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November 20, 2020
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November 18, 2020
That continental tourism is an absolute hit is evidenced by the growing number of guests visiting Srijem and Slavonia. In the first eight months of this year, there was an increase in overnight stays of 59,07 percent and arrivals of 54,11 percent, compared to the same period last year. Good tourist results will be contributed by the fact that the destination Vukovar – Vučedol – Ilok, this year’s national winner for European destination of excellence (EDEN) on the topic of cultural tourism.”Vukovar-Srijem County is an attractive destination for year-round tourism. The last few years we have been extremely attractive to cyclists and boat cruisers. Tradition, events, the Danube, castles, food and wine are the backbone of the offer of Srijem and Slavonia. Over the past few years, the level of quality and diversity of content has significantly increased, among which everyone can find something to enjoy.”, Said Rujana Bušić Srpak, director of the Tourist Board of Vukovar-Srijem County at the presentation of the tourist offer of the easternmost part of Croatia in Rijeka.”The title of national winner of EDEN will contribute to the promotion of our destination as a desirable tourist destination. We are expected to present ourselves in Brussels next year, and until then we will work intensively on further enriching the content of the destination.”, Said Jasna Babic, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Vukovar.Botel Marina was not randomly selected. Here, the representatives of the tourist boards of this county felt at home, because six rivers flow through their area – the Danube, Vuka, Sava, Biđ, Bosut and Spačva. Martin Božanović, who came to Rijeka in a double role, was introduced to all the secrets of Bosut and Spačva, as a representative of the Tourist Board of the Nijemci Municipality and as the captain of the river catamaran Sveta Katarina, which sails Bosut and Spačva. “Legend has it that the ancient Romans said that the Bosut flows in one direction until noon and in the other in the afternoon. Indeed, the Bosut flows so calmly that even with the slightest wind, the water moves in the direction in which it blows. Here you can relax in solitude catching carp, pike or one of the twenty species of fish that live in the rivers, and if you visit the resort Sopotac, from its observatory you will enjoy the rich bird life and beautiful nature.”, Says the captain from the Germans and points out that Srijem is a real paradise for nature lovers.Continental Tourism Forum announced Martina Matković, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Vinkovci announced the 52nd Vinkovci Autumns which last from 8 to 17 September, and as part of this event, 13 and 14 September organized by HGK-ŽK Vukovar and Vukovar-Srijem County Tourist Board, in Vinkovci Hotel Slavonia will be held and Croatian Continental Tourism Forum on “Gastronomy – a tourist product of Croatia”. Along with the well-known Croatian gastronomic expert Rene Bakalović and one of the most widely read Croatian gastro bloggers Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, representatives of tourist boards, hoteliers and chefs will also participate.A better place than Vukovar-Srijem County to hold such a gathering could not have been imagined, given that eastern Croatia is known for its hospitality, excellent food and wine. To come to Srijem and Slavonia, and not to taste kulen, kulen seka or sausages, is almost a sin.
October 19, 2020
Britain faces a potentially more deadly second wave of COVID-19 in the coming winter that could kill up to 120,000 people over nine months in a worst-case scenario, health experts said on Tuesday.With COVID-19 more likely to spread in winter as people spend more time together in enclosed spaces, a second wave of the pandemic “could be more serious than the one we’ve just been through,” said Stephen Holgate, a professor and co-lead author of a report by Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS).”This is not a prediction, but it is a possibility,” Holgate told an online briefing. “Deaths could be higher with a new wave of COVID-19 this winter, but the risk of this happening could be reduced if we take action immediately.” The United Kingdom’s current death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 is around 45,000, the highest in Europe. Including suspected cases, more than 55,000 people have died, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources.The AMS said there is a “high degree of uncertainty” about how the UK’s COVID-19 epidemic will evolve, but outlined a “reasonable worst-case scenario” where the reproduction number — or R value — rises to 1.7 from September 2020 onwards.The R value — the average number of people an infected person will pass a disease on to — is currently between 0.7 and 0.9 in the UK and daily case and death numbers are falling. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.”The modeling estimates 119,900 hospital deaths between September 2020 and June 2021,” the AMS report said, more than double the number that occurred during the first wave.AMS vice president Anne Johnson said a bad winter flu season, combined with large backlog of patients suffering other diseases and chronic conditions, would add to huge pressure on health services — underlining a need to prepare now.”COVID-19 has not gone away,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to stay healthy this winter.” Topics :
October 19, 2020
“Each Member State, observer State and the European Union can submit a pre-recorded statement of its Head of State, Vice-President, Crown Prince or Princess, Head of Government, Minister or Vice-Minister, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall … after introduction by their representative who is physically present,” according to the decision.Traditionally hundreds of events are also held on the sidelines of the UN debate, but General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande wrote in a letter to states that they were “encouraged to move all side events to virtual platforms to limit the footprint and number of people in the UN building.”The coronavirus has infected at least 15.1 million people and there have been more than 619,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. New York was a global epicenter earlier this year for the virus, which emerged in China late last year.As UN host country the United States agreed to grant entry to leaders and diplomats from all UN member states. However, diplomats say it regularly limits the delegation size of some of its adversaries, like Iran.While North Korea’s Kim has met three times with US President Donald Trump since 2018 for now-stalled denuclearization talks, he has never traveled to the United States as leader or taken part in the UN General Assembly.The country’s former foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, traveled to New York to address the United Nations from 2016 to 2018, but he did not attend last year. North Korea’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Kim would send a video statement for this year’s high-level meeting. World leaders will send videos instead of physically gathering at the United Nations in September due to the coronavirus pandemic, the General Assembly decided on Wednesday, a move that paves the way for people wary of traveling to the United States – like North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un – to participate.The annual high-level meeting had been shaping up to be a week-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the world body, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggested in May that leaders send video statements due to likely travel issues.The 193-member General Assembly agreed on Wednesday to the special measures. Topics :
October 6, 2020
AS NEW: The Oxley property presents beautifully, inside and out.The family moved from China more than a decade ago and built this four-bedroom, two-storey home in 2015.Unfortunately Mr Huang’s (who works as a tiler) commute between Brisbane and the Gold Coast has become too much and the couple plan to move closer to the M1.Their son, Jorge, said his family loved everything about this home.“The house is fully rendered, and we really like the colours,” he said.“There are two balconies, front and back.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours ago GROWING FAMILY: One of two bathrooms, there is ample room for everyone.“Both of our neighbours on either side are really nice to talk to and have children themselves.”The property offers a low-maintenance block, with more than 275sq m of covered and versatile floorplan. HOME HUB: The kitchen has set the scene for many family gatherings.Jorge said the kitchen was the hub of the home, designed to cater for his mother’s love of cooking traditional Chinese cuisine. Friends and family have loved gathering here over the past three years.One of the most impressive features was the fixed window behind the stove. Installed instead of a splashback, the window allows an abundance of natural light to come inside.Jorge said the property would most likely suit a growing family. STREET APPEAL: 91 Finnegan Cct, Oxley offers room for a growing family.YOU would be forgiven for thinking this beautiful home was new and never lived in.It was the dream home of owners Mr and Mrs Huang, who are moving closer to Mr Huang’s employment. SNEEK PEEK: Look inside 91 Finnegan Cct, Oxley.The main living zones are on the ground floor, incorporating a beautifully appointed kitchen in an open-plan design with the dining and living zone, which opens on to a marble-tiled entertaining terrace.Upstairs you will find a master bedroom, with walk-in wardrobe and a luxuriously large ensuite and its own private deck.The home at 91 Finnegan Cct, Oxley is listed with Harcourts Marketplace.
September 29, 2020
Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) is inviting tenders to run its direct UK property portfolio, after deciding to outsource its management.Property makes up between 6-7% of the fund’s £12.5bn (€14.8bn) portfolio, split evenly between direct holdings and funds.The aim of the outsourcing of its portfolio was increase both the value of the fund’s property assets and the size of holdings, said Peter Morris, director of pensions, GMPF. He noted that the fund did not possess the internal resource to grow the portfolio in such a fashion.Morris said: “The planned target allocation to property in the medium-term will be increased to 10%, but delivered in various ways. We expect direct property holdings to be in the range of 4 to 8% of the total portfolio. My expectation is that we will also see an increase in average lot size, reflecting the increase in exposure.” Although the invitation to tender is for the direct portion of the property portfolio, Morris said it was possible the manager might choose to invest in specialist pooled vehicles for some assets.“The fund has and will develop other means of obtaining its property exposure, such as Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund, which invests in property development and redevelopment opportunities in north-west England,” he said.The mandate will run for ten years, with an option to extend by five years, and there will be triennial fee reviews.Mangers tendering must have minimum direct UK property assets under management of at least £3bn.The successful manager will be announced in spring next year.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to GMPF tender notice
September 29, 2020
However, yesterday’s reverse auction, which targeted the 7-15 year maturity band, did not face the same problems.The bank said it received offers to sell around £5.5bn of the bonds sought, and did purchase its targeted £1.17bn of securities.Commentators said the shortfall on Tuesday showed pension funds were short of these long-dated bonds, with one adding that investors were likely to offer at lower yields in subsequent auctions, having seen the lack of sellers.Toby Nangle, head of multi-asset allocation for the EMEA at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said: “We anticipate that the failure to buy the full amount of Gilts required in future auctions will not be repeated on account of insufficient offers.“Given the news that [Tuesday’s] reverse auction went uncovered, active investors are likely to submit offers at yields well below market levels, perhaps even below 0%.”The Bank of England has said it will incorporate the £52m shortfall from Tuesday’s uncovered operation into the second half of its current six-month purchase programme.Details of these purchases will be announced on 3 November, it said.Nangle said that, by his calculations, there is not enough UK interest rate duration to let defined benefit (DB) pension funds match their actuarially estimated liabilities with fixed income assets, in spite of regulatory incentives to so do.“Put another way, pension funds are collectively short long-dated Gilts and, in re-initiating its QE programme, the bank has found itself delivering a short-squeeze – the effect of which is to increase pension fund deficits further,” he said.The Bank of England’s assertion in its recent inflation report that DB pension schemes would be able to maintain current levels of contributions despite fluctuations in deficits looks likely to be tested, he said.Shilen Shah, bond strategist at Investec Wealth & Investment, said Tuesday’s auction highlighted the fact that a number of investors at the long end of the curve are largely price insensitive and potentially unwilling to sell their Gilt holdings.“Given the narrow investment mandate of many liability-driven investors,” Shah said, “the alternative investment options to long-dated Gilts for these investors is very limited.” The Bank of England saw strong participation in yesterday’s government bond-buying spree as part of its quantitative easing (QE) programme, but Tuesday’s failure by the bank to meet its long-bond buying target could lead to negative yield offers from investors in future operations.The UK central bank’s reverse auction yesterday met with offers to sell medium-dated Gilts outstripping demand by almost five to one, after Tuesday’s long-bond reverse auction had been partly stymied by pension funds unwilling to sell.The bank announced last week that it aims to buy £60bn (€70bn) in UK government debt in the next six months as part of measures to boost the country’s economy.But on Tuesday, the bank failed to reach its £1.17bn target in its first attempt to buy Gilts, aiming for bonds with maturities of 15 years or more, with the operation failing to draw enough sellers.
September 29, 2020
Sweden’s AP2 has reduced the carbon footprint of its investments by a third between January and June after overhauling its benchmarks, according to its interim report.Releasing financial results for the first half of this year, the Gothenburg-based pension fund said it made an overall 2.9% return on investments in the period including costs, underperforming its benchmark by 0.1 percentage points.Eva Halvarsson, chief executive of the state pension buffer fund, said: “During the first quarter, the fund implemented extensive changes to its management of foreign equities by introducing new benchmarks for both emerging markets and developed markets.”With the new indices, she said the fund was also getting exposure to a number of sustainability factors, which – apart from improving the portfolio’s sustainability characteristics – also improved the expected return and risk. “Among other things, the new indices entail a considerably lower carbon footprint,” Halvarsson said.The fund said in its report that in relation to the market value of its holdings, the carbon dioxide intensity for its total equity portfolio would be 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per million krona as of 30 June, compared with 28 for 2017.The absolute carbon footprint for the portfolio as of 30 June was 1.9m tonnes of carbon dioxide, compared with 2.6m for 2017.AP2’s new indices combined most of the alternative indices it used before to gain exposure in individual sub-portfolios, turning these into one multiple factor index for developed countries and one for emerging countries.The fund said the investment return for the first half exceeded its long-term return assumption of 4.5% a year.Investments were helped to some extent by a weaker Swedish krona, with the currency hit by uncertainty around the central bank’s monetary policy.“The weakening of the krona during the first half of the year has had a positive impact on the return on foreign assets but this has partly been counteracted by the fund’s hedging policy and tactical positions,” AP2 said.Foreign government bonds, for example, made a 7.4% return in absolute terms in the first half, whereas Swedish government bonds returned just 0.9%.In the first half, the pension fund paid out SEK3.3bn (€314m) to the national pension system, lower than the SEK3.7bn it paid out in the same period last year.AP2’s total assets increased to SEK352.4bn by the end of June, up from SEK345.9bn at the end of December.
September 29, 2020
Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) has appealed a decision made by the Swedish Pensions Agency to reject it from the country’s Premium Pensions System (PPM).The asset manager lodged its appeal on 22 July, having had investment funds run via its Luxembourg subsidiary rejected on 12 June, according to information on the Pensions Agency’s website.The decision to refuse ASI’s application affects nine funds with a total of €179m in assets under management. All privately-managed funds offered on the PPM’s funds marketplace platform were required to reapply for participation by late last year as part of recent reforms of the defined contribution section of the country’s first-pillar pension system.A spokesman from ASI told IPE: “We are appealing to the Administrative Court in order to have the Swedish Pension Agency consider our revised application based on the new and completed set of applications and documentation. “A number of asset managers have had their applications turned down. We note administrative errors that were made in our application and intend to correct them.”The spokesman added that ASI was supportive of the new qualitative and quantitative measures brought in by the Pensions Agency to evaluate funds and managers, and it hoped to resolve the rejection in order to continue to grow its business within the platform.Meanwhile, Swedish pensions expert Mats Langensjö, a key player in the development of the system’s reform, took the opportunity to speak out in support of the planned second stage of the PPM reform, which would involve the creation of a centrally-procured offering of investment funds from private-sector providers.In a post on Linkedin, Langensjö – a partner at Secoria – said: “One of the problems with ‘stage 1’ in the Premium Pension is precisely that it rests partly on administrative law and not on qualitative criteria, which are relevant for long-term pension savings.“Entering the platform via the administrative court is not a meaningful activity. A good ‘stage 2’ is needed to give savers a good and relevant alternative. The state has that responsibility.”The first stage of the reform, which involves a mass re-application process for asset managers, was intended to tackle the problem of low-quality providers and rogue players.