Cameras, Computers and the Creative Process: A Conversation with Celebrity Photographer Mark Mann

first_imgMatt: You started out shooting on film, but at what point did you turn to digital photography? Mark: The first digital camera I encountered was 20 years ago, I was intrigued at how you can take a photo and play it on your TV. I started shooting on film and learned darkroom techniques etc. so I ignored digital for a long time but then I did a cover shoot using film for a magazine in NY, and the editor-in-chief said he didn’t like the styling and wanted a reshoot. The problem was that the models now were in LA, so suddenly I had this insane turnaround where I had to go to LA and deliver the pictures the day after. Thinking through the logistics, there was no way I’d be able to take the photos, process them, scan them and send them to my retoucher in time, so I decided the only way was to shoot digitally. I got a digital camera, reshot the images and retouched them on the plane ride home to give to the magazine the next day. At that time a lot of people didn’t know how to retouch digitally so for me it was learning on-the-go.Matt: What roles does technology play in art today?Mark: I see myself as an artist, and creating art is my personal passion. Nine out of 10 times, you get a brief from a client on the internet. Photography is done 99.9% of the time with a digital camera so it’s not a mystery what the image looks like. Nowadays you often have an art director and creative director standing over your shoulder. Decisions are made incredibly fast, and when you finish, they look at it and ask, “Oh, can we change this background?” That’s when we start photoshopping and doing image manipulation, so technology has a huge part to play from start to finish in the creative process today. I’ve never taken editing classes, but I’ve picked up Photoshop skills along the way.Matt: You started using Dell Precision workstations last year – how’s the experience been so far?Mark: I was taking photos with greater megapixels on the camera and found that it was taking much longer for my 3-4 year old Mac laptop to transfer and edit the files. Mac was all I had used for 15 years, but someone suggested that I look into a PC. So I reached out to Dell and they were incredibly supportive of me trying new things. I was scared because I didn’t know how to use a PC, but it had the benefits of being a faster machine; was less expensive yet performed better.Software compatibility during the switch wasn’t an issue as I mainly use Adobe Creative Cloud, mostly Photoshop and Lightroom. It was probably muscle memory with new shortcut keys that took a couple of weeks to get used to. I had used a couple of file sync applications that were developed for Mac users but it was easy to find good alternatives. There are a lot of creators that still use Macs but my Precision workstation works faster and better with Adobe Creative Cloud, suits my needs, and if I need to replace it, it’s less expensive. I remember when I got my first PC, the Precision 5530. I opened it up, and my son asked, “Can I see?” There was a photo on the screen, and he went to pinch it and it zoomed in. I hadn’t even realized it was a touchscreen – we were both so impressed!I am super happy with my workstation, and I have convinced people to start looking at it too. When VR started to take off a few years ago, I went to these VR fairs, and everyone was working on PCs. That was a big indicator to me that Apple wasn’t catering to us as creators and don’t offer enough processing power for the work that we do. Matt: What are your top 3 pieces of tech?Mark: My Leica camera is my most cherished possession. My Dell [Precision 5530] 2-in-1 – I’ll always have it, and I can’t function without it because it’s the best. Another tech gadget I can’t live without is my new 3D printer, which is so relaxing to watch. The least technical thing that I own is my 1967 Austin-Healey Sprite 2. It’s a car with no fancy features, but I truly love it.Matt: When it comes to your creative work and tech, what do you recommend investing in?Mark: Learn what you need and use that knowledge to guide your purchases. At the end of the day, the most expensive camera is not going to automatically make you a better photographer. When mastering a craft, if you learn how to do it the hard way first, when you get new tech, it becomes easier to adapt. A couple years ago, we bought the cheapest 3D printer just to learn how a 3D printer works, so when something goes wrong, we know how to deal with it. We’ll get a better one now that we’ve learned the quirks. Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 1:23Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -1:23 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsen (Main), selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.Caption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Portrait photographer Mark Mann has worked with an illustrious roster of clients. He’s taken some of the most iconic images of public figures ranging from former presidents to Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson.As a #DellInsideCircle member, Mark uses Dell Precision mobile workstations daily in his studio and on the go. We sat down with him to hear his thoughts on the role of technology in art and how the tools of his trade allow his subjects to shine brightest. We also joined Mark on a recent photoshoot – check out the video here.last_img read more

A Federal ‘Cash for Cronies’ Plan Crafted by Coal Companies

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:Energy Secretary Rick Perry had been in office less than four weeks when he took a meeting from a coal magnate who had an urgent request.Robert E. Murray, founder of Murray Energy and a major Trump supporter, presented a four-page “action plan” to rescue the coal industry. The plan said that commissioners at three independent regulatory agencies “must be replaced,” Environmental Protection Agency staff slashed, and safety and pollution rules “overturn[ed],” according to photos and documents seen by The Washington Post.Murray’s plan lamented that under former president Barack Obama, environmental regulators had written rules with “38 times the words in our Holy Bible.”The March 29 meeting was part of an aggressive lobbying campaign to make sure that President Trump would deliver on his campaign promise to prop up the coal industry and tear down its regulatory foes. And a central aim of Murray’s lobbying was to get the new administration to change the rules of the electricity grid to help a floundering utility, FirstEnergy, that was one of the chief buyers of coal from Murray Energy’s mines.Eight months later, Perry is pushing a plan that would deliver new subsidies to a handful of coal and nuclear companies and keep open decrepit half-century old plants just as Murray had hoped — all in the name of improving the reliability and security of the electrical grid.It’s not unprecedented for industry executives or environmental groups to lobby new administrations. In 2001, then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney and his aides held at least 40 meetings, mostly with fossil-fuel-producing industries, in drawing up an energy plan.But the Perry plan has roused overwhelming bipartisan opposition because it would help a small number of firms at the expense of millions of consumers.“You can wrap this Christmas present in whatever paper you want, but it’s still cash for cronies,” Nora Brownell, a consultant and former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member appointed by President George W. Bush.Perry has also put unusual pressure on FERC, an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity. Perry has pressed it to sign off on the changes by Dec. 11. That’s an unusually fast turnaround time, especially since two commissioners were confirmed only on Nov. 2. The commission on Thursday asked for a 30-day extension.More: An American energy plan straight from coal country A Federal ‘Cash for Cronies’ Plan Crafted by Coal Companieslast_img read more

I Ramped Up My Internet Security, and You Should Too

first_imgBy Julia Angwin, ProPublicaSome people make dieting resolutions in the New Year. I make security and privacy resolutions, because those are the things that keep me up at night. After all, as a journalist, it’s important for me to give my sources assurances that I will keep their communications confidential. And in today’s world, that is an ever-more-difficult task.Everyone — journalists or not — faces an increasing array of attacks on our security and privacy. Even if you’re not the U.S.’s intelligence chief, whose email was recently hacked, it’s smart to up your game. So this year, I thought I’d share my resolutions.1. Software updatesIt’s not sexy, but at the top of my list is updating my software to the latest versions. Nothing else matters – not fancy encryption or strong passwords – if you’re using software that contains gaping holes that any criminal or spy can penetrate.And I hate to break it to you, but all your software is as holey as Swiss cheese. The software updates you receive are just patches for the holes that have been discovered so far. More holes will be discovered later. What’s more, updates are basically red alerts to hackers, pointing them to the holes.So I’ve just updated my phone and computer operating systems, as well as all my Web browsers, software and phone apps.2. Ditching old, buggy softwareNext up is ditching old, unused or poorly maintained software. Using software is a commitment. If you don’t update it, you are wearing a “hack me” sign on your forehead. So if there are programs or apps that you don’t use, delete them.This year, I decided to ditch my instant messaging client Adium. I was using it to enable encrypted chats. But like many cash-strapped open source projects, it is rarely updated and has been linked to many security vulnerabilities.Instead, I switched to Tor Messenger, an encrypted messaging program that is run by the Tor Project, a nonprofit that makes the anonymous Web browser that I already use. By the sad standards of underfunded open source security tools, Tor is relatively well-financed and so I have some hope that its tools will continue to be updated.Tor Messenger links up with my existing Gmail and Jabber chat accounts, and is encrypted and anonymous by default.For even more privacy, I also signed up for Ricochet, an encrypted chat program that runs on the so-called Dark Web. One downside: You can only chat with other Ricochet users. So far, I have all of two buddies on it. [INSERT SAD EMOJI HERE!]3. Upgrading my passwordsPasswords are, of course, the definition of unsexy. But you gotta have ‘em, and they should be long and unique (no re-using between websites). I use a password manager, 1Password, to generate most of my passwords.But for my most important accounts, such as email and my bank, I use a method called Diceware to generate passwords that are about 30 characters long and made up of dictionary words that I can remember. (Thank you Chase for allowing 30-character long passwords — not all banks do, strangely.)If your passwords are long and unique, you don’t need to change them every few months, as most companies incorrectly force employees to do. But I’d been using the same Diceware passwords for a few years now — and I figured it was time to create new ones.4. Upgrading my encryption keyAfter getting all the basics out of the way, I finally got to the fun stuff: Secret coded messages! Who doesn’t love encryption? Modern crypto scrambles your communications so well that FBI Director James Comey has spent the past year complaining that it’s too hard to crack.Most of my encrypted communications take place on Signal, an easy to use phone app. But for email, I use Gnu Privacy Guard, a much older and more complex program.I’ve long been haunted by the fact that when I set up GPG four years ago, I didn’t create my encryption key in the most secure way. This year, I decided to finally fix it. To set up my keys correctly, I had to find a computer that never touches the Internet and follow the instructions in this helpful guide: “Creating the Perfect GPG Key Pair.”My new key seemed all pristine and shiny. And my old key – which I am now revoking – was like an old sweater that I was tossing. It had served me well, but it was time to go.In fact, closet cleaning is probably the best analogy for my New Year’s security project. At the end, I felt cleaner and lighter — the same way I do when I toss out old clothes. And perhaps that feeling was its greatest benefit. I may not be able to foil all the hackers and spies across theInternet. But I can sleep better at night knowing I have tried my best.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

Badminton coach Hendry Saputra has COVID-19 symptoms

first_imgPBSI secretary-general Achmad Budiharto confirmed Hendry’s status on Tuesday, saying that his association had taken immediate action according to the procedure as soon as Hendry complained about his health. The PBSI isolated all the individuals who had been in direct contact with the coach and closed the Cipayung training camp in East Jakarta to outsiders.“It’s true that Hendry is now under observation but he still needs to undergo a series of COVID-19 tests. We have received a report from the medical team that Hendry is waiting for a swab test to determine whether he has COVID-19,” Achmad said in a statement, adding that Hendry was currently being treated at PELNI Hospital in West Jakarta.Read also: Athletes find way to cope with boredom during social distancingOne member of the PBSI’s medical team, Octaviani, said the initial symptoms suffered by Hendry included fever, a limp and nausea. The head coach of Indonesia’s men’s singles badminton team Hendry Saputra is showing symptoms of COVID-19.Hendry is among the 24 players, coaches and officials currently undergoing self-quarantine after arriving from the All England tournament last week.The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) said the coach, who directly handles talents such as Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie, had complained about his deteriorating health on the seventh day after arriving from England.   “After conducting a CT scan, [we] found spots in his lungs, whereas coach Hendry doesn’t have a history of lung disease. To determine whether he is COVID-19 positive, we have to conduct a swab test, and we are still waiting for that [test],” she said.The PBSI will also report the case to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) through its International Relation division head Bambang Roedyanto, since Hendry was part of the squad deployed to All England.Achmad went on to advise all the players who reside outside the training camp not to visit the headquarters until the end of this week.Read also: Indonesia’s men’s badminton team pulls off Asia Team Championships hat trickThe PBSI’s development and achievement department head Susi Susanti said the training program had been adjusted due to the current situation.“We are continuing to train, but we have adjusted the program with the athletes’ health in mind. We are trying to maintain the performance. The training schedule has been arranged so that not all players train together. We have also advised athletes to keep their distance from one another,” she said.The East Jakarta Health Agency visited the PBSI headquarters in Cipayung to give information regarding the symptoms of COVID-19 and the first treatment that should be given to anyone suspected of having contracted the virus. The agency has also listed people who have been in direct contact with Hendry. Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s rehashed climate action commitments ‘not ambitious enough’

first_imgThe international community was supposed to convene again to review its commitments at the 26th session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, but the swift and sudden spread of COVID-19 pushed the summit back to 2021.Although most countries including Indonesia are heavily focused on the viral outbreak response, “there is still much to do” in preparation for the next COP meeting next year, said Nur Masripatin, senior adviser to the environment and forestry minister.Nur said the ministry must still prepare an environmental road map document and legal framework, but also help other agencies prepare in accordance with the pledges outlined in the rehashed NDC. She said her office was also preparing the country’s Long-Term Strategy for Low-Carbon Climate Resilience (LTS-LCCR) to target net zero emissions by 2050.Even with a lot on its plate, Nur said the government was expecting progress on some of its NDC target pledges, particularly in the energy sector where the B30 biodiesel mandate was launched. As the recently updated draft of Indonesia’s climate action commitments under the Paris Agreement awaits government approval, activists worry the reworked pledge might not be ambitious enough for one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is a pledge made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to cut down on emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.After inviting environmental groups, experts and public officials in February to weigh in on its reworked NDC pledge, Indonesia decided to keep its previous pledge to reduce emissions by 29 percent independently – or 41 percent with international assistance – by 2030, a carbon copy of the target outlined in its first NDC submission in 2016. Under the B30 program, the government will impose the mandatory use of 30 percent oil palm-based blended biodiesel fuel to help lower fossil fuel imports and increase foreign exchange. It is also planning to make 50 percent blended biodiesel fuel mandatory by 2021.The energy sector is poised to become Indonesia’s second-largest contributor of greenhouse gas reductions, making up 11 percent of all targeted reductions after the forestry sector (17.2 percent).Greenpeace Indonesia has criticized the updated NDCs as not ambitious enough, underscoring the decision not to increase the emissions reduction target. Its climate and energy researcher, Dila Isfandari, suggested that any failure to do so would be reflected in more tangible consequences.“Indonesia won’t be able to save its people from the climate crisis [even with the current NDCs]. Even a rise of 1 degree Celsius in global temperatures drastically increased the frequency of hydrometeorological disasters,” Dila told The Jakarta Post.Government data even confirms this trend. According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the rising trend of natural disasters has continued from year to year, from 1,967 cases in 2014 to 3,721 cases in 2019.According to the Climate Action Tracker, a website that analyzes government climate actions and measures them against the Paris Agreement goals, Indonesia’s current NDCs will be “highly insufficient” as with it global warming would reach 3 to 4 degree Celsius, above the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold.A World Resources Institute study in 2015 suggested that, if Indonesia continues implementing existing measures, its 2030 carbon dioxide emissions from the land use and energy sectors will overshoot the target associated with the country’s unconditional commitment to a 29 percent reduction.“Reducing emissions to meet Indonesia’s conditional target of a 41 percent reduction below business-as-usual levels would require even stronger efforts, including extending the […] forest moratorium, restoring degraded peatland, implementing energy conservation programs, and pursuing mitigation measures for other sectors and gases,” WRI researchers wrote in the study.The ministry was advised not to reduce its emissions reduction target after a public consultation in February with environmental groups and other stakeholders, including the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.“The important principle is that the updated NDC must progress beyond existing commitments, meaning that we aren’t allowed to lower our ambitions to reduce emissions,” Nur said in a virtual discussion on Monday.Environmental studies scholar Gusti Anshari of Tanjungpura University said that the updated NDCs will, even if approved, require new regulations to be passed before they can be implemented.In the meantime, he said, the government should figure out a way to “attain our NDC target, whether it be mitigation or adaptation”.Topics :last_img read more

Arsenal hold talks with Luis Enrique to replace Unai Emery

first_imgUnai Emery is under huge pressure after Arsenal’s defeat to Leicester City (AFP via Getty Images)More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityAdvertisementAdvertisementBut now El Confidencial’s Kike Marin claims that Sanllehi is actively looking to replace Emery and has met with Luis Enrique.The 49-year-old won nine major trophies during his three years as Barcelona manager which included the treble in his first season at the club. Advertisement Arsenal hold talks with Luis Enrique to replace Unai Emery Luis Enrique won nine major trophies as Barcelona manager (AFP via Getty Images)Luis Enrique took over as Spain coach in July 2018 but left 11 months later for personal reasons as his nine-year-old daughter Xana passed away from osteosarcoma – a form of bone cancer – in August.The Spaniard was reportedly on Arsenal’s initial shortlist when the Gunners were looking to replace Arsene Wenger in 2018.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 9 Nov 2019 8:43 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link15.6kSharescenter_img Luis Enrique is in the running to become Arsenal’s next manager (Getty Images)Arsenal have held talks with Luis Enrique as a potential replacement for Unai Emery, according to reports in Spain.Emery is under increasing pressure at Arsenal following his side’s 2-0 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday, which has left the club eight points behind fourth place.The Gunners have also registered just one win in their last six Premier League matches, while fans are now calling on Emery to be sacked during the international break.Last week, reports claimed that Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi had met with Jose Mourinho to discuss his potential arrival at the club.ADVERTISEMENT Comment Advertisementlast_img read more

ECB: ‘Non-standard’ policies helped euro-zone financial integration

first_imgUnusual European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policies helped decrease financial fragmentation and boost asset classes across the currency union, according to a study.The annual report from the ECB shows that financial integration among euro-zone countries has reached levels not seen before the currency bloc’s sovereign debt crisis, with non-traditional policies lending a helping hand.While the report looks specifically at the situation in 2014, the ECB said its monetary policies, which have expanded to include quantitative easing, would enhance financial integration further in future.The annual study, ‘Financial Integration in Europe’, says the price-based indicators of financial integration developed by the Bank reverted to levels seen before 2008 but are still below a peak seen in 2007. This translates into financial integration across a range of asset classes including bond and banking markets but not equity.“Apart from equity markets, where the most recent developments have shown some volatility, financial integration in money, bond and banking markets consistently shows a sustained increase,” the ECB said.“The overall improvement in financial integration is expected to continue also as a consequence of the monetary policy actions taken by the ECB to restore the bank intermediation channel, as well as of the effective implementation of the Banking Union.“At the same time, it will be important to monitor closely the process of increasing financial integration also in light of the past experience before the financial crisis.”In 2014, the ECB introduced Target Longer-term Refinancing Options (TLTROs), brought deposit facility rates to negative 20 basis points and announced the purchase of asset-backed securities and covered bonds in the euro-zone.In improving bond market financial integration, the ECB said its actions had underpinned confidence in markets, which combined well with a general decrease in confidence disparity across the currency members.“The monetary policy stance was still accommodative overall,” the Bank said.“This contributed to a search for yield in higher-risk assets and drove the sovereign spreads of several countries lower and may have contributed to a reduced fragmentation of the European sovereign debt market.”In money markets, the ECB said its policies also helped increase integration, citing a decline in the level of excess liquidity.The introduction of the negative 20 basis point deposit rate for banks, forward guidance, TLTROs and the original asset-purchase programme helped keep money market rates contained, the Bank said.The ECB’s decisions over the course of 2014 have dismayed many European pension funds, with rate cuts affecting cash holdings, and asset-purchase programmes squeezing yields on sovereign bonds – affecting liability measurements.Dutch pension funds recently lamented the ECB quantitative easing programme as several fell below required funding levels despite strong asset returns.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to European Central Bank reportlast_img read more

Croatia’s mandatory pension fund returns strengthened in 2016

first_imgCroatia’s four mandatory second-pillar fund returns for 2016 outperformed the previous year’s strong results.Category B funds, which account for 98.4% of the total membership, increased their annual nominal returns to 6.94%, from 6.19% the previous year, according to the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA), the sector’s regulator.Category B funds became the renamed default funds when Croatia introduced a lifecycle system in 2014, and since the mandatory system’s start 15 years ago, they have returned 5.95% on an annualised basis.They operate as balanced funds, with some 70% of assets invested in domestic government bonds, and 20% in local and foreign equities as of end-2016. The lifecycle revamp introduced higher-risk Category A funds, restricted to those with more than 10 years left to retirement, and low-risk Category C funds, open to all but obligatory for savers with fewer than five years left to retirement.The Category A funds, with 0.3% of the total membership, generated the most impressive returns, of 11.8%, compared with 9.12% in 2015.These funds had 31.6% of their assets invested in domestic shares and global depository receipts, and a further 12.2% in foreign equities, with the bulk of the remainder in Croatian government bonds.According to Dinko Novoselec, CEO of Allianz ZB Mandatory Pension Fund and president of the Association of Pension Fund Management Companies and Pension Insurance Companies (UMFO), “equity markets generally performed well in 2016 and Croatian equities performed especially well.”In the case of the bond investments, “interest rates were falling in 2016, both base rates and the Croatian spread. Since most of the portfolio is marked to market, this resulted in high returns from the bond part of portfolio,” he told IPE.Category C funds, with 1.3% of the membership and some 90% of assets invested in local sovereign bonds, saw their returns improve from 6.78% in 2015 to 7.43% in 2016.At a recent UMFO press conference held to discuss the results, Novoselec explained that the second-pillar funds increased their local equity market shareholdings. These included leading companies in tourism, food, insurance, electricity, and telecoms.The funds also participated in the privatisation of the hotel operator Imperial Rab, and the recapitalisations of the Zagreb Stock Exchange and hotel and tourism companies HTP Korčula and Ilirija.Novoselec stressed that in the coming years the funds would need additional domestic, low-risk investment opportunities that provided better yields than Croatian government bonds.He cited large infrastructure projects such as ports, airports, energy, and railways, as well as the planned listing of state-owned power company HEP.Second-pillar fund membership increased by 3.1% year-on-year to 1.78m, while assets rose by 13.8% in kuna terms to HRK84.1bn (€11.2bn).In the voluntary open-ended sector, the six funds’ returns ranged from 5.13% to 11.13%. Assets grew by 16.5% to HRK3.5bn, and membership by 8.5% to 257,049.In the case of the 18 voluntary closed-ended funds (excluding one that started business at the end of the year), returns exhibited an even wider range, from 3.05% to 11.92%. Here, membership grew by 1.6% to 29,237 and assets by 4.5% to HRK777m.last_img read more

Investors to be engaged ‘to take on’ corporate lobbying

first_imgThe approach so far had been to “fire-fight” and there had been progress, “but in the big picture investor action on climate lobbying and other forms of political capture remains lip service, rather than the necessary push for structural reform,” Tagger wrote on the Preventable Surprises website.“Incremental progress is no longer adequate,” he wrote. “A highly concentrated and globally connected financial system means the response to corporate lobbying must be systematic and forceful.“The failure to implement national climate policy in jurisdictions including the US, Australia and Canada is a testament to the lobbying power exercised by the fossil fuel sector and its supporters. Beyond North America and Australia, lobbying power by corporations opposed to the most basic climate targets and other fundamental public policy action is damaging prospects for a green economic recovery in much of the G20.”An example of progress given by Tagger was a voting result at the AGM of oil and gas company Chevron in late May, with 53% of votes cast supporting a shareholder resolution asking the company to produce a report disclosing the extent to which its lobbying aligned with the Paris Agreement.It wasn’t only about climate change, however, with Tagger noting that former UN chief Ban Ki-moon has spoken out on the extent of corporate capture in the US health system. Think tank Preventable Surprises has launched a project aimed at “empowering investors to take on corporate lobbying in a systematic manner”.According to a description of the project by Jérôme Tagger, the group’s relatively new CEO, the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP) is an applied research and engagement project that will work to make “corporate political capture a central component of investors’ approach to ESG stewardship and integration”.He said that corporate lobbying was possibly the major factor underpinning lack of progress on numerous systemic environmental and social risks, because corporate influence stopped lawmakers and regulators from acting on evidence and in the public interest.Investors who were active on ESG issues often recognised that corporate lobbying and political capture presented risks to economies, but were not yet systematically taking into account the effects of corporate capture in their work, according to Tagger. “CLAP will engage thought and action leaders, collaborate with positive mavericks and draw on the leadership of existing efforts and organisations to build a community of action”Jérôme Tagger, CEO of Preventable SurprisesCLAP will seek to achieve its aims by engaging “thought and action leaders, collaborat[ing] with positive mavericks and draw[ing] on the leadership of existing efforts and organisations to build a community of action”.”Over the coming year, we will be engaging the ESG field to educate, accelerate, systematise and build a community of practice,” wrote Tagger. “Expect notes and conversations on sectors, lessons learned, methodologies, and more.”Its first event will be an online roundtable on 28 August to discuss case studies, investor experience, and actionable ideas.CLAP is supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Tagger’s blog post about the project can be found here. Preventable Surprises was founded by Raj Thamotheram, a columnist for IPE.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more

Toho Gas inks LNG Canada supply deal

first_imgLNG World News Staff Japanese utility, Toho Gas on Wednesday signed a deal with Diamond Gas International for the supply of liquefied natural gas from the recently sanctioned LNG Canada project in Kitimat, Canada. Diamond Gas International, a Mitsubishi Corp unit, will deliver up to four cargoes or about 300,000 tons of LNG per year to Toho Gas.The contract has a 15-year term and deliveries are set to start in 2024/2025, on an ex-ship basis, Toho Gas said in its statement.The company added that further to its current supplies from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Qatar and Russia, it plans on starting LNG imports from the United States in the fiscal year 2019.The Hague-based LNG giant Shell has taken a final investment decision on LNG Canada earlier this month.  Other project partners include Malaysia’s Petronas, PetroChina, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and Kogas of South Korea.LNG Canada will initially export LNG from two trains totaling 14 million tons per annum (mtpa), with the potential to expand to four trains in the future.The joint venture of JGC-Fluor Corporation has been previously selected as the project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.last_img read more