Romanian government eases grip on second-pillar system

first_imgThe IMF’s headquarters in Washington DCThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week published a statement following an official staff visit to Romania. In it, the IMF warned of a “severe” impact on government spending as a direct result of its planned pension system reforms.“The pension law currently under parliamentary discussion warrants a reassessment to balance social needs and fiscal sustainability,” the IMF said. “The provisions in the current bill would create new spending of about 4 percentage points of GDP.“This would add a severe strain to the government finances, burden the young generation, and crowd out other priority spending on public investment, education and health.”Outside of pension reform, the IMF also warned that the progress the country had made in improving people’s incomes relative to other European countries could “suffer a setback that hurts the real incomes of retirees and poor people particularly hard”.It stated: “A more balanced policy mix is needed to reduce the likelihood of such a setback: first and foremost, fiscal consolidation complemented by monetary tightening and greater exchange rate flexibility.“Additionally, policies need to become more predictable and governance improve to enhance the medium-run prospects of income convergence.”– Nick Reeve The Romanian government has stepped back from an element of pension system reform that it was feared would cripple second-pillar provision.Pension providers will no longer be required to increase the companies’ capital by €800m – an elevenfold increase on current levels. After six months of intense negotiations, the industry managed to convince the government to amend the requirement. However, the capital increase requirement was not scrapped completely – it was merely downsized to about €80m in total.  Radu Hanga, president of the Romanian Fund Management Association, speaks in defence of private sector providers at an event in Bucharest earlier this yearAt the time of the government’s announcement, several industry representatives as well as other stakeholders – including Pensions Europe – warned that the measures would be the end of the second pillar through a “de-facto nationalisation”.The government insisted the changes would “strengthen the system”.“The combined measures were a completely unnecessary and undeserved blow against the system,” Bobocea said. “They will not strengthen the system but weaken it, and it was a threat to its stability.”He said the industry was “backed by the people” in their negotiations with the government.“After good awareness campaigns last year and at the start of this year, people are learning more about the system and they are seeing that it is working,” Bobocea added.  European Commission voices concernIn a recommendation issued earlier this week, the European Commission also noted its concerns about the future of the second pillar despite the changes to the capital requirements.  The Commission feared that the Romanian government had only “postponed” payment of the full capital increase to December 2019.“Other provisions in the December 2018 emergency ordinance that endanger the viability of second pension pillar funds remain unchanged,” the Commission added.For the seven providers of pension funds in the mandatory system, the changes come after the industry reported its worst investment results since inception. In 2018 the average return was just 1% for the year, but just before the government announcement in December providers had still been averaging 4% for 2018.The government’s announcement combined with a severe market downturn hit pension funds hard. In addition, the Romanian leu has considerably depreciated against the euro, meaning assets in the second pillar amounted to just over €11bn.“The companies have not recovered fully from that over the first months of 2019,” APAPR’s Bobocea said.People leaving the system, lower management fees and higher capital requirements “will hit the industry hard”, he added. However, so far there had been no sign of any providers intending to throw in the towel.IMF weighs incenter_img Mihai Bobocea, adviser to the board of the Romanian Pension Funds Association (APAPR), said the development was only “in part good news”. “This reduction means that the second pillar indeed has a chance for survival,” he told IPE.However, he emphasised that the new capital requirements still meant an increase of 125% compared to the current capital levels for pension providers.The other three measures published by the government in an emergency ordinance in December were still in place, he added. This meant the previously mandatory second pillar was optional and people could opt to stop paying contributions but not take out accrued assets.In addition, construction workers – which make up around 10% of active contributors in the second pillar – were removed from the system for the next 10 years, but their accrued assets remain. Management fees levied on gross contributions were slashed by 70% of the legal maximum level.“No one knows why the government wanted to take out the construction workers, or why for 10 years,” Bobocea said, “or why the level of capital increase or cuts in management fees was chosen by the government.”Backlash against reformslast_img read more

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Largest Dredging Contract Awarded by USACE

first_imgThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, has announced the award of the second construction contract for work in the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project.The award, officially made on Thursday, is for $213 million to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC for the removal of approximately 7.95 million cubic yards of material from the Entrance Channel.This second contract, when combined with the first contract, awarded on September 7, 2017, will achieve the newly authorized depth of 54 feet throughout the more than 20 mile long Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel. The dredged material will primarily be placed in the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site offshore.“The award of the second contract for the Entrance Channel keeps us in line with our schedule, which will be the most time-consuming phase of the project,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, district commander.David Simonelli, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation, President of Dredging Division, commented, “The Charleston 2 deepening project is an important win for GLDD representing the largest dredging contract ever awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer.”“Combined with the $47.2 million Charleston 1 deepening project Great Lakes won in August, our hopper and cutter dredges will excavate over 20 million cubic yards of material to deepen the 20 mile Charleston Entrance Channel,” added Simonelli.It is anticipated that a combination of hopper, cutterhead and mechanical dredges will be utilized for construction under this contract. The requirements of this contract include the placement of dredged rock material to create nine artificial reefs, for a total of approximately 265 acres of hard bottom habitat, and a berm around the ODMDS, which will create more than 400 acres of additional hard bottom.This is the final contract that will be required to complete the deepening of the Entrance Channel and is part of the overall $529 million project cost. Depending on full-funding, dredge availability, weather and a variety of other factors, work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.A timeline for the dredging of the upper and lower harbors has not yet been finalized, but is planned to take place concurrently during a portion of the timeframe required to complete the Entrance Channel.last_img read more

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City Council Helps Fund September Run/Walk In Batesville

first_imgBATESVILLE – City officials are assisting organizers of a September run/walk in Batesville.The Batesville Community Education Foundation (BCEF) and Mayor’s Youth Council are working together to sponsor this year’s Batesville K12 Mascot Run. The event will be held at Liberty Park on Saturday, September 27.It consists of three separate run/walk events; the BCEF K12, Applefest 5K, and Family Fun 3K Trail Trek.Participants will register for a local school, either public or private. Any school with 100 people taking part will receive $500 from BCEF. Runners and walkers are encouraged to dress as their favorite mascot or in their school’s spirit wear.Proceeds beyond the $500 for individual schools will benefit BCEF and the Liberty Trails.“As a community education foundation, we would like to create an event that brings the community together while supporting our schools,” said Batesvile Community Education Foundation administrator Kelly Poltrack.City Council agreed Monday to help with funding by voting to donate $1,000 to the event.last_img read more

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Police looking for man wanted on murder allegations

first_imgMadison, IN—The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance from the public in locating Travis Edward Bailey, 25, of Commiskey.  Bailey was last known by officials to be near the intersection of 750 N and 1000 W in Jefferson County. Bailey is currently wanted on an active warrant for murder from Cincinnati.Anyone with information about Bailey’s location should contact a law enforcement agency immediately. Det. Gehring or Det. Randolph of Cincinnati Police Department can be reached at 513-352-3542. Jefferson County Central Dispatch can be reached at 812-265-2648. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, and the Ohio Valley Crime Suppression Task Force are actively looking for him.Bailey should be considered armed and dangerous.last_img read more

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Schmeichel: Fergie departure a bombshell

first_imgFormer Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has described Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to retire as manager at the end of the season as a “bombshell” and that he “can’t make sense of the timing”. Press Association Ferguson on Wednesday announced he would leave his position, but stay on as a director and ambassador after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford and the Dane who played under the Scot for nine years could not believe that the 71-year-old was leaving his position. “I’m shocked – I just can’t make sense of the timing,” he told Sky Sports News. “It has come as a bombshell, I really don’t know what to make of it.” center_img He added: “Yesterday I was really happy with what he had done this season, now this, I’m disappointed and very sad. “He’s always said the day would come when something in his life wasn’t right, is it is hip operation (he will have this summer)? I can’t see him retiring over that. (Until) he explains why, we can guess and guess. There is something there we don’t know about, he won’t retire for the sake of retiring, it is difficult to makes sense of it.” Schmeichel spoke about the time Ferguson came to the stopper, just hours after being told he would not be signing for United. He added: “The thing about Sir Alex is that 95 per cent of players brought in he’s been scouting them for a long time, and he handles personalities around football, for example the media, stuff like that very, very important to him. “Everyone wants a bit of Manchester United, everywhere you go, you are Manchester United. My move didn’t happen first time, it happened 12 months later. But the first time, he came over to Denmark, I met him at someone’s house and it was him saying ‘I just want you to develop I will come back in the summer’, and he flew back to Manchester. That’s the kind of guy he is.” Former United striker Dwight Yorke, who played under Ferguson between 1998 and 2002 and was part of the 1999 treble-winning side, feels a combination of factors led the Scot to call it a day at the age of 71. He told Sky Sports News: “The people within the football club knew this was likely to happen this season. And I think with his hip replacement (booked in for late July), with David Gill going as well, that sort of pushed him to say ‘this might be the best time for me to retire’.” Former player Paul Ince described Ferguson as one of a kind. Blackpool boss Ince told Sky Sports News: “He’s done the lot, you will never see anyone of his kind again. I remember the first day that I joined Man Utd. I failed my medical and I thought my move to Man Utd was going to collapse. The way he treated me was like a son and I will never forget that moment.” last_img read more

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McInnes believes Flood can step up

first_img The 28-year-old former Celtic midfielder, who joined from Dundee United last summer, is said to have impressed Martin O’Neill’s assistant, Roy Keane, ahead of the new management team’s debut against Serbia next month. The former Irish Under-21 international has helped Aberdeen into the Scottish League Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals in the last two weeks, and won the central midfield battle along with Barry Robson during a 2-1 fifth-round win at Celtic Park. Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has hailed the impact of Willo Flood amid reports the midfielder is in line for an Ireland call-up. McInnes said: “I’m always wary of club managers pushing their players too much for international honours and I don’t know the strength in depth of the Republic of Ireland. “But if you’re asking me about the credentials of Willo Flood as a footballer, he has been such an important signing for me as a manager. “He brings a consistency of performance, he brings an attitude to the team, he brings a personality to training every day, and he brings a real mentality to the whole club. Any manager is drawn to that type of player. “He can play as well. He’s got good feet, he chips in with the odd goal. But he always brings a level of performance. When Willo Flood is on your team sheet, you know exactly what you’re going to get. “If he’s part of a successful Aberdeen team, which we hope he will be, then him and a few others might just be able to get the opportunity to be in international managers’ thoughts. “If they have been watching him of late, they will only be impressed.” Meanwhile, McInnes has challenged his players to treat their Scottish Premiership clash at St Mirren Park on Saturday like their recent cup ties. He added: “They have got to take the confidence from those sort of results but recognise at the same time that, just because you beat Celtic and win a semi-final, it doesn’t say it will be automatic against St Mirren. “There’s a challenge there, 11 players from their team trying to stop us winning, and we have got to be ready to go toe to toe with that. The same motivation has got to be there.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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University earns spot on community service honor roll

first_imgUSC was recently named to President Obama’s 2010 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its students’ work in the surrounding neighborhood, but community service organizers recognize that the school still has work to do.This is the third year in a row USC has been named to the honor roll, though it has yet to reach the highest level, the Presidential Award, or the second-highest, Honor Roll with Distinction.Melissa Gaeke, director of USC’s Volunteer Center, said the award is great recognition of the center’s work. She noted, however, that USC’s community service program still has room to grow.Gaeke said the Volunteer Center is hindered by a fragmented approach to community service, but it could help get more students involved if more unity existed among community service groups.Gaeke said she plans to look at universities given Presidential or Honor Roll with Distinction Awards to see how their community service programs function.USC earned a place on the honor roll for programs like the Joint Educational Project, which offers students some form of course credit to teach at neighborhood schools. But the rating was also based on its volunteer activities such as Troy Camp, the Alternative Break Program and Greek-affiliated service events.The award is based on percentages, measuring how many students are involved in civic service in relation to how many are enrolled as well as the amount of funding devoted to community service, according to Kevin Days, adviser on the board of Higher Education Special Initiatives, which supports the president’s higher education community service honor roll program.Days said that, though numbers are calculated, this is not the most important factor.“Number of hours and programs are important, but the impact made is more important,” Days said.The program was launched in 2006 by Learn and Serve America under the Corporation for National and Community Service. Seven hundred and thirty-six schools of higher education were named to the honor roll this year, a hundred more than in 2009.Days said the award emphasizes an important aspect of higher education.“So often the discussion is about tuition, ratings … beyond just contributing graduates with diplomas, the honor roll gives schools an opportunity to discuss how service is part of the solution to many of the issues we’re facing as a nation,” Days said.Students who have participated in community service at USC said they think it is important to give back to the community.“USC, being in its unique surroundings, reminds us that not everyone is as lucky as us,” said Tina Coles, a senior majoring in psychology. “In some ritzy areas, schools may not even have the reason to do as much community service as you do here.”last_img read more

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Syracuse, CHA look to take advantage of conference’s automatic bid to NCAA tournament for 1st time

first_img Published on November 5, 2014 at 12:07 am Facebook Twitter Google+ In six years with a women’s hockey program, Syracuse has never made the NCAA tournament. It’s lacked the pedigree for an at-large bid and has settled for three College Hockey America tournament finals instead.Had the Orange won any of those games, it still probably wouldn’t have made the NCAA tournament.This year, though, a CHA tournament title would guarantee SU a spot in the national tournament.Now with six stable teams, the CHA gained an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament starting this season. The winner of the CHA tournament at the end of the season will be one of the eight teams competing for a national championship. Syracuse (2-3-5, 1-0-1 CHA) players and coaches use the auto-bid as extra motivation, as conference play started last weekend.“It’s just recognizing our sport, our league, nationally,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. “We’re a league that’s trying to continue to grow and we are — teams are doing very well.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMercyhurst is the only CHA team to have ever made the NCAA tournament. Now that the conference is better recognized, Flanagan and Mercyhurst head coach Michael Sisti hope multiple teams can make the tournament in the same year.Without a conference auto-bid, SU had to worry more about early-season games, needing to boost its resume for an at-large bid from the start of the season.Now the Orange can take advantage of the familiarity it has with conference opponents and use the early season to work on improving as a team.“We’ve had a lot of great players in this league, some great rivalries,” Sisti said. “I think the league has been respected but … (now) you know for sure (it) will have representation in the national tournament.”Sisti’s team has consistently made the tournament without an auto-bid and views that as a testament to Mercyhurst’s program. The auto-bid doesn’t add as much to the program as a result.Although the auto-bid lessens the importance of nonconference games, it increases that of conference play. All six teams make the CHA tournament at regular season’s end, but the top two receive a first-round bye.“It’s hard to think of it right now because we’ve only played two games but that one point, you don’t know in sports,” Flanagan said after the second game against Penn State on Saturday, in which the teams tied on a late PSU goal.Flanagan said the coaches are using the auto-bid as an unstated motivator for the rest of the season. It’s easy for players to be motivated for every game when they know there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.SU has to play every conference game like it’s “our last playoff game,” Flanagan added.The players too have talked about the auto-bid as a motivator and recognize the increased importance of conference play.“Now we can really focus on, ‘OK, we have to win all our conference games and if we do that, we’re going. We’re good,’” SU goalie Jenn Gilligan said.Down the road, Flanagan and SU assistant coach Brendon Knight see the new status of the CHA paying off in recruiting. The best players, Knight said, want to play for a championship competitor and now SU can pitch itself as such every year.Flanagan said that it was easy for other schools to be critical of SU and other CHA schools during the recruiting process. The league lacked stability and only one member school has made the NCAA tournament.And aside from giving CHA teams a better chance of playing in the NCAA tournament, the auto-bid serves as validation for Syracuse and the conference.“You come here, you got a chance,” Flanagan said of a recruiting pitch, “you’re always going to be in the mix to play in the NCAAs.” Commentslast_img read more

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A cross-country flight, no wallet and a well-kept secret: James Southerland’s week as the Boeheim’s Army ringer

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on July 21, 2016 at 10:17 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidman Related Stories Get ready for some old Big East basketball in JulyBoeheim’s Army takes down Basketball City NYC, 87-59, to advance to Round of 32How Boeheim’s Army escaped the hectic final 30 seconds of its 2nd-round game to advanceBoeheim’s Army advances past North Broad Street Bullies, 86-82NBA Summer League, uncle’s wedding and Boeheim’s Army star — all in a day’s work for C.J. Faircenter_img PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Belbey didn’t even tell his own brother, Syracuse walk-on Shaun Belbey, who the Boeheim’s Army ringer was. From two hours before the midnight deadline on Monday night to about two hours before tipoff on Thursday, the mystery man’s identity stayed hidden while on social media every Syracuse shooter from the past decade was floated as a possibility to join the team in Philadelphia.It turned out to be James Southerland, who didn’t even know if he was going to make it to the East Coast in time for the game, hence Belbey withholding the former SU sharpshooter’s name until right before he walked in the door at Philadelphia University.“I was all the way in California,” Southerland said after Boeheim’s Army’s 91-84 Thursday night loss to The Untouchables in The Basketball Tournament’s Round of 16. “I literally flew in less than 24 hours before I got in.”On Monday night around 10 p.m., Belbey sent the email to TBT indicating Boeheim’s Army would activate their right to add a player. He didn’t even type out Southerland’s name in the email, instead sending only a highlight tape of Southerland hitting nine 3-pointers against Arkansas from Nov. 30, 2012. He had 35 points that game, a fitting indication of the scoring prowess from deep Belbey hoped he’d bring to Boeheim’s Army.On Thursday he only hit one long ball that accounted for all three of his points as Boeheim’s Army struggled mightily from deep while the Pittsburgh alumni hit twice as many shots from behind the arc.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite the end result, Southerland’s frantic journey across the country was almost as suspenseful as the secret he and Belbey kept for three days.When Southerland landed in New York City, he made a pit stop at home in Bayside, New York to gather his belongings. He then headed back to meet Brandon Triche, who would drive him to Philadelphia for the game. Southerland, who already packed lightly with only the clothes he needed to play and a pair of compression shorts, forgot his wallet at home and didn’t have an identification to present at the player entrance.He and Triche entered the Gallagher Athletic Center shortly after 4:30, the mystery officially solved.“I told Brandon that he was the real MVP,” Belbey said. “…held James captive in the car on the way up here…Part of the reason we were keeping it a secret is ‘cause I needed to make sure James could get here first.”It turned out to be a short stay for Southerland as Boeheim’s Army came up short of the $2 million for a second straight summer.The last time he played Pittsburgh, he went 6-for-6 from 3-point range. This time didn’t yield anywhere near the same results, but it was a captivating arrival nonetheless. Commentslast_img read more

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All four provinces in Pro 12 action this weekend.

first_imgMunster, Leinster and Ulster will all name their starting teams later this afternoon ahead of another weekend of the Guinness Pro12.But Connacht will continue their bid for a top-six finish tonight.Pat Lam’s side have Mils Muiliana back in their starting side as they travel to the Arms Park to face the Cardiff Blues. Meanwhile, Glasgow have a chance to regain the top spot in the table as they host Zebre.Both matches will kick-off at 19:35.last_img

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