City Council Balks at $92,350 Contract for Firehouse Design

first_imgCity Council wants to see a couple more estimates on what it will cost to design repairs to the storm-damaged 29th Street firehouse.Council voted  unanimously Thursday to table a resolution that would have awarded a $92,350 contract to Czar Engineering of Egg Harbor Township to plan and administer construction of the building.Superstorm Sandy flooded the station in October 2012, and firefighters have been using temporary trailers as living quarters since then. Plans call for the repairing the structure that houses trucks and equipment, then building a new adjacent living quarters.Councilman Pete Guinosso asked that the resolution be pulled from the “consent agenda,” which is reserved for routine items that are considered in a batch.He suggested the price seemed high and asked that Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration get other quotes to see if they come in at similar levels. As a professional service, engineering is not subject to the same sort of mandatory bidding process as other government contracts.Business Administrator Mike Dattilo said he is confident that Czar’s estimate is fair, but that he would be happy to invite other firms to participate in a “competitive contract approach.”Council members Scott Ping, Keith Hartzell and Mike DeVlieger each spoke in favor of seeking new estimates as an exercise in due diligence.The project, estimated to cost as much as $750,000, would include pulling up the damaged concrete slab at the station and sinking helical piles to anchor a new surface. An elevated living quarters (to accommodate at least five firefighters) would be constructed to the south of the station and the two buildings would be connected.The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse Ocean City for 90 percent of the project, but FEMA would not approve construction of an entirely new station.last_img read more

News story: National Conversation on Investing for the Global Goals

first_imgThe Department for International Development is held a national conversation to find out more about the public’s views on and interest in ethical, responsible, and impactful investment practices. This includes investing in companies or sectors that make positive change in the world, like renewable energy. This also means avoiding investing in companies that do harm, for example, companies that employ child labour in the developing world.Read the full report and see the full results of the survey.Everyone can play a part in ending poverty. Governments, charities, businesses, and people around the world are playing a role. The financial industry is developing products that aim both to create good financial performance and positive impact on the world. We want to hear from people in the UK about how they want to invest today to build the future of tomorrow.This conversation included focus groups and events across the country, as well as a national survey. This work builds on work government and industry have been leading to bring impact investment to the mainstream.Financing is a key component of delivering the Global Goals. This year the UK is reviewing its progress through a Voluntary National Review towards the Sustainable Development Goals.Contact us at [email protected] the conversation on social media using #InvestinaBetterWorldFind out more about the National Conversation and how you can get involved.See the initial results from our survey.Read DFID’s Economic Development strategy.last_img read more

Chris Robinson Brotherhood Brings Bob Dylan, J.J. Cale & More Great Tunes To Atlanta [Gallery]

first_imgThe Chris Robinson Brotherhood took over the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA last Saturday, November 12th, bringing their soul-drenched rock and roll sound to the esteemed Southeastern venue. The band just released a new EP called If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now, following up their full-length 2016 release, Any Way You Love, We Know How You Feel. With so much new music, not to mention an impressive back catalog filled with covers and more, the band took to the stage and delighted for a great two-set performance in Atlanta. With covers of Bob Dylan, Steppenwolf, J.J. Cale and more mixed into a setlist that touched on a ton of new material, this was a great show for all in attendance!Check out the setlist below, as well as a full gallery from EMily Butler Photography. Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Public health leaders explore future challenges

first_img Read Full Story In an interview with the blog Thought Economics, Harvard School of Public Health Dean Julio Frenk, together with several leading experts, reflected on the last century of accomplishments in the field of public health and the challenges and opportunities for the future. Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Baron Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dame Sally Davies, the United Kingdom’s chief medical officer, were interviewed along with Frenk.The wide-ranging interview provided the subjects an opportunity to reflect broadly on the nature and role of public health. Frenk described the field as “an arena for action,” reflected on the critical challenges currently facing the world around infectious and non-communicable disease and mental health, and pointed out how we can become victims of our own success as the global population ages.  He urged a focus on tackling health inequalities, pointing out that despite the fantastic progress made in health in the 20th century, the progress has not been distributed equally. “In the 21st century,” he said, “it is an injustice that we have not managed to get rid of problems for which we have the knowledge to solve.”last_img read more

Brazilian Military is More Concerned about the Olympics than the World Cup

first_img Gen. De Nardi: I think the relationship between the Armed Forces and between the two countries is very interesting. Oddly enough, the Armed Forces get along very well, the commanders and politicians notwithstanding. Today, Brazil has a very good and close relationship with the United States. In fact, now, in recent months, we have been working bit by bit toward greater closeness. I, myself, have a very strong relationship with Washington, with the Chief of Staff of the United States, and the U.S. Armed Forces as a whole. That relationship has never been stressed. It was and is a mutually professional relationship, since that is what we are – that is, of Soldier to Soldier. It is peaceful with virtually every country in the world because we know our profession, and we are linked to whatever politics decides in defense of our country. But the Soldier from another country that we may be opposing, no matter how much of an enemy he might be, always knows that we are professionals, just like thay are. And that we have goals identical to theirs. That is, the defense of our country. And therefore, the relationship in recent years has been very good and has never stopped being so. Gen. De Nardi: You see, we’re in a situation where nothing must fail. So, I believe that the excess is not a problem. And it’s not so much, speaking in military terms; that is, in the area of defense the number will be smaller than that of the World Cup. We’re going to have more elements directed toward the area of public safety. DIÁLOGO: According to figures released by Brazil’s Ministry of Defense, the number of security personnel, including the Armed Forces, deployed to the Rio Olympics will be twice that at the London 2012 Olympics. Why? Gen. De Nardi: Brazilian Troops will remain in place until the moment the UN says the operation is to be discontinued, or when the peace forces are disbanded. I believe that’s going to happen soon. I believe in a little [time] – I think by next year – there is a UN provision that will terminate the mission and Brazil will return home with her BRABAT1 [peacekeeping force] with no problem. However, we will continue with the mission in Lebanon. Gen. De Nardi: We also have General Santos Cruz in command in Africa, and we have generals in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Missions, and should the UN request it, and of course, should the president agree, we will undoubtedly be ready to deploy our Troops in other parts of the world. I would say, as far as priority, to either South America or Africa, those being our strategic environment. More recently, the Brazilian Armed Forces have had a very positive experience helping to organize security for the Military World Games in 2011, the Pope’s visit in 2013, and the FIFA World Cup in 2014. DIÁLOGO: And with regard to other peacekeeping missions? Since the Conference on Environment and Development (ECO ’92) took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Brazilian military has been working in cooperation with the various police forces and other public security agencies at the so-called mega-events held in Brazil. General Jose Carlos de Nardi: We learned a lot of lessons, but the specific legacy of those big events was integration, integration between Justice and Defense. I believe, as President Dilma Rousseff has said, that that was the most important point, and that is what we will put into practice in 2016, per her decision. DIÁLOGO: Since he will soon be leaving SOUTHCOM’s command, would you like to say anything about General Kelly? Gen. De Nardi: Take a look at the following: In each city [during the FIFA World Cup], we had two delegations, which arrived 48 hours before and left 24 hours after. So there were two supporting groups, two delegations, and our concern at that location was [for] 72 hours. Afterwards, the delegations went on to their training centers and the situation returned to almost normal. During the Olympics, we’ll have more than a month of continuity, with several delegations —over a hundred— in one city. Another detail: For us in the area of security, we may have, for example, four events being held at the same time. So we have four regions of Rio de Janeiro that may be holding games at the same time. That really is not just one city; that multiplies it by four, in terms of security. So, there is no doubt that the Olympics are more of a concern to us. Another detail: the Olympics have a history of terrorism. That’s a reason to increase our security concerns. Gen. De Nardi: I would say the following: Mission accomplished! Congratulations! That’s what’s important in the life of a Soldier after remaining on active duty for a long period of time. I say this because I’m about to complete 55 years [of service], and still feel like a young man. DIÁLOGO: The World Cup was held throughout 12 cities, whereas the Olympics in only one. In your opinion, is this more or less complicated? Gen. De Nardi: Yes. There is no doubt that we have to have it, especially with those countries that have already organized other Olympics. That’s normal. For our part, that is, defense, certainly. I know that as far as the Ministry of Justice and also the Federal Police, Civil Police and Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police are concerned, we all sent delegations for the purpose of this exchange with other countries. We, ourselves, will maintain these contacts throughout the year so that nothing can occur in the last event of this series that we call the great events of Brazil. center_img Diálogo spoke with General José Carlos de Nardi, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces, during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC 2015), in Asunción, Paraguay on August 19. There, they discussed the Brazilian Armed Forces’ preparation for the 2016 Olympics and their participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Gen. De Nardi: No, because that already happened at the World Cup, so we’ve already got that experience; the personnel already know the cities where the soccer competitions will take place. They already know, they already have the experience and the ability to work there. It’s in Rio that it’s something new, because, as I said, there are four events within a single city. DIÁLOGO: What lessons have the Brazilian Armed Forces learned during prior large-scale events that can be applied to the Olympic Games in Rio? DIÁLOGO: You were very clear during SOUTHDEC that Brazil’s Armed Forces do not participate in the fight against drug trafficking and related activities. Why? DIÁLOGO: With regard to peacekeeping missions. Brazil is taking a major part in Lebanon [UNIFIL], and in Haiti [MINUSTAH]. Even though the UN is the one that requests the continuation or not of this kind of mission, would you say that the Brazilian Troops will remain in Haiti? DIÁLOGO: Why? By Dialogo September 09, 2015 Armed Forces.Order and Progress.You need to show respect. I think Gen. De Nardi’s statements are very important, as much from the point of view of the Defense Sector as from the Justice sector because he is very clear about the role each one should play in a society where common crime, drug trafficking and terrorism are getting harder to control each day. Gen. de Nardi: As the one responsible for defense security at the World Cup, and now again for the Olympics, I say that the Olympics is worse. DIÁLOGO: What is your opinion on the relationship between Brazilian and U.S. Armed Forces in recent years? DIÁLOGO: Has there been an exchange of information, of intelligence, with other countries? Gen. De Nardi: It is a line that we, particularly, have followed at all meetings. I’m part of the Executive Council of the South American Defense Council of UNASUR [Union of South American Nations]. It’s a line that is ours in Brazil. Brazil’s defense is the responsibility of the Armed Forces. We’re trained for that. And in Brazil, you see, we are a Federal Republic – we and the United States – unlike other republics, which are unitary republics. So in some cases, such as in Colombia, the police are entirely in the hands of the Ministry of Defense. There it’s something else. Not in our case; we and all law enforcement agencies are in the hands of the Ministry of Justice. So for us, it’s very clear what defense is and what public safety is. Another detail: Brazil’s Armed Forces are only authorized, only have police power, in a small strip of the border that runs from the border line itself to 150 km [93.2 miles] inland. And even so, only to undertake occasional action. Now, according to the Constitution, the responsibility for combating drugs belongs to the Federal Police, in connection with the Ministry of Justice, and not the Ministry of Defense. That’s why I said that for Brazil, defense is the responsibility of Defense – namely, defense of the homeland. Public safety is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice – namely, Article 142, Defense, 146, Public Safety. It’s very clear to us; it’s provided for in the Constitution. Of course, the Constitution also provides a loophole in the case of Article 142, by which we may act occasionally, under the so-called Guarantee of Law and Order clause. But you see, there is a decree that says that every time the president orders the use of the armed forces for public security, she must state the time period, from when to when, it will occur. So, the legislator was concerned that the armed forces would not be employed continuously, but rather within a limited time for this task, which makes it clear to us that our main mission is defense of the homeland. DIÁLOGO: Is the fact that soccer games are being held in other cities and not just in Rio a complicating factor? last_img read more

When democracy feels like bungee jumping

first_imgCommunity writers this week expressed hope, fear, fatigue, warning, and forgiveness—a gamut of reactions many of us felt simultaneously or cycled through hour by hour as vote counts jerked upward and Republican did their worst to reverse the will of voters. These stories reflect the Daily Kos Community’s mood and thoughts about what we can accomplish during the high-risk months before the 2021 inauguration. Four years ago, I barricaded my heart against election sorrow, and was able to resist both Blue Wave! and All Is Lost! hysterias. The media affirmation of the Biden-Harris win—and my elation over our first woman VP—allowed me to lower my barricade with joy tempered by the snarl of Republican trickery and the reality that 72 million voters still backed those monsters. Check out what the Community had to say in this week’s rescued stories and, in the poll below, tell us how you feel right now. Rescued Stories from 7PM EST Friday Nov. 6 to 7PM EST Friday Nov. 13, 2020Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years. You also can find a link in Meteor Blades’ “Night Owls” series, which publishes daily between 10-11PM EST. – Advertisement – Houyhnhnm takes a reflective mood, offering a perspective that compares waiting for the perfect autumn leaf display with the perfect election outcome. “I saw all the tsunami memes on Twitter. I observed the highest turnout I’ve ever seen at my polling place. And I let my fancy run away with me.” The story, published before the media announced a Biden-Harris win, notes the disappointment of not getting everything we want. “The deplorables are still with us, as are those who always seek to make the perfect the enemy of the good.” She ends by tying the election results back to the hope for autumn leaf colors. A 16-year DK member, houyhnhnm has written 223 stories. Her profile page offers her gender, date of birth (1950), occupation (retired secondary science teacher), and DNA ancestry profile.It’s been a wild ride LordNoxie presents the fascination of a distant observer who can do little more than sign petitions. A Spanish citizen, their interest in American politics began with the 2016 election. “I have been very interested in the history of far right politics since my college years … I think it’s half morbid curiosity, half desire to understand my (and humanity’s) enemy in order to better fight it. So Donald Trump’s victory (because even then the Spanish people knew what kind of politician he would be) shocked me quite a little bit. The far right hadn’t achieved that much power in the world stage since the 1930s. I had to do something. I had to learn.” LordNoxie, who joined in 2019 and has written 4 stories, wrote that they have no American friends, but commenters to this story corrected that deficiency.- Advertisement – I will not forget, but I will open my heart to the possibility of forgivenessFishOutOfWater contemplates how to heal himself and our nation in this piece. His story begins with the massacre at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church: “I would not and could not have found a way to forgive the murderer of those beautiful believers who shared their love with the hateful young man who turned on them like a snake in the grass.” After whipping through examples from U.S. history, Fish observes, “Anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention knows exactly what the Republican Party is and who its members are.” He ends by explaining why he will embrace forgiveness. Fish, who has a Ph.D. in geochemistry, joined in 2006 and has published 775 stories. His DK profile page offers this bio: “Left USNRC nuclear waste safety research planning & management to body surf Kauai. Now living in North Carolina.”Anticipation- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page. You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE or using the link in Meteor Blades’ Night Owls open thread that publishes daily between 7-9PM Pacific time.An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 6:30PM ET (3:30PM PT). An Open Letter to the Media RE: The Lame Duck SessionDeanDemocrat speculates about hypothetical questions the media has for Joe Biden, and warns about the damage that may result from examining these hypotheticals before Biden can take any official actions. “(T)he GOP has gone off the rails. The Q-Anon Trump Expanded Universe of Conspiracy Theories segment of the nation is dangerously deranged. To save our country we need to pull the GOP back from the fringes.” DeanDemocrat lives “in the High Desert area … a VERY Red part of Southern California. The one without a single Democrat on the ballot due to the stupid top-two system we have here in California.” And they work with “crazy right-wing Romney supporters … (who in 2012) were fasting, praying, and utterly convinced that a Romney presidency was Mormon prophecy waiting to come to fruition.” DeanDem joined in January 2004 and has written 322 stories.Shouldn’t I be more excited?LuvPure claims fatigue, and delineates the reasons why they aren’t popping open champagne. “We’ve turned on the news to an endless stream of WTF stories. We’ve been bombarded with memes and ads with absolutely ZERO basis in fact … I’m exhausted. I could just scream and swear and throw things, but I’m too drained. I could just curl up in a ball and cry for my fellow man, but I’m too tired. I could rejoice and celebrate, but I’m just too damned fatigued.” LuvPur is a new member who joined and wrote their first story on Nov 8.Lessons from the Quebecois: Why Dems Need to Stay True to the Black Women who Put Joe Over the TopDavid B examines the recent election and the role of Black women, through the lens of Quebec’s past history and its votes to secede from Canada. The author asks if “we have to supplicate ourselves to the never-Trumpers in the middle, and ignore not just the demands, but the feelings and the reasons these (Black) women worked so hard to get us here.” Their answer begins by noting that, ”(w)e saw in Quebec what happens, eventually, when politicians pay only lip service to those who voted their way …” David B joined in 2008, and has written 142 stories (14 of them rescued). Their most recommended story announces in the title that David is a tax accountant.I don’t fight anymore, I watch the bees marialba’s post-election mood is described by referencing her mother’s beliefs. “When I was little, my Mom had this notion that if she watched (our favorite) the Argentinean national soccer team, they’d lose.” This year reminds her of that belief and of a TV show. “I worked very hard on this election to win us the Senate and more seats (in) the House and then… they all lost. I had been through it before, when I supported a candidate to become a State House Rep, and he lost too. I am not superstitious, but…” Marialba joined in 2013 and has written 40 stories.  This naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina lives in Chicago, and has “a pollinator container garden in my tiny yard,” where presumably she, too, can watch bees.Was the 2020 Election a Referendum on White Supremacy?Semiller48 answers the question posed in the headline and ends with a warning. “Obviously, yes … But not completely: (N)on-trivial percentages of Black men, Latinos, and immigrants voted Republican.  For them, and for some segment of white Trump voters, something else was going on.” Semiller48 goes on to describe social aspects, such as religion and “hierarchical inequalities,” that affect how voters see themselves and how they create a consensus reality that led the U.S. to Trump. Semiller48 joined in 2016, and in their 9 stories has revealed they “used to teach history” and “grew up Jewish.”A risk manager’s view of Donnie Deathcount’s vote challenges – “asymptotic risk tolerance”Tjlord explores the consequences of operating under the premise that any risk is worth taking for the least amount of success. Tjlord describes “asymptotic risk tolerance,” where anything is on the table because what’s the worst that can happen? They apply this characteristic to the actions of the outgoing administration. Tjlord joined in 2006 and has written 353 stories. They live in Colorado Springs and have “been in financial trading risk management for over two decades.” Their profile adds that they are a “long time experienced executive in energy, green space and strategy.”Mississippi State & Ole Miss Football Players Finally Have a State Flag to Carry ProudlyCharles Jay offers the first non-election-focused story to be rescued this week, although the topic arises from the election. “Last Tuesday, just over 70% of Mississippi voters approved a new state flag to replace the old flag with its Confederate iconography.” The story tracks the joyful reactions of Black athletes at Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi. “For years, there had been a battle in Mississippi to remove the Confederate symbol from the 126-year-old state flag. The NCAA and SEC had put pressure on the state by prohibiting postseason events in Mississippi until the flag was replaced. Mississippi’s public universities repeatedly condemned the flag.” Charles, who was also rescued last week, joined in 2018 and has written 59 stories. His profile page says he’s from New York City. “During a 30-plus-year career as a writer and editor for an international news agency, I was barred from openly supporting a political candidate and posting a political opinion on social media. I’m retired and making up for lost time.”Racist Push Polling In Georgia RunoffLexie v was resting, “to recover from the stress of the election, celebrate the Biden win in Georgia (the first time my vote has counted for anything in over 24 years!!),” when a push poll fired up their energy for the Senate runoff election. The nice call center person had never heard of Marxism, so the author taught her how to pronounce it. “Then the questions took a dark turn and I realized that this was a push poll for Kelly Loeffler … there was the question that the poor girl was reading and then she stopped and said ‘Oh no, I can’t read that word’.” The net result – lexie promptly donated to Fair Fight and signed up to volunteer. They joined DK a week ago and this was their first story. The introduction to the story offers a bio: ‘I am a middle-aged, middle class, white, atheist, liberal, northern transplant who has lived for 24 years in North Georgia, in the district that just elected the Qanon-loving Marjorie Taylor Greene.”The Purple Heart Battalion. With a Movie. And a Ghost StoryRandym77 uses a history lesson, a movie summary, and a ghost story to explain why there was a military battalion made up entirely of Japanese-American volunteers, most of them from Hawai’i, after Pearl Harbor. “Japanese in Hawai’i were not put in camps, with a handful of exceptions. They were over one-third the population at the time; the economy would have crashed.” Randym joined DK in 2004 and has written 59 stories covering eclectic topics such as peak oil, politics, and climate change.Thoughts on the Biden-Harris cabinetDelib skips past election-reaction and dives into proposing Cabinet members for the Biden-Harris administration. “There are various reports floating around in the media about possible cabinet picks … I find some on the list uninspiring or too risky.” After citing three principles behind the proposed choices, Delib then names people for each agency and for White House staff, and offers rationale for their choices. “(T)here are 12 women and 12 men in the above list … 13 whites, four blacks, two Asian Americans, two Hispanics, two Indian Americans, one Native American.  Most are below the age of 50. The cabinet will look like America.” Delib joined in 2015, has written 10 stories, and lives in “a very crucial swing state.”Even the King, at the Cost of His Head, Did Not Try to Pardon HimselfTortmaster drops back nearly 400 years to two murderous heads of state held responsible for their actions and beheaded. They then examine claims made by Trump that parallel claims from those two historical figures, and how the U.S. Constitution views the absolute right to self-pardon. “Charles Stuart was brought to trial by the House of Commons, calling itself the supreme court, and it charged the sovereign with murder and treason. For days, the King was brought into court and asked to admit or deny the accusations against him. Instead of doing so, he questioned the authority of the court to judge him, a king.” Tortmaster joined in 2008 and has written 265 stories about a range of topics: politics and current events of course, but also art, science, and a personal story about freeway blogging in Myrtle Beach.The Daily Bucket – Cattle Point & ducks  OceanDiver carries readers to an election-free refuge in nature, as she has done in 659 previous stories. “With an hour to spare to catch the next ferry, we took a jaunt down to the southern tip of San Juan Island to visit Cattle Point.” She describes the island and its history through text and photos. “It was a stormy day but not actually raining at the moment. Big layers of clouds and near nightfall….a classic winter’s day on the Salish Sea.” OceanDiver joined in 2012, and lives “on an island in the Salish Sea. Passions: nature, wildlife, science, learning, diving, kayaking, sailing, floating, photography, beauty, peace, fresh air, and my family.” last_img read more

Lobby groups clash over PEPP inflation protection proposal [updated]

first_imgLobby groups have clashed over the structure of the EU’s proposed pan-European personal pension product (PEPP).Two groups of European parliamentarians have weighed in to the discussions about the PEPP’s rulebook, arguing in favour of inflation protection on top of capital guarantees.The committee for Internal Market and Consumer Protection has supported a guarantee “at least to equal the contributions paid, including all costs and charges and after inflation”. The parliament’s employment committee, meanwhile, has also called for inflation protection in the PEPP, which it said could be capped at 4% annually. The European Parliament building in BrusselsInsurance Europe also called for politicians to be more specific with their proposals for capital protection. The European Commission’s current wording states that the default investment option for the PEPP should be protected through “risk mitigation techniques”. However, definitions have been left to ‘delegated acts’, meaning that a final decision would be made after PEPP negotiations have concluded.The insurance sector group argued that, if left unresolved, this could mean levels of consumer protection varied “depending on the PEPP provider”.In addition, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), which represents the interests of potential asset manager providers, argued that nominal capital protection was “highly misleading” because it did not take into account the erosion impact of inflation. However, instead of inflation protection, EFAMA has argued in favour of life-cycle investment strategies, which it has claimed would give vastly better returns to almost all PEPP savers and address Better Finance’s concerns about inflation.An obligation to provide a financial guarantee would also limit insurers’ access to the PEPP market, EFAMA said. This outcome would be highly unattractive to consumers, the association said, because a key goal of the PEPP initiative was to increase competition and enhance choice in Europe’s personal pensions market.Fees and costsSeparately, Better Finance also demanded “an overall fee cap of 1% for the default life-cycle option” for the PEPP.However, Bernard Delbecque, EFAMA’s senior director for economics and research, told IPE that “a better approach would be to unbundle costs”.“This would allow for transparency between the different types of fees, such as investment management, distribution, and advice costs,” he said. The PEPP’s intended single market would also achieve scale economies and reduce costs, Delbecque added. Despite PEPP’s “mixed complexity”, the Commission has declared itself confident that PEPP rules would clear through the Brussels machinery on time and claimed that discussions on the proposal were “progressing well”.It has also stated that there was no risk of the PEPP discussions delaying the progress of its flagship Capital Markets Union programme.ECON is due to finish its work on the PEPP rulebook next month. Discussions between the parliament, the European Commission and member states will follow with the aim of an set of rules by the end of this year.This article was updated on 20 August to clarify Insurance Europe’s comments. The committees’ comments follow calls from consumer campaign group Better Finance for politicians writing the PEPP rulebook to include protection against inflation in real terms, if possible.Failing this, PEPP documents “should at the very least include a prominent warning about the devastating impact of inflation”, Better Finance said.The PEPP rules are currently being debated and drafted by the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee (ECON).Pensions industry trady body PensionsEurope in its feedback to ECON said that the wording regarding guarantees was “not clear enough”, but stopped short of calling for inflation protection.Instead it suggested that the PEPP rules include “a guarantee on the capital invested, as provided in the applicable legislation of the PEPP provider”, and that “when a capital guarantee is provided, it should be a long-term guarantee provided at the end of the accumulation period”.   LimitationsHowever, insurance industry trade body Insurance Europe countered that “covering inflation on top of the capital invested would be extremely challenging – if not impossible”.Consideration had to be given to “inflation’s fluctuant nature and the fact that it is not known at the time when [any] guarantee is issued”, it added.last_img read more

OPINION: Why I’m voting “’No” to Euthanasia

first_imgTimes Online 16 May 2019Family First Comment: Well said, Simeon“…it is clear to me that no system of euthanasia, no matter how carefully designed, can ensure the protection of the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. This is deeply troubling to me. International precedents show that euthanasia regimes result in the involuntary death of innocent lives, often those who are marginalised and vulnerable. I cannot support a law which allows the state to intentionally kill its citizens, particularly when innocent lives will be lost in the process. The potential for this particular Bill to go so wrong is too big to ignore.”Shortly, Parliament will debate and vote on the second reading of the End of Life Choice Bill, which is being sponsored by David Seymour, MP for Epsom.This is a conscience issue which many people hold strong opinions on. Since the first reading of this bill, I have received thousands of emails on this topic, met with many in Pakuranga who have wished to share their opinion on the issue, spoken with palliative care experts, disability advocates, doctors, lawyers, and I have sat on the select committee to hear submissions on this Bill, 90 per cent of which were opposed.I want to thank and acknowledge everyone who has spent time discussing this topic with me. It is a highly emotive issue and I believe that there are many well-meaning people who hold widely differing views.I will however be voting against this bill for the following reasons.Firstly, it is clear to me that no system of euthanasia, no matter how carefully designed, can ensure the protection of the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. This is deeply troubling to me. International precedents show that euthanasia regimes result in the involuntary death of innocent lives, often those who are marginalised and vulnerable. I cannot support a law which allows the state to intentionally kill its citizens, particularly when innocent lives will be lost in the process. The potential for this particular Bill to go so wrong is too big to ignore.I have also considered this issue in the context of what our doctors are saying. I join with the overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals in New Zealand – including end-of-life specialists – who oppose euthanasia.I find the New Zealand Medical Association’s comments on coercion particularly concerning: “An absolute guarantee that those who choose assisted dying are doing it voluntarily would be extremely difficult to establish in legislation and ensure in practice. Doctors are often not in a position to detect subtle coercion – as is also the case when trying to identify signs of emotional or financial abuse of elders more generally. Coercion also extends to assumptions of being a burden, giving rise to a sense of an ‘obligation’ to die.”Finally, in a country with dire statistics relating to elder abuse, youth suicide and mental health, euthanasia is a major step backward and represents a threat to the vulnerable in our society.I understand why an individual who has lived a full life and now faces a painful death would want to be allowed to choose when they will go. But I don’t believe we can allow and celebrate that without creating a terrible side effect for many others, for whom this law would not be so benign. Instead of offering a legal avenue for suicide, we need to encourage and strengthen our families and communities to support those who are lonely and suffering.I am encouraged by the rapid developments in palliative care, which has only recently been recognised as a medical specialty. As I have engaged with this sub-sector extensively since being elected, I have only grown in my admiration for their work and belief that we must prioritise their role in enabling people to have ‘dignity in death’, not in romanticised suicide.I appreciate this is a very difficult issue and I know people have many views on this issue, and I always welcome hearing from anyone who wishes to share theirs with me.Simeon Brown  MP for Pakuranga read more

20 killed as blast rocks Nigeria’s Yola market

first_imgYola Market blast left 20 people deadAt least 20 people are feared dead after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state in north eastern Nigeria.The blast went off on Thursday evening in the busy Yola market area.No one has claimed responsibility yet, but the attack is widely believed to be the work of Boko Haram militants.The insurgents, who recently took a series of defeats and lost vast territories to the Nigerian military and regional allies, seem to be on a rebound.They have launched numerous suicide attacks across northeastern Nigerian killing scores and injuring many others.The newly elected president of Nigeria  Muhamadu Buhari is widely viewed as the most competent commander in chief to defeat Boko Haram.The blast is said to have occurred just as people were rushing to observe their Isha, the Muslims’ late night prayer in the big city where thousands of the internally displaced persons are camped.Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade is quoted by news sources as having confirmed the blast but stopped short of saying how many people died.The blast in Adamawa came hours after Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chadian counterpart Idris Deby renewed their cooperation to crush the group, which has conducted cross border attacks in the past years.The Nigerian army, which in the past two months had successfully degraded Boko Haram, termed the recent attacks by the militants as “act of desperation” by a group in utter disarray.President Idris Deby of Chad has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his “wise decision’’ to relocate the Nigerian Military Command center from Abuja to Maiduguri, to speed up the defeat of the insurgent group, Boko Haram.The Chadian President said the decision, which was announced in President Buhari’s inaugural address, was a right step towards restoring peace and security to states affected by terrorism, and the sub-region.last_img read more

Mark Ferguson Retirement

first_imgAt the end of this current school year, Mark Ferguson will retire as the Batesville Athletic Director.  Mark has been the A.D. at Batesville for the passed 21 years.  During this time, not only has the number of the student body increased, but so has the number who participate in one or more sport activities.  There are 19 high school sports alone for which Mark has to schedule, hire officials, and hire enough workers for the home contests.  Add to this the liability issues that are so prevalent today, which means that every athlete must have a complete health record on file at the school.  It is the A.D.’s job to make sure every coach has a copy of these at every event.  A few years ago, the Middle School duties were added to the high school A.D.’s job description.  This complicates the job, because they are in different buildings.Ask any coach at Batesville and they will tell you that Mark has been a student/athlete advocate; and if you can justify a need that will help the athletes perform better, he will do everything he can to provide it.  I worked for two A.D.’s at BHS and was very lucky because both Mark and his predecessor, Glen Butt, made my job easy.  Good luck, Mark, in your retirement.  I hope they find someone to fill those large shoes.last_img read more