Congo: Couldn’t leave them behind

first_imgResearchers from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative have been working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for several years examining the roots of the violence against women that has plagued this war-torn region.last_img

Finding Neverland Will Release a Cast Recording

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 21, 2016 View Comments Related Shows Ready to have your world turned upside down? The Broadway musical Finding Neverland will record a cast album! The Republic Records albums will drop on June 23, with Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly and company singing such Gary Barlow and Elliot Kennedy tunes as “Believe,” “All That Matters,” “Stronger” and “When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground”The cast album, which was recorded on May 4, will be the second release the Neverland believers will be able to get their hands on. The previously reported concept album hits stores and online on April 21. The concept recording features new takes on the score by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Nick Jonas, Jon Bon Jovi and more.Directed by Diane Paulus and featuring a score by Barlow and Kennedy and a book by James Graham, Finding Neverland follows the story of J.M. Barrie (Morrison) and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kelly). Llewelyn Davies’ children eventually became Barrie’s inspiration to write Peter Pan.In addition to Morrison, Grammer and Kelly, the original cast includes Carolee Carmello, Teal Wicks, Alex Dreier, Hayden Signoretti, Noah Hinsdale, Hayden Signoretti, Christopher Paul Richards, Sawyer Nunes, Jackson Demott Hill and Aidan Gemme. Finding Neverlandlast_img read more

Ireland to divest fossil fuel investments

first_imgIreland to divest fossil fuel investments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The Republic of Ireland will become the world’s first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament.The state’s €8bn national investment fund will be required to sell all investments in coal, oil, gas and peat “as soon as is practicable”, which is expected to mean within five years. Norway’s huge $1tn sovereign wealth fund has only partially divested from fossil fuels, targeting some coal companies, and is still considering its oil and gas holdings.The fossil fuel divestment movement has grown rapidly, and trillions of dollars of investment funds have been divested, including large pension funds and insurers, cities such as New York, churches and universities.The Irish fossil fuel divestment bill was passed in the lower house of parliament on Thursday and it is expected to pass rapidly through the upper house, meaning it could become law before the end of the year. The Irish state investment fund holds more than €300m in fossil fuel investments in 150 companies.“The [divestment] movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in the expansion of a global industry which must be brought into managed decline if catastrophic climate change is to be averted,” said Thomas Pringle, the independent member of parliament who introduced the bill. “Ireland by divesting is sending a clear message that the Irish public and the international community are ready to think and act beyond narrow short term vested interests.”The bill defines a fossil fuel company as a company that derives 20% or more of its revenue from exploration, extraction or refinement of fossil fuels. The bill also allows investment in Irish fossil fuel companies if this funds their move away from fossil fuels.More: Ireland becomes world’s first country to divest from fossil fuelslast_img read more

A Fresh Look for Nelson County’s Original Craft Brewery

first_imgSet in the shadow of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, Blue Mountain Brewery is celebrating 10 years as Nelson County’s original craft brewery. Located in an area now holding an abundance of craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries, Blue Mountain opened in 2007 as the region’s first rural brewery, making high-quality beers that remain popular staples throughout Virginia and beyond.This spring many of those beers were given a fresh look, as Blue Mountain recently unveiled new packaging for its core offerings, including the lauded Full Nelson pale ale, Classic Lager, and A Hopwork Orange, an orange-infused IPA.  The new playful, vintage-inspired design will also be found on bottles and six-packs of seasonal favorite Rockfish Wheat and the brewery’s new double IPA, Hop Duster.Blue Mountain’s original brewery in Afton, Va., is a popular regional destination. With a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of outdoor seating, and stunning views of nearby mountain ridgelines, the brewery serves small-batch beers in addition to core styles and delicious food made with local ingredients. Barrel-aged beers and other limited creations can be found down the road in Arrington at the brewery’s second outpost, Blue Mountain Barrel House. At both locations, you’ll find fields of growing Cascade hops, used in Full Nelson and seasonal harvest beers. Blue Mountain regularly hosts live music and other special events. This fall the brewery will celebrate a decade in business with a 10-day Anniversary Party. The event, which will take place in late October and early November (specific dates to be announced soon), will feature 10 bands and 10 specially released beers to mark 10 years of an established Blue Ridge brewery that’s still moving forward. For more information visit www.bluemountainbrewery.com.last_img read more

The United States Ratifies Military Cooperation with Paraguay

first_imgBy Marta Escurra/Diálogo July 19, 2016 U.S. Air Force Major General Gary W. Keefe, Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, met with Paraguayan Minister of Defense Diógenes Martínez in Asunción. During his visit, Brig. Gen. Keefe confirmed the U.S. intention to continue cooperating with the South American country. Beginning in 2001, as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), this joint effort has trained 2,000 Paraguayan military personnel.The fundamental core of these trainings and exchanges has been infrastructure aid, emergency-relief training, human rights, and dialogue between the two sides on defense issues. Global concerns, such as security from terrorist threats, transnational organized crime, humanitarian aid, and disaster response have also been discussed. The Massachusetts National Guard, for example, conducts between eight and 12 exchanges per year. Each lasts about five to seven days and includes up to five trainers. To discuss this more deeply, Diálogo talked to Minister Martínez, who explained the extent of the cooperation with the U.S. Military.Diálogo: Within the framework of the SPP, what is thehistory of this cooperation between Massachusetts and Paraguay since 2001?Paraguayan Defense Minister Diógenes Martínez: On May 30, 2001, then U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay David N. Greenlee extended an offer to participate in the Massachusetts State Partnership Program to the Commander of the Armed Forces, and it was accepted by the General Expedito Garrigoza Vera, Commander of the Army, on June 22nd of the same year.Diálogo: What does this partnership imply for Paraguay in terms of quality of work in the Armed Forces?Minister Martínez: Professional training for various Armed Forces personnel, learning new techniques, working as a team, relationships with service members from another country, understanding their capabilities in terms of human and material resources. The good thing about the program is that I  see a spirit of mutual support and shared benefit. It’s not simply “aid.”Diálogo: What final assessment have you been able to make over the course of these years?Minister Martínez: It has allowed us to facilitate and complement the training of approximately 2,000 military personnel as military observers and contingent support (men and women) in peacekeeping missions within the framework of the United Nations. These military personnel are currently deployed in various countries in Africa, as well as in Haiti, Cyprus, and also closer to home in the Republic of Colombia. They also contribute locally in various departments within our country, by carrying out multiple humanitarian aid missions for the needy.Diálogo: What specifically does this program develop among the Paraguayan Military personnel, and which division will it work with?Minister Martínez: Defending against natural disasters, catastrophes, and non-military threats to our population is what is called Civil Defense, and this is the responsibility of the National Defense. What comes out of that is peacekeeping operations, humanitarian aid, exchange of military personnel, human rights, etc. They work directly with the Joint Peace Operations Training Center (CECOPAZ) and indirectly with the Armed Forces Command and individual branches of the Military.Diálogo: How many people are involved?Minister Martínez: At least 300 military personnel per year.Diálogo: What work has been done most recently within the framework of this cooperative effort?Minister Martínez: In 15 years of cooperation, there have been innumerable works received, especially in the physical infrastructure of CECOPAZ, equipping the Army’s English lab and the Multi-role Engineering Company for deployment in Haiti, among other things.Diálogo: What are the future plans with respect to the program’s renewal? What specifically will be done and with whom?Minister Martínez: We will continue training military personnel in the different areas offered by the State of Massachusetts, which is Paraguay’s friend. We will continue taking advantage of the goodwill resulting from professionalizing the components (men and women) of the Armed Forces.Diálogo: What is your opinion about the fact that the Massachusetts National Guard is collaborating with you?Minister Martínez: In my opinion, it is quite satisfactory because, in this case there is reciprocity, both in terms of the effort made and the benefits received, which, of course, is very useful. They also get to train their people in a different environment. Only by staying committed can we work together; by building alliances we can protect our interests, defend our territory, create better conditions for our society, and advance towards opportunities.Diálogo: What are the areas of most concern to your counterpart in this partnership?Minister Martínez: The social area, peacekeeping operations, civilian-military relations, humanitarian aid, civil matters, disaster assistance efforts, human rights, and others.Diálogo: Within the framework of this program, what specific proposals does the Republic of Paraguay have?Minister Martínez: To continue this relationship and strengthen it even further. Let me say it again: it’s an important complement to National Defense, and the best thing is, other than the social services, there is also and at the same time, real training for our military assets.last_img read more

NCUA 2Q numbers highlight credit union strength, membership and loan growth

first_img 23SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Federally insured credit unions recorded another strong performance in the second quarter or 2015, according to data released today by the National Credit Union Administration.“Across America, there’s a growing recognition that credit unions offer solid value to their members,” said NCUA Chair Debbie Matz. “More people see credit unions as an affordable financial services alternative. Credit unions continue to increase lending while taking steps to shed certain investments that would pose risk when interest rates inevitably begin to rise. All these trends are signs of a robust system.”Total memberships in federally insured credit unions rose to 101.1 million as of June 30, up by 1.1 % during the quarter and 3.2% over the previous 12 months.Growth was strong in several credit union categories. For instance, assets were up to $1.17 trillion, 0.8% above last quarter and 5.9% above the second quarter of 2014. Credit unions’ earnings (return on assets) rose modestly from 78 basis points in the first quarter to 84 basis in the second; and these earnings, combined with modest asset growth, raised the credit union overall net worth ratio from 10.81% in March to 10.92% in June. continue reading »last_img read more

Is USAA a better credit union than you?

first_imgWhat is the value of membership? Can you articulate what it means in an easy, digestible way to your membership? Is the value or benefit of membership real and tangible, or is it soft and fuzzy like an angora sweater?In national ads, USAA Bank with their unique member-status insurance/banking operation, states their value very specifically. They put the value in dollars and cents. In fact, they claim to have saved their members over $300 Million – and they are extremely proud of this achievement! That IS tangible value! You may have also seen that USAA advertises that over 92% of members expect to stay for life! Would your members say the same?USAA is spending millions of dollars to both produce these ads and run them in primo TV spots – like NFL games – to get their point across. USAA’s value proposition is that they save members money. In return, USAA gets even more business from their members – who then pledge their lifelong loyalty in return. Great trade, huh?!What are you doing to get your value proposition across to your members? Most Credit Unions cannot afford to run national TV ad campaigns.Can we agree that Credit Unions must differentiate their real value proposition to their members? Credit Unions offer better rates than the banks in their market, right? Then why not crow about it? Yell it from the mountaintop, so to speak.Has any Credit Union taken a similar approach to USAA? Yes. First Tech, Army Aviation, Smart Financial, and Wright-Patt are among the many, many credit unions that have executed a program similar to this and generated huge success. They each understand that it is vital to the health of their credit unions to clearly articulate the VALUE of membership with each member.Your members probably have a fuzzy idea as to the value your credit union offers. But, let’s get real, fuzzy isn’t getting it done. You need to be precise and extremely specific about why your Credit Union is different. Ask the same question your members ask… what specific value do you bring your membership?Let’s be candid, USAA Bank is a better Credit Union than you are! They understand who they are and what they stand for. They are unapologetic.I am unapologetic in presenting how your credit union can also communicate your value effectively to your members: the Member Value Statement. This state-of-the-art program communicates your credit Union’s real dollars and cents value to each member who is engaged with your credit union.Imagine that you receive an email from your credit union, along with a special customized direct mail document, that unequivocally states you have saved $307 with your credit union (as just one example). A Member Value Statement that also asks the compelling question “How much more could your credit union save you with other needs?” and makes specific offers for other products to achieve even higher savings. How will you (or your member) respond?The really cool thing is that the Member Value Statement is a boon to member loyalty. Some clients have achieved a 50% reduction in attrition! Even if you don’t get this reduction rate, the clear message describing your value will still generate over 4X the return on the investment for the program. How do we know? It’s simple – we have run this program for dozens and dozens of credit unions, large and small. Every single one has had at least a 4X return. Spend $1, get $4 in profit! Does it cost as much as a national TV ad campaign? Hardly. It cost about the same as any direct marketing campaign you might run today. But – and here’s the really important point –this one generates INSANE RESULTS!Why did First Tech, Army Aviation, Smart Financial, and Wright-Patt, among many others, jump at the chance to execute this program? They each wanted to clearly and undeniably articulate the VALUE of membership.Do you?Shouldn’t you at least examine the Member Value Statement for your Credit Union?Can a fraction of your 2016 marketing budget deliver all of the return on investment you need for the entire year?How will you know the answer if you deny yourself the chance to see it for yourself? 109SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jay Kassing Jay Kassing is President of MARQUIS, a Texas based provider of marketing analytics solutions including MCIF/CRM software, MCIF services, profitability, compliance, consulting and direct mail creative/fulfillment. Jay has … Web: www.gomarquis.com Detailslast_img read more

Dorchester stores up its charm

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Majority of public wants regional elections delayed: Surveys

first_img“Looking at these numbers, I think it will be a tough job for the government and the General Elections Commission [KPU] to garner public enthusiasm for the elections and improve public participation,” Indikator executive director Burhanudin Muhtadi said last week when announcing the results of the survey.Another pollster, Charta Politika Indonesia, released last Wednesday the results of a similar public opinion survey involving 2,000 respondents from July 6 to 12 to see whether they agreed with the government’s decision to hold the elections despite the pandemic showing no signs of abating.It found that 54.2 percent of respondents disagreed with the decision and only 31.8 percent of respondents agreed with it. Yet, half of those supporting the government’s decision also said they were unsure about whether they would show up at polling stations and cast their ballots.Read also: KPU presses on with December elections despite turnout concerns Most Indonesians disagree with the government’s decision to hold the 2020 simultaneous regional elections on Dec. 9, as uncertainty remains over when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, two recent surveys have found.Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia interviewed 1,200 respondents across Indonesia from July 13 to 16 on whether the elections should take place during the outbreak.It found that 63.1 percent of respondents preferred the year-end polls be postponed, while 34.3 percent said the elections should occur as scheduled. The remaining 2.6 percent of respondents did not provide answers. Topics :center_img “Our survey results indicate that the government and the KPU will have a difficult job increasing public participation in the coming elections. Otherwise, we will see a low turnout,” Charta Politika executive director Yunarto Wijaya said.The two surveys appeared to reflect concerns about low voter turnout from experts and activists, who have repeatedly called on policymakers to push back the elections to 2021 over fears the COVID-19 outbreak could continue late into the year. They argued that the elections, which seek to elect 270 regional leaders comprising nine governors, 224 regents and 37 mayors, would put voters and election organizers at risk of contracting the disease.But the government has insisted on holding the December elections, with Home Minister Tito Karnavian saying that democracy should go on despite the outbreak.As a result, the KPU has to grapple with arranging health protocols and procuring personal protective equipment to prevent election organizers, candidates and voters from contracting the disease during all stages of elections, from the preparations, which started in June, to the final vote count a week after voting day.Read also: KPU to advise regional candidates to campaign onlineFadli Ramadanil of election watchdog Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) said the surveys indicated that prospective voters were unlikely to prioritize the elections as long as the pandemic still raged on.Political analyst Adi Prayitno from State Islamic University (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta said low public interest in elections might encourage candidates to turn to vote buying by offering money or daily supplies to potential voters, particularly those suffering from financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.Adi said the government could press ahead with hosting the Dec. 9 elections only in COVID-19 low-risk regions, or “green zones”, to ensure high turnout.Read also: Vote buying threatens to undermine year-end elections: KPKKPU commissioner Ilham Saputra said the commission would not ask the government or the House of Representatives for election postponement because the KPU had already begun preparing the elections. He said the commission finished screening independent candidates on July 12, and was now updating the voter roll – scheduled to be completed on Aug. 13.“Postponing the elections is not in our plan so far, but we will try to resolve what people described as a lack of public enthusiasm for year-end polls,” Ilham said.“For social media platforms, we will prepare a tutorial video about voting mechanisms. This is to convince people that it will be safe to show up at polling stations.”last_img read more

CEE roundup: Russia, Lithuania, Latvia

first_imgIn the context of ongoing government discussions about making the system voluntary, the Bank of Russia pointed out that membership of the existing voluntary private system had fallen by 400,000 to fewer than 6.4m, citing waning confidence in the system and negative returns.It said it doubted whether employers, faced with declining economic growth, would be in a hurry to establish corporate pension schemes.The NSPFs are set to receive the frozen contributions from the second half of 2013 once they convert to joint-stock status, meet minimum capital requirements and join the guarantee system, as stipulated by the law that came into effect this year.While the funds providing compulsory pension insurance have until the beginning of 2016 to fulfil the new obligations or leave the market, the major ones have not wasted any time.As of the beginning of October, NSPFs accounting for 91% of total assets had converted their status to companies, while those in the new guarantee system accounted for more than 85%.In other news, Lithuania’s voluntary second-pillar funds posted further healthy results in the third quarter of 2014.According to the Bank of Lithuania, the sector regulator, as of the end of September 2014, year-to-date returns averaged 6.04%, some 2.5 times higher than a year earlier.The five funds with the highest equity exposure generated the best returns, with those investing up to 100% in shares generating 6.88%.The nine funds with up to 70% equity exposure returned 6.4%, while the four funds with a low exposure of up to 30% produced 6.21%.In contrast, the eight bond-only conservative funds generated returns of only 3.15%.Over the nine-month period, assets under management grew by 14.3% to LTL6.2bn (€1.8bn).In the case of the third pillar, assets grew by 13.9% to LTL148m.Returns averaged 5.8%, with the balanced funds generating the highest average return, of 6.58%, followed by high equity-weighted funds at 6.51%, while the bond-orientated funds generated 2.57%.In neighbouring Latvia, year-to-date returns for the mandatory second-pillar funds were somewhat lower, averaging 4.21% for their 1.2m members, according to the Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia.Balanced and higher-risk funds returned 4.36% and 4.35%, respectively, while the conservative funds generated 3.79%.Assets grew by 14.5% to €1.9bn.For the much smaller third-pillar system, with €259.7m of assets and 229,318 members, returns average 4.19%. Russia looks set to extend the 2014 moratorium on contributions to the mandatory pension fund system for a further year.In October, the bill passed its first reading in the Duma (lower house) by an overwhelming majority, with 242 deputies voting in favour, and only five against.The Bank of Russia, the central bank, estimated in its October Financial Stability Review that the non-state pension funds (NSPFs) would forgo some RUB243bn (€4.5bn) as a result of the 2014 moratorium, and a further RUB280bn the following year if the bill passes its subsequent readings and is signed off by president Vladimir Putin.The central bank expressed concerns that the moratoria might hamper long-term investment growth, exacerbate the downturn in economic growth and raise the cost of internal funding.last_img read more