Category: bksuroys

Club practices art of gongfu

first_imgGraduate student Erik Blair has found the perfect outlet for stress in the middle of his busy schedule. Blair turns to gongfu, a unique martial arts form, along with other members of the Gongfu Club he founded earlier this semester. “I get so much out of teaching martial arts,” Blair said. “Teaching techniques strengthens my grasp of those techniques and deepens my skill. I think the relationships I build out of it are the best part. It’s really a lot of fun when you have students who are motivated to learn and to teach others also.” Blair first learned gongfu and earned his black belt in the discipline during his time as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. “Upon coming back to Notre Dame for a Ph.D., I didn’t want the knowledge to evaporate, and I still wanted to advance in the art,” Blair said. “That led me to desire to teach others and that led to the club.” Sophomore Thomas Voutsos joined the club when it first began this semester. He said he especially enjoys the welcoming atmosphere of the club and gongfu’s relevance in his own life. “Erik and the club members have been great teachers and very welcoming” Voutsos said. “The best part about participating in the club is learning a completely new skill that can have real life applications in the future. It is great exercise, and the body movements, combined with mental focus, create a very unique inner feeling during and after gongfu practices.” While Voutsos entered the club with no prior martial arts experience, he said his skills have quickly progressed, thanks to Blair’s guidance. “In this semester, I have been able to earn a yellow belt and I am currently working on earning an orange belt,” Voutsos said. “Erik is a great teacher, which has allowed me to learn a lot in just one semester.” Unlike Voutsos, sophomore Max Geraci did have previous martial arts experience before joining Gongfu Club. “I did practice martial arts before joining the club and had obtained a black belt in Tae Kwon Do,” Geraci said. “I was fairly well-experienced with martial arts prior to training in Gongfu, but I would say that it has significantly improved my form to experience Gongfu.” During their Gongfu workouts, both Geraci and Rob McKenna said they enjoy the kiba-dachi stance, which mimics a wall-sit exercise without the support of a wall. “I think my favorite memory so far is the time I had to hold a squat for several minutes as part of a black belt test in February,” McKenna said. Saint Mary’s junior Elizabeth Schroff said she appreciates the communal aspect of the club and the ability to assume a teaching role at practices. “Everyone in the club here is really dedicated to the art, and they are all awesome to work with,” Schroff said. “Being a green belt, I really enjoy getting the opportunity to help teach the younger belts and give them tips on how to improve and progress in the art.” Blair said he hopes Gongfu Club can continue as an exciting way for students, staff and faculty from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to learn or progress in martial arts techniques. “In the long term, I would like to get students, faculty and staff members to black belt so that the club can be self-sustaining, for I know that I won’t be here at Notre Dame forever,” Blair said.last_img read more

January 26, 2021 0

Guatemalan Drug Kingpin ‘Chamalé’ Arrest ‘Strengthens Rule of Law’

first_imgBy Dialogo May 13, 2011 When Guatemala’s most wanted drug trafficker was captured last month by Guatemalan agents in the town of Quetzaltenango, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal could not have been happier. “We believe that this arrest is of fundamental importance for strengthening the rule of law” in Guatemala’s border area, Menocal said at a news conference following Juan Alberto “Chamalé” Ortíz López’s capture. “San Marcos is a department that has suffered from drug trafficking and from traffickers’ violent actions. Therefore, we believe that with this arrest, we’re taking steps to strengthen the rule of law.” Ortíz López, arrested March 30, had achieved near-mythic status in recent years. Controlling vast swaths of the department of San Marcos — from the border town of Tecún Umán to the Pacific coast municipality of Ocos — he allegedly acted as Guatemala’s chief middleman for cocaine coming up from Colombia, unloading it and then sending along northward with his Mexican partners. Charged in a federal arrest warrant issued in Tampa, Fla., with two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, “Chamalé” travelled through his fiefdom in a brazen convoy of a dozen cars and to boast a personal fortune of more than $100 million, authorities said. Now, he faces a possible life sentence if convicted on all charges. “For over a decade, Ortíz López’s drug organization received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Guatemala, which would then be transported through Mexico to the United States, where the cocaine would be further distributed,” U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill told the Associated Press. The 41-year-old Ortíz López had been under surveillance for seven days during the operation by Guatemalan intelligence agents and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, according to Menocal. He was captured six months after one of his reputed top lieutenants was arrested as part of the same probe, the AP reported. His arrest prompted authorities to confiscate 14 properties registered in Ortiz López’s name. But it also led an estimated 4,000 people to demonstrate in the municipality of San Marcos in favor of his release — and now, Guatemala’s battle against drug trafficking and its handmaiden, organized crime, appears as tangled as ever. Two months after the government of Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom lifted a 60-day siege in the northern department of Alta Verapaz, violence is again on the upswing. The rest of the country — the most populous in Central America —serves as a battleground among various factions of Mexican cartels pushed south by President Felipe Calderón’s campaign against drug traffickers. Also being targeted are Guatemala’s indigenous criminal groups. This past autumn in Guatemala was particularly bloody, with mass casualty shootouts becoming a frequent occurrence. In September, a gun battle raged for 30 minutes inside Guatemala City’s posh Tikal Futura mall. It ostensibly erupted when Guatemalan police attempted to capture a wanted drug trafficker who had been spotted there. Two policemen and an evangelical minister were killed. That same month, three more were killed during an intense gun battle in the eastern department of Zacapa. On Oct. 6, the Guatemalan military confronted a 10-car convoy of armed men believed to be members of the Mexican cartel known as Los Zetas, in a series of encounters that left five dead in Grano de Oro. That town is located in the El Petén region along Guatemala’s border with Mexico. Since their first appearance in Guatemala in late 2007, Los Zetas seared themselves into the national consciousness with the March 2008 killing of Juan “Juancho” José León Ardón in the eastern state of Zacapa. A suspected local drug lord, León Ardón was gunned down along with 10 others in a wild shootout that left 16 semi-automatic assault rifles littered on the road near the bodies. Since then, Los Zetas has established a strong presence across the country, but especially in the departments of El Petén and Alta Verapaz in the north, and Izabal in the east. The Zetas and, to a lesser extent, the Cartel de Sinaloa of Joaquín “El Chapo” [Shorty] Guzmán, based in the Mexican city of Culiacán, have found fertile ground for their endeavors amidst a state that is as fragile as Guatemala’s terrain is rugged. More people are killed annually these days than in the past few years of Guatemala’s 30-year civil war, with the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales [Latin America College of Social Sciences] estimating Guatemala’s homicide rate at 53 per 100,000 — far surpassing Mexico’s 26 per 100,000. While visiting nearby El Salvador last month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced $200 million in funding to combat drug trafficking and insecurity in the region. Guatemala now has its most capable and activist attorney general in recent memory: Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey. A criminal law specialist who helped establish the Instituto de Estudios Comparados de Ciencias Penales de Guatemala, Paz will almost certainly be an asset to elements within Guatemala’s crime-fighting security apparatus. In 2007, Guatemala formed the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (known by its Spanish acronym CICIG). This is a United Nations-mandated body charged with investigating clandestine organizations and exposing corruption. Until June of this year, CICIG was under the direction of Carlos Castresana, a magistrate experienced at prosecuting drug-related cases in Mexico and investigating corruption in his native Spain. Since Castresana’s resignation last year, CICIG has been led by Francisco Dall’Anese Ruíz, the former attorney general of Costa Rica. The agency has targeted a variety of high-profile drug and corruption cases, including a pivotal one against former President Alfonso Portillo — the first of its kind in Guatemalan history.last_img read more

December 20, 2020 0

WhatsApp Pay Gets Green Signal in India in a Graded Manner, With 20 Million User Cap

first_img– Advertisement – Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. Recently, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed a case against Facebook’s WhatsApp, saying the company has not abused its dominant position to expand in the country’s digital payments market. In its order in August, the CCI said it did not find any contravention of antitrust laws, adding the company’s “actual conduct is yet to manifest in the market” as it has not fully launched the service yet.WhatsApp Pay was expected to launch in India much sooner — an announcement was expected around Diwali last year, and many feared that the 400 million user base that the company had at the time would give it an unfair advantage.Earlier this year, a report suggested that WhatsApp Pay would launch in May with three banks on board, but permissions had not been forthcoming. Now, with the NPCI’s green signal, the messaging platform can expand its payments operations in India, but will still see a relatively small cap on how many users it can register, when compared to the market leaders in India.- Advertisement –center_img The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced today that WhatsApp can go ahead with the rollout of WhatsApp Pay in India. The company will be allowed to rollout in a “graded manner” the NPCI said, and it will first be allowed to do so with a maximum of 20 million registered users in UPI. To compare, PhonePe recently announced that it has hit the 250 million user mark. Ahead of this, the NPCI also announced that third party apps like these will be capped to a maximum of 30 percent of all transactions in the future, stating from January 2021.This transaction share cap will most strongly impact Google Pay and PhonePe, both of which account for 40 percent of the UPI transactions in India, according to a recent report.- Advertisement –last_img read more

November 20, 2020 0

The Island Movement initiative seeks to extend the deadline for drafting the Islands Act

first_imgInitiative Island movement – platforma za održivi i odgovoran razvoj hrvatskih otoka, poslala je objavu za medije na temu donošenja novog Zakona o otocima. Kako ističu, Pokret otoka je uključen u radnu skupinu za izradu Zakona o otocima, ali kako ističu u priopćenju, smatraju kako se žuri s donošenjem Zakona koji je u svom sadržaju manjkav i zapravo gori od postojećeg.The announcement of the Island Movement initiative is transmitted in its entirety:Since April 2017, we have been participating in the working group for drafting the Law on Islands and, together with other experts, point out the complexity of defining the future development of islands and the need to approach this topic more systematically and with greater understanding of specific needs of islands and islanders. Of the members of the working group, we are actually the only relevant voice of the islanders who know the real situation on the ground and the different positions and levels of development, as well as the needs of the island. Namely, despite the similar island characteristics, our islands are very different in terms of management, wealth of own resources and the number of permanent residents.Nakon svega nekoliko sastanka Radne skupine moramo istaknuti da smo uspostavili zaista kvalitetnu komunikaciju s članovima Ministarstva nadležnih za otoke no ipak čini se da se odluka o što bržem donošenju Zakona donosi negdje drugdje. Sukladno najavi ministrice Žalac da će se Zakon o otocima staviti na javno savjetovanje već ovaj tjedan mišljenja smo da prijedlog Zakona o Otocima u ovakvom obliku spreman. U cjelini prijedlog Zakona ne osigurava ne osigurava jednake uvjete života i razvoja otočnog stanovništva s onima koje imaju ostali građani RH, niti aktivni dvosmjerni vertikalni pristup svih razina vlasti. U ovakvom obliku osigurava se samo pristup „od vrha prema dolje“, a isključuje svako odlučivanje otočnih JLS-ova i drugih subjekata otočnog razvoja (prije svega sektora civilnog društva i zainteresirane javnosti) u odlučivanju i usmjeravanju otočne politike na svim razinama.  Pojedine odredbe nisu do kraja definirane, nacrt ostavlja dojam nedovršenosti i mišljenja smo kako u ovakvom obliku nikako nije spreman za e-savjetovanje već mu je potrebna dodatna, stručna i konstruktivnija dorada. Između zamišljenog roka za donošenje ovog Zakona te donošenja kvalitetnog zakona koji će dugoročno biti primjenjiv i provediv predlažemo da se ne brza s donošenjem ovog Zakona te pruži dodatan prostor za njegovu razradu. Nadalje u odnosu na postojeći Zakon o Otocima, ovaj nacrt ostavlja dojam nedorečenosti i potpune pojednostavljenosti odredbi koje su većinom jako općenito formulirane. Novi Zakon o Otocima je, u odnosu na postojeći, trebao ispraviti njegov najveći nedostatak – nije se provodio u dijelu odredbi niti je osigurao mehanizme provedbe. Ovaj prijedlog Zakona ide čak i korak dalje: smanjuje obvezujuće odredbe države te izostavlja ugrađivanje kontrolnih mehanizama. Prije svega se ova primjedba odnosi na donošenje programsko-planske dokumentacije gdje su predviđena samo dva dokumenta sa nacionalne razine, bez vremenskog roka za izradu i donošenje, bez planova/programa niže razine (koji nužno i ne moraju biti definirani), ali bez ikakve obveze nižih razina na provođenje ili izvještavanje.We must especially point out that the problem of islands with a special regional structure, which act as local committees under the management of a nearby mainland town, has not been solved in any way, ie they remain unprotected under this proposal. In good faith, we start from the fact that each LGU that has islands in its composition as local committees and will take care of its territory and citizens living in these local committees, however, the reality is quite different and it is usually due to lack of funds in budgets. it saves on those who are few, who are not loud enough and do not represent a significant electorate. We conclude that the islands are unfortunately not given the necessary care and attention and are not understood as an area with special development specifics, and that this Act has done absolutely nothing to improve the situation but reversely centralizes the adoption of development strategies and operational plans without taking tom almost no expertise and opinion of the people who really live on the islands.If the Ministry ignores our request to extend the deadline for drafting the Islands Act and further refine it, we invite all citizens, islanders, all who spend their summers on the islands or consume them in any other way to participate with us in additional amendments to the Act. through e-counseling as well as the activities we intend to undertake to make the voice, needs and demands of the islanders heard and respected.Prilog: e-Savjetovanje – DRAFT PROPOSED STATEMENT ON THE IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF REGULATIONS ZA DRAFT LAW ON ISLANDSlast_img read more

November 18, 2020 0

Branding of Eco family accommodation in Istria ”Istra ecoxperience – All eco from Istria ”

first_imgAttachment: Brochure ”Istria ecoxperience – All eco from Istria ” The aim of the brochure is to promote the sustainable development of tourism, information on existing eco-friendly content in Istria, monitoring trends in the world, and raising awareness of the importance of ecology and networking of stakeholders in the ecological offer in Istria.  “Even then, we recognized the importance of encouraging organic agriculture, as well as eco-accommodation, and so we acted. In cooperation with cities and municipalities, we encouraged our farmers, but also renters, thus strengthening the synergy between agriculture and tourism”, Said the prefect Flego, announcing that the County will continue to encourage sustainability through concrete measures and activities and continue to develop Istria as a BIO region. In addition to the 11 facilities that received the certificate last year, fifteen new certificates were awarded to the following facilities: Zatka; Lavarino Royal; CasaMenta; 4 Seasons House; Apartment Nik; Villa Aria; Home & Apartments Sabina; Villa Deep Blue; Villa Benić; Villa Ana; Villa Nina; Villa Gelci; Veli Kus; Villa Kabola and Villa Moncalvo. In 2014, the County of Istria clearly determined which way it wanted to go, and the development guidelines were defined in the Sustainable Development Strategy – the Green Plan of Istria, the first of its kind in Croatia, and then in the County Development Strategy. Eco Domus is intended for small tourist accommodation facilities with a capacity of up to 30 beds that operate throughout the year, and its goal is to encourage private renters to operate in accordance with the principles of sustainable development and sustainable tourism.  Eco Domus – branding of family accommodation  In the Educational Gastronomic Center of Istria, on Gortanov brijeg near Pazin, the brochure “Istra ecoxperience – All eco from Istria” was presented, and on that occasion he awarded fifteen new Eco Domus certificates to eco friendly accommodation facilities from Istria.center_img “The brochure is intended for the domicile population who want to awaken ecological awareness and encourage ecological thinking, but also to introduce tourists to such an offer in Istria. We believe that this is a quality material that will adequately promote and provide a broader perspective of Istria as a “green”, eco-friendly destination., said the County Head of Tourism Nada Prodan Mraković. As part of the presentation of the new brochure, it also awarded fifteen new Eco Domus certificates to eco-friendly accommodation facilities from Istria. The brochure is multilingual, ie two variants were made: Croatian-English and Italian-German, printed on ecological paper, and designed by Judge Sonda, who also designed the title of the brochure “Istria ecoxperience – All eco from Istria.”  Branding Istria as a BIO region We would like to remind you that a new public call for inclusion in the Eco Domus program has been published at the moment, and all additional information, criteria and forms for inclusion in the program are available on the official website of the Istrian County. More in attached. Jpublic invitation to join the Eco Domus programlast_img read more

November 18, 2020 0

Arsenal star reveals what he loved about Mesut Ozil’s performance against Newcastle

first_imgAdvertisement Mesut Ozil inspired Arsenal’s win over Newcastle with a man of the match display (Picture: Getty)Ainsley Maitland-Niles praised Mesut Ozil for showing his aggressive side during Arsenal’s win over Newcastle on Monday evening.The former Real Madrid playmaker has forced his way back into Unai Emery’s starting XI following a series of impressive displays, culminating in last night’s man of the match performance.Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette helped Arsenal move above north London rivals Spurs into third place, but it was the German who caught the eye for his effort and industry as much as his customary creativity.Emery has not been afraid to leave Ozil out of his side this season for tactical reasons and regularly demanded more from a player who earns £350,000-a-week.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: 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 CityHaving started four games in succession, Ozil now appears to have won his manager’s faith and Maitland-Niles was delighted to see his teammate dig in during the latter stages against Newcastle when it appeared Arsenal would have to settle for a 1-0 victory.‘Everyone loves Mesut and Aaron,’ said the England Under-21 international.‘They’re great with the ball at their feet and they can both run in behind as well. Mesut showed his physicality today and I think that was excellent from him. It was great work-rate from both of them. Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 2 Apr 2019 12:43 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link164Shares Comment Aaron Ramsey scored Arsenal’s opening goal against Newcastle (Picture: Getty) Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Unai Emery post match press conferenceTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 10:44FullscreenArsenal 2-0 Newcastle: Unai Emery post match press conference is a modal window.Beginning 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 CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.‘It’s every team’s dream to play Champions League football. It’s the best European competition in the world.‘To play against all the big teams would be fantastic and you get to test yourself fully.‘That’s all we wanted to do, to go out there and win today’s game today. We’ve made one step closer to succeeding.’center_img Arsenal star reveals what he loved about Mesut Ozil’s performance against Newcastle Ainsley Maitland-Niles has impressed in the absence of Hector Bellerin (Picture: Getty)Hector Bellerin’s season ending knee injury has afforded Maitland-Niles the opportunity to gain a consistent run in the side, albeit in an unfamiliar right wing-back role.On his own performances, he added: ‘I’m trying. I’m just trying to be consistent with my performances.‘I speak with the manager quite often and he tells me what he wants me to do, what I do well and what I can improve. It’s going well at the moment so I’m proud.’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 Advertisementlast_img read more

October 18, 2020 0

El Gobernador Wolf solicita la recopilación obligatoria de datos sobre raza y etnia y una mayor cantidad de pruebas en medio de la pandemia de COVID-19

first_imgEl Gobernador Wolf solicita la recopilación obligatoria de datos sobre raza y etnia y una mayor cantidad de pruebas en medio de la pandemia de COVID-19 Español,  Press Release,  Public Health En el día de la fecha, en una conferencia con reporteros y el Vicegobernador John Fetterman sobre el recién formado Grupo de trabajo para las disparidades de salud, el Gobernador Tom Wolf pidió que los proveedores de atención médica y los centros médicos que realizan las pruebas de COVID-19 cumplan la orden del Departamento de Salud de incluir los datos sobre la raza y la etnia en la demografía proporcionada al departamento con los resultados de la prueba de COVID-19. También solicitó pruebas más sólidas, gratuitas y accesibles para las poblaciones minoritarias y vulnerables.De las consideraciones del Gobernador Wolf:“Todos los residentes de Pennsylvania merecen el mismo acceso a las pruebas y al tratamiento durante la pandemia de COVID-19, independientemente de la raza, los ingresos, la ubicación y cualquier otro factor. La meta de este grupo de trabajo es ayudar a comunicar los problemas respecto de la manera en que la pandemia está afectando a las poblaciones minoritarias y vulnerables del estado.“Uno de los problemas que tenemos es que hemos escuchado cómo la COVID-19 está afectando más duramente a las poblaciones minoritarias, en particular a los afroamericanos, en los Estados Unidos y anecdóticamente en Pennsylvania. Sin embargo, no contamos con la elaboración de las estadísticas necesarias para determinar la gravedad de este problema aquí.“A pesar del pedido de la Secretaria de Salud Dra. Rachel Levine, aún no se informa el 69% de los datos respecto de la raza y hay pocos o ningún dato en lo que respecta a la etnia.“Necesitamos que más profesionales médicos recopilen e informen los datos sobre la raza de sus pacientes.“También debemos asegurarnos de que nuestras poblaciones vulnerables tengan un acceso igualitario a las pruebas. Al identificar problemas, como los sitios donde se realizan las pruebas y los horarios de atención, y brindar información sobre estos sitios a nuestras comunidades minoritarias, podemos asegurarnos que las pruebas sean accesibles para todos.“Esto nos ayudará a detectar la COVID-19 antes de que se propague en una comunidad.“Y debemos asegurarnos de que las pruebas estén disponibles para todos, independientemente de los medios, la atención médica previa o las relaciones existentes con un médico. Esto nos ayudará a identificar casos difíciles de detectar.“El Grupo de trabajo para las disparidades de salud, que trabaja con la Oficina de Equidad de Salud del Departamento de Salud, nos ayudará a recopilar información más específica sobre la manera de abordar estos problemas, así como a identificar otros”.El Vicegobernador Fetterman agregó: “El Grupo de trabajo realizó tres reuniones hasta ahora, y lo que más nos preocupa con respecto a estas comunidades es mejorar la recopilación de datos y aumentar el acceso a las pruebas gratuitas. Agradezco al gobernador por tomar nuestras recomendaciones e inmediatamente hacer un llamamiento a la acción”.Ver esta página en inglés. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img April 27, 2020last_img read more

October 16, 2020 0

Royal Mail CDC plan ‘could transform UK landscape’

first_imgThe UK government should amend existing rules to allow CDC provision, the committee said, rather than pushing for secondary legislation. It also recommended that the UK draw on the experience of the Netherlands to address concerns about intergenerational unfairness from the outset.  Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee“The initial impetus has come from a major employer and trade union seeking an alternative to traditional defined benefit and defined contribution arrangements respectively,” the committee said.“But establishing CDC schemes in the UK opens the possibility of more diverse and ambitious provision of collective pensions. These could include industry or profession-wide schemes.“CDC may also be an opportunity to provide more attractive pension options to self-employed people and gig economy workers. The government should seek to encourage such innovation, and its great potential gains, in establishing a framework for a new wave of collective pensions.”The committee launched its enquiry into CDC provision late last year, and heard evidence from a range of industry experts from the UK and the Netherlands, as well as Royal Mail and the CWU.Stringent requirements for trustees and the regulatorDespite its enthusiasm for the CDC concept, the committee warned that any new regime would place “additional demands” on the Pensions Regulator (TPR). Committee chairman Frank Field has previously criticised the regulator over its handling of recent high-profile cases such as Carillion and British Steel.“Regulatory coherence demands that [TPR’s existing] responsibilities should extend to CDC schemes. This will, however, place additional demands on an organisation which has underperformed in its defined benefit responsibilities,” the committee stated.The government should assess TPR’s suitability and readiness to oversee CDC schemes, the committee said, and promised to monitor its future performance closely.In addition, CDC scheme trustees should be required to hold higher levels of qualifications than was currently the case, the MPs argued, a specific new qualification for CDC trustees should be introduced. It also called for the best trustees in this area to be appointed to a trouble-shooting group of “super-trustees”.Among the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s other recommendations were a call for consultation regarding the best valuation methodology for CDC schemes, whether members should be allowed to transfer out after retirement, and whether those transferring out should be required to take financial advice.The cross-party committee also highlighted “clear and effective communication” as “vital” to the success of CDC.“Members need to understand that CDC schemes offer a pension target, not a pension promise,” it said. “We recommend that all CDC schemes be required to publish their rules for calculating and distributing member benefits in a standardised format, provide data for the pensions dashboard… and to report publicly their funding position and strategy at least annually.”Reactions An influential UK parliamentary committee has thrown its weight behind the introduction of collective defined contribution (CDC) pension schemes in the country.In a report published this morning, the Work and Pensions Select Committee praised the agreement struck between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) earlier this year. The two parties agreed a ‘cash balance’ pension scheme to replace the defined benefit (DB) fund, and pledged to lobby for the introduction of CDC legislation.The committee praised the “ground-breaking” agreement between Royal Mail and the CWU, which it said demonstrated a “remarkable unity of purpose”.“As well as being a model of constructive industrial relations, it opens the door for CDC to move from abstract idea to practical reality,” the committee said in its report. “This could transform the UK private pensions landscape.” “Our scheme will be the first of its kind in this country and will provide an exciting and important innovation in pension provision that offers an alternative and not a replacement for DC and DB provision. It is certainly the solution for our members and we will continue to work with all concerned to secure its introduction as soon as possible.”- Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary at the CWUcenter_img “As the provider of around one in every 190 jobs in the UK, Royal Mail is committed to delivering the best possible pension arrangements for our people… Given the support from this influential committee, and the progress we have made with government in recent months, we hope the government will introduce the legislation required to enable CDC pensions at the earliest opportunity. We want to be able to offer a CDC scheme to our 141,000-strong workforce as soon as possible.”- Jon Millidge, chief risk and governance officer at Royal Mail “We have a great opportunity to introduce better pensions for many workers. Collective pensions would reduce the risk of a pensions lottery. At the moment a stock market dip just before retirement can decimate a member’s savings.“The government must move quickly to put rules in place allowing collective pensions not just at Royal Mail but any workplace where members and employers want them.”- Tim Sharp, pensions officer at the Trades Union Congresslast_img read more

September 29, 2020 0

Polyamory: Gay Marriage ‘Blazing the Marriage Equality Trail’

first_imgUS News 24 June 2013Anita Wagner Illig, a longtime polyamory community spokesperson who operates the group Practical Polyamory, is unsure of the direct impact of a ruling that would legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide. Until recently, she noted, “the polyamory community has expressed little desire for legal marriage,” but now more options seem possible in the future. “We polyamorists are grateful to our [LGBT] brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail,” Illig said.Illig believes there is indeed a “slippery slope” toward legal recognition for polygamy if the court rules in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage, an argument typically invoked by anti-gay marriage advocates. “A favorable outcome for marriage equality is a favorable outcome for multi-partner marriage, because the opposition cannot argue lack of precedent for legalizing marriage for other forms of non-traditional relationships,” she said. But Illig concedes, “there will be quite a lot of retooling of the legal system necessary to establish marriage equality for marriages of more than two people. A marriage of two people of the same sex requires a lot less in terms of adapting today’s systems, such as Social Security, for example, to accommodate it.” Celebrate Supreme Court’s Marriage RulingsBuzzfeed Politics 26 June 2013Anne Wilde, a vocal advocate for polygamist rights who practiced the lifestyle herself until her husband died in 2003, praised the court’s decision as a sign that society’s stringent attachment to traditional “family values” is evolving. “I was very glad… The nuclear family, with a dad and a mom and two or three kids, is not the majority anymore,” said Wilde. “Now it’s grandparents taking care of kids, single parents, gay parents. I think people are more and more understanding that as consenting adults, we should be able to raise a family however we choose.” “We’re very happy with it,” said Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist who has three wives. “I think [the court] has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.” now!The Economist 28 June 2013NOW that the federal goverment recognises the marriages of same-sex couples from enlightened states, what’s next? Polygamy? Well, polygamists are hopeful. And it does stand to reason. DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity. Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognised, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity active discrimination? Joe Darger, a Utahn with three wives, has said, “Our very existence has been classified as criminal… and I think the government needs to now recognize that we have a right to live free as much as anyone else”. read more

September 27, 2020 0

Green gets another IMCA Lone Star win, Abbey earns bonus, Stock Car tour crown

first_imgOne hundred and one drivers from 13 different states competed in the third annual tour. Abbey was nine points better than Green in the final standings. Stock Cars – 1. Derek Green; 2. Jesse Sobbing; 3. Ryan Powers; 4. Shelby Williams; 5. Aaron Benedict; 6. Elijah Zevenbergen; 7. Westin Abbey; 8. Eric Rempel; 9. Peyton Taylor; 10. Demetrius Carter; 11. Dan Mackenthun; 12. Jason Batt; 13. Jeffrey Abbey; 14. Jason Josselyn; 15. Dustin White; 16. Dennis Bissonnette; 17. Dean Cornelius; 18. Mark Zorn; 19. Kirk Martin; 20. Blake Clark; 21. Abe Huls. Sixteenth starting Shelby Williams was fourth, Benedict fifth. Home state hero Abbey, meanwhile, put the final, perfect tour attendance qualifying touches on a $10,000 bonus he’d made himself eligible for by winning features at Abilene Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. His seventh place finish at KSP was also more than enough to secure the tour crown and $5,000 share of the accompanying point fund.  Philip Houston led all but the first two laps of an IMCA Modified feature at Kennedale that ran 30 caution-free circuits. Westin Abbey was champion of the third annual Sniper Speed Lone Star Tour for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, earning three feature wins, a $5,000 share of the tour point fund and $10,000 bonus during the lucrative week. (Photo by Stacy Kolar, Southern Sass Photography) Powers had taken the lead on the second lap and was chased by Jason Josselyn, Aaron Benedict and then Jeffrey Abbey.  After scoring the opening night Ice Breaker win, Green topped the Lone Star show at Heart O’ Texas Speedway. Abbey’s other tour win came at Grayson County Speedway.  Green, from Granada, Minn., prevailed in a $1,000 to win Sniper Speed Lone Star Tour finale that saw him trade the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car lead with Ryan Powers three times in the final laps before beating Jesse Sobbing to the finish line. Green was in the lead when the final caution waved with three to go. Sobbing, who had started 12th, took the high line around Powers for second on the restart, challenging but never catching Green the last two times around the oval.  KENNEDALE, Texas (Feb. 22) – Derek Green got another win while Westin Abbey got a tour championship and a big check Saturday night at Kennedale Speedway Park. The race stayed green through the first 16 of 30 laps; the 11th starting Green was scored just ahead of Abbey on the 21st lap and was running side-by-side with Powers as they swapped the front spot at the end of laps 25-27.  Feature Results The $1,000, Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying win came ahead of Glen Hibbard, Clay Money, Jeff Taylor and early leader Matt Martin. Modifieds – 1. Philip Houston; 2. Glen Hibbard; 3. Clay Money; 4. Jeff Taylor; 5. Matt Martin; 6. Mark Adams; 7. Shane DeMey; 8. Jesse Sobbing; 9. Anthony Roth; 10. Chad Melton; 11. Travis Hatcher; 12. Travis Bragg; 13. Mike Petersilie; 14. Lance Hanson; 15. Jon White Jr.; 16. Jim Thies; 17. Matt Guillaume; 18. Chris Gallien; 19. William Gould; 20. Treven Geter; 21. Adam James; 22. Larry Sanders.last_img read more

September 23, 2020 0