n Food Safety Week will take place next year from 9-13 June, the Food Standards Agency has announced. The UK-wide campaign aims to raise awareness of good food hygiene practice.n Siwgr a Sbeis Bakery in North Wales has opened a 5,000sq ft bakery in Llanrwst after outgrowing its old premises nearby. It produces a range of flapjacks, cakes, desserts and quiches supplied to retail and wholesale outlets in Wales.n Kingsmill and French’s Classic Yellow mustard have launched an on-pack promotion to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night. Packs of Kingsmill white rolls, will carry a coupon for 30p off a purchase of mustard.n James Russell is to bring out a new edition of the 1938 book High Street by English artist Eric Ravilious. The book refers to Buszard’s Cake Shop on Oxford Street. If anyone knows about the shop’s history, please contact him on 0117 966 2018 or e-mail [email protected]
Environmental engineers who might better be called “archaeologists of the air” have, for the first time, isolated aerosol particles in near pristine pre-industrial conditions. Working in the remote Amazonian Basin north of Manaus, Brazil, the researchers measured particles emitted or formed within the rainforest ecosystem that are relatively free from the influence of human activity.The finding, published in the Sept. 16 issue of Science, could provide crucial clues to understanding cloud formation, determining the specific chemical differences between natural and polluted environments, and modeling how changes in the Amazon Basin might affect the regional and global atmosphere.“We basically had two ‘travel’ days worth of pure air movement over 1,600 kilometers before the air came to our measurement site,” says lead author Scot Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “By performing the study in the rainy season of central Amazonia [January-March], we avoided contamination. Well-known periods of burning and deforestation occur in the dry season and also largely on the southern edge of Amazonia.”Sampling from a 40-meter tower and using a range of techniques, the researchers detected and imaged atmospheric particles. They found that particles in the submicron size regime most relevant to climate could be traced to the atmospheric oxidation of plant emissions, or so-called secondary organic aerosol droplets.“It is a kind of liquid organic particle,” explains Martin. “This is the first time that anyone has ever imaged one of these particles in isolation, because in the Northern Hemisphere and other anthropogenic regions, when you collect a particle it is a mess and filled with soot, nitrates, and other pollutants.”In the pristine Amazon Basin the researchers detected aerosol particle number concentrations of a mere several hundred per cubic centimeter. By contrast, in heavily industrialized cities, concentrations are in the tens of thousands per cubic centimeter, making it impossible in these locations for climate scientists to measure any net change when additional particles, either natural or artificial, are added.“Those particles are affecting cloud formation and cloud formation is affecting precipitation, which is affecting the plants. This is what we call the great tropical reactor,” says Martin. “Everything is connected and in our research we finally had a real glimpse of natural aerosol-cloud interactions.”In the atmosphere, gas-phase molecules emitted by plants are attacked by very specific molecules such as ozone or hydroxyl radicals that then change the chemical structure of the organic emissions by adding oxygen atoms. As a result, the gas-phase molecules become far less volatile and condense to form new particles or, alternatively, to grow pre-existing particles. These particles serve as the nuclei on which atmospheric water condenses as climate-important clouds form.The cycle is well known, but the challenge has been how to create an accurate quantitative understanding of the sources of such aerosol particles. The study represents an essential step toward providing a snapshot back in time as well as a baseline — pristine rainforest air prior to industrialization — to understand global climate change today.“The new insights and data help us and our colleagues to understand and quantify the interdependence of the cycling of aerosols and water in the unperturbed climate system,” explains lead co-author Ulrich Pöschl, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Mainz, Germany). “A thorough understanding of the unperturbed climate system is a prerequisite for reliable modeling and predictions of anthropogenic perturbations and their effects on global change.”Moreover, the researchers were surprised to discover that the pure droplets dominated, comprising more than 85 percent of the climate-relevant submicron particles in the air over the basin. The low aerosol concentrations and high amount of secondary organic particles may mean that the interplay among particles, clouds, and precipitation in more pristine climate systems is vastly different from those in marine and polluted regions.As the Amazon Basin is going through a period of development, Brazilian co-author Paulo Artaxo says that scientists will now have an opportunity to watch the influence of human activity on the atmosphere in real time.“In Brazil, we now have even more solid science to support sustainable development in the Amazonian region,” says Artaxo, a professor of physics at the University of São Paulo. “Looking ahead, we hope to clarify the mechanisms of how vegetation interacts with the atmosphere and elucidate the main natural feedbacks. Doing so will give us a way to monitor atmospheric change accurately in light of ongoing deforestation.”
continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The Federal Reserve, FDIC, NCUA and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency updated their frequently asked questions (FAQs) document on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) current-expected-credit-losses (CECL) standard, focusing on regulatory and supervisory expectations, among other things.The CECL accounting standard is currently scheduled to begin taking effect for credit unions in fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2020.This new FAQs document combines new questions and answers with those issued in December 2016. It focuses on the application of the CECL methodology and related supervisory expectations and regulatory reporting guidance. More specifically, the document addresses such topics as qualitative factors, data needed to implement the standard, the purchase of credit-deteriorated assets and how to adopt the new standard for call report purposes.
The number of MRT Jakarta passengers dropped dramatically during the implementation of PSBB measures between April and June. The operator served an average of 90,000 to 100,000 passengers daily between January and mid-March, but the number dropped to 5,000 in April and 2,000 in May.Since the city began easing restrictions on June 8, the number of passengers has slowly risen to 13,000 a day.Similarly, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has scrambled to adapt to the changing business landscape by launching KirimAja – an app-based courier service – in collaboration with PT Aerojasa Cargo.Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra said the new service was launched to stem the losses suffered by the airline in recent months due to mobility restrictions while still staying true to the company’s core mission to connect people across the archipelago.“It’s crucial that we continue to explore new opportunities amid the present challenges,” he said during the same event.Read also: Garuda may increase fares as capacity cap hits revenue“We expect [KirimAja] to facilitate people in sending packages to one another as a new form of intimacy during the pandemic.”Furthermore, he said, the company planned to launch an interregional food delivery service dubbed PesanAja to bolster its presence during these unprecedented times.The government has drafted a US$1 billion financial bailout for the flag carrier to help it prevent a debt default after the coronavirus crisis forced the airline to ground most of its planes.Meanwhile, publicly listed taxi company PT Blue Bird has trained its employees to deliver items such as documents and household products as part of the brand-new BirdKirim initiative.“Our drivers have been trained to deliver items to homes and offices while minimizing [physical interaction],” Blue Bird CEO Noni Purnomo said, adding that the alternative service reflected the company’s agility in navigating the crisis.The transportation industry has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).Read also: Let’s have a safe rideThe stay-at-home physical-distancing policy, coupled with the closure of tourist destinations and shopping centers, has seen earnings in the sector plummet.To ensure the sector’s survival ahead of the so-called new normal, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the government had been formulating a plan to “readjust” public transportation fees, so that they would be proportionate to the recent dip in occupancy rate.“The problem is that, if the occupancy continues to decrease, then the income of the entire sector will also continue to drop. It’s a fact that must be kept in mind,” Budi said during the discussion.The ministry recently revoked a rule capping the passenger load factor of modes of public transportation and private vehicles at 50 percent of capacity, as the country enters a transition period of relaxed restrictions. The rule had been introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.Topics : The alternative services offered by MRT Jakarta included delivery services and online training programs aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), William said.Furthermore, he said, the company would use empty spaces at MRT stations for coworking spaces equipped with digital communication facilities.Read also: MRT Jakarta drafts new business model amid falling ridership“It’s all about building public confidence and trust,” he added. Several major transportation companies have devised alternative services that complement their core business models in a bid to adjust to changing customer behavior and needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.In response to decreasing ridership in recent months due to large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), city-owned public transportation company PT MRT Jakarta has announced a range of business initiatives that are expected to augment its revenue during the health emergency.“We can no longer rely on our conventional mobility services. The ongoing pandemic has forced us to innovate beyond ridership, beyond physical mobility and beyond transportation networks,” MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said during an online discussion held by Binus University on Tuesday.
Schools fully reopened on Sept. 1 even as case numbers crept up, and restrictions from face mask rules to attendance at public events remained relatively relaxed.Masks were reintroduced on public transport last week. In the capital Prague, bars and clubs, which have been the source of several outbreaks, must close by midnight on Wednesday.The economy shrank 11% in the April-June period on an annual basis, with tourism especially hit.The Czech spike in the last two weeks has been among Europe’s fastest, outpaced only by Spain, France, Malta, Romania and Croatia, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.The Czech rate of 68.8 cases per 100,000 people compares to 20.5 in neighboring Germany.However, deaths are lower than many other places, with 441 fatalities reported as of Wednesday from 29,877 cases.Hospitalizations remain below this year’s peaks but have jumped by 78% over the past two weeks to 234. Many new cases are asymptomatic and among the younger population. Restaurant customers do not have to wear masks while consuming, and some professions including news anchors and performing artists were exempt.Prime Minister Andrej Babis urged people to help avoid another lockdown. “We have to react in a way which saves lives, at the same time we cannot afford measures of economic nature,” he told a conference in a video message.”A difficult autumn awaits us.”While the Czech Republic was among the first European countries to adopt masks and close borders and businesses at the start of the pandemic, it was also among the quickest to reopen. Czech authorities ordered people to wear face masks inside buildings from Thursday as the daily count of new coronavirus cases topped 1,000 for the first time.Health Minister Adam Vojtech announced the measure after a one-day spike of 1,164 infections.It applies to indoor spaces except homes, classrooms and workplaces where 2-metre distancing is possible. Topics :
This home at 89 Pring St, Hendra, is for sale. Picture: realestate.com.au.Mr Cavill’s lowset home is in a quiet, private neighbourhood on a large, 604 sqm block with landscaped gardens.The property is walking distance to Aviation High and Our Lady Help of Christians School and a short drive to other esteemed private schools. Greg and Jenny Cavill outside the Breakfast Creek Hotel.THE Brisbane home of former Breakfast Creek Hotel publican and sailing stalwart, the late Greg Cavill, is on the market.The member of one of Queensland’s leading hotel families, the Cavill family, recently passed away and his daughter, Jenny, is handling the sale of his Hendra home.The four-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 89 Pring Street — arguably Hendra’s finest street — is advertised for sale by offers through Leigh Kortlang and Jon Finney of Ray White AscotRecords show it was last bought for $540,000 in September 2001. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoThe back courtyard at the home at 89 Pring St, Hendra. Picture: realestate.com.au.The Cavill family took up the lease on Brisbane’s famous waterhole in 1926 and held it for 72 years. But while he was well known for his days at the helm of the Breakfast Creek Hotel, Mr Cavill was also the oldest surviving Commodore of Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. MORE HOMES FOR SALE IN BRISBANE GIDDY UP FOR AUCTION LUXURY IN THE BUSH Veteran yachtsmen (L-R) Greg Cavill, Bill Warlow, Dennis Burchill, Bill Pryke and Colonel Johnson. Picture: David Kapernick.He was also the official starter for the 66th QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race in 2014.He contested the race from 1950-1998 on five different yachts and was among the winning crew aboard the Norman Wright skippered Flying Saucer, which took line honours in 1955 in a race record of 41 hours 19 minutes and 4 seconds. This home at 89 Pring St, Hendra, is for sale. Picture: realestate.com.au. Inside the home at 89 Pring St, Hendra. Picture: realestate.com.au.
The funding levels for UK private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes are a “stark read” for trustees and corporates alike, as private sector deficits triple in 15 years.The warning, from consultancy Hymans Robertson, comes as the firm calculated liabilities could be as high as £2.1trn (€2.8trn) when measured on an insurance buyout basis.Figures showed despite private sector firms putting £500bn into pension schemes since 2000, deficit levels had risen from £250bn to £900bn.Additional figures from consultancy LCP showed that DB offerings in the UK’s largest 100 firms are slowly reducing their contributions to DB schemes, despite ballooning deficits. Some reduction can be explained by schemes closing to future accrual, however, total liabilities for FTSE 100 companies still outweighed assets by £25bn at the end of July this year.The UK’s largest companies put £12.4bn into pension schemes during 2014, down from £16.8bn.LCP said despite falling contributions, the schemes still posed significant financial risks for their sponsoring companies, as it disclosed the 10 worse-affected firms combined had £350bn in liabilities and nearly £40bn in deficits.The consultancy also said companies that paid in large contributions in recent years had begun reverting to normal, lower levels.But, it conceded the current funding level not the worst seen in recent years, with deficit levels fluctuating between £10bn and £60bn in the last five years.LCP partner Bob Scott said: “Strong investment returns, payment of deficit contributions and low levels of inflation has offset the impact of significant falls in bond yields, which have led to a material increase in reported liability values.“[However] since January 2005, we estimate the total pension liability of FTSE 100 companies has almost doubled,” he added.The overall private sector DB space, according to Hymans Robertson’s figures, were equally concerning.Jon Hatchett, partner at the firm, said for any firm with a DB scheme the numbers were stark.“Finance directors and shareholders will be scratching their heads wondering how this has come to pass,” he said.Hymans’ £2.1trn figure was calculated by using the PPF’s latest update to the market on the state of private sector scheme funding – and increasing this by 44% to account for the cost of insuring liabilities via a buyout.The lifeboat fund said the 6,057 schemes were £223.1bn underfunded on their ability to provide PPF-level benefits, otherwise known as s179.According to the PPF, liabilities were at £1.52trn, and only covered by £1.26trn of assets.Hatchett said schemes had been taking too much risk for far too long.“Much of this is down to the three big positions taken since the turn of the millennium: positive positions in equities offset by negative ones on interest rates and longevity. Each has been incredibly costly.“Rising longevity has added 10-15% to liabilities and falling interest rates more than 50% again, while equities have returned under half what schemes might have expected back in 2000,” Hatchett said.He said trustees must resist the temptation to focus on investment growth, as this would not solve the issue.“This situation requires a different approach: slower deficit reduction, taking no more risk than is needed and investing in assets that deliver income,” he added.
Thomas Wieser, chair of the Forum, speaking from Wien during a Twitter live event about the reportWelcoming the final report, Matti Leppälä, general secretary at PensionsEurope, said the attention paid to pensions in the report was “remarkable”, and that it “shows that sustainable and adequate pensions are key for reaching the CMU objectives”.In the report, the pensions recommendations come under the heading of the “fostering retail investments in capital markets”. Patrice Bergé-Vincent, managing director at ICI Global, said it was “right” that the report included a focus on retail investors.ICI Global carries out the international work of the Investment Company Institute, a US-based association representing regulated funds globally.“Retail investors could play an important role in revitalising and strengthening European economies and the next round of CMU reforms should encourage this,” said Bergé-Vincent.“As the report notes, in many cases simplification is the solution.“Investor documents should be digital, engaging, and reader-friendly. Additional private retirement savings should be encouraged through steps including financial education and auto-enrolment.”At fellow interest group Better Finance, managing director Guillaume Prache, a member of the HLF, said it was positive that “EU citizens as savers are discreetly finding their rightful place at the heart of the CMU,” but that it was “too early to declare victory”.“Restoring much-needed trust amongst individual investors will only be possible if policymakers take this report into account and seriously engage with its ‘game changing’ proposals,” he said.From auto-enrolment to withholding taxThe pensions-specific recommendations in the report include that the Commission develop a dashboard to monitor the state of play in member states, and “consider ways to support the introduction of auto-enrolment”.According to the report, the HLF is recommending that the Commission table a legislative proposal to require auto-enrolment into default occupational pension schemes at the level of member states. In those countries that did not currently have active eligible pillar two providers (IORPs), necessary rules for them and other institutions would need to be introduced, it added.PensionsEurope noted that it agreed with the HLF that member states with the most developed market-based pension systems also had the highest pensions adequacy and the most developed capital markets.It said it supported any initiatives aimed at increasing occupational pension coverage and pension savings, and that auto-enrolment had proven to be a very viable policy option in some countries.However, Leppälä told IPE there should not be a push for a binding legal EU framework on auto-enrolment, as this was a matter of social and labour law and hence a member state competency. The other pension-specific recommendation encouraged the development of pension tracking systems for individuals, with the HLF also calling on industry to support and contribute to financing the full roll-out of the European Tracking System (ETS).The report also put forward recommendations that were not specifically on pensions, but still “relevant for PensionsEurope and our members,” said Leppälä.One of these is on withholding tax.To tackle “the currently inefficient and cumbersome WHT refund procedures”, the group recommended that the Commission put forward a legislative proposal introducing a standardised system for relief at source of withholding tax based on authorised information agents and withholding agents.“This is very much in line with what PensionsEurope has stressed over the past years,” said Leppälä, telling IPE that withholding tax had been on its agenda since the 1960s.Data portal sustainable finance linksThere are elements in the HLF’s report that appear relevant from the point of view of the sustainable finance agenda, although few references are made to the concept, or to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors or investing.In his preface to the report, chair Weiser said climate change “remains at the forefront of our concerns”, suggesting that making a success out of the CMU project would benefit the fight against climate change.“With a deep and dynamic capital market, the joint financing capacity will facilitate a green transition that works for our citizens,” he said.“Recent regulatory developments create an urgent need for publicly available and affordable ESG data and the establishment of an EU Single Access Point would be a good improvement”Matti Leppälä, general secretary at PensionsEuropeOne recommendation in the report that has links to EU sustainable finance regulation is the first one, which is on creating a EU “single access point”. This is described as an EU-wide digital platform for access to companies’ public financial and non-financial information, freely accessible to the public and free of fees or licence use.According to the HLF, the recommendation is aimed at addressing the problems of a lack of comparable, usable and easily accessible public information about companies, which was first and foremost to the detriment of smaller companies.“Comparable, usable and easily accessible public information is not only essential for investors, but also for financial intermediaries, who need such data to help investors to make informed investment decisions,” it added.PensionsEurope welcomed the Single Access Point recommendation, drawing out its link to sustainable finance regulation.“Market forces and regulatory developments have increased the need for data on investee companies and other market data,” said Leppälä.“Recent regulatory developments in the context of the EU sustainable finance agenda create an urgent need for publicly available and affordable ESG data and the establishment of an EU Single Access Point would be a good improvement.”The Single Access Point recommendation has echoes of a common database of ESG metrics that is referred to in the Commission’s consultation for a renewed sustainable finance strategy. PensionsEurope was one of a group of financial services trade associations that today called for the creation of a centralised public register for ESG data in the EU.Next stepsThe Commission has said it would be seeking feedback on the report between today and the end of the month.In early autumn it is due to present its next CMU “action plan”, with Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the Commission and in charge of financial services and CMU, saying it would “carefully consider” each of the HLF’s recommendations.“The capital markets union is a major element of our post-coronavirus recovery strategy,” he said. ”The Capital Markets Union can be a game changer provided we now make meaningful progress – the High-Level Expert Group has provided valuable input to make this happen.”PensionsEurope’s Leppälä said: “I’m convinced the European Commission will take this seriously.”To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. The European Commission has been presented with a plan for “game-changer” measures to take to realise the creation of a capital markets union (CMU) in the EU, according to the High-Level Forum (HLF) behind the recommendations, with “remarkable” attention seen being paid to pensions in the group’s report.Established by the European Commission last year, the HLF on the CMU today set out 17 clusters of recommendations in its final report, describing them as “the game-changers”, because they were “what the EU needs to implement urgently in order to tackle the most serious barriers in its capital markets”.The recommendations span the full spectrum of capital market activities, grouped by the HLF under the headings of: financing business; market infrastructure; individual investors’ engagement; and obstacles to cross-border investment.“The report does not contain abstract ideas or high level principles that should be achieved,” said Thomas Wieser, chair of the Forum. “Rather, it has very precise and clear recommendations on what should be done in order to move Europe forward. “We emphasise that this is not a menu from which one can order two or three courses, and go home satisfied. The clusters of measures are mutually reinforcing, and dependent on each other.”Establishing a single capital market in the EU is a long-established policy goal, but in the report Wieser said a functioning capital market was even more important now in the context of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#
MANILA – Malacañang is set to report next week the government’s spending for its response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic following calls of several senators for a special audit. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque will have a PowerPoint presentation on Aug. 3 to put in detail the government spending even if the Palace submitted weekly reports before to Congress on its actions and spending. “Magkakaroon po tayo ng PowerPoint presentation on Monday kung magkano ‘yung natanggap ng gobyerno at paano po ginastos ‘yan para ipatunay po na wala pong tinatago ang gobyerno,” Roque said in a media briefing in Quezon City. “Makakaasa po kayo na lahat ng salapi para sa COVID-19 ay talaga pong tinutuon sa pangangailangan natin,” Galvez said in the same virtual press conference. COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also assured the public that funds meant for the pandemic response are really used to address the health crisis. The call for a special audit was also supported by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Finance Committee Chair Sonny Angara, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and minority senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, and Leila de Lima./PN Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros earlier filed a resolution urging the Commission on Audit to conduct a special audit on the pandemic spending before Congress debates on the proposed 2021 national budget. “Wala pong tinatago ang Presidente at ang Malacañang. Lahat po ng gastos, lahat po ng pera na ginastos para sa COVID-19, napunta po ‘yan para sa COVID-19 response ng gobyerno,” he added. “Allegations of overpricing have marred the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that allowed to Duterte to realign billions of pesos in funds and granted exemptions to the bidding process,” said Hontiveros.