November 17, 2020

Philippines observes ‘no-contact’ Ash Wednesday to beat virus

first_img“It makes me feel safe,” said Wendy Tamidles, a 19-year-old student.She was among thousands of people, some wearing surgical masks, who lined up at Baclaran church in Manila for services on Wednesday.Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the run-up to Easter, and includes Catholics having crosses drawn in ash on their foreheads.The Philippines is overwhelmingly Catholic, with some 80 percent of its people said to be believers. Its unique brand of the religion also includes gruesome annual re-enactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Local church officials have also “strongly recommended” that Catholics do not kiss or touch the cross during Good Friday services, which is usually common practice.”We are being cautious so that the coronavirus won’t spread,” said Victorino Cueto, rector of Baclaran church.For at least one participant, 62-year-old, Roberto Moreno, the no-touch policy had no impact on the meaning of the day.”The message is the same: we came from ash and to ash we shall return.” Filipinos marked Ash Wednesday with a bow and a sprinkling of dust instead of a cross being daubed on their foreheads, as Asia’s bastion of Catholicism guarded against the spread of coronavirus.Leaders of the Philippine church urged priests to adapt the rite in order to reduce the risk of fanning a contagion that has killed over 2,700, mostly in China.Since the outbreak, which has resulted in three confirmed cases and one death in the Philippines, churches have also discouraged worshippers from holding hands during mass.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Heathrow airport urges roadmap for quarantine exit

first_imgThe airport only provided services in April for essential travel, particularly for repatriation flights during the health crisis.Heathrow, which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish construction giant Ferrovial, stressed that the quarantine will effectively shut borders.”The airport supports government’s aim of avoiding a second wave of infection, even though the 14-day quarantine plan will effectively close borders temporarily,” the company said. “It is likely that few passenger flights will operate and even less people will travel until the quarantine is lifted.”It added: “Demand is expected to remain weak until governments lift lockdowns.”However, British Airways’ owner IAG last week warned that pre-crisis passenger demand would not return until 2023 at the earliest.Topics : “Aviation is the lifeblood of this country’s economy, and until we get Britain flying again, UK business will be stuck in third gear,” Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said in a statement on Monday.”The government needs to urgently lay out a roadmap for how they will reopen borders once the disease has been beaten, and to take an immediate lead in agreeing a common international standard for health in aviation that will allow passengers who don’t have the infection to travel freely.”Heathrow airport, which is situated west of the British capital, added that the number of passengers nosedived 97 percent in April from the same month in 2019 to  just 200,000.That was the same amount of travellers that normally fly through the air hub in a normal day prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. London’s Heathrow airport on Monday urged the British government to issue a “roadmap” for its planned coronavirus quarantine for air travellers, after revealing traffic almost evaporated in April.Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to quarantine people arriving in Britain by air for 14 days to prevent new COVID-19 infections from abroad, under a phased lockdown easing that seeks to avoid a second spike.The deadly outbreak has ravaged both the global economy and especially the aviation sector, with airlines axing most flights in response to collapsing demand for air travel amid national lockdowns.last_img read more

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Emergency digital library sued over ‘brazen’ copyright violations

first_imgFour major publishing houses Monday sued the Internet Archive alleging that its “national emergency library” allowing locked-down readers free access to digital books was “brazenly” violating copyright laws.The lawsuit comes in response to the San Francisco-based digital library’s move in March to offer some 1.4 million digital books without restrictions, touting the move as a public service with most US libraries closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.But the four publishing houses — Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House — said the free digital library made the offer in violation of copyright law. “Today’s complaint illustrates that Internet Archive is conducting and promoting copyright infringement on a massive scale,” said Maria Pallante, president of the Association of American Publishers, which includes the four companies.”In scanning and distributing literary works to which it has no legal or contractual rights, IA deliberately misappropriates the intellectual and financial investments of authors and publishers and brazenly ignores the copyright law that Congress enacted.”Pallante equated the emergency library to “the world’s most egregious pirate sites” which distribute works freely without paying copyright royalties.The Internet Archive responded with a statement that it was “disappointed” by the legal action. “As a library, the Internet Archive acquires books and lends them, as libraries have always done,” the statement said.”This supports publishing, authors and readers. Publishers suing libraries for lending books, in this case protected digitized versions, and while schools and libraries are closed, is not in anyone’s interest. “The archive contends it has said it acted in consultation with public and academic libraries and that a number of copyright experts had expressed the view that the emergency library was operating under the “fair use” principle in light of the closure of physical libraries.The archive said the effort was consistent with the principle of “controlled digital lending” which allows libraries to offer access for the specific number of editions it owns.But Douglas Preston of the Authors Guild, which represents nonfiction and fiction writes, said it supports the legal action seeking to shut down the digital archive.”What Internet Archive is doing is no different than heaving a brick through a grocery store window and handing out the food — and then congratulating itself for providing a public service,” Preston said in a statement.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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‘Keep second pillar simple’ says Swiss BVK

first_imgMirjam Staub-Bisang, ProfondElsewhere, the CHF7.5bn multi-employer pension fund Profond said it would use some of its buffers to grant a 1.5% increase, compared to the 1% legal minimum. This was despite its 2018 investment loss of 4.2%.Collective pension funds such as Profond have to compete on the open market – more so than other Swiss Pensionskassen. Its ability to grant above-average increases has proven a competitive advantage in the market. Profond is also free to offer a higher conversion rate than other funds, meaning it can choose new entries to balance out existing pensioners with companies that have a lot of active members.“We get so many requests for joining that we had to cap the number of new entries last year,” said Profond’s Staub-Bisang.She added the Pensionskasse was financially stable and never had to increase contributions to finance recovery measures.Minimum conversion rateMartin Wagner, manager of Credit Suisse’s CHF17bn pension fund, said there should be more choice for pension funds, for example regarding the minimum conversion rate.“Pension funds should decide with less intervention from politicians,” he said.For years, the conversion rate – applied to the mandatory part of accrued assets – has been kept at 6.8%. This is at least 20% too high, as experts in the Swiss second pillar sector would agree, Wagner said.The Credit Suisse fund’s conversion rate is lower compared to many other Swiss funds, and is being reduced gradually to 4.87% by 2025.Lump sumsAdditionally, retirees have to withdraw a lump sum payment for contributions paid from salary components above CHF128,000, with no annuities offered on this portion.“The board of trustees decided to accept possible lower pension payouts to keep the strong financial backing by the employer,” Wagner said.Credit Suisse recently launched the Credit Suisse Collective Foundation 1e, which offers companies and self-employed people in Switzerland the opportunity to structure their extra-mandatory retirement plan on an autonomous basis.Wagner was convinced this additional feature “makes sense for some industries”, but it was only applicable to between 5% and 7% of the working population in Switzerland.Schönbächler added that, given their higher income, these people accounted for up to 30% of the accrued assets in Pensionskassen.“Many pension funds already have too little capital to be fully funded, and taking a part of it out for individual investment strategies makes their situation more difficult,” he said.He also questioned whether a separation of the portfolio could lead to lower returns overall and therefore require adjustments to the overall technical parameters in a fund. Mirjam Staub-Bisang, president of the board of trustees at Profond, was also cautious when it came to variable pension payouts, saying: “People want certainty and security in their retirement income.”She added: “We are looking after our clients but they have to stay in the herd.”Other delegates were less opposed to the measures – or, regarding some points, even in favour – but the heated debate illustrated a divide in the Swiss second pillar on topics such as individual choice and future pension promises.Differing modelsAt BVK, a model was introduced that allows for top-up payments in good times and to compensate for lower conversion rates in newer contracts.Since the start of this year, savers in the BVK have been able to choose whether they want a higher conversion rate, giving them higher pensions at the start of their retirement.BVK lost 3.5% on its investments last year, which was “right on the benchmark”, the fund noted in a press release – and also in line with the market average. Despite this, it must still pay a minimum pension increase of 1%. Variable pension payouts and enforced lump sum payouts are detrimental to the sustainability of Switzerland’s second pillar system, according to the chairman of one of the country’s largest pension funds.Thomas Schönbächler, chairman of the board at the CHF33bn (€27bn) BVK Pensionskasse, voiced his concerns at the annual conference of the regional supervisory authority for Zurich, the BVS, last week.Schönbächler said he “would be very careful about introducing variable pension payouts” as this would lead to too much uncertainty and complexity.“Rather keep the Pensionskassen as simple as possible and calculate pension levels we are sure we can pay out given the expected life expectancy,” he emphasised.last_img read more

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Societe Generale Gets Nod to Issue Green Bonds in Taiwan

first_imgSociete Generale has secured approval by the Financial Supervisory Commission, Republic of China (Taiwan), to issue green bonds in Taiwan.The proceeds of the issuance will be used to fund renewable energy projects in Taiwan, including the project financing of Formosa 1, Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.According to the France-based bank, the green bonds will also support the sustainability-related actions from the Taiwanese government to accelerate the use of green energy.The total issue size of TWD 1.6 billion (approximately EUR 45 million) is split into a five-year tranche of TWD 900 million, ten-year tranche of TWD 500 million and a 15-year tranche of TWD 200 million, at respective coupon rates of 0.85%, 1.12% and 1.63%.Societe Generale stated that its Taipei Branch received a long-term rating of twAA+ from Taiwan Ratings.“With this first TWD denominated green bond issued by a foreign bank in Taiwan, Societe Generale demonstrates its continued commitment to contributing to the financing of a more sustainable economy,” said Hikaru Ogata, CEO of Societe Generale in Asia Pacific.“By leveraging its structuring and distribution expertise, the bank supports the local development of the sustainable bond market, thus enabling its clients to access capital markets as an additional funding source alongside bank lending.”Formosa 1 Phase 2 will comprise 20 Siemens Gamesa 6MW turbines located off the coast of Chunan Town due to be operational in 2020.The 120MW project is being developed by a joint venture of Ørsted (35%), Taiwanese developer Swancor Renewable (15%) and Macquarie Capital (50%).last_img read more

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Semi Crash Halts Traffic, Sends Driver To Hospital

first_imgSemi accident caused delays on I-74 on Friday afternoon. (Image courtesy of Tina Harmeyer)A semi crash on I-74 resulted in minor injuries to the driver on Friday afternoon.A 2005 Kenworth semi tractor-trailer rig driven by 69-year-old Harold Downey of Middletown, Ohio, was eastbound near the 153 mile marker when he lost control of the vehicle and went into the median.The truck struck a barrier cable but crossed into the westbound lanes completely blocking traffic.The section of I-74 was closed for about an hour while emergency crews and wreckers removed the semi.Downey suffered minor facial injuries and was transported to Margaret Mary Health.last_img read more

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Rich holiday weekend opener at Benton County for IMCA Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour

first_imgVINTON, Iowa (May 22) – A rich holiday weekend at Benton County Speedway brings the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour presented by Wehrs Machine to Benton County Speedway.The tour for IMCA Modifieds opens at Vinton for the seventh time in nine years with a top prize of $2,000 at stake on Memorial Day Monday, May 28.Sunday’s Albert Auto Prelude also pays $2,000 to win so it will be possible for a driver to enjoy a $4,000 Memorial Weekend at the traditional home track of the IMCA Modified division.“There’s a lot to be excited about this weekend and about the entire tour,” said IMCA President Brett Root. “We’ve increased the nightly payout as well as the tour point fund, all events will be broadcast by IMCA.TV and the Dirt Knights will be featured on MAVTV.”A minimum of $200 will be paid to start each Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying tour feature, with the tour cham­pion earning a $1,500 share of the nearly $10,000 point fund.Pit gates open at 4 p.m. and racing for each Memorial Weekend event at Vinton starts at 6 p.m. IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods also run for IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National, regional and Iowa State points both days; track points will be awarded on Sunday as well.Modifieds will draw/redraw both nights. All divisions are draw/redraw on Monday.Grandstand admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children under five each night and pit passes are $30. Heat winners on Sunday get $25 from Albert Auto Service.The tour ran under the Hawkeye Dirt Tour banner from 2010-2017. A passing points system will be used beginning this year to determine feature qualifiers from heats and starting spots for ‘B’ features.Jimmy Gustin of Marshalltown won at Vinton last May while the defending tour champion is Kelly Shryock of Fertile.last_img read more

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St. Louis students participate in state-level science fair

first_imgBatesville, In. — Eighth-grade students recently participated and won honors in a state-level science fair. The lineup of experiments was very impressive and challenging.Students now have the opportunity to compete at the State competition in Indianapolis.  The winners were:  John Meer – Spud Race; Jaden Peters – What liquid makes nails rust faster; Conner Ertel – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Aiden Geers – Liquids plants love best.last_img

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Johnson out in front

first_img World number one Tiger Woods, seeking the 15th major title of his career and a first since 2008, was ominously poised on two under, but US Open champion Justin Rose’s hopes of back-to-back majors suffered a blow with a 75 and defending champion Ernie Els was only one shot better off. Johnson, who opened with a 65 at Lytham 12 months ago and eventually finished ninth, stormed to the turn in 31 thanks to an eagle and three birdies and reached six under before his only bogey of the day on the 14th. The 37-year-old was beaten in a five-hole play-off by 19-year-old Jordan Spieth at the John Deere Classic on Sunday and said: “I think this game demands resilience. If anything, what I’ve embraced from last week is the fact that I’m playing great and I can put that into play, and I’m certainly somewhat confident in what I’m doing, confident in my routines.” The same could certainly not be said of McIlroy, who was disconsolate after a round which featured two double bogeys in a back nine of 42, including putting off the green into a bunker on the 15th. “Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around out there and I’m unconscious. I just need to try to think more,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m trying to focus and trying to concentrate. But I can’t really fathom it at the minute and it’s hard to stand up here and tell you guys what’s really wrong. “Going left of the pin on 12, when I had no right to be going anywhere near that pin, that’s just thoughtless. It’s just so brain dead. Seriously, I feel like I’ve been walking around out there like that for the last couple of months. I’m trying to get out of it. I just don’t quite know why.” Poulter felt he knew the reason behind his round of 72, the Ryder Cup star carding four bogeys and a birdie in his last five holes and then taking to Twitter to say: “Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face.” Phil Mickelson, winner of the Scottish Open on Sunday, three-putted the 18th in his 69 and called for the R&A to “let go of their ego” when it comes to setting up the course on Friday. Press Association R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: “Ian Poulter I know bogeyed three of the last four holes, hardly likely to be in the best of moods, but Ian’s comments will be noted and we’ll have a look at it. We are still very satisfied that the course is playable but very testing. (It is) far from unplayable.” Els, also the winner the last time the Open was staged here in 2002, did not speak to waiting reporters after a 74 which featured a triple-bogey six on the 16th – the same hole which cost him a double bogey in the final round 11 years ago and almost cost him the title. The South African left his second shot in a greenside bunker and then saw his next just escape the hazard but then roll back into the sand. Playing partner Rose, seeking to become only the seventh man in history after Bobby Jones (twice), Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods to win the US Open and Open Championship in the same year, could only manage one birdie in his round – and that was on the 17th. “I have done my best to come here and be as prepared as possible, it was just a round that did not go my way,” he said. “I am happy to have got it out of the way and I can get on with tomorrow and the rest of the year.” Woods looked set for a long afternoon when he hooked his opening tee shot off a tree and into rough so deep that he played a provisional ball, but after the original was found he took a penalty drop and salvaged a bogey after finding a greenside bunker with his third. Still one over at the turn, birdies at the 10th, 11th and 13th took him to two under par and a bogey on the 14th – where he putted from the front of the green off the back – was cancelled out by a two-putt birdie on the 17th. Woods said: “It was tough. The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played and I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better. “I could see how guys were complaining about it. If there’s more moisture on the greens, then that’s fine. But as the golf course dried out it got quick. Some of these putts today, I mean I putted the ball off the green today. And it really wasn’t that bad a putt. Anything that goes four feet by, it’s gone.” While Ian Poulter labelled some of the pin positions at a parched Muirfield as “a joke”, McIlroy blamed himself for a “brain dead” round of 79 which left him 13 shots off Johnson’s lead. Johnson carded a five-under 66 to lead by one from Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello and 1998 champion Mark O’Meara, with 1996 winner Tom Lehman a shot behind alongside fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and India’s Shiv Kapur. Kapur held the lead when he raced to the turn in 30, but dropped three shots on the back nine. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson today began the 142nd Open Championship in the same imperious style as he did the 141st, but there was no let up in the misery for world number two Rory McIlroy.last_img read more

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Cricket News From Selling Pani Puris To Youngest List A Double Centurion – The Story Of Yashasvi Jaiswal

first_imgNew Delhi: Yashasvi Jaiswal, at 17 years and 293 days, has created history in the ongoing 2019 Vijay Hazare Trophy. During the game between Mumbai and Jharkhand at Alur, Jaiswal, playing for Mumbai became the youngest double centurion in the history of List A cricket. Jaiswal blasted 203 off 154 balls and the knock included 17 fours and 12 sixes as Mumbai reached 358/3. Jharkhand made a superb response with Virat Singh smashing a century but they fell short by 39 runs. However, all eyes were on Jaiswal and his historic record-breaking feat. This was not the first time where Jaiswal had impressed.In the game against Goa, Jaiswal smashed 113 off 123 balls and Mumbai won by 130 runs. In the Tri-Natipn Under 19s tournament which featured India, England and Bangladesh, Jaiswal smashed four fifties in seven games and smashed 294 runs at an average of 42. However, in order to attain success, Jaiswal had to undergo plenty of pressures off the field in order to get where he is.Born in the Bhadohi district in Uttar Pradesh, Jaiswal moved to Mumbai in order to have a better future. For the first three years, in order to survive, he had to sell pani puris and sleep in a tent in Azad Maidan. In an exclusive chat with the Indian Express, Jaiswal outlined his struggles.”During Ram Leela, I earned well. I prayed that my teammates would not come there for pani-puri. Sometimes they did and I would feel bad serving them. I always used to see boys my age bringing food or their parents had big lunches with them. As for me, it was — khana khud banao, khud khao. (make your own food, eat alone). No breakfast. Catch hold of anyone around and request them to buy breakfast,” Jaiswal told the Indian Express. He talked about how the struggles outside of the cricket field have made him strong to face pressure on the ground. “You are talking about mental pressure in cricket? I have faced it daily in my life for years. Those have made me strong. Scoring runs is not important. I know I will score and take wickets. For me, whether I get the next meal or not, that’s important. I remember the days when I was almost shameless. I used to go with my teammates for lunch, knowing that I didn’t have any money. I would tell them, ‘paisa nahi hai, bhook hai’,” Jaiswal said. Also Read | Vijay Hazare Trophy: Sanju Samson Hits Record-Breaking 212 As Kerala Maul Goa By 104 RunsWith so much struggle, one hopes that Jaiswal makes the big strides in cricket rapidly and one prays he is successful in representing the Indian cricket team one today. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

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