Bolivia, Brazil, and the US Sign Agreement to Monitor Coca Fields

first_imgBy Dialogo January 24, 2012 On January 20, Bolivia and the United States signed their first anti-drug cooperation agreement after more than three years of diplomatic distancing that brought bilateral relations to their lowest level ever. The agreement, which aims at establishing a new mechanism for monitoring illegal crops of coca, the raw material for cocaine, is complemented by another agreement signed at the same time between La Paz and Brasilia, slightly more than two months after Bolivia and the United States agreed to normalize relations. The United States will provide equipment and training for the analysis of images and other data that will be obtained by Brazil, while Bolivia will contribute the field component. “This trilateral project has the priority of strengthening international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking under the principle of shared responsibility,” according to a joint statement published after the signing ceremony at the Bolivian foreign ministry. The document did not give details about the duration or cost of the project, in which the United Nations will also participate. It also did not mention the possible use of unmanned aircraft in monitoring drug trafficking, something that had been repeatedly mentioned since the agreements were announced, about six months ago. Cooperation between Bolivia and the United States against drug trafficking has been reduced to a minimum since President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the second half of 2008, accusing them of political interference. Washington, D.C. responded by expelling the Bolivian ambassador.last_img read more

Robin van Persie recalls first memories of ‘world class’ former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry

first_imgRobin van Persie recalls first memories of ‘world class’ former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry Gnabry rose through the ranks at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)Robin van Persie says former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry showed signs of becoming a top talent from a young age and has now flourished into a ‘world class’ player at Bayern Munich.The Germany international joined the Gunners’ academy from Stuttgart in 2011 and despite showing raw potential, was never given a prolonged run of games in the first team.Gnabry was loaned out to West Bromich Albion, where he made just three appearances in six months, and was eventually sold to Werder Bremen, before being snapped up by Bayern Munich.After an impressive season on loan at Hoffenheim, the forward was given an opportunity in Bayern’s first team and since then has become a vital cog in the German champions’ side.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTGnabry’s seven goals in the Champions League this season – including a volley in the 8-2 win over Barcelona – have helped fire Hansi Flick’s side to the semi-finals of the competition, where they play Lyon on Wednesday night.Former Arsenal striker Van Persie admits he saw flashes of a prodigious talent at youth level and now puts Gnabry up there among the best in the world. Gnabry is excelling at Bayern (Picture: Getty Images)‘He was still very young, he was about 15, 16,’ Van Persie told BT Sport.‘I was around 24 I reckon. He was coming through, you could see he had all the stuff you need to be a top player but he was still very young.‘He was fast, playing with confidence, but I don’t think we played together in the first team. He was in the youth teams and reserves. Quite shortly after he went on loan to West Brom.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘Unbelievable that he struggled so much at West Bromwich Albion and now he’s a world class player.‘He’s a joy to watch. He’s fast and he can dribble, he has vision, awareness, he scores great goals.‘The one he took on the volley against Barca I really liked. He’s respecting every chance he gets.’MORE: Willian backs Arsenal team-mate Gabriel Martinelli to become one of the Premier League’s bestMORE: Dani Ceballos waiting on offer from Real Betis before committing to ArsenalFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramFor more stories like this, check our sport page Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 19 Aug 2020 2:15 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link8.7kShares Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Royal Mail Pension Plan awards £700m equity options mandate

first_imgThe Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) has hired River and Mercantile (R&M) to manage a £700m (€966m) ‘structured equity’ and options mandate to implement a “more efficient and risk-focused” strategy.The pension scheme for the UK’s postal provider had £3.8bn in assets as of the end of March 2014, with a significant focus on liability-driven investment (LDI).R&M becomes the pension fund’s second-largest manager behind BlackRock, which managed £2.2bn in LDI solutions.R&M’s structured equity solution uses a selection of options and fixed income products to create synthetic exposure to equity markets, with volatility management in place for downside protection. The pension scheme had more than 9% of its assets in global unconstrained and emerging equities and close to 12% in corporate bonds, but the majority of its allocation (53.8%) is in index-linked bonds, as per its LDI mandate.The pension scheme has a history of strong derivatives usage in both its return-seeking and liability-matching strategies.In 2013, the scheme had 24.5% of its assets in swaps for economic exposure but later extended this to 56.7% in swaps and total returns swaps and 21.8% in repos.The bespoke strategy for RMPP, R&M said, was designed in conjunction with the pension scheme and based on time-frame and return objectives set by the scheme rather than manager discretion.R&M described the fee structure as being at the “passive end of the scale”.Ian McKnight, CIO at RMPP, said the strategy was part of the scheme’s “risk-mitigation investment strategy”.“We are constantly seeking new ways to drive and manage returns on behalf of our members in the most efficient and risk-focused manner possible,” he said.James Barham, global head of distribution at R&M, highlighted the significance of the appointment, which adds to its nearly £10bn in derivatives assets under management in both structured equity and LDI.The pension scheme returned 3.4% over the year to March 2014, with a 6.3% from the return-seeking assets portfolio.RMPP transferred a significant amount of its liabilities to the UK government prior to the privatisation and listing of its sponsor, Royal Mail.The scheme was left fully funded after a £2.7bn IAS 19 deficit was wiped out, with the government assuming responsibility and recently announced a £1.2bn increase to this surplus.The government also assumed a large section of its assets – most notably real estate, most of which was later sold to the Santander UK Group Pension Plan.R&M was formed after the merger of equity house River & Mercantile Asset Management and derivatives manager and investment consultancy P-Solve in 2014.last_img read more

Gustav Karner quits Nobel to head Apoteket AB pension foundation

first_imgKarner said his goal was that the pension foundation be able to work with the sharpest asset managers without sacrificing cost effectiveness.Apoteket AB:s Pensionstiftelse manages around SEK10bn (€1bn) in assets.Karner has been CIO of the Nobel Foundation – the private institution that manages the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes – since 2012.Before that, he was CIO of the asset management division at Sweden’s Länsförsäkringar.Earlier on in his career, he worked at Alecta – back when it was called SPP – and at Handelsbanken Markets before that.Viveka Ekberg, chairman of the Apoteket pension foundation’s supervisory board, said the board was very pleased they were able to appoint Karner.“His broad background in quantitative analysis and risk management and his long experience in managing institutional portfolios will be very useful for Apoteket’s pension foundation,” she said. Gustav Karner, CIO at Sweden’s Nobel Foundation, is changing job, having been appointed chief executive of the pension foundation belonging to Swedish state-owned pharmaceuticals retailer Apoteket.Apoteket, which reports to the Ministry of Finance, had a monopoly on the sale of drugs to the public until 2009.Karner said: “It will be very exciting and fun to develop the successful investment management of Apoteket’s pension foundation (Apoteket AB:s Pensionstiftelse).“I envisage modern asset management with a robust portfolio, which will be able to deal with the volatile markets of the future.”last_img read more

‘Simplistic’ portfolio decarbonisation risks failure on climate change

first_imgCommonly used carbon metrics may not help institutional investors reduce global carbon emissions, a UK ESG investment manager has argued.Metrics such as carbon emissions and carbon intensity, when applied to sectors such as utilities, might reduce the capital available for the development of cleaner energy, Ecofin said.In a research paper produced in association with Carbon Analytics, Ecofin’s head of research Deirdre Cooper said that a focus on these carbon metrics “intrinsically incorporates significant sector bias and could lead unwittingly to underinvestment in the highly carbon-intensive power generation sector at a time when increased investment in clean generation and electrification of transportation is most necessary”.This is “completely at odds with the underlying decarbonisation philosophy,” she continued. Carbon emissions and carbon intensity are valuable indicators of a portfolio’s attributes, but produce “simplistic” decarbonisation strategies, Cooper argued.Speaking to IPE, she said that pension fund trustees wanting to decarbonise their portfolios needed to know what their goals are – be it achieving an impact or seeking protection from ‘stranded asset’ risk – and make sure that the decarbonisation methodology they were considering meets those aims.“If it isn’t you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” she said. “The key point is ‘please don’t take the easy option’.”She acknowledged there was an appreciation in the investment industry that existing decarbonisation tools were not perfect, but said that despite efforts to develop better methodologies many products were still based on these imperfect tools.In the research paper, Ecofin said it was “a concern” that applying typical carbon footprint metrics to a portfolio “would imply significant divestment from utilities”, as this would not contribute towards emission reductions even though the portfolio’s carbon intensity would be lower.Instead, when looking at the power generation sector, investors should compare the generation mix and carbon emissions per unit of electricity produced by each investee company to that of the grid in which they sit, argued the investment manager.Applying this methodology would allow investors to divert capital to cleaner power generators and can drive engagement with companies “to maximise the impact on decarbonisation”, according to Ecofin.last_img read more

Rising liabilities hamper funding levels across Netherlands: survey

first_imgAccording to the FD, funding of the pension funds had remained almost stable at 102% on average, as liabilities had risen approximately 9%.As a consequence, many pension funds are still in danger of having to apply benefit cuts in 2020 or 2021.Earlier this year, supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) warned that returns on investment had failed to boost schemes’ funding.Almost all pension funds have based their recovery plans on expected returns – rather than on a rights discount or a contribution rise – to improve their coverage to the required financial buffers of approximately 125% within 10 years.“Although this is fully legal, pension funds take a risk with this approach,” warned Frank Elderson, DNB’s director of pension fund supervision.The FD highlighted the €19.3bn pension fund for the retail industry (Detailhandel), which returned 12% on average in the past five years, but saw its funding drop from 116.2% to 106.7% in the past two years.Coverage of the €1.4bn scheme for private security (Particuliere Beveiliging) dropped from 100.9% to 99.8% in 2016, despite the pension fund returning 14.8%.The newspaper also found that funding of the €187bn healthcare scheme PFZW had dropped 0.3 percentage points to 95.3%, even though its investment portfolio had generated a 12% profit. The large metal schemes PMT and PME showed a similar outcome.The coverage ratio of the €389bn civil service scheme ABP dropped 0.5 percentage points to 96.7%, despite a positive investment result of 9.5%.The FD said that the €108m sector scheme for the wholesale sector (Nederlandse Groothandel) and the €2.2bn corporate pension fund Atos Origin had delivered the poorest performance last year, returning 5.9% each.It added that, contrary to 2015, not a single scheme had reported a negative result.The newspaper’s annual survey also showed that returns of Dutch pension funds had been 8% on average during the past five years.However, the annual results varied widely, it said. In 2015, the average return was 0.8%, whereas a year earlier the average return was 21.2%. Despite returns of 10.2% on average in 2016, funding of Dutch pension funds has barely improved, according to a survey by financial daily newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (FD).The newspaper, which examined the results of the 100 largest schemes, concluded that the yields of the pension funds struggled to keep up with increasing liabilities in the wake of falling interest rates.This even applied to pension funds with the best investment results, such as the €1.5bn scheme of Holland Casino, which returned 16.3% including the return from its derivatives.Despite the result, the pension fund’s coverage ratio only improved by 3.7 percentage points to 103.3% during last year.last_img read more

Brothel offers bang for buck

first_imgThe award-winning brothel is located next door to a strip club licensed to sell liquorIn 2014, the ladies of the night made a play for the daytime market with lunchtime meal deals offering a “pie, coke and a poke”. The limited time offer included a hot pie and coke with their choice of a range of “services”. You can get hot and sweaty in the sauna … The front desk at Scarlet Harem Bordello is guarded by a gold sphinxRay White Commercial Caloundra sales and leasing consultant Dave Tyson said the asset was particularly rare due to local authority approvals to operate already being in place.“This is one of the last true cash-based businesses available and it’s only one of two legal brothels on the fabulous Sunshine Coast,” Mr Tyson said.“There are simply huge entry barriers to market entry for new operators to start up, so the minimal competition for business would be favourable.”More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020 … and then hit the showersThe premises is approximately 530sq m, and is ready to rumble as soon as any new operators receive State Government approval for a licence.“This really is a turn the key opportunity and it comes with six purpose-built rooms with ensuites and airconditioning, sauna, commercial laundry facilities staffroom and kitchenettes,” Mr Tyson said.“There is also security and CCTV systems in place and guests can take advantage of two exclusive-use car parks and there’s a liquor licensed premises next door.” There is an obvious Egyptian theme throughout the premisesThis property is for sale by expressions of interest or for lease at $78,000 per annum plus outgoings and GST.It includes six purpose built rooms with ensuites and airconditioning, a toilet and kitchenette facilities, commercial laundry facilities, staffrooms and kitchenettes, a sauna, signage opportunity to the main road and airconditioned showroom and waiting rooms. Scarlet Harem Bordello is back on the marketONE of Australia’s top brothels is back on the market after failing to get up, or rather go (sell) under the hammer, almost two years ago.Scarlet Harem Bordello, an award-winning business that was established in 2002, is being billed as a “significant cash cow for a savvy buyer or investor”.Located at 14 Avian Street in Kunda Park, it is one of only two legal bordellos on the Sunshine Coast. There is also a voyeur room and an onsite managers residence.Mr Tyson said they had already had one investor look at the premises and express interest in buying it if a tenant could be confirmed.He said the current owner also had the strip club next door, saying it was “extremely unusual” to have a business licenced to sell alcohol so close.“When it was still operational, it (Scarlet Harem Bordello) was quite successful and even won Australian Brothel of the Year,” Mr Tyson said.The business was shut down after the owner became ill, but Mr Tyson said very little would be required to get it up once more. It comes as a Melbourne developer plans to display tasteful photographs of inside one of the city’s long-serving brothels ahead of turning it in to an apartment development.last_img read more

Top three houses for sale on the Gold Coast with tennis courts

first_imgGame, set and match at 44-48 North Point Ave, Kingscliff.IF the Australian Open has you wanting to hit an ace, imagine having your own backyard tennis court to practice on.Plat any time of the day or invite friends over to play a couple of sets.Here are three of the best properties on the Gold Coast market with tennis courts: A tropical oasis awaits at 44-48 North Point Ave, Kingscliff. Hit an ace at 44-48 North Point Ave, Kingscliff. MORE NEWS: Gold Coast’s most popular property sells in multimillion-dollar deal Price: $6.995 million The northern Gold Coast is home to many acreage retreats so it’s no surprise to find a luxury hideaway complete with a tennis court.On top of a ridge and offerings views to Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island is a resort-style five-bedroom property on the market at $1.795 million.“Relax as the kids safely play on the full-size, floodlit tennis court, or splash in the fabulous pool as you soak up the views and experience the myriad of local wildlife,” agent Steward Reed, of his self-titled agency said. MORE NEWS: The unusual feature taking centre stage in a coast mega-mansion Price: $1.795 million 1 Winchester St, Southport. Auction: February 2 Practice your tennis at 11-19 Hidden Court, Kingsholme.center_img 11-19 Hidden Court, Kingsholme More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago1 Winchester St, Southport 1 Winchester St is has the riverfront and The Southport School as its southern neighbour. 1 Winchester St, Southport This stunning Kingscliff mansion with a resort-style pool and tennis court should be top of your list.It even caught the eye of Queensland’s tennis superstar Ash Barty late last year.LJ Hooker Kingscliff agent Nick Witheriff is marketing the home alongside Carol Witheriff.“It’s unique because it is the only property available with a tennis court on the beachfront between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast,” Mr Witheriff said. 44-48 North Point Ave, Kingscliff Cool off in the pool after a game of tennis at 11-19 Hidden Court, Kingsholme. Property entrepreneur Bea Jeanes is parting ways with her riverfront mansion after almost three decades.The European-inspired estate features a raft of luxury features including a pool, tennis court, two gazebos and a dining pavilion.It underwent a million dollar renovation by renowned architect Bayden GoddardAgent Michael Kollosche taking the property to auction.last_img read more

Apollo buys into US Wind

first_imgAlternative investment manager Apollo has made a structured investment in the US-based offshore wind developer – US Wind Inc. The first phase of the project will have a capacity of 270 MW. Anticipated to come online in early 2024, the project has a 25+ year useful life and is expected to create thousands of jobs, Apollo said. “Apollo is a creative and dynamic partner, with global expertise, and together we believe we can make a positive impact on the energy transition in the United States.” “We believe our strategic partnership with Apollo will create significant value for US Wind and the state of Maryland in advancing development of our offshore wind projects,” said Riccardo Toto, President of US Wind. US Wind is majority-owned by Renexia SpA, a subsidiary of Toto Holding SpAcenter_img Certain funds managed by Apollo Global Management’s affiliates have committed to invest, through convertible debt and equity, up to $ 265 million to acquire an equity stake in US Wind and fund development and construction costs associated with a major offshore wind energy project off the coast of Maryland. The Maryland-based US Wind controls the Maryland Wind Energy Area under a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) lease of approximately 80,000 acres located ten to thirty miles off the state’s coast, an area that is sufficient to install an estimated 1.3 GW of renewable power generation. Geoffrey Strong, Senior Partner and Co-Head of Infrastructure and Natural Resources at Apollo, said: “US Wind is a premier developer at the forefront of an offshore wind energy industry that is rapidly expanding in both the US and abroad, as interests coalesce around clean energy. For Apollo, this is an exciting partnership that leverages our track record in renewable energy infrastructure investments and underlines the Firm’s strong commitment to sustainability.”last_img read more

51 Families Sue Over Illinois High School’s Transgender Bathroom Policy

first_imgDaily Signal 4 May 2016Family First Comment: The school did its best and offered a separate area to protect the privacy of both the female student population AND the transgender student. The transgender student rejected this because “the school did not accept her (him!) as a female.” And there’s the problem! Gender activists are not interested in compromise or the rights of others. A group of 51 families whose children attend a high school in Illinois filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, attempting to reverse a policy that allows a transgender student to use girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-specific facilities.The families are challenging a policy at Township High School District 211 that was mandated by the U.S. Department of Education to accommodate the transgender student, who was born male but identifies as a female.“It’s an organic group of parents and students who came together and said, ‘We have to do something about this—we can’t just roll over and allow the federal government to force our school to commingle the sexes in locker rooms,’” said Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer representing the families.The suit, which challenges the Education Department’s authority to redefine the term sex in Title IX of U.S. law to include gender identity and to enforce it against schools, is the first of its kind, Tedesco told The Daily Signal.The president of the group filing the lawsuit, Students and Parents for Privacy, said she and other Cook County parents with children in the school district decided legal action “was the only thing we could do at this point.”“We tried,” she said, adding:We did everything we could to work with the school district, and we were really hoping they would do the right thing and protect the privacy of all students, but when they chose not to, we felt we had no choice in order to protect the girls in the locker room.The group’s president asked that her name not be published because of the sensitive nature of the case.The issue began in December 2013, when Student A filed a complaint with the Education Department against Township High School District 211, based in the village of Palatine, Ill.The complaint alleged that District 211 had discriminated against the transgender student on the basis of sex.After completing an extensive investigation, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights said on Dec. 2 that Township High School District 211 was in violation of federal law for refusing to grant Student A full access to the girls’ locker room.The school had granted Student A some accommodations, including changing the student’s name on official records, allowing the student on the girls sports teams, and granting the student access to the girls’ bathrooms. But District 211 drew the line at providing Student A unrestrained access to the girls’ locker rooms because of the privacy concerns of other girls using them. Instead, the school offered a private facility to Student A.Daniel Cates, superintendent of District 211, said in an October newsletter: The group’s president asked that her name not be published because of the sensitive nature of the case.The goal of the district in this matter is to protect the privacy rights of all students when changing clothes or showering before or after physical education and after-school activities, while also providing reasonable accommodations to meet the unique needs of individual students. Our responsibility is to provide an environment conducive to learning for all its 12,000+ students.According to the Education Department’s investigation, the student felt “crushed” by the school district’s decision not to allow access to the locker rooms, “which she said indicated that the school did not accept her as a female.”READ MORE: read more