Fed up judge sets meeting at LA shelter on homeless crisis

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — A fed up federal judge in California says last week’s rainstorm created extraordinarily harsh conditions for homeless residents of Los Angeles. He ordered city officials to meet with him at a Skid Row shelter to discuss how to address the worsening crisis of people living on the streets. The action involves a lawsuit accusing officials in greater Los Angeles of failing to comprehensively address the homelessness problem. The judge said during a visit downtown last week that he witnessed the impact of the wet, cold weather on homeless residents, including a woman who was naked and suffering from hypothermia.last_img

Greenhouse program

first_imgConsumer demands are forcing greenhouse managers to grow better plants at better prices. To help them stay competitive, the University of Georgia and others will offer the Regional Greenhouse Management Seminar Nov. 14 in Dallas, Ga.UGA experts will provide useful, factual information and techniques to give growers the tools they need to be successful.They’ll cover nutrient deficiency disorders, tospoviruses, legislative issues, watering bans and solid waste management. Private (1 hour) and commercial (2 hours) pesticide recertification credits will be given.The program starts at 2:45 p.m. at Rambo Nursery at 279 Tucker Boulevard in Dallas. It ends at 7 p.m. Dinner and a few door prizes will be provided.Preregistration by Nov. 11 is required. To sign up, mail your name, address, phone number and e-mail address with a $5 check (payable to the Paulding County Agribusiness Association) to the PCAA at 530 W. Memorial Drive, Dallas, GA 30132.For more on the event, call the Paulding County Extension Service office at (770) 443-7616.last_img read more

Renewable energy credits in Ohio on the chopping block

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):After spiraling lower during the final week of July, over-the-counter prices for in-state solar renewable energy credits in Ohio were mixed during the week ended Aug. 1, still reeling after legislation was passed that would eliminate the state’s solar carve-out starting in 2020.Dropping $7 the week prior, Ohio 2019 in-state solar RECs were down almost $3 during the week ended Aug. 1 to $6.83/MWh. Ohio 2020 in-state solar RECs, which dropped $14.50/MWh in the prior week, rose 13 cents to an average of $8.13/MWh.Market analysts anticipate the impact of the legislation will ultimately work to push Ohio in-state SREC prices down to the $4.00/MWh level. Although it remains unclear, it is likely that Ohio-generated SRECs will be eligible to be sold in the Pennsylvania Tier I REC and Ohio REC market instead, analysts said.The Ohio legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine at the end of July would also lower and freeze the state’s renewable energy mandate from 12.5% to 8.5% in 2026. As of Aug. 1, Ohio-located 2019 RECs came in at $5.38/MWh, up 7 cents, while 2020 RECs saw an index at $5.62/MWh, losing 1 cent week over week.In Massachusetts, prices for 2019 and 2020 SREC Is were again unchanged on the week at $381.08/MWh and $345.83/MWh, respectively. Prices for Massachusetts 2019 SREC IIs eased 34 cents to $303.08/MWh, while 2020 SREC IIs were steady at $287.00/MWh.More: Ohio solar, nonsolar REC prices chop following new legislation Renewable energy credits in Ohio on the chopping blocklast_img read more

Fridays on the Fly: Massive Musky Pulled From Fontana Lake

first_imgA North Carolina angler got a welcomed surprise last month when he hooked into a gigantic musky while fishing on Fontana Lake near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the muskelunge that Capt. Kyle Fronrath of Fontana Guides netted in late September measured 52 inches and weighed in at a whopping 32 pounds. That’s about nine pounds shy of the overall state record.“It was a very long fish — 52 inches — but the Wildlife Resource Commission keeps records by mass, and it was only 32 pounds, whereas the current record is 41.5 pounds,” Jodie Owen, a spokeswoman for the NCWRC told the Asheville Citizen Times. “So, it did not break the existing record.”The fish was caught near the Little Tennessee prong of Fontana Lake and was bested after a 6 minute fight that, according to Fronrath, seemed much longer.“The amount of water it moved when thrashing and head shaking during the fight was incredible to see,” Fronrath said in his Citizen Times interview. “It was a very stubborn fight. It all happened so fast, but at the same time it’s like it was in slow motion.”Also of note is the fact that the musky Fronrath caught was of the wild variety, not the more common state-stocked version. Fronrath, who owns and operates Fontana Guides, has been pursuing wild musky on Fontana for ten years, and his recent catch marks only the second encounter he’s had during that time.Looking to hook into a muskelunge of your own? Click here for tips on fly fishing for musky.last_img read more

North Massapequa Wildlife Rescue Group in Peril

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Bobby and Cathy Horvath, wildlife rescuers from North Massapequa, tending to a hawk in 2010.Oyster Bay town officials have ordered a nonprofit wildlife rescue group that’s saved thousands of animals across the New York metro area over the past decade to remove critters from their North Massapequa home.A town code official issued a notice of violation to Bobby and Cathy Horvath last week for harboring dangerous animals in violation of town code following an anonymous complaint. It’s unclear what this means for the future of Wildlife In Need Of Rescue & Rehabilitation, which has rescued about 500 animals annually since 2002.“We love what we do and we are not going to stop helping animals,” Cathy told the New York Daily News.Marta Kane, a town spokeswoman, said, “We are trying to work with them.” She added that the town is being flexible in giving the couple extra time to get the animals out of their house, but an inspector is expected to revisit the house next week.Read a 2010 Long Island Press profile of Bobby and Cathy HorvathThe group is licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1998.The family has had a declawed Bobcat caged in their backyard, along with several hawks and turkeys. But the town says they can’t keep wildlife in their house if it puts neighbors at risk.About 2,000 people signed an online petition to keep the group from being shut down as of Thursday evening.“I don’t know what we would do without them,” said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, noting that April is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month. “They just want to help these animals out. Who else are you going to go to?”last_img read more

Ex-Freeport Mayor Fights to Get on Ballot in Nassau Exec Race

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Former Freeport Village Mayor Andrew Hardwick is in a legal battle to join Democrat Tom Suozzi and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano on the ballot in the county executive race.Former Freeport Village Mayor Andrew Hardwick, seeking to get on the ballot as a third-party candidate in the Nassau County executive race, blasted Nassau Democrats Tuesday for continuing a legal battle that sidelines him with four weeks left in the race while his opponents campaign freely.Democratic party leaders filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court challenging the validity of signatures Hardwick and his supporters collected to get his name on the ballot on the “We Count” party line. Hardwick said he gathered 8,600 signatures, far more than the 1,500 signatures needed to join Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election. Hardwick, a Democrat, and his lawyers are defending the suit in court instead of focusing on the race.“People want a different choice, they don’t want a candidate shoved down their throat,” Hardwick said outside the courthouse in Mineola. “Quite frankly,” he added, “I don’t like being called a liar.”Nassau Democratic party lawyer Steven Schlesinger alleged that Hardwick’s entrance into the race is a veiled attempt by the Mangano’s GOP campaign to siphon votes from Suozzi, the former county executive unseated by Mangano in 2009.Brian Nevin, Mangano’s chief spokesman, said in a statement that Schlesigner is “lying to distract residents from his clients record of hiking property taxes by double-digits.”Hardwick’s representatives and Nassau Democrat’s attorneys returned to court Tuesday, but the judge did not rule on the case right away.Hardwick, who lost the mayoral race to village trustee Robert Kennedy earlier this year, called a press conference after the proceedings to defend the petition process and attack Suozzi.“I’m ashamed to say Tom Suozzi is our candidate,” he said.Schlesinger jumped to the podium after Hardwick concluded his remarks and produced a photo of Brandon Irizarry, a friend of Hardwick’s, smiling with Mangano.Irizarry noted that the photo was taken at an Independence Party event more than a year ago.Meanwhile, Suozzi and Mangano will debate Tuesday in Old Westbury.last_img read more

Revolutionary Minds: Long Island’s Signers of the Declaration of Independence

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York To stand in the same room where Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and the Marquis de Lafayette once gathered is rare indeed, but to find such a place on Long Island—preserved in almost its original condition since the days of the Revolution—is unheard of. But such is the case for the estate of William Floyd, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who made his home in Mastic.“You don’t have to go to Virginia or Massachusetts to learn the history of our Founding Fathers—they were discussing the future of the country right here!” exclaims MaryLaura Lamont, a Park Ranger with the National Parks Service, who knows the William Floyd Estate inside and out.New York had four signers of the Declaration, all living in the New York City area when the American Revolution broke out. But only Floyd’s property survived the war intact. The three other men weren’t so fortunate.Lewis Morris resided in what was then Westchester County but would later become known as the Bronx. His manor was called Morrisania. After Washington lost the Battle of Long Island on Aug. 27, 1776, Morris and his family had to flee before the victorious British sacked his estate and destroyed his farm. Nothing remains of his former holdings today.Philip Livingston, a wealthy merchant born in Albany, owned a townhouse on Duke Street in Manhattan and acquired a 40-acre estate in Brooklyn Heights by parlaying his profits from the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Gen. George Washington met there with his officers after suffering the worst defeat of the Revolutionary War and decided to evacuate all his troops from Brooklyn before the British could capture them. Subsequently, the British used Livingston’s Duke Street home as a military barracks and turned his Brooklyn Heights residence into a Royal Navy hospital. It burned down in 1811.Of New York’s signers, Francis Lewis seems to have suffered the most. William Floyd (L) and Francis Lewis were Long Island’s two signers of the Declaration of Independence. (WikiMedia Commons)Born in Wales in 1713, Lewis made his fortune in America as a merchant whose travels took him far and wide, from Russia to Africa. In 1756, he was at Fort Oswego, in upstate New York, where he was selling clothing goods to the British during the French and Indian War, when he was captured by the French commander, Gen. Montcalm. One story goes that he survived because his fluency in Welsh enabled him to understand what the Indians were saying so he could serve as a translator. Regardless, he was still shipped off to France in irons.When the war was settled, Lewis returned to America with a gift of 4,400 acres from the British royal government in compensation for his years in French captivity. He quickly rebuilt his business and was in good enough financial shape to become a warden of St. George’s Church in Flushing from 1769 to 1772, which today has a plaque in his honor. By some historians’ reckoning, Lewis was one of the richest men who signed the Declaration. By the time the Revolution ended, he had lost most of his fortune but he had left his mark on history.After the British had taken over Long Island, they went looking for him. As a local Queens historian, J. Carpenter Smith, wrote about Lewis in 1897: “A man of such influence and of such restless and daring activity could not be otherwise than obnoxious to the government. He was marked as a dangerous rebel.”A group of royal dragoons rode up to his 200-acre Whitestone estate while a British warship pulled within range on the East River. Lewis was not home but his wife, Elizabeth Annesley, unfortunately was. As her servants were urging her to leave the premises, a cannon ball suddenly burst through the window and bounced at her feet, the story goes, but she wouldn’t budge, insisting that the artillery men couldn’t hit the same place twice. She was right about that but it did her no good.A young British soldier tore the shiny buckles from her shoes. “All that glitters is not gold,” she reportedly told him, adding that the buckles were really just pinchbeck, a cheap copper alloy. Then the British ransacked the house, putting all Lewis’ books, papers and paintings in a pile and setting them on fire. Next they destroyed the house too and took Lewis’ wife, holding her in squalor on a prison ship without a bed or a change of clothing with the hope that her husband would come to her rescue so they could hang him.The imprisonment took a toll on her health. When news of her ill treatment reached Gen. Washington in Pennsylvania, he ordered the arrest of the wife of the British paymaster-general and the wife of the British adjutant general, according to some historians, and threatened to subject them to the same abuse. The British agreed to a prisoner swap, so Elizabeth reunited with her husband in Philadelphia, but she was badly weakened. She managed to live long enough to see her son Morgan married but died in 1779 with her husband by her side. Lewis lived until 1802, and was buried in an unmarked grave on the north side of the churchyard of Trinity Church, where he had been a vestryman from 1784 to 1786. In 1947 the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence erected a granite marker and a bronze plaque there in his honor. Little known today was Lewis’ key role in thwarting what was known as the Conway Cabal. This was a plot by disgruntled American officers and members of the Continental Congress to replace Gen. Washington with Gen. Horatio Gates, the so-called “hero of Saratoga,” because he had defeated the British there. Lewis defended Washington’s command, ensuring that New York’s delegation stood firm, and the scheme died. And so the future of the country was ensured.Today this signer of the Declaration has a high school in Queens named after him as well as a Masonic lodge. But the nicest spot is clearly Francis Lewis Park, which occupies the northern tip of Queens within the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge. Most historians reportedly believe Lewis’ home was once located on or near there because of the site’s proximity to the East River, although some have made the claim that his house was many blocks away. The place has a spectacular view of the river with a breeze blowing off the water even on a hot summer day, plus two bocce ball courts, an inviting playground complete with fountains for kids to play in, a fitness trail (eight loops to a mile), and a kayak and canoe launching area on the sandy beach at the bottom of a sloping grassy field.All that remains to remind visitors about who the park’s namesake was is a plaque on a cracked granite pedestal erected in his honor by the Matinecock chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and “other Patriotic Citizens.” A tall white flagpole juts from it. Francis Lewis Boulevard, named for him in the 1930s, doesn’t reach the park, even though it’s more than 10 miles long. It starts in Rosedale and stops at the Cross Island Parkway. Some locals call the boulevard “Franny Lou.”Mastic’s William Floyd Estate is furnished with original 18th Century pieces and is open to the public. (Spencer Rumsey/Long Island Press)The Hero and the HeartbreakerLewis’ Suffolk County compatriot, Gen. William Floyd, was definitely the youngest and arguably the luckiest of New York’s signers. The British occupied his estate in 1776, ransacked his farm, took all his livestock and food stores, but they never torched the place. Thanks to the foresight of his heirs and the supervision of the National Park Service, the estate endures today as an historical gem. Visitors—who are regrettably few and far between—can stroll the grounds as Floyd’s family did and gaze upon the furnishings that were his—including his cradle and his desk, his “traveling medicine chest” (which held his liquor) and his Chippendale sofa.An aura seems to pervade the site, giving credence to what one summer guest later described as “Magic…Mystic…Mastic.” Perhaps it’s the underlying continuity of the estate that makes it so special—and so alive. The Old Mastic House, as the Floyds called their home, changed over time as eight generations came and went, but the place never lost touch with the past. It was left fully furnished when it was formally taken over by the Park Service in 1976. One room may date to 1720, the one next to it might have been added in 1788, the formal dining room in the late 1890s, a kitchen in the 1920s, a dishwasher in the pantry in the 1960s. Over 250 years, what began as a six-room colonial house on a slave plantation grew into a 25-room summer home. A guided tour generally lasts an hour. As Park Ranger MaryLaura Lamont explains, the William Floyd Estate is a “cultural preservation,” not an historical renovation, which makes its status rather unique in the National Park Service. The Floyds’ heirs have the right to be buried in their family cemetery in the woods, if they so choose.“What you see here in this house is a combination of all the time periods,” says Lamont, who’s been working at this National Park Service site since 1979. On July 4 and August 2, she’ll host a special program at 10:30 a.m. on William Floyd called “He Dared to Sign.” Other programs feature the site’s nature trails, the estate’s architectural history, a collection of old-fashioned toys plus the craftsmanship of carving hunting decoys. Recently, Lamont put on display the family’s extensive artwork, particularly the talented work of Katherine Floyd depicting the estate in the mid-19th century, which has never been shown in public before.“I guess you could call it a continuum of change,” says Lamont. “It’s the history of America as you see it through the eyes of the Floyd family, so it’s a microcosm of American history.”And to think that it all could have been irrevocably destroyed if the Federal Energy Commission had gone through with its initial decision to locate a nuclear power plant on the southern end of the property by Moriches Bay. Cornelia Floyd Nichols, Gen. Floyd’s great, great granddaughter, heard about the project from her son-in-law David Weld, who was active in Suffolk County Republican circles. They had to act quickly, so they were able to get the 613 acres of forests, fields and marsh along with the original estate and all the outbuildings added to the new Fire Island National Seashore, which the National Park Service was establishing in 1965, rather than wait for Congressional approval to create a separate entity for the Mastic manor.The estate’s entrance is only a little more than two miles from the William Floyd Parkway, off Neighborhood Road (aka Havenwood Drive), but it might as well be a million miles away because it seems so remotely removed from our time and place.“They loved it here,” says Lamont. “And that’s why they wanted it preserved.” Before the Revolution started, William Floyd had been a trustee of the town of Brookhaven and a colonel in the Suffolk militia. A prominent citizen, Floyd was chosen to represent New York in the First Continental Congress of 1774, and the second one a year later. Through his sisters’ husbands, Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull and Ezra L’Hommedieu, Floyd had ties to both the Culper Spy Ring and the largest slave plantation north of the Mason Dixon line, the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island. According to historian Alexander Rose, whose book about the spy ring was the basis for the AMC series, Turn, Abraham Woodhull became a spy for Washington to avenge the mistreatment of his kinsman, Gen. Woodhull, who had died of gangrene while being held on a prison ship in the East River following his capture in the Battle of Long Island. Ezra L’Hommedieu was the great-grandson of Nathaniel Sylvester, the estate’s first owners.William Floyd could also be blamed for causing James Madison heartache. It was his 15-year-old daughter Kitty who captured Madison’s eye. He was 30 at the time but they got engaged. When she turned 16, Kitty wrote the future fourth president of the United States a letter breaking off their courtship because she was marrying another guy. Madison literally blotted out every reference to her in his diary. It took him 10 years before he found Dolly, who became his first lady. And the rest is history.Long Island revolutionary Francis Lewis is commemorated by a park in his name in Whitestone, Queens. (Spencer Rumsey/Long Island Press)Happy Birthday, AmericaAs generations of Americans first learned in school, Thomas Jefferson deserves the credit for drafting the Declaration, the first document to define the country that we would become. Not known for his public oratory—John Adams once remarked that “during the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together”—Jefferson had already earned a reputation for wielding a “masterly pen,” and writing, as Adams put it, with a “peculiar felicity of expression.” The results of his penmanship—helped along with some useful edits and some key deletions, such as the end of slavery, and no mention of women’s suffrage—has stood the test of time, and inspired millions ever since. Officially the Declaration is celebrated on July 4th, but contrary to tradition, no one actually signed it until weeks afterwards. Indeed, New York’s foursome didn’t begin to add their signatures until August 2.Those who signed their names knew they were committing high treason, punishable by death. And it’s that willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for a cause they believed in—with slim hope that they would ever prevail against the mightiest empire in the world at that time—that continues to inspire their descendants today.“Francis Lewis wasn’t a military man—he was just a businessman,” explains Christian Ford, an attorney in Virginia who recently learned that he’s a descendant of Lewis. “So what made him decide that ‘I’m going to sign, I’m going to essentially commit treason and band together with these other men and form a republic—and I’m going to risk my life, my family and my wealth to do that?’ What made Francis Lewis make that commitment over other men similarly situated who decided they were going to take a safer route?”That curiosity resonates with another descendant of Francis Lewis, Kathy Coley, who lives in Port Washington and works in the communications department of Farmingdale State College. “It makes me proud that a family member had that level of conviction,” she tells the Press.And remembering their sacrifice makes every Fourth of July a little more special.For more information on the William Floyd Estate, which is administered by Fire Island National Seashore, call 631-399-2030; or go to nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/williamfloydestate.htm.The Old Mastic House is open for free guided tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus holidays from Memorial Day to mid-November.For information about Francis Lewis Park, go to nycgovparks.org/parks/Q126. The park, which is run by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, is on 3rd Avenue between Parsons Boulevard and 147th Street.last_img read more

China slams Britain’s comments on Uighurs as ‘slander’

first_imgChina hit back on Monday at comments by Britain’s foreign secretary that accused Beijing of “gross” human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities in the northwest region of Xinjiang.Rights groups and experts estimate that more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps, which China says are facilities for job-training and to steer people away from extremism.British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC on Sunday that it was “clear that there are gross, egregious human rights abuses going on… it is deeply, deeply troubling.”  Exiled Uighurs this month called for the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate China for genocide and crimes against humanity, filing a huge dossier accusing China of rights abuses including forcibly sterilizing women. Tensions between London and China have soared over a number of topics.Britain recently bowed to sustained pressure from Washington and ordered the phased removal of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.The two sides have also clashed over China’s imposition of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong — including offering a possible route to UK citizenship for some Hong Kong residents. But foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the comments “nothing but rumors and slander”.”The Xinjiang issue is not about human rights, religions or ethnic groups at all, but about combating violence, terrorism and separatism,” he told reporters Monday at a regular press briefing.Raab said reports of forced sterilizations and mass detentions in Xinjiang required international attention, and that Britain “cannot see behavior like that and not call it out”.But Wang said the forced-sterilization reports were “complete nonsense”, and that the Uighur population had more than doubled in the past four decades. center_img Topics :last_img read more

​Netherlands, Denmark first class in Melbourne Mercer pensions index

first_img35Turkey42.2Dn/a 16Malaysia60.6C+58.5 27Indonesia52.2C53.1 36Argentina39.5D39.2 1Netherlands81A80.3 16US60.6C+58.8 26South Africa52.6C52.7 15Hong Kong61.9C+56 24Spain54.7C54.4 13Germany66.1B66.8 37Thailand39.4Dn/a 27Italy52.2C52.8 2Denmark80.3A80.2 10Chile68.7B69.3 6Norway71.2B71.5 7Singapore70.8B70.4 14UK64.4C+62.5 21Poland57.4C54.3 19Peru58.5C62.4 31Japan48.3D48.2 The Dutch pension system has retained its crown as the world’s best in the latest annual Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI), even improving the already high score it was assigned last year.Denmark came second in the 2019 assessment from the consultancy’s Melbourne branch, with both countries maintaining their 2018 positions of first and second, respectively. The countries were the only two to have pension systems make Mercer’s A category, for which qualification requires a “first class and robust retirement income system that delivers good benefits, is sustainable and has a high level of integrity”.The Netherlands scored 81.0 in this year’s edition of the index, up from 80.3 in 2018, with Denmark improving too but by a narrower 0.1 of a point, rising to 80.3 from 80.2.center_img Commenting on the results, the Dutch Pension Fund Federation said a strong point for the Netherlands was the country’s combination of state pension and supplementary pension, with the state pension age also shifting with increasing life expectancy.“According to the study, the Netherlands could score even higher by reducing household debt and increasing labour market participation among the elderly as life expectancy rises,” the association said.Publication of the 2019 Melbourne Mercer ranking comes as Dutch pension stakeholders negotiate the details of a new system due to come into effect in 2022 and underfunded pension funds face the prospect of having to make pension cuts. Meanwhile in Denmark, Karina Ransby, deputy director of lobby group Insurance & Pension Denmark (IPD), said: “It is really nice that Denmark’s pension system again this year gets the A grade together with the Netherlands as the only two countries.”The association had expected Denmark to reach the top again this year, she said, but noted that the Netherlands had once again taken the very top position.There had been major improvements in the Danish pension system in recent years, she said.“When the latest changes have been allowed to unfold, we expect it to be reflected more in Mercer’s annual assessment of Denmark”Karina Ransby, deputy director of Insurance & Pension Denmark“When the latest changes have been allowed to unfold, we expect it to be reflected more in Mercer’s annual assessment of Denmark,” said Ransby.European pension systems appearing in the Global Pensions Index’s next categories (B+ and B) are Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland Switzerland and Germany. A system making this grade is judged to have “a sound structure, with many good features, but has some areas for improvement that differentiates it from an A-grade system”. UK still in C grade territoryThe UK improved its score to 64.4 in 2019 from 62.5, but this was 0.6 of a point shy of pulling it out of the C+ and C categories. The description for countries falling within this bracket is: “A system that has some good features, but also has major risks and/or shortcomings that should be addressed. Without these improvements, its efficacy and/or long-term sustainability can be questioned.”Benoit Hudon, head of wealth, Mercer UK, said: “The UK retirement system’s strong score for integrity needs to be matched by improving adequacy, in other words what people actually receive in retirement.”He said a lack of understanding of what they will receive and of what they will actually need in retirement has led to a gap in retirement savings for many UK employees.“This begs the question as to whether employers should play a greater role, both in educating and supporting their workforce,” Hudon said.Internationally, Mercer said its research showed that a strong correlation existed between the levels of pension assets and net household debt, with growth in household debt in developed and growth economies paired with the growth in assets held by pension funds.It said the report was the first international study of its kind to document the tendency for spending to increase with rising wealth in relation to pension assets.“The MMGPI’s data suggests as pension assets increase, individuals feel wealthier and therefore are likely to borrow more,” the firm said.The Melbourne Mercer index is supported by Australia’s Victoria government and is a collaborative project between the Monash Centre for Financial Studies – part of Monash University in Melbourne – and Mercer. It can be found here.Full rankings 25Austria53.9C54 22Saudi Arabia57.1C58.9 8New Zealand70.1B68.5 23Brazil55.9C56.5 12Switzerland66.7B67.6 18France60.2C+60.7 11Ireland67.3B66.8 4Finland73.6B74.5 3Australia75.3B+72.6 29Korea49.8D47.3 20Colombia58.4C62.6 30China48.7D46.2 5Sweden72.3B72.5 9Canada69.2B68 34Philippines43.7Dn/a  Country 2019 score and grade 2018 score 32India45.8D44.6 33Mexico45.3D45.3last_img read more

Coronavirus spread pushes Bahamas well drilling to October

first_imgBPC added that the impact of the response to the spread of the coronavirus, both globally and in The Bahamas, also constituted a force majeure event under the terms of the company’s licenses. Due to that fact, BPC expects to receive a corresponding extension to the current term of the licenses from the Government of The Bahamas. “Accordingly, the company has determined to postpone drilling operations until mid-October 2020 onwards, being after the expected peak in the COVID-19 response, and also after the peak risk period for hurricanes in The Bahamas,” BPC stated. London-listed oil company Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has further pushed back the drilling of its first exploration well in The Bahamas, the Perseverance #1. Simon Potter, CEO of BPC, said: “Given the ever-evolving adverse impact of the response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus – which is changing daily and is affecting everyone and all enterprises, around the globe – it has become clear to us that if we continue to push forward with drilling in the first half of 2020, safe and responsible operations would be compromised. All previously agreed financial elements would see total funding availability of around $45 million, and issuance of approximately 1.6 to 1.8 billion new shares of BPC. No change in cost estimate BPC said that the cost estimate for the Perseverance #1 well was in the range of $25 – $30 million, with potential contingencies for up to an extra $5 million. The company does not anticipate the cost estimate to change due to the rescheduled start of operations. As a result of the global COVID-19 crisis, a large number of international drilling programs were canceled or postponed, and a large number of rig contractors are revisiting their work programs. Cost-effective drilling can best be delivered by ensuring continuous operations throughout the entire period of the 45 – 60 day drill plan uninterrupted. BPC said on Wednesday that the delay was a result of the “massive, unprecedented, and adverse impact of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” “We also have an approved environmental authorization from the Government of The Bahamas, farm-in discussions remain on foot, and the current crisis is presenting a number of interesting alternative opportunities for us.center_img National and regional shutdowns are impacting the ability of drilling rigs and other mission-critical equipment to get properly prepared and certified for drilling due to travel bans and border closures. Also, The Bahamas declared a state of emergency with a curfew in place on March 17. “Shareholders should be encouraged, however, that we are in a strong position to resume drilling activities toward the end of 2020, compared to where we were just a year ago. The company has cash reserves, and financial backers intent on flexibly supporting the company. Furthermore, the company will continue to assess options for a farm-out or similar transaction in the coming months, and stated that a number of interested parties, including oil and gas majors and supermajors, have indicated that they would wish for discussions to continue regardless of the coronavirus global crisis and the recent decline in global oil prices. “The spread of the Covid-19 virus represents a global threat to our collective way of life, and we all have to face reality over the coming months – which in the case of our company means pausing our drilling plans for a time, as hard as that may be. We hope that all of our shareholders, stakeholders, employees, and contractors take care, and stay safe and well in this extremely difficult time for all.” “The Board has thus concluded that if the company was to continue to seek to commence drilling in the first half of 2020, there would be an unacceptable level of risk to the company’s ability to operate continuously, responsibly, safely, and within currently established guidelines, timelines and, as a consequence, budgets. This is expected to have knock-on effects on rig availability and potentially lower rig pricing in the revised drilling window. BPC is already revisiting discussions with a range of contractors for securing a suitable drilling rig for the revised drilling window. According to the company, drilling operations planned for the May/June 2020 timeframe can no longer be assured and are rescheduled to October 2020 onwards. This is further compounded given the need to take into account the timing of the traditional hurricane season in The Bahamas which happens between July and mid-October. BPC is also evaluating some potentially value-creating alternative strategic options presented to the company in light of the global COVID-19 crisis.last_img read more