Brazilian Army Prepares for AMAZONLOG 2017

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo October 23, 2017 The Brazilian Army (EB, per its Portuguese acronym) already began preparations for the AMAZONLOG 2017 Multinational Interagency Logistics Exercise in the city of Tabatinga, located in the Amazon region near the Tri-border area between Brazil, Colombia and Peru. The event to take place November 6th –13th, will combine the armed forces of 16 nations.Logistics operations required for the viability of the exercise have been ongoing since July. The main reason for the advance preparation relies on the difficulty to access Tabatinga. The city is located about 1,000 kilometers from Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. According to the Brazilian Army public affairs office, the Social Communication Center of the Army (CCOMSEX, per its Portuguese acronym), preparation for the event required advance planning and the involvement of various EB military units to allocate, prepare and transport equipment. The coordination falls under the Army Logistics Support Base. “Currently, preparation of the terrain is being finalized so that adjustments can be made for the rains in the region. Teams from the 6th Construction Engineering Battalion and the Transport Headquarters are already in Tabatinga working on infrastructure preparation,” CCOMSEX reported in a press release. General Theophilo Gaspar de Oliveira, commander of the Brazilian Army Logistic Command, told Diálogo that logistics planning is essential for holding an event of AMAZONLOG’s stature. “It’s a remote region with few services and very little infrastructure, which faces weather and geographic adversities. Developing solutions and rapid responses to aid the populations impacted by any kind of accident is a huge challenge.” Twenty eight vehicles loaded with 25 containers full of equipment to set up the exercise are already on their way to the site. The trip across land stretched from Rio de Janeiro to Porto Velho, the capital of Rondônia, in the northern region of Brazil. From that point, the River Transport Center of the Amazon Military Command (CMA, per its Portuguese acronym) moved the equipment to Tabatinga. Concerted efforts to prepare the terrain and the urban areas involved ensued, according to information from CCOMSEX. “Our special border force has received special attention from EB, paving roads, repairing the sewage system, port infrastructure, establishing better communication networks, and renovating the local power grid to bring it into compliance, as well as repairing structures linked to support health services for the local population,” EB explained. Lead-up events In addition to sending in equipment for the setup, EB held strategic coordination meetings for the exercise, and trained service members on effectively completing the missions of AMAZONLOG 2017 and some of the events leading up to it. Among those was the Tabletop Exercise held at the CMA in Manaus, August 28th –September 1st. Service members from the armed forces of five partner nations and representatives from various government agencies participated in that exercise. The activity that included troops and resources simulated military crisis and operations modeled after the events to take place in the upcoming exercise. Participants also took the opportunity to get a head start on coordinating efforts for the AMAZONLOG exercise. During the simulation, a master conceptualization of the logistics exercise was presented at the strategic, political, tactical, and operational levels. Another activity was the Humanitarian Logistics Symposium held at the same time as the Military Materiel Exhibition, September 26th–28th, in the capital of the state of Amazonas. “Issues of a humanitarian nature were discussed, such as providing aid to displaced civilians, assisting civilians affected by drug trafficking and terrorism, ancillary operations in support of the civilian population, and the role of law enforcement officers in remote regions prone to transnational crime and recurring natural disasters such as droughts and floods,” explained CCOMSEX. According to EB, the Military Materiel Exhibition also opened up spaces for companies in the defense sector to demonstrate their products. Companies working on clean energy production, which can be a double benefit for Amazonian communities, were of special interest. U.S. Army Major Cornelius D. Wilbert, a military science advisor with the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, praised these events for their quality and noted how important AMAZONLOG is in tightening relations between the United States and Brazil. “The expo and symposium were impressive events, and allowed great collaboration between military and industry partners. We are excited to demonstrate our technologies and enable long lasting partnerships that will benefit both our nations,” he said. Multinational Interagency Logistics Exercise The exercise itself is due to gather nearly 1,500 people—officials and military officers from Brazil and foreign nations—through the installation of an Integrated Multinational Logistics Base in Tabatinga, November 6th¬–13th. EB alone has 1,000 service members participating. Sailors and airmen from the Brazilian Navy and Air Force will also take part in the combined exercise. Military observers from 16 nations—among them representatives from Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom—have already confirmed their attendance. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru will participate with troops and logistical units, and the United States with observers and logistical units. The United States will send a C-130 transport plane, a mobile kitchen, a water purification station, and a medical team. In a press conference held in Manaus, General Racine Lima of the Brazilian Army, and in charge of coordinating AMAZONLOG 2017, explained that the operation, in addition to promoting shared experiences and the development of knowledge, skills, and mutual trust, will establish a center for multinational logistics coordination in the Americas. “Through the center, it will be possible to gather data and information needed for the rapid mobilization of military forces to assist populations during emergencies,” he noted. Training service members and civilians on the use of the logistics system to assist populations, as happens in peacekeeping and humanitarian aid missions, will be a priority during AMAZONLOG. “It’s an opportunity to increase the interoperability of the armed forces and agencies of border nations in the region with those of the other participating nations, building a multinational capacity for response in the fields of humanitarian operations and logistics,” Gen. Theophilo said, adding that the exercise will help provide better assistance to the border communities involved.last_img read more

Celebrate credit unions’ history of banking without bankers

first_imgThis year at NAFCU, we are celebrating 50 years of raising credit unions’ voices in Washington and making lawmakers and regulators aware of what makes credit unions special and different. With every passing year, there are new things to celebrate about the credit union industry and the amazing relationships credit unions form with their communities – but each year the credit union difference remains as important as ever.During NAFCU’s 50 years representing credit unions, we’ve had an incredible opportunity to witness the credit union difference up close. We have members all over the country serving all kinds of communities – branches of the military, students, churches, urban communities, rural communities, and more. What has remained consistent over all these years, with all these different credit unions, is the trust members have in their credit unions. Credit union members around the country continue to discover that they can trust their institutions with their finances – whether they’re saving up for future plans or putting those plans into action. Their credit unions will be there for them, providing them the best rates and best quality programs and services, no matter what.We all know that trust is hard to come by in the financial world. Consumers are still reeling from the news that Wells Fargo fraudulently created 2 million “ghost” accounts – a scheme that apparently involved 5,300 bank employees. The scandal showed a betrayal of trust and a complete lack of respect for customers. That kind of heartless prioritization of profits over people is a big part of what drives consumers to join their local credit unions instead.As not-for-profit, member-owned institutions, credit unions are fundamentally different from banks like Wells Fargo. Credit unions draw strength from their communities and, in turn, give back to those communities every chance they get. When the shareholders are the members, the goal is to succeed together – not to profit off of consumers.To celebrate our members and what they do every day for their communities, NAFCU recently created a video – “Banking Without Bankers” – to help members spread the word about the credit union difference. The video highlights credit unions’ dedication to their members and communities. After all, who ever said banking needed bankers? NAFCU member credit unions are invited to use the video in social media and post it to their websites to promote their services and the industry. We could all use a reminder of what makes the credit union industry great; and the more we spread that message, the more people will be able to benefit from that difference. 20SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dan Berger B. Dan Berger became NAFCU president and CEO on Aug. 1, 2013. He joined NAFCU in January 2006 as senior vice president of government affairs overseeing five divisions including legislative … Web: www.nafcu.org Detailslast_img read more

Road Hazard: How the ‘Embarrassing’ Gas Tax Impasse Explains Washington

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This story was co-published with Politico.In 1993, the Dow Jones industrial average was still well under 4,000, the best-selling car in the country was the Ford Taurus, and the average cost of a Major League Baseball ticket was under $10.That was also the year that Congress last raised the federal tax on gasoline.The gas tax pays most of the tab for America’s federal highway program; it’s what we rely on for new highways and for the bridge repairs that keep us safe. Those costs go up every year, but the tax remains stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon. In fact, it’s effectively going down: since it was last raised, those 18.4 cents have lost more than a third of their value to inflation, and at the same time drivers with fuel-efficient vehicles have been buying less gasoline, further reducing the federal take.As a result, the main U.S. spending account for infrastructure has fallen deep in the red, and the gap gets worse every year. The government, through a series of funding tricks, keeps the Highway Trust Fund on life support with short-term emergency patches. The latest infusion expires at the end of the month, and the argument about how to fix it is coming to a head this week.The uncertainty has frozen major projects around the country, from the widening of Route 1 in Delaware to the Kalispell bypass in Montana, while maintenance and repairs are long overdue on thousands of roads and bridges dangerously near the end of their expected life spans.That Congress can’t fulfill such a basic purpose of government stands out as a signal example of Washington dysfunction. Unlike some other stalemates, though, this one can’t be blamed on special interests at loggerheads. Nearly all the lobbies that take an interest are in favor of simply increasing the tax — big business, the road builders, the unions, even the truckers. Lobbies that might oppose an increase, notably the oil industry, have invested relatively little in the debate.Instead, it’s an example of those big decisions that get trapped in a kind of ideological crevasse. Because it’s a tax, raising it has been decreed out of bounds by a combination of anti-tax orthodoxy among conservative Republicans and a fear of political backlash that spans both parties.Still, there may be a way out of the trap. A slew of states around the country — including some led by conservative Republicans — have managed to raise their state gas taxes to address the transportation burden without triggering the fury of taxpayers. The contrast is an unflattering one, says former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat and a leading proselytizer for infrastructure spending.“If the gas tax could be voted up or down on a secret ballot, it would get 285 yes votes in the House and 85 or 90 in the Senate,” says Rendell. “Everyone knows we need new revenue, everyone knows we can’t let the trust fund go broke … Everyone knows this is one of the most embarrassing chapters in the history of the U.S. Congress.”What’s gone so wrong?It sounds strange now, but the gas tax was born and built up under Republican presidents. The U.S. government has been picking up a part of the highway tab for nearly a century — since 1916, when, in an era of Model T’s bumping over rutted country lanes, the bluntly named Good Roads Movement gave rise to a law providing federal money for any rural routes used for U.S. mail. Fuel taxes started around the same time, but only at the state level.When the federal government adopted its own penny-per-gallon one in 1932, under President Hoover, it was intended for deficit reduction, not roads. It was only when the tax was raised to 3 cents under President Eisenhower in 1956 — with an additional cent added on in 1959 — that it was targeted for the new interstate highway system and the Highway Trust Fund that would finance it.In a country that loves big cars and views cheap energy as a national birthright, the gas tax was never going to be beloved. After several failed attempts to raise the tax in the 1970s as a means to spur fuel conservation and fight inflation, it was left to Ronald Reagan, of all people, to push through the next increase, in late 1982.With the economy still sluggish after Reagan’s steep income tax cuts in 1981, “they were facing $200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see … and the administration was desperate to find some way to close that gap,” recalls Kenneth Schwartz, a career employee in the Office of Management and Budget.Just before the 1982 midterm election, Reagan had ruled out a gas tax increase “unless there’s a palace coup and I’m overtaken or overthrown.” But shortly after the election, he and his budget director, David Stockman, settled on a five-cent increase in the gas tax (or “user fee,” as Reagan preferred to call it) proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, the Illinois Democrat. The increase, Reagan said, would be “less than the cost of a couple of shock absorbers.”The proposal had bipartisan backing from Hill leadership. In the House, well over half of Republicans voted for it. The Senate passed it 54-33.That political landscape was already shifting when Washington took up the tax again less than a decade later. As part of George H.W. Bush’s big deficit-reduction package of 1990 — in which he violated his “read my lips” pledge — the gas tax was raised by another nickel. This time, it didn’t win over a majority of House Republicans: just over a quarter of them voted for the increase. The partisan divide ratcheted several notches further three years later when President Clinton, after initially proposing a broad-based “BTU tax” on all forms of energy, included a 4.3 cent gas tax increase in his 1993 deficit-reduction package. It passed without a single Republican vote.The following year brought the electoral earthquake of 1994 that made Newt Gingrich House Speaker. Two years earlier he’d been the only Republican in Georgia’s 10-member House delegation. Now he was one of eight. Among the lessons drawn by Clinton and other Democrats from this wipeout was a deep wariness about fuel taxes.The lesson was no less clear to Clinton’s successor, whose father had been pilloried among Republicans for the 1990 increase. Schwartz says that it was impressed on him and his OMB colleagues under President George W. Bush that a gas tax increase was not to be discussed.While the flow of money from the gas tax was flat-lined, spending wasn’t. Congress kept pressing for bigger highway bills. “They weren’t raising the revenues,” says Schwartz, “but they were raising the authorizations.” After 2000, lawmakers turned to one-time budget gimmicks and spending from general revenues to plug the gap, thereby driving up the deficit.Liberals have a handy culprit to explain why the gas tax hasn’t budged since 1993: Grover won’t allow it. Republicans, the story goes, have developed such fealty to the anti-tax pledge rolled out by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform in 1986 that raising the rate has become a matter of heresy.Making this explanation all the more appealing to the left is the hypocrisy it points to: The signers of the Norquist pledge predominate in the states most dependent on federal highway funding. (On average, Washington contributes about a quarter of all transportation funding but about half of major capital projects.) A ProPublica analysis finds that the rate of pledge signers is twice as high in the delegations from the dozen states that are most dependent on federal highway aid as it is in the 11 states that are least dependent on it. In Georgia, which is among the most highly dependent states, all but one of the 12 Republicans it now sends to Washington has signed it.But it’s oversimplifying to give Norquist all the credit. For one thing, his pledge focuses on income tax rates, and while he has done his best over the years to apply it to taxes more broadly, there have also been plenty of times when its signatories have voted to raise revenues without being vilified by Norquist: raising some industry taxes in the 2007 energy law, raising cigarette taxes to pay for children’s health insurance that same year, raising taxes on the wealthy in the 2012 fiscal cliff showdown. While Norquist has sent mixed signals, it’s not unreasonable to think that a gas tax increase that managed to draw support from Republican leaders would get a pass as well.Resistance to the tax hike goes well beyond the Norquist army. There were a couple years recently where the pledge signers were in the distinct minority on the Hill, and the gas tax still didn’t budge. On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama opposed Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s call for cutting the gas tax amid high oil prices. But Obama made his own pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. And even if that pledge could be reconciled with a gas tax increase, when he became president with huge majorities in Congress, there was little appetite in his administration for a higher tax amid a steep recession.“Obama is more open-minded on this than the people around him, but in the conversations I had with him he was not particularly receptive to raising the gas tax,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and leading infrastructure booster. “When we were in charge, we didn’t push it.”The fact is, the gas tax has never been deeply embraced even by many Democrats. It’s a regressive tax, hitting Americans at the same level regardless of income. Partly for this reason, some liberals have started flirting with alternatives to the gas tax — like a far-reaching carbon tax or a tax on vehicle miles traveled. So far, though, these ideas are far from executable and have only distracted some likely supporters from the push for a simple increase.So the rate stayed stuck in Washington, even as oil prices plunged, an ideal window for raising the tax since the increase wouldn’t be as hard on a driver’s wallet. The tax now provides only $34 billion of the $50 billion spent annually out of the trust fund. Since by law the fund can’t operate at a deficit, short-term infusions from the Treasury — $62 billion since 2008 alone — have kept it solvent. What’s supposed to be a self-supporting trust fund has turned into just another scramble for taxpayer money.In the face of the stalemate, the states have crafted their own solutions, often in a rebuke to the political assumptions that have stymied Washington.In early 2013, just a few months after it voted for Mitt Romney by 41 percentage points, Wyoming passed a 10-cent increase in its gas tax, to 24 cents. Members of the Republican-dominated legislature say there has been no discernible blowback, in the form of primary challenges or otherwise. “There are those folks that will always be upset, but the average person looks at the conditions of the highways and understands there is a need,” says state senate President Phil Nicholas.As it turned out, Wyoming Republicans were hardly going out on a limb. Instead, they were setting a trend. Other states with Republican leadership that have approved increases in the tax (or in a few cases have hiked other taxes directed toward road spending) are Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.In Iowa, state Sen. Michael Breitbach, a Republican, says his reason for voting for a 10-cent increase was pretty straightforward: it had been 25 years since Iowa raised it, and trucks that used to get four miles per gallon now get almost seven, reducing revenue. He hasn’t seen much backlash, but said he wouldn’t care much if he did. “When I ran for office, I ran on a platform that we needed to improve our road system and we won on that platform, so I’m not too worried about that,” he says. “If I don’t get reelected, I can live with that.”In Georgia, former Republican state representative Edward Lindsey, who served on a state commission that proposed an increase, says the seven-cent hike passed in April “was not an easy sell” but the backlash has been relatively minimal. “When you go back and tell folks, look guys, this is a core government function — if we can’t do roads and schools and public safety, what’s the purpose of government?”These legislators’ equanimity about their votes is backed up by the numbers. A survey released in May by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that raising the gas tax didn’t hurt Republicans politically, and if anything helped them slightly. Ninety-five percent of Republican state legislators who voted to increase their state gas tax in the past two years and ran for re-election won their races—one point higher than the rate for Republicans who voted against increases. The survey identified 25 legislators who voted for higher gas taxes despite having signed the Norquist anti-tax pledge — and of those, all but one won re-election.In Pennsylvania, which raised its tax by as much as 28 cents over five years, making it the most expensive in the country (50 cents) while providing $2.3 billion per year for transportation, not a single Republican who voted for the increase was booted from office. The notion that voting to raise the gas tax is a political third rail is being undermined in some of the most conservative swaths of the country.It’s true that most states must, by law, balance their budgets, and can’t just load highway costs onto the deficit as Washington can. The major anti-tax groups were noticeably subdued in the state debates — some groups, like Club for Growth and Heritage Action, steered clear entirely, while Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity made only token efforts in some states, like Iowa. As some of these groups see it, transportation spending should be left to the states entirely — “devolution” — and if they want to raise their gas tax, so be it. “There are 50 departments of transportation that know their priorities far better than bureaucrats do,” says Andy Roth, vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth.Most of all, state legislators voting for gas tax increases benefit from one key dynamic that hurts all federal tax-collection efforts: voters know the money would stay right at home, without the strings that come with federal money, such as having to spend some of it on public transit, a requirement that dates back to the Reagan tax increase. “The problem I have with the federal gas tax is … you never know if you’re going to get back what you put in,” says Breitbach, in Iowa.In fact, all states are now getting back more than they put in, because the federal gas tax is being supplemented by so much additional spending in the trust fund. But Breitbach put his finger on the biggest obstacle to raising the federal gas tax: voters simply don’t trust what happens to their money once they send it to Washington. “I don’t think anyone at the national level will be able to articulate a gas tax as the way to go forward,” says Dan Holler of Heritage Action. “It’s gotten progressively harder because there’s less and less trust in Washington.”The latest short-term extension for the Highway Trust Fund — the 33rd passed by Congress — expires at the end of next week. House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster last week pushed through the House yet another short-term fix, with about $8 billion, enough to get the fund through mid-December.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cobbled together a somewhat longer-term fix, enough to get the fund through the 2016 election, when many of his Republican colleagues are up for reelection. Among the revenue sources in the three-year proposal he presented yesterday, and which the Senate may vote on today, is selling off part of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve for $9 billion — that is, instead of updating a tax on gasoline, Congress may end up selling off part of its emergency supply of it.The extensions, their proponents say, will give Congress more time to come up with a truly long-term solution to transportation funding — the same thing congressional leaders have been saying for years now. There is talk of using a one-time influx of repatriated corporate revenues from overseas for infrastructure, but that has gotten caught up in the larger debate over tax reform. The conservative dream of devolution to the states has a long way to go to win acceptance, not least amongst the states themselves. Some Republicans, including Ryan, say they are open to new forms of “user fees” to pay for roads, such as electronic tolling, but this remain nebulous.What Ryan, McConnell and Speaker John Boehner have all ruled out is an increase in the gas tax. At a Ways and Means hearing last month to discuss long-term solutions for the shortfall, Ryan announced at the outset that “We are not going to raise gas taxes, plain and simple.” The tax, he said, had outlived its time. “We just can’t chase fuel efficiency with much higher taxes,” he said, deftly painting the decision as technocratic rather than ideological and political. Top Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, have made precious little attempt to rally support for an increase, citing a lack of support in both parties.Even as congressional leaders look for another short-term fix, though, more of their Republican colleagues are starting to contemplate the long-term one adopted by so many red states. Early this year, several Senate Republicans, including the conservative Oklahoman James Inhofe, spoke up for an increase before Ryan quashed the notion. In the House, Rep. Jim Renacci, an Ohio Republican, reached out to colleagues as fed up as he was with funding patches, including Rep. Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat. In April, they released the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act.The bill would keep the gas tax, raise it by half a cent in the first year, and then index it to inflation moving forward, so it could grow roughly in line with costs. The plan would provide enough revenue over 10 years, $27.5 billion, to plug the shortfall in the next couple years. Meanwhile, the bill would order a congressional task force to come up with an alternate long-term solution, and if it failed to do so, the gas tax would be increased to whatever level was necessary to fill the trust fund.This indirect, incremental approach may make the proposal more palatable than a straightforward proposal by Earl Blumenauer to increase the tax 15 cents over three years, or about as much as it would have gone up if it had been tied to inflation way back to 1993.“When people say, ‘That’s an increase in the user fee,’ I say, no, that’s an opportunity for Congress to work its will,” Renacci says. “And if it won’t work its will, then the user fee goes up.” As painfully gradual as this approach is, it’s a big step further than anything else Hill leaders have proposed, its proponents say. “Mr. Ryan hasn’t done a damn thing yet that we can buy into,” Pascrell says.The bill has more than 30 co-sponsors, a quarter of them Republicans. (Another Republican, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, just introduced his own bill, to increase the tax by 10 cents, offset with a $133-per-driver income-tax credit.) So far, aside from a Wall Street Journal op-ed from Americans for Prosperity, the anti-tax groups have held off on it, saying its prospects are so dim that it’s not even worth warning Republicans against it. “We don’t view it as a credible threat from a legislative standpoint,” says Holler, of Heritage Action. But that could change quickly, says Club for Growth’s Roth: “If this Renacci nonsense gains traction, I’m pretty certain we’re going to weigh in on it.” To prepare for that moment, the transportation lobby has given the bill’s sponsors some back-up advertising at home, says Michael O’Brien of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.The prospects for any long-term fix may turn on whether enough Washington Republicans are willing to relinquish the anti-tax flag and join their state legislative counterparts who voted for gas-tax hikes and lived to tell of it.Some of the Renacci bill’s Republican backers, including Renacci himself, have signed the Norquist pledge — but are adamant that it does not apply to the gas tax. Others, such as Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia and Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, have formally rejected the pledge.“You can’t run a country on ideology, you have to run it on ideas, and they have to be forward-thinking and allow us to be competitive,” says Hanna. “These are public benefits. They’re not about bigger government. They’re about running the country.”Related stories: For more coverage of politics and lobbying, read ProPublica’s previous reporting on an about-face by the higher ed lobby, the rising influence of single donors and an imploding super PAC.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

Ian Wright rates Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top five after Newcastle win

first_img Comment Advertisement Ian Wright rates Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League after Newcastle win Arsenal have a favourably run of games and are unbeaten in 2020 so far (Picture: Getty)‘I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done there and he [Mikel Arteta] won’t have the time or the players to do it all this season.‘They’re going to have to wait, spend a lot of money in the summer, and do a lot of things differently to what they’ve been doing, because I don’t see them being good enough to get into the top five.’On Tottenham’s chances of finishing fifth, Wright said: ‘Well they should do. I think with Jose being there, one of the things Tottenham thought they may be able to guarantee is him getting them into the top four.‘I have to say now, you look at Tottenham and this is where you have to say they can kick in and say, “right, we’re really going to cement this place”.’MORE: Graeme Souness slams Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for comments after Arsenal’s win over NewcastleMORE: Mesut Ozil sends message to Arsenal fans after ending goalless run in win over NewcastleMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Fifth place could see Arsenal get back into Europe’s top competition (Picture: Premier League)Ian Wright has played down Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top five and potentially securing a Champions League berth and says they need to hope the teams above them drop points.The clubs chasing fourth spot in the Premier League were given a huge boost when UEFA banned Manchester City – who currently occupy second spot – from competing in the Champions League for the next two seasons.If that decision is upheld, fifth place would get a spot in the competition instead, though Wright is not convinced Arsenal can overturn the six-point gap to fifth-placed Spurs despite their big win over Newcastle.center_img Metro Sport ReporterSunday 16 Feb 2020 11:05 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.1kShares Arsenal moved up to 10th place with a 4-0 win over Newcastle (Picture: Getty)Asked if Arsenal can avoid finishing outside the top six for the first time in 25 years, Wright told Premier League Productions: ‘I think they can finish in the top six, whether they can get to fifth… I think there’s teams [above them] that are going to have to drop points.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘When you’re looking at Tottenham at the moment, the way they dug that out today. Sheffield United look brilliant, they look pretty good Sheffield United.‘If Sheffield United finish there [sixth] it would be a magnificent season. Wolves you feel now, with that fifth place such an important position to finish now, you feel like they’ll kick on.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I think it’s going to take a lot for Arsenal to finish in fifth now. Teams are going to have drop points and Arsenal are going to have to really kick on with a run.’Fellow pundit Alan Shearer was even more downbeat on Arsenal’s chances, adding: ‘I don’t see them being good enough to get into the top five. Advertisementlast_img read more

IASB committee concedes defeat on contribution-based promises

first_imgThe International Accounting Standards Board’s interpretation’s committee has called a halt to efforts to come up with accounting guidance for companies with non-traditional defined benefit (DB) pension schemes.The plans – dubbed contribution-based promises, or ‘intermediate risk’ plans – have proved to be troublesome to account for under the projected unit credit model found in International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits (IAS19).Since 2004, both the committee, known officially as the International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee, and the IASB have tried and failed to develop an appropriate accounting approach for this troublesome class of pension plan.The committee’s decision, which emerged during its 29 January meeting, means constituents must now wait for the IASB to add a pensions-accounting project to its work plan. Commenting on the news, Eric Steedman, a leading pensions consultant with Towers Watson, told IPE: “The Interpretations Committee has effectively said the issue is too big for them to solve expeditiously.“Unfortunately, for now at least, this leaves preparers with such plans to carry on ‘doing their best’ with a statement that does not really cater for their situation.”The IFRS IC’s predecessor, the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee, published the so-called IFRIC D9 approach for contribution-based promises in a consultation document back in 2004.The committee called a halt to that work, however, when, in 2006, the IASB launched its unsuccessful bid to develop a new accounting methodology to deal with intermediate-risk pensions, or contribution-based promises.But fresh life was breathed into that approach, when the IFRS IC decided to take another look at contribution-based promises accounting.Both D9, and the IASB’s contribution-based promises model, set out to address the accounting challenges that arise when IAS19’s projected unit credit measurement model and discounting approach is applied to non-traditional DB plans.One obstacle to good accounting that is often cited by critics of IAS19 is that the standard forces them to discount projected returns on a pool of equity assets using either a high-quality corporate bond or government bond discount rate.The mood around the committee table during the 29 January meeting was largely downbeat on the committee’s prospects for bringing the effort to a successful conclusion that preparers would welcome.Laurence Rivat, a senior audit partner with Deloitte in France, said she was unclear who would benefit from any guidance that the committee might come up with.Rivat reported that constituents had told her that any guidance that might emerge from the committee would not change what they “are currently doing”.She added: “What we really need is that the board take on a project to review fundamentally IAS19 to deal with those plans where there is risk-sharing between employees and employers.”Similarly, E&Y partner John O’Grady said: “I would be in favour of discontinuing this project because I don’t think we are able to control ourselves when it comes to scope. That has always been the problem with this.“We are trying to solve some fundamental problems with IAS19, which to me is a board project to sort out IAS19 to deal with the modern types of plans that are out there.”As for the long-term outlook for an IASB-level pensions project, IASB director Alan Teixeira said now might be a good time to accelerate the board’s apparent research project on pensions accounting.Speaking during a 16 September 2013 IASB meeting, Teixeira said the pensions research effort was “on the longer-term research plan” but had no staff allocated to it.He also noted that no standard setters had “expressed an interest in the project.”According to information posted on the IASB’s website, the board expects to hold a consultation on the shape of its future agenda in 2015.A feedback statement on the IASB’s 2011 agenda consultation bracket pensions accounting, share-based payments and income taxes together as longer-term priorities.last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: The wealth of nations and its ESG underpinnings

first_imgHuman capital in terms of the total earnings over a person’s lifetime is, as the World Bank states, clearly the most important component of wealth globally. The World Bank analysis finds that human wealth on a per capita basis is typically increasing in low and middle-income countries. But in some upper-middle and high income countries, stagnant wages are reducing the share of human capital. This has hollowed out middle classes and lies behind the rise of populist parties in Europe and Trump’s rise to power in the US.Women, meanwhile, account for less than 40% of human capital wealth, according to the report, because of lower earnings, lower labour force participation and fewer average hours of work.Whilst the report states that achieving higher gender parity in earnings could generate an 18 per cent increase in human capital wealth, such a statement is misrepresentative. It assumes firstly that women who choose to stay at home to raise families have no value, and secondly that increasing their participation in the labour force would not be at the expense of reducing male participation.The report concludes that growth is about more efficient use of natural capital and through investing the earnings from it into infrastructure and educationBoth assumptions probably merit further thought. For example, a simple thought experiment would consist of two mothers who each employ the other to look after their children. If they pay each other the same amount, there would be no net change in the economic circumstances of each family. However, the World Bank analysis would suggest that each has now accumulated human capital that they otherwise would not have had! This thought experiment suggests that work that contributes to society that is unpaid should still be regarded as contributing to human capital.For low income countries, natural capital accounts for the largest component of wealth. But the World Bank argues that getting rich is not about liquidating natural capital to build other assets – natural capital per person in OECD countries was three times that in low income countries even though the share of natural capital for OECD countries was only 3%.Understanding the drivers of wealthThe report concludes that growth is about more efficient use of natural capital and through investing the earnings from it into infrastructure and education.Sustainably managed, renewable resources in the form of agriculture or forestry can produce benefits in perpetuity. In contrast, non-renewables such as fossil fuels and minerals can offer a one-off opportunity to finance development. But, as the report points out, nearly two thirds of countries that have remained in the low income category since 1995 are resource rich, or fragile and conflict states or both.What is clear is that resources alone cannot guarantee development – strong institutions and governance are needed. Clearly the private sector can play a critical role, particularly if a strong stance is taken on ESG issues.Assessing the value of natural resources raises many philosophical challenges, but the debate needs to be had. By doing so the methodology can only improve, while losing biodiversity and the services it underpins is irreversible. Moreover, Europe faces the challenge of coping with refugees and migrants dying in their thousands attempting to gain entry to its shores.Understanding and encouraging the drivers of wealth outside its borders is a matter of self-interest as well as morality. No single metric is ever ideal for assessing progress.For countries, it is very clear that GDP is a poor metric to use for determining long term policies. GDP is a measure of activity rather than wealth creation. That means that it can give very misleading signals about the health of an economy. An obvious case is where natural resources are depleted which may give rise to a boost to GDP but could result in a long-term degradation of wealth and hence future income for that country.Incorporating the value of natural resources as well as human capital is a key requirement for assessing the health of a nation. At the end of January the World Bank released a fascinating analysis of the changing wealth of nations. Promoting an analysis of changing wealth both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis, as the World Bank argues for, provides a forward-looking analysis of the health of nations. It also emphasises the need for sustainability in the exploitation of natural resources. For investors, it is worth noting that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues underpin many of the conclusions.How the wealth of a nation should be assessed is both controversial and subject to many assumptions. But just because measurement is difficult does not mean that it should not be attempted. The World Bank’s approach measures wealth in the form of four types of assets: Produced capital and urban land : machinery, buildings, equipment and urban land, measured at market prices;Natural capital : natural resources of all types including energy, minerals, agricultural land and forests;Human capital : measured as the discounted value of earnings over a person’s lifetime; andNet foreign assets : the sum of a country’s external assets and liabilitiesThe key findings are perhaps as would be expected, although the value is very much in the detailed figures for each country.Global wealth grew significantly between 1995 and 2014. Rapid growth in Asia that has enabled middle-income countries to catch up, but inequality persists.Per capita wealth changes show a significantly different picture. Low income countries showed a deterioration primarily driven by population growth outstripping investment, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.last_img read more

Contracts to be signed for NEW water project for Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat

first_imgLocalNews Contracts to be signed for NEW water project for Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat by: – July 5, 2012 Tweet Share 8 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Prime Minister Roosevelt SkerritPrime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that on July 9th 2012, contracts will be signed for a new water system that will supply the communities of Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat.He was speaking to residents at the 2012 reunion launch this past Sunday.The Prime Minister noted that he is cognizant of the community’s needs.“I recognize that the most important project in Bense, Ans-de-Mai, Ans-sol-Dat is the completion of the water project. On July 9th, the Cabinet and myself will be back here with you to speak about how we can work together, [to find out] the plans and programs you would like to[indicate] to the Government for consideration in advancing development of Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat. I will say to you that on that day we shall sign the contracts to begin work on the water project in Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat.”The Prime Minister also made reference to land issues within the community.“I know that you have been having some land issues, rest assured that we will find ways of [dealing with] those land issues in the interest of all the residents of Bense, Ans-de-Mai and Ans-sol-Dat.”Government Information Servicelast_img read more

NegOcc on ‘blue alert’ for typhoon ‘Kammuri’

first_imgKammuri is moving slowly to the westnorthwest at 10 kilometer per hour. Local government units (LGUs) werealso told to review their contingency plans. Other weather agencies such as theJapan Meteorological Agency and the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center inGuam forecast the storm hitting the Bicol region or Central Luzon area. In its latest bulletin last night, thePhilippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administrationwarned of potential hazards as Kammuri strengthened from a severe tropicalstorm into a typhoon outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility. Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction andManagement Office head Zeaphard Caelian said Lacson wanted to heightenpreparedness for possible flooding or landslides. BACOLOD City – Gov. Eugenio JoseLacson ordered all disaster risk reduction and management offices (DRRMO) inNegros Occidental to be on “blue alert” beginning due to the threat of typhoonKammuri. center_img Kammuri is expected to enter thecountry on Sunday morning and will be given the local name “Tisoy.” Courtesy of PAGASA website The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysicaland Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the storm is threateningnorthern Luzon. However, the typhoon may still affect Negros Occidental,bringing light to at time heavy rains and thunderstorms. Kammuri is also threatening theSoutheast Asian Games, which will open tomorrow in Bulacan./PNlast_img read more

East Central Swim Team Results At Donners Winter invitational

first_imgEast Central Swim Team NewsDonners Winter invitational January 19-21 at the Charles “Chick” Newell Natatorium in Columbus, Indiana. There were 18 swim teams competing with ECST having 31 swimmers competing.Local swimmers Nash King and Santiago Schutte both made Indiana State swim times. Both are in the Boys 9-10 year old age group.Nash King (9)50 yard Fly with a time of 34:74100 yard Fly a time of 1:22.29Santiago Schutte (10)200 yard IM a time of 2:51.65200 yard Free a time of 2:27.86100 yard Breast a time of 1:31.39100 yard Free a time of 1:07.05Both will be competing at the Indiana Swimming Age Group State Championship at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis March 16-18.Also from ECST Reagan Reany made two divisional swim times in the Girls 9-10 age group in the 100 Yard Free and 50 Yard Back. She will be competing at the Indiana Swimming Divisionals in Columbus, Indiana March 2-4.last_img read more

Jovetic brace pleases Pellegrini

first_img “Liverpool are an important team and one that will be fighting for the title. “We have had a hard start to the season so it is important for us to win the second game.” Liverpool failed to make the most of having the better of the opening 35 minutes and the hope must be new £16million signing Mario Balotelli, watching from the directors’ box after finalising his move from AC Milan, will give them an extra spark up front. “I think that in the market to get someone in at that quality, the deal for us was very good,” said manager Brendan Rodgers, who is not worried about the Italian’s reputation for getting into trouble on and off the pitch. “He is a world-class talent and it is an area we need to strengthen. “It is a calculated risk but on where we believe can help him as a player and to mature as a young man. “I don’t have any concerns at all to be honest. It’s that culture that has allowed me to have confidence that if he comes in it won’t be affected. “He comes in with a reputation but we hope at our club we can curb that behaviour. He knows he is part of a team. “There are no egos and ‘big time Charlies’ in our squad. This is a group that’s got to the Champions League because they are a team. “I think there’s excitement with them (about him) coming in. I’m certainly looking forward to it. “One thing he doesn’t lack is confidence. He has that belief and football arrogance and the best teams have that.” Rodgers has spent about £115million this summer, much of which came from the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but he knows that will count for nothing if they cannot turn it into points on the pitch. “The goals we’re disappointed with of course,” he added on the game. “The first goal we were not alert in the box so that was disappointing. The second goal they have worked quite well but sometimes you have to compliment the quality. “If you buy players it doesn’t guarantee you anything. You can spend as much money as you want but it doesn’t guarantee you anything. “I’m only confident that they are going to get better.” Press Association Asked whether the striker had finally started to deliver Pellegrini said: “Yes and not only on his goals. “He was working the whole game, without the ball too. He was very unlucky last season but we never had any doubt about this quality. “To start the season in this way after an unlucky new season is good but I don’t think it is like a new signing. “We need four strikers. At this moment Stevan is doing very well but you cannot forget Negredo is injured. “Edin Dzeko and Jovetic and Aguero are working well. It is important that they continue playing the way they did.” Last season Liverpool ran City a very close second in a nail-biting title race which went down to the final week of the season. However, the way in which Pellegrini’s side clinically dispatched their opponents suggested the gap may be wider this time around. “For me these are games of six points – especially when you play at home,” he added. The Montenegro international endured a miserable maiden campaign dogged by injury and illness but after a full pre-season he is firing on all cylinders again and scored twice in the 3-1 win over Liverpool. He has seized the opportunity presented by injuries to Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero, who came off the bench to score City’s third before Rickie Lambert forced Pablo Zabaleta into a late own goal. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is delighted to see striker Stevan Jovetic make the most of his fresh start at the club. last_img read more