UK government schemes abandon merger after last-minute U-turn

first_imgIn May, the government, also trying to cut costs, published a consultation on the creation of two collective investment vehicles for the 89 LGPS funds in England and Wales, ending speculation over scheme mergers.The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is considering responses over whether to mandate LGPS funds into investing all listed assets passively.OCC and BCC said it was this consultation that compelled them to end negotiations with RBWM, as any potential shift in government policy would affect the cost/benefits previously identified.RMBM said the Berkshire Pension Fund met on 3 December and approved collaboration with the two funds, expecting their Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire counterparts to do likewise.However, a spokesman for OCC said: “Following the presentation of a report on the potential savings, Oxfordshire’s pensions committee deferred any decisions on collaboration.“The council is awaiting an expected announcement by central government on whether it will in future require LGPS funds to use passive investment for all listed shares, as this will significantly impact the financial business case for future collaboration.”The pension fund’s committee did suggest it would explore options for collaborations with “more suitable” funds.According to Nick Greenwood, manager of the Berkshire Pension Fund, the Buckinghamshire committee also said it was not prepared to make a formal move until the DCLG decision.Greenwood said the BCC committee was uncomfortable with the differences between its own and the Berkshire Pension Fund’s investment strategies, and that the committee wanted to investigate the benefits of leaving RBWM out of the arrangement.The note from Greenwood added that both BCC and OCC announced they were approaching the government, alongside Northamptonshire Country Council, seeking permission to create a three-county authority, which could potentially include pensions in the long term.“No mention of these discussions was made at our 17 November meeting with the two councils,” Greenwood said.“Consequently, it is clear both councils have no intention to collaborate with RBWM on managing pension funds.”The DCLG consultation response was expected to be published in 2014.However, it is now expected to be published in early 2015.Aside from mandating all 89 funds to invest listed assets and alternatives through collective investment vehicles, the government will also consider a ‘comply-or-explain’ approach. Three English county pension funds looking to collaborate over investments and administration have called off their plans due to the government consultation on changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) had been in discussions since 2013, in a bid to increase efficiencies and cut costs.RBWM sponsors the £1.6bn (€2.1bn) Berkshire Pension Fund, with the other pension funds holding £1.8bn and £1.5bn in assets, respectively.However, discussions between the three neighbouring funds were abandoned as the central government debates the future of LGPS investmentslast_img read more

Triangle’s Cliff Head well goes offline after pump issue

first_imgAustralia-based oil producer Triangle Energy has experienced a technical issue with one of the wells at its Cliff Head oil field located offshore Australia, which has caused the well to stop producing. The Cliff Head oil field is located in the Perth Basin about 270 kilometers north of Perth and 12 kilometers off the coast of Dongara in Western Australia, at a water depth of 15-20 meters.The field is produced via an offshore platform connected to the onshore Arrowsmith Stabilisation Plant by twin 14km production and injection pipelines. Crude oil is trucked to BP at its Kwinana refinery south of Perth.Triangle Energy is the operator and majority owner of the field with a 78.75% interest, with Royal Energy holding an interest of 21.25%.Triangle informed on Wednesday that a technical issue has occurred during steady state production operations which has caused production well CH13 to stop producing. It has been confirmed, by both company and service personnel, that the issue is associated with the downhole electric submersible pump, Triangle added.Whilst CH13 remains offline the company anticipates production to stablize at approximately 750 bopd from the other four producing wells.Triangle experienced a similar issue with the downhole electric submersible pump on another well last year. Namely, a technical issue with the pump caused well CH12H to stop producing back in May 2018. The production from the well was not restored until October last year.In addition, in July 2018, Triangle’s Cliff Head was hit by severe weather and sea conditions resulting in a loss of produced fluid and the interruption to production. The incident was classified as a low-level oil spill, in the range of zero to 10,000 liters.last_img read more

Trespassing complaint, standoff results in three arrests

first_imgCross Plains, Ind. — Three people were arrested for theft and weapons charges after a trespassing complaint in Ripley CountyThe incident began Wednesday at 10:54 a.m. when Christian Stewart, 21, of Madison, went to a residence in Cross Plains to get help because his vehicle was stuck. The residents called police when they suspected Stewart was impaired and noticed he was carrying a loaded handgun.Officers responded to the scene of the stuck vehicle and discovered it was gone. During their investigation police determined two accomplices stole a tractor and other items from a nearby garage while Stewart was asking for help. The two accomplices, Kelsey Luellen, 22, of Madison, and Cameron Stewart, 19, of Commiskey, used the tractor to free their vehicle and attempt to flee.During the investigation police learned Cameron Stewart was armed and reportedly inside an abandoned residence. When police responded to that location Stewart barricaded himself inside. After a two-hour standoff with police Stewart attempted to flee. He was quickly captured by a canine officer.Ripley County deputies along with Indiana State Police troopers made the three arrests without incident.last_img read more

U.S. 52 to reopen between New Trenton and Cedar Grove by end of October

first_imgBrookville, IN—The section of U.S. 52 between New Trenton and Cedar Grove in Franklin County will reopen by the end of October, following completion of the upper portion of a slide repair project that began in early June. INDOT crews will repave the area, install guardrail and apply pavement markings before the road is opened to traffic.The road was originally scheduled to reopen as one lane with a temporary signal by the end of September, but due to safety concerns and the project schedule, it was decided to reopen the road as two lanes without a signal after crews are able to move to the lower section of the repair.Intermittent closures will be necessary for material delivery, loading and unloading until the project is completed in mid-December. Flaggers will be utilized to close the roadway to traffic for up to 20 minutes at a time. Dates and times for the closures will be communicated as much in advance as possible via message boards and communications from INDOT.The official detour for the closure remains S.R. 46 to S.R. 1 north of Cedar Grove until the road reopens. An official date will be announced prior to the roadway opening to traffic in October.last_img read more

Summer of struggle for Pardew

first_img He could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself, but the former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss is hoping there are brighter days ahead. Asked how he maintains his own spirits, he replied with a smile: “I try to get some sleep when I can. “But the spirits are always lifted by the fans. To walk out at Morecambe and let’s be honest, half of it was Newcastle United fans coming to watch it, and if that can’t energise you, nothing will.” Pardew hopes to be able to unleash his one summer acquisition to date, Loic Remy, at some point on Saturday with the Frenchman having now trained with his new team-mates after shaking off the calf injury he was suffering with when he arrived from QPR on a season-long loan deal. Fulham were the last side to lose at St James’ Park in April with Papiss Cisse’s last-gasp winner, which prompted Pardew to leap into the embraces of delighted fans in the stands, proving crucial in their ultimately successful fight for survival. The Senegal international has not scored a league goal since and improving the supply lines to him is a priority. Pardew said: “Looking at the team, I am really looking to try to help Papiss a little bit more in terms of his service, and it’s something we will be working on.” The 52-year-old has had to contend with the controversial appointment of director of football Joe Kinnear, continued speculation over the future of French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, a frustrating lack of signings to date and a distinctly ordinary opening to the new campaign on the pitch. That combination of factors would have been difficult enough to deal with had Pardew not ended last season fighting for his job with both owner Mike Ashley and the club’s fans less than impressed with a 16th-placed Barclays Premier League finish. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits another turbulent transfer window and a tough start to the season have taken their toll on him. While he insists the events of the last few weeks have not really come as a surprise to him, he is hoping his fortunes will take a significant turn for the better as he prepares for Fulham’s visit to St James’ Park on Saturday and Monday’s transfer deadline. Pardew said: “If I had been asked during the summer what would pre-season be like, I would have suggested not too dissimilar to how it’s been. “We had a tough start in terms of Manchester City away with a new manager, and also you could almost sense that one or two of our players would be involved in this window, so I kind of sensed it was coming. “But that doesn’t mean to say it hasn’t been difficult, because it has. “It has been a very difficult period and if we can get a win on Saturday and get through to Monday with one or two additions, I will be very, very pleased.” A crushing 4-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium was followed by a dispiriting 0-0 home draw with West Ham, and Wednesday night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at League Two Morecambe came courtesy largely of Pardew’s understudies and was less convincing than the scoreline suggests. But the uncertainty of Cabaye’s future – the France international has been told he is expected to be available for selection against Fulham after sitting out the opening three games – has proved draining with Arsenal’s second bid having been firmly rejected, but the Magpies are awaiting a response with time running down. Pardew could yet lose arguably his most influential performer to the Gunners and face the task of replacing him in what remains of the summer window, while his hopes of landing two more “flair” players lie in Kinnear’s hands. Press Associationlast_img read more

Johnson: Suarez lives on the edge

first_img Suarez has never been too far from controversy throughout his career – Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers often refers to the 26-year-old playing “on the edge” – but Johnson believes that fighting spirit is what makes Suarez so effective. “I’ve not known anyone like him in terms of living on the edge and wanting to win so badly,” Johnson told Press Association Sport. “There is a fine line and that is probably why some people get frustrated when things aren’t going their way – sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not such a good thing.” Suarez’s controversial past makes him an easy target for opposition fans, but this season has seen the striker improve his focus and control his aggression – one booking in 11 appearances so far is testament to that. He may never win over his harshest critics but some of the goals he has scored – including some supreme strikes in his four-goal haul against Norwich last week – can at least be appreciated by the wider public. “Obviously he had a few little mistakes – outbursts – on the pitch but nine times out of 10 he is perfectly normal and that is what we are seeing now,” added Johnson. “Providing things don’t stir up again you are seeing what we see every day now.” Johnson said Suarez’s value to Liverpool could not be measured in purely financial terms and in that respect was echoing the sentiments of owner John Henry, who stressed in August there was no possible way he could countenance selling to one of the club’s main rivals amid interest from Arsenal. Liverpool defender Glen Johnson admits he has never encountered anyone in football with a will to win like Luis Suarez. “Usually some owners will say that to push the price up but John Henry said that and stuck by his guns,” said the England defender. “I think that was great and if we want to get the club back to where it belongs we need all our best players. “He is clearly a massive player for us and some of the goals he has scored have been laughable.” With Daniel Sturridge, who has nine league goals, and skipper Steven Gerrard both injured for the trip to Tottenham, Liverpool suddenly look over-reliant on the scoring threat of Suarez. Their next highest scorer – discounting three own goals – has just one. Johnson is confident, however, that the rest of the squad can step up in the absence of Sturridge and Gerrard. “We’ve not dropped outside the top four once and Luis didn’t play for the first five weeks,” he said. “That is another sign that the squad is brilliant. We need Luis to play and continue this form but we have a good squad, it is not just all about Luis. “Clearly we want to be getting goals from set-pieces, goals from midfielders, everyone chipping in, you can’t just lean on one person.” The clash at White Hart Lane is billed as one between top-four rivals but not necessarily title contenders. However, Johnson believes the Reds, who began the weekend in second place, five points behind Arsenal, should have higher aspirations. “Both clubs are fighting to be in the top four. It doesn’t mean we are happy to stay fourth – top four is the minimum,” he said. “People are entitled to think what they like about what teams will do well but I’ve always been confident because we have some great players here and a good squad. “Last season we were only a bit of luck away from doing what we are doing this season in terms of we absolutely battered teams and ended up drawing 0-0 too many times. “At the moment the goals are going in so we are getting the points. “I guess people are saying we’re not title contenders because we haven’t been that for the last couple of seasons. “But we have a different team and squad and we are clearly fighting for the title. “If that happens every week then we will be proving a lot of people wrong.” Press Association The Reds striker has scored 15 times this season in a series of stellar displays and leads Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero by three goals in the race to be the Barclays Premier League’s top scorer. The Uruguay international’s goals have come from just 10 appearances, after his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season was carried over into the start of this campaign. last_img read more

ITF Tournament: Safwat Takes on Antal for Tombim Finals

first_imgThe two players will enter into today’s finals with 27 points added to their ITF ranking. But the winner will however get seven points more for winning the first leg.Safwat had come to the Abuja tournament for the first time after winning 42 Futures tournament in Egypt out of the 52 he played. The Abuja performance will help improve his ranking.The second leg of the Tombim /ITF Futures Tournament starts on Monday after Sunday break with all the players battling for the points needed to break into the Challenger series.Only Moses Michael  got to the Quater finals before losing out to David Perez, out of  the four Nigerian players including Imeh Joseph, Sylvester Emmanuel and Thomas Otu, were dumped after picking the wild cards for the tournament.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Africa’s leading tennis player Mohammed Safwat of Egypt,  took  two hours yesterday to despatch Nicholas Meister of the United States 6- 4, 6-4  to reach the Tombim Futures Tennis Tournament in Abuja. Playing at the centre courts of the of the Abuja Tennis Club, Safwat ranked 276 and seeded number two for the Tombim/ITF tournament showed enough experience  as he combined his baseline play to outwit the rugged American ranked 360 and seeded number four for the Tombim.Safwat will now meet Antal van Der Duim of the Netherlands who also outplayed David Perez Sans of Spain 7-6, 6-3 in another thrilling encounter also decided at the Centre courts of the National Stadium Tennis Courts.Many had given Perez the number one seed and ITF ranked 259 player the game against VanDer Duim ranked 355 by the ITF , even before the first service, but Van Der Duim showed enough strength to take the first set which went into tie break at 7-6. He finally dumped Perez 6-3  to book a place for today’s first leg finals which comes up at the same venue by 3;pmlast_img read more

USC increases tuition for Fall 2016 semester

first_imgUPDATE:In a statement, Provost Michael Quick said that tuition increases, using 5-year averages, are at the lowest in 50 years.“The University has made great strides in limiting the tuition increases to maintain affordability, while increasing services to students,” Quick said.Quick said that the actual cost of attendance is lower than the stated cost of attendance for most students due to USC’s financial aid programs and that USC graduates have lower average debt and loan default rates compared to graduates of other private universities. He also said that the University absorbs some costs that are not reflected in tuition payments.“We estimate our tuition rate only covers 2/3 of the actual cost of education,” Quick said. “The university covers the balance, because that is part of the commitment we make to our students.”This post was updated at 10:32 a.m. on March 3rd. Tuition will increase by $1,978 for the 2016-2017 school year, according to the website of USC’s Financial Aid Office.A screenshot of the website showing the changes went viral on social media Tuesday night.The administration did not release a corresponding statement alongside the increase. Instead, the estimated cost of attendance was updated on the financial aid website, sometime after Sunday night. The Office of Financial Aid did not immediately respond to requests for comment.The total estimated cost increased from $67,212 for the current academic year to $69,711 for the 2016-2017 year.The largest source of the estimated $2,500 hike can be attributed to a 4 percent increase in tuition fees. The second greatest source of increase from room and board costs, which are calculated from the average living costs of students living in on-campus freshman housing and includes a standard meal plan.There was also an estimated $300 decrease in the cost of books and supplies, and a $300 increase in personal and miscellaneous costs. The only fee to stay constant is the transportation fee, which has stayed at $580. None of these changes have been explained yet.The USC board of trustees meet annually to set tuition fees. No students are included on the board.In 2015, a resolution calling for a tuition freeze was authored by current Undergraduate Student Government President Rini Sampath, Assistant Director of the Academic Culture Assembly Luis Vidalon-Suzuki and USG marketing assistant director and Senator-elect Paul Samaha. Despite the resolution passing in the USG senate in November of last year, the College Affordability and Financial Transparency Resolution has not been implemented by the administration.Holly Huber, a sophomore studying biomedical engineering, commented on the tuition hikes and mentioned the resolution that passed was passed by the Senate.“I think it’s outrageous that the university isn’t listening to the student voice,” Huber said. “Their first priority should be the students; obviously USG had a huge movement to pass a resolution to stop the tuition hike, and [the administration] just did not listen.” Huber said.Overall, Huber expressed confusion at the lack of transparency between the administration and the student body.“I don’t understand what their priority is, if not the student voice,” Huber said.last_img read more

Korger: Assessing the best fits for the Big Ten

first_imgWhen I wrote my open letter on conference expansion last week, I had no idea how widespread of a response I would receive. There were both positive and negative views on my assessment. My favorite comment in particular was, “It looks like a five-year-old wrote this.”But let’s pick up where we left off last week. Iowa State made me look smart with an upset over Iowa. I received a large number of suggestions on what schools the conference should look at adding.So step on up, Big Ten, and meet your list of eligible schools!Let’s see who’s behind door number one!It’s NOTRE DAME!Here are the positives about Notre Dame. It is an outstanding academic school (the No. 19th university in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report) and has the treasured history of athletic success in college football. The basketball isn’t too shabby, eitherSo why did I snub Notre Dame a mention on my expansion list of schools? Simple. Notre Dame is a GDI in football – a Gosh Darn Independent. Notre Dame needs no conference to ensure its revenue falls in line with athletics in the contemporary college athletics landscape.With its current deal with the BCS, Notre Dame basically needs to finish in the top eight of the rankings to be ensured a BCS berth. Notre Dame also receives a handsome sum of money if it qualifies for BCS games, and even in the years it does not qualify for the BCS bowls. Add that to a TV contract extension with NBC through 2015, and the Irish have it made.But there are some reasons for hoping the Irish will fall into the arms of the Big Ten. With Notre Dame falling further in recent years from the football success it was so accustomed to, the television ratings have been falling and so, most likely, is its revenue. With the Big Ten Network helping to distribute millions of dollars to even the lowliest conference programs, Notre Dame could eventually see the light that a conference offers constant monetary stability in television markets. How many more losing seasons of Irish football will NBC tolerate before the contract is cut short?The system as it remains with the BCS is too lucrative for Notre Dame to drop its independent status for a run at conference placement. The only way I see Notre Dame entering the Big Ten or another conference is if the BCS format is changed after the conference realignment cools off.With more teams in fewer divisions, the BCS will have to change its automatic bid format to remain relevant. What some have advocated is the possibility that the new superconferences will receive two automatic bids to the BCS games. I could see Notre Dame in the Big Ten, but it’s a remote possibility with the way its deals with the BCS and NBC are set up.Who’s behind door number two?It’s the Pittsburgh Panthers!Positives: Pitt has great athletic programs and a great academic record – ranked no. 58 of national universities. Already geographically close enough to existing Big Ten school Penn State, the Panthers would most likely make a seamless addition to the conference.Negatives: They already lie in a state that is tapped out for the most part by the Big Ten – and Penn State. If Big Ten expansion is truly motivated by the search for new markets, Pittsburgh and other in-state schools (like Iowa State) that lie in the same area as an existing school would most likely be excluded. If the conference wants a new market, Pittsburgh is not the place to go.Who’s behind door number three?The Maryland Terrapins!Crab cakes and football! That’s what Maryland does! This is an entirely new market for the Big Ten. The Eastern Seaboard is obviously a lucrative pull for conference infiltration in the television market, considering the conference’s major hold lies exclusively in the Midwest. If the conference wants to expand its recruiting power nationally, the addition of Maryland or some other team in the east would make sense.It may be hard to pull away Maryland from the ACC when the current conference situation seems to be relatively solid. However, if Florida State leaves for the SEC, the conference may begin to dissolve in a ripple effect, much like we’ve seen in the Big 12.People have discussed a new market team like Texas as an expansion team, as well. Longhorn Network, anyone? I doubt that the Big Ten can lure Texas from a venture into independent status. Texas to the Big Ten would potentially make the conference better then the SEC, but the big lure of a lucrative deal with the BCS like Notre Dame currently has will most likely be too alluring for Texas to even investigate a membership in the Big Ten.That just leaves us with one last team to investigate, a team whose football team has remained undefeated since 1960. Who’s the last school behind … door number four?!It’ssssssss MARQUETTE!Yes, everyone’s wildest dreams in the state of Wisconsin would come true if the Golden Eagles would stumble their way into a helmet and shoulder pads. An in-state rivalry is something we have lacked for decades. While Marquette had to terminate the program after years of budget deficits, the popularity and the money football generates today should make Marquette seriously look at reviving football once again.Which programs do you think would be a good fit for the Big Ten? Let Nick know at and be sure to follow @BHeraldSports on Twitter for all the latest Badgers news.last_img read more