Netherlands roundup: ABP completes nuclear, tobacco divestments

first_imgIt added that it expected the investments would not continue to deliver solid returns in the future.In May, ABP revealed that it had hit its target for reducing the carbon emissions of its portfolio assets two years earlier than planned. The €409bn civil service pension fund ABP completed the divestment of €4bn worth of holdings in nuclear arms manufacturers and tobacco producers in 2018.The divestment included all subsidiaries and companies in the supply chain, it added.The scheme said it had re-invested the proceeds worldwide and spread across several sectors. At the start of last year, ABP announced that nuclear arms and tobacco no longer matched its aim to invest sustainably and responsibly. Credit: Mark PrinsWouter Koolmees, social affairs ministerThey also want the government to drop financial sanctions on individuals taking early retirement and to prevent cuts to pension rights.Koolmees, who has already published a letter outlining his view on how to continue with the current pensions system, said he would thoroughly assess the ultimatum.He said he didn’t have plans to force through changes without involving the unions.Retail and food sector schemes raise premiums to boost fundingThe Dutch pension funds for the retail and food sectors are to raise contributions and reduce annual accrual rates in 2019.Both schemes said their goal was to increase their premium’s coverage of liabilities relative to the discount rate.The €20bn retail sector scheme (Detailhandel) said it wanted to increase its contribution from 21.6% to 22.6% of the pensionable part of the salary, while aiming at an accrual rate reduction from 1.62% to 1.56%.The €6bn scheme for the food industry (Levensmiddelen) said it intended to raise premiums from 20% to 20.6%, and to decrease accrual from the maximum tax-deductible level of 1.875% to 1.768%.Detailhandel said that its premium covered 87% of liabilities, a percentage that was meant to rise to 95% next year.For Levensmiddelen, its current premium coverage of 77% of liabilities was to rise to 85%.At November-end, the funding ratio of Detailhandel and Levensmiddelen stood at 109.8% and 102.3%, respectively.Bart Onkenhout, director of the food industry scheme, said that the measure had been triggered by an asset-liability management study last summer, which had suggested that the premium’s coverage of liabilities was unlikely to improve.Recently, the €72bn metal scheme PMT announced that it also wanted to raise its premium coverage above its existing level of 80%. However, it must wait until 2020 when the five-year agreement between employers and trade unions expires.The social partners at ABP agreed in 2016 to a phased contribution increase in order to boost the proportion of funding covered by premiums.center_img ABP has sold billions worth of nuclear and tobacco company stockUnions threaten strike action over pension demandsDutch trade unions have issued an ultimatum to the government demanding concessions in line with earlier calls made during last year’s negotiations over pension system reforms.In a letter to social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees, unions FNV, CNV and VCP threatened industrial action if the government refused to honour their demands.The unions want the government to freeze the retirement age for the state pension (AOW) at 66, introduce mandatory pension saving for self-employed workers, and relax the rules around pension schemes’ inflation-linked compensation.last_img read more

Alastair Scott: End of Life Choice Bill will alter pillar of society

first_imgNZ Herald 8 January 2018Family First Comment: “…However, it would also apply to those disadvantaged by age, physical or mental disability, sickness and poverty, and sadly those without the compassionate support of family.Ill health is known to affect mental health, happiness levels and the ability to see a future without pain or despair. In a depressed or affected state I believe that one’s ability to make a definitive choice of this magnitude is compromised.”Make a submission today – the Christmas break, Parliament debated David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.The bill passed its first reading and is now sitting with a select committee which will open for public submissions in the new year.I cast a “No” conscience vote in the first reading. I respect that many of you will have a different position.The euthanasia and assisted suicide debate is extremely emotive. It asks us to question some very fundamental beliefs and examine long-held moral codes. Death is often a taboo conversation subject in our society.Some would say Parliament is at its best when members speak their own minds and from personal experience, and party politics do not play any role. We each have our own viewpoints and I would like to explain my vote to you.David Seymour’s bill supports the death of patients in two different ways. The first is called euthanasia. Euthanasia is an ancient Greek concept which in a broad sense means a ‘good death’. In our society, euthanasia has come to mean a doctor delivering a lethal injection to a person, usually something like phenobarbital.The second method described in the bill is physician-assisted suicide, where the doctor gives the patient a lethal drug that they can take a time of their choosing. This bill allows for both methods which is almost unheard of in any other jurisdiction around the world.In my role as an MP, I am a law-maker.I take this role seriously and believe that this bill will forever alter a fundamental pillar of our society. The role of the Parliament is to ensure that we have a set of laws that protect our community. If we are going to change the law, we must ask ourselves: “will this law keep all members of our society safe?” On this matter of life and death the outcomes are absolute.I understand the pain that many individuals, life-partners and family members face during battles with mental and physical illness. I understand that euthanasia offers an option. The law should apply to those who have carefully and philosophically considered their choice, supported by family and professionals, with a clear view about their choice.However, it would also apply to those disadvantaged by age, physical or mental disability, sickness and poverty, and sadly those without the compassionate support of family.Ill health is known to affect mental health, happiness levels and the ability to see a future without pain or despair. In a depressed or affected state I believe that one’s ability to make a definitive choice of this magnitude is compromised. A positive state of mind is regarded by many health professionals as a factor in physical recovery.A decision to end a human life must be based in categorical fact and I do not believe that diagnosis is always as rigorous as we might like to believe. Over many years the euthanasia debate has brought forward many examples of those diagnosed with a debilitating condition or terminal illness that have ‘beaten the odds’ or survived for much longer than doctors predicted.Some individuals have even reached a place in which their pain or symptoms were reduced dramatically, their quality of life returned and they were ‘cured’.In addition, treatments and medical interventions frequently progress, new drug therapies are developed and pain management techniques improve.The bill compromises the integrity of our healthcare services in New Zealand. Healthcare should enhance quality of life for individuals.The World Health Organisation describes palliative care in a way that reflects my own thinking – it affirms life and regards dying as a normal process, it should neither hasten nor postpone death.Health services have a duty of care, not a duty to end life, or a duty to make a decision about a life. The bill impacts the role of the medical professional, as it will place a moral burden on the shoulders of healthcare professionals. I think it will have a profound impact on the relationship between doctors and patients.I am concerned about a future in which medical professionals and society become more comfortable with euthanasia as an option.It is possible that judgments will be made about the value of life. For an individual to look to end their life to relieve emotional and financial distress for families is not a place of genuine ‘choice’, and, I believe, that would more likely to apply to those more vulnerable individuals, with less financial and social resources.As a country, I would like more emphasis and funding to be delivered to palliative and end of life support services. We need to effectively care for individuals and families in their hour of need.If you feel strongly about this issue, please get involved in this debate by contacting me or through the select committee public consultation process. The views of our local community are important. read more

Ousted official to get $95,000

first_imgLOS ANGELES: Council doesn’t need to approve payout for ex-transit chief. By Kerry Cavanaugh STAFF WRITER City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and City Councilman Bernard Parks approved a $95,000 payout Monday to former Los Angeles transit chief Gloria Jeff, who claimed she was unfairly fired by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Delgadillo and Parks were the two supporting votes on the three-member Claims Board, which can authorize settlements up to $100,000 without council or mayoral approval. The mayor’s representative on the board, attorney Tom Saenz, did not attend the meeting. Under the settlement, Jeff will agree to drop the appeal of her termination, along with any other legal claims she may have against the city. The voter-approved city charter empowers the mayor to hire and fire general managers. However, some African- American community leaders and council members said the mayor unfairly fired Jeff, giving her an ultimatum to resign immediately or be fired, with no explanation, after he personally recruited her to the $200,000-a-year job. Villaraigosa’s office has said Jeff was warned that her management of the Department of Transportation was deficient and after that she was encouraged to seek communications and leadership training. Jeff was hired in March 2006. She’d previously worked as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation and as a federal transit official under former President Clinton. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Video: Did Diego Costa bite Gareth Barry as Everton beat Chelsea?

first_imgChelsea striker Diego Costa found himself mired in controversy again on Saturday night as he was sent off against Everton in their 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat.The Blues star confronted Gareth Barry after a challenge and after butting the player appeared to open his mouth and place it over the midfielder’s neck.But was it a bite like those Luis Suarez has done in the past? Check out the video below and let us know in the comments… 1 Diego Costa is sent off against Everton last_img

Mandela’s aura unique: Tiger Woods

first_imgOn Thursday, Mandela’s birthday, English Premiership club Manchester City face South African Premier Soccer League club AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in the Nelson Mandela Day Football Invitational. Kick-off is at 20:00. Nelson Mandela turns 95 on Thursday. He became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, having been released from prison on 11 February 1990. What struck him most, Woods revealed, was Mandela’s aura. “We walked in the room and my dad and I were just kind of looking around. And I said, ‘Dad, do you feel that?’ And he says, ‘Yeah, it feels different in this room.’ And it was just like a different energy in the room. Mandela has shown his love of sport throughout his life, and sport is set to reciprocate that love with a number of events to celebrate the icon. ‘Unlike any person I’ve ever met’ Nelson Mandela Day Football Invitational “The energy that he has, that he exudes, is unlike any person I’ve ever met. And it was an honour to meet him at his home.” The Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day In 2009, the United Nations officially declared the 18th of July Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day). In memory of his 67 years of fighting for social justice, Mandela Day calls on people to give up 67 minutes of their day to “fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation”. Then, on Saturday, 17 August, the Springboks and Bafana will both play international matches at the FNB Stadium in Soweto to celebrate the former President in the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day. “And maybe, I’m guessing probably 30 seconds later, I heard some movement behind me and it was President Mandela folding up the paper. And it was pretty amazing. Golfing great Tiger Woods on Tuesday recalled meeting with then South African President Nelson Mandela in 1998, saying: “That’s an experience that I will never, ever forget.” AmaZulu fans have been urged to buy tickets and also to sign a Madiba birthday card. The giant card, which tour promoters Matchworld want to get into the Guinness Book of Records, is on display in Durban. 17 July 2013 “To be able to be incarcerated for that long and come out and run a country with humbleness and humility. Just the aura that he exudes, unlike any person, as I said, I’ve ever met,” Woods commented on Tuesday. “He impacted the world, not just for his generations, but for future generations to come, just the way he handled everything. And that takes a very special person.” Speaking to journalists at Muirfield ahead of the British Open, which tees off on Thursday, Woods said: “I went down there to play Sun City, and he invited us to his home [in Johannesburg], and my father and I went to have lunch with him. It still gives me chills to this day, thinking about it.” Mandela’s aura Two other major sporting events are coming up in August to celebrate Mandela, involving the South African national rugby team, the Springboks, and the national football team, Bafana Bafana. Tickets for both events are on sale and available from Computicket. The Springboks won the 1995 IRB Rugby World Cup with Mandela as the team’s most famous supporter, and that was followed by Bafana Bafana winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, with Mandela once again showing his strong support. Celebrating Mandela The aim is to have 10 000 signatures on it. The current world record for the most number of signatures on a birthday card is 5 339 for actor Robert Downey junior. Bafana Bafana will take on Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso in a friendly, with that match being followed by the Springboks’ opening match of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship against Argentina. On Wednesday, 14 August, Bafana Bafana will face Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge.last_img read more

How to Sell Green Products to Builders and Remodelers

first_imgAs you know I recently returned from speaking to over 400 sales professionals at two different companies. The first company is a multi-state regional retailer of building products. The second company is a national green products manufacturer/installer. Both groups sold directly to builders/remodelers and both groups wanted to learn more about green building for themselves and also what resources they could share with their builders who wanted to become greener.Isn’t that interesting? They wanted to learn about resources that would benefit their builders who also wanted to learn green. That desire to help their customers is what brought me to them after all. It was a chance to help them in their business, which I knew would ultimately help me in mine. To that at end I gave them all a “To-Do” List of items to accomplish in the year ahead to help them reach their goals. Items I believe will increase their sales and make their customers stronger! In no particular order I recommended the following 11 ideas:1. Know your product & your competition. As a green builder I regularly know more about a salesperson’s product than they do. If you are a vendor selling green, learn your stuff as well as you know the old sticks and bricks. Learn how it stacks up to the competition before you come calling on me. Practice at home, not in my office.2. Learn about basic building science. That means know how what you are selling fits into they larger system of which it is a part. Maybe that’s a wall or floor system. Perhaps the thermal envelope or drainage plane. Just know it.3. Keep it simple. No two hour presentation please. Just the basics. Think green lists. Where does it fit? Show me fast, then follow my lead if more detail is warranted.4. Never, ever email a proposal. No matter how much I kick and scream, insist on bringing it to me and walking me through it. Don’t expect or ask for a signed contract but don’t let me off the hook either — make sure I understand what you quoted.5. Address my fears. Lots of new stuff on the market that I am afraid could get me in trouble. Leverage that. Explain how you will keep my butt out of court and my client happy.6. Sell to the ego. We all have one so don’t ignore it. Peer pressure can be a wonderful motivator and since nobody wants to be left behind, assure me that by using what you are selling not only will I not be left behind my competition, I will remain out in front of them.7. Throw out your stereotypes of green building and green builders. It doesn’t matter if I am (or you think I am) a tree hugging, Sierra Club loving vegetarian, if you want my Green (or my clients) you best learn that those stereotypes are fast becoming obsolete. Red or blue, we are all buying green!8. Remain generous in partnering on legit green homes. Just because your builder wants a sweet deal doesn’t mean you should give it. Save your sponsorships and underwriting for unique, professionally designed and built, nationally certified green homes. Do not settle for anything less!9. Get your CGP designation. Where else will you get to spend three straight days sitting in a room with potential clients from 9 to 5? I mean a room full of builders and remodelers for three straight days, this should be a no-brainer!10. Learn LEED for Homes & National Green Building Standard (ANSI 700). If you need an explanation here, begin in GBA’s Green building Encyclopedia Green Rating Systems section11. Believe it!a. Green ain’t going awayb. Obsolete building practices are historyc. 3rd party inspection are the wave of the futured. Green does not have to cost moreI hope you can write your own list and take the time to sit down with your key business partners and do some sharing, some strategic planning together. Whether these partners are suppliers, trade contractors or manufacturer reps is up to you. But I believe if you share your insights and wisdom on how they can make their business greener, it will ultimately makes your greener as well!last_img read more

New drug on the streets of Vancouver have health officials worried

first_imgTina HouseAPTN NewsHealth officials in Vancouver are now battling a new drug on the streets.Since 2014, first responders have largely been seeing overdoses caused from fentanyl, and carfentanil.But now there’s something new that naloxone – the drug that helps revive overdose patients – has no effect [email protected]@inthehouse7last_img