Psychological health linked to heart health

first_img Read Full Story Mental health and well-being appear to be connected to biological processes and behaviors that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to an American Heart Association statement published in Circulation on Jan. 25, 2021. The statement, co-authored by Laura Kubzansky, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-director of the School’s Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, outlines the substantial body of evidence in the field. Key among its findings is that health care providers should consider their patients’ psychological health when evaluating them or treating them for heart disease.“Clinicians should strive to treat not just the disease state but the patient and the person as a whole,” the researchers wrote. To help achieve this aim, they call for psychological health status screening for patients at risk for CVD.According to the researchers, psychological health can affect cardiovascular health both negatively and positively. For example, chronic stress can lead to dysregulation in the nervous system, increased inflammation, and a cascade of negative health effects. On the other hand, positive psychological attributes such as optimism are associated with lower levels of inflammation.Behavior may be another pathway linking mind, body, and heart health, according to the researchers. People who feel happier and more optimistic tend to eat healthier diets, exercise more, and be less likely to smoke than people who are experiencing negative mental health.last_img read more

Driscoll emphasizes liturgical reform

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted Fr. Michael Driscoll, associate professor of theology at Notre Dame, as the final part of the “Catholicism at the Crossroads” lecture series. Driscoll emphasized the history of liturgical reform and how the nine primary English-speaking countries of the world decided to collaborate to form one universal understanding of the English language.Driscoll said the ultimate goal would be for an English speaker to “go from country to country and participate in the liturgy without any hesitation.”Driscoll then addressed the three concerns of Synod of Bishops, which are liturgical, theological and ethical. This helps people better understand the mystery of how the Eucharist works in that, the way people pray leads to the way they believe which leads to the way people live. “The Eucharist is a mystery to be celebrated, believed and lived,” he said.The liturgical concerns have to deal with the active participation of people, both outward and inward, within the Catholic community. “The liturgy is an art unto itself. It is enacted and embodied,” Driscoll said.Driscoll said the theological concerns are how the community believes in the presence of God — past, present and future and ethical concerns imply the mission that a person is undertaking after leaving the Church.“We’ve been nourished at the table of our Lord, so that now we can move on to our mission,” Driscoll said. “There has to be this strengthening between life and mission.”Driscoll also addressed the Aesthetics of Worship, which involve the three levels of mystagogy. The first level focuses on an excellent, careful, well-planned and well-executed liturgy. The last two emphasizes the reflection and sharing of the liturgy between an individual and community.“The liturgy is a full conscience and active participation of all of the baptized,” Driscoll said.last_img read more

Notre Dame applicant pool expands

first_imgKeri O’Mara | The Observer The total number of applicants to Notre Dame rose this year as early action numbers dipped, and the overall quality of the field improved, changes Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment Don Bishop attributed largely to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ switch from early action to restrictive early action.“There’s one restriction: you cannot apply early here if you’re applying to a binding early decision program,” Bishop said. “…We believe as many as 200 to 300 students that were admitted last year in early action were obligated to turn down their offer of admission at Notre Dame to honor an early decision commitment elsewhere.”Early action policies typically allow students to apply in mid-fall, before the regular deadline, and receive a decision between late December and mid-January. Regular applicants submit their materials in December and can receive decisions as late as April 1.Director of Admissions Bob Mundy said the newly-implemented restriction offers a better chance of admission to students for whom the University is a top choice, ruling out any candidates who would already be committed to attending another college or university by the time they hear a decision from Notre Dame.“The two biggies [in early application policies] are early action and early decision, and obviously, if a student is applying early decision someplace else and is admitted, they’re bound there,” Mundy said. “So we merely asked them to wait for that to run its course and then apply to us in regular action. We expected that our [early] applicant pool would be smaller because of that … [and] that is what happened.”Bishop said an increase in regular applications offset the decline in early applications, leading to a larger applicant pool overall. He estimated Admissions received 18,150 total applications, as compared to 17,901 last year.“My guess is we probably dropped out of the system about 800 to 1,000 apps [in the early action period], and then we replaced them with around 1,200 other apps [in the regular cycle], so our net gain was favorable,” Bishop said. “We also noticed that the very top of the pool did not decline. Seven percent increase in that top half of [the top] one percent in the nation, which means usually 1550 or higher on the SAT and 35 [or] 36 on the ACT, so the very top of the pool’s gotten bigger and better.”Bishop said the Admissions staff decided to implement the early application restriction after examining various policies at other colleges and universities and determining which would best preserve Notre Dame’s mission and the applicants’ freedom while still valuing the application readers’ time and energy. The staff examined three main options, including early decision — which Bishop said about half of the top 15 schools in the nation use.“We continue to believe that’s not the right choice for us, given our philosophy of trying to provide students with the most choice,” Bishop said.Top-tier universities often use early decision to improve their yield rate, which measures how many admitted students actually enroll in the university, Bishop said. Because all accepted students are bound to attend, the yield rate for early decision is 100 percent, a figure that impacts overall yield rate and helps with recruitment and fundraising.“Our yield rate would be even higher if we had early decision, but we’ve decided that’s not in the best interest of the students,” Bishop said. “We continue to try to make admissions policies that benefit the students more than the private agenda of a university. We view early action as a friendlier opportunity to applicants, and Notre Dame’s philosophy just as an institution is more aligned with early action.”Bishop said Notre Dame’s current yield rate reflects a high level of commitment from the applicants considering the University as a top priority.“One of the reasons why we don’t do early decision is we already enjoy a very high conversion rate — we’re in the top eight in the country, and if you look at the top eight, probably half of them have single choice and half of them have early decision,” Bishop said. “We’re probably the only one of the eight that doesn’t have one or the other that improves yield rate.“We’re lucky that students really view Notre Dame as not just a generic top-10 university, but they view it as their No. 1 choice,” he said. “Once they decide that their value system aligns with Notre Dame, we get them. Often the students we lose get in to other top 15 schools, but they ultimately don’t have the same value system. Something else is valued more than our value system here, and therefore that causes them to choose another institution, and we think that’s perfectly fine.”After deciding against early decision, Bishop said the Admissions office evaluated alternative early action plans, including single-choice early action, which is not binding but prohibits applicants from applying early to any other institutions. Most of the top five universities, including Harvard, use this method, Bishop said.“Our view was that there were a couple other schools that had this restrictive early action, not single-choice,” he said. “And we thought that was the best choice for us, and the reason why we wanted to make a choice and not just leave it open ended is that it was a one-sided relationship. The applicant had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted, and expected from us a certain loyalty of letting them know early and committing to them early.“I feel it should be a two-sided relationship, in that if a student truly has a preference for another university, I don’t think it’s fair to the rest of our applicants — who are extraordinary applicants — for that spot to be taken by a student that’s not committed at this point, that has by definition committed themselves to another institution’s identity.“If a student prefers to commit their allegiance to another school, they should be allowed to do that without taking a spot away from a student at Notre Dame until they know one way or the other,” Bishop said.Students who apply elsewhere through early decision or single-choice early action will still have the option of applying to Notre Dame through regular action, Bishop said.“It is a minimal condition, just one single restriction,” he said. “If you’re ready to prefer somewhere else, go after that first. If you don’t get that, feel free to apply regular.And the good news is, we don’t over-admit early, so you have the same chance for selection in regular as if you’d applied early. There’s no penalty for applying regular.”Mundy said the restriction helps identify students who are serious about attending the University and prioritize it before single-choice and early-decision schools.“We’re trying to identify those students who are most serious about Notre Dame, without requiring them to make the ultimate serious choice,” he said.Bishop said the Admissions team uses numbers and test scores less in the overall process and instead places extra emphasis on the applicant’s aspirations and values.“The bottom line is … are they going to take the best advantage of what Notre Dame is trying to provide them, or not?” he said. “I think we are recognizing more now what are the elements that make a unique and successful Notre Dame student and alum.” Tags: Bob Mundy, Don Bishop, early action, early decision, Office of Undergraduate Admissionslast_img read more

Argentine Navy Stages Mock Enemy Combat in Operation Poseidon

first_imgBy Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo January 20, 2017 Military members prevented the mock invasion of an island in a coordinated land and amphibious action. During Operation Poseidon, which took place November 21st –23rd at the Baterías Naval Infantry Base, close to 1,000 members of the Argentine Navy responded to a simulated military offensive. All units from the Flota de Mar Naval Infantry Force (FAIF, per its Spanish acronym) mobilized for possible combat at the beach, using boats, amphibious vehicles, and artillery battalions. “We are simulating the presence of an enemy for the purpose of evaluating the tactical decisions of our subordinate commanders,” Captain Daniel Recabeitia, second commander of FAIF, told Diálogo. Although the operation took place at a base in the province of Buenos Aires, the mock invasion was planned as if it had taken place at Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, a province in the southernmost tip of Argentina, as it was intended as an island operation. Enemy offensive “We simulated that the enemy had established a beachhead on the northern part of the island, and was waiting for reinforcements before launching an offensive to the south,” Capt. Recabeitia reported. FAIF created a debarking force made up of the 2nd Naval Infantry Battalion, the Communications Battalion, the Amphibious Commandos Group, the Amphibious Engineers Company, the Anti-Aircraft Battalion, the Amphibious Vehicles Battalion, the Command and Logistical Support Battalion, and the Field Artillery Battalion. “The debarking force established a beachhead on a central area of the island to allow for the subsequent administrative debarking of reinforcements,” Capt. Recabeitia said. The enemy, in turn, had medium- and heavy-duty trucks, armored vehicles for exploration, and infantry troops, all of which were concentrated at the beachhead seized on Argentine territory. The exercise presented the impossibility of debarking of the Argentine reinforcements due to adverse weather conditions. As a result, the enemy contingent continued to be more numerous. The situation encouraged the assignment of a new task for the debarking force: execute a movement to establish contact with the enemy, and once accomplished, initiate a delay operation to stall them until Argentine reinforcements arrive. Delay action “The delay action is a complementary operation, the purpose of which is to gain time, ceding the least amount of ground possible. In this action, the enemy is delayed and is worn down,” Capt. Recabeitia said. He also reported that the Argentine troops used tracked amphibious vehicles, exploration, mechanized and technical vehicles, as well as artillery Hummers. While the debarking force executed the delay action, the Field Artillery Battalion (BIAC, per its Spanish acronym) and the Anti-Aircraft Battalion (BIAA, per its Spanish acronym) fired shots with real munitions in support of the first-line units that were carrying out maneuvers. “Due to exercise and safety concerns, shooting was done in a secure location and in coordination with the maneuvers of the first-line units rather than against our troops,” Capt. Recabeitia clarified. The BIAC fired 155-millimeter cannons in support of the Infantry, while the BIAA fired 40/70 cannons at a towed aerial target provided by the Argentine Air Force. Once climatic conditions improved a short while later, a larger Argentine force debarked and forced out the enemy. “In total, 1,000 troops participated in the exercise, and the results were highly satisfactory,” Capt. Recabeitia said. Amphibious planning Operation Poseidon is the result of a planning phase that took place in October 2016, at FAIF facilities. Units from the Flota de Mar Command and the 2nd Naval Aviation Force participated. In an interview with Gaceta Marinera, the Argentine Navy’s official news website, Captain Bernardo Noziglia, FAIF commander, explained that the previous stage was a “mental exercise” for the younger officers, allowing them to have an opportunity to appreciate the development of the mission. “Amphibious planning is one of the most complicated exercises because of all the interaction that exists between the components,” Capt. Noziglia said. “It is a very complex operation that requires a lot of coordination,” the officer added. “To be able to move ahead with this land and amphibious operation, it was necessary to integrate all the components [of the force], which was in fact achieved thanks to the partial work of each during the year.” Projection of naval power Argentine officers also noted the importance of Operation Poseidon for the security of Argentina and the region. “On top of being fundamental for training, executing this type of activity allows us to put our plans to the test, to obtain logistical data, to check our communications, and plan an operation as complex as an amphibious operation,” Capt. Recabeitia said. “The exercise is very important for the defense of our country, since we are exercising and consolidating the Argentine Navy’s capacity for projection of naval power along our extensive maritime and river coasts,” he concluded.last_img read more

Petition to limit malpractice fees draws opposition

first_imgPetition to limit malpractice fees draws opposition September 1, 2005 Regular News Petition to limit malpractice fees draws oppositioncenter_img A petition seeking to rewrite Bar rules to include a recent constitutional amendment limiting attorneys’ split of medical malpractice awards is continuing to draw opposition, and not just from attorneys.The Supreme Court has given interested parties until September 30 to submit comments on the proposed rules petition, which was filed in June by former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes and 54 other attorneys.As of mid-August, the court had received 78 comments — one from the Bar, three from voluntary bars, four from nonlawyers, and the rest from attorneys. Everyone opposed what has become called the Grimes petition.That petition was filed with the court in June and asks that Amendment 3 approved by voters be incorporated in Bar Rule 4-1.5(f)(4)(B) on contingency fees. The amendment specifies that in medical malpractice awards that the lawyer, after costs, may get no more than 30 percent of the first $250,000 and no more than 10 percent of awards above that amount.Lawyers responded to the amendment by getting clients to waive their constitutional right to that split of the awards. The Florida Medical Association, which backed the amendment, then asked Grimes to file the rule petition.That filing, in part, argues that the waiver has “the lawyer negotiating with the client in order to have the client give up his constitutional rights in order that the lawyer may receive a higher fee. To permit such a practice would not only put the lawyer in an unethical position, but fly in the face of the constitutional mandate overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters.”The Florida Bar Board of Governors voted to oppose the petition, calling it premature, noting the amendment has not been interpreted by the courts, and that issues relating to the substantive rights covered by the amendment are better resolved in the courts rather than the rulemaking process.Recently filed comments on the proposed rule have expanded on the objections of the original filers. Those comments include that the amendment itself may be unconstitutional because it limits the right to contract and could restrict the access to courts for many, if not most, patients injured by medical malpractice. Lawyers also argued that it is impermissible for the government to bar a citizen from waiving a right, and noted, ironically, if injured patients cannot waive their right under Amendment 3, they may forgo their right to file suit. And they agreed with the Bar it was wrong to use Bar ethical rules to influence substantive rights.Some of the filings:• “The Grimes petition is a blatant attempt to change substantive law through rules regulating professional conduct. That is inappropriate,” according to Miami attorney Andrew Ellenberg.• “Amendment 3, as passed, is unconstitutional, on its face, in my opinion, as it obviously violates the rights of medical malpractice victims to due process, access to the courts, equal protection and freedom of association, among other reasons,” argued Frederick A. Gunion, Jr., of Miami. “Additionally, a rule change such as the one Mr. Grimes’ petition suggests would prevent individuals from waiving constitutional rights, which they have the absolute right to do.”• West Palm Beach attorney Theodore Babbitt noted that Amendment 3 itself never mentioned attorneys’ fees, only stating a claimant’s rights to proceeds from a judgment or settlement. “[T]here is a substantial question as to the application of amendment 3 as it is written. At least one reasonable interpretation of its language suggests that it does not apply to a limitation on attorneys’ fees at all.”• Ft. Lauderdale construction lawyer Steven Lesser wrote that he had been appointed as chair of the ABA’s Task Force on Contingent Fees, created by the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. The task force concluded last year that not only were Florida’s present contingency fee rules a model for the nation, but that proposals such as Amendment 3 would cause harm. It also found that only a small percentage of malpractice actions resulted in a claim. “Limiting fees by the formulae recently proposed in Florida and elsewhere by physicians’ associations would reduce the incidence of meritorious medical malpractice actions and further reduce legal exposure for those who commit medical malpractice,” the task force said in its final report.• Orlando compensation consultant Paul J. McConnell noted that medical malpractice defense attorneys are typically paid by the hour with little risk. Plaintiff attorneys, however, take a contingency fee and face a sizeable chance of not getting paid. He warned that approval of the suggested rule could lead to a new method of handling and financing medical malpractice suits. “[T]he petition could have the effect of splitting the plaintiff attorney business model into two components: a fee for service legal profession, governed by Bar rules; and a lawsuit financing business that operates largely outside the jurisdiction of the courts through loans with contingent repayment arrangements and risk-based fees. Such a business model could easily result in plaintiff[s] receiving even less of their proper judgments than they did under the pre-Amendment 3 fee schedule.”• “Well-settled Florida law holds that a party may waive any right to which that party is legally entitled, whether secured by contract, conferred by statute, or guaranteed by the Constitution ( Bellaire Securities Corp. v. Brown, 124 Fla. 47, 168 So. 625, 639(1936); Gilman v. Butzlaff, 155 Fla. 888, 22 So. 2d 263 (Fla. 1945),” Miami attorney Lori Walkman Ross and West Palm Beach attorney Jane Kreusler-Walsh wrote in a joint filing. “The proposed rule amendment elevates a claimant’s entitlement to compensation over other constitutional rights, and isolates this right as non-waivable. An alternative and more viable solution is to educate clients about their rights and ensure that any waiver of such rights is executed knowingly and voluntarily. This could be accomplished by an amendment to the existing Statement of Clients Rights, and a written waiver that meets certain minimum standards.” They went on to suggest such standards.• Jacksonville attorney C. Rufus Pennington agreed with Ross’ and Kruesler-Walsh’s argument, adding, “The problem with the Grimes petition is that Amendment 3 was necessarily presented to the voters in terms of a medical claimant’s rights. Rights can be waived. This right belongs to the claimant — not to the defendant. The defendant has no right at all granted by the text of Amendment 3 – and certainly has no right to preclude the claimant from making an informed and advantageous decision to waive his or her own constitutional rights . ”In addition to the individual comments, the Palm Beach County Bar Association submitted a resolution opposing the rule change, joining the Dade County Bar Association and the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association in asking the court to reject the Grimes petition. The two Dade bars have also asked the court to participate in oral arguments, set for November 30.The court is accepting comments on the petition until September 30.last_img read more

Police: Seeing bears right now is normal, what to do if you run into one

first_imgLast but not least, leave the bear alone if you see one. Streno added, “You want to make sure that you move slowly, that you keep looking at them, but you don’t want to make eye contact with them, you don’t want to do anything that’s going to make them think you’re threatening, even turning and running away could be perceived as threatening to a bear, and they could chase you down and people need to understand, you will not outrun a bear, no one is going to.” V.P.D. said it’s nothing out of the ordinary to see bears this time of year including during the day as they’re on the search for food. Following these tips, Streno said get away from the bear to somewhere safe. More tips: (WBNG) — As the weather warms up, the Vestal Police Department is sharing how to avoid bears on your property and what to do if you run into one. Lieutenant Christoper Streno told 12 News Wednesday, put the bird feeders away and don’t have trash or food scraps hanging around. Plus, make sure there’s no dog or cat food lying around that might lure in a bear. You can call the police if you see one, they may check it out as a safety precautionIf you see a bear, don’t let your pets outsideIf you ever come across an injured bear, do not approach itlast_img read more

Gov. Wolf Acts to Ensure Charter Schools Better Serve Students and Taxpayers

first_img Education,  Press Release Allentown, PA – Recognizing Pennsylvania’s flawed and outdated charter school law is one of the worst in the nation, Governor Tom Wolf is taking executive action, overhauling regulations, and will propose legislation to comprehensively reform the law. The governor outlined his vision that will strengthen charter school quality, accountability and transparency to control costs and improve outcomes for students.“Pennsylvania’s charter school law is unfair for students, parents, school districts, and taxpayers,” said Governor Wolf. “While many charter schools are succeeding, others, especially some cyber charter schools, are underperforming and we are not doing enough to hold them accountable to the taxpaying public and the children they serve.“Today I’m announcing comprehensive charter school reform through executive action, regulation, and legislation. These changes will level the playing field for all taxpayer-funded public schools, strengthen the accountability and transparency of charter and cyber charter schools, and better serve all students.”Brick-and-mortar charter and cyber charter schools, and for-profit companies that manage many of them, are not held to the same ethical and transparency standards of traditional public schools. Despite the rising costs of charter schools to school districts and property taxpayers, school districts and state government have limited authority to hold charter schools accountable.The poor academic performance of some charter schools is also a concern. A recent report from Stanford University found overwhelmingly negative results from Pennsylvania’s cyber schools and called for the commonwealth to take urgent action.Governor Wolf’s proposal promotes innovation and choice, while ensuring that charter schools are providing a high-quality education and meeting the same standards Pennsylvanians expect from traditional public schools.Executive ActionsGovernor Wolf is tasking the Department of Education (PDE) with developing regulations to achieve the following:Access to High-Quality Education for All StudentsAllow school districts to limit student enrollment at charters that do not provide a high-quality, equitable education to students.Require transparent charter school admission and enrollment policies that do not discriminate based on intellectual or athletic ability, race/ethnicity, gender, or disability, among other student characteristics.Transparency and Accountability for All School LeadershipHold charter schools and their operators to the same transparency standards as school districts because they are public schools and receive more than $1.8 billion in state and property tax dollars annually.Require that charter school Board of Trustees and operating companies– like school district School Boards – are free from conflicts of interest and prohibit them from making decisions that provide a financial benefit to themselves, friends, and/or family members.Require charter schools to use sound fiscal management, provide regular financial audits to state regulators, publicly bid contracts for supplies and services, use fair contracting practices, and engage their communities.Provide greater oversight over charter school management companies, the businesses that often profit at the expense of Pennsylvania students and families.Establish a model state application to start a new charter school or renew an existing charter school that provides school districts with comprehensive information on how the school will be run and allow for rigorous analysis.Fair and Predictable Funding for All Public SchoolsEstablish a clear process that requires charters to accurately document their costs.Prevent charters from over charging districts and taxpayers for the educational services they provide.Accountability on Behalf of TaxpayersInitiate a fee-for-service model to cover the department’s costs associated with implementing the charter school law.Recoup taxpayer costs for thousands of hours of currently free services that the Department provides to charter schools when it reviews applications, processes millions of payments, and provides legal and administrative support.Comprehensive Charter School Reform LegislationIn addition to executive action, the governor will propose comprehensive charter school reform legislation containing the regulatory changes and would:Establish performance standards that hold charter schools accountable for the educational outcomes of students and a moratorium on new cyber charter schoolsCap student enrollment in low performing cyber charter schools until outcomes improve.Require charter management companies be subject to the Right to Know Act, State Ethics Act, and post employee salaries on PDE’s website, similar to requirements already in place for public school districts.Create fair, predictable, and equitable funding for school districts, including in the areas of special education funding and cyber charter tuition payments.Establish a charter school funding commission to make recommendations on additional charter school funding reforms.“We have some high-quality charter schools in our commonwealth and my proposal holds charters accountable to the same standards we set for traditional public schools. Through hard work and bipartisan compromise in Harrisburg, we have achieved pension reform and liquor reform. It’s time to reform the charter school law. That’s good for every child, family, and taxpayer in Pennsylvania.”The governor announced charter school reform at press conferences today in Allentown and in Pocono Summit, Monroe County. The Allentown School District’s structural budget deficit cannot be fixed without charter school reform.“Before opening the doors, a potential charter school must demonstrate community support, academic innovation and financial stability. Once the charter school is up and running, though, meaningful oversight seems to go away,” said state Rep. Peter Schweyer. “There isn’t enough accountability on how tax dollars are spent, how the kids are being taught or if they’re even learning at all. Governor Wolf’s executive actions are a big step forward to bring about meaningful oversight to protect kids in charter schools.”“One out of every six dollars spent by the Allentown School District goes to educating kids at charter schools – an increase of over 2000 percent in twenty years,” said state Rep. Mike Schlossberg. “This inequity is wildly unfair to our students, taxpayers and teachers. These moves will help control costs and increase educational opportunities for all Allentown students. I fully support these moves and appreciate the governor for having the courage to stand up for our students and taxpayers.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter August 13, 2019center_img Gov. Wolf Acts to Ensure Charter Schools Better Serve Students and Taxpayerslast_img read more

Keva managing director resigns in wake of benefits scandal

first_imgOn 10 November, Finnish media reported that Ailus’s “fringe benefits” included two luxury flats in central Helsinki and a brand new BMW.The reports alleged she failed to declare the full value of the flats to the tax office, and that “tender rules had been bent” in the acquisition of the BMW.When starting at Keva in 2009, Ailus reportedly requested to live in a €2.3m flat and last year requested an increase of €6,100 on her monthly salary of €18,900.Last week, local media also came out with claims that Ailus received child benefits from Finland and Norway simultaneously for eight years, which Norwegian officials are now claiming back.Iltalehti newspaper also reported Ailus had flown her friend to Lapland to accompany her on a work-related trip and charged Keva for his tickets.Ailus had allegedly also charged her family’s moving costs on Keva twice.Ailus maintained she was unaware she continued to be paid child benefit after she moved away from Norway.Although she said she would give up the flat in exchange for an increase in her salary, she also pointed out that she understood that, to “low-earning municipality workers and pensioners, the fringe benefits of pension fund management might seem excessive”.What is seen as the last straw in the evolution of the scandal is the meeting Ailus organised for her staff at Keva last Wednesday where she declared she had no intention of resigning, although Keva’s chairwoman, Laura Räty, announced that she no longer trusted Ailus.IPE asked Ailus for a comment last week, but she did not return the call.Chairwoman Räty told the media late Friday night that Ailus’s resignation was based on a lack of clarity in a range of issues.“There were unclarities in receiving social security, applying and interpreting competition law and in making acquisitions,” she said.“Issues like this have nothing to do with what kind of benefits are moderate and appropriate.”The scandal is likely to pave the way for ending political appointments in Finland.Ailus was appointed as managing director of the scheme in 2009 out of a group of 20 applicants.Her appointment has been described as political, as Ailus is a member of the Centre Party and arguably had less experience with the pensions industry than several other applicants. The managing director of Keva, the €35.3bn local government pension institution of Finland, resigned late on Friday night in the wake of a scandal focusing on her fringe benefits and personal expenses.Keva insures 1.3m Finns working, or having retired, from jobs at the local government, the state and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.Merja Ailus’s resignation agreement states that the details of the discussions between Ailus and Keva’s board late Friday night – i.e. the actual reasons why Ailus agreed to resign – remain confidential.However, the board’s decision to let Ailus go and pay her a compensation of €303,500 was based on a “lack of trust”, which emerged among board members after Finnish media accused Ailus of charging the institution for some of her personal expenses, failing to inform the tax office of the full value of her employee-sponsored flat and receiving child benefits from two countries simultaneously.last_img read more

Vervoer settles with Goldman Sachs over fiduciary management dispute

first_imgPensioenfonds Vervoer, the pension fund for the Dutch transport industry, has settled out of court with Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) in a long-running dispute concerning GSAM’s performance as the scheme’s former fiduciary asset manager.  In July 2012, Vervoer issued a legal claim in the High Court in London against GSAM over a dispute about investments in a portable alpha structure and the implementation of an increased investment in global high-yield credit.In a statement released today, Vervoer said: “The parties have now reached an agreement through which the dispute has been settled to the satisfaction of both parties.”It said the terms and conditions of the settlement were confidential, and that, “accordingly, neither party will comment on them any further”. The lawsuit was scheduled to be heard in the High Court early next week.Vervoer decided to terminate its fiduciary management agreement with GSAM in 2010 over dissatisfaction with its performance.In 2011, it confirmed that Robeco would in future act as its fiduciary manager, and in July 2012 the fund confirmed it would seek damages from GSAM.Vervoer’s initial court filing of late summer 2012 accused GSAM of multiple breaches of contract during the asset manager’s time as its fiduciary manager and sought damages of €250m.GSAM rejected all allegations as “mischievous and wholly unfounded” and argued that Vervoer’s complaints came with “the benefit of perfect hindsight”.last_img read more

Drewry: IMO 2020 to Fuel M&A Activity among Carriers?

first_imgFinancially vulnerable carriers could be pushed into M&A by the extra costs associated with the new low-sulphur fuel law, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.Although the rising demand and freight rates in the final quarter of 2018 helped the container shipping industry to return a profit of around USD 1.5 billion, the industry still hasn’t fully recovered from the global financial crash and the devastating losses incurred thereafter.As the deadline for the IMO 2020 mandate draws nearer carriers are inevitably getting jittery about its overall impact, Drewry said. Worries arise whether the carriers are in a position to deal with a myriad of extra associated costs, such as unrecoverable BAFs, capex costs to install scrubbers and extra funding requirement for bunker credit, among others.“Without wanting to be too alarmist, there is the potential for IMO 2020 to inspire another major carrier bankruptcy and/or trigger more defensive M&A. It could turn out that the IMO will inadvertently push industry consolidation along, closer to where it needs to be in order to achieve sustainable profitability,” Drewry said.The last round of M&A that started with the merger of Chinese carriers Cosco and CSCL in 2016 and concluded with the integration of the Japanese carriers NYK, MOL and K Line into the Ocean Network Express (ONE) in the first quarter of 2018, made some headway in the consolidation process to the extent that the leading seven carriers now control approximately three-quarters of the world’s containership fleet.However, while previous M&A has handed near-full control of the global market to a handful of lines, there is still varying degrees of competition at a trade-route level.“Even if IMO 2020 does spur another round of industry consolidation, the chances are that there will still be enough carriers left to prevent the big trades from being highly concentrated. It will require a couple of highly unlikely mega M&As to really move the dial,” Drewry concluded.last_img read more