Brussels to move ahead with creation of Investment Court System

first_imgThe European Commission is going ahead with proposals to create an Investment Court System to resolve disputes between investors and EU member states.It would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS).The ISDS instrument of public international law grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government.Provisions for ISDS are contained in a number of bilateral treaties. However, according to trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, “the old traditional form” of dispute resolution suffers from a “fundamental lack of trust”.She said EU investors were the most frequent users of the existing model.The Commission’s current initiative has already been debated in the European Parliament and EU member state government representations in Brussels.  However, the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington has voiced its opposition to the proposals.Marjorie Chorlins, the chamber’s vice-president for European affairs, said the US business community could not endorse the EU proposal “in any way”.The EU position, she said, was “not grounded in fact”.Her concerns are based on the plan’s implications for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the US.“If the EU still regards the TTIP as a serious objective, today’s proposal is deeply flawed,” Chorlins said.But Emma McClarkin, British member of the European Parliament, dismissed “scaremongering” over the trade talks.The Conservative MEP for the East Midlands criticised “negativity” on the proposed Investment Court System, as well as “the old-fashioned protectionist lobby”.Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said the court proposal would bring in a system with three qualified judges and transparent proceedings.Its decisions, he said, would be subject to review by a new appeal tribunal.Next steps will be further revision in Brussels, most likely before the year end. They are to be followed by a “final” proposal from the Commission.last_img read more

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Progress scheme cuts investment risk after closing to new entrants

first_imgProgress, the €4.8bn defined benefit pension fund for the Dutch employees of Unilever, is to scale back investment risk as the fund is closed to new entrants.According to its 2015 annual report, Progress will cut its current 32% equity allocation by 10 percentage points in favour of growing its fixed income holdings.It will also link its interest hedge to the 30-year swap rate instead of its coverage ratio, which stood at 130% as of the end of March.As a consequence, it has lowered its interest hedge to 32.5% of the nominal interest risk, to benefit from rising interest rates. It said the increased short-term risk of the move was acceptable, as it expects interest-rate risk to fall over the long term.Progress has also dropped its dynamic, anti-cyclical investment policy.To further diversify, it increased exposure to Dutch mortgages – the best-performing asset class within its fixed income portfolio, returning 7.2% – from 13.8% to 19.4%. It has also started investing in European senior loans, as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) “value creation”, targeting sustainable agriculture and energy, as well as hygiene.The Unilever scheme reduced its commodities allocation from 5% to 4.4%, as the asset class “contributed insufficiently to diversification”.It said it would cut its commodities exposure – which last year produced a 32.3% loss – even further.Private equity, in contrast, generated 30.1%.Progress also reported positive results on real estate (14.1%), fixed income (4.2%) and equity (9.4%).The pension fund reported an investment return of 0.2%, after losses of 3.5% on its 80% hedge of the main currencies, 1% on its interest cover and 0.9% on its 50% inflation hedge.Progress closed to new entrants at the start of last year; pensions accrual is now taking place in its new collective defined contribution scheme Forward.The two pension funds, which already share pensions-provision costs, have applied for a licence to run a new low-cost ‘general’ pension fund, or APF.last_img read more

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Buyers are increasing migration rates to southeast Queensland

first_imgTrish and Peter Addington. Photo: Supplied Halycon Greens is seeing more retirees choosing the sunshine state for both financial and family reasons, lifestyle and climate are the factors that continue to win buyers over. Halycon Greens continues to win buyers over.A surge in southern buyers to southeast Queensland communities is gaining momentum, says developer Halcyon.Halcyon said 30 per cent of sales in the past year were by interstate buyers, with retirees making up a significant portion of the increasing migration rates. Dr Bevan Geissmann, Halcyon joint managing director, said the company had reported an noticeable upswing of NSW and Victorian retirees moving to Queensland.“Queensland has more than three times the interstate migration figures of five years ago, and our state is being buoyed by this growth,” Dr Geissmann said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus12 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours agoHe said buyers were looking to maximise their lifestyle and follow families who had already moved to the region.Dr Geissmann said southeast Queensland was the “Florida of Australia’’, and while retirees were choosing the Sunshine State for both financial and family reasons, lifestyle and climate were the factors that continue to win buyers over.“Retirees are able to sell their family home down south, and buy in Queensland for up to half the price, pocketing the remainder for their lifestyle needs,’’ he said.“A lot of buyers are following the ‘Florida Effect’, and are moving simply to enjoy the extraordinary climate away from the hustle and bustle of dense living, but with everything they need at their doorstep. We also have a handful of buyers who are following their children making a career move to Queensland.” Long-time Sydney-siders Peter and Trish Addington are looking forward to their move to Halcyon Greens in Pimpama.“What we’re selling for down south and buying for up there gives us a nice little buffer in the bank account,” Mr Addington said.“It puts our minds to rest that we will be able to do the holidays that we want to do.“Certainly, the weather will benefit us.” Located in Gainsborough Greens in Pimpama, on a 34ha island parcel surrounded by a golf course, Halcyon Greens will comprise more than 500 homes.last_img read more

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Demand for Gold Coast apartments at an all-time high

first_img MORE NEWS: Buyers fighting for fewer housing options There has been a spike in apartment sales over the summer. Pic: Jerad WilliamsNew Gold Coast apartments are hot property with a huge spike in sales over summer.Among the big deals was an off-the-plan two-level penthouse in Trenert’s White Main Beach development that was snapped up for $6 million. According to Urbis, 323 sales were recorded in the last quarter of 2019, an increase of 62 per cent from the previous quarter. Ray White Projects’ Caitlin Rosenboom said interest was strong across a range of projects with the summer holiday period one of the best in years for the Gold Coast property market.“We took more written expressions of interest and issued more contracts for new projects in December and January than in the preceding 12 months,” she said.“It’s an incredible result that has been supported by strong interest from local buyers and interstate downsizers, with a distinct focus on owner occupier-style apartments among both groups.” MORE NEWS: Inside Liz Cantor’s dream build The penthouse at White Main Beach was one of the big deals that was penned.“Some buyers were determined to combine a holiday with looking for a property, with many of them planning to relocate to the Coast over the next year or two.”Ms Rosenboom said the strength of the market was reflected in the number of sales recorded for premium apartments. “We secured four contracts of between $2 million and $6 million at Main Beach and Surfers Paradise during the holiday period,” she said. “Properties that are garnering the strongest interest are those that are nearing completion and currently under construction, and those with total construction timetables under 24 months.”Director of residential at Colliers International David Higgins managed the sales and marketing for Village Palm Beach, which recorded 75 sales during the final quarter of 2019. “Over 70 per cent of the buyers in Village are the Gold Coast locals and from Brisbane, with strong interest also from New South Wales looking to relocate,” Mr Higgins said. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa8 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoHe said 5000 new dwellings were needed per year to keep up with the growing population on the Coast. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:46Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:46 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenChoosing an apartment to invest in01:47 “Many people who are relocating here from other parts of Queensland as well as interstate are chasing value for money proposition, and are interested in two and three-bedroom apartments in boutique projects that are in beachside locations,” he said.Marketing Projects South East Queensland managing director Kyia Anderson shared a similar view. “Over the summer period, we finalised selling at Bellevue The Glades, Robina and experienced a significant uplift in inquiries and sales compared to the previous quarter,” she said. “We then entered the prerelease phase for Salt Palm Beach prior to Christmas, which has received hundreds of inquiries. “In fact, the most I have ever received in such a short period on any project with the majority coming from local downsizers.”last_img read more

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Report: MISC Orders Two Suezmax Tankers from Samsung

first_imgMalaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) has placed an order for two Suezmax shuttle tankers at South Korea’s shipbuilder Samsung, according to data provided by VesselsValue.Under the agreement, reportedly signed between the parties on June 15, Samsung is scheduled to deliver the two tankers, which feature 125,000 dwt, to their owner in 2019.MISC is paying a total of USD 250 million for the vessels, which currently have a market value of around USD 92.7 million each, VesselsValue data shows.Malaysia’s shipping giant operates a fleet of 46 vessels, six of which are tankers with an average age of 4 years.Besides the two Suezmaxes now on order, the company’s orderbook also has three LNG carriers, being constructed by South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries.Featuring 150,000 cbm each, the new LNG carriers, which are valued at around USD 170 million a piece, are scheduled to join their owner in July, October and November 2017, respectively.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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Assisted suicide poses risk to vulnerable, says senior doctor

first_imgChristian Institute 3 July 2013Legalising assisted suicide would put immense pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives, according to a consultant physician in palliative medicine.Dr Stephen Hutchison wrote in a piece for The Herald newspaper that assisted suicide has been “consistently rejected” by the Scottish Parliament because it is unsafe.He said: “The duty of government is to protect its citizens”.VulnerableHe added: “When you are facing an incurable illness, or the prospect of suffering, or the costs of care are eating into your family’s inheritance, and you feel vulnerable and scared, just how little pressure would be needed to make you choose assisted suicide, particularly if you are elderly and frail or feel that you are a burden?”http://www.christian.org.uk/news/assisted-suicide-poses-risk-to-vulnerable-says-senior-doctor-2/READ FULL ARTICLEhttp://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/agenda-assisted-suicide.21351847last_img read more

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Science says: eat with your kids

first_imgMetcatorNet 14 January 2015As a family therapist, I often have the impulse to tell families to go home and have dinner together rather than spending an hour with me. And 20 years of research in North America, Europe and Australia back up my enthusiasm for family dinners. It turns out that sitting down for a nightly meal is great for the brain, the body and the spirit. And that nightly dinner doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal that took three hours to cook, nor does it need to be made with organic arugula and heirloom parsnips.Brain food For starters, researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to. The researchers counted the number of rare words – those not found on a list of 3,000 most common words – that the families used during dinner conversation. Young kids learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from parents reading storybooks aloud. Kids who have a large vocabulary read earlier and more easily.Older children also reap intellectual benefits from family dinners. For school-age youngsters, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art.Other researchers reported a consistent association between family dinner frequency and teen academic performance. Adolescents who ate family meals 5 to 7 times a week were twice as likely to get A’s in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week.Does a body good  Children who eat regular family dinners also consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks. And the nutritional benefits keep paying dividends even after kids grow up: young adults who ate regular family meals as teens are less likely to be obese and more likely to eat healthily once they live on their own.Some research has even found a connection between regular family dinners and the reduction of symptoms in medical disorders, such as asthma. The benefit might be due to two possible byproducts of a shared family meal: lower anxiety and the chance to check in about a child’s medication compliance.It isn’t just the presence of healthy foods that leads to all these benefits. The dinner atmosphere is also important. Parents need to be warm and engaged, rather than controlling and restrictive, to encourage healthy eating in their children.But all bets are off if the TV is on during dinner. In one study, American kindergartners who watched TV during dinner were more likely to be overweight by the time they were in third grade. The association between TV-watching during dinner and overweightness in children was also reported in Sweden, Finland and Portugal.Soul foodIn addition, a stack of studies link regular family dinners with lowering a host of high risk teenage behaviors parents fear: smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and sexual activity. In one study of more than 5,000 Minnesota teens, researchers concluded that regular family dinners were associated with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts. In a very recent study, kids who had been victims of cyberbullying bounced back more readily if they had regular family dinners. Family dinners have been found to be a more powerful deterrent against high-risk teen behaviors than church attendance or good grades.There are also associations between regular family dinners and good behaviors, not just the absence of bad ones. In a New Zealand study, a higher frequency of family meals was strongly associated with positive moods in adolescents. Similarly, other researchers have shown that teens who dine regularly with their families also have a more positive view of the future, compared to their peers who don’t eat with parents.What’s so magical about mealtime?  In most industrialized countries, families don’t farm together, play musical instruments or stitch quilts on the porch. So dinner is the most reliable way for families to connect and find out what’s going on with each other. In a survey, American teens were asked when they were most likely to talk with their parents: dinner was their top answer. Kids who eat dinner with their parents experience less stress and have a better relationship with them. This daily mealtime connection is like a seat belt for traveling the potholed road of childhood and adolescence and all its possible risky behaviors.Of course, the real power of dinners lies in their interpersonal quality. If family members sit in stony silence, if parents yell at each other, or scold their kids, family dinner won’t confer positive benefits. Sharing a roast chicken won’t magically transform parent-child relationships. But, dinner may be the one time of the day when a parent and child can share a positive experience – a well-cooked meal, a joke, or a story – and these small moments can gain momentum to create stronger connections away from the table.http://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/15434last_img read more

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Mourinho to make late call on Costa

first_img Press Association Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is yet to decide whether to risk striker Diego Costa for the Barclays Premier League leaders’ clash with Stoke on Saturday. “With a normal week of work, playing one match every weekend, normally he should be fine.” Chelsea are six points clear of second-placed Manchester City with that game in hand, but Mourinho believes the title race is open and even fourth-placed Manchester United, who are eight points behind, are in contention. “With eight matches to go it is a difficult gap from the first to fifth, but the points difference between second, third and fourth make me feel that they are there,” Mourinho added. “In the last matches they (United) become consistent in results and also the quality of their performances. “We need six victories and one draw in nine matches, so a good situation for us, a situation that all the other clubs would like, but it’s pure mathematics.” In winning the title in 2005 and 2006, Mourinho predicted when and where Chelsea would lift the trophy. It is “too early” to make such bold claims this time. He added: “If we are champions in the last match, I’m more than happy with that. “I’m not thinking about how or when. I’m just thinking that we need to win six matches and draw one. “Every victory we have now is one victory less that we need and is one less occasion for our opponents to reach us. “I don’t care if it’s in the hotel, or away or at home. I just want to win it. “Many occasions in the Premier League the clubs get the trophy in their last match at home. “Our last match of the season is at home so if we win the title we get the trophy at our house, but I don’t care even if somebody loses the trophy and we don’t get the trophy. I’m happy with that. “I just want to win it.” Captain John Terry would lift the trophy if Chelsea are successful, having signed a one-year contract extension during the international break. “I knew it (would happen),” Mourinho said. “We all found the period without football as a good moment to sign it, to make it public and everybody knows two months before the end of the season that John is staying one more season.” Mourinho expects Stoke to be a challenging opponent and was straining his voice when speaking to the media after tactical sessions this week. He said: “I think it was (Thursday’s) training session. It was a good one, an intense one. “I was also an important part of the training session. They need their legs, I need my voice. I lost my voice. “Maybe because my voice was quiet for the last couple of weeks, I lost it.” Mourinho said: “Diego trained (on Thursday and Friday) with the group. He’s not injured. I don’t know if I start with him or not. “We did all the tests and the scans to confirm two days ago scientifically the situation and in this moment the muscle is fine. “But football is more than that. You need confidence. You don’t need to break your intensity. That’s our doubt. Let’s see next 24 hours.” Asked the long-term solution to Costa’s recurring problems, Mourinho insisted an operation would be undertaken only if there was no alternative. Mourinho added: “I don’t believe we will ever go in the surgery direction. “(The solution) is to work the way he does all the season in prevention, in making the muscle stronger and at the same time elastic and flexible. Recover well – not a big accumulation of fatigue – and this is what we can do.” Chelsea have one game a week for the season run-in, apart from when they meet Leicester in midweek later this month in a match rearranged due to the Capital One Cup final. “It’s better,” Mourinho said. “That’s why this weekend is the weekend where we are a bit short of time. Costa suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem in last month’s 3-2 win at Hull and withdrew from international duty with Spain. Chelsea’s top scorer will be in the squad for the Stamford Bridge fixture, but may not start. last_img read more

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Trading Halted On Wall Street After Dow Loses 7 Percent

first_imgFor the second time this week, trading on Wall Street is being halted after the Dow Jones Industrial Average tripped a circuit breaker by losing seven percent minutes after the opening bell.All three major indexes had lost seven percent when trading was halted for 15 minutes.Investors were concerned about President Trump’s announcement last night of a travel ban from many European countries.last_img

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Jamaica’s Briana Williams escapes doping ban

first_img(REUTERS) – Jamaica’s World Under-20 double sprint gold medallist Briana Williams has escaped a doping ban for using the banned Diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide, the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (IADP) ruled yesterday. Williams, 17, was provisionally named in the Jamaica team for the 100 metres and 4×100 metres relay at the World Championships in Doha which start today.The IADP ruled that she will be “reprimanded with no period of ineligibility”. Williams returned the positive test at the Jamaican trials in June and had faced the possibility of a four-year ban.“The IADP finds that the athlete has established no significant fault or negligence as she was given tablets by her guardian and had no intention to cheat in her In-Competition sprint event on June 21, 2019,” the IADP said in a statement. “The IADP recommends that the athlete undergoes another education programme on Anti-Doping in Sports Rules.”Williams’ coach Ato Boldon said he was relieved that she had been exonerated and confirmed that she was due to fly in to Doha. “I’m satisfied that the panel came to the right decision based on the evidence and based on what the IAAF rules and the WADA code is,” Boldon told Reuters.“I wouldn’t want what Briana has endured at her age to happen to my worst enemy,” the former Olympic and World Championship medallist added.last_img read more

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