Category: kmbmchox

Graduating to a life in service

first_imgOne hundred and fifty years ago, scholars, dignitaries, and members of the military gathered at the end of a week of Commencement celebrations for a special service in Harvard Yard. The lengthy ceremony marked the end of the Civil War, and honored those Harvard sons who served — and those who gave their lives — in the conflict.“This was the celebration of peace and of those who had won it, and a marking of Harvard’s role in preserving the nation,” said President Drew Faust, who addressed the crowd assembled for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning ceremony at Tercentenary Theatre on Wednesday.“From the founding days of the nation, when George Washington’s troops bivouacked on that rise over there and used my office as a hospital, Harvard has played a central role in America’s military traditions,” Faust said. “Today we recognize your part in carrying on that legacy — your part in the long Crimson line.”The ceremony includes the time-honored tradition of the first salute. Senior and Army 2nd Lt. William Scopa ’15 received his salute from his grandfather, Salvatore Scopa, who served in the Army in Italy during World War II. “I feel honored today for my service,” said the elder Scopa, who received a standing ovation. “My grandson brought me the honor,” he added. “I am very proud of him.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerFour Harvard seniors were commissioned as officers in the armed forces and received their first official assignments.The new Army officers are 2nd Lts. Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld of New Haven, Conn., a philosophy and South Asian studies concentrator who will attend Yale Law School on an educational delay and plans to work as a judge advocate; Molly McFadden, a history concentrator who will attend the Military Intelligence Basic Leadership Course in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; and William Scopa, a social studies concentrator with a focus in war and democracy, whose first assignment is the Armor Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Ga. Navy Ensign Sebastian Saldivar graduates with a degree in applied mathematics and will report to Nuclear Power School in Goose Creek, S.C.Harvard and ROTC share a drive for excellence and a desire to educate and train future leaders of character who are committed to both excellence and to instilling in those they lead “a jealous regard for the honor of your unit,” said the day’s guest speaker, Army Gen. David G. Perkins.Harvard President Drew Faust, (from left) General David G. Perkins, Guest Speaker attend the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony in Tercentenary Theatre at Harvard University. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn becoming officers, instead of relying solely on people above them to grade their performance, the new officers should use the people they lead and serve, Perkins told to soon-to-be graduates, as “the greatest gauge” of their success.McFadden, surrounded by family and friends, posed for pictures with Chua-Rubenfeld and Scopa on the steps of Memorial Church before the service began. The Dunster House resident, who will report to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, after completing her military intelligence course, said she was honored to be part of such a long tradition of service at Harvard. “That makes it very, very meaningful to all of us,” said McFadden. “That this day is not just about us, it’s about everyone at Harvard who has served, or will serve, or is serving right now.”Faust presented the newly commissioned officers with two books on behalf of the University, “No Man’s Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America” by West Point Professor Elizabeth D. Samet, and “Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination” by J.K. Rowling. In her remarks, Faust also thanked them.“Many of your classmates will serve society, the nation, and the world in other ways,” Faust said. “But we honor you in this ceremony for undertaking a special calling grounded in sacrifice, commitment and, yes, danger. We honor you for honoring the tradition of national service that Harvard has so long embraced.”To read the full text of President Faust’s remarks, visit her website.last_img read more

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Students raise funds for clean water

first_imgThe women of Howard Hall raised close to $3,500 for The Water Project, a non-profit organization that provides distressed communities with access to clean water, during the third annual Totter for Water on Thursday and Friday. From 5 p.m. Thursday until 5 p.m. Friday, participants teeter-tottered for half-hour shifts on South Quad in order to solicit donations to build a well in Africa. “We have girls out there all 24 hours signed up to take shifts,” sophomore and Howard Hall president Claire Robinson said. “It brings attention to [the fundraiser], and we ask that people donate in order to totter. It’s kind of an attraction.” People also donated online, sophomore Sarah Cahalan, one of Howard Hall’s service commissioners, said. Online donations made before the event accounted for almost $2,700 of Totter for Water’s total proceeds. Approximately 90 Howard residents and 50 others participated in Totter for Water over the course of 48 shifts, Cahalan said. Robinson said she was impressed with the number of people that stopped by the event. “I even went out there at 4:30 in the morning and we had people out there,” she said. Howard Hall hosted African-themed events last week to prepare for Totter for Water, Robinson said. “We had African Mass [and] a speaker come talk to us about his work with the wells,” she said. “Then we also had African desserts and a water documentary, and finally we had a little kick-off party with the dorm mascot.” The speaker, Stephen Silliman, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, spoke to Howard Hall residents Monday about his experience building wells in Benin, Cahalan said. Robinson said Silliman’s talk caused her and the service commissioners to consider donating Totter for Water’s proceeds to a nation in western Africa, but they did not decide what specific country or village the donations will benefit yet. “Previously, we have designated which village or country we want the well built for, but we haven’t made the decision yet this year,” Robinson said. “I think we’re going to try to establish ourselves within the community and donate to the same well every year, but I honestly don’t know.” Robinson and Cahalan said the event raised more money this year than in past years. “The past two years that we’ve done it [the fundraiser] made about $1,000 online, and we made $2,693 [this year], so that was really exciting,” Cahalan said. “Lots of people were coming by and interested in what we were doing.”last_img read more

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Enel begins commercial operation at 140MW wind farm in South Africa

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Afrik21:Enel Green Power is now injecting 140 MW into the power grid of the South African public company Eskom thanks to its new wind farm. The facility in Nxuba (Eastern Cape Province) was recently commissioned by the renewable energy subsidiary of the Italian Enel Group.On October 27th, 2020, Enel Green Power inaugurated the Nxuba wind farm in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The 140 MW wind farm will come on stream approximately two years after the Italian Enel Group’s renewable energy subsidiary Enel began construction.Enel Green Power will operate the wind farm and inject the electricity produced into the grid of the South African public utility Eskom for 20 years, under a power purchase agreement (PPA) between the two companies.The Nxuba wind farm is one of five projects awarded to Enel Green Power under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Supply Programme (REIPPP). The other four parks are under development at Oyster Bay, Garob, Karusa and Soetwater. They will each have a capacity of 140 MW, giving a total output of 700 MW for the five wind farms. According to Enel Green Power, 460 GWh of wind power will be injected into the South African national electricity grid each year. The installations are also expected to prevent the emission of 500 000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the same period.The implementation of the wind projects will require an investment of €1.2 billion. In 2018, Enel Green Power has signed financing agreements with Nedbank and Absa. The two South African banks lent 950 million euros, i.e. 80% of the cost of the project. The remaining €250 million will be invested by Enel Green Power under equity.[Inès Magoum]More: Enel Green Power inaugurates its 140MW Nxuba wind farm Enel begins commercial operation at 140MW wind farm in South Africalast_img read more

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Rare-Earth Elements: Essential to Brazil’s Defense Industry

first_imgBy Dialogo December 27, 2011 It doesn’t matter if you can’t name a single one of the rare-earth elements. If you’ve used mobile phones, MP3 players or iPhones, you’ve already been in contact with them. The Western Hemisphere alone consumes $1 billion worth of rare earths per year, and worldwide demand for the exotic minerals exceeds supply by 40,000 tons annually. From that angle, the strategic importance of the rare earths to a country’s economy makes them a national security matter, not even taking into account crucial military needs. In addition, all hybrid car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines depend on rare earths such as neodymium, lutetium, dysprosium and europium. They also show significant promise in oil refining. It’s not just that rare earths are better for these uses. Many of these high-tech products and new technologies are based, sometimes exclusively, on the properties of these elements. The Brazilian House of Representatives recently hosted naval engineer Leonam dos Santos Guimarães, who explained the importance of strategic minerals to lawmakers. “The national effort in the sector has been out of step with the existent concerns in the world stage,” said dos Santos Guimarães, assistant to the chief executive of Eletrobrás Termonuclear SA, a leading Brazilian electric utility. “There is a need for a repositioning in the short term.” “Renewable energy technologies are responsible for around 20 percent of the world’s consumption of rare earth minerals,” dos Santos Guimarães said. “This is an industry with great growth potential in the next few years.” UN: Rare earths a priority The United Nations Environment Program has already called attention to the vulnerability of the green economy to shortages of rare-earth minerals. “Many new and emerging clean energy technologies, such as the components of wind turbines and electric vehicles, depend on materials with unique properties,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The availability of a number of these materials is at risk due to their location, vulnerability to supply disruptions and lack of suitable substitutes.” The quest for these critical raw materials will more than triple by 2030, explains dos Santos Guimarães, which has triggered speculation about the impending “war of the elements.” “The high risk to the supply of critical raw materials is due to the small number of countries that produce most of them,” he said. “The concentration of production goes hand in hand, in many cases, with the lack of adequate substitutes [for rare earths] and low rates of recycling.” As Brazil’s National Defense Strategy revs up, rare earth elements (REEs) will be increasingly on the minds of the country’s military and civilian leadership. Rare earths are a select group of 17 chemical elements of the lanthanide series plus scandium and yttrium. Their oxides have an earth-like appearance, and they’re called rare because of their sparse deposits throughout the planet, even though some elements are relatively plentiful. The 15 lanthanides are lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium and lutetium. “The rare earths are not that rare, since they can be found in many countries, including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Russia and United States,” said dos Santos Guimarães. “But they are difficult to extract in volumes that make it economically feasible.” Opportunity in scarcity The scarcity of rare earths could bring the defense industry to a standstill, since they are essential components in cutting-edge technology such as precision-guided munitions, lasers, communication systems, cruise missiles, radar systems, avionics, night-vision equipment, nuclear energy and technology, reactive armor and satellites. Industrial defense laboratories require some or all 17 of the rare earth elements to function. This is also good news, because these strategic minerals could be a developmental launching pad for Brazil. “As the sixth-largest world economy, Brazil is hungry for minerals in general and for rare earths in particular,” said Roberto Villas-Bõas, researcher for the Center of Mineral Technology (CETEM), a national research institute linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. “Before, rare earths were supplied by the only active commercial source, China. With the changes of supply in that country, other countries have become alternative sources.” Brazil has likely reserves of 3.5 billion tons of rare earths, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The Amazon’s vast Seis Lagos reserve alone could have 2.9 billion tons, resulting in 43.5 million tons of minerals. But there’s no way to know in advance which elements are in those deposits. In all, Brazil’s rare-earth deposits represent less than 1 percent of total world reserves, according to geologist Romualdo Homobono Paes de Andrade of the National Department of Mineral Production. By comparison, China has 36.5 percent of world’s reserves. Asked if Brazilian reserves are enough for the country to be self-sufficient, Villas-Bõas replied: “Not only self-sufficient, but even to export. All deposits of phosphates, for instance, are huge reserves of rare earths and other minerals.” Potential risks and needed protections Brazil was a pioneer in the mining of rare earths, beginning in 1886 with the exploration of the monazite sands of Cumuruxatiba in Bahia state. Brazil remained the world’s largest producer of rare earths until 1915, when it was overtaken by India, said dos Santos Guimarães. With the recent jump in Chinese production, it became much cheaper to buy than to mine for rare earths. China now produces 97 percent of the world’s rare earth supply, and has begun limiting exports in order to guarantee domestic supplies. This has occurred at a time of rising demand, so countries like Brazil are waking up to the need to reopen production to prevent shortages. “The hiatus in the exploitation of rare earths was natural,” explained Villas-Bõas. “It occurred in Brazil and in the rest of the world since, commercially, China was unbeatable. Nobody was doing enough research or exploration.” But he says Brazil has plenty of experience and know-how in mining and processing. “The concentration of efforts and investment in the exploration of rare earths could mean an invaluable technological advance for Brazil,” says dos Santos Guimarães, noting that the country has passed legislation to ensure control over its own reserves. But that won’t be enough, he warned. “There are weaknesses that go well beyond the ownership of the lands, especially in the underpopulated and little-known Amazonian regions where there is frequent illegal contraband of rare earths and radioactive minerals,” he said. Such activities also pose a significant threat to the Amazon’s environment, given legitimate concerns surrounding the mining of rare earths. That’s why, says dos Santos Guimarães, Brazil is also interested in “exploring the development of replacement materials and technologies, as well as ways to recycle and increase efficiency in the use and reuse of these elements.” THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF ENERGY SOURCES, THIS IS NOT TO SAY THEY WON’T BE DEPLETED, SADLY IN MOST LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, INCLUDING MY COLOMBIA, WE HAVE TURNED OUR BACKS ON THE FUTURE, ON ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES THAT ARE ECONOMICAL, NATURAL AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED. THANK YOU, THIS ARTICLE IS IMPORTANT. KEEP ON SEEING THAT THE GREAT BRAZIL IS ALWAYS AT THE FOREFRONT OF KNOWLEDGE, ORDER AND PROGRESS. I WONDER IF THE USE OF THESE RARE-EARTH ELEMENTS IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE USE OF OIL; OR IF THEY SHOULD THINK ABOUT CREATING AN ASSISTED ATMOSPHERE USING THESE RARE-EARTH ELEMENTS TO STOP AND NEUTRALIZE THE ELEMENTS THAT DETERIORATE THE OZONE. It took them a long time to realize it, they are taking too long to decide. Before it’s too late, I hope there is still time.last_img read more

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Colombia and Mexico Enhance Air Interdiction of Drug Trafficking

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 16, 2016 Members of the Colombian Air Force (FAC per its Spanish acronym), and the Mexican Air Force (FAM per its Spanish acronym), performed the first air interdiction simulation to combat the illegal use of Caribbean airspace by drug traffickers. The MEXCOL I air interdiction training was held November 21-25 on the island of San Andrés in Colombia, at the Caribbean Air Group base. Five officers from each air force participated in the training. The goal of the exercise was to implement current operating procedures for air interdiction and interception and to smoothly and efficiently exchange information in order to reinforce air defense systems and effectively detect illegal flights. “The exercises were run as simulations in order to figure out how we could somehow conduct them in real-life scenarios,” Lieutenant Colonel Andrés Niño, deputy director of FAC Defense Operations, told Diálogo. “Building personal ties and trust are fundamental for the armed forces that participate in these operations,” said Rubén Sánchez, professor at the School of Political Science at Colombia’s Universidad Nacional. MEXCOL falls under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Colombian and Mexican air forces on September 27, 2015. The agreement established operating procedures for air interdiction and interception. The exercise involved different virtual operations, basic operational training with the aircraft of both air forces, and the latest tactics for interdiction, identification, and transfer of illegal flights of unidentified aircraft in order to improve and bolster control over airspace. “We simulated each air force’s operation center in order to provide training and apply operating procedures with the steps to take when illegal aircraft are discovered in the airspace of either of these countries,” said Lt. Col. Niño. The six-stage operating procedure involved the detection of the aircraft, identification and classification based on established protocols, interception, follow-up, and delivery of the target or aircraft by one of the air forces to the other. Five simulations were conducted during MEXCOL, involving aircraft that left Mexican airspace towards Colombian airspace through the Caribbean or the Pacific. The operations recreated the means of detection, radars, and aircraft normally involved in aerial anti-drug trafficking operations. “We also sought to set up and test out a timely and clear flow of accurate information between the two operation centers. In addition, we aimed to solidify binational relations by exchanging records and applying procedures for the surveillance and control of airspace,” stated Lt. Col. Niño. “We efficiently and successfully met all of these goals.” Officers learned that FAC and FAM “have procedural similarities. They have different capacities, and these capacities ultimately contribute to, and are effective in, combating aerial drug trafficking,” said Lt. Col. Niño. The two operation centers openly exchange information when a threat arises. Because as Sánchez said, “the fight against drug trafficking has to be a joint effort. Neither country can eliminate this threat alone.” Moreover, illegal flights pose a threat to civil and commercial aviation. “These (illegal) aircraft jeopardize the operation of (civil and commercial) aircraft, especially in the Caribbean, where they are usually bound for Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala or Mexico. That is why coordination between the air forces in the region is important,” said Lt. Col. Niño. The Caribbean is the main route used by drug traffickers to move cocaine to the United States and Europe. According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, in the first half of 2015, around 90 percent of the cocaine bound for the United States passed through the Mexico-Central America corridor. “We need to shut down the criminal organizations that traffic large quantities of drugs. There is no question that cooperation must continue on land, in the air, and at sea,” concluded Sánchez.last_img read more

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News & Notes

first_imgNews & Notes April 1, 2004 Regular News Stephen H. Siegel of Ruden, Mcclosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., in Miami, presented “Privacy Regulations and Requirements: Correcting Myths and Urban legends” and “Florida Preemption and HIPAA,” to an audience of physicians and hospital administrators at a Lorman Education Services, Inc., seminar. Charles H. Carver of Ward, Rovell &Van Eepoel in Tampa, has been appointed co-vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties of Florida for 2004. Doris Goldstein of Jacksonville received the 2003 Excellence in Writing Award for the Best Cutting Edge Article from the ABA’s “Probate & Property” magazine. The article, “New Urbanism: Planning and Structure of the Traditional Neighborhood Development,” was published in the November/December issue. Benjamine Reid of Carlton Fields in Miami, recently planned and moderated the program, “Punitive Damages: Did Campbell Finally Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?” at the Defense Research Institute National Annual Products Liability Conference in New Orleans. Theodore A. Deckert, a mediator with ARC Mediation in West Palm Beach, presented, “Key to a Successful Mediation: Help Me Help You,” at a seminar on alternative dispute resolution sponsored by the Palm Beach County Bar Association. Mildred Beam of Mateer Harbert, recently presented a workshop titled “Practice Management: Contracting Aspects” at the National Medical Association’s Region VI meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. Gregory A. Hearing of Thompson, Sizemore & Gonzalez, P.A., presented “Wage and Hour Claims—The New Biggest Area of Concern,” at a labor and employment law seminar in Tampa. Roger Rovell of Tampa, spoke about 401(k) plan design issues at the 401 (k) summit, sponsored by the American Society of Pension Actuaries, in Orlando. Henry Ruffolo, a mediator with ARC Mediation in West Palm Beach, recently presented at the County Mediation Continuing Education Training, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Andrea M. Fair of Wetherington, Hamilton & Harrison, P.A., presented “Construction Liens: Good Faith vs. Willful Exaggeration,” to Tampa Building Suppliers Trade Group Members of NACM in Tampa. Terry Coble of Miami has recently been named the president of the Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU of Florida. Joseph B. Landy of Palm Beach, has achieved board certification as a civil trial advocate through the NBTA. Joseph P. Milton of Jacksonville has been elected treasurer of The Foundation of The American Board of Trial Advocates in Dallas.The foundation sponsors nationwide, school programs for 5-9th graders on the 7th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Ronald L.Weaver of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.,in Tampa, spoke about a proposed statewide ballot initiative to require voter approval of changes to local growth plans in Florida, to the Tampa Bay Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors at the group’s monthly meeting in Tampa. Ted Afield of Fowler White Boggs Banker in Tampa, has been elected president of the Harvard Club of the West Coast of Florida. Bruce A. Blitman of Ft. Lauderdale presented “The Benefits of Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution,” at the 2004 meeting of Northern Trust Bank’s Attorney/CPA Roundatable Seminar in Weston. Dennis J. Wall of Orlando, spoke about insurance related matters at the American Bar Association’s midyear meeting and seminar in Tucson, AZ. Brent E. Routman of Merchant and Gould, P.C., in Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently became president-elect of the Hennepin County Bar Association. Sonja K. Knighton of Brady & Associates in Ft. Lauderdale, has been appointed as the first permanent city attorney for the City of Miami Gardens. The City of Miami Gardens is the third largest city in Miami-Dade County. Spencer Aronfeld of Aronfeld Trial Lawyers recently spoke at the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Winter Seminar in Beaver Creek, CO., on plastic surgery cases, and at The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Workhorse Seminar on “Deposing the Defense Nuerologist,” and at the University of Miami School of Law on “Going Solo Without Starving.” Neil Rambana of Rambaba & Ricci in Tallahassee, has become president of the International Chamber of Commerce, and was recently nominated for an at-large position on the Tallahassee Bar Association board. Stephen H. Siegel of Ruden, Mcclosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., in Miami, presented “Privacy Regulations and Requirements: Correcting Myths and Urban legends” and “Florida Preemption and HIPAA,” to and audience of physicians and hospital administrators at a Lorman Education Services, Inc., seminar. Ralph Behr of Ft. Lauderdale, has been elected to the Board of Directors of The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Neisen O. Kasdin of Gunster Yoakley in Miami, has been appointed to the Urban Land Institute’s Committee for Regional Cooperation for Florida’s Future.last_img read more

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The market in minutes

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UK election: What the manifestos say [updated]

first_imgThe UK’s main political parties have published their manifestos for the 8 June election – and the future of the country’s state pension is a major battleground.The Conservative Party, led by prime minister Theresa May, is expected to consolidate its position as ruling party by winning a greater majority.It has proposed abandoning the so-called ‘triple lock’ on the state pension, which ensures payments rise in line with earnings or inflation with a minimum annual increase of 2.5%.Instead, the Conservatives want to remove the 2.5% lower limit after 2020. Jeremy Corbyn, leader, Labour PartyMeanwhile the Labour Party – led by Jeremy Corbyn – wants to keep the triple lock for at least the next five years. The Liberal Democrats have also pledged to keep the triple lock in place until at least the next election in 2022.The Scottish National Party (SNP), the leading party in Scotland, Wales’ Plaid Cymru, and the UK Independence Party, have all pledged to maintain the triple lock. Former pensions minister Steve Webb, a Liberal Democrat, was instrumental in bringing in the triple lock as part of the coalition government in 2010. Industry comment – Hugh Nolan, president, Society of Pension Professionals“The triple lock is unsustainable with our ageing population and so it’s good to see the Conservative Party being honest about this uncomfortable truth. “While Labour and the Liberal Democrats want to keep the triple lock for the moment, they might have to change that policy by the time inflation is next below 2.5% so there may not actually be as big a difference between the parties as it seems at a first glance.”The Pensions RegulatorAway from the state pension, another key pensions issue is the power and focus of the Pensions Regulator (TPR).During an enquiry held by the Work and Pensions Committee last year into the collapse of high street store BHS, the cross-party group of politicians called for the regulator to have more scope to step in and protect the interests of members during corporate actions. Theresa May, Conservative Party leaderIn its manifesto, the Conservative Party promised greater powers for TPR to stop pension funds being disadvantaged during mergers or acquisitions and protect them from “unscrupulous business owners”.“We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and TPR the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme,” the manifesto stated. It also mentioned “punitive” fines and bans for company directors found to be in breach.Labour’s election document made a similar, but less detailed, pledge to amend rules regarding company takeovers “to ensure that businesses identified as being ‘systemically important’ have a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners”.Industry comment – Martin Hunter, principal, Punter Southall“One major concern which has been raised in the past when suggestions have been made about making clearance mandatory is that it is often not feasible to conduct detailed discussions with the trustees of a pension scheme and the Pensions Regulator in advance of a deal, given that transactions often need to be completed very quickly.“Waiting for the Pensions Regulator to decide whether to apply some conditions to the deal could represent the introduction of substantial uncertainty into transactions, potentially damaging UK [companies].”The retirement age and other promisesThe Conservatives have promised to tie increases in the state pension age to life expectancy, with current policy set to raise the retirement age to 67 by 2028. Labour, however, rejected this and vowed to launch another review of the state pension age – despite one having just reported its findings in March.The SNP, Plaid Cymru, and UKIP have all rejected the need for the state pension age to increase past 66. UKIP has proposed a “flexible state pension window” to allow people to retire earlier with lower benefits – or later with higher benefits – if they wish.The Green Party – which currently has just one elected member of parliament – wants to replace the state pension with a “citizens’ pension”. This would “ensure that no pensioners are living in poverty, and would be up-rated annually”, the party said.Labour backed the creation of “large efficient pension funds, which will mean more cash for scheme members and lower costs for employers” – seemingly backing the idea of consolidation that has been gathering momentum in recent months.The Green Party said it would campaign for pension funds to invest more in “long-term sustainability projects” such as renewable energy, and would push for divestment from fossil-fuel-related investments. Tim Farron, leader, Liberal DemocratsThe Liberal Democrats want a review of the pensions tax relief system, with a view to introducing a flat rate of tax relief, rather than one linked to the income tax rate.Both Labour and Plaid Cymru in Wales vowed to review a surplus-sharing arrangement between the government and the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. Currently, the government is entitled to take a percentage of any surplus in the defined benefit scheme as calculated every three years. This is opposed by unions.The Conservatives said they would expand the auto-enrolment regime to include self-employed workers. The SNP has made a similar pledge. The party said it would also promote long-term savings products such as the Lifetime Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), a version of the tax-free savings ISA vehicle.Industry comment – Malcolm McLean, senior consultant, Barnett Waddingham“It is good to see that a Conservative government will continue to support the successful expansion of auto-enrolment to include small employers and the self-employed. In the latter case this is long overdue with all the evidence pointing to a continuing reduction in pension saving by the self-employed despite the fact that since the financial downturn in 2008 their numbers have increased considerably.” According to the Office for National Statistics, the government spent £108bn on state pension payments in the 2014-15 tax year.The Conservatives’ manifesto stated: “When [the triple lock] expires we will introduce a new ‘double lock’, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest.”last_img read more

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Prostitution bill defeated in ‘South Australia’

first_imgThe Australian 15 november 2012 A MOVE to decriminalise prostitution in South Australia has been defeated by one vote in state parliament. The bill, introduced by Labor backbencher Steph Key, was subject to a conscience vote but was defeated when put to lower house MPs on Thursday. It would have decriminalised most forms of prostitution including brothels and escort services while retaining soliciting as an offence in some circumstances. Family First MP Dennis Hood welcomed the bill’s defeat and said it would have introduced legalised prostitution with no controls. “I cannot understand how some members of the government could support such a proposal,” he said. Mr Hood said the bill would have given councils control over brothels, with police having no role of substance.http://m.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/prostitution-bill-defeated-in-sa/story-fn3dxiwe-1226517453827last_img read more

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Oregon cop warns Florida lawmakers about dangers of legal marijuana

first_imgRodrigues says he wants lawmakers to be prepared in case one of the two proposed constitutional amendments gets on the ballot and wins approval by voters in 2020. Rodrigues is term-limited, but the Legislature would have to pass a bill setting up parameters for a newly legal marijuana industry, just as it has for medical marijuana.READ MORE: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/florida-marijuana/os-ne-house-legal-marijuana-florida-oregon-20191105-5thqbahtnzditmqpfzwbwm6v6q-story.htmlKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox. The House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony from Chris Gibson, a narcotics officer in Oregon, where marijuana was legalized in 2015. The presentation was the latest in a string of speakers planned by committee chairman Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. Recreational marijuana has brought trouble to Oregon, a law officer said Tuesday, as Florida lawmakers prepared to deal with the chance that Sunshine State voters could legalize pot next year. Gibson stopped short of calling marijuana legalization a “gateway” to other drugs, as Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, suggested, but said, “we have seen reported drug use in Oregon increase across the board … we’re seeing users that are using everything all together.”center_img Orlando Sentinel 5 November 2019Family First Comment: “He listed a litany of problems that followed, including an increase in positive drug tests in the workforce, legal marijuana being siphoned into the black markets of other states and a spike in the use of other, still illegal drugs.”Don’t believe the Green Party hype #saynopetodope A Harvard medical school professor spoke of the medical dangers of marijuana last month, and Rodrigues says he plans to have other law enforcement officials from Colorado, another state where marijuana is legal. He listed a litany of problems that followed, including an increase in positive drug tests in the workforce, legal marijuana being siphoned into the black markets of other states and a spike in the use of other, still illegal drugs.last_img read more

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