Lectures honor archbishop

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s will mark the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero this week with Romero Days, a series of lectures and events honoring the Salvadorian archbishop’s advocacy for the poor.   Fr. Bob Pelton of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies said he hopes Romero Days will inspire students to carry on Romero’s legacy. “I would hope that [Romero’s] example would help others to follow the example with their own attitudes, through the types of service they do and through relating their studies to a larger, stronger social commitment,” Pelton said. As Archbishop of San Salvador, Romero stood up for the poor and marginalized in his home country of El Salvador and was assassinated while saying Mass in 1980, Pelton said. He was also nominated for sainthood. “Archbishop Romero was extraordinarily devoted to the peasants of his country,” Pelton said. “He gave his life out of love for them and for our Lord.” Pelton said Romero Days begins today at 4:15 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies with a workshop on teaching students about Romero’s social justice. The event will feature professor of theology Margaret Pfeil and educational specialist Michael Amodei. The workshop will precede a 7 p.m. screening of the film “Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero,” a documentary which Pelton said follows the last three years of Romero’s life. Pelton said the Kellogg Institute chose to sponsor the workshop because it is important for educators to pass on Romero’s legacy to the next generation. “We want to understand better the social teaching that was embodied both in the instructions and in the life of the example of Romero himself,” he said. Kevin Dowling, bishop of Rustenburg, South Africa, will preside over a commemorative Mass on Wednesday in the Church of Loretto at Saint Mary’s at 4 p.m. Dowling will lecture on Romero’s life in Carroll Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Pelton said Bishop Dowling is a strong supporter of Romero’s teachings on social justice and Church teaching, proving Romero’s influence is ubiquitous. “The example of Archbishop Romero has spread throughout the world,” Pelton said. “Here we have all the way in South Africa a bishop who follows that example in his service to the very poor.” Dowling’s lecture commemorates not only the 32nd anniversary of Romero’s death, but also a longstanding tradition of social justice, Pelton said. “The annual Romero Address [will honor] 40 years of justice education on the part of the Catholic Church and also the 30 years of the Justice Education Center at St. Mary’s College,” he said. Pelton said students should emulate Romero’s drive and fortitude to advance causes of social justice. “It’s important for us to be willing to see the real needs of our sisters and brothers and to take the effective steps to bring about an improvement of that situation,” he said. read more

University students visit West Wing

first_imgNotre Dame students studying in the University’s Washington, D.C. program discovered they have friends in high places when they visited the West Wing to speak with Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, Rob Nabors.   While participating in the Washington Program, students must work 20 to 25 hours per week at an internship and take nine credits of classes, according to the program’s website. Students also tour various sites of national importance, including the Supreme Court, the Capitol complex and the West Wing.  Junior Alex Caton [Editor’s note: Caton is a Viewpoint columnist] said getting to tour the West Wing and meet one of the President’s right-hand men was “surreal.” “You’ve seen the TV show, you’ve always heard about [the West Wing], but you’ve never imagined you could be in it. Sitting around a room with battle flags, medals, a portrait of FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt], boxes of M&Ms with reprints of Barack Obama’s signature on them … a surreal experience,” Caton said. “It was surreal: being in such close proximity to someone who spends three to four hours a day with the president and having him be so frank, so honest about his own experience … telling us that the way he got there was not by accident or good fortune, but hard work.” Caton said he was excited to hear of the path that Nabors took to reach his current position. “It was humbling to see the hard work that he did, but inspiring to see that if I want to contribute my own piece to the story of the American government, that dream is achievable for me if I do the hard work,” Caton said.  Junior Tim Scanlan said he was excited to meet Nabors because he hoped to learn about the life of a national policy-maker.  “I was excited when I found out about the meeting because of how integral Nabors has been to the domestic policy of the Obama administration,” Scanlan said. “I was really looking forward to knowing more about how decisions are really made and hearing about some of the current conflicts in greater detail, especially in regards to Syria.”   When he met Nabors in person, Scanlan said he was impressed with his candid account of his work. Scanlan said learning work at the executive level demanded 18 hours of work, seven days a week underlined the intensity of Nabors’ job.  “The meeting was great – Rob Nabors was an energetic and earnest speaker,” Scanlan said. “He covered everything from a typical day in the life to the priorities of the Administration going forward. It was an hour and a half of humble honesty about Washington success and the work it takes to get there.” Junior Nicole Sganga said she was inspired by Nabors’ willingness to speak candidly about his path from Notre Dame to just outside the Oval Office.  “This big, powerful man in Washington was sitting down and telling us jokes and stories about [University president] Fr. Hesburgh was his freshman seminar professor … it was amazing, how candid he was,” Sganga said. “It was very uplifting and inspiring to see a Notre Dame graduate who didn’t know what he wanted to do when he received his diploma, go so far.” Junior Emily Voorde said she was impressed by how easily Nabors found common ground between himself and her peers.  “We talked about Syria, about his day-to-day operations … but we also talked about dorms on campus and Fr. Hesburgh,” Voorde said. “It was neat to see someone with so much power able to sit down and speak with us on a really personal and honest level, it shows that these people aren’t superheroes – they come from the same roots we do.   “He spoke very candidly about how at our age, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do … to everyone in the room, I know that was reassuring. There’s still time to decide what we want to do and to make a really incredible contribution to the country and the world.”last_img read more

Ag Disaster Meeting

first_imgAll farmers with crops affected by Hurricane Michael are invited to attend an agriculture disaster assistance information session at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center at 2 p.m. Monday, October 22.UGA Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host the event, which will feature speakers from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, and Risk Management Agency, as well as the Georgia Forestry Commission, Southwest Georgia Farm Credit and Rep. Austin Scott. Each organization will provide updates and information regarding disaster programs that are available to producers impacted by the hurricane.“During a time of disaster, it is important that farmers know where to turn to for assistance. This meeting will provide timely and important updates on USDA disaster assistance programs that are available for farmers,” said Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Extension economist.The storm hit south Georgia on October 10-11, causing more than $3 billion in losses to Georgia agriculture, the state’s No. 1 industry.Georgia’s pecan industry suffered a $560 million loss, including $260 million in lost trees that were uprooted during the storm. Georgia’s cotton losses range from $300 to $800 million in lost lint and seed. Damage to Georgia’s peanut infrastructure, including buying points and peanut shellers, will force a delay in peanut harvest this fall.“For many, this was the worst storm they have experienced in this area, thus a great relief for lives that were spared. Unfortunately, the toll that has been taken on crops and infrastructure is significant. After a few years of low prices and decreases in net farm income, there was hope in some farming communities that a bumper crop would improve financial outlooks,” Rabinowitz said. “Having to experience a disaster like this will involve a difficult or impossible recovery for some farmers.”Rabinowitz said the best course of action farmers can take is to document all damage.“Keep photographs of damages and records of all expenses related to cleanup and recovery. It is also important to communicate in the early stages with crop insurance agents, federal agencies such as the local FSA, and lenders,” Rabinowitz said.The Georgia Forestry Commission estimates that 1 million acres were damaged or destroyed and the financial loss is $1 billion. The FSA has a disaster program called the Emergency Forest Restoration Program to assist for losses.“Hurricane Michael has caused massive devastation to Georgia’s agricultural economy and it is critical for the USDA to be a partner and to update producers on the benefits of our program during this critical time,” said Tas Smith, state executive director for FSA Georgia. “Producers needing assistance should contact their local USDA service center.”For more information, contact the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at UGA-Tifton at 229-386-3512 or the Georgia FSA at 706-546-2269.last_img read more

Effective CUSO due diligence: four steps

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Conducting thorough, up-front due diligence is critical for ensuring a smooth and beneficial working relationship with a lending credit union service organization (CUSO).Here’s where to start:Investigate the CUSO’s track record and lending philosophyIn your earliest conversations with the CUSO’s management, you’ll want to ask some probing questions, such as:How many loans has the CUSO underwritten?How many have gone delinquent?How many have resulted in a charge-off loss to the originating or participating credit unions?What has the CUSO learned from these experiences? Has it changed its lending philosophy or underwriting policies and procedures as a result?It is important for your credit union’s lending philosophy and risk profile to be in line with the CUSO’s. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble. continue reading »last_img read more

The chase for family accommodation and possible consequences

first_imgMORTAL SALTIt sounds almost unbelievable: In less than two years, family accommodation has become undesirable due to the great recognition of the tourist authorities and the greatest strength of Croatian tourism. It all started with Gary Cappelli sitting in the chair of the Minister of Tourism. What prompted this man from the people, an islander, former mayor of Mali Lošinj, micro-entrepreneur, landlord, founder of a family accommodation agency to lead a chase against everything that “raised” him and enabled him to make such career progress? The answer to this question we will probably never know. “Give the man power and you will see what he is like.” This is an old saying that is confirmed on this occasion as well.”Salto mortale” or a disastrous transformation will mark it for a lifetime.PRESSURE AND JUSTIFICATIONSThere are various justifications for the constant pressure on family accommodation. At first, they insisted on poor quality, equipment, despite the excellent ratings of guests. For several years now, Croatian family accommodation has been winning the flattering titles of the best in Europe, the best in the world. As this argument was not enough, they started calling out family accommodation for unfair competition to small hotels. Thus, household boarding houses are accused of kidnapping guests from 4-star hotels because they have more lenient business conditions, lower costs, lower taxes. As this argument “does not hold water” because it would be a shame for guests from a four-star hotel to flee to a regular boarding house, last year the family accommodation was named as the reason for overtourism, overcrowding in the peak season, and this year as the reason tourists… Not good at all, neither too many nor too few tourists.In addition, the public is “bombarded” with constructions about big business that pays too little tax. The average household earns HRK 45.000 a year, the annual return on investment is 6%, so you don’t have any business at all costs. Now, however, family accommodation has become a competition to large hotel chains as well… There are no hotels because it pays more to “rent apartments” !? And then when the “renters” are burdened with taxes, investments in hotels will start, as well. Family accommodation is not good because the average consumption of a guest staying in it is too small. The price of hotel accommodation is higher, so it is spent more.And we know that the average spending on a trip that starts with leaving home and ends with returning home is globally 155 euros per person per day. When you travel closer the travel costs are lower. When more is spent on accommodation then less is spent outside of accommodation and vice versa. In any case, accommodation accounts for only 30% of the total cost of travel… Then some respected economists said that “renters in tourism” are more privileged than students in terms of benefits !? Well, a reputable journalist calculated that the owner of an apartment pays as much as 12% income tax when he rents an apartment, and that is much more than “renters in tourism”. She forgot to add a 30% deduction to the reported price if the contract is tax reported at all. Then the tenants pay utilities, there is no sojourn tax, equipping such apartments for tenants is much more modest, there is no inspection, eVisitor, agency commissions, etc.… Finally, they try to restructure the capacity in family accommodation. It’s like building with a predetermined categorization. It is built for completely different reasons, because it is laughable, because it is possible because investors are building real estate for sale with the story that buyers will be able to rent it and return the money invested. Then ready-made real estate is categorized or not categorized and rented anyway. I don’t know if there were any other excuses for this unprecedented chase, but they will surely invent new reasons.WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?On one occasion I had the opportunity to see the forecast of the development of individual countries in the European Union. This prediction divides the European Union into two parts, a “two-speed Europe”. Developed countries are positioned in the central and northern part of Europe, “second speed” countries are positioned along the Mediterranean and in the east. In this division, Croatia is also presented as a European resort, a summer resort. This is no accident. In diplomatic circles, among EU politicians, the mention of Croatia uniquely awakens an association with the beautiful coast, in the summer, with tourism. Croatia is destined for tourism. Everything else, for one reason or another, has disappeared. Tourism remains and survives. The Croatian coast is currently the most interesting building plot in Europe. Everyone would like a piece of our coast, the island. Real estate investors sniff the opportunity like shark blood, miles away and unmistakably. Geostrategic position, traffic accessibility, temperate climate zone, good general security, diversity and playfulness of the coast and islands and much more attract investors to Croatia.Real estate buyers are looking at an opportunity to recoup part of their investment and enjoy their “second home” for most of the year. However, there are already a lot of built real estates, and the ratio of those for housing and those for tourism is such that further tourist construction can hardly fit into the spatial-crossword puzzles. Therefore, the number of registered tourist capacities must be reduced. This opens up space for building new ones. Because the apartment is for housing, and the apartment is for tourism. The more apartments there are for housing, the more apartments for tourism can be built. Logically, right?TAKEOVER OF REAL ESTATEAfter forcing the domicile population to give up the legal provision of catering services in the household, the next move of the “shadow people” could be to continue to tax property owners on their shores and islands through their puppets in power, especially in more famous tourist destinations such as Dubrovnik, Hvar … Since young people leave, have no job other than seasonal, cannot survive as micro-entrepreneurs, will not be able to legally provide catering services in their parents’ real estate, parents will be left alone. Under the burden of new benefits, they will decide to sell “family silver”. The elderly alone in the house, without the young people to take care of them, will sell their real estate below cost to have adequate care in a nursing home for the rest of their lives. Thus, the plan for the complete takeover of land, real estate on the Croatian coast and islands from the natives will disappear, which will disappear. If the young people return one day, they will have to buy an apartment in the apartment complexes of the new owners. There will be complete foreigners, tourists, in their homeland. And they will pay dearly for every day spent on “Europe’s most beautiful beach”.HOW CAN WE PREVENT THE POPULATION POGROM AND TAKEOVER OF REAL ESTATE?This “property war” has gone so far that no associations can help resist the violent pressure of big business. On the one hand, political action is needed. On the other hand a legal battle. Sooner or later, a political option will have to be generated that will protect the interests of micro-entrepreneurs, landowners and real estate owners in attractive positions, the domicile population. I hope that will happen as soon as possible, maybe in the next election cycle. The legal battle will be fought constantly. Specialized legal and financial advisers will soon be needed who will be able to “match” the moves of an interest group that has both money and power. And their power is so great that they no longer care at all in their moves. They simply have no one to answer for their moves. Opposition is virtually non-existent.THE FUTURE OF CROATIAN TOURISMCroatian tourism is unfortunately losing its attractiveness in many destinations. Where there are no people, there is no life, there is no tourism. With the first autumn gusts of the bora, life dies down in many small places on our coast and islands. Sheep pass through Zrce, but also in other famous places life dies down. In cities like Zadar, Šibenik, Split in the afternoon and evening there are fewer and fewer people, Poreč is eerily deserted in November, Krk’s shop windows are closed “with paper” behind All Saints… If there are no young families there is no future. Not only in terms of the vibrancy that tourism needs but also in terms of community survival.THE FIRST THING SHOULD BE PUT FIRSTIf our politicians who speak about the need for demographic renewal are credible, then every measure, every law, every rulebook would be seen through “demographic glasses”. The most important would be the effect on stopping the decline in the number of permanent residents. Family accommodation has so far proven to be one of the most effective levers for the revitalization of demolished houses, abandoned settlements, dilapidated apartments… Due to tourism and a number of related activities, people come to work in Croatia, some even live permanently. Because of family accommodation, hundreds of thousands of people have jobs in household maintenance, technology, swimming pools, in the production and sale of equipment for facilities, in agency activities, in catering, transport, IT industry, in trade and entertainment… That politicians are credible and really want demographic renewal, such a chase for family accommodation would be impossible.Author: Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.comThe views and recommendations expressed in the author’s columns, advice and comments are exclusively the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of the HrTurizam.hr portal.last_img read more

‘Stop denying and listen to us’: Papuans hopeful for talk, action to end everyday racism

first_img‘Do you think I’m an animal?’“I remember I sometimes regretted my decision to study in Java. If only I knew it would be that hurtful, I would have just gone to a university in Sorong,” Norce Herlin Mak Momao, 24, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Like many young Papuans, Norce left Sorong, her homeland, in 2013 and flew to Yogyakarta to go to university there, hoping to benefit from better higher education standards.It was her first time living far away from her family, but she quickly learned how people tended to look at her and treat her differently because of her appearance or because she was from Papua. ‘Listen to us, stop denying’Growing up dark-skinned with curly hair in Indonesia is not easy, says 25-year-old vlogger Barneci Nuboba.As a native Papuan born and raised in Timika, Eci has seen how most young Papuan girls she knows have tried or been tempted to straighten their hair so they can feel better about themselves – so they can fit in.As a response to this, she started the online campaign #talingkarclub on Instagram, where girls post pictures of themselves showing off their curly hair with pride and connect with one another for support using the hashtag. Talingkar is the Papuan word for curly hair.“Growing up, we have no role models in Indonesia that can make us feel good about ourselves. Beautiful people are portrayed in the media only as light-skinned girls with straight hair,” Eci said.Barneci Nuboba (second right) poses with her best friends while visiting Pandawa Beach in Bali in 2019. Born and raised in Timika, Papua, Eci has for the past few years actively campaigned self-love for young Papuan women and for them to embrace their naturally curly hair. (Courtesy of/Barneci Nuboba)Since 2018, Eci has been posting videos on her Youtube channel dedicated to curly hair treatments, like tips to use coconut oil as a moisturizer, as well as other how-to styling videos. She has amassed a loyal following of 6,000 subscribers on her channel and regularly speaks in Papuan dialects to make her Papuan audience feel comfortable.However, her journey is not without its challenges.“I often find many racist comments on my channel mocking my hair and my skin or saying that it’s ugly. At first it really brought me down, but nowadays I just delete them immediately. There are many young followers on my channel, so I don’t want them to get hurt by those comments,” she said.Read also: Racism: My experience as a doctor in Papua“Even after all the things that we’ve experienced, some people still say that this kind of racism does not exist. I want to say to those people that unless you are Papuan, you’ll never be able to fully understand it.”Such racism is real and we face it every single day. So please listen to us and stop denying.” Read also: How Papuan students deal with everyday racismThe first few years were the hardest for her, she said.Finding a place to stay, for instance, was unnecessarily difficult. Once, the owner of a rooming house refused to take her in despite a sign advertising a vacancy up front. She was told there weren’t any rooms available.“I think when they see Papuans they have this belief that we are mean human beings who will bring trouble to their place,” Norce said.“When I go to restaurants or stores, I can feel how they stare at me from head to toe like there is something wrong with me. Those experiences made me want to stay in my room and avoid public places.”Oftentimes, even when she was with friends or family in public places like malls and tourist sites, strangers would casually take out their mobile phone to record or take pictures of her without her consent, all the while giggling among themselves and making her feel like a laughing stock.“One time I was so annoyed that I grabbed the cellphone from one of them and deleted the video of me they took. I told them, ‘do you think I’m an animal so you could treat me this way?’” she said. “They just went silent. They were adults, not some children. I was really angry.”Norce Herlin Mak Momao poses for her graduation picture while surrounded by flowers from family and friends, after completing her master’s degree in law from a university in Yogyakarta in May 2019. Norce is currently pursuing her doctoral degree and plans to return to her homeland in Sorong, Papua after she graduates. (Courtesy of/Norce Herlin Mak Momao)Norce’s sister, who is two years younger, also experienced such casual racism when she visited her for the holidays. It became such an unbearable experience that she decided to cancel her application to a university in Yogyakarta and return to Sorong to study.“Maybe if I had lighter skin or straight hair, I wouldn’t be treated this way. But it is beyond our power to choose the physical appearance we are born with,” Norce said. “We are also human, like any other. If they say Papua is really part of Indonesia, then educate yourself about us. The world is not only filled with people of your own race; educate your children about the diversity we have.”Norce is now pursuing a doctoral degree in law and working at a legal aid organization in Yogyakarta. She would return to Papua after graduating, she said, so that she could continue her work at a human rights organization.Discussions on racism in Papua have flourished in online seminars and on social media following the death of black American George Floyd, which galvanized the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the United States, which rippled across to Indonesia. A number of local groups began to discuss racism in the country by campaigning that #PapuanLivesMatter too.Read also: Papuan lives matter: George Floyd and colorism in IndonesiaEfforts to end years of racism against Papuans have not progressed fast enough, activists have bemoaned, but they believe the growing debate and sense of solidarity with the minority could be a good opportunity for change.“Racism has been happening for decades in Papua, but these discussions can be a positive start, as more and more people start to recognize these public issues and start addressing the problem,” Elvira Rumkabu, an international relations lecturer at Cenderawasih University, said on Sunday.“I believe this will bring change. We can’t end racism alone, we must do it together.”Elvira said people had been reluctant to discuss issues related to Papua, mostly due to the running narrative that there are only two sides of the equation: separatism or the undisputable Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (“NKRI harga mati”).“That’s the only narrative we have been fed. It has framed the discussion in a way that snuffs out any necessary debate on humanity. There is a fundamental human issue here that must be addressed; discussing Papua is discussing humanity,” she said. For years, media coverage on Papua has straddled narratives on politics, natural resources, development, security and human rights, attracting attention from around the world.However, there is one issue that is still rarely discussed in public – the casual racism experienced by native Papuans in their day-to-day lives.center_img ‘If you don’t want to sit next to a Papuan, don’t come to Papua’Even in their hometown, Papuans still face everyday racism. Yuliana Langowuyo, 37, the director of the Secretariat for Justice and Peace (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua in Jayapura, shared just some of her stories that prove how casual racism can easily be found on the island.Yuliana recounted the several times that non-Papuan commuters would cover their noses whenever she hopped on an angkot (public minivan) in Jayapura. “I could tell that people like that were new in town, because people don’t do that if they’ve been living here for years. It still makes me angry, though,” she said.“One time, I met a lady who moved away from me in the angkot and was in a hurry to cover her nose and mouth with her jacket when she saw me. I told her, ‘if you don’t want to sit next to a Papuan, don’t come to Papua.’ Don’t come here just to hurt our feelings with that kind of attitude.”It is not just about the slurs and hurt feelings that are visible in the everyday experiences of native Papuans. Yuliana said she also saw that discrimination was baked into the government’s development projects.“There is a village called Kwarja in Jayapura. Jayapura’s native people live there, mostly cocoa farmers. There is [still] no asphalt road there, no schools or health facilities, and no electricity,” she told the Post.Yuliana Langowuyo (left) and her friend Caca pose for the camera at Tulsa international airport in Oklahoma, the United States, while waiting for their flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend an event held by the US mission to Indonesia. Yuliana is actively involved in advocating for human rights, justice and peace in Papua. (Courtesy of/Yuliana Langowuyo)Just 25 kilometers away from the village, in a residential complex built to accommodate people under the New Order’s transmigration scheme, the local administration has provided schools, health facilities and even an asphalt road to connect the five settlement units there, Yuliana said.“People in my church […] have tried for years to persuade the government to give better road access to the natives living in villages, but it’s so hard. They are still isolated and many of their children are still illiterate because they can’t go to school,” the activist complained.Read also: Govt drops appeal against ruling on internet shutdown in Papua“And this is happening in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua – can you imagine the discrimination that happens in other more rural regencies?”To ensure that her nieces and the younger generations of Papuans won’t have to experience the same everyday racism and discrimination that she currently faces, Yuliana insists on bringing this fight to the authorities.“This fight is not because we want to be glorified, we are involved in this fight so we can matter, just so we can be treated as other human beings. This is supposed to be our basic human right and the fact that we have to really struggle to achieve it is really saddening,” she said. Where is the government in this discussion?While more and more people have started to recognize the problem and tried to educate themselves about the struggles of everyday Papuans, activists have criticized the state for being so seemingly unmoved by the current changes underway.“Up until today, the government has not responded to any of these discussions. We need to push for bigger change, a change in our political and social constructs, a structural and systemic policy to end racism, said Elvira from Cendrawasih University.In a recent online discussion held by Human Rights Watch Group Indonesia, a National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner, Choirul Anam, highlighted that there was still no law enforcement measure that effectively addressed acts of racism in Indonesia.Read also: Papuan protesters sentenced to less than one year for treason amid calls to drop chargesThe people involved in alleged racial abuse against Papuan students in East Java last year were not even charged for their racist acts. Choirul said these people, which included military personnel and members of the general public, were instead charged for “making a commotion and being violent”.“We have failed to seriously address the matter at the heart of this racism case,” the commissioner said. “The government must use all the instruments at its disposal – from law enforcement, prevention to self-correction – to end racism.” Topics :last_img read more

UK roundup: Mercer on DB-to-DC transfers, JLT on deficits

first_imgThere has been a 60% increase in the number of defined benefit (DB) pension members looking to ascertain the value of their benefits as new freedoms are applied to defined contribution (DC) schemes.Data from consultancy Mercer showed that, during each month of 2014, around 1,500 people made enquiries into the value of their benefits.However, in March 2015, some 2,500 people contacted the consultancy looking for a cash-equivalent transfer value (CETV) in the run-up to freedoms that came into force on April 6.The UK government has consulted on whether to ban DB-to-DC transfers but decided to allow them to continue as long as members obtain independent financial advice. It banned transfers from funded and unfunded public sector pension schemes.Many consultants raised concerns over an influx of DB members leaving their schemes to DC options to access their pension entitlements as cash following the scrapping of rules to buy an annuity.Matthew Demwell, partner at Mercer, said the current rate would lead to around 4% of DB members being administered by the firm seeking a CETV quote.“It’s clear these changes have appealed to a number of people,” he said.“However, these are just quotations. It remains to be seen how many people will actually accept the quotation and transfer out of their defined benefit scheme.“This certainly represents an opportunity for employers and trustees to reduce the sometimes crippling burden of pension costs, but, clearly, to ensure people have enough in their retirement, the process must be carefully managed.”In other news, JLT Employee Benefits has predicted the level of deficit contributions from FTSE 100 schemes will spike in 2015, given the number of triennial valuations being finalised and the continued low interest rate environment.Around 30 firms in the FTSE 100 are set to have the valuations this year, and, with low interest rates pushing up liabilities, many companies could see trustees demand higher cash contributions, the consultancy said.Companies contributed £14.1bn (€19.1bn) in the last accounting year.Approximately £6.9bn of that was purely for deficit recovery, but the figure was lower than the £9bn reported the year previous.However, total IAS 19 deficits in FTSE 100 companies came to roughly £80bn at the end of 2014, £26bn higher than at the end of 2013.Charles Cowling, director at JLT Employee Benefits, said: “We expect to see some difficult negotiations between trustees and employers, and, inevitably, there are going to be demands for increases – potentially significant increases – in employers’ funding contributions.”last_img read more

Modified Mayhem win at Billings pays off big for Hagen

first_imgBILLINGS. Mont. (July 19) – His first visit to Billings Motorsports Park produced a new career highlight for Travis Hagen.The North Dakota traveler led all 30 laps in winning the inaugural Modified Mayhem special. Saturday’s IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modified main event at Billings paid $2,500 to win and landed Hagen on the ballot for the 2015 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. “It’s fun to race at different tracks and we had a lot of fun at Billings,” said Hagen, who hadn’t decided between the original Mayhem date and Estevan Motor Speedway before both shows were rained out on May 31. “They put on a great show and the people at the track were nice.” After drawing the outside row one start, Hagen ran most of the way with fellow traveler Eric Sinness. The two were in the process of checking out on the rest of the field before a caution waved with five circuits to go. With lapped traffic eliminated by that yellow, Hagen pulled away again to win ahead of Kenny Baumann, Jeremiah Meirhofer, Sinness and Jason Wolla. “This absolutely has to be my career highlight,” the fifth-year Modified driver said. “I ran well at Boone last year and made all three qualifying features but this was my biggest career payday.”Modified Mayhem was sponsored by Sorenson Racing of Billings. Feature results – 1. Travis Hagen, Williston, N.D.; 2. Kenny Baumann, Billings; 3. Jeremiah Meirhofer, Belgrade; 4. Eric Sinness, Williston, N.D.; 5. Jason Wolla, Ray, N.D.; 6. Jake Donnelly, Rigby, Idaho; 7. Marty Harvie, Great Falls; 8. Merlin Sorenson, Laurel; 9. Paul Donnelly, Great Falls; 10. Dennis Hurd, Billings; 11. Travis Davis, Billings; 12. Ed Conlin, Williston, N.D.; 13. Dale Neitzel, Shepherd; 14. Kasey Brown, Billings; 15. Tony Steward, Belgrade; 16. Brian Wier, Colstrip; 17. Jeremy Sorenson, Williston, N.D.; 18. Jeremy Keller, Mandan, N.D.; 19. Joey Price, Great Falls; 20. Byran Bettcher, Sheridan.Heat winners were Merlin Sorenson, Meirhofer, Baumann and Sinness. Kasey Brown won the “B” feature.last_img read more

The Latest: Earliest AHL could resume is May, the AP is told

first_imgThe person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the league has not announced the decisions reached by the AHL’s executive committee during a conference call.The move follows last week’s decision by the 31-team AHL to suspend its season until further notice. The decision coincides with the NHL placing a roster freeze on player movement, as well as pushing back the possibility of resuming its season for several weeks, if not more than a month.Previously, players were encouraged to remain with their teams.— Reporting by AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow___ The KHL is widely considered to be the strongest hockey league outside the NHL and is one of the few major sports organizations still operating in Europe.There are now six teams remaining in an eight-club conference semifinal bracket.Finnish club Jokerit withdrew Saturday citing concern for the health of its players and staff. Now Barys Astana says it is withdrawing after authorities in Kazakhstan banned sports events and restricted entry to the country.All six of the remaining teams are based in Russia, where various cities and regions have imposed their own restrictions. Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow played in an empty arena on Wednesday.The KHL said Saturday it was “in consultation with clubs and all relevant authorities to diligently manage the impact” of the virus outbreak. The Super League — Europe’s top division in rugby league — has been suspended, initially until April.The league says the decision was taken following the British government’s updated advice on limiting social contact and mass gatherings.In a joint statement, Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone and Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer said the suspension presents “significant financial and commercial implications for rugby league, which will be further considered during the period of suspension.”The Super League includes teams from France and Canada. ___ ___2:30 p.m.Major League Baseball has pushed back opening day until mid-May at the earliest on Monday because of the new coronavirus after the federal government recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement following a conference call with executives of the 30 teams.“The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement. The KHL has not commented on the withdrawals and its website still lists those teams as competing. The next scheduled games between teams which have not withdrawn are Wednesday.___9:55 a.m.The Greek Olympic committee says the Olympic flame handover ceremony for the Tokyo Games will take place without spectators in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.The committee says the accreditation cards that had been issued for Thursday’s ceremony at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 would not be valid. With the first four races postponed, the F1 season will not resume until May at the earliest.___11 a.m.Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials say they are holding off on postponing the month of May activities that conclude with the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.The Indy 500 draws crowds in excess of 300,000. ___4:10 p.m.Live horse racing without fans will continue at Aqueduct during New York’s ban on public gatherings of more than 50 people.Fans were banned as of last Thursday. Racing resumes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The winter meet ends March 29.The New York Racing Association said horse owners are not allowed access to Aqueduct. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):4:45 p.m.A person familiar with the discussions tells The Associated Press that the American Hockey League is allowing its players to return home while determining it won’t be able to resume its season until May at the earliest. The Hungarian soccer federation has temporarily suspended all of its competitions.Federation spokesman Jeno Sipos says clubs have been asked to forego training sessions and make it possible for players and staff members to stay home.Sipos says in a video posted on the federation’s Facebook page “we hope we are contributing to stopping the spread of the epidemic.”The federation’s announcement was in line with a government decision to have sports matches played in empty stadiums and only if organizers took responsibility.Speaking Monday in parliament, famously soccer-mad Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it would be even better if matches were not played at all. The German soccer federation says that games in the top two women’s divisions and the women’s cup will be suspended through April 19.___2:05 p.m.British horse racing will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees.The British Horseracing Authority says “the intention is for scheduled race meetings to take place wherever possible.” It adds that “decisions may have to be made to cancel meetings.” John Coates, who will have to go into government-mandated self-isolation when he returns to Australia this week from Olympic business in Europe, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: “It’s all proceeding to start on the 24th of July.”Former IOC vice president Dick Pound said in an interview with The Associated Press last month that the end of May loomed as a possible deadline for the IOC to make a call on the Tokyo Olympics.But Coates, an IOC vice president and head of the Australian Olympic Committee, told the Sydney paper in a telephone interview from Switzerland that the IOC didn’t recognize the deadline and he thought Pound had backed away from it, too.Coates says “it’s never been the IOC’s position. It was Dick’s idea. There is four months to go.”___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 BHA chief executive Nick Rust says the racing industry is “following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity.”More than 250,000 people attended the four-day Cheltenham Festival last week.No decision has been made on whether the Grand National Steeplechase will go ahead at Aintree next month. More Britons bet on that race than any other. ___1:55 p.m. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled or postponed across the country for the next eight weeks.___1:50 p.m.The DeVos family that owns the Orlando Magic has unveiled plans for a $2 million fund to pay hourly workers who will miss time because of sports shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.The $2 million will be earmarked to help about 1,800 workers who are employed at Magic games, Lakeland Magic G League games, Orlando Solar Bears minor-league hockey games and other Amway Center events. Trent Carroll, chief operating officer of the Vancouver Canucks’ parent company, said the diagnosed individual was in self-quarantine and feeling better. The organization closed its offices Monday and employees were preparing to work from home “wherever possible.”“We are receiving guidance from the health authorities on next steps,” Carroll said.Canucks Sports & Entertainment, formerly known as Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, owns the NHL Canucks and Rogers Arena, among other properties.___ 8:50 p.m.The Grand National Steeplechase, one of the iconic sporting events in Britain, has been canceled following the stringent measures put in place during the virus outbreak.The Jockey Club says the horse racing meeting at Aintree, Liverpool, from April 2-4 will not take place.The British government has said emergency services are being withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings in the country from Tuesday, so the Jockey Club “has decided that it is no longer appropriate to stage” the Grand National Festival.Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, says “we were working on a plan to stage the Grand National behind closed doors given its importance to the racing industry and beyond, but … this is not a viable option.” 1:35 p.m.The Arizona Coyotes will pay all part-time arena and team employees through the end of the previously scheduled NHL season.Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo and his family have partnered with Gila River Arena to pay part-time and hourly arena employees scheduled to work the team’s final eight home games. All part-time and hourly team employees will be paid through April 4.The Coyotes also will pay part-time Tucson Roadrunners employees affected by the suspension of the American Hockey League.The NHL announced last week it would pause the 2019-20 season in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 12:30 p.m.The international beach volleyball tour has postponed two more events, clearing the schedule of everything until May 6.The FIVB says a three-star event that was supposed to take place this week in Gold Coast, Australia, and a four-star tournament next week in Cancun, Mexico, have been postponed because of travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The events are crucial for athletes trying to qualify for the Summer Olympics, with more points available at the higher-rated tournaments.The FIVB says it is in contact with the IOC about “potentially revising the beach volleyball qualification system” for the Tokyo Olympics.As of Monday, four of the last nine points-rich four- and five-star events have been postponed or canceled. March 16, 2020 The extension covers the next round of games and the upcoming international break.League CEO Christian Seifert says “it doesn’t mean that we assume we can play from April 3.”Seifert adds that some clubs could face potential financial collapse and put “tens of thousands of jobs” at risk without funding from TV broadcasts and sponsors.Paderborn player Luca Kilian has tested positive for the coronavirus. Three players in the second division also have the virus.Germany was the last of Europe’s top five leagues to suspend games. The Penn Relays were scheduled for April 23-25 and had been held uninterrupted since 1895. The event celebrated its 125th consecutive running last year. The Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania says it will attempt to host a substitute track meet at a later date in late May or early June. The new event wouldn’t meet the standard Penn Relays format. The three-day event would shorten into a one-day event for youth, high school and open runners.The Penn Relays has adapted to worldwide conditions in the past. The meet was altered in 1917 and 1918 when several colleges, including most Ivy League institutions, curtailed their track programs during World War I. During World War II, travel restrictions reduced participation and spectator attendance while gas rationing was in effect in 1943 and 1944.___12:40 p.m.A staff member of Canucks Sports & Entertainment has tested positive for COVID-19. ___12:20 p.m.NHL players have been told they can return home and self-isolate there until the end of March while hockey is on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.This signals a significant update on the league’s potential timeline to resume the season. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last week the season was on pause and did not provide more specifics on how long that would last.Players had previously been told to remain in their team’s city and await further direction. The new directive comes in the aftermath of the CDC’s recommendation the U.S. not hold gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. The track says no horses will be allowed at Keeneland and it recommended that horsemen not at the track remain where they are.Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason calls the decision to cancel “agonizing” and adds that the track had exhausted all avenues for safely conducting the meet.___1 p.m.USA Water Polo has canceled a key tournament set to begin in late April in Indianapolis because of the coronavirus pandemic. ___3:30 p.m.The Russian soccer league has taken a step closer to shutting down after CSKA Moscow canceled its upcoming game with Zenit St. Petersburg.The league is to meet Tuesday to discuss its response to the coronavirus outbreak. However, CSKA said it was no longer able to host Sunday’s game against Zenit after restrictions on mass gatherings in Moscow were tightened.CSKA says it will discuss potential rescheduling and refunds for spectators later. The Russian league was the largest European soccer competition still operational over the weekend, with more than 33,000 fans attending a game between Zenit and Ural Yekaterinburg on Saturday.One large banner at the match read: “We’re all infected with soccer and will die for Zenit.”___2:10 p.m.The German soccer league has extended its suspension through at least April 2. Associated Press The Latest: Earliest AHL could resume is May, the AP is told In addition, Magic players have told the organization that they want to provide even more money for those workers.Magic CEO Alex Martins says: “The DeVos Family has a history of stepping up during challenging times. Today is no different. If someone is losing a paycheck because we are not playing, they will be fairly compensated.”The Magic say the part-time employees will receive paychecks for missed games through what would have been the end of the regular season.___6:40 p.m. Belmont Park’s backstretch and its facilities remain open to horsemen and training is allowed. Owners won’t be allowed in the stable area until further notice.Also, The Jockey Club will close its offices in New York and Kentucky to outside visitors as of Tuesday while contiuning to provide services. All business-related travel has been suspended and some employees are working remotely. The Jockey Club is the breed registry for thoroughbred horses in North America.___4 p.m.Keeneland race track in Kentucky has canceled its spring meet because of COVID-19. The meet was scheduled for April 2-24, with the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes awarding 170 points toward the Kentucky Derby, the highlight of the opening weekend. On Sunday the historic track announced it would be closed to non-essential guests and set up screening checkpoints for those seeking access. ___2:35 p.m.The Baseball Hall of Fame has canceled Hall of Fame Classic weekend because of the spread of the new coronavirus.The Hall of Fame said advance purchases for the May 22-24 event in Cooperstown, New York, will be refunded.The Hall of Fame is closed to the public indefinitely. The tour says a decision will be made “in the week ahead” about the rest of the European clay-court circuit.The next Grand Slam tournament is the French Open, which is scheduled to begin in Paris on May 24.___11:25 a.m.The leader of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics says there is no May deadline to cancel the games and he remains confident the event will go ahead despite sports coming to a virtual standstill globally amid the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. men and women have already qualified for the Olympics. But the the 2020 FINA Men’s and Women’s Intercontinental Tournament would have been been one of their biggest warmups for the Tokyo Games. The cancellation also hurts USA Water Polo’s effort to growing the sport in the Midwest. The event was scheduled for April 28 to May 3.USA Water Polo also announced the cancellation of the inaugural Division III Women’s National Championship. It was scheduled for May 8-10 in Southern California.___7:10 p.m. 11:10 a.m.McLaren says the team member who tested positive for coronavirus at the Australian Grand Prix “is recovering well” and that his “symptoms have gone.”The British team pulled out of the season-opening Formula One race on Thursday because of the positive test. The race was canceled on Friday.Fourteen members of the team were also placed in quarantine for 14 days after coming into close contact with the person who tested positive for the virus. McLaren chief executive Zak Brown says they are in “good spirits.”McLaren says the rest of the team has returned to Britain but will not go to the team’s headquarters for two weeks as a precaution. The European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup rugby quarterfinals scheduled for April 3-5 were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.All eight matches and thus the European club season were suspended by governing body European Professional Club Rugby.The English Premiership was also suspended for five weeks, following government advice against mass gatherings.The same advice prompted the English Rugby Football Union to suspend all activities until April 14.The activities were at professional and community level, “including club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses,” the RFU said. Coyotes defenseman Aaron Ness became the NHL’s first known player to be tested for COVID-19 after experiencing flu-like symptoms last week. His agent, Neil Sheehy, said Monday that Ness tested negative for the virus.___1:20 p.m.The NHRA drag racing series has suspended its season 30 days with the intention to resume events April 17-19 in Houston.An event at Las Vegas has been postponed with no new date announced. The body’s headquarters will also remain closed from Monday until further notice.The committee canceled the remainder of the Olympic torch relay last week after crowds gathered in southern Greece to watch part of the torch relay in Sparta, where the torch was carried by actor Gerard Butler.Greek health authorities have warned people to stay home, and have shut down everything from restaurants, bars and cafes to public organized beaches, ski resorts, hair salons and movie theaters, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.Greece currently has 331 confirmed cases and four deaths.___ “We are aware of the CDC’s interim guidance suggesting the postponement of events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks,” the speedway said in a statement released before 6 a.m. local time.“Our priority is to do our part in protecting the public health while still conducting the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as scheduled on May 24. This continues to be a dynamic situation which we are monitoring constantly in coordination with federal, state, local and public health officials.”___10:10 a.m.A second team has withdrawn from the Kontinental Hockey League playoffs because of the coronavirus outbreak. “We made this decision with heavy hearts as we see the effects this pandemic is having on the world,” NHRA said in a statement. “We are all in this complicated uncertain and rapidly changing situation together, and we encourage everyone to look out for each other.”Other motorsports such as NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One already pulled the plug on racing.___12:45 p.m.The Penn Relays, one of the oldest and largest track meets in the nation, has been canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic. ___1:30 p.m.The women’s professional tennis tour has suspended all competition until May 2 because of the coronavirus outbreak.The WTA says it is calling off clay-court tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague, adding those to a list of events previously canceled.Each of those three tournaments was scheduled to begin in April.last_img read more

Dempsey nets again as Blues miss chance to catch Spurs

first_imgFulham 1 Chelsea 1Clint Dempsey’s late equaliser rescued a point for Fulham in the west London derby and prevented Chelsea from moving level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham.Spurs’ home defeat against Norwich earlier in the day handed the Blues a golden opportunity to catch their rivals.AdChoices广告They looked set to do just that courtesy of Frank Lampard’s penalty, but Dempsey nodded home Damien Duff’s 82nd-minute corner to give the Whites a deserved draw.Lampard put Chelsea ahead.It was Dempsey’s 22nd goal of a remarkable season for the American, whose header deflected off Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and into the net.The visitors struggled to create chances yet found themselves ahead at the interval.They appealed in vain for a penalty when Ryan Bertrand’s shot hit Stephen Kelly’s hand, but were given a spot-kick in first-half injury time after Danny Murphy’s two-footed challenge on Salomon Kalou.Lampard duly steppped up to net his 150th league goal and again underline the midfielder’s continued importance to his team’s cause.It was tough on Martin Jol’s side, who had enjoyed most of the possession with Dempsey and Kerim Frei bringing saves from keeper Petr Cech.Fulham – and the excellent Frei in particular – caused Chelsea problems after the break and John Arne Riise went close to equalising with a curling effort.Duff’s late corner led to Fulham’s deserved equaliser.Frei’s pace and trickery tested Branislav Ivanovic, while John Terry looked every inch like a man struggling through the pain barrier.Terry, who is nursing a rib injury, was recalled to the starting line-up along with Lampard, Ramires, Kalou, John Obi Mikel and Fernando Torres as interim boss Roberto Di Matteo – aware of his team’s packed fixtures list – rang the changes.The Italian’s selections have proved to be spot-on since he took charge, and Chelsea were on course for their ninth win in 11 matches under him before they shipped yet another late goal.Cech produced a fine save at his near post to push away Aaron Hughes’ header from Duff’s corner.But the resulting follow-up corner by Duff was met by Dempsey, whose leveller was the 20th goal this season Chelsea have conceded in the final 10 minutes of a league game.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more