UN gives a helping hand to Tunisia ahead of landmark elections

22 October 2011As Tunisians prepare to vote on Sunday in the first elections to be held in the wake of this year’s Arab Spring reform movement, United Nations staff are in place to assist the country to stage the ballots as peacefully and smoothly as possible. A team of up to 15 UN electoral experts has been on the ground in recent months in the North African country to offer advice and support to both Tunisia’s independent electoral authorities as they conduct the polls and to political parties, candidates and civil society groups as they participate in the electoral process – many of them for the first time.Tomorrow’s election for the 217 members of a constituent assembly, which is tasked with drafting a new constitution, is the first of its kind in any North African or Middle Eastern country that has been swept up by the Arab Spring movement. Thousands of candidates are competing.It is a pioneering moment, says Mohammed Belhocine, the UN’s Resident Coordinator in Tunisia and the Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in an interview with the UN News Centre on the eve of the poll.“We know this is being watched all over the world,” he says, noting that Tunisians were the first people in the Arab Spring to oust their long-standing government regime. “We hear that the Arab world is not suited for democracy. But this can show that a smooth, peaceful transition is the only way to go.”Dr. Belhocine’s comments are echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said last night in a statement issued by his spokesperson that he will be following the election with keen interest.“Tunisia’s example has inspired the region and the world, and these elections are of great importance in the country’s democratic transition, providing the Tunisian people with an historic opportunity to express their will through the ballot box,” the statement said.“It is encouraging to see the level of enthusiasm and preparedness the people and officials have shown to make the elections a success. This is a Tunisia-led and Tunisian-owned process to which the United Nations has provided technical electoral support at the request of Tunisia’s authorities.”That technical support has come at virtually every step of the electoral process, explains Dr. Belhocine, from setting up the legal framework for the polls to accrediting observers to determining the procedures for counting and announcing the results.UN staff have been placed inside key institutions to work alongside their Tunisian counterparts, giving advice and offering expertise and comparative experiences from other countries to help guide them.“We always emphasize that our support is impartial, neutral. We don’t interfere with the final decision – we just provide them with the knowledge and expertise so they can do the job.”The official says the initial stages of the electoral process earlier this year were difficult, with several misunderstandings between Tunisian electoral authorities and the UN and other outside groups. But he says the relationship has become much more cooperative as the elections have drawn closer.Dr. Belhocine is confident that Tunisia can have a successful election, citing the population’s high education levels and respect for public institutions as just two examples of why the country is ready.“We share the optimism of the authorities that we have a process that can go to its end without too much trouble or problems.”In the end, however, he stresses that the elections represent only one step in a much longer process to help Tunisia build up the institutions and processes it needs to flourish as a democracy after decades of autocracy. A process of “electoral consultation” lies ahead, with presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled after that.“Our assistance doesn’t stop after the election. The situation is still fragile, and we will work with whomever wins to ensure that the administration of elections is carried out with quality.” read more

Delegates at UN meeting on worlds poorest States back global antiAIDS fund

The firm backing was voiced during an interactive session on “the role of health in enhancing productive capacities” held as part of the Third UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, which runs through Sunday. Many speakers noted that the Fund would help those countries, which are known collectively as LDCs, but stressed that the Fund must receive resources beyond current expenditures on AIDS. “The time for business as usual is past,” said K.Y. Amoako, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. “To meet our goals, we need more money and better systems.”Mr. Amoako said the LDCs should be spending a minimum of about $45-$60 per person on health each year. That would require a major increase over current levels, which average approximately $5-$10 per person per year from government funds, matched by contributions from households themselves. While LDCs could mobilize more resources, the international community would need to shoulder the greater part of the burden, he said. The Conference also held an interactive session on the vital role of education in development. Addressing the session, Rubens Ricupero, the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), pointed out that very often families failed to send their children to school not because they did not value education, but because they were desperate for money. In some African countries, for example, children earned as much as 45 per cent of the total household income. Minimum incomes must be guaranteed to families to give them the incentive to send their kids to school, he said. Meanwhile, business concerns topped the agenda at another one of today’s meetings, which attracted the participation of some 75 entrepreneurs and senior policy-makers from LDCs and their counterparts from other countries. Numerous speakers addressing that event called for measures to overcome the trade barriers currently faced by LDCs.Also today, a group of more than 200 mayors from throughout the world formally committed themselves to the fight against poverty in their cities while expressing their determination to actively promote city-to-city cooperation. Adopting a declaration at the conclusion of a day-and-a-half-long “Meeting of Mayors,” the participants took special note of the particular structural difficulties facing cities in LDCs, and stressed that the fight against urban poverty must be viewed as a shared commitment. read more

UN envoy disappointed by suspension of Radio Okapi amid situation in eastern

“This is particularly unfortunate given the current very sensitive and difficult situation in North Kivu province,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Roger Meece.“Radio Okapi is broadcasting essential messages to the population with appeals for calm by religious and other leaders, communication regarding a city curfew by provincial government authorities, and other essential information,” he added in a MONUSCO news release. “We find the timing and lack of notification by the CSAC puzzling and regrettable. We will be registering an official protest of this action with Congolese authorities.”The DRC’s Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel et de la Communication (CSAC) took the decision on the suspension on 30 November.Radio Okapi is a partnership between MONUSCO and the Hirondelle Foundation, a Swiss non-governmental organization, and it has the largest Francophone audience in sub-Saharan Africa.The station first went on the air ten years ago with the aim of contributing to the consolidation of peace in the DRC through the free flow of information. It broadcasts daily in five languages, including the country’s four national languages. Most of its programming is in French. Currently, an estimated one third of the DRC’s population tunes in to Radio Okapi daily.The decision to suspend Radio Okapi was not communicated either to Radio Okapi nor MONUSCO, according to the peacekeeping mission. However, MONUSCO was able to obtain a copy of the CSAC written decree which cites a dispute over the submission of programme scheduling to the CSAC as the basis for this decision. “Given the seriousness of the security situation in Goma, the Special Representative took the decision to use alternate means to ensure continued and intermediate transmission of Radio Okapi in North Kivu,” MONUSCO noted in a news release.The province of North Kivu, in the eastern DRC, has been the site of upheaval and a humanitarian crisis recently, with the occupation of its capital city, Goma, by the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group, composed of soldiers who mutinied in April from the DRC national army, known by the French acronym FARDC.Monitored by MONUSCO peacekeepers, M23 fighters withdrew from the city over the weekend, in line with requirements laid out in a communiqué of a regional group, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The communiqué also restricted the M23 outside of the 20 kilometre zone around Goma and called on them to cease all military activity while a long-lasting solution continues to be worked on.The M23 occupation of Goma, which came after a steady advance over preceding days and included clashes with the FARDC, drew widespread condemnation and calls for the fighters’ immediate withdrawal, including from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council. It also caused a humanitarian emergency, with tens of thousands of people uprooted amidst armed clashes and reports of targeted summary executions, the widespread recruitment and use of children, unconfirmed cases of sexual violence, and other serious human rights abuses.In the news release, MONUSCO added that all members of the UN system in the DRC remain “fully committed to addressing urgently the humanitarian and security needs of the population in North Kivu, providing full support to achieving a resolution of the threat posed by M23 military actions as rapidly as possible, and establishment more broadly of long-term peace and security for the people of North Kivu and the region.” read more

Isil claims responsibility for Manchester attack

first_imgIslamic State has claimed responsibility for a bombing at a pop concert in Manchester which left 22 people dead.In a statement released by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s official Amaq news agency, they said it was revenge for attacks on “Muslim lands”.”One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester,” it said,  appearing to challenge the Manchester police theory it had been a suicide attack.The jihadist group also claimed the attack, which killed at least 22 people – including children –  and injured 59 more concertgoers leaving a packed Ariana Grande performance at Manchester Arena, was planned beforehand.They described the venue as a “shameless”Isil did not publish a name or picture of the assailant, which they have done for some major attacks in the past. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest militant assault on the UK since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.US officials drew parallels between the blast and the coordinated attacks in November 2015 by Islamist militants on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris, which claimed about 130 lives. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

MKB Veszprem defeated twice in Skopje friendlies

← Previous Story Germany wins Bundesliga All-Star Game Next Story → ASOBAL (Round 16): Barcelona deals easily with Cuenca MKB Veszprem has been defeated twice in Skopje in their friendly matches against RK Vardar and RK Metalurg. The first defeat came at the hands of RK Vardar 30:28 (15:14), led by Timur Dibirov with 10 goals, and few days later Ortega felt the bitterness of defeat yet once again when RK Metalurg beat Veszprem in “Avtokomanda” hall with 25:23 (13:12). Metalurg – Vesprem  25:23 (13:12)Metalurg: Stanić (13 saves + 2 7meters), Mijatović, Ojleski 1, Dimovski 2, Pecakovski 1, Vugrinec 6, Georgievski 2, Manaskov 4, Mirkulovski 4, V.Markoski, Mojsoski, N.Markoski, Cindrić 4, Kedžo 1, Jonoski i Mandić.Vesprem: Alilović (7 saves), Fazekaš, Vilovski, Gulijaš 3, G.Ivančik 3, Šuč, T.Ivančik 1, Ruesga 1, Iliќ 2, Močai, Nađ 4, Džamali 1, Ugalde 2, Čema Rodrigez 1, Terzić 1 i Sulić 4. Antonio Carlos OrtegailicmetalurgruesgaVardarveszprem read more

Heres What Happened Today Friday

first_imgSeán Dunne failed in his bid to have his bankruptcy overturnedA Sinn Féin TD claimed he was ‘stitched up‘ by Vincent Browne PARTING SHOTEducation Minister Ruairí Quinn and TD John Lyons have some unique decorations to hang on the Labour Party Christmas tree.They were each presented with an elvish ‘mini-me’ by the junior infants at St Joseph’s during a visit today.[Image: John Lyons TD via Twitter]Now everyone’s going to want one.First posted at 9.30pm M&S staff voted to strike tomorrowGardí seized a weapon and some crystal meth in LongfordThree raiders escaped after an armed robbery in AthyAllsop announced the biggest propery auction yetNews spread of an appeal to raise €35,000 towards surgery for two toddler sisters in CorkAnd Michael O’Leary got his hands dirty at Dublin AirportWORLDA child looks up at a giant bronze statue of former president Nelson Mandela, on Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg [AP Photo/Athol Moralee]#SOUTH AFRICA: President Jacob Zuma announced plans for the state funeral and other memorial services in honour of Nelson Mandela#CHINA: Legal action was launched against a well-known film director over claims he has fathered too many children#BRAZIL: Ireland won’t be there, but the show must go on: the draw for the 2014 World Cup Finals took place todayINNOVATIONIt was revealed that smartphone users are 33 per cent more likely than others to fall victim to identity fraud‘Progress’ report: A Facebook engineer says the social network has informally experimented with bringing in a “sympathise” button [Huffington Post]Innovation, or horrifying foretaste of things to come? A gaming chain has introduced ‘Christmas dinner in a tin’ [Buzzfeed Tech]center_img Updated at 11.03pmNEED TO CATCH up? TheJournal.ie brings you a round-up of today’s news.Flags fly at half-mast at Government Buildings [Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images]IRELANDThe country paid tribute following the death of Nelson MandelaESB workers announced an all out strike for Monday weekThe controversy surrounding Gerry Adams’ comments continuedThere was an attempted gangland hit on John Gilliganlast_img read more

Google pulls Bomb Gaza game from app store after backlash

first_imgA GAME WHICH allowed players to pretend to be the Israeli military and drop bombs on the city of Gaza has been removed from the Google Play store after a public backlash.Bomb Gaza, which was released for Android, was released on 29 July and had been downloaded up to 1,000 times before it was taken down.The blurb gives the instructions “drop bombs and avoid killing civilians,” and it also had a low maturity rating as well, meaning that the game was also available for children to play.While it received 46 five star reviews, written reviews slammed the game for trivialising the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.Google Play’s content policy states that it doesn’t “allow content advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity,” resulting in the game’s removal.Similar games have been removed from the store including Gaza Assault: Code Red, a game that allowed players to “take control of an Israeli UAV equipped with powerful weapons in an attempt to secure the region.”Read: Explainer: Why the new challenger to Bitcoin is worth keeping an eye on >Read: Controversial plastic surgery apps no longer on iTunes, Google Play >last_img read more

More Greeks turn to Airbnb to boost income

first_imgMore Greeks have turned to short-term rentals to boost their income as a result of the economic crisis. The 1st BnB Guest Conference in Athens presented findings from an online survey conducted by the University of the Aegean and the Laboratory for Tourism Research and Studies.The study found that 23 per cent of respondents rented out their properties for over 150 days a year, with 63 per cent citing the need for additional income and 44 per cent stating that they viewed this method as a way out of the economic crisis.Most respondents were newcomers to Airbnb with 37 per cent having joined in the last two years and only 6 per cent claiming to have been active for more than five years. Most (70 per cent) managed their Airbnb activities on their own, and did not use companies that offered management services.Most Airbnb providers who were polled came from Athens (41 per cent), followed by Crete (20 per cent), Central Macedonia (16 per cent), the South Aegean islands (14 per cent) and Ionian islands (12 per cent).80 per cent of the study’s participants said they had registered with Greece’s newly launched online registry and declared their taxable earnings. Half of the respondents said they agreed with the new legal framework but stated that it would limit their activity and have a negative impact on the overall economy. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Geek Plays Assassins Creed Odyssey

first_imgStay on target Geek Plays: Call of Duty Black Ops IIIIGeek Plays: Nintendo Switch Online NES Games Have you ever thought to yourself, “I sure do love reading Geek.com’s thoughts on the latest video games but is there a way I could watch them play the latest video games?” Well, you’re in luck!Every Friday afternoon the charming folks here at Geek.com stream ourselves playing the newest and coolest video games live for your enjoyment, fielding audience questions and making bad jokes. You should tune in live, but if you can’t, you can now enjoy this handy archived version.After a brief pause, Assassin’s Creed is back to yearly releases, and this year’s entry takes the historical murder all the way back to Ancient Greece. Watch us discover just how different (or not) Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is compared to Assassin’s Creed Origins, as well as get a hands-on experience with Greece’s thicc pantheon.Subscribe and watch Geek.com’s live Let’s Plays every Friday at 3 PM EST over on Facebook and Twitch.TV!Want to catch up with past Geek Plays? Watch our shows for Forza Horizon 4 and Dragon Quest XI.Purchase Assassin’s Creed Odysseylast_img read more

Bahamas Public Forecast 600 am for today and tonight Monday 2nd October

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, October 2, 2017 – Nassau – GENERAL SITUATION: A STATIONARY FRONT COMBINED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE NORTH OF THE BAHAMAS ALONG WITH A TROPICAL WAVE NEAR THE SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS WILL GENERATE SOME UNSETTLED WEATHER ACROSS THE ISLANDS.SPECIAL WARNINGS: BEACHGOERS AND MARINERS SHOULD BE ALERT FOR THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS AND ROUGH SURF ALONG NORTHERN AND EASTERN SHORELINES.FOR ALL AREASWEATHER:  PARTLY CLOUDY, BREEZY AND WARM WITH FEW PASSING SHOWERS OR ISOLATED THUNDERSTORM LIKELY MAINLY IN THE NORTHWEST AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.ADVISORY: SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND A SMALL CRAFT CAUTION CONTINUES FOR THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.WINDS:                NORTHEAST TO EAST AT 15 TO 25 KNOTS OVER OPEN WATERS, BUT STRONGER IN GUSTS IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS BUT NORTHEAST TO EAST AT 15 TO 20 KNOTS IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.SEAS: 5 TO 8 FEET OVER THE OCEAN BUT HIGHER IN GUSTS OVER THE OCEAN IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND 4 TO 7 FEET IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.DAYTIME HIGH TEMPERATURE                  91 °F      33 °COVERNIGHT LOW TEMPERATURE             79 °F      26 °CSUNRISE: 7:03 AM                           SUNSET: 6:55 PMMOONRISE: 5:08 PM                      MOONSET: 4:51 AM TUELOW TIDE: 11:58 AM                       HIGH TIDE:6:09 PMLOW TIDE: 12:31 AM TUE              HIGH TIDE: 6:33 AM TUEEXTENDED FORECAST: HAZARDOUS BOATING CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST DURING THE WEEK.FORECAST FOR  TUESDAYWEATHER: MOSTLY CLOUDY AND VERY WINDY WITH FEW SCATTERED SHOWERS OR ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.WINDS: EASTERLY AT 25 TO 30 KNOTS IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND EASTERLY AT 20 TO 25 KNOTS IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.SEAS: 10 TO 14 FEET IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND 7 TO 10 FEET IN THECENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.FORECAST FOR  WEDNESDAYWEATHER: MOSTLY CLOUDY AND VERY WINDY WITH FEW SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERTORMS.WINDS: EASTERLY AT 25 TO 30 KNOTS IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND EASTERLY AT 15 TO 25 KNOTS IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMASSEAS: 10 TO 14 FEET IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS AND5 TO 8 FEET IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST BAHAMAS.TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK: A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM COULD FORM BY THE END OF THE WEEK ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA OR THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO.  THIS AREA HAS A 20% CHANCE OF CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT.  ELSEWHERE, TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS.PATRICIA WEEKS/dgPhoto: Berry Islands, Bahamas Related Items:last_img read more

Firefighter reach 90 containment on 60acre wildfire near Pala Casino

first_imgFirefighter reach 90% containment on 60-acre wildfire near Pala Casino PAUMA VALLEY (KUSI) — Crews dousing the smoldering remnants of a roughly 60-acre wildfire near Pala Casino had the burn area about 90 percent contained Thursday morning.The non-injury blaze erupted for unknown reasons about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday off the 13000 block of state Route 76 in the Pauma Valley area, according to Cal Fire. Two residents were evacuated from the rural area as the flames began to spread across open terrain, but both were allowed to return home after about 90 minutes.Within three hours of igniting and sending thick black smoke billowing over the North County, the flames had blackened an estimated 50 acres, Cal Fire said. By then, crews from several area firefighting agencies had the burn area roughly 10 percent contained.Containment reached 15 percent as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, when fire crews had all active flames in the burn zone extinguished, the state firefighting agency said. It was 40 percent contained as of 6 a.m. Wednesday and 85 percent contained by about 6 p.m. Wednesday.About 150 firefighters, including crews aboard fixed-wing aircraft and water-dropping helicopters, were deployed at the height of the fire-suppression effort Tuesday afternoon and evening. Roughly 100 firefighters worked to mop up and contain the blaze Wednesday.It was dubbed the Agua Fire due to its proximity to seasonal Agua Tibia Creek. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. May 24, 2018 Posted: May 24, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, last_img read more

How will the changes to the lifetime and annual allowances affect higher

first_imgViewpoint: Striking the right balance with pension communicationsThe new tax year sees yet another adjustment to the rules governing tax relief for registered pension schemes. As the current regime celebrates its tenth anniversary, one of its principal objectives, a simplification of the tax rules, now seems a cruel and ironic joke. There will now be no fewer than seven different forms of protection to mitigate the impact of a reduced lifetime allowance.Implementing tapered relief for the annual allowance will present a serious challenge for scheme administrators. An additional layer of complexity will be difficult to communicate to employees, but with a growing number of individuals being caught by constraints within the tax system, it is important that the implications are fully understood by those affected.An important point to note is that the decreases to the annual and lifetime allowances are now such that they do not affect just those who are highly paid. It has been calculated that an employee in his or her 30s with a current pension pot of £40,000, making gross contributions of £1,000 a month, is entirely likely to be caught by the annual allowance before reaching state pension age. The tapering of relief for the annual allowance means that many, especially those accruing benefits within a defined benefit (DB) scheme, will find themselves subject to a retrospectively-calculated tax demand in 2017.Communications to employees will, therefore, have to strike a careful balance. On the one hand, effective retirement planning remains crucially important for employees and any message that appears to undermine the importance of pension saving is to be avoided. Employees must, however, have an informed long-term view of the impact of changes to the tax rules and this applies as much to those in the early stages of their careers as to those whose accrued pension savings will be in excess of the new lifetime allowance come April.Tim Middleton is technical consultant at the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) In his Summer Budget 2015, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that the lifetime allowance for pension contributions will be reduced from £1.25 million to £1 million from 6 April 2016, as previously announced in the March 2015 budget. However, Osborne also announced that the annual allowance for high earners will be reduced. From April 2016, those earning between £150,000 and £210,000 a year face a tapered annual allowance for tax relief from £40,000 to £10,000.Changes for the year aheadThe changes to the lifetime allowance mean that the maximum amount anyone wanting to contribute tax efficiently into a pension will fall to £1 million. Overpaying this limit will incur a 55% tax charge if taken as a lump sum.This will affect any employee with undrawn funds in a UK pension scheme where the lifetime savings exceed this value as at 6 April 2016. This limit has fallen by 44% since 2010, so this could be unwelcome news to employees that have built up a pension pot with the old limits in minds.Although employers have no legal responsibility to offer support to staff in addressing this change, it is an accepted view that they should offer help where possible. David Pugh, managing partner at Lemonade Reward, says: “Most employers of choice will want to go a long way past just telling people what to do, and help them make appropriate decisions. There is no legal responsibility for employers to do anything, but it’s good practice.”Sending out wide-reaching communications will ensure that all employees affected are aware of the changes. Ian Neale, director at Aries Pension and Insurance Systems, says: “Employees should be alerted to the reduction and, in particular, the process by which they can protect benefits accrued by either fixed protection or individual protection.”If an employee wishes to retain the current lifetime allowance they must have no pension benefit accrual after the 6 April deadline. If they wish to lock in the value at 5 April and retain the ability to contribute in the future, they should apply for individual protection. “Employers would need to communicate about the different options, the fact that someone can register for fixed and individual protection as they wish,” says Neale. “It’s not an either/or situation.”Tapered annual allowanceWhile employees affected by the changes to the lifetime allowance should have a reasonable idea of their accrued benefits, the introduction of the tapered annual allowance is likely to cause more complications. “Somebody who is affected by the taper may be blissfully unaware of it, because it’s really not until the end of the tax year that they know how much their benefit accrual during the year is,” explains Neale.The taper will see higher earners, beginning with those earning £150,000 a year, limited to the amount they can save tax-free into a pension each year. This will fall from £40,000 down to £10,000 for those earning £210,000. Overpaying this limit will incur a 45% tax charge.If an employee does receive a tax bill at the end of the tax year, they can inform the pension provider to pay it directly to the revenue from the pension fund, as long as it is more than £2,000.The potential problem for employers is that they may be unaware which employees fall into this bracket. The total income includes not only salary, bonus payments and employer pension contributions, but also income from other sources, such as dividends or property income, which an employer may not have knowledge of. Therefore, it may be challenging to capture all affected employees in communications.Immediate call to actionIf they have not already done so, employers should start communicating now, says Jackie Holmes, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “There is a need for communication to make sure [employees] are aware of that deadline and of the changes.”With the annual allowance, it is more difficult for employers to know who will be affected, and the individual themselves may not even realise. In addition, the number of higher earners can differ greatly among organisations; some may have one or two, while others will have significantly more.“We’re finding that support is generally taking the form of generic information and education, rather than full advice, as to what [an employee] should do, primarily because of the numbers involved and the cost of providing full advice as an employer,” says Holmes. “[Employers] may see it as a better and more equitable spend to look at a wider education programme. From a governance and a best-practice view, employers want to make sure that their members aren’t caught unawares with what could be a substantial tax charge in some cases.”Employees’ optionsAs well as supporting employees with information and education about the allowances, employers can make them aware of some of the options available to them.One option is for the employee to change their pension contribution, and perhaps stop contributing altogether. However, if the employer contribution is linked to the employee’s, it could get complicated. “The employer needs to reconsider its pension strategy for its higher earners: is it happy that the employee stops contributing when usually they would have to?” says Lemonade’s Pugh. “Will the employer allow the employee to stop contributing while it still pays in its contribution?”Another option is to consider the employer contribution, for example, would a higher earner be better off having their pension contribution put through their salary, in effect getting a cash allowance? This brings with it a tax liability for the employee and a national insurance contribution from the employer, so it is a case of reasoning what the most effective method is.Stewart Hastie, pensions partner at KPMG, says: “Generally we are seeing employers provide a cash allowance for high earners that opt-out of pensions saving due to the changes to the lifetime and annual allowances.”KPMG conducted research among employers in December 2015. “Just under half [of respondents] are offering a cash allowance to affected employees, just over 20% are undecided and around a quarter are offering nothing,” says Hastie.“Only 5% are looking at offering [an] alternative workplace savings arrangement [such as] individual savings accounts (Isas) but I expect this to grow over time, particularly if we get major reform announced at the March Budget,” he adds.An alternative consideration is whether the money could be placed in a different investment vehicle, such as an Isa as Hastie suggests, a bank account or a venture capital trust. Pugh says: “There are other options, but there isn’t an option that gives the tax breaks that a pension does, with the simplicity, and the low cost. It doesn’t cost much for [an employer] to pay into a pension, but if it had to set up a fancy investment for a small number of people, it would probably cost them. And beyond pension, what’s right for one person, might not be right for another.”As April approaches, the challenge for employers is to use a communication strategy that is appealing and engaging in order to support their higher earners in making the most appropriate decisions. Need to know:The lifetime allowance for pension contributions will be reduced from £1.25 million to £1 million from 6 April 2016.From April 2016, those earning between £150,000 and £210,000 a year will face a tapered annual allowance for tax relief from £40,000 to £10,000.Communication can be used to ensure that all affected employees are aware of the changes.last_img read more

NOW HIRING 10 New Job Openings In Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are some of the newest job openings in Wilmington:Full-Time Chemical Mix Operator at Lubrizol CorporationFull-Time Laboratory Technician I at Charles River LabsFull-Time Project Coordinator (National Accounts Division) at Standard ElectricFull-Time Financial Center Manager at Bank of AmericaFull-Time Cyber Insurance Marketing Representative at HUB InternationalFull-Time Information Security Specialist 4 at L3 TechnologiesFull-Time Warehouse Specialist at Vivint SolarPart-Time Marketing Assistant at Security Innovation, Inc.Full-Time (Temporary) Summer Mover at Two Men And A TruckFull-Time Delivery Driver at FedEx(NOTE: Wilmington businesses — Feel free to send me your job postings at wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”NOW HIRING: 50 New Job Openings In Wilmington (Week of August 18, 2019)In “Business”NOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”last_img read more

More like a friendly aunt than a haughty politician

first_imgAffable, courteous and always smiling, Sheila Dikshit came across more as a friendly neighbourhood aunt than a quintessential haughty politician. A chirpy Miranda House girl who loved car rides married into a political family and her fortunes changed forever. Daughter-in-law of Uttar Pradesh leader Uma Shankar Dikshit, she was first noticed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and later became a “family” loyalist after she worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi. Also Read – CBI carrying out surprise checks at 150 government departments Advertise With Us Born in Punjab, raised in Delhi and honing her political skills in Uttar Pradesh, the national capital became her work space. It has been six years since she was voted out of power but there is broad consensus — even her political opponents will not disagree — that she was the force behind the transformation of Delhi. Despite being a small state, governing Delhi is a complex affair because of the multiplicity of authorities. Cutting through this maze of layers without friction, she managed to deliver, bringing in an infrastructure revolution in the city by building roads and fly-overs. Also Read – Ratul Puri’s ED custody extended by 4 more days Advertise With Us She achieved what she did with dignity and earned respect from the opponents. As she is no more now, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Vijay Kumar Malhotra described her as his sister while BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, who defeated her in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said that she was a mother figure in his life. During her 15-year rule from 1998 to 2013, the face of Delhi changed completely from being an extended outpost of Punjabi- Haryanvi culture to a thriving cosmopolitan. Advertise With Us Her political career was a roller-coaster ride during which she touched the peak and hit the bottom with same velocity. She was written off when she was made the Delhi Congress chief in a surprise move ahead of Assembly elections in 1998, replacing Choudhary Prem Singh. In complete disarray, the Congress was then in the grip of tainted stalwarts like HKL Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. To her advantage, the BJP government too had lost its sheen because of continuous infighting, as a result of which Delhi saw three Chief Ministers — Madan Lal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma and Sushma Swaraj — in five years. Amid this backdrop, Sheila Dikshit led the party to a resounding victory, winning 52 out of 70 seats and never looked back from there. She repeated the feat in 2003 though with lesser number of seats and again won in 2008. An explosion of corruption scandals against the Congress government at the Centre also engulfed her and she came under scanner for the Commonwealth Games fiasco in 2010 which was the beginning of her downfall. The anti-corruption movement gained ground, leading to the birth of a new entity — the Aam Admi Party (AAP). The Sheila Dikshit government also bore the brunt of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case with street demonstrations breaking out in the city. In the 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress was reduced to just eight seats with Sheila Dikshit herself losing the polls to AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal in the hung results. AAP went on to form the government with support from the Congress despite the two parties fighting each other tooth and nail. The government fell soon and in the elections held in 2015, the Congress failed to open its account in the state Assembly for the first time ever. Sheila Dikshit returned to oblivion as the city politics changed forever. She made a comeback ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the chief of Delhi Congress. She contested from North East Delhi but lost to city BJP President Manoj Tiwari. Sheila was in the middle of a daunting task of reviving the party from dust to prepare for the Assembly elections due next year. She left the task incomplete as she could never recover from her illness.last_img read more

Visakhapatnam Handwoven saris draw attention

first_imgVisakhapatnam: Nadeem, a weaver from Bhagalpur, elaborates how fabrics like eri and mutka silk, among other varieties lend elegance as well as comfort to consumers, especially for those who have to battle against humid weather conditions.From a limited circle of shoppers, Nadeem says, Visakhapatnam has a great potential for such easy-to-carry fabrics. Also Read – TDP to open shelters for victims of attacks Advertise With Us At the ‘Silk India Expo – 2019’ which was inaugurated on Wednesday, weavers share the latest trends and how hand-woven fabrics have become the most sought-after among the locals. Badal Haldear, another weaver from Nadia district, West Bengal says that khadi is another fabric that is gradually catching up among women of all age groups. “Youngsters prefer khadi nowadays as they can carry it off well with elan,” he adds. Also Read – Quarry checks bring down granite production Advertise With Us There are more than 50 stalls at the venue wherein weavers and designers from various states have put up saris, dress material, Banaras saris and material, Chanderi saris, linen saris, among a host of other products. Organised by Hastashilpi – Artisans, Weavers Welfare Association, Mysore, the exhibition will be open at hotel Green Park till August 26 from 11 am to 9 pm.last_img read more

National Action Network Hosts 2017 March on Washington

first_imgOn Jan. 14, the National Action Network (NAN) will lead minority, civil, human and women’s rights groups in a protest over Trump’s policies on economic inequality, his plan to dismantle the Obama agenda and to curve the rights of citizens of color and others who are disadvantaged. The march’s theme is “We Shall Not Be Moved.”Marchers should assemble at 9 a.m. at the National Sylvan Theater, Independence Avenue, S.W. & 15th St., N.W. The March begins at 11 a.m. and will travel along Independence Ave., SW to West Potomac Park at 1964 Independence Ave., SW. There will be a rally at noon in West Potomac Park, directly across from Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. For any questions or concerns please call 1-877-626-4651.last_img read more

Failed Street Fighter V beta was a wild success for Capcom

first_imgThis weekend has been rough for fighting game enthusiasts. It’s just a week after EVO, and the long-awaited Street Fighter V beta finally arrived Thursday night. It then immediately died, but stumbled to life not too long after. Then, it died again. Finally, Jeffrey Combs showed up and injected it with glowstick fluid, and it shambled around a little bit for a small handful of people while everyone else stared at the game’s title screen and cycled through error messages.Basically, the Street Fighter V beta bombed horribly. A few people got a few minutes in, but for most it was completely inaccessible for the full run, and Capcom ended up temporarily suspending, then completely postponing the “real” beta. It’s understandable damage control on Capcom’s part, since the company promised three betas to players who pre-ordered the game, and the first one simply didn’t work for most people. It also shows how skewed our perceptions of game development has become.The Street Fighter V beta wasn’t a failure. It was wildly successful because it failed. That’s what betas are for.Capcom was pretty forthcoming with the beta’s purpose: to test the game’s netcode. Street Fighter V is running on Capcom’s own netcode instead of something like GGPO, and Capcom wanted to make sure it worked. That’s why the planned beta was online-only, and that’s why the planned beta had no local multiplayer (much to the chagrin of my fellow scrubs in the lab). The beta was supposed to test how the game’s online features worked, and whether Capcom’s servers could handle it.They didn’t, and they didn’t, And now Capcom knows that, months before the game comes out. That means the beta was wildly successful.We’ve become skewed and a little spoiled with things like early access and “beta” programs that are effectively either demos or engine-stable but content-incomplete games. Beta has become shorthand for exclusive demo available to guys who pre-order, or get a collector’s edition, or jump through other hoops as a reward from publishers. It’s a nice little bonus, but that’s not what betas are. Betas are for testing. That’s why they’re called betas.Beta is a step in the software development process. It means the game is structurally mostly done, but it still has a bunch of wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Real betas are the versions of games that testers play before they ship. They’re versions of games that are almost complete, but not ready to ship because there are loads of bugs to find and problems to fix. We don’t usually see this side, because betas are usually closed or internal. Some games have open betas, but half the time they’re basically just pre-launch demos. These public betas can still be of some use to developers as they collect metrics and crash reports to find the last few flaws in a game, but they aren’t often “real” betas. They’re not games that testers still need to scrub and report on every little bug.The Street Fighter V beta was an actual beta, which is why it was both a huge success (for Capcom) and a huge disappointment (for players). It doesn’t look good that this beta didn’t work, but it wasn’t a demo, or even remotely feature-complete. It was a test, and the fact that it failed means that Capcom has months to make sure it doesn’t fail when Street Fighter V actually releases.I know I would have loved spending the weekend getting a feel for Nash’s moves and wrapping my head around using Guile-like specials with QCFs instead of charges, but I’m a little glad the beta went the way it did. It’s a good sign that when the game actually comes out, and even sooner than that when Capcom inevitably launches a “beta” that is a pre-launch demo, it will work. This was about getting the netcode and server problems out of the way.Of course, this wasn’t the best possible outcome for the beta; that would require Capcom’s final beta postponement message to include, “Also, wow, doing our own netcode wasn’t a great idea, and we’re just switching to GGPO now.” But it’s a start.last_img read more

Jalen Ramseys QB comments arent shocking for an NFL corner

first_imgAlso:– Drew Stanton has a better backup skill set than Baker MayfieldGuests:Eric Dickerson – FS1 NFL Analyst and Hall of Famer is in-studio discussing Jalen Ramsey’s recent QB comments, andEric Mangini – Former Browns and Jets Head Coach weighs in on Jalen Ramsey’s QB comments, and if sitting Baker Mayfield is the right move for the Browns.Bruce Feldman – Fox Sports College Football Insider is in-studio discussing the latest on the Maryland and Ohio State football scandals, and when the OSU investigation could wrap up. MJ still well ahead of LeBron in the G.O.A.T raceIn a recent interview Rockets GM Daryl Morey said LeBron James is already better than Michael Jordan, mostly citing that LeBron is on pace to blow MJ out of the water in almost every key statistical category, but Doug disagrees.Doug doesn’t think comparing LeBron and MJ’s stats is fair because LeBron came straight out of high school to the NBA, and the NBA has seen an offensive explosion in the last 10+ years. Doug still thinks LeBron could pass MJ if he can win titles with the Lakers, but MJ is still ahead of LeBron in the G.O.A.T. race at this point. Gottlieb in for Colin:Jalen Ramsey’s QB comments aren’t shocking for an NFL cornerJacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey made headlines when he gave his – often scathing – opinions about every NFL starting quarterbacks, but Doug doesn’t think it’s anything to be shocked about.NFL corners have long been prolific trash talkers, dating back to Deion Sanders, because the position requires an almost delusional confidence in their own abilities. Some people are taken a back by the comments because it’s not how someone with a normal job would talk, but NFL corner isn’t a normal job. It’s just part of Ramsey’s DNA, and he’s really good at his job.last_img read more

You can now permanently delete your location history and web and app

first_imgGoogle keeps a track of everything that you do online, including the websites you visit, the ads you see, the videos you watch, and the things you search. Soon, this is (partially) going to change. Google, on Wednesday, launched a new feature allowing users to delete all or part of the location history and web and app activity data, manually. This has been a long requested feature by all internet users, and Google says it “ has heard user feedback that they need to provide simpler ways for users to manage or delete their data.” In the Q1 earnings shared by Google’s parent company Alphabet, they said that EU’s USD 1.49 billion fine on Google is one of the reasons their profit sagged in the first three months of this year.  This was Google’s third antitrust fine by EU since 2017. In the Monday report, Alphabet said that profit in the first quarter fell 29 percent to USD 6.7 billion on revenue that climbed 17 percent to USD 36.3 billion. “Without identifying you personally to advertisers or other third parties, we might use data that includes your searches and location, websites and apps you’ve used, videos and ads you’ve seen, and basic information you’ve given us, such as your age range and gender,” the company explains on its Safety Center Web page. Google already allows you to turn off their location history and Web and app activity. You can also manually delete data that’s generated from searches and other Google services. This new feature, however, lets you remove such information automatically. It has a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved: Keep until I delete manually Keep for 18 months, then delete automatically Keep for 3 months, then delete automatically Based on the option chosen, any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. Surprisingly, Google still does not have an option that says ‘don’t track me‘ or ‘automatically delete after I close website‘, which would ensure 100 percent data privacy and security for users. Source: Google Blog Enabling privacy has not been one of Google’s strongholds in recent times. Last year, Google was caught in a scandal which allowed Google to track a person’s location history in incognito mode, even when they had turned it off. In November last year, Google came under scrutiny by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). They published a report stating that Google is using various methods to encourage users to enable the settings ‘location history’ and ‘web and app activity’ which are integrated into all Google user accounts. They allege that Google is using these features to facilitate targeted advertising. “These practices are not compliant with GDPR, as Google lacks a valid legal ground for processing the data in question. In particular, the report shows that users’ consent provided under these circumstances is not freely given,” BEUC, speaking on behalf of the countries’ consumer groups, said. Google was also found helping the police use Google’s location database to catch potential crime suspects, and sometimes capturing innocent people in the process, per a recent New York Times investigation. The new feature will be rolled out in the coming weeks for location history and for web and app activity data. It is likely to be incorporated in data history as well, but it has not been officially confirmed. To enable this privacy feature, visit your Google account activity controls. Read Next European Consumer groups accuse Google of tracking its users’ location, calls it a breach of GDPR. Google’s incognito location tracking scandal could be the first real test of GDPR Google’s Sidewalk Lab smart city project threatens privacy and human rights: Amnesty Intl, CA says.last_img read more