“TPR threatened on seven occasions to use a power to enforce pension contributions on the sponsor that it has never used,” the politicians wrote. “These were empty threats; the Carillion directors knew it and got their way.”The MPs noted that TPR had pledged to be “quicker, bolder and more proactive” but said they were “far from convinced” that its current leadership was equipped to effect that change.It was the government’s responsibility to ensure this cultural change happened at both TPR and FRC, according to the politicians. Without this, any steps the regulators took or new powers they were given would have little impact, the committees said.Their report indicated that the Work and Pensions Committee would “further consider TPR” in its inquiry into the government’s white paper on defined benefit (DB) pensions policy.TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb said the balance of priorities between members and employers in the past “was not always right”. The politicians’ report underlined the significant changes already made at the regulator, but there was more work to do, she said. The UK pension regulator needs to undergo “substantial cultural change” in addition to being equipped with new powers to avoid another corporate collapse like that of contracting firm Carillion, according to an influential group of politicians.In a damning report on their inquiry into Carillion’s collapse, the pensions and business select committees said the company’s board was “both responsible and culpable” for the company’s failure.However, they also found fault with many other actors, including the regulators. One of the most concrete recommendations was reserved for the auditing profession, with the politicians calling for the UK’s big four accountancy firms to be referred for a competition investigation. The committees said they had “no confidence” in the supervisors, and accused the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of being “united in their feebleness and timidity”. Robin Ellison appearing before MPs in January30 January: Trustee chair Robin Ellison is quizzed by politicians but rejects claims that his board let the company wriggle out of contributions30 January: FRC chief executive Stephen Haddrill is also questioned by politicians over the quality of accounting standards20 February: Committee chairman Frank Field accuses Carillion executives of being “contemptuous of their pension obligations” as a series of documents relating to the pension schemes and going back more than a decade are published22 February: TPR’s Nicola Parish says the supervisor is pursuing all avenues to reclaim money for the Carillion pension schemes, including action against individual directors7 March: Asset managers Aberdeen Standard Investments and BlackRock promise to improve their stewardship rules 19 March: The UK government’s proposals for DB reform include criminal sanctions against company directors who fail to fund their schemes A tougher regulator“We are now a very different organisation,” she added. “We are clearer about what we expect, quicker to intervene and tougher on those who do not act in the interest of members.“We have reinforced our regulatory teams on the frontline and are embedding a new regulatory culture. We sought stronger and clearer powers on scheme funding from DWP and we are working with the government on how to implement the changes in the white paper, alongside our wider changes to how we regulate.”TPR plans to increase its staff by 12% this year and to become “a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator”, it unveiled in its recently published corporate plan for the 2018-21 period.Patrick Bloomfield, partner at Hymans Robertson, called for the government to review TPR’s “irreconcilable objectives to promote sustainable economic growth and protect pension schemes and the PPF”.“Carillion’s legacy will be to toughen TPR,” Bloomfield added. “Corporate failure has always been the catalyst for pension legislation… It is not the pensions industry’s place to be apologists for its regulators. The sad reality is that thousands of examples of good practice are undermined by a few spectacular failures. The consolation is that we can use these failures to raise the bar.”Martin Hunter, principal at consultancy group Xafinity Punter Southall, said much of the activity reviewed in the select committees’ report was from a few years ago, in particular the time of the 2008 and 2011 scheme valuations. He said the regulator would argue that its culture and approach had changed and would do so even more subsequent to the DB white paper.In the white paper in March the government proposed new powers for TPR, including an expanded remit to fine directors and companies to tackle irresponsible activities that might hurt pension schemes, and a tightening of the rules around mergers and acquisitions.Carillion’s downfall: a timelineCarillion was forced into liquidation in January with a number of pension schemes it sponsored entering the assessment period for entry into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The combined pension deficit was £804m (€911.6m) according to the company’s last annual report.The regulator had “failed in all its objectives regarding the Carillion pension scheme”, according to the committees. They said the schemes might have ended up in the PPF regardless of TPR, given the company’s poor management, “but the regulator should not be spared blame for allowing years of underfunding by the company”.15 January: Carillion declared bankrupt; pension schemes enter PPF assessment
GARDAI have now ruled out foul play after a man was shot dead in Ballybofey.The development came after an autopsy on Saturday.The scene of the shooting had been preserved and Garda crimes of scene officers had been carrying out tests at the house at Curraghmone. A legally-held shotgun was found at the scene, however Gardai were initially suspicious after a number of footprints were found in the house. GARDAI RULE OUT FOUL PLAY IN BALLYBOFEY SHOOTING was last modified: January 6th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GARDAI RULE OUT FOUL PLAY IN BALLYBOFEY SHOOTING
Coos Bay >> Kellen O’Neill has set the bar early. Now let’s see if anyone can reach it.The Arcata High School cross-country athlete and top-ranked North Coast Section distance runner ran a near personal-record time of 15:54.7 to win the prestigious Prefontaine 5K Memorial Run by a wide margin in Coos Bay, Oregon on Saturday.“This race, I really strategized for it,” said O’Neill, who got the itch to compete in cross-country meets running with friends in the eighth grade. “I looked at all the …
14 April 2003Jean MiddletonIn 1964, three weeks after Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment, security police swooped on activists across the country – among them Jean Middleton, a Johannesburg schoolteacher and a member of the banned Congress of Democrats, a home for white members of the Congress movement.As her flat was being searched for incriminating evidence, “it was Friday, my day for dyeing my eyebrow and eyelashes, so I got out the little bottles and brushes, and a hand mirror, and, for part of the time, occupied myself that way”.She had flushed a dangerous document down the toilet when she’d heard police pounding on her door, and they’d thrown her across the room in anger; but, she said, “I had been prepared to eat it, if need be. I knew that would be difficult because I’d eaten a piece of paper once before, to prevent its falling into the hands of the police. It had been quite a small piece of paper, but I’d found it hard to get down.”This wry, dry, engaging tone permeates “Convictions: A woman political prisoner remembers” (Ravan Press), Middleton’s memoirs of her activism, arrest, year in detention and three years in a string of prisons, including the notorious jail in Barberton.The experiences she outlines in this eminently readable book were the experiences of all, she writes – or, at any rate, all white, middle-class woman prisoners jailed for their political convictions.Banned on her release, she fled to England, where she became active in the Anti-Apartheid Movement and eventually went to work for Sechaba, the African National Congress’s journal. And in the end, she felt she’d done more for the struggle in exile than at home, where she returned in 1991.Get “Convictions” from: Kalahari.netExclusive BooksAmazon.com Prison DiaryDurban activist Fatima Meer kept a diary during her detention in 1976 in the Old Fort in Johannesburg, whose women’s prison is now being transformed into a gender commission headquarters.“Prison Diary” (Kwela), with daily entries, is more personal than political: the food, the bedding, the treatment by jailors, worries about her family’s safety, visits by her children, reading the Koran. Revelations of apartheid-era insanity abound, however.For example: “Friday, September 24, 1976: We have a new 90-day detainee. Her name is Edith. She is older than us, pushing 60, a slim, athletic, sensible woman, quite the most unlikely candidate for terrorism. She is in prison because she distributed leaflets . They found a copy of Alan Paton’s ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’ among her meagre possessions and took it with them as proof of her terrorist influences.”But, more typically: “Saturday, October 9, 1976: 6pm. It is raining cats and dogs. There is a great rolling of thunder and it is dark outside. The weather has changed so suddenly. A few hour ago it was hot and sunny and I was exercising and sketching . The girls sent bhajyas with Nana [Weinberg, a long-time friend]. They couldn’t ignore my ‘craving’ for bhajya, at least that’s what they thought it was . It was lovely having the girls around, but they must now concentrate on their exams.”The book includes three sketches Meer did at the time of the cells and her prison mates during her 113 days of detention. Meer was in prison at the same time as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a lifelong friend, who writes the foreward to the diaries.Get “Prison Diary” from: Exclusive BooksKalahari.netBarnes&Noble.com Voices from Robben Island“Voices from Robben Island”, compiled and photographed by Jurgen Schadeberg for Ravan Press, gives us photographs and recollections from a number of famous ex-political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, former Gauteng Premier Tokyo Sexwale, Govan Mbeki, the late father of the current president, and long-time struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu. There’s even a brief piece on a prison band called Roots and a moving pieces on the return to the Island by Walter and Albertina Sisulu, and Mandela.Get “Voices from Robben Island” from: Exclusive BooksKalahari.netAmazon.comBarnes&Noble.com Island in Chains“Island in Chains” by Indres Naidoo (Penguin Books) is a classic account of life on the Island by a man who spent a decade there as a political prisoner, sentenced for sabotage in 1963.Get “Island in Chains” from: Exclusive BooksAmazon.com Reflections in Prison“Reflections in Prison” (Zebra Press) is collection of biographical sketches and drawings of famous ex-Robben Island prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Mac Maharaj and Ahmed Kathrada, and essays by the men themselves.Get “Reflections in Prison” from: Exclusive BooksKalahari.netAmazon.comBarnes&Noble.com Fischer’s Choice“Fischer’s Choice: A life of Bram Fischer” by Martin Meredith (Jonathan Ball) is the latest biography of the highly principled Afrikaner advocate who built underground structures for the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party while defending resistance leaders in court.Fischer was jailed for life and died of cancer after prison officials delayed his medical treatment. An earlier biography of Fischer, by academic Steven Clingman (“Bram Fischer”, David Philip Publishers and University of Massachusetts Press) won a number of awards.Get “Fischer’s Choice” from: Kalahari.netExclusive Books Bandiet out of jailHugh Lewin’s “Bandiet” (bandit) was a classic during apartheid – the story of a white activist, a member of the largely forgotten African Resistence Movement, who spent seven years in Pretoria Central Prison. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
16 January 2007New analysis of a skull discovered in South Africa over 50 years ago has provided critical corroboration of genetic evidence indicating that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa and migrated to colonise Europe and Asia around 30 000 to 40 000 years ago.According to research findings published in the journal Science last week, the Hofmeyr skull – named after the Eastern Cape town where it was found in the mid-1950s – provides the first fossil evidence capable of settling one of paleo-anthropology’s most hotly contested debates.Missing evidenceA number of genetic studies of living people indicate that modern humans evolved in sub-Saharan Africa and then left to colonise Europe and Asia between 65 000 and 25 000 years ago.However, other genetic studies argue against this African origin and exodus model, suggesting that archaic non-African groups such as the Neandertals made significant contributions to the genomes of modern humans in Eurasia.“Until now, the lack of human fossils of appropriate antiquity from sub-Saharan Africa has meant that these competing genetic models of human evolution could not be tested by paleontological evidence,” the Max Planck Society states in a press release on the recent study.“The skull from Hofmeyr has changed that.”International collaborationAlthough the Hofmeyr skull was found over half a century ago, its significance became apparent only recently.Alan Morris of the University of Cape Town was a member of the international team of scientists, led by Frederick Grine of Stony Brook University in New York, who used new techniques to study the skull.According to the Cape Times, Morris, who first saw the skull in the Port Elizabeth Museum in the 1990s, showed it to Grine a couple of years ago.Using a method developed by Richard Bailey of Oxford University – involving measuring the amount of radiation absorbed by sand grains in the skull’s braincase – Grine’s team dated the skull to just over 36 000 years ago.This in itself was significant: the sub-Saharan Africa’s human fossil record from about 70 000 to 15 000 years ago was otherwise blank.Katerina Harvati of Germany’s Max Planck Institute then used three-dimensional measurements to compare the Hofmeyr skull with human skulls of the same age from Europe, as well as the skulls of living humans from Eurasia and sub-Saharan Africa, including the Khoisan.Distinct from the KhoisanTo the team’s surprise, they found that the Hofmeyr skull was “quite distinct from recent sub-Saharan Africans, including the Khoisan,” having instead “a very close affinity” with European skulls of similar age.“The surprising similarity between a fossil skull from the southernmost tip of Africa and similarly ancient skulls from Europe is in agreement with the genetics-based ‘out of Africa’ theory, which predicts that humans like those that inhabited Eurasia in the Upper Paleolithic should be found in sub-Saharan Africa around 36 000 years ago,” says the Max Planck society.“The skull from South Africa provides the first fossil evidence in support of this prediction.”“The skull is probably male and is completely modern,” Morris told the Cape Times. “If he sat down next to you on the Sea Point bus you would not react, apart from wondering where he came from.“He would not look like modern Africans or like modern Europeans, or like modern Khoisan people, but he is definitely a modern human being.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Liverpool boss Klopp: We’re now at same level as Man Cityby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes they’re now at the same level as Manchester City.Despite defeat at City last week, Klopp was delighted with what he saw.”From my point of view we were never on a level with City since I came in,” said the German.”We won games against them, especially since Pep, but in these games City were better.”We only scored more goals, but the possession was at least 60:40 for them in all the games but we won them. Now it was 50:50.”We had our moments (on Thursday) and caused them completely different problems to the games before.”Last year the Champions League (quarter-final) game at home when we won 3-0 it was a brilliant game but we were under pressure in a lot of moments.”I don’t know if we had more than four shots on target but we were quite clinical that day.”That’s how you have to play against City, in the moment when you get the ball you have to make the best of it.”This game was different and that is an important step for us. It is very important we see it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Story Highlights The three-day event is being held under the theme ‘Improving Sustainability through Resource Development’.Mrs. Williams said the use of social media as “business engagement” tools, and with a vast amount of people transacting business online, e-commerce is expected to become the largest retail channel in the world by 2021.“As much as you are able to incorporate technology in your business process, you will be amazed at the number of persons that you can reach with the use of social media platforms – a website, and even your own e-commerce platform,” she told the audience.The Minister argued that businesses, communication, and many aspects of everyday life will be revolutionised by technology, and the necessary steps must be taken to retool and prepare for the next “frontier of business”.Mrs. Williams said the Government fully recognises that digital data is a crucial source of innovation and value to businesses, and the Data Protection Bill that will soon be debated in the Parliament is a proactive action to manage the system.She encouraged the business operators to provide ongoing training of their managers and staff to navigate the web responsibly, and to equip their systems and networks with state-of-the-art protection mechanisms, to mitigate cyberattack as best as possible. The Minister said that with the World Economic Forum pointing to the technology revolution connecting billions of people via mobile devices with “unprecedented processing power,” this holds “tremendous growth opportunities” for the sector. She was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) 2019 Caribbean MSME Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on April 16. Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, is encouraging operators of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to utilise technology for efficiency and profit-making.She was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) 2019 Caribbean MSME Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on April 16.The Minister said that with the World Economic Forum pointing to the technology revolution connecting billions of people via mobile devices with “unprecedented processing power,” this holds “tremendous growth opportunities” for the sector.“It has become crucial that businesses, whether small or large, leverage technology as a means of increasing efficiency and productivity to drive growth,” the Minister said.Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams (left), in discussion with (from left) Executive Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Marlene Street-Forrest; Assistant General Manager/Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at the JN Group, Dr. Dana Dixon, and President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Hugh Johnson. Occasion was the opening ceremony for the SBAJ 2019 Caribbean MSME Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on April 16. Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, is encouraging operators of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to utilise technology for efficiency and profit-making.