Japan expected to end state of emergency for most regions, Tokyo to remain on alert-media

first_imgJapan is expected to lift the state of emergency for 39 of its 47 prefectures on Thursday, local media reported, while the capital Tokyo is set to keep restrictions in place until it sees a convincing containment of the coronavirus.The world’s third-largest economy declared a nationwide state of emergency a month ago, urging citizens to reduce person-to-person contact by 80% in an effort to slow the pace of new infections and ease the strain on medical services. The government had said it would reassess the situation in mid-May.The declaration gives governors added authority to tell people to stay home and close schools and businesses, but there is no penalty for non-compliance. Some non-essential businesses even in hard-hit areas have gradually started to reopen ahead of the government’s review. Abe is scheduled to hold a news conference at 6 p.m. (0900 GM). The government is also expected to disclose criteria for ending and reinstating the state of emergency, and local media said another review would be conducted again in about a week.Although Japan’s state-of-emergency declaration lacks enforcement powers, mobility data has shown a marked drop in the movement of people.The government this week reported a 20% fall in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the nine days to May 7, to 4,449. In Tokyo, new cases fell to just 10 on Wednesday.Osaka, Japan’s second-biggest metropolis, is also set to remain a target of the state of emergency, but the governor has announced criteria for gradually lifting some restraints on businesses including eaters and bars.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, like leaders everywhere, is striving to strike a balance between damage to the economy from prolonged shutdowns and the need to contain the virus. The government said this week it would add four economists to its advisory panel for combating the epidemic.Japan has reported 16,100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, excluding those from a cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 696 deaths to date from the disease it causes, COVID-19, according to public broadcaster NHK.While Japan has avoided the kind of explosive growth seen in the United States and elsewhere, its testing has also been among the lowest, at 188 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per 100,000 people, versus 3,159 in Italy and 3,044 in Germany.Hardest-hit Tokyo has conducted just 50,000 tests so far, of which about 5,000 were positive. With hospitals still stretched, the capital and surrounding prefectures are set to remain in a state of emergency.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Pension funds need dissenting views on boards, says Dutch supervisor

first_imgCurrently, pension funds are busy seeking new board members and internal supervisors – following new governance legislation which is to come into force on 1 July – who all need to pass an assessment by DNB.Kellerman indicated that even people who have never been on a pension fund’s board could pass the test. “We not only assess individual board members, but also look at the board as a unit. Therefore, a fresh look could be a welcome addition to the collective,” she said.“The smartest person is not by definition the best board member,”she continued. “We also assess whether he or she can hold his or her ground within the board.”According to audience members at the conference, appointing external board members could prove advantageous. “They are motivated specialists with expertise, as they are familiar with other board and know best practices,” summarised Jillert Blom of Fidelity Worldwide Investment. “And if they don’t fit, the board can replace them with others.”“They also provide a cheap way of acquiring expertise,” argued Olav Loeber, an adviser for the National Register for external board members.“The costs of having an external board member for one day a week is €25,000 a year. This compares very favourably with the costs of a consultant.”That said, according to Blom, a pension fund’s long-term policy and culture is not guaranteed, if it has too many external board members. “For the internal communication, it is important that a board member knows the sector or the company,” he pointed out.Frans Prins, director of the €4bn pension fund PWRI, remained sceptical about external board members, and fretted about the costs of somebody who did not know the sector.In his opinion, it would not prevent the need for a consultant, “as an external board member also understands very well that he needs an actuary”.Therefore pension funds should take care themselves of a proper education of their board members, he made clear. Dutch pension funds could benefit from dissenting views on their board, as those espousing them could provide a fresh perspective and encourage proper decision-making, Joanne Kellerman, director pension funds at supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has argued.“A colleague who doesn’t agree with business as usual, could act as an eye opener for risks or problems others fail to spot,” she said during a symposion of magazine Pensioen Bestuur & Management (PBM) last week.In her opinion, dissidents on the board could be external experts on risk or asset management, pensioners or younger participants.“Expertise and diversity are useful on a board,” she stressed.last_img read more

Second-pillar funding in Switzerland reaches post-crisis high

first_imgThe average funding level for non-public pension funds in Switzerland has increased to 113%, according to estimates based on Swisscanto’s most recent survey of the sector. The figure marks the highest level of funding since the financial crisis, while pre-crisis levels were slightly higher only in 2006, at 113.7%, Swisscanto said.According to the asset manager, a 4% average return over the first half of 2014 went far in raising funding levels for the 370 Pensionskassen, managing a combined CHF506bn (€413bn) in assets, that took part in the survey.The return was chiefly the result of the performance of equities, Swisscanto said, although it pointed out that recent surveys had shown a “slightly anti-cyclical” approach among Swiss schemes, with the average allocation to the asset class at less than 30%. The survey also found a wide range of equity returns, even among those schemes with the same allocation.Swisscanto said this meant the “whole asset allocation, in addition to the make-up of the equity allocation, was decisive for performance”.Similarly, the asset manager stressed that the funding level alone did not paint a full picture of a Pensionskassen’s solvency.“Measures such as the share of pensioners, the discount rate (technischer Zins) applied or the average age of active members must also be taken into account,” it said.PPCmetrics has integrated these additional factors into its calculation for Swiss schemes’ risk-adjusted funding levels, which, based on a sample of 200 pension funds managing CHF450bn in combined assets, showed an improvement compared with last year.The consultancy said the risk-adjusted funding level of non-public pension funds increased from 94.3% at the end of 2012 to 107.1% year on year, and to 109.7% as of the end of August 2014.“Despite this positive development,” it added, “there are still several private pension funds with a risk-adjusted funding level well below 100%.”PPCmetrics said those schemes were mainly Pensionskassen with a high proportion of pensioners.The consultancy said those funds presented a potential risk for active members in the event of a company leaving the Pensionskasse, at which point risk buffers must be divided.Swisscanto also sounded a note of caution on the record funding level, pointing out that the 113% average was still below the 116% calculated as the requisite buffer based on pension funds’ asset allocation.last_img read more

Governance changes, regulatory action needed to grow infrastructure holdings, says OECD

first_imgAccording to the OECD, the growth of alternative investments such as infrastructure was challenging the traditional governance models in place at many institutions.“For example more expertise at the level of pension board members will be required perhaps including specialists that have appropriate asset and risk management skills.“In order to reduce costs and agency risks many funds are also looking at insourcing asset management,” the survey said.“Still, the risks of being different – by adopting unconventional asset allocation techniques or investments – are a challenge or even a barrier for investors.”The report stressed that it would be of ever-growing importance to monitor the systemic risks posed by larger pension funds, emphasising the need for sound governance and  regulatory oversight.It further recommended that governments and regulators start collecting and standardising data around long-term investments, so that differing methodologies and definitions do not hinder the ability to compare performance.“Definitions of alternative assets which ensure that the data collected and reported is comparable across pension funds is required in order to monitor the flows into different types of alternative assets and their respective cost and performance,” the survey said.“This is vital not only for investors but also for regulators and other policymakers in order to help them better understand the exposure of pension funds in different countries and to develop appropriate regulation.”,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to annual OECD survey of large pension funds Sovereign wealth and pension reserve investors worth $7.8trn (€6.2trn) only allocate 1% of assets to infrastructure, with regulatory action and governance changes needed to allow for greater investment, according to the OECD.The think tank’s annual survey of large-scale asset owners, which investigated the institutions’ long-term investment activity, found that only $80bn of the surveyed assets were allocated to infrastructure.It found that the allocation to infrastructure had been stable since 2010, and said that the future growth in the market would be determined by regulation and availability of projects.The overwhelming majority – or $70bn of assets – was invested in unlisted infrastructure, with the remainder in infrastructure debt. Of the unlisted exposure, 29% was held in unlisted funds, and 68% in direct or joint ventures projects – an allocation that had grown since 2010.last_img read more

Immigration raids catch 21 illegal sex workers

first_imgNZ Herald 26 April 2012Twenty-one prostitutes have been found working illegally in Auckland brothels raided by Immigration NZ officials since the Rugby World Cup. “Eight brothels have been visited to check for people who may be working contrary to their visa conditions and to remind premise operators of their obligations to ensure compliance with immigration law,” said Immigration’s acting general manager for intelligence, risk and integrity, Peter Elms. At one Auckland brothel, Emily’s 8, four prostitutes were found to be working illegally. They included one Malaysian who was on a student visa. The brothel, in Waverley St, has been issued a warning letter. The Herald understands another Auckland brothel, which last year withheld the passport of a Malaysian sex worker, was also raided.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10801461last_img read more

Lady Bears Claw Past Lady Bulldogs In VB Action

first_imgThe Shelbyville Lady Golden Bears beat The Batesville Lady Bulldogs 25-9, 25-18, 19-25, 25-21 in Varsity play and 25-15, 25-24 in JV action.Batesville vs. Shelbyville Varsity VB (8-23)Batesville vs. Shelbyville JV VB (8-23)Batesville will return to action on Tuesday (8-26) in EIAC Play against The Franklin County lady Wildcats at the Dog Pound.  The JV will be starting at 5:30 PM.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Jody Thomas.last_img

Weekend Area Girls Basketball Scores

first_imgWeekend Area Girls Basketball ScoresSaturday  (11-23)Batesville  33     South Ripley  27Switzerland County  51     Franklin County  41     North Decatur  59     South Decatur  37SW-Hanover  52     South Dearborn  41     Waldron  51     Rising Sun  21     Anderson  77     Connersville  37     Rushville  65    Beech Grove  38Indian Creek  71     Edinburgh  62     Salem  68     Madison  59     Friday  (11-22)Jac-Cen-Del  47     Oldenburg  40Seymour  69     Batesville  46Lawrenceburg  36     South Ripley  26     Union County  42     Franklin County  24     Greensburg  67     South Decatur  22Switzerland County  56     Rising Sun  22     Waldron  34     Hauser  18     Connersville  60     Centerville  29Beech Grove  41     Morristown  33     Shelbyville  45     SW-Shelby  38     The JV Lady Bulldogs had a good weekend beating two good teams on the road. Friday night the girls played Seymour. Defense was the key to the game.  After trailing for three quarters the Lady’s played a lockdown 3/4 court press that led to several turnovers and easy buckets.  Final 42-34.  Scoring-  Makayla Granger-Young, Sarah Ripperger- 12, Calley Kaiser- 7, Olivia Raab, Ava Hanson- 4, Gabby Elston- 2, Madalyn Pohlman-1. Saturday night, the girls beat South Ripley 23-18.  The Lady Bulldogs struggled to find the bottom of the net but played well enough to come home victorious.  Once again defense led the way causing turnovers and quick basket opportunities.  Scoring for the Bulldogs-  Calley Kaiser-5, Sarah Ripperger, Ava Hanson, Madalyn Pohlman-4, Gabby Eston, Makayla Granger Young, Sophie Meyer- 2. Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Clint Pride.last_img read more

Wilshire leads O’Brien one-two

first_img Press Association O’Brien said: “We left the hood off today and he settled well. He’s a brother to Zoffany and like a lot of the Holy Roman Emperors (sire), he seems to be improving.” The Ballydoyle handler added of the runner-up: “I was happy with the run and he will probably step up to seven furlongs now.” The day’s riding honours went to Johnny Murtagh, whose Oaks victory on Chicquita was the middle leg of a treble. He avoided the hard-luck stories on the inside as he swooped at the furlong pole on Eddie Lynam’s top-weight Pearl Of Africa (9-2) to take the Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital EBF Fillies Handicap in impressive style by two and three-quarter lengths. The trainer said: “She is out of a good Group One winner (Kournikova). Sheikh Fahad kindly sent me a yearling and this is it. She goes on any ground, although she looks around her a bit and that’s probably helped her to win three on the bounce. “She’ll go for some black type now. There are plenty of options in Listed and Group Three company. I’d like to leave three weeks between races with her.” Murtagh later rallied Belle De Crecy (2-1 favourite) to take the Kilsaran International Handicap for his own yard, and said: “She was hanging a bit left as she was feeling the ground and I probably won’t run her on ground that fast again, but she stayed at it well and an extra furlong would be ideal for her. We will give her a little break now.” Oklahoma City was sent off the evens favourite having won a Naas maiden by 13 lengths last time, and Joseph O’Brien soon had him in the lead on the stands rail. He ran on strongly, but was no match for Wilshire Boulevard (7-1), who seemed to relish the step back up to six furlongs as he challenged a furlong and a half out under Seamie Heffernan and scored by three-quarters of a length. center_img Wilshire Boulevard outpointed better-fancied stablemate Oklahoma City to give Aidan O’Brien a one-two in the Jebel Ali Racecourse & Stables Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.last_img read more

AIBA says boxers ‘in limbo’ as IOC inquiry continues

first_imgLAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Amateur boxing’s governing body AIBA says that uncertainty over the sport’s participation in next year’s Olympic Games is a disaster for boxers who have been left in limbo.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched an inquiry into the finances and governance of AIBA, which has been in turmoil for years, and warned that it could miss out on Tokyo next year.The IOC said yesterday that it was aiming to present the report to its executive board in May but AIBA said it had expected the investigation to be completed by now and that it was time to wrap up the inquiry and move forward.“We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC, providing them with numerous reports and documentation,” said AIBA executive director Tom Virgets in a statement, adding that there was “no more information left to give”.“This further delay has a direct impact on our athletes, it is a complete disaster for boxers around the world who are being left in limbo without any support or access funding,” he added.Virgets said the well-being of boxers should come first.“Our boxers are waiting, our officials are waiting and our fans are waiting.”AIBA said in February that it had addressed IOC concerns over judging at bouts by reverting to five judges instead of three with the panels drawn randomly by computer. It also gave boxers the right to protest against decisions.On the financial front, Virgets said AIBA had reduced its debt from $18 million last year to $15.6 million this year, and that it would be wiped out within four years if boxing was included in the Games.AIBA president Gafur Rahimov, elected in November despite being on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list “for providing material support” to a criminal organisation, said on Friday he would step aside.Rahimov has strongly denied the allegations against him and reaffirmed in announcing his decision that they were “fabricated and politically motivated”.The IOC would not give any details about the inquiry yesterday, spokesman Christian Klaue saying only that it wanted the final report to be presented to the Executive Board at its next meeting on May 22.AIBA said the uncertainty meant boxers did not know when, where or how they could qualify for the Olympic Games.It added that it had provided four reports to the IOC over the last year and said it was “gravely concerned” by the indifference shown towards the process and preparation of athletes.The IOC could not immediately be reached for comment on AIBA’s statement.last_img read more

Last year’s finalists fail to make NCAA Tournament

first_imgGAINESVILLE,Fla. ? If Florida and Ohio State meet again this season, it won’t be inthe NCAA tournament.TheGators and Buckeyes, finalists in last year’s national championship game,missed getting back into the tournament Sunday.Thisis the first time the two finalists from the previous year have not made thetournament since 1980 when Michigan State and Indiana State did not qualify.Magic Johnson led Michigan State to 75-64 championship game win over Larry Birdand Indiana State in 1979.Two-timedefending national champion Florida (21-11) lost eight of its final 11 games,including the last four, and was clearly out of the NCAA tournament picturebefore the brackets were announced.TheGators had their streak of consecutive NCAA tournament berths snapped at nine,and became the first defending champ to miss the tournament since 1989 wasKansas was ineligible because it was placed on probation.OhioState (19-13) had a much better shot, having snapped a four-game losing streakwith wins against Purdue and Michigan State to close out the regular season.But the Buckeyes lost their first game in the Big Ten tournament, falling 67-60to the Spartans.TheGators and Buckeyes were expected to be high seeds in the NIT, which was torelease its pairings at 9 p.m. Sunday.Thetwo teams were No. 1 seeds in last year’s NCAA tournament, and lived up to thelofty expectations by making the title game.Floridawon that meeting 84-75 in Atlanta, becoming the first school since 1992 to winconsecutive national championships.Butboth squads were devastated by the NBA draft two months later. Florida coachBilly Donovan had three players ? Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah ?selected in the top nine picks.TaureanGreen and Chris Richard were second-round picks, and sharp-shooting guard LeeHumphrey graduated.OhioState’s Greg Oden was taken with the top pick, and Mike Conley Jr. and DaequanCook also went in the first round.Thosepersonnel losses were so drastic that Donovan, who briefly took a job with theNBA’s Orlando Magic before changing his mind and returning to Gainesville, andOSU coach Thad Matta shared a laugh before the season about how littleexperience they had coming back.“Thereality is we’re in a tremendous rebuilding process, and this is why I cameback to take on this type of challenge,” Donovan said Thursday afterFlorida lost to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference tournament. “That’sa challenge I wanted to take on. But it’s not getting resolved next year. Thisis going to be a process.“Youcan’t lose five NBA players and the all-time 3-point field-goal maker in NCAAtournament history and expect not to miss a beat. It’s just not going tohappen. And that’s not an excuse. That’s the reality part of it.”Attimes this season, Florida and Ohio State looked like they might be better thanmany expected.TheGators started 18-3, taking advantage of a weak non-conference schedule, andupset then-No. 14 Vanderbilt by 22 points. They faded down the stretch,however, getting exposed by big, physical and more athletic teams.Now,with an RPI around 70 and a strength of schedule around 90, they’re headed tothe NIT for the first time since 1998.“Wedidn’t expect this,” forward Jonathan Mitchell said. “It’s like a baddream.”AddedDonovan: “These guys may have to be totally humbled in a way.”TheBuckeyes had an RPI around 50, a strength of schedule around 20 and a winningrecord in conference play ? they also played North Carolina and Tennessee close? but lost six of their last nine games.Bothteams could turn things around in the NIT ? if they can find motivation afterfalling so far since the title game.“Nobodywants to go to the NIT,” Florida forward Adam Allen said recently.“It’s like the champion of the losers if you win that. Everybody wants toplay in the NCAA tournament.”last_img read more