Standard Life buys £230m portfolio for private fund

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Canada’s Trudeau rejects inviting Russia to G7 summit

first_imgTopics : The Kremlin said Monday that Trump had called President Vladimir Putin and discussed his plan to hold a rescheduled G7 “with possible invitation of the leaders of Russia, Australia, India and South Korea.”Trudeau though flatly rejected that prospect.”It’s really important to keep holding these meetings and making sure that we are we are coordinating internationally in this time of crisis,” he said.Russia was expelled from what was previously the G8 in 2014 after invading and seizing Crimea from Ukraine and declaring it part of Russian territory. On Saturday Trump said he would postpone the planned June summit of leaders from the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not be coming, citing the coronavirus pandemic.Trump said he could try again in September, and invite other countries including Russia to join the meeting.”I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump said.He said he would like to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to join an expanded summit in the fall.center_img Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday rejected Russia’s participation in a coming summit of the G7 nations, despite host US President Donald Trump wanting to invite Moscow.”Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago,” Trudeau told reporters. “Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7 and will continue to remain out,” he added.last_img read more

Lenient sanctions allow candidates to repeatedly ignore health protocols

first_imgDuring the first week of campaigning for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections, a number of candidates violated COVID-19 health protocols while hosting face-to-face events, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has said. Observers blame the leniency of sanctions for the number of health violations.Bawaslu announced that an undisclosed number of candidates in 53 regencies and cities had hosted campaign events either without physical distancing and mask-wearing or with more than 50 people in attendance from Sept. 26 to Sept. 30. Bawaslu said it had dispersed the events, which were in violation of a General Elections Commission (KPU) regulation.The regulation, issued on Sept. 23, bans candidates from holding rallies and crowded events such as concerts during the campaign period, which lasts from Sept. 26 to Dec. 5. Candidates must instead use online platforms to reach voters, and they may host face-to-face rallies indoors only when online campaigns are impossible. The events must be held under strict health protocols with no more than 50 attendees. Candidates and members of their supporting political parties and campaign teams who violate the regulation will receive warnings from the KPU, a penalty that critics say is too lenient. Bawaslu may disband campaign activities in violation of social distancing rules and will report repeat offenders to the police.Read also: KPU bans rallies, concerts for regional pollsBawaslu member Mochammad Afifuddin said his office could not yet disclose the number of violations during the first week of campaigning because the data had not been compiled. He promised he would release details soon and would continue disclosing violations every week until the campaign season ended on Dec. 5.He said 250 of the 582 campaign events held from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30 were face-to-face events and noted that candidates preferred promoting themselves in person to using online platforms. He said some of the in-person events had violated protocols but not all of them.“We haven’t compiled the total number of campaign violations as of Friday, but what I can say is that many candidates still opted for face-to-face rallies,” Afifuddin told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “We are afraid that such a way of campaigning will definitely increase the risk of COVID-19 contagion in the country if candidates keep neglecting health protocols.”Health protocols during elections (JP/Hengky Wijaya)President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son-in-law Bobby Nasution, who is running for mayor of Medan, reportedly violated health protocols in his campaign. reported that Bawaslu had warned Bobby’s campaign team to stop doing so.KPU commissioner Ilham Saputra said the agency had received most of Bawaslu’s reports and would issue warnings to offenders. He did not disclose the number of the violations.“Nonetheless, we thank candidates for not hosting concerts that could attract crowds,” he said, adding that everyone should play a part in ensuring safe elections.Read also: Regional polls will be COVID-19 free: MinisterElection activists and health experts have repeatedly criticized the government for insisting on going ahead with the regional races as scheduled in December despite the public health risks. They have demanded postponement, warning of low voter turnout that could undermine the electoral process.The outcry was amplified after Bawaslu found last month that 243 prospective candidates had violated health protocols by bringing large entourages to register their candidacies at regional KPU offices from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6.Khoirunnisa Nur Agustyati of the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) said more violations of health protocols would be seen in the near future “because the KPU regulation gives only lenient sanctions to the offenders”.The KPU initially wanted to introduce stricter punishments than those that prevailed in its regulation, but the commission refrained from doing so because the 2016 Regional Elections Law did not provide for sanctions against people who put public health at risk during elections.Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said he had instructed the police not to hesitate to take stern measures against repeat offenders who defied KPU warnings.“There will be mass health protocol violations during campaigning over the next few weeks if we don’t take the issue seriously,” he said.Many political parties have told their candidates to prioritize virtual campaign events and to stay disciplined in applying COVID-19 health protocols.Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces Funding to Expand International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Apprenticeship Programs in the Lehigh Valley

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Economy,  Education,  Infrastructure,  PAsmart,  Press Release,  Workforce Development Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced new funding for the acquisition and renovation of a property located at 101 S. Seventh St., Allentown, to turn it into a lab space enabling the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to expand their apprenticeship programs, strengthening the local workforce.“One of the goals of my PAsmart initiative is to invest in apprenticeships, which offer rewarding careers for Pennsylvanians in a number of skilled trades,” Governor Wolf said. “This funding will help expand the IBEW’s apprenticeship program, providing opportunities for new labs and classrooms to train the next generation of electrical workers.”IBEW Local Union No. 375 was awarded $1 million for acquisition and renovation of the nearly 35,000-square-foot building. The renovations will result in new offices, meeting space, classrooms and electric labs for training the next generation of electricians. Renovation work includes new entrances, new roofing, interior partitions, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing improvements. Additionally, the project includes ADA upgrades and improvements to the entire streetscape, including new trees, sidewalks and curbing.“An important part of a healthy and growing economy is the availability of a qualified and skilled workforce,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne. “This RACP for IBEW 375 for renovations to expand its training and apprenticeship programs at its new headquarters in downtown Allentown will help ensure electrical workers entering the job market have the necessary training and skills to perform work that is both high-quality and extremely safe. Working with my colleagues and the governor, providing financial support to attract employers and employees to the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania and make sure they receive proper training is a critical investment for the fiscal success of the Commonwealth.”The newly-purchased and renovated building will enable the IBEW to expand the number of apprentices accepted into the program and trained annually. The expanded training classes will lead to more skilled electrical workers, providing workers with family-sustaining jobs and giving local manufacturers a greater talent pool from which to hire.“Location matters. IBEW has a great history of training the next generation of tradespeople. By locating their new facility in our urban core, IBEW is ensuring that all folks will have an opportunity to access these great family sustaining jobs,” said Rep. Peter Schweyer.“The modern job is one that requires training and skills,” said Rep. Mike Schlossberg. “Our friends at the IBEW have been promoting high wage, high skill jobs for decades. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the legislature and the governor’s office to help make this project a reality.”Supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) program, funding will support critical expansion projects, some of which will provide opportunities for additional economic development. Governor Wolf Announces Funding to Expand International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Apprenticeship Programs in the Lehigh Valleycenter_img August 14, 2018last_img read more

Dutch scheme funding plummets as stock markets, interest rates dip

first_imgThe combination of volatile stock markets and falling interest rates is having a dramatic impact on the coverage ratio of Dutch pension funds. During August, the average funding has already dropped 5 percentage points to 101%, according to pensions adviser Mercer.Dennis van Ek, actuary at the consultancy, described such a rapid decline over such a short period as “extreme”.Aon Hewitt, which uses a slightly different accounting method to calculate its average funding rato, even claimed a larger funding drop. According to Mike Pernot of Aon Hewitt, the average coverage ratio had already fallen 5 percentage points by last Friday, and the declining stock markets since have added at least a further 2 percentage points.At July-end, the consultancy concluded that funding stood at 104% on average, which would imply that the current coverage would be no more than 97% on average.The minimum required funding of Dutch pension funds is 105%.Van Ek of Mercer said that on Monday the MSCI World Index and the MSCI Europe Index had fallen 14% on average since the start of August.Equity holdings of Dutch pension funds are roughly equally divided across Europe and the rest of the world.The pensions adviser further said that the 30-year swap rates – the relevant rate for discounting liabilities – had dropped from 1.50% to 1.44% in August.He added that many pension funds were making inquiries about developments. Schemes with a liability-driven investment (LDI) policy in particular, were asking for advice on the level required for their interest hedge, Van Ek said.According to Mercer, the average funding of pension funds has dropped 8 percentage points since mid-July.Mercer bases its funding calculations from the most recent reports by De Nederlandsche Bank, examining the asset allocation of funds and their level of interest rate hedging – currently approximately 40% – and uses a currency hedge of 50%.Aon Hewitt assumes an asset allocation of 30% equity, 50% fixed income and 20% alternatives. It uses an interest hedge of 50%, but does not calculate the potential impact of hedging currecy exposure.Its model is also based on a hypothetical pension fund where one-third of the total number of participant is retired.last_img read more

ESG roundup: BNP Paribas extends tobacco ban

first_imgIt cited World Health Organisation estimates that put the economic cost at more than $1trn (€822bn) globally.The policy will be implemented gradually, with divestment expected to be complete by the end of 2018.In November, the asset manager’s parent, BNP Paribas Group, announced it would stop “financing and investment activities related to tobacco companies”.Frederic Janbon, CEO of BNP Paribas Asset Management, said: “BNP Paribas Asset Management is one of the first global asset managers to exclude tobacco from its mainstream investments. BNP Paribas Asset Management has extended its tobacco exclusion policy to apply to its “mainstream investments”. It will exclude tobacco from the actively-managed collective investment vehicles over which it has full discretion, it announced on Thursday.The policy has been applied to its sustainable portfolios since 2002, when the asset manager launched its first socially responsible investment fund. BNP Paribas said the decision took into account concerns about public health and human rights abuses as well as the economic cost associated with tobacco. “We recognise the important role that long term capital plays in tackling major global issues and with an increasing number of asset owners, insurers and pension funds excluding tobacco from their investments, we are taking into account growing international concerns about the risks posed by tobacco.”According to Tobacco Free Portfolios, Actiam, Achmea and AMP Capital also have tobacco-free policies.ABP, Europe’s biggest pension fund, announced in January that it would sell all its holdings in tobacco and nuclear weapons, and French public sector scheme Ircantec has also this year decided to pull out of the industry.Index provider MSCI recently indicated it could introduce a series of indices excluding tobacco companies.As part of a wider consultation about changes to its ESG indices, it had asked investors if companies involved in tobacco should be added to a list of “worst offenders” and therefore excluded from all MSCI ESG Indexes. It said it did not observe a consensus about this, but that a number of market participants had expressed interest in tobacco divestment.Asset managers react to US shootingIn the wake of the school shooting in Florida in February, US asset managers have announced they will engage with weapons manufacturers and distributors.“The term ‘impact’ is also likely to have long-term applicability and cover emerging environmental/societal concerns”PLSA recommends changes to Stewardship Code State Street said it would be seeking “greater transparency from them on the ways that they will support the safe and responsible use of their products”.It also said it would ensure that any of its shareholder resources used to fund public advocacy would be line with the company’s public views.In a statement, BlackRock said index providers were responsible for the construction of their indices and that it could not sell shares in a weapons manufacturer or distributor if it was in an index, but that it would engage with them “to understand their response to recent events”.It was also working with clients who wanted to exclude from their portfolios weapons manufacturers or other companies that did not align with their values.PLSA: UK stewardship code should go ‘impact’The UK pension fund association has recommended that the country’s Stewardship Code should ask investors to set out how they consider the environmental and social impact of their investments.Investors were under increasing pressure to align their practices “with the interests of wider society”, it noted in its response to a consultation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).The FRC will formally consult on amendments to the Stewardship Code later this year, but included some preliminary questions about it in its consultation on the Corporate Governance Code. This closed on Wednesday.The PLSA said “impact” would be the most appropriate term to use in a new provision in the Stewardship Code as it was relevant to a wider range of stakeholders than the related concept of ESG, which referred only to how environmental, social, and/or governance considerations could shape investment returns.The PLSA also advocated for the term ‘impact’ because it was likely “to have long-term applicability and cover emerging environmental/societal concerns”, such as the use of plastics. In the UK, a recently-aired episode of the popular marine life TV documentary Blue Planet II sensitised many to plastic pollution in oceans and the toll on wildlife, sparking pledges for action by private citizens, businesses and politicians. With regard to the Corporate Governance Code, the PLSA welcomed FRC proposals for it to introduce a greater stakeholder voice in boardroom decision-making, but warned that care needed to be taken with the specifics of implementation.Luke Hildyard, policy lead for stewardship and corporate governance at the PLSA, said: “There is a risk that these new measures will represent an ineffective gesture unless the different options for increasing stakeholder voice include key rights and responsibilities.”A proposed new provision in the code sets out three options for integrating “the employee voice” in the boardroom: a director appointed from the workforce, a formal workforce advisory council, or a designated non-executive director.The PLSA also welcomed the new code’s focus on diversity at senior levels of companies, but warned that proposed new guidance would do little to discourage excessive pay awards.last_img read more

Denmark: Total extends Havila PSV charter

first_imgNorwegian shipowner Havila Shipping has won a contract extension with Total for its platform supply vessel Havila Herøy.Platform supply vessel Havila HerøyThe nine-month contract is with Total’s Danish subsidiary Total E&P Danmark. Total will have three one-month options to extends the Havila Herøy charter.The contract is in direct succession of the existing firm period and will keep the vessel working for total until September 2020, Havila said.Havila Herøy has been working for Total E&P Danmark (former Mærsk Olie & Gas) since it was delivered to the company early December 2009.Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email.Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form, where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

Munster misery continues after defeat to Leinster

first_img Turning around with the wind behind them, Anthony Foley’s charges could not outmuscle a resolute Leinster defence, and tries from Jack McGrath after 54 minutes and Kirchner saw the Blues triumph to move up one place to third in the Guinness PRO12. A hip injury prevented Munster scrum half Conor Murray from playing, with illness sidelining BJ Botha. Tomas O’Leary and John Ryan came in as late changes as did Rory Scannell, who partnered Francis Saili in midfield. Leinster stunned the hosts with an early try, Dominic Ryan’s turnover at the breakdown launched a pacey counter from deep. The fit-again Sean O’Brien sent Ringrose raiding down the right wing, the youngster leaving two forwards for dead before passing for Nacewa to finish off by the posts. Ian Madigan converted and soon landed his first penalty attempt following an advancing Leinster maul controlled by the impressive O’Brien. In between, Scannell sent a kickable three-pointer wide. Individual errors spoilt Munster’s attempts to get into scoring range, although direct running from replacement prop Dave Kilcoyne and captain CJ Stander saw them make some headway. A frantic spell of Munster attacking, with Earls, Saili and Stander to the fore, ended with Mike Sherry being held up. In a further setback, Earls was stretchered off shortly afterwards, wearing a neck brace. But Foley side’s got the boost they required just before the interval when flanker Copeland scrambled over from a ruck just in front of the posts. The Scannell-converted score rewarded a prolonged bout of pressure in the Leinster 22. Munster held that momentum into the second period, turning down two place-kicks before O’Brien came to the visitors’ rescue with a vital ruck penalty. Isa Nacewa’s fifth touchdown of the campaign spurred Leo Cullen’s men into a 10-0 lead by the quarter hour mark, with the 20-year-old Garry Ringrose starring in the centre. Despite losing James Cronin and Keith Earls to injury, Munster closed the gap to three points by half-time, a converted effort from Robin Copeland getting the home fans on their feet. Munster fell to their fifth straight defeat in all competitions as Zane Kirchner’s last-minute intercept try sealed a 24-7 win for Leinster at Thomond Park. Andrew Conway, Stander and Simon Zebo all exposed chinks in the Leinster defence, but the blue shirts scrambled to very good effect. That defensive solidity sprung them forward soon after, Nacewa pressing from a Madigan cross-field kick before prop McGrath burrowed over from a close-in ruck. TMO Simon McDowell confirmed the try which Madigan converted to open up a 10-point lead. Foley reacted by bringing on Denis Hurley, Duncan Williams and Tommy O’Donnell, returning from the dislocated hip he suffered prior to the Rugby World Cup. However, Munster misfired as Saili was held up in a choke tackle and a series of handling errors, allied to lineout issues, prevented them from responding on the scoreboard. The tireless Jamie Heaslip forced an important turnover in the dying minutes for Leinster, and the icing on the cake came when Kirchner gobbled up a Saili pass and sprinted clear from his 10-metre line. Press Associationlast_img read more

Spot climbing course concludes

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI, May 22: Three-day spot Climbing camp, organized by the Assam Rock and Spot Climbing Associaiton, was held at the 4th Assam Police Battalion campus recently. Altogether 58 trainees participated in the camp which was supervised by the first everester of Assam Tarun Saikia.last_img

GOA offers support to athletes and coaches

first_img… Yassin calls it ‘Red Letter Day’ for sportsTHIRTY-ONE athletes and 14 coaches, drawn from 10 sporting disciplines, will now be funded by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), through their Olympic Solidarity funds.“Today is a ‘red letter’ day for sports in Guyana,” exclaimed GOA president Juman Yassin, while speaking to coaches and athletes gathered at his association’s Headquarters at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.Athletes and coaches will be given from as low as $20 000 to $60 000 monthly, with the payments bimonthly, retroactive to December 2017, under specific adherence – one of which is adhering to all doping regulations and continuously updating their ‘athletes whereabouts’ forms.According to Yassin, while it might not be enough, it should be seen as a start, with the hope of the Government of Guyana coming on board in order to widen the pool.The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) was the biggest recipient, with 13 athletes and three coaches being among those who will receive funding from the GOA.“This is something that we (the AAG) welcome with open arms. I think the GOA deserves every credit and we only see this getting better in the future,” AAG president Aubrey Hutson pointed out.ATHLETICS: Jhonny Gravesande, Linden Phillips, Julian Edmonds and Glendon Pantlitz (coaches). Compton Caesar, Jermaine King, Kenisha Phillips, Deshanna Skeete, Chantoba Bright, Joanna Archer, Toyan Raymond, Daniel Williams, Daniel Melville, Winston George, Troy Doris, Brenessa Thompson and Kadecia Baird (athletes)BOXING: Terrence Poole and Sebert Blake (coaches). Keevin Allicock and Christopher Moore (athletes)BADMINTON: Narayan Ramdhani, Pryianna Ramdhani (athletes) and Gokarn Ramdhani (coach)JUDO: Joshua BuchananGUYANA NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Lennox Braithwaite and Ransford GoodluckSWIMMING: Andrew Fowler, Leon Seaton, Hannibal Gaskin and Jamila SanmooganSQUASH: Mary Fung-A-Fat, Sunil Seth (athletes) and Carl Ince (coach)TABLE TENNIS: Shamar Britton, Christopher Franklin, Chelsea Edghill, Trenace Lowe (athletes), Hillary Anderson and Idi Lewis (coaches)RUGBY: Theodore Henry and Larry Adonis (coaches)VOLLEYBALL: Kirenia Ballard (coach)last_img read more