20 Oct

Focus on stopping the next shooting spree

first_imgThey offer prayers and platitudes that are quickly forgotten, instead of working to enact policies to help defend a nation that is constantly under attack from its not-so-well-regulated militia.Americans don’t need another debate on “gun control.”What’s needed is a dispassionate discussion about specific policies that can save lives.For instance, the Sutherland Springs shooter was reportedly convicted of domestic violence and received a one-year sentence.If true, this should have disqualified him from passing a background check, but it didn’t.Discovering what went wrong — and fixing it — can help stop future murderers.After the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed a law aimed at getting mental health records into the background system. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appears on Bloomberg View:There are many unanswered questions about the man who on Sunday shot and killed at least 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.In the days ahead, more facts will emerge. But the most common question — could anything have been done to stop him? — will also be the most difficult to answer, the most hotly debated, and the most irrelevant for public policy.If the goal is to stop future shooting sprees — and it should be — the right question to ask is simple: What steps can be taken to reduce their likelihood?Nothing can change what happened, and no law can stop every murderous madman.But by examining data and evidence, there are ways to increase the chances that future plots can be foiled, and to mitigate the harm that the successful ones inflict.That’s why Congress banned fully automatic rifles, for instance, and created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.Both have saved countless lives.The trouble is, whenever such a mass shooting occurs, elected officials who fear the gun lobby pretend that nothing more can be done.center_img But gaps still exist. Sunday’s shooting spree again highlights how a functioning background check system is as much a management issue as a policy one.Sunday’s massacre should also prompt elected officials to contemplate two facts.One, mass shootings are often committed by domestic abusers.And two, in states where background checks are required on all handgun sales, as opposed to states where they are required only at registered gun dealers, 47 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.Americans do not elect representatives to pray for them, nor to kneel at the gun lobby’s altar.But until voters demand a more active and urgent response from Washington and state capitols, funeral bells from mass killings will continue to ring across the land.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

29 Sep

Swiss pension funds struggle to adjust to low-interest-rate environment

first_imgManaging director Markus Hübscher told IPE the recently agreed measures were a reaction to the “increasingly difficult market environment”.Further, the PKSBB also conceded that the introduction of flexible or alternative pension models “might be necessary” in future, while not ruling out further adjustments to its recently changed parameters.The PKSBB’s troubles are not uncommon in Switzerland.Local consultancy ppcmetrics recently warned that adjustments to pension funds’ technical parameters, in light of the low-interest-rate environment, were effectively “inevitable”.Ronald Schnurrenberger, managing director at the PKE, warned that possible adjustments to pension payouts would have to be made in time, “based consistently on sensible parameters”.In 2014, his pension fund – for the Swiss energy sector – was one of the few Pensionskassen to introduce flexible payouts. Schnurrenberger lamented that the historically low interest rates made it very difficult to achieve sufficient returns over the medium and long term, but added that it did not matter whether returns were actually just above or just below zero.Falling return expectations have also led to changes at the Aargauische Pensionskasse (APK).After conducting a recent asset-liability management study, the pension fund reduced its exposure to commodities by 300 basis points to 5% for 2015.Managing director Susanne Jäger told IPE the change had been a “logical” step given the return expectations.She also pointed out that the new level was closer to the average of other Pensionskassen.  The APK also made minor adjustments to its money market and liquidity exposure limit, reducing it from 5% to 3%, while slightly increasing its exposure to global bonds and Swiss equities.A recent study by ppcmetrics identified APK as being one of the Pensionskassen where additional risk had failed to “pay off” over the long term.The consultancy also pointed out that the Swiss National Bank’s negative interest rate for certain assets in current accounts had further “accentuated” the low-interest-rate environment.For Swisscanto, the Bank’s move is a “further intensification of the financial repression by central banks”.Thomas Liebi, chief economist at the asset manager, said the Bank had been compelled to respond to the continued appreciation of the Swiss Franc, triggered by the European Central Bank’s expected bond purchasing programme.In this environment, he warned, investors will be increasingly “pushed” into longer durations and riskier investments. The CHF16bn (€13bn) pension fund for federal railways in Switzerland (PKSBB) has finalised talks with members to adjust the scheme’s technical parameters.From 2016, the scheme is to lower its discount rate (technischer Zins) from 3% to 2.5%, while the conversion rate for new members will drop from 5.8% to 5.22%, as contributions are raised.The PKSBB will also begin using ‘generation tables’ to assess longevity risk.Only a few months ago, the pension fund announced it would put on hold plans to introduce flexible pension payouts, after talks with its members broke down.last_img read more

26 Sep

Archbishop Desmond Tutu wins £1.1m Templeton Prize

first_img Share 86 Views   no discussions Tweet Archbishop Desmond Tutu was at the forefront of the campaign against apartheidArchbishop Desmond Tutu has won the £1.1m ($1.6m) Templeton Prize for “affirming life’s spiritual dimension”.Organisers said he was awarded the 2013 prize for his lifelong work advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness that have helped to liberate people around the world.The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town joins a distinguished group of 42 previous recipients.Archbishop Tutu will receive the prize at the Guildhall in London on 21 May.The 81-year-old veteran peace campaigner said: “When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd it’s usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others.“I want to acknowledge all the wonderful people who accepted me as their leader at home and so to accept this prize in a representative capacity.”‘Innate humanity’The Templeton Prize has for the past 40 years been the world’s largest annual monetary award given to an individual.It celebrates “a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”.Last year’s Templeton Prize Laureate was Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.The prize was founded in 1972 by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton.It forms part of the John Templeton Foundation’s “international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”Dr John M Templeton Jr said: “By embracing such universal concepts of the image of God within each person, Desmond Tutu also demonstrates how the innate humanity within each of us is intrinsically tied to the humanity between all peoples.”Last year Archbishop Tutu was awarded $1m (£620,000) by the London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation for Africa for “speaking truth to power”.He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign against apartheid in South Africa.BBC News Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share FaithInternationalLifestylePrint Archbishop Desmond Tutu wins £1.1m Templeton Prize by: – April 4, 2013last_img read more

28 Aug

Fire guts restaurant owned by Hearts coach

first_imgHearts coach CK Akunnor had his restaurant in Tema razed down by fire last Tuesday.The ex-Ghana captain was preparing his side for the start of the Ghana Premier League when the news reached him.Reports say gas cookers in the pantry caught fire and that led to inflammatory bursts in the air.All ten female workers escaped unhurt and investigations has begun into the cause of the fire.Akunnor, ex Wolfsburg captain, is one of few retired Ghanaian footballers who own investments in the country.last_img read more

16 Aug

UFC 239: Jorge Masvidal details disdain for Ben Askren

first_imgJorge Masvidal’s voice perks up in pure joy when he discusses stepping right into Darren Till’s home country of England this past March and blasting the former title challenger inside two rounds.”I love to scrap,” Masvidal tells Sporting News. “Everybody knows that. It doesn’t matter if we fight in England, Las Vegas, Saturn. It doesn’t matter whether people are backing me up or not. I love my fans, but I fight for me. When I had my very first amateur fight, it was for me. My very first pro fight was for me. It doesn’t matter if the whole world I against me. I just like to compete. I love this sport. “People like to tune in and watch me fight because I bring sheer violence with the science behind it,” he continued. “I love what I do and I’m blessed to do it.” Inevitably, the focus of the conversation turns to Ben Askren, Masvidal’s opponent at UFC 239 on Saturday night.From there, the tone in Masvidal’s voice shifts dramatically to one where the tenor gets cranked up a bit and you can feel the disdain in his voice for the former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion. To the casual fan, his anger toward Askren is due to the controversial fashion that Askren beat Masvidal’s teammate at American Top Team, Robbie Lawler, at UFC 235 in March. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearBut the animosity for the 34-year-old goes back to an incident long before 2019.”I met him many years ago,” Masvidal says of Askren. “He was a punk even back then. He was trying to make a joke one day after practice and came off like a f— idiot. He could have gotten slapped then, but we were at the gym. And then he goes on and talks about the workout we had. It’s so weak and pathetic. He’s not a man. He’s a punk. He’s a 30-year-old man who acts like he’s a teenager.”He’s got to pay,” Masvidal continues. “He just can’t go around and talk s— about everybody just to get famous and get one like on social media. He’s an attention whore. That’s not a guy I want to hang out with or socialize with.” You’d think Masvidal was done. However, the man, who was on the street fighting circuits in Miami opposite Kimbo Slice, continued to sling the venom with vitriol and makes it clear on at least his end that he’ll never see eye-to-eye with Askren.”For starters, the guy is a straight up punk,” Masvidal says. “He’s just the type of guy who will say anything to get a reaction and stir up a little bit of trouble and build his brand. He’s just a cornball.”And Masvidal’s disdain for Askren extends further than his personality.”He can’t punch. He can’t throw a jab. He knows nothing about fighting,” Masvidal adds. “He talks about beating all these good fighters. He hasn’t beaten anybody. If he counts Robbie, then he knows nothing about the sport. The media might think differently, but I and the other fighters know otherwise and call him out for it. Robbie is legit royalty.”Ben is good at putting his face in people’s crotches. He’s the f— best I’ve ever seen. I’m going to show him on July 6 that I’m the best in the world and he’s going to run into some serious problems.”UFC 239 features two titles fights at the top of the bill with Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos as the headliner, with Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm in the co-main event. But it’s Masvidal and Askren that has garnered the majority of the headlines because of the hatred between the two and their actions leading into the company’s biggest event to date in 2019.  SOUND ON! 🔊 #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/HU7NrHyN4n— UFC (@ufc) July 4, 2019 While it’s a fight which made sense for Askren’s sophomore outing inside the Octagon, “Gamebred” felt like he had bigger fish to fry and a win this weekend doesn’t do him much good.”I really didn’t care,” Masvidal explains. “I don’t like Ben much as an individual. Obviously, I’m always trying to get the toughest fights. I’m going to prove this Saturday that Ben isn’t the toughest fight out there. He might think that in his head, but he’s just trying to sell a fight. He’s like a politician. He says whatever he can all the f— time to all you reporters and begging for interviews because I just did an interview. I’m friends with some reporters and they tell me how corny he is.”Basically, this fight happened because the other guys ranked ahead of me were scheduled or at that moment, couldn’t fight,” Masvidal continues. “So I took the next highest guy, which was Ben, who is under me. In my opinion, he isn’t No. 5 in the world. He hasn’t done anything in the UFC. To me, he’s 0-1 in the UFC. I’ll kick his ass and break his face and after that, move forward, and the UFC gives me the fights I deserve.”A fight with Ben does nothing for my career. Absolutely nothing,” he added. “If I smoke this guy in the first round and break his orbital eye bone, it does nothing for my career. Nobody is going to give a f—. This guy has never been in a fight. His last time out with Robbie Lawler, a real fighter, he almost got killed.” “The referee called some weird s— and saved him because Robbie didn’t tap or go to sleep. Ben doesn’t have a win in the UFC. I have numerous wins in the UFC in every which way, and he has absolutely nothing. It’s a joke to me. But I’m a professional, and I’m going to show the difference between him and me.” The consensus among pundits is this is a No. 1 contender’s fight and the winner goes on to fight champion Kamaru Usman next. Masvidal agrees with the sentiment shared by others, but thinks he should have already been in the position to face Usman instead of having to go through his heated rival.”To be honest with you, the win over Till should have had me fighting for the title,” he says. “But I don’t have the massive following and a country behind me. I have a lot of fan support spread throughout the world. I don’t have that thing of where people will say, ‘Hey, this guy sells a lot of pay-per-views.’ That’s why I don’t get those things. This fight should have been for the title. I beat Darren Till, who had just fought for the title and had only one loss in that fight to then-champion Tyron Woodley. I didn’t understand why I didn’t get the opportunity to fight for the title.” A savoring win over Askren and Masvidal may get just that.last_img read more