UN urges countries to repatriate 27,000 children from Syria

first_imgUNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. counterterrorism chief is urging countries to repatriate the 27,000 children stranded in a massive camp in northeastern Syria. Many of them are sons and daughters of Islamic State extremists who once controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Vladimir Voronkov told an informal Security Council meeting on Friday that the horrific situation of the children in Al Hol camp is one of the most pressing issues in the world today. He says the children remain stranded, abandoned to their fate, vulnerable to be preyed on by Islamic State enforcers, and at risk of radicalization within the camp.last_img

Nassau Police: Anti-Semitic Attacks ‘Will Not Be Tolerated’

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Officials in Nassau County Tuesday characterized as “deplorable” a breakout of bomb threats directed at Jewish Community Centers and said police would continue to maintain intensified patrols in and around synagogues.At a press conference at the Nassau County Legislative building in Mineola, County Executive Ed Mangano pledged support to the Jewish community, saying a threat to anyone’s right to practice their religion “is a threat to every citizen in our county.”Mangano said NCPD’s focused patrols on Jewish sites have continued since the Jewish High Holy Days, when police traditionally increase activity around synagogues and other Jewish centers. A pair of threats made to JCC’s in Nassau are currently under investigation.Mangano, who in October pleaded not guilty to federal bribery charges, said Nassau police are working with federal and state authorities to investigate the bomb threats.On Monday, Jewish Community Center’s across the country reported a fifth wave of bomb threats, including Mid Island Y JCC in Plainview. Last month, the Barry & Florence Friedberg JCC in Oceanside also received a threatening phone call.There were about 400 people inside Mid Island Y JCC at the time the threat was made, including children from the JCC’s nursery school. The building was evacuated and nothing suspicious was found.Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said the local threats share similarities, but he declined to elaborate further.The two Nassau cases have been assigned to the Special Investigations Unit, which is receiving support from the Major Case Bureau and intelligence officers.The department is in the process of contacting the more than 180 Jewish institutions in the county, Krumpter said, adding that individual precincts are reaching out to all religious institutions within their jurisdiction to provide support.“One biased incident is one too many,” Krumpter said. “We are aggressively investigating this case.”In addition to these incidents, someone spray painted two swastikas on the side of a Pear Street home in Central Islip, Suffolk County police said. The homeowner reported the crime at 11 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.At a separate press conference outside the Chabad of Mineola, Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), ranking member of the county legislature’s Public Safety Committee, said the hair-raising threats require a forceful repudiation from national leaders, including President Donald Trump.“It’s so important that elected officials, community and faith leaders and law enforcement binds together and sends a very clear message, in words and in action, that anti-Semitism and racism will not stand,” said Curran, a county executive candidate.Curran mentioned a pervasive culture of fear ripping through various ethnic and religious communities and expressed concern that xenophobic policies could drive people into the shadows.“People might not go to church, they might not go to synagogue, they might keep their kids home from school, they might not report domestic abuse because they’re afraid of coming out,” Curran said. “And anything that would further erode the trust between the police and the communities they protect, I think would be very, very harmful for many different reasons for all of our communities.”Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Chabad of Mineola said the threats would not have the intended effect of sowing fear into the community.“Nothing will stop us in continuing to contribute to society,” Perl said. “We will only redouble our efforts in friendship and appreciation with all of our friends and neighbors of all walks of life, with all faith communities to counter your world of darkness and evil with our acts of goodness and kindness.”Curran and Krumpter had a phone conversation Monday evening in which he discussed measures that have been put in place to protect houses of worship, which left the legislator feeling satisfied, she said.The acting commissioner’s decision not to deputize police as immigration enforcers was also heartening, she said. When asked about the police department’s policy toward immigration officer’s detainer requests, Krumpter demurred. He said the force would be holding town halls, the first of which is Thursday at the Yes We Can Center in Westbury, to give community members the opportunity to air their concerns.Calls for Trump to be more forceful in his condemnation of anti-Semitic attacks have come from civil rights groups and Jewish leaders across the county. Trump’s presidential campaign was accused of trafficking in anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric that helped embolden radical right-wing groups. As president, he’s been criticized for being to slow to react to the wave of incidents, including vandalism at two Jewish cemeteries.The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report this month documenting the rise of hate groups in the US, with more than 900 spread around the country. The same report blamed Trump’s campaign for emboldening hate groups.Among those also expressing fear since the Nov. 8 election are Muslim Americans who’ve testified to an increase in Islamophobia, and various other immigrant populations worried about the prospect of being deported.Last week in Kansas a gunman shot two Indian men at a bar after allegedly yelling, “Get out of my country.” The suspect was also said to have admitted to a bartender that he shot the two men, whom he falsely identified as Iranian.last_img read more

Fraud Still Plagues Medicare Drug Program, Watchdog Finds

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This article has been corrected.Fraud and abuse continue to dog Medicare’s popular prescription drug program despite a bevy of initiatives launched to prevent them, according to two new reports by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The release follows the arrests of 44 pharmacy owners, doctors and others, who last week were accused of bilking the program, known as Part D.The reports issued Tuesday provide more insight into the extent of the fraud, as well as steps federal regulators should take to stop it. The first, which covers data from last year, found:More than 1,400 pharmacies had questionable billing practices last year in the drug program. Some billed for extremely high numbers of prescriptions per patient and others billed for a high proportion of narcotic controlled substances. Collectively, they billed Part D $2.3 billion in 2014.Prescriptions for commonly abused opioids continue to rise, despite warnings about inappropriate use. Between 2006 and 2014, Medicare’s spending on them grew to $3.9 billion from $1.5 billion, a 156 percent increase. By comparison, spending for all drugs in the program, including expensive specialty medications, grew by 136 percent during the same period. More than 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alaska filled at least one prescription for a narcotic in 2014, compared to 32 percent for the nation as a whole.New York and Los Angeles remain hotbeds for questionable prescribing, with far higher use of expensive drugs associated with fraud than other parts of the country. The New York metropolitan area, for instance, accounted for half of all prescriptions for the expensive topical ointment Solaraze last year, a disproportional rate. The drug is used for lesions formed as a result of overexposure to the sun. New York and Los Angeles also stood out for prescribing of two omega-3 fatty acids, used to help reduce very high triglyceride levels. The two regions accounted for nearly half of all prescriptions for Vascepa and about a third of those for Lovaza.The inspector general’s findings come two years after ProPublica reported on how weak oversight by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed abusive prescribing and outright fraud to proliferate in Part D. Medicare promised a more aggressive approach to analyzing its own data.People can use Prescriber Checkup, a tool created by ProPublica, to look up doctors and see how their prescribing patterns compare to their peers in the same specialty and state.Medicare Part D provides drug coverage for 39 million seniors and disabled people, at a cost of $121 billion in 2014. It is the fastest-growing component of the Medicare program. Part D is administered by health insurers under contract with the federal government, but CMS is responsible for overseeing it.For years, the inspector general, an internal watchdog that evaluates HHS programs and investigates wrongdoing, has dinged Medicare for its failure to keep a close enough eye on doctors, pharmacies, beneficiaries and even its fraud contractors. That’s beginning to change, officials say.“CMS has made progress on a number of recommendations we’ve made, as well as on the initiatives that they’ve had,” said Jodi Nudelman, regional inspector general for evaluation and inspections in the New York office. “They’re starting to use data to drive their strategies.”At the same time, she said, “There are still concerns. More needs to be done. We can’t stop here.”A second report from the inspector general says that Medicare needs to adopt a number of reforms that it has so far resisted. They include:Requiring health plans to report all potential fraud and abuse to CMS and its fraud-monitoring contractors. Right now, the agency encourages plans to voluntarily report suspicions of fraud but it doesn’t mandate it. Last year, the inspector general found that less than half of Part D insurers voluntarily reported data on potential fraud and abuse.Expanding reviews for questionable drug prescribing beyond controlled substances to other commonly abused drugs, including antipsychotic medications, respiratory drugs and those for HIV.Restricting patients suspected of doctor shopping—visiting multiple doctors in search of controlled substance prescriptions—to a limited number of doctors and pharmacies. CMS said it doesn’t have legal authority to do this, but the inspector general said it should seek the authority, which is commonly used by private insurance companies and state Medicaid programs for the poor.During last week’s Medicare fraud takedown, 243 people total were charged, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed health professionals. Some 44 of the people arrested were charged with fraud related to Part D.In Miami, for example, a number of pharmacy owners were charged with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. In one case, the government charged several people with paying Medicare beneficiaries for their personal identification numbers, which they used to file fraudulent claims for drugs that were never dispensed. They worked with a clinic owner, who forged and altered prescriptions and sold them to the pharmacies. This scheme alone defrauded Medicare of $21.2 million, the government alleged.Last year, CMS announced that it was granting itself potent new authority to expel physicians from Medicare if they are found to prescribe drugs in abusive ways. The agency also said it would compel health providers to enroll in Medicare to order medications for patients covered by Part D. Currently, that isn’t required.The changes were supposed to take effect on June 1, but have since been delayed twice, most recently until January 1, 2016.CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said in a written statement that Medicare “works diligently with our law enforcement partners to prevent fraud in the first place and to recover payments for wasteful, abusive or fraudulent services.” In addition to requiring 400,000 prescribers to enroll in Medicare by next year to retain the ability to prescribe in Part D, Albright said, officials are helping health plans decrease overutilization of dangerous drugs and taking action against providers and pharmacies with potentially fraudulent billing practices.In April, CMS launched a Web-based tool to allow CMS, law enforcement, and health plans to share information and coordinate actions against pharmacies deemed high risk. CMS also said it is monitoring potentially fraudulent activity in geographic hot spots like the ones identified by the inspector general.Correction, June 23, 2015: This article originally stated that 243 people were arrested during Medicare’s fraud takedown. Two hundred forty-three people were charged. Not everyone charged was arrested.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

HHS extends liability shield to antivirals used for H1N1

first_imgJun 26, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently provided a shield against damage claims related to the use of the antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) in the current H1N1 influenza pandemic.HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius signed a notice extending liability protection under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. It was published in the Federal Register on Jun 19.The PREP Act allows the HHS secretary to provide liability protection related to the use of various medical measures against diseases that HHS determines to be health emergencies. Protections are already in place for the two antivirals when used against H5N1 influenza and for vaccines for H5N1 and other potential pandemic flu strains, among other drugs and vaccines.Liability protection is provided to groups and individuals involved in the development, manufacture, testing, distribution, administration, and use of medical countermeasures, according to HHS.Gretchen Michael, an HHS spokeswoman in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, described the antiviral-related move as routine. “This just sort of adapted the previous PREP Act documents for H1N1,” she said.Michael said the impulse for PREP Act liability protections has come primarily from the manufacturers of the relevant products. She said the oseltamivir protection measure was not related to the reports, mainly from Japan, of abnormal behavior in some adolescents who were given the drug.See also: Federal Register notice about liability protection for oseltamivir and zanamivirhttp://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-14412.pdflast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, Sep. 24

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionParties must honor voice of the votersIt’s time Saratoga Board of Elections did its job and sanctioned or pulled party lines from any political party that uses placement on the ballot as a bait-and-switch scheme.I worked on the primary in Milton and Ballston, where voters rejected committee-endorsed candidates. In Milton, Zlotnick, Kerr and Isachsen won both the Conservative and Independence primaries, becoming the nominees against committee candidates the voters didn’t want.Even after multiple requests, neither the Conservative nor the Independence chair has taken the time to meet, let alone support, their designated nominees.In Ballston, bipartisan Connolly, Curtiss, and Solberg won in a landslide against the losing Republican committee candidates. Despite the voters’ sending an overwhelming message of confidence, the Republican chair hasn’t removed an active committee member who’s running against their own party nominees, in violation of Republican-filed bylaws with the Board of Elections.Plus, they’ve had fundraisers yet provided no funding or plan for the general election, despite spending thousands on their primary losers.In my opinion, such disdain for the voters’ wishes makes them unfit to receive ballot lines. These groups have abandoned their promises to constituents and decided that they are the ruling class; the voters and their votes aren’t relevant to them.That isn’t the reason they received the line in the first place and it’s not the ideals of our democracy which they represent. Until they adhere to the terms by which they received their line, they need to be taught a lesson and pulled from future ballots.Keith LewisBallston Spa Citizen militias should be properly armedThe Daily Gazette published letters on  Sept. 5 and 6 which describe “assault weapons”  as “weapons of mass destruction” and “pea shooters.”We have been in Afghanistan for 18 years trying to defeat people with similar pea shooters. The Second Amendment was intended  to assure that military firearms were in the hands of private citizens. There was a fear of tyrannical edicts from a strong central government with a professional army.The “militia” in the  amendment is not the National Guard. As in America’s Constitution, the militia were the people and the people were the militia. “A sound republic should rely on its own armed citizens.”Contemporaneous state constitutions used the term “bear arms” in a military  sense and no other. In 1777, citizens drafted for militia service were required to report with modern military equipment. Those reporting without a musket, bayonet, belt and knapsack, cartridge box and blanket were issued the missing items and the cost of the equipment deducted from their pay.Thomas Jefferson in 1781 complained that when he called out the Virginia Militia that they reported with shotguns and squirrel rifles.  He expected muskets and bayonets.The Fourth Amendment has been interpreted to equate cell phones and computers to be the referenced protected “papers.”A similar update to the Second Amendment would require a militiaman to report with a fully automatic M-16 and several large-capacity magazines.Art HenningsonScotiaMcConnell and Pence are Trump’s puppetsSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence are definitely puppets for the president.Webster’s dictionary defines a puppet as “a jointed body with a hollow head whose behavior is determined by others.”A puppet is manipulated by strings from above. That makes Trump the puppeteer of both McConnell and Pence. He controls what they say and how they perform. Is it any wonder nothing is being accomplished?On the very first day of President Obama’s presidency, McConnell announced that the first thing on the Republican agenda was to ensure that Obama would be a one-term president. He failed.In my opinion, except for confirming several swamp creatures (Brett Kavanaugh comes to mind.), he has accomplished exactly nothing. McConnell runs the Senate like it is his own private domain.The other Republican senators seem to be just taking up space. Do they ever have a say about voting on anything? Do they dare disagree with the majority whip?The vice president is seldom heard from. I wonder if he ever has an original thought. And if he does, would he dare to confront the guy in the Oval Office? I doubt it.I also wonder if there will ever be a day without yet another catastrophe during Trump’s reign at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.Jane ReisengerSchenectadyPhotograph was of the incorrect shrineYou featured an article on Sept. 6 about St. Kateri National Shrine participating in a “National Weekend of Prayer” event.However, the text did not agree with the picture you published on C3 of the paper. Great article , but very misleading.Before you print something so important to so many people, you would be well advised to get the facts straight. I would hope you will correct this error. The picture is from The Martyr’s Shrine at Auriesville, not the Kateri shrine in Fulton.Helena CalvanoSchenectady More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Retail investors prone to bias, herd behavior, experts warn

first_imgRetail investors, who have surged in numbers during the pandemic, are prone to behavioral bias and herd behavior, experts have warned, although the impact on the country’s stock exchange remained limited.The behavioral biases include confirmation bias, where people only want to hear things that align with their predisposed outlook and ignore those that are not, according to Budi Frensidy, a stock market expert from the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Indonesia.Another type of bias is availability bias, which refers to the tendency of people taking action based on familiar information, without further investigation. Foreign investors dumped Rp 295.44 billion (US$20.3 million) worth of stocks on Tuesday, sustaining a trend of foreign net sells that amounted to Rp 19.11 trillion this year. Read also: Domestic investors dominate stock market amid pandemicOn June 8, retail investors’ average daily transaction value surpassed that of the institutional investors by Rp 2.9 trillion, the first time in history, according to IDX.However, Budi said that the behavioral bias would not significantly impact the market, as retail investors’ funds were only around 17 percent of those of institutional investors.Meanwhile, Anugerah Mega Investama director Hans Kwee said retail investors also tended to be influenced by herd behavior in that they are likely to react faster to negative news than positive ones.“When the market goes down, people tend to panic,” Hans said. “But when [the trading] is temporarily suspended following the decline, people return to being rational and that is why we can see prices rallying up,” he added, noting how regulatory actions could counteract investors’ behavioral dispositions. Hans attributed the rising participation of retail investors to the large-scale social restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which led to many people working from home.As of July 24, the average number of daily retail investors trading on the market increased by 52 percent year-on-year (yoy) in July, with the highest number recorded so far on July 24 when the bourse saw over 112,000 retail investors trading on a single day, according to data provided by IDX development director Hasan Fawzi.In July last year, the average was 60,000 daily retail investors.Almost 70 percent of the retail investors in the country were under 40 years old, Hasan said.However, he saw the trend as something positive, noting that the dominance of domestic retail investors would help the bourse to be less volatile against the foreign capital flight.“We hope that this can increase our capital market resilience level, especially in times of volatility or economic crisis,” Hasan said.Indonesia’s capital market is considered to be shallow at Rp 5.92 quadrillion in market capitalization as of Tuesday, a steep fall from Rp 7.26 quadrillion in 2019, IDX data showed.The IDX is planning to introduce new systems to prevent trading actions taken based on asymmetric information. Hasan said that the bourse is developing a watch list board to highlight companies that have issues with liquidity, volatility or irregular price discovery mechanisms, so that investors could be made aware of the risks when investing in these stocks. It is also working into integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect irregular market activities, such as false trading and stock price manipulation, to improve market surveillance.Read also: Market manipulation among common violations found at IDX: OJK “Retail investors run into behavioral bias, something that institutional investors do not experience, as institutional investors have to refer to a set of guidelines or strict rules,” Budi said during a webinar on Tuesday, saying that, for example, institutional investors had to keep their losses within a predetermined percentage range.Retail investors, on the other hand, are more flexible in their investing, and their asset allocation is determined by more varied factors, including their age, in comparison to institutional investors whose asset allocation is solely determined by their ability to take risks, Budi explained.During the pandemic, the local bourse saw a significant increase in domestic retail investors’ participation, while foreign investors sustained selling pressure on the market. The number of retail investors at Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) has reached over 1.2 million, growing by 12.17 percent as of June 30 from December last year, according to data shared by Budi.According to IDX data, the bourse on Tuesday comprised of 62 percent domestic investors and 38 percent foreign investors. At the end of last year, the shares of domestic and foreign investors were 55.71 percent and 44.29 percent, respectively.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Ian Wright tells Chelsea fan to ‘go and **** yourself’ after Arsenal salvage draw

first_img Top articles Bellerin scored a superb equaliser in the dying moments of the game (Picture: Getty)Wright was delighted with the spirit Mikel Arteta’s ten-man side showed to come away from Stamford Bridge with a point – and the legendary ex-Arsenal striker mocked Azpilicueta as he celebrated Bellerin’s late equaliser.The clip which showed Wright imitating Azpilicueta’s celebration was later uploaded to his Instagram page and, unsurprisingly, it did not go down too well with Chelsea fans.‘That literally shows what a calibre of a team Arsenal are… celebrating a draw like it’s a last minute winner,’ one supporter replied.Wright had no time for the ‘ridiculous’ comment, though, and told the Chelsea fan to ‘go and **** yourself’ as he felt he had every right to celebrate.‘What a ridiculous comment! We know exactly where we are!’ Wright responded.‘But you think any Arsenal fan wasn’t delighted with coming back to draw at Chelsea when people are constantly we have no fight or heart? Yes we are celebrating a draw.‘And you can go and **** yourself.’Shkodran Mustafi was largely at fault for Chelsea’s opening goal – and David Luiz’s sending off – in the first half and Wright believes the German’s calamitous display proves he’s just ‘not good enough’ for the club.‘We saw his heartfelt message to fans, the problem is he’s not good enough,’ the former England international told Premier League Productions.‘He’s had multiple chances at Arsenal and he continues to let them down. I’m not digging him out or anything. He is not good enough.‘They are playing him because they’ve got no choice and that’s unfortunately why Arsenal can’t get rid of him.’ by Metro Full Screen Video Settings Ian Wright tells Chelsea fan to ‘go and **** yourself’ after Arsenal salvage draw About Connatix V67539 PLAY Read More Coming Next 1/1 Skip Read More Read More 1 min. story Manchester United captain Harry Maguire center_img Lampard rues missed opportunities against 10-man ArsenalTo 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 6:41FullscreenLampard rues missed opportunities against 10-man Arsenalhttps://metro.co.uk/video/lampard-rues-missed-opportunities-against-10-man-arsenal-2093126/This 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.MORE: Chelsea submit loan bid to sign Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Germain Read More Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Arteta praises Arsenal for 2-2 against ChelseaTo 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 5:20FullscreenArteta praises Arsenal for 2-2 against Chelseahttps://metro.co.uk/video/arteta-praises-arsenal-2-2-against-chelsea-2093128/This 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.However, Wright with pleased with the spirit Arsenal showed to fight back and salvage a point in the dying moments of the London derby.He added: ‘It gives you the confidence to know that you’re always in a game.‘You go down to ten men and you’re organised enough to know you can’t just sit back and just soak everything up. We’re still gonna try to get forward like we saw Hector get forward and score the goal.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 City‘They’re confident in the fact they know exactly what they’re doing now which is something that, when you watched under Unai Emery, they looked all over the place and it’s a game I do not think we would have been anywhere near getting anything out of.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘There are so many positives. All that needs to happen now is eradicate the little things, Lacazette… the silly mistakes like Mustafi’s, those kind of things.‘Then all of a sudden, Arsenal come here and with ten men they could win that game but it takes time for those things to happen.’Will Arsenal finish in the top four this season?Yes0%No chance0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your results SPONSORED Skip Ad Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 22 Jan 2020 3:21 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link2.3kShares Ian Wright told one Chelsea fan to ‘go and **** yourself’ following the 2-2 draw (Picture: Getty)Ian Wright has hit back at a Chelsea supporter who mocked him for celebrating Arsenal’s 2-2 draw like the side had just scored a last-minute winner at Stamford Bridge.Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to have secured victory for the hosts as he prodded the ball past Bernd Leno from close range with six minutes remaining of Tuesday night’s thrilling Premier League clash.But Hector Bellerin, who wore the captain’s armband for the Gunners, had other ideas and picked out the corner of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s net from the edge of the box to salvage a 2-2 draw at the death.AdvertisementAdvertisementEarlier in the second half, Gabriel Martinelli further underlined his enormous potential with a solo wonder goal to cancel out Jorginho’s 28th-minute penalty.ADVERTISEMENT / Advertisement Comment Read More Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling Advertisementlast_img read more

UK government no longer on hook for BT Pension Scheme buyout

first_imgThe UK government has won its appeal against a ruling that would have forced it to fund an insurance buyout for the £40bn (€50.5bn) BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) in the event of sponsor insolvency.The Court of Appeal did, however, dismiss a second argument from the government that it should not be liable for pension scheme members who joined post-privatisation.BT, a previously state-owned telecommunications provider, was given assurances at privatisation by the government regarding the funding of its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme in the event of insolvency, known as the Crown Guarantee.However, these assurances were never clearly defined by the government of 1982, leading to confusion over to whom the guarantees were extended, and how much. In search for clarity, the BTPS, backed by sponsor BT, challenged the legal definition of the Crown Guarantee and the government’s belief that it only covered members of the BTPS at the time of privatisation.In 2010, the Royal Court of Justice (RCJ) ruled against the government and said it was to cover all BT employed members in the event that the telecommunications provider ceased operation.The Court also ruled, however, that the government should provide funding calculated on an insurance buyout basis, significantly more expensive than covering actuarial deficits or deficit recovery plans.Then taking the case to the UK Court of Appeal, the latest ruling diverged away from one RCJ finding and said the government’s guarantee would only extend to continuing deficit recovery payments already in place in scheme rules, over the buyout cost.This means, should BT become insolvent, the government would de facto become the sponsoring employer to the BTPS, providing deficit recovery payments.However, the UK government lost its second appeal, as the Court ruled the Crown Guarantee covers all BT employed members of the scheme, irrespective of privatisation.The legal implications of the ruling are still being considered by all parties, with no clarity over whether the BTPS will be allowed to remain as a standalone entity in the event of BT’s insolvency, or whether it would transfer to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).It is understood the PPF is studying the Court’s ruling to ascertain probabilities of the lifeboat fund becoming responsible for the UK’s largest private sector DB scheme.It is also unclear whether the BTPS’ deficit, which was £5.9bn at the end of March 2013, would be carried onto the government’s balance sheet, given the inherent guarantee.When contacted by IPE, HM Treasury declined to comment on the case.Complications regarding BTPS’s relationship with the PPF extend further, as the scheme was previously exempt from paying the expected levy of the fund, implicitly based on the fund technically being public sector with a Crown Guarantee.However, telecommunication rivals of BT challenged this, and the European Commission ruled the fund could not be exempt from the PPF levy.On the ruling, BT said it was considering the ruling, including the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal for the UK.A spokesman for the BTPS said the trustees would review the judgement and highlighted the possibility that all three parties – scheme, sponsor and government – would appeal the ruling.“It is important to remember the Crown Guarantee is only relevant in the highly remote circumstances that BT becomes insolvent,” they added.A spokesman for the Pensions Regulator, whose objectives include protecting the PPF, said: “Subject to any appeals, we will consider the issues and what this may mean for the regulation of the pension scheme.”last_img read more

MEPs stick with IORP II delegated acts in vote on sustainability proposal

first_imgPaul Tang, Dutch MEP and ECON rapporteur on “disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks” proposalTang added: “The report voted today strengthens the disclosure requirements of financial products, and more importantly, asks from investors to carry out a due diligence on their investment decisions.“This means that institutions can no longer hide behind their clients to justify investment at odds with sustainability goals. Investors will now be required to avoid, mitigate, and report on the sustainability risks produced by their investment products.”ShareAction’s Choidas said the committee’s vote “set a very high level of political ambition” for the next steps of the Commission’s sustainable finance action plan.She added that the “evolving understanding” of the material impacts of and on investments was a “crucial component” of the committee’s text.“We believe this regulation has set the wheels in motion for a more socially just and environmentally sustainable financial system, by proposing such an understanding of what constitutes sustainability risk,” Choidas said.Next stepsMEPs will now begin negotiations with the European Council, the body for member states, as part of what is known as the “trilogue” process.These negotiations could begin next year, according to an EU official. She said technical work on all three of the Commission’s legislative proposals was ongoing within the Council, with the disclosure proposal the most advanced.The objective was to reach an agreement on the Council’s negotiating position by the end of the year, she said. Matthies Verstegen, senior policy adviser at PensionsEurope, said delegated acts were “a prescriptive legislative tool aimed a harmonisation, which cannot take account of the diversity in the European pensions landscape”.“Pension funds increasingly look to align their investments with the values of their members and society at large,” he said. “However, we are disappointed the amendment to remove the delegated acts in IORP II from the proposal was narrowly defeated.”PensionsEurope is still to discuss the result of the ECON vote with its members.The pension fund bodies also argued against changes to IORP II as the directive was still under implementation – member states have until mid-January to transpose it into national law.The directive includes new requirements related to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors that have yet to be put into practice and evaluated. However, Eleni Choidas, EU policy manager at ShareAction, a London-based responsible investment advocacy group, said it was “very pleased that the Commission has been empowered to adopt delegated acts on IORP II”.“With this empowerment, the Commission has received a tall order to ensure that all pension savers have their long-term interests taken into account by their trustees, and to ensure their money is invested sustainably,” she added.Expansion of ESG requirementsThe rules adopted by MEPs appeared to shift the focus to include the social and environmental impact of investments, as well as the effects of social and environmental issues on investments.This was at least partly linked to the introduction into the legislative text of a requirement for “due diligence” and the definition of sustainability risks.“Under the new rules,” said the European Parliament’s Socialist and Democrats group, which led the ECON vote, “investors and asset managers will be required to include [ESG] considerations in their decision-making processes and carry out due diligence on their investment decisions.” Members of the European Parliament have decided to allow delegated acts under IORP II in a vote on one of the Commission’s sustainable finance proposals, despite pension fund opposition.The decision was taken as part of the vote in the parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee (ECON) on its version of the Commission’s proposal on “disclosures relating to sustainability investments and sustainability risks”.Paul Tang, the MEP charged with developing the parliament’s response to the Commission’s proposal, had suggested scrapping the provision for delegated acts under the EU occupational pension fund directive, but this amendment was defeated in the ECON vote earlier this week.PensionsEurope, the EU’s main pension fund lobby group, lobbied against the delegated acts for IORP II, with groups such as aba, the German pensions association, and Eumedion, the Netherlands-based corporate governance and sustainability forum for institutional investors, also opposing the provision.last_img read more

NZ Tourism Search for first Aussie gay wedding in NZ

first_imgTacky Tourism Board – using a highly controversial law change which was rejected by more than half of NZ’ers (80% according to Campbell Live!!). But your tax money is paying for it. By the way, you know who the Minister of Tourism is, eh?And ironically, Australia has just rejected attempts for the law to be changed to recognise gay couples who tie the knot overseasYahoo News 24 June 2013New Zealand’s tourism promoter wants to fly two Australians across the ditch to become the first same-sex couple to wed under new marriage equality laws.Tourism New Zealand on Monday launched its search for the first Australian same-sex couple to marry under the Marriage Amendment Act, which comes into effect on August 19.“We are excited to be making history and working with one lucky same-sex couple to become the very first from Australia to be married here in New Zealand,” said Tim Burgess, general manager of Tourism New Zealand’s Australian operations.The prize includes return flights from Australia, accommodation, a special wedding ceremony and reception.Details about the exact wedding location will be revealed in July when the winning couple is announced.http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/17722007/search-for-first-aussie-gay-wedding-in-nz/Family First slams Tourism Board’s gay marriage ‘stunt’ONE Newshttp://tvnz.co.nz/travel-news/family-first-slams-tourism-board-s-gay-marriage-stunt-5476480last_img read more