Helios schemes reach 2m sq ft

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Swiss central bank: sticking with negative rates ‘in pension funds’ interest’

first_imgJordan said: “The SNB is not responsible for social policy. [But] by consistently and credibly pursuing a policy geared to price stability, the SNB is contributing significantly to a solid foundation [for the pension system].”He also ruled out distributing some of its income to pension funds, saying this raised the issue of potential conflicts of interest with central bank’s mandate.  Thomas Jordan, chair of the governing board of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), has defended the bank’s policy to keep negative interest rates in front of an audience of pension fund trustees, saying it would not be in pension funds’ interest to do so.Addressing delegates at a conference hosted by PK-Netz in Berne yesterday, Jordan said Switzerland’s negative interest rate – currently -0.75% – and the SNB’s willingness to intervene on the foreign exchange market were still essential in order to ease upward pressure on the Swiss franc. If unchecked, this pressure would lead to lower economic growth, lower share prices and no improvement in earnings for pension funds, he said.Lower economic growth would also provoke higher unemployment, reducing the pension funds’ contribution base, he added.  The SNB has often been called upon to abolish the negative interest rate to relieve pressure on pension funds.  Swiss National BankJordan applauded pension funds’ actions to improve sustainability such as increasing allocations to equities and real estate, and cutting benefits, but said that the measures were now insufficient because of rising life expectancy.“Only a limited number of adjustment mechanisms can be used to restore the equilibrium of a pension system,” he cautioned, suggesting that either benefits could be decreased or the period of benefit payments could be shortened.Last month a group of Swiss pension fund bodies called on politicians to urgently pass reforms to address the harm done to the Swiss pension system from sustained negative interest rates. Denmark, Sweden exemplarsDespite this, he held up Denmark and Sweden as examples of countries that have found workable solutions to the pension fund headache of rising life expectancy and low interest rates.He noted that the two Nordic countries, which are now ranked several places ahead of Switzerland [in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index], had implemented far-reaching and thus painful measures to stabilise and modernise their pension systems.Jordan said: “Denmark has linked the retirement age to life expectancy, and Sweden is making the level of pension payments directly dependent on demographic and economic developments. These two examples show that it is possible, even in this politically fraught area, to find workable solutions.”He concluded: “As pension fund managers, you have fulfilled your obligations and have taken action in the very challenging environment of the past few years.Switzerland’s political bodies, too, recognised some time ago that the pension system must take account of the economic realities. Some initial steps have already been taken along this rocky road. But there is still a way to go.”last_img read more

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Mushers, fans gather for world’s most famous sled dog race

first_imgView comments Veteran musher Scott Janssen of Anchorage said that for now, he is letting all “the negative stuff go in one ear and out the other,” but will do everything in his power after the race to change the face of the Iditarod.“I run this race because I love the Iditarod and I love my dogs,” said Janssen, a funeral home director known as the Mushing Mortician. “My dogs have been training all year to do this and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to have a great time.”Fans also were concentrating on the race itself. Among them were sisters Liz and Jenny Ott of Bradford, England. The pair first got a desire to see the Iditarod in person after going on a sled dog ride with Iditarod veteran Ryan Redington, grandson of late race co-founder Joe Redington Sr., as part of an Alaska cruise land excursion five years ago.“It’s a bucket list thing,” Liz Ott said.“Something you have to do before you die,” her sister added.ADVERTISEMENT Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Michigan ends top-seeded Spartans’ 13-game winning streak But two hours before Saturday’s action got started, a dog on Norwegian musher Lars Monsen’s team got loose and disappeared during preparations for the 11-mile (18-kilometer) run through town. The dog, Hudson, was not immediately found, Iditarod spokesman Chas St. George said.This year’s Iditarod comes amid a plethora of troubles for race organizers, including a former winner’s dog doping scandal, the loss of a major sponsor and increasing pressure from animal rights activists following the deaths of five dogs connected to last year’s race.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut on Saturday, the focus for mushers was on the race ahead.“It’s all about the dogs now,” said defending champion Mitch Seavey, a three-time winner. “Dogs are what we focus on. I think that’s why everybody showed up down here on the streets today, it’s because we love the dogs.” Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Musher Aliy Zirkle runs her team during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Zirkle has finished as high as second in the race. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Cheering fans lined the streets as mushers took their dog teams for a short sprint in Alaska’s largest city Saturday for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.The morning trek along snow-heaped paths in downtown Anchorage gave supporters a chance to mingle with mushers and their furry teams before the competitive portion of the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race to Nome begins Sunday to the north in the community of Willow.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Also present for the parade of dog teams were members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which brought five headstones with the names of the Iditarod dogs that died in 2017, including two dogs that died after being dropped from the race. Stuffed toy dogs topped with long-stem red roses were placed in front of the gravestones.PETA, a longtime Iditarod critic, says more than 150 dogs have died in the race over the years, a number disputed by Iditarod officials who have not provided their count despite numerous requests by The Associated Press. PETA also plans to protest at Sunday’s official start of the race and at the finish in Nome.“These dogs are being treated like machines,” said spokeswoman Tricia Lebkuecher. “And they are literally being run to death.”Iditarod officials acknowledged the various problems they’ve faced over the past year have been a growing process for organizers.Perhaps the most challenging issue was the October disclosure that four dogs belonging to four-time winner Dallas Seavey, one of defending champion Mitch Seavey’s sons, tested positive for a banned substance, the opioid painkiller tramadol, after his second-place finish last year behind his father. The race’s leadership faced criticism for not releasing the information sooner.The Iditarod said it couldn’t prove Dallas Seavey administered the drugs to his dogs and didn’t punish him. Since then, the rules have been changed to hold mushers liable for any positive drug test unless they can show something beyond their control happened.Seavey has denied administering tramadol to his dogs. He is sitting out this year’s race in protest over the handling of the doping investigation. Instead, he is in Norway to participate in another sled dog race, the Finnmarkslopet, which begins next week. Mitch Seavey said Dallas called him from Norway Friday night to wish him well in the Iditarod.For this year’s Iditarod, 67 teams are vying for a total purse of $500,000. Organizers say the winner’s share of the prize money will be determined later in the race. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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Elder outraged over caribou slaughter

first_imgAPTN National NewsChiefs from northern Manitoba are calling for an investigation into the slaughter of 30 barren ground caribou.They want more conservation officers to patrol winter roads to prevent similar incidents from happening again.The grisly discovery was made by Northlands Dene First Nation Chief Joe Dantouze.last_img

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