

HGSS: Dear tourists, you are beautiful and without dangerous selfies from the top of the cliff

first_imgThis time from CMRS-a warn of the danger of taking selfies from dangerous locations. Although the messages of the HGSS are comical and entertaining, even hilarious, they are certainly not just a joke of the HGSS, but important messages that mean life. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) has been declared one of the best communicators in Croatia, and I don’t know how many times they have shown that with a new warning for tourists. #deartourists Let’s keep Croatia full of life. Part three Source: FB HGSS Unfortunately, we are witnessing day by day that various people are ready to do anything for a good selfie, and thus endanger their lives, just to catch a good shot and a good photo. Unfortunately, some are killed. last_img

Agents: Cutting out the middle man

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Central reservations

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Saudi Arabia eliminates death penalty for minors

first_img“Instead, the individual will receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility,” the statement said.The decree is expected to spare the lives of at least six men from the minority Shiite community who are on death row.The were accused of taking part in anti-government protests during the Arab Spring uprisings while they were under the age of 18.United Nations human rights experts made an urgent appeal to Saudi Arabia last year to halt plans to execute them. Saudi Arabia on Sunday ended the death penalty for crimes committed by minors after effectively abolishing floggings as the kingdom seeks to blunt criticism over its human rights record.The reforms underscore a push by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to modernize the ultra-conservative kingdom long associated with a fundamentalist strain of Wahhabi Islam.The death penalty has been eliminated for those convicted of crimes committed while they were minors, Human Rights Commission president Awwad Alawwad said in a statement, citing a royal decree. Topics :center_img “This is an important day for Saudi Arabia,” said Awwad Alawwad.”The decree helps us in establishing a more modern penal code.” The kingdom has one of the world’s highest rates of execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.Saudi Arabia executed at least 187 people in 2019, according to a tally based on official data, the highest since 1995 when 195 people were put to death.Since January 12 people were executed, according to official data.Human rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, an absolute monarchy governed under a strict form of Islamic law.On Saturday, the HRC announced Saudi Arabia had effectively abolished flogging as a punishment, which have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.The most high-profile instance of flogging in recent years was the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014 on charges of “insulting” Islam.But “hudud” or harsher punishment under Islamic law such as floggings are still applicable for serious offences, a Saudi official said.Hudud, which means “boundaries” in Arabic, is meted out for such sins as rape, murder or theft.But “hudud” punishments are rarely meted out as many offences must be proved by a confession or be verified by several adult Muslim witnesses, the official added.last_img read more

Stock markets slump as Wall Street rally runs out of steam analyst Patrick O’Hare hinted that a pullback was inevitable given concerns about excessive valuations following the surge in recent weeks.”Let’s not kid ourselves with the idea that worries about COVID-19, the election, diplomatic tension with China, or the fiscal cliff are the basis for this morning’s weakness,” O’Hare wrote early Thursday before the stock market opened.”The basis for this morning’s weakness is the realization that things are getting carried away in terms of trend exuberance and that some profit taking is in order.”The sell-off came after mixed US economic data Thursday that included a report showing slower services sector growth in August, bigger-than-expected drop in new jobless claims, record job cuts this year and an unexpectedly big trade deficit for July.The reports come ahead of Friday’s much-anticipated government jobs report for August, which economists expect to show a surge in hiring and a dip in the unemployment rate to below 10 percent.The rally had been propelled by expectations for strong earnings growth in 2021 following fiscal and monetary stimulus measures. “Despite today’s bloodbath, the underlying bullish trend remains intact even as the spike in volatility could be the start of a new phase of the recovery,” said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.But Krosby cautioned that Friday’s session could also be rocky depending on the jobs report and traders “who may not want to go long over a long weekend.”Topics : Wall Street’s summer-long rally stumbled Thursday with high-flying tech shares leading the market sharply lower as investors cashed in amid worries about a bubble in prices.The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led the market lower following a sell-off in tech shares, ending at 11,458.10, down 5.0 percent.The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2.8 percent to 28,289.17, while the broad based S&P 500 tumbled 3.5 percent to 3,454.88. The market was “overbought and due for a pullback,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, who noted that September has historically been a bad month for the stock market.Major European bourses joined in the selloff, with Paris, Frankfurt and London all declining.Major United States stock indices enjoyed their best August in decades this year amid expectations that coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics will permit a strong economic recovery.But analysts have cautioned that the market was due for a pause given elevated unemployment and economic uncertainty as the US continues to contend with world’s worst coronavirus outbreak, and heading into the long holiday weekend investors cashed in.last_img read more

BLOG: Governor Wolf Announces New Methane Rules to Improve Air Quality, Reduce Industry Loss (ROUND-UP)

first_imgLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary Energy, Environment, Government That Works, Round-Up, The Blog, Videos Yesterday, during his Facebook Town Hall on climate change, energy, and the environment, Governor Tom Wolf announced a nation-leading strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, and has been implicated in health risks.Watch Governor Wolf’s Facebook Town Hall with Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley and Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.The plan is designed to protect the environment and public health, reduce climate change, and help businesses reduce the waste of a valuable product by reducing methane leaks and emissions from natural gas well sites, processing facilities, compressor stations and along pipelines.Check out some of the coverage:StateImpact PA: In climate move, Wolf unveils new methane regulations for oil and gas industry.“Governor Tom Wolf announced new plans Tuesday to cut methane emissions from the state’s oil and gas sector. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Wolf’s announcement follows a similar move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September.”Beaver County Times: Gov. Tom Wolf unveils effort to curtail methane emissions.“Calling the changes “best-in-class measures” already used by industry leaders and mandated by other states, Wolf said they will “improve our air by addressing the urgent crisis of climate change and help businesses reclaim product that are being wasted.” Besides the environmental damage caused by methane emissions and leaks, Wolf said that loss of product costs the industry millions of dollars a year.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Wolf announces plan to reduce methane emissions at gas wells.“Pennsylvania will take new steps to cut methane emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines and fill gaps in state policies that have allowed many sources to release the potent greenhouse gas without controls. Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday unveiled a four-part plan to reduce methane leaks and emissions at new and existing well sites and pipelines. The plan includes developing a new permit for new shale gas well sites, a more stringent permit for new compressor stations and gas processing facilities, a regulation for limiting leaks at existing oil and gas facilities and best practices for detecting and fixing leaks along pipelines.”Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Pa. Gov. Wolf targets methane emissions from oil and gas.“Gov. Tom Wolf is moving to toughen regulations on methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry by directing his administration to write rules for existing wells and equipment and to revamp permits for new sources of pollution. The moves — announced Tuesday during a live video stream on Facebook discussing climate and environmental issues — follow through on Wolf’s promise to more stringently control emissions and answer calls from environmentalists concerned that pending federal rules cover only new wells and facilities.”Scranton Times-Tribune: Wolf wants to reduce drilling methane emissions by 40 percent.“Gov. Tom Wolf wants to reduce emissions of methane from the natural gas industry by 40 percent during the next five years. Concerns about climate change and health risks are behind the new state plan announced Tuesday. It calls for new permit rules and regulations to reduce methane emissions, the second most prevalent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere from Marcellus Shale wells, compressor stations, processing facilities and pipelines. It would rely on using the best technology, requiring leak detection and repair programs, better record keeping and more inspections.”PennLive: Environmentalists, shale coalition respond to Gov. Wolf’s new rules for methane emission.“Gov. Tom Wolf made good on a campaign promise and took steps Tuesday to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry…. Fewer methane emissions will be a positive change in a state where 4 million people live in areas that exceed the national clean air standards for ozone levels, according to the Clean Air Council.”Pittsburgh Business Times: Wolf unveils new rules to regulate methane emissions in gas drilling.“Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday unveiled new regulations to regulate methane emissions at natural gas drilling sites and other places including pipelines, compressors and processing stations. Wolf directed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to create a new permit system for the drilling and production of natural gas that stressed the use of greener technology, quarterly inspections and more record-keeping, plus changes to its current permits for compressors and processors to use diesel engines that cut particulate matter and nitrous oxide. It also would require more use of technology that can detect leaks and have more regulation of existing facilities, pipelines and distribution systems.” BLOG: Governor Wolf Announces New Methane Rules to Improve Air Quality, Reduce Industry Loss (ROUND-UP)center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter January 20, 2016last_img read more

Trustees must make ‘mental switch’ on merits of PME, PMT merger

first_imgAny potential merger between PME and PMT, the two large pension funds covering the Dutch metal industry, will depend not on any material challenges or obstacles but rather their board members making a “mental switch”, according to Hans van der Windt, PME’s outgoing director.Speaking at a recent conference on the topic of consolidation, Van der Windt said his scheme and the €60bn PMT had already been “dancing together”, and that it was up to the social partners and trustees to overcome any remaining psychological barriers.The metal schemes already have the same pension plan and contribution arrangements, while they are together the main clients of the €105bn asset manager and pensions provider MN.Van der Windt, a former official at union FNV, said the merger of the two schemes would be good for the stability of the Dutch metal sector. Koos Haakma, a partner at transition manager Mastermind, echoed Van der Windt’s views that nothing was “blocking such a move”.He said a merged scheme would attract other smaller industry-wide schemes from related sectors, as well as company schemes exempt from participating in the mandatory industry-wide metal schemes.“This could lead to a large scheme for the technical industry,” he said.Jos Brocken, a board member at both PME and PMT representing the FNV, underlined the importance of any merger for employers and workers.“Currently, value transfers for staff moving jobs within the metal sector cause a lot of unnecessary hassle,” he said.“Moreover, a large scheme can offer more flexibility in pension arrangements.”In his last public speech, Olaf Sleijpen, director of pension-fund supervision at regulator DNB, also highlighted both schemes’ readiness for a merger. “During recent separate discussions with the boards, they both mentioned the same date when I asked them,” he said.However, Sleijpen, who is to be succeeded by Bert Boertje on 1 May, declined to be more specific.Van der Windt is to be succeeded by industry veteran Eric Uijen this summer.Uijen is currently director of the notaries pension fund SNPF, which is itself preparing a merger with the pension fund for notary employees, SBMN.During his 10 years at the helm at PME, Van der Windt increased assets under management by more than one-third, chiefly via pension funds joining the scheme.last_img read more

IASB to consider accounting changes for hybrid pension plans

first_imgThe International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is to consider possible changes to its pensions accounting rulebook following growing public interest in hybrid-risk plans. A pensions accounting research project aimed at considering the issue has been added to the watchdog’s official workplan, it emerged as an updated workplan was released on 19 July during its monthly meeting round.The project, not expected to start until early next year, will investigate a possible change to the board’s pensions accounting rulebook, International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits (IAS 19).A research project is typically the board’s starting point ahead of any decision to mount a formal standard-setting project. IASB research director Peter Clark said: “The objective of the research projects is not to do the standard setting – it is to gather the evidence. “We expect to concentrate just on the active projects this year and not to dilute focus by starting any of the pipeline projects, certainly before the end of this year.” The board has recently mounted a low-key review of IAS 19.Although the board opted against launching a pensions project on the back of that review, feedback to its recent public agenda consultation suggested support for it to add a narrow-scope feasibility study to its research pipeline.The approach that the board will now consider adds up to a possible solution to the accounting challenges presented by some hybrid-risk plans, which seek to balance the risks between defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.The approach, known as the ‘capped’ ultimate-costs-adjustment model, would apply to pension promises that vary according to the level of returns on specified assets.It works by capping the cash flows included in the measurement of the pension liability.One potential advantage of the approach is that it does not require the board to revisit plan classification under IAS 19.The new research project does not commit the board to make any amendments to IAS 19.last_img read more

ATP leverages domestic equities success with pan-Nordic strategy

first_imgHowever, it is hard to quantify ATP’s exposure to Danish listed equities in absolute terms since the pension fund uses a risk factor approach to portfolio construction.The new drive to put more money into smaller listed companies in Denmark began about a year ago, Wiinblad said, while the Nordic strategy is currently getting going.Wiinblad said his team would invest in all the other larger Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, and Finland – within the new strategy eventually, but the main focus initially was Sweden.“The idea is to take some of the approaches we have in the Danish equities strategy and expand on that,” he said. “The way we look at it is that the main focus of our equities investment should always be the core – which is Danish shares – so we are expanding to other areas, but we should not crowd out the Danish basis that we have.”The rationale for the new sub-strategies was to leverage the proven skills in ATP’s domestic equities operation by putting them to work over a wider universe of securities.“If you look at the results we have created over a very long period, it has been a quite successful strategy and we always work towards trying to improve it, such as expanding the area we invest in, as well as looking to see if there is anything we can do differently,” Wiinblad said.ATP had already invested in some Swedish stocks, Wiinblad said, but to what level and speed the Nordic sub-portfolio would grow was yet to be seen.“We have made a start and we will let it develop depending on how successful it is,” he said. “The size of it will also be influenced by our overall asset allocation strategy. We will try not to include Danish equities in our short-term asset allocation changes, because these domestic investments are long-term holdings.”The expansion was aimed at generating extra returns, but also diversification, Wiinblad said: “The diversification aspect is an extra benefit, because you could say the cyclical nature of the Swedish market and the other Nordic markets actually works as quite a good diversifier to Danish market.” Denmark’s huge statutory pension fund ATP is expanding its successful domestic listed equities investment operation to neighbouring Nordic countries in a new strategy that it hopes will generate higher returns for its overall portfolio.The DKK753bn (€101bn) pension fund, which provides all Danish workers with the labour-market supplementary pension, has also broadened its domestic equities investment into small caps in the past year and is increasing resources for this asset class as well as for the Nordic strategy.Claus Wiinblad, senior vice president for Danish equities, told IPE: “Two examples of where we have expanded our coverage in the team over the past year are that we have increased our focus on small caps, with the members of the team actively pushing that agenda, and we are now in the process of building up the Nordic strategy, though in significantly smaller scale.”Listed domestic equities are an important source of returns for ATP’s DKK100bn investment portfolio, which provides the pension fund’s bonus potential. The asset class returned 32% a year on average over the past four years.last_img read more