Cashless tolls add to growth of Big Brother

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Re Oct. 1 editorial, “Time for state to go all in on cashless tolls”: I would like to present my objection to your “Big Brother” approach.In the past, you published how much money New York state gathered in interest with E-ZPass account deposits, more money for our reckless spending state.Per the Massachusetts experiment of charging out-of-staters and non-E-ZPass patrons even more money than E-ZPass patrons, this becomes a deterrent to using toll roads, possibly increasing traffic and accidents on our secondary roads. I also object to the concept of using E-ZPass to track my usage, times and destination due to my distrust of my “benevolent” government. In eliminating all the toll collectors’ jobs, who will provide assistance to the “lost” tourists? How many of these out-of-work collectors will be put into “make work” jobs and how many will end up receiving some form of public assistance? I’m sure your readers will be able to provide additional objections to this poorly devised revenue enhancer. I feel it’s time to say no to your liberal/socialist concepts that Big Government will take care of us all.Lance FrasierCobleskillMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Get rid of the GOP, support the people

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe United States was founded upon the fight for independence from a monarchy and unfair taxation. The GOP would return the United States to a kleptocracy. The Republicans’ tax bill is a travesty that will further devastate the poor and middle class while rewarding billionaires and large corporations with a mega tax cut. This bill will balloon the deficit, which the GOP will use as an excuse to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.The GOP and Comrade Trump know that their tax bill’s “trickle down” economics has never worked. The GOP and Trump’s “fact-free” sound bites about the tax legislation are transparent to over 50 percent of the public who oppose this reverse Robin Hood bill. Yet, few Republicans opposed this sham bill that will also open up ANWR to oil drilling, causing permanent environmental degradation. But the GOP’s long-term plan is more destructive and sinister. Republican administrations continue to appoint ultra-right and unqualified lifetime judges to federal courts. The GOP fosters distrust in the government and legitimate news outlets while promoting their own false narratives. Trump’s unstable personality disorder could lead us into a nuclear war, if only to distract from the Russia investigation and garner immediate lemming-like support for this embarrassing specimen of a president.It’s time for the public to awaken from the GOP’s gas-lighting strategies. The Republicans have retreated from the principles upon which this country was founded. Americans need to replace the GOP with politicians who will support “we the people,” not just the rich.Doreen HarrisScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Aymeric Laporte backs Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to ‘achieve great things’

first_imgAymeric Laporte backs Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to ‘achieve great things’ Arteta has had a promising start to his career as Arsenal coach (Picture: Getty Images)Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte is confident his former coach Mikel Arteta will achieve great success as Arsenal manager. The Spaniard spent three years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at City before making the switch to London to manage his former club. Arteta has enjoyed a solid start as Gunners boss, remaining the only side in the Premier League yet to lose a game in 2020. Laporte told Sky Sports: ‘Mikel is a great coach and, for me, he has been one of the best people I have met in Manchester.ADVERTISEMENT‘He tries to help players all the time, he had a really good relationship with everyone and with me especially.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I think he’s a great manager and he will make great things in his coaching career.’ Comment Arteta was Guardiola’s understudy at Manchester City (Picture: Getty Images)City boss Guardiola admits Arteta has already shown promising signs as a manager, he said: ‘His positional game is getting better day by day. Doing that in a short time is not easy. ‘And I’m pretty sure Arsenal will have success in the future with him on the bench.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalMan City’s Premier League clash with Arsenal due to take place on Wednesday has been postponed, due to fears over coronavirus. Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis confirmed he had contracted the virus, just 13 days after the Greek side’s trip to the Emirates Stadium. The Arsenal players and staff involved will follow government guidelines on self-isolation, but Saturday’s clash against Brighton is still expected to go ahead. Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page.MORE: Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli’s best position at ArsenalMORE: Pep Guardiola highlights the major improvement Mikel Arteta has made at Arsenal Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 11 Mar 2020 10:47 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.3kShares Advertisementlast_img read more

Regulating investment consultants not the answer, says Avida’s Heenk

first_imgRegulating investment consultants will not solve the problem of ensuring pension investors are not losing out as a result of “murkiness and complexity” in the asset management and investment consultant industry, according to Bart Heenk, managing director and UK head at Avida International, an independent adviser for corporate pension schemes.Heenk was speaking to IPE about the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) interim report on its asset-management market study, which also led the regulator to consider the role of investment consultants. He complimented the FCA on its work, saying he was “very impressed” with the report.“It’s very thorough, addresses the right issues, asks the right questions and doesn’t shy away from challenging the status quo,” he said. He suggested it was regrettable that the FCA needed to step in to investigate the asset management industry and said that, ideally, pension fund users of its services would be asking the same sort of questions about fees and performance through their providers, such as investment consultants.But this is not happening, according to Heenk.“Investment consultants benefit from the murkiness and complexity just as much as asset managers,” he said.The FCA, having identified problems with investment consultants and the outcomes they deliver for institutional investors, has provisionally decided to ask the UK government for powers to regulate investment consultants.It has also called for greater disclosure of fiduciary management fees and performance, and for an investigation into competition in the institutional investment advice market.In an initial reaction to the FCA’s report, Willis Towers Watson, one of the largest investment consultants, said it had long been in favour of “increased regulatory oversight” of the industry.Its EMEA head of investment, Ed Francis, warned of the extra costs this could bring but argued that consultation on portfolio advice should be regulated.   Heenk said he did not think regulation would solve the problem, which is that “pension funds should be able to ask the right questions and need to arm themselves with sufficient expertise to be able to be a proper negotiating partner for the industry, which includes the asset management and the investment consultant industry.”What is needed instead, he said, is for smaller independent consultants to “cannibalise the business models” of larger consultants or for pension funds to develop the in-house expertise to allow them “to ask the right questions and demand the right answers”.Independent advisers like Avida, that “don’t have their own products in their toolkit”, can also help trustees, Heenk said.The FCA said the “fragmented” demand side of institutional asset management was problematic and suggested that greater pooling of pension scheme assets could be a remedy.Heenk said this could be beneficial as a means of increasing pension funds’ bargaining power, but he added that it was also important for pension funds to combine forces by sharing expertise, resources and experience.last_img read more

German pension reform back on track after coalition agreement

first_imgThe German investment management association, BVI, said the reform package agreed by the coalition was a “milestone” for occupational pensions in Germany.“The draft BRSG is the best thing in a while that politicians have come up with when it comes to pensions,” said Thomas Richter, chief executive of BVI. “With voluntary opting-out, defined ambition pensions, and the ban on guarantees, the social partner model offers advantages for employers and employees.”Klaus Stiefermann, chief executive at aba, said the German occupational pensions trade body was pleased that the coalition was able to resolve the main points of contention before the summer break and ensure that the law could be passed in its revised form.He told IPE that aba had had concerns the reform would be diluted in certain key aspects, to the point that it wouldn’t have been clear if the social partner model option would even be taken up.The “social partner” model is a central pillar of the BRSG. It means sector-wide collective bargaining parties – including unions and employers – can introduce defined contribution (DC) or “defined ambition” pension schemes, with neither the employer nor the pension provider allowed to provide guarantees. Both these aspects were heavily debated by the coalition in preceding weeks. Defined contribution pensions have not been possible in Germany so far.Stiefermann said a weakening of the guarantee ban was a big concern: “We are happy that this dilution did not and won’t occur.”Resistance to aspects of the reform is said to have come from the CSU in particular, the Bavarian sister party to the centre-right CDU. It is said to have had the ear of insurance companies opposed to the proposed ban on guarantees.However, Andrea Nahles, the German labour and social affairs minister spearheading the reform drive, had earlier this month said she was optimistic about being able to overcome concerns about the ban on guarantees.aba said some changes were being made to the draft law as a result of the agreement reached by the coalition last week. Collective bargaining parties will be required to consider opening any new DC scheme they set up to companies that are not part of the collective bargaining agreement.Other changes agreed by the coalition parties included a requirement for the employer to pass on to its pension vehicle the social security contributions it saves when it implements “salary conversion” (Entgeltumwandlung).Also, the regulation on pension fund supervision is to be amended to require a sufficiently large buffer to be in place when benefits are increased to ensure a fund’s coverage ratio amounts to at least 110%.According to aba, this would help the pension fund withstand a stock market collapse of 25% without having to cut benefits, even if 35% of assets were invested in equities.In its comment on the coalition agreement on the draft law, BVI said the ban on guarantees under the social partner model meant equities could contribute more to investment returns than before.Other changes agreed by the coalition parties included an increase to the basic allowance for Riester contracts – state-subsidised private pensions – from €165 to €175, and an extension of the tax incentives for employers contributing to low income earners’ occupational pensions. Previously the tax incentives were available in relation to employees on a gross income of up to €2,000, but this is to be raised to €2,200. The German government’s pension reform package is back on track after the coalition parties came to an agreement on the proposed legislation last week, leaving untouched a proposed ban on guarantees for new defined contribution plans.The draft Betriebsrentenstärkungsgesetz (BRSG), which is designed to boost occupational pensions coverage, can now resume its passage through parliament.A slightly revised draft will be debated in the Bundestag – one of the two chambers of parliament – on Thursday, after a final review of the reform by the parliamentary social and labour affairs committee the day before.The draft law will then be debated by the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament where the federal states are represented. This is planned for early July.last_img read more

Innovative Dutch Solution to Protect UK Coast

first_imgBacton Gas Terminal and residents of the surrounding Norfolk villages will benefit from Dutch experience as Royal HaskoningDHV completes the detailed design for an innovative coastal protection project.It’s the first time in the UK that sandscaping will be used to provide a sustainable long-term solution.Royal HaskoningDHV has adapted the Dutch ‘Sand Engine’ concept – an example of Building with Nature – for the project. In this scheme 1.5 million cubic meters of sand will be placed along the coast to protect a 5km stretch of the UK’s east coast including the nationally critical Bacton Gas Terminal together with its neighboring communities.The project is a public-private venture of Bacton Gas Terminal together with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), where NNDC is the operator.John Lee, NNDC cabinet member for coastal management commented: “This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to bolster sea defenses at Bacton Gas Terminal and protect the villages of Bacton and Walcott – and this is the only viable way to strengthen our sea defenses here. It’s an exciting project which shows the benefit of the public and private sectors working together.”Jaap Flikweert, Flood Resilience Leading Professional at Royal HaskoningDHV added: “In the Sandscaping initiative we are working with British partners to translate the Dutch Sand Engine to the very different context of the UK. It is all about using the natural energy of the sea to distribute the sand, and this can make sandy solutions affordable. It enhances the natural coastline without leaving a permanent mark.”The volume of sand to be used at Bacton is approximately equal to 200 football pitches covered 1 meter deep in sand, and will come from existing licensed dredging areas.Public consultation has begun and Royal HaskoningDHV’s work on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is underway. The company will also prepare the business case to secure national Government funding, as well as developing the operations, maintenance and monitoring plan for the scheme with placement due to take place during summer 2018.THE SAND ENGINEThe first Sand Engine was introduced in 2011 on the Dutch coast and offers an effective soft coastal management solution making use of natural processes. The method entails depositing a large volume of sand in a location from which it is distributed by coastal processes over a larger part of the coast.Royal HaskoningDHV was heavily involved in the design of the original Dutch concept, as well as delivering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Bacton project is the first time the concept will be applied outside the Netherlands.last_img read more

More motorcycle cops to patrol city at night

first_img“We’re using the motorcycles donatedby the city government,” said Defensor. These policemen would be chasingcriminals such as snatchers on motorcycles, said Police Colonel MartinDefensor, city police director. Before dawn on Sunday, a young womanlost her bag to motorcycle-riding snatchers along the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.Avenue in Mandurriao district. ILOILO City – More policemen onmotorcycles would be patrolling the city at night. Mayor Jerry Treñas turned over 30motorcycles to the ICPO in 2019. Eighteen were initially mobilized. Themotorcycle cops were posted in areas where there were establishments operatinground the clock such as call centers and coffee shops. According to 22-year-old Mary GraceCordero of Pototan, Iloilo it was around 1:45 a.m. She was walking. Suddenly aback rider of a red and white motorcycle snatched her bag. The snatchers were wearing helmets andblack jackets so she failed to take a good look at them, Cordero told thepolice. Their tasks are to maintain peace andorder and secure, among others, people working on nightshift, according to theIloilo City Police office (ICPO). “We focus on crime-prone areas,” saidDefensor./PNlast_img read more

Messi’s jet in emergency landing at Brussels

first_imgRelatedPosts Italy introduces compulsory virus testing for travellers from France Nigeria records new COVID-19 infections, more deaths as figures rise to 57,242 Vidal lands in Milan to complete move from Barca to Inter A private plane often used by Lionel Messi had to make an emergency landing at Brussel’s Zavantem airport on Friday morning after problems with the landing gear were detected. The Barcelona star was not on board at the time, but the aircraft touched down en route to Tenerife at 9:10am, according to Belgian outlet HLN. Ninety minutes later, it was said to have taken off again, before turning back and returning to the Belgian capital. Brussels airport has refused to comment on the incident due to GDPR legislation. Messi has been in typically outstanding form this season, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner scoring 19 goals and creating 12 assists in 22 La Liga matches before the campaign was suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. He recently aimed a dig at the Barcelona board for their handling of pay cut measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Posting on Instagram, he said: “A lot has been written and said about the football first team at FC Barcelona, when it comes to the players’ salaries during this state of alarm. “First of all, we would like to clarify that we have always been willing to apply a wage cut, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation and we are ALWAYS the first to help the club when we have been asked to. “Indeed, we have often done so on our own initiative in those moments in which we have considered it important or necessary. “For that reason, we cannot help but be surprised by the fact that from within the club there are those trying to put us under the microscope or apply pressure for us to do something that we have always been clear that we would do.”Tags: BrusselsCoronavirusemergency landingFC BarcelonaGDPR LegislationLionel Messilast_img read more

Florida Senators Seek to Form COVID-19 Testing Task Force

first_imgAccording to the letter, members of the task force would potentially include the State Surgeon General, Emergency Management Director, County Health Department officials, business leaders with manufacturing capacity, and other political appointees.Health experts in the state say the key to identifying and containing coronavirus outbreaks is to expand testing and contact tracing.Florida’s number of contact tracers is currently below national guidelines.Sen. Berman applauded the efforts to test in Palm Beach County, but says there needs to be a more cohesive, coordinated, statewide response to the virus going forward.“Not every county has the robust testing we have,” she adds, “and it should be all coordinated. It shouldn’t be as much of a patch work as it is right now.” Three Florida lawmakers are asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to form a statewide task force in order to support COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, as well as supported isolation.“After a week of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day, it’s abundantly clear Florida needs a centralized planning and implementation structure to suppress further outbreaks,” says Democratic Sen. Lori Berman, of Boynton Beach.Berman, along with Sen. Janet Cruz and Victor Torres, sent the letter requesting a task force earlier this week.“We created a task force to re-open our state – let’s create one to keep it open,” Berman explains.The Governor’s office has not yet responded to the request.Lawmakers seek new Florida task force to prevent coronavirus resurgence— Senator Lori Berman (@loriberman) June 10, 2020last_img read more

Cricket News Mayank Agarwal Notches Up Maiden Century In Vizag Test Vs South Africa

first_imgNew Delhi: Mayank Agarwal smashed his maiden Test century and joined Rohit Sharma in piling on the agony for South Africa on day 2 of the Vizag Test on Thursday. Agarwal, who had hit three fifties before this match, gave Rohit superb company by notchig up his own personal landmark. It was tough work for Agarwal on the second day as he had to content with plenty of deliveries staying low. At the other end, Rohit was in great touch and he continued from where he left off from yesterday, smashing a couple of boundaries. The South African bowlers bowled with plenty of discipline to Agarwal and the batsman had to work hard to get his runs. The Karnataka right-hander primarily dealt in singles and couples and on 94, he almost ran out Rohit Sharma but the bowler, Maharaj, could not whip the bails off in time. Agarwal moved closer to his ton by running a quicker ball outside off to the third man fence to move to 98.Agarwal notched upo his hundred in comical style. On 99, he drove a flighted ball from Keshav Maharaj to extra cover but the fielder misfielded. Agarwal thought about a run but he was sent back by Rohit. However, on the very next ball, Agarwal steered a flatter delivery to backward point and hared across for the single. Agarwal was emotional and he got a big hug from Rohit Sharma as India had found an opener who was solid and had the application necessary to survive in international cricket. Also Read | To Have Lost Just Five Wickets On A Seaming Track Is Great: Mayank AgarwalAgarwal, who had a fantastic run in domestic cricket in the 2016 and 2017 period, got a chance to feature in the Indian cricket team during the series against Australia. Agarwal weathered the new ball on a sluggish pitch in Melbourne and smashed 76. His knock gave India the platform for a famous win after 37 years at the MCG. In the following Test in Sydney, Agarwal hammered 77 and looked good for a century but he played a poor shot and holed out to long on. However, India won the series 2-1.Also Read | Want to be consistent like Virat in Windies: Krunal PandyaOn a seaming wicket in Antigua against the West Indies, Agarwal chipped in with 55 after a solid series against West Indies A. This century will only boost his standing in the Indian cricket team as they look to secure a solid opening combination. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more