The overall funding position of UK defined benefit (DB) schemes improved significantly in 2017, according to new figures. According to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), total assets held by UK private sector DB funds grew by 7.7% over the course of the year, from under £1.5trn (€1.7trn) to nearly £1.6trn.Combined liabilities fell slightly, the PPF reported, to just under £1.7trn. This left an aggregate funding level of 94%, compared with 87% at the end of 2016.The data backed up similar research from consultants JLT Employee Benefits and Mercer, which both reported that asset growth outstripped increases in liabilities during 2017. Mercer found that the funding position for FTSE 350-listed company pension schemes improved marginally. Combined DB liabilities grew by 4.4% to reach £857bn, but assets rose by nearly 6% to £781bn. This left an aggregate funding ratio of 91% at the end of 2017, compared with just under 90% a year earlier.JLT reported similar findings in its estimate of the aggregate FTSE 350 schemes’ funding position, which it said rose from 91.6% to 93.7% during the year.Its data for all private sector DB schemes showed that the aggregate funding level rose from 89.2% to 91.5%.Charles Cowling, director at JLT Employee Benefits, said a slowdown in the rate at which longevity was increasing had helped rein in liability increases, as had growing expectations of interest rate rises.Alan Baker, partner at Mercer and chair of its DB policy group, said the funding improvement could release significant capital for companies to invest in growth rather than fund their pension schemes.“This is really positive news for the UK economy because improved profits in 2018 resulting from lower pension costs could amount to £400m among the FTSE 350 [companies],” he said.However, his colleague Andrew Ward, head of risk transfer consulting, said that “the levels of risks being taken are still significant and the positive outcome we have seen for 2017 is very closely linked to stock market performance”.“As we move into 2018, it’s important for individual schemes to consider how prepared they are for any market shock,” Ward added. “With Brexit-related uncertainty trustees need to consider the potential impact on their sponsor’s financial security.“Against this backdrop, we expect schemes to reduce risk and consolidate gains. The pace of risk management activity we saw in 2017 is likely to accelerate and we expect 2018 to be the biggest year ever for pension risk transfer.”JLT’s Cowling echoed Ward’s prediction, and added that increased appetite for buyouts could reduce the number of private sector DB schemes to fewer than 5,000 by 2020.The PPF said there were 5,588 schemes in its 7800 Index database at the end of December.Debates over DB scheme closures – including high profile cases such as Royal Mail, USS and Tesco – drew negative headlines in the UK national press last year as scheme sponsors sought to address large deficits.In addition, controversy surrounding the British Steel Pension Scheme’s restructure and government inquiries into the DB system drew attention to the shortfalls in many schemes.However, the latest funding data appeared to support the UK government’s assertion last year that there was no overarching funding crisis in the country’s DB system.
More than 70 companies and institutions, including some of the leading offshore wind developers and equipment manufacturers, have called for the development of 3GW of floating offshore wind in the French Mediterranean by 2030.According to a joint statement, the French Mediterranean is ready to host the first commercial offshore floating wind tender in 2019.The 3GW objective will be included in the regional development plans of the South-Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur and Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée regions (SRADDET), the statement said.The French Mediterranean is deemed to have ideal conditions for floating wind, with strong and steady winds, virtually no tides and moderate swells, and a suitable seabed, the statement said.France has so far approved four floating wind pilot projects with a combined capacity of just under 100MW. Three of those pilot projects are located in the Mediterranean, with the commissioning expected throughout 2020 and 2021. The country’s current energy program calls for the approval of up to 2GW of floating wind and tidal projects in addition to the 100MW that will be in service by 2023.The call for 3GW of floating wind by 2030 has gathered 74 signatories including Equinor, the owner and operator of the world’s first commercial floating wind farm, GE Renewable Energy, Siemens Gamesa, Senvion, wpd, Engie, EDP Renewables, EDF Energies Nouvelles, etc.
Children Orphaned by Ebola One lasting legacy of the Ebola virus will be its impact on the young. In Sierra Leone, close to nine thousand children have been orphaned – and many others abandoned. Finding them a home is a major challenge. CCTV’s Robert Nagila is in the capital Freetown. He sent this reporthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNSu4ceRW7MRelated Liberian Children Orphaned by Ebola Face Stigma Dealing with Ebola in Sierra Leone
Southeastern, IN—Snow is continuing to fall this morning in southeastern Indiana with additional snow accumulations of up to one inch possible in the region according to the National Weather Service. Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.Officials are asking drivers to please slow down and use caution while traveling. There have been several reports of accidents in Decatur, Franklin, and Switzerland Counties though no roads have been closed. Crews have been dispatched to help clear the roads. A quick-moving, low-pressure system will offer a chance for light snow Saturday. All in total by Saturday, there could be up to 2 inches of snow in some areas including Decatur, Jennings, and Jefferson Counties according to the National Weather Service Prediction Center in Indianapolis.
RelatedPosts Neymar, four others sent off as Marseille grab rare win at PSG Three more PSG players test positive for coronavirus Sarr signs Chelsea five-year contract Amiens football club, relegated to the second division when the French football season was terminated early due to the coronavirus pandemic, launched a legal battle on Tuesday to remain in the French top flight.Paris Saint-Germain were awarded the title on April 30 when the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) declared the 2019/20 campaign over despite 10 games remaining. Marseille, in second, gained a place in the group stages of next season’s Uefa Champions League, while third-placed Rennes also advanced to the qualifying rounds for European football’s most prestigious club competition.At the other end of Ligue 1, Toulouse dropped to the second tier, while Lens and Lorient were promoted from Ligue 2 though AJ Ajaccio, Troyes and Clermont Foot were vying for the automatic promotion places with 10 games remaining.“We’ve been forced into a fight,” said Amiens president Bernard Joannin. “We’ve got to go to the courts to fight an unjust decision.”The LFP decided to end the season and allocate places for next season’s European competitions after French prime minister Edouard Philippe said there would be no more professional sports before September even though his government wanted to ease the restrictions aimed at arresting the spread of the coronavirus.French football was suspended in the middle of March as part of the administration’s measures to stop a rising death toll from the illness. When play was suspended, Amiens had collected 23 points from their 28 games to lie in 19th position.However, they were only four points behind 18th placed Nimes who occupied the relegation play-off spot.Saint Etienne and Dijon, who had 30 points, were in the relegation mix with another 30 points at stake.Christophe Bertrand, the lawyer acting for Amiens, said: “How can there be relegation when the competition isn’t over? Another 26 percent of the season remained. It’s like finishing the match in the 66th minute … Is it fair to declare a winner at that point of the game? The legal answer is no.”Since rising for the first time to the top flight in May 2017, Amiens have floated in the lower half of the division. They finished their debut season in 2018 in 13th with 45 points.That was followed by 15th place in 2019.“The decision to end the season was taken too quickly and without real consultation,” Joannin added. “If you look at other sports such as rugby, handball and basketball, there’s been no relegation. No alternatives appear to have been considered.”Tags: Amiens FCLegal BattleLigue 1Relegation
It was from the bench that the Belgium international announced himself to the Toffees faithful last weekend in a goalscoring cameo on a debut which helped turn the tide in his new side’s favour against West Ham. The 20-year-old was often deployed as a substitute during his time with West Brom last season too, and he signed off at the Hawthorns by coming on to score a second-half hat-trick in a remarkable 5-5 draw with the already-anointed Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United. On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku can be so much more than just a super-sub for Everton, according to his manager Roberto Martinez. Lukaku started 20 times for the Baggies in the league but appeared as a replacement in a further 15 games as his combination of size, speed and athleticism posed a unique challenge for weary defenders. However, while some strikers have forged a career making impacts in the latter stages of games, Martinez is adamant the Chelsea forward can influence contests from the very first whistle. “I think every team is different and the options that you have in that team are different,” said the Everton boss. “Romelu now, at his age, has had enough experience. When you score 17 goals in this league you mature a lot, and quickly, and I do feel that Romelu is ready to start. “He’s not an impact player and he’s not someone who needs to come on when games are open, his overall game is good enough to start games and affect games from that point. “But you look at the options in that position, it’s exciting. We’ve got Arouna Kone, Nikica Jelavic and Romelu Lukaku. It’s as good as it gets. We’re really, really pleased to have a position here where it’s going to be very expensive to play. That develops great competition and it raises the standard.” Martinez sees similar strength in depth in Everton’s opponents on Monday night Newcastle. A lack of activity during the summer transfer window coupled with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in their first game left some Magpies fans fearing the worst this season. Press Association However, Martinez believes Alan Pardew’s men will pose a serious threat to the Premier League’s only remaining unbeaten record at Goodison Park. “I see a really good balance between experience and organisation but then a real threat with the likes of (Loic) Remy, (Papiss) Cisse, (Hatem) Ben Arfa and (Yohan) Cabaye,” added Martinez. “You’re talking about top, top footballers who are in a good moment in their careers and full internationals. “You take away the Manchester City game and they’ve been performing at a very, very good level so it would be foolish for anyone to underestimate the potential of this Newcastle side.”
A Port St. Lucie man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a woman and threatening her with a gun.The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office say the man claimed the SUV and the guns found inside belonged to “John Wick.”Deputies responded to a phone call on Sunday at a home in Port Saint Lucie, where a woman told them 27-year Getro Gelin assaulted her and pointed a gun at her, threatening to kill her.When deputies arrived, the woman told them Gelin hid the gun in his Porsche SUV. When deputies searched the vehicle they found a handgun and rifle inside.Gelin told the officers that the Porsche SUV and the weapons belonged to his cousin “John Wick.” John Wick is a fictional legendary assassin played by Keanu Reeves in the 2014 movie and its sequels.He later admitted that he “lied about the name, but that he would not reveal his cousin’s name.”Gelin was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery. He has since been released after posting a $3,500 bond.
Greek students participated in a cleanup of the Row on Sunday morning, an event jointly hosted by Greeks Go Green and the Department of Public Safety. The cleanup covered the Southeast side of the Row, stretching from Pi Kappa Phi to Sigma Alpha Mu.Greeks Go Green, a collaborative effort between the greek system and the Office of Sustainability, sponsors green initiatives to incorporate environmental sustainability into greek life at USC. The group was established during the 2013-2014 academic year.“The Office of Sustainability wanted a way to work with the greek community, so Greeks Go Green created that network for people to be involved both in greek life and sustainability initiatives,” said Joshua Blockstein, co-president of Greeks Go Green and a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.Sunday’s Row cleanup was preceded by Greek’s Go Green “Late Night Facts and Snacks,” an event on the corner of University Avenue and 28th Street outside of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house. Members of the organization handed out snacks and presented facts about sustainability, all in anticipation of Sunday’s event.“We want to raise our profile on the Row and give people a way to contribute,” Blockstein said. “We want to show that the greek community cares about sustainability and the environment.”The cleanup event on Sunday concluded with an all-Row barbecue located on the lawn of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, with hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks for cleanup volunteers and members of greek life.“The cleanup had lots of energy, and it was very cool to see everyone getting involved,” said Nathan Chen, a senior majoring in environmental studies. “It was cool to see USC serve as a benchmark for sustainability. This creates potential for a future partnership between DPS and the greek community to further clean up the Row.”In addition to proactive sustainability events like Sunday’s, Greeks Go Green supports many behind-the-scenes initiatives.“Our main plan is to have a chapter certification program for all of the greek houses,” Blockstein said. “When a chapter takes a step to become more sustainable, they are awarded with a certain certification rank. We want to motivate houses to become more environmentally friendly.”Other initiatives held by Greeks Go Green include red Solo cup recycling and an annual thrift shop event. The proceeds, collected from selling sorority members’ old clothing, get donated to Midnight Mission, a homeless shelter on Skid Row.
Before the shoot out, both teams had tied 1-1 (2-2 aggregate).In Valencia, Spain, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hat-trick helped Arsenal into the final of the Europa League as they won for a 7-3 aggregate victory.The Gunners are now just one win away from Champions League qualification, while manager Unai Emery can make history by winning a record fourth Europa League crown.Trailing 3-1 from the first leg in London, Kevin Gameiro’s close-range effort had given the hosts the early impetus.However, Aubameyang’s right-foot volley from 20 yards levelled matters before Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead with a placed effort into the right corner.Gameiro, a four-time winner of the competition at Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, tapped in Valencia’s second of the night before Aubameyang rounded off the scoring.The Gabon forward slid in from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross and then blasted emphatically into the top corner late on to complete his hat-trick and a 4-2 win.It means Arsenal, whose first away game of this Europa League campaign was in Azerbaijan against FK Qarabag, will return to the country for the final on Wednesday, 29 May (20:00 BST).Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Eden Hazard scored the winning penalty last night as Chelsea edged past Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties to set up an all-English Europa League final against Arsenal.Earlier on Wednesday, Tottenham defeated Ajax 3-2 to book an all English UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool scheduled for June 1 in Madrid.Hazard, who could be playing his final game for the Blues at Stamford Bridge, converted after Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had saved from both Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Paciencia.
Jamaican officials urges Jamaica to consume less foods comprised of sugar, and exercise more to improve the nation’s health. Jamaican officials urges Jamaica to consume less foods comprised of sugar, and exercise more to improve the nation’s health. Less sugar, more exercisePrime Minster Andrew Holness says the next step in the Jamaica Moves (keep fit) campaign will be to take legislation to Parliament to regulate the sugar content in food products.However, Holness who was addressing a crowd in the town of May Pen in the central parish of Clarendon last week, said before this step is made, Jamaicans need to be educated about the ill effects of some of the foods they consume daily.Jamaica Moves road tourThe Prime Minister was attending the final in the series of Jamaica Moves road tours hosted by the Ministry of Health.In his address, Holness pointed out, “Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension and stroke, are linked to our lifestyle and how we choose to live. We eat rice, yam, dumpling and banana on one plate and all of that is starch, which converts to sugar. When you have too much of that and you are not exercising, you start to put on weight.”Exercise regularly“We want all Jamaicans to be healthy. We recommend 30 minutes a day of relatively easy exercise, such as walking in the morning; or 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily (which) is good for all of us,” he added.The Prime Minister noted that he, too, had recently embarked on a healthier lifestyle by eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners from his diet, and is encouraging all Jamaicans to either cut down or cut out sugar. He said he had also reduced his fat intake.“I am also encouraging you to eat more fruits and vegetables, like callaloo and cabbage. We, as a Government, are not just looking at the economy, roads and crime, but we take your health very seriously and are taking the message to you,” he said.Leads crowd in workoutAfter leading the crowd in a 20 minute workout, he commended Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton for doing an excellent job with the Jamaica Moves campaign and for practicing what he preaches by exercising daily.Tufton, in his address, encouraged all attendees to move and participate in the evening’s activities, because “we are trying to get every Jamaican to understand the relationship between physical activity and healthy lifestyle”.“We have too many Jamaicans dying of heart failure, diabetes and arthritis because they sit too much, eat badly, and before they reach 70 they have to take five to six tablets and live at the hospital and doctor. We don’t want that,” he said.The Health Minister noted that “public health is not just about hospitals but encouraging Jamaicans to live healthy lives.”