Biden flips Arizona, further cementing his presidential victory.

first_img– Advertisement – The Arizona victory brings Mr. Biden to 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 required to take the White House.Republicans have been mounting long-shot legal attempts to try to upend results in key battleground states, but they have been mostly dealt setbacks — and some of their cases deal with small numbers of ballots.For instance, Mr. Trump would have to invalidate roughly 55,000 Pennsylvania votes for Mr. Biden to retake the state. The office of Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, has said that there is no evidence to support claims from Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the election in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania was fraudulent.- Advertisement – Last week, the Democratic challenger Mark Kelly defeated the state’s Republican senator, Martha McSally, in a special election, making Mr. Kelly and Senator Kyrsten Sinema the first pair of Democrats to represent Arizona in the Senate since the 1950s.- Advertisement – The Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Arizona, alleging that poll workers in the state’s largest county, Maricopa, improperly pressured voters to enter their vote in a way that would incorrectly reject votes. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has narrowly won Arizona, capturing the state’s 11 electoral votes and strengthening his Electoral College margin as President Trump continues to make baseless attacks on the vote counts favoring Mr. Biden.Mr. Biden, who won the state by about 11,000 votes, or 0.3 percentage points, is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since President Bill Clinton in 1996. Four years ago, Mr. Trump won the state by 3.5 percentage points.- Advertisement – That Arizona — the home of the late Senator John McCain and Senator Barry Goldwater, a founder of the 20th century conservative political movement and the 1964 Republican presidential nominee — was in play for Democrats at all is remarkable. Before the state voted for Mr. Clinton, the last Democrat Arizona had supported for president was Harry S. Truman in 1948.Mr. Biden’s win underscored a profound political shift in Arizona, a longtime Republican bastion that has lurched left in recent years, fueled by rapidly evolving demographics and a growing contingent of young Hispanic voters championing liberal policies. On Wednesday, Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, a Republican, told Fox News that state officials had received about 1,000 complaints about the election but had found “no evidence” of widespread voter fraud.“If indeed there was some great conspiracy, it apparently didn’t work,” he said.last_img read more

Continue Reading

UK roundup: 300 Club, FTSE 350 contributions, accounting standards, PPF

first_imgSally Bridgeland, former chief executive of BP Pension Trustees, has become the 14th member of the 300 Club of top investment professionals from different countries – the first woman to do so.The 300 Club, set up nearly three years ago, aims to raise awareness about the potential impact of current market thinking and behaviours.Bridgeland said: “The demands of maturing pensions funds will change considerably over the next decade, and individual savers need an investment environment they can trust for the longer term.” The 300 Club was right to challenge current thinking, she said.  “I hope to contribute to the debate they have started,” she added. Bridgeland was chief executive of BP Pension Trustees for seven years until she left the £19bn (€23.8bn) UK corporate pension fund at the beginning of April.She recently took on the role of senior adviser to governance consultancy Avida International. Bridgeland is the founder of the charity Executive Shift and a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, as well as a member of the FTSE Policy Group. Before joining BP Pension Trustees, she worked at consultancy Aon Hewitt for 20 years.The 300 Club is chaired by Lars Dijkstra, CIO at Kempen Capital Management.The club’s name refers to the legendary 300 Spartans who held off the far larger Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, and is meant to symbolise a small group achieving something against the odds.Meanwhile, new research shows that, even though pension deficit contributions made by the firms in the FTSE 350 are at their lowest for five years, they still amount to nearly 40% of their Total pensions bill.The research done by consultancy Barnett Waddingham showed that the total IAS19 deficit reported by FTSE 350 companies in 2013 was £55.6bn, down £7.6bn from the aggregate shortfall from the year before.Deficit contributions paid last year were £8.5bn, down more than 20% from 2012.Nick Griggs, head of corporate consulting at Barnett Waddingham, said: “The fact 37p of every pound spent by companies on pensions is paid towards clearing pension deficits is striking and illustrates just how much companies are still having to pay to reduce funding shortfalls.”However, Griggs said the overall picture for defined benefit funding in 2013 had improved somewhat, with deficit contributions apparently putting less of a strain on company finances.“With TPR’s (the Pensions Regulator) new funding code of practice promising to be less restrictive on corporates going forward, directors should be optimistic about the future,” he said.The study showed the effects of auto-enrolment coming through for the 350 largest listed UK companies, with defined contribution costs increasing by an average of 16% compared with 2012.In other news, Aon Hewitt said changes that have been proposed to pensions accounting standards could take more than £25bn from the balance sheets of companies in the FTSE 350, and £1bn from their annual profits.As things stand, about 25% of the top 350 listed UK companies have an accounting surplus relating to their pension scheme, which is recognised on their balance sheet.Proposed changes to the IFRIC14 guidance, which supports international accounting standard IAS19, mean surpluses will no longer be recognised unless there is a realistic expectation the company will eventually be able to access it.Simon Robinson, principal consultant at Aon Hewitt, said: “We expect most companies with schemes that already have a surplus will not be able to recognise it under the new proposal – which would reduce the balance sheets of the FTSE 350 by £8bn.”But the proposal also affects companies making ongoing deficit contributions that are expected to have an accounting surplus in future, he said. “These contributions,” he added, “would now need to be recognised as liabilities on corporate balance sheets, which would amount to a further £20bn hit for FTSE 350 companies.”Finally, funding among UK defined benefit (DB) schemes has fallen by 1 percentage point over the last month, according to the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) 7800 Index.According to the index, funding fell to 90.5% at the end of July, with the aggregate deficit increasing by £23.7bn to £122.7bn over the same period.“The position has worsened from the previous year, when a deficit of £88.3bn was recorded at the end of July 2013,” the PPF added.The funding decline was despite assets increasing by 0.5% in value month-on-month and an overall increase of 4.2% in asset value since July last year.However, this contrasted with a 6.7% increase in liabilities, from £1.21trn to £1.29trn at the end of last month.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Caribbean requests more support to face natural disasters and crises

first_img Tweet Share Sharing is caring! NewsRegional Caribbean requests more support to face natural disasters and crises by: – March 21, 2012 Sharecenter_img 12 Views   no discussions Share Photo credit: smartcampaign.orgMONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Representatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries have raised the need to arm the Inter-American Development Bank with flexible financial instruments to help them hedge against natural disasters and possible economic downturns.The calls were issued on Monday during the annual meeting of the IDB Board of Governors. Composed of representatives from 48 member countries, the Board is the Bank’s top policymaking body. Governors are finance ministers, central bankers and other government authorities.Uruguayan Finance Minister Fernando Lorenzo, who was elected chairman of the board of governors, said that the recent capital increase has put the IDB in a better position to support its 26 borrowing member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.However, Lorenzo added, the region’s governments also need hedging instruments such as contingent credit lines in anticipation of emergencies such as those triggered by natural disasters or contagion from international financial crises.“The region’s countries today need a stronger IDB, more active and creative in developing new tools,” said Lorenzo, who emphasized that Latin America and the Caribbean still faces great challenges in reducing inequality, a vulnerability of their countries.“In the past insufficient funding was the main cause of dysfunction in national policies and (…) in instances when it was necessary to carry out painful, excruciating adjustments, with extremely negative social consequences for region,” he said. “Therefore, the IDB and other regional institutions do well in offering us more and better tools to address such contingencies.”IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno thanked the board of governors for its vote of confidence in completing the recent capital increase — the largest in its history — which raised the authorized capital to $171 billion.“I take this opportunity to thank you for your acknowledgement of the work done by the Bank to meet all mandates of the 9th general capital Increase,” said Moreno, who highlighted the significant progress made in areas such as development effectiveness, transparency and accountability, risk management and financial management.“However, building a more solid and effective institution is an ongoing process of strengthening and learning. The Bank will continue working to ensure that the goals of this agenda are achieved, “said Moreno.Regarding the prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean, Moreno noted its economies’ good performance, with they have sustained despite the uncertain global context. The region today is recognized for its dynamism and its opportunities, he said. Over the past decade, more than 50 million people were lifted out of poverty and the middle class expanded substantially.However, those achievements could be threatened by crises sparked in other parts of the world. On the eve of the annual meeting, the IDB issued a report on the potential impact on Latin America and the Caribbean of risks such as a deepening of the European debt crisis or a sharp slowdown in China’s economy. A recovery is underway in the United States, but unemployment, the fiscal deficit and public debt remain at high levels.The report, “A World of Forking Paths”, stated that while a majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries remain relatively resistant to a global economic slowdown, they now have less room for fiscal stimulus measures to cushion the impact of a crisis.To meet its borrowing countries’ requirements, Moreno said the IDB will explore the creation of new flexible and temporary financial instruments that could help governments at times when they have to deploy countercyclical policies. Such mechanisms could be particularly helpful for small and vulnerable economies in the region.The Montevideo meeting also provided a framework for analyzing the participation of Latin American and Caribbean countries in other major international forums scheduled to be held in the region in June, such as the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, and the G20 Leaders Summit in Los Cabos, which will be chaired by Mexico.Haiti, initiatives and agreementsRatifying the IDB’s commitment to Haiti’s reconstruction, the board of governors approved a $200 million transfer to a fund that provides grants to the Caribbean nation. Since the 2010 earthquake, the IDB has approved more than $442 million for infrastructure, energy, agriculture, water and sanitation, education and private sector development projects in Haiti.The IDB also presented an initiative on citizen security, one of the biggest concerns of in the region, which has the highest murder rate in the world. In order to assist its borrowing member countries, the Bank will establish a technical assistance focused on sharing the lessons learned from successful experiences in crime and violence prevention.In terms of accountability and focus on results, IDB executive vice president Julie Katzman presented MapAmericas. This innovative digital mapping platform will provide information on projects funded by the Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean. The platform will also serve as a tool to facilitate collaboration between the IDB and executing agencies in borrowing countries.As part of its work with civil society, the IDB held a meeting with 250 representatives from more than 100 non-governmental organizations to discuss how they can collaborate more effectively with the Bank and governments to promote sustainable development in the region. This work will be carried out by the civil society councils the IDB has established in each of its 26 borrowing countries.Private sector development is a priority in the IDB’s agenda. During the annual meeting it organized seminars on promoting small and medium-size enterprises, public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects and basic services, as well as on the development of logistics infrastructure and services to boost competitiveness.Cooperation with Asia, a region with growing ties to Latin America and the Caribbean, is another area of work for the IDB. During the annual meeting, the Bank presented details of a $1 billion investment platform in partnership with China Eximbank to finance private sector projects in this region.The IDB also signed an agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to fund up to $600 million in renewable energy projects in Central America and the Caribbean and another agreement with Korea for the creation of a $40 million trust fund for public sector modernization. The IDB also announced it is preparing a study with the Asian Development Bank on how to deepen economic ties, trade and technical cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia, the most dynamic regions of the world.The IDB also organized youth-focused activities in Montevideo, featuring discussions on promoting youth development through sport, culture and technology; more effective job training programs; and problems facing secondary education in the region to prepare young people to join the labor market. This last topic was analyzed in depth in a recent Bank report, “Disconnected: Skills, Education and Employment in Latin America.”The IDB and the Uruguayan Central Bank (BCU) paid tribute to Enrique Iglesias, the BCU’s first president and third president of the IDB, between 1988 and 2005.The IDB’s next annual meeting will be held in March 2013 in Panama City, by invitation of the Panamanian government.Caribbean News Nowlast_img read more

Continue Reading

WPB Woman Finds Python in her Washing Machine

first_imgA West Palm Beach woman says she “screamed out loud” when she found a hissing python in her washing machine.Emily snakeEmily Visnic, of West Palm Beach, says she was pulling clothes out of her washer when she found snake skin and then felt something move. It’s believed the snake was a pet that got into the vents of the apartment building and it was determined that it had been living in the appliance for a while.A maintenance worker at the apartment complex came and took the snake away.The python in the washing machine is believed to be an isolated incident and not related to the 100-thousand pythons slithering around the Florida Everglades.last_img read more

Continue Reading