CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — House Republicans are expected to vote in the coming days on whether to oust congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their third-ranking leadership post over her vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Back in Cheney’s GOP-dominated home state, momentum is growing for a statewide GOP censure and a 2022 primary opponent. Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, an ardent Trump ally from Florida, urged about 1,000 people Thursday at an anti-Cheney rally in Cheyenne to vote her out. Gaetz said, “Washington, D.C., mythologizes the establishment powerbrokers like Liz Cheney for climbing in a deeply corrupt game. But there are more of us than there are of them.”
Boston’s historic Colonial Theatre, a staple of the city’s theater district since 1900, will shut down for at least one year, the Boston Globe reports. Following an engagement by the national tour of The Book of Mormon this October, the theater, owned by Emerson College, will remain empty as the school weighs its options for the space. Though a spokesperson for the college has insisted that the stage will be preserved, whether it will continue to operate as a theater after the year is up is unclear.The Colonial Theatre is one of the oldest theaters in the city, and while it has primarily been used in recent years to house touring productions, the venue was once a prime house for Broadway-bound shows to test the waters before transferring to New York. Here are just a few musicals that got their start at the Colonial Theatre. A Little Night Music (1973)Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s romantic tuner played 23 performances at the Colonial before waltzing over to Broadway’s Shubert Theatre. Moments that didn’t make it to New York include “Silly People” for Frid and Carl-Magnus’ “Bang!,” which was later replaced with “In Praise of Women.” Petra’s big song, “The Miller’s Son,” was added midway through the Boston run, which caused the creative team to replace Garn Stephens with D. Jamin Bartlett, who they believed was better suited for the number. Carousel (1945)It’s only fitting that Carousel would play New England before Broadway. Where else would you have a really nice clambake? The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical first played New Haven, Connecticut before a three-week stint in Beantown in 1945. Out-of-town audiences were treated to an even lengthier Act II ballet (which had to be condensed to 40 minutes before being cut further). Before the celestial figure known as the Starkeeper was created, Hammerstein had a “Mr. and Mrs. God,” depicted as a New England minister and his wife, greet Billy Bigelow in the afterlife. They didn’t last for long. Seussical (2000)One of the more recent shows to work out its kinks at the Colonial Theatre was Seussical, the imaginative musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The tuner did not receive the glowing reviews it expected in Beantown, resulting in a series of tweaks and revisions (including a new director and costume designer) before transferring to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on the Great White Way. Despite lasting only six months on Broadway after its tumultuous journey, the musical has gone on to find success in local markets through national tours, regional and community stagings. View Comments Anything Goes (1935)Despite becoming the exemplary golden age Broadway musical, Anything Goes was a rush job. The original book by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton was scrapped, and Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse were brought on. They rewrote the show as the cast rehearsed it, and according to Brian Kellow in his Ethel Merman biography Ethel Merman: A Life, they had the scenic designer create ambiguous sets because they had no idea where their script would take them. Legend has it that Crouse stood in front of the Colonial on opening night, begging patrons not to go in to witness what had been hastily thrown together. Crowds went in anyway and loved it, and though times have changed, it’s still a hit. La Cage Aux Folles (1983)More than 20 years before Massachuetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriages, Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s musical about acceptance and being what you are premiered in Boston. Though the creators and producers initially feared that the city may have been to conservative to be receptive to a show about a gay couple—one a drag performer—that qualm was quickly subdued. Herman has stated that he realized the universality of the show in Boston, when he noticed a man and woman joining hands and comforting each other during the number “Song in the Sand.”
By JTF-Bravo Public Affairs / Edited by Diálogo Staff February 10, 2020 January 10 interview with U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Alexander Aguilastratt, Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) senior enlisted leaderHow would you describe the state of JTF-Bravo today?U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Alexander Aguilastratt, Joint Task Force Bravo: I would say, in one word: relevant. JTF-Bravo has been around for a long time, but at one point, we were stuck in “what used to be.” Like every noncommissioned officer (NCO), you create your senior enlisted leader initiatives to support your commander’s intent. It’s incredibly important to take care of our joint operations area, but we have also expanded into South America in areas that are important to the combatant commander like NCO development.How important is a historical and cultural perspective for members of JTF-Bravo, and how does it inform your decision-making model?Command Sgt. Maj. Aguilastratt: The historical perspective has a lot to do with cultural awareness. We need to adapt cultural awareness to our military needs. It is not only the language capabilities, but I am also going to steal our combatant commander’s narrative, which is that we are all Americans — we have shared values, we live on the same continent.We have an advantage that our adversaries don’t have. They’re invaders here, and they’re trying to inject a slate of values that we do not share, that are not conducive to the values of this hemisphere. We take our individuality — we take our strengths and we take our partner nations’ strengths — and we know now what is important for them and important for us, and we work on that. We celebrate our common goals and our common objectives and our values, and we also celebrate our differences — and that is OK.How do you connect junior enlisted members to strategic impacts?Command Sgt. Maj. Aguilastratt: Messaging. One way of connecting them is the development of the NCO corps. Let me tell you one of my proudest moments. We were invited to the South American Defense Conference last year , and I was invited to speak in front of the South American chairmen and their senior enlisted leaders, and I really didn’t say anything other than showcase the great work that our enlisted men and women do here: how a tech sergeant or a master sergeant has responsibility for the only C-5 capable runway in the hemisphere.How our crew chiefs for the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment [1-228th AR] and our first sergeants and our sergeants keep our helicopters flying over terrain that strongly resembles the INDOPACOM [Indo-Pacific Command] region. How our [Army forces] battalion keeps everything rolling, from force protection to maintenance to everything, with three components. That works at the NCO level and every enlisted member has a voice. To us, it’s day-to-day, but when you go outside the scope of your own armed forces and you hear the comments from the partner nations, you know how special the NCO corps is.Another great moment was when we were invited by ARSOUTH [U.S. Army South] — and we were extremely grateful for this — to augment their staff on the planning of Southern Vanguard in Chile. We could have sent planners, and it would have been entirely fine, but we decided to send two sergeants major. Those guys, and their experience in combat and the national training centers, shaped that exercise. Our Chilean counterparts went out of their way to bring all their enlisted to the base to hear what we had to say.I think that is the right approach to NCO development in the hemisphere, to educate the officer corps on how important our NCOs are. One of the key phrases was from Command Sergeant Major [Bryan] Zickefoose, who directed attention to why an NCO corps is important in Latin America. The quote was: “A 21st-century nation that wants to win wars cannot afford not to have an NCO corps.” The constant messaging to our men and women about how important they are and what they are doing — that they are that last tactical mile protecting the homeland — increases pride, increases morale, increases discipline, which is extremely important, and drives across this sense of purpose that every professional soldier, sailor, airman or marine needs to function.What is the value of developing leaders, and how does that help build our team?Command Sgt. Maj. Aguilastratt: The commander has enabled me to develop our NCOs. We have to hold NCOs responsible for being at the point of friction — the critical point. At JTF-Bravo now we have NCOs working day-to-day operations and planning at the operational and strategic level. For example, our knowledge management system was nonexistent about 60 days ago. Now, an Air Force NCO is in charge of it. By her own initiative, she took it upon herself, and now we have a knowledge management page — something that will perpetuate the commander’s intent. Our crew chiefs are flying missions that are inherently dangerous: from planning to execution to recovery to after-actions.The 1-228th AR is not a regular aviation unit — it does not have a recovery element, so they have to do everything themselves. When they had to have a precautionary landing in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica, they recovered themselves. They operate over rough terrain, over water, doing inherently dangerous missions. Our medics are reservists, but their value to Army readiness is often underestimated. They’re in a region of the world in which they can perform surgeries in medical exercises on a regular basis. I mean, they’re seeing gunshot wounds, they’re seeing burns on all ages. And they’re performing surgeries, all in the field under austere conditions.This is going to become increasingly important where we’re going to have to fight fights where surgical and medical capabilities have to be extremely close to the forward line of troops to save lives. These guys are training and building readiness for the joint force. When we go to the point of friction, we get those lessons-learned and we execute them again, each time better and better and better. Mistakes are acceptable — we learn from our mistakes, and we move forward. We develop our leaders, and we don’t accept patterns. But we learn as we go, and we develop as we go. So, I’m extremely happy with our people — extremely happy and extremely proud.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A coalition of fast food workers, unions and activists hailed Wednesday’s vote by a New York State-appointed fast food wage board to increase the minimum wage to $15 for fast food workers as a historic decision that would help pull people out of the depths of poverty and embolden others to fight for similar wage increases.The three-member wage board, empaneled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May after the state legislature rejected a proposal to increase the minimum wage, voted 3-0 at a well-attended public meeting in New York City to approve a motion raising fast food worker’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021 statewide.As the board voted on the motion, many in the crowd took it upon themselves to punctuate the board’s vote, yelling: “Aye!”Afterward, a raucous crowd holding “$15” signs rallied in Manhattan as speakers vowed to continue fighting until all workers struggling to afford rising rent obligations, food, medical bills and various other expenses are similarly compensated.“It is an injustice when you have growing income inequality,” Cuomo told the crowd from a packed stage, joined by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a mix of union chiefs and fast food workers. “It is an injustice when working families in this country have actually gone backwards over the past 10 years… it is a shame that in this nation today, with all of our progress, you still have one out of five children in poverty. That is a shame.”“You cannot live and support a family on $18,000 per year in the state of New York,” Cuomo added.The jubilant crowd celebrated the victory despite several governmental hurdles that remain.The wage board’s recommendation is limited only to fast food workers employed by a chains with 30 or more locations, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King. Also, fast food workers will have to wait several years before they feel the full effect of the so-called “Fight for $15.”The wage board must finalize its report and submit it to acting State Labor Commissioner Mario Musolino by July 27, when the completed report is expected to be approved. A 15-day public comment period will go into effect once the report is published. The wage order must be filed within 45 days of the report being published. Cuomo said in an op-ed in The New York Times earlier this summer that the board’s recommendations don’t require legislative approval.If approved by the labor department, the wage increase will fully go into effect in New York City by Dec. 31, 2018, and for Long Islanders and the rest of the state by July 1, 2021. The board recommended incremental minimum wage increases of $1.50 for New York City fast food workers beginning at the end of this year, and continuing until New Year’s Eve 2018. Long Islanders would see state-mandated raises of at least $1 until 2020. At that point, fast food workers living in Nassau or Suffolk counties would be making $14.50. A 50-cent increase on July 1, 2021 would push them to the coveted $15 wage.“Fast food workers desperately need a wage [increase] and now they’re going to get one,” Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, told the Press shortly after the board’s vote. She noted that there’s currently 25,000 fast food workers on LI, many of whom are struggling to afford the high cost of living in Nassau and Suffolk counties.Tyson, like others at the rally, sounded eager to continue the minimum wage fight, which began nearly three years ago as a grassroots movement and ballooned into a nationwide effort.At least one presidential candidate has jumped on board. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is officially identified as an Independent but labels himself as a progressive democratic socialist, has proposed increasing the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour to $15. And in his 2014 State of the Union, President Obama has called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.“The wage board did their research, and what they found was very clear: these fast food restaurants are literally making billions in profit” and not sharing earnings with their workers, Tyson said. “They are desperate right now to try to prevent this from happening, and they are just being greedy.”The reaction from those opposed to the wage increase was swift.“From day one Governor Cuomo’s wage board has sought to silence the business community and force through an unfair and discriminatory increase on a single sector of one industry,” Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association, said in a statement.“From stacking the board with supporters of an increase to allowing business owners to get booed and heckled at public hearings, the governor has rigged the game at every turn,” she added. “Since the governor used a process that rejects compromise the result is an extremist policy that will force business owners in this low profit margin industry to cut hours, lay off employees and use technology to help offset skyrocketing labor costs.”A group of fast food franchisees has reportedly hired former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s deputy to challenge the board’s recommendations, but it’s unclear how he intends to fight the board’s vote.“This proposal is an irrational and discriminatory race to judgment to achieve a predetermined outcome,” said Randy Mastro, Giuliani’s former deputy mayor, in a statement. “And it targets only fast food franchisees, who, in reality, are small business owners, many of them minorities and women, who are already struggling to survive on low margins and cannot afford this 66-percent increase in labor costs for their entry-level workers.”To workers struggling to get by, Tyson said the board’s recommendation represents more than just an injection of money for low-income individuals.“It’s hope that it’s going to get better,” she said.
With the uptick in post-election sign ups, Parler saw its total registered members rise from 4.5 million last week to approximately 8 million now, according to a statement from Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick. In terms of active users, that figure has grown from 500,000 active devices two weeks ago to more than 4 million. Like Facebook and Twitter, Parler offers users standard social media features — there’s a feed where you see posts, photos and videos from the users you follow. Parler’s biggest draw is how it’s positioned itself as the antithesis to Facebook and Twitter. “Parler is a non-biased, free speech social media focused on protecting user’s rights,” the app’s description reads on the App Store. Parler, however, is not the first social media app to come around actively catering specifically to conservatives. Four years ago, there was Gab, a similar app with the exact same proposition. Gab grew until it was tied to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018, in which 11 people died. The shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, posted on his Gab page an hour prior to the shooting.After the shooting, Gab was ditched by its hosting provider and payment processors, forcing the service to go offline, and it never recovered. With a hyper-conservative user base, Parler will have to walk the tightrope of giving its users free speech while preventing their online activity from culminating in an offline event that forces the app to shut down. DiscordAnother fast-growing social app is Discord, which lets users create “servers” where friends can hang out in text-focused chat rooms or on voice or video calls. The app is especially popular among video gamers, who use the voice and video call features to chat with their friends while gaming together online. Discord has seen its usage grow to more than 100 million monthly active users, up nearly 79% from 56 million last November, according to the company. Discord claims it is not a social network but rather a communications service as it is fundamentally different from other social apps in that it does not run ads or rely on an algorithmic feed to show users content. Instead, Discord makes money by charging users for its Nitro $9.99 per month subscription service that offers users more features. Discord may not consider itself a social media app, but Facebook clearly sees a threat. More and more, Facebook has put an emphasis on making video games a key part of its service, offering live streaming services, cloud gaming, and 50-person group video calls. OnlyFansOnlyFans is the only one of these social media threats that does not actually offer a mobile app. That’s because OnlyFans has become the go-to spot for users to sell original adult content, which Apple bans from the App Store.Despite not having an app, OnlyFans has grown tremendously in the last year. It was mentioned in a rap verse by Beyonce earlier this year, and TikTok and Instagram users frequently post links directing their followers to their OnlyFans accounts. OnlyFans hasn’t said how many monthly active users it has, but the app has 75 million total users and 1 million creators, which is up from 30 million users and 450,000 creators in May. Although OnlyFans is known primarily for being used to subscribe to and purchase adult content, there are some who use the app to sell subscriptions and post non-pornographic content. If OnlyFans continues to wrack up users, it could become the de facto spot for users who want a paid social media experience free of ads. OnlyFans poses is a unique challenge. Facebook has banned porn on its services throughout its history, and it would not be allowed to have an iOS app if it suddenly decided to change its policies. By going the adult content route, OnlyFans has seemingly built itself a moat that prevents Facebook from copycatting its services the way it has with Snapchat and TikTok. – Advertisement – TikTok and Douyin, its Chinese counterpart, together claimed 980 million monthly active users in September, up from 670 million a year prior, according to data from App Annie. That puts the app on pace to surpass the 1 billion MAU mark in 2021.Facebook has taken note of TikTok’s fast-paced growth, and in August, it responded with the global launch of Reels, a TikTok copycat feature available on Instagram. Just as Facebook was able to stave off Snapchat by bringing stories to Instagram, it is now taking the same approach to the threat of TikTok. Besides Facebook, TikTok also faces regulatory challenges due to security concerns due to its parent company ByteDance, which is based in China. Although TikTok was able to successfully navigate the threat of being shut down by President Donald Trump, it is still unclear what will happen to the app under the Biden administration. A Biden technology advisor to the transition on Tuesday said it was “too early to say” the incoming administration’s view on TikTok.Parler- Advertisement – Taking on Facebook is no small task, and many apps have failed in this endeavor. Facebook counts more than 3 billion monthly users across its numerous services, including Instagram and WhatsApp. No other social media platform is even close. Additionally, the company has fended off many would-be challengers, often by copying their key features and using them to keep users from leaving.But newcomers keep trying. Here are four to watch:TikTokPerhaps the biggest threat to Facebook’s social media dominance is TikTok, the wildly popular user-generated video app of Chinese origin. The app shows users a never-ending feed of videos of other users dancing, singing, cracking jokes or putting to use fascinating augmented-reality visual effects. Over the last few years, TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular apps for teenage and young adult users on the internet. – Advertisement – In the aftermath of the election, millions of users rushed to sign up for Parler, an up-and-coming social media app that has quickly become a hub for conservatives seeking refuge from what they believe is censorship from Facebook and Twitter. Those companies have labeled or hidden posts from President Trump and others disputing the results of the 2020 presidential election.This rush of sign ups launched Parler into the top spot on Apple’s App Store list of free apps earlier this week. The surge is reminiscent of other social media upstarts that tried to exploit key markets where Facebook was lacking, like Snapchat among teens or TikTok for short-form video.- Advertisement –
Croatia is integrated into EuroVelo network bicycle routes, which connect the entire European continent via 17 bicycle routes with a length of 90 thousand kilometers, through 42 European countries. The Croatian National Tourist Board has created a new one website (www.eurovelo8.hr) dedicated to the Croatian part of the new Mediterranean cycling route EuroVelo 8, within the EU project MEDCYCLETOUR, in which it actively participates as one of the eight project partners. The total length of the entire Mediterranean route, from Cadiz to Cyprus, is about 7500 km and passes through the most attractive regions of eleven countries in the Mediterranean region, namely Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Cyprus. The main EuroVelo 8 route includes 20 daily G1-G20 sections from Istria to Dubrovnik, 1116 kilometers long. This interactive page in Croatian and English will help in planning a cycling holiday and better navigation in the seven Croatian tourist regions through which the EuroVelo 8 cycling route passes in Croatia. Marked routes throughout Europe can be used by tourists on excursions, those who are on multi-day and multi-month trips and the local population who walk shorter sections of the EuroVelo route in daily cycling or enjoy them on cycling trips. The information available on the site includes a map and GPX traces, descriptions of basic and alternative sections of the route in Croatia, data on the quality of the route, traffic density, supply and accommodation options, tourist attractions, public transport options, bicycle services and shops, and recommendations for safe ride and a pleasant cycling holiday in Croatia.
Brisbane-based housesitter Isabelle Costello is among millennials going all out to save up for a home deposit, in her case using the app YourHomeMyHome to exchange pet and home care for free rent. Picture: Tara Croser.BRISBANE, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart first time househunters will be the biggest winners if a proposal to allow superannuation to be used as a home deposit goes ahead.HOW Queensland tastes have changedRBA board singling Brisbane out but the numbers are holdingSIGN up to receive all The Courier-Mail real estate news direct to your inboxIn the latest CoreLogic Property Pulse, research analyst Cameron Kusher said prices in Sydney and Melbourne and superannuation savings levels of first time buyers meant that it would be cities outside the two major ones where super-assisted purchases would be feasible.“Money accumulated in funds is relatively immature and unlikely to sufficiently boost buying power in order to enter into the market (in Sydney or Melbourne).”He said some estimates put the superannuation savings level of 25 to 34 year olds at around $50,000, which would be a 10 per cent deposit on a $500,000 property.“Ultimately, a purchase price of $500,000 is not going to allow the potential buyer to access very many detached homes in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly if they want to live closer to the city.”More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home6 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor6 hours agoBrisbane has 155 suburbs where the median house price was $500,000 or less.He said CoreLogic research showed that “there are far greater options for potential first home buyers with a purchase price of $500,000” outside of Sydney and Melbourne.CoreLogic figures showed only 4.1 per cent of Sydney suburbs had a median house value of $500,000 or less (32 suburbs), compared to 39.6 per cent in Brisbane (or 155 suburbs), 47.9 per cent in Adelaide (184 suburbs), 37.8 per cent in Perth (115 suburbs), and a whopping 76.6 per cent in Hobart (72 suburbs). Only 18.7 per cent of Melbourne suburbs had a median house price of $500,000 or less (83 suburbs).Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:47Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:47 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenMonthly Core Index: March 201700:47He said a budget of $500,000 would allow buyers to pick up a unit in at least three quarters of all suburbs across Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.“Both the ABC data and our research highlights that access to superannuation to purchase a home would largely help buyers outside of Sydney and Melbourne.”Research shows millennials have been going all out to save up a home deposit including house-sitting, petsitting, moving in with parents, homesharing, second jobs and ditching the car, with some such as Isabelle Costello exchanging pet and home care for zero rent via YourHomeMyHome.com.au. App co-founder Rebecca Nankervis said it was “incredibly popular with the 18-25 year old age bracket. Millennials are using house sitting as means to save money while saving for a home deposit.”
Grande said falling interest rates in the quarter resulted in price gains on the fund’s fixed income investments.“However, lower interest rates have negative long-term implications for future returns on the fixed income portfolio,” he said.NBIM said the quarterly return on equities and fixed income undercut the benchmark indices by 0.2 percentage points.In a news conference, Grande explained this underperformance, saying it was due to the fact the GPFG’s bond holdings had a shorter duration than did the bond portfolio represented by the reference index.On the equity side, he said underperformance in the three-month period was due broadly to differences between exposure in the fund’s external asset manager portfolios and the reference portfolio.Differences between the fund’s exposure to the financial sector and that of the benchmark were particularly to blame for the underperformance, Grande said. During the quarter, the Norwegian government took money out of the GPFG for the first time.Rules around the fund allow the government to take up to 4% of the fund’s investment return every year.NBIM said the withdrawals amounted to NOK25bn in the first quarter.Inflows to the fund – formerly known as the oil fund – from the country’s petroleum activities revenue have diminished, largely due to the collapse of the oil price.The domestic currency’s strength on foreign exchanges in the first quarter, following a general weakening over the last two years, took its toll on the GPFG’s overall value.Krone appreciation decreased the value of the fund by NOK286bn between January and March, NBIM reported.At the end of March, the GPFG had a market value of NOK7.08bn, down from NOK7.47bn at the end of December 2015.The fund’s equity allocation slimmed in the first quarter to 59.8% of the total portfolio from 61.2% at the end of December.The fixed income allocation increased to 37% from 35.7%, while real estate held the same proportion at 3.1% of the fund. Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund lost NOK85bn (€9.2bn), or 0.6%, in the first three months of this year, with investments in two of the fund’s three asset classes shrinking in overall value during the the period.According to its first-quarter report, the Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) equity investments made a loss of 2.9% between January and March, fixed income assets a positive return of 3.3% and property investments a loss of 1.3%.Trond Grande, deputy chief executive at Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the fund, said: “The first two months of 2016 were characterised by high market volatility and concerns for a Chinese slowdown.”But the turbulence eased considerably in March, he said.
The Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) has agreed a pension buy-in with the Aon Retirement Plan for £900m (€1.1bn), insuring the liabilities relating to the consultancy’s UK employees.The transaction, primarily funded with Gilts, covers most of the pensioner liabilities across two sections of the segregated plan.The buy-in is the third such deal between PIC and an Aon-sponsored scheme.In 2014 and 2012, it concluded two buy-ins with the Aon Minet Pension Scheme, for £210m and £100m, respectively. David Burton, independent chair of the scheme’s trustees, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to conclude this transaction at a time of considerable market volatility.“By securing this buy-in asset, we have taken a significant step in our long-term de-risking plan, following a smaller transaction with another insurer last December.”Matt Barnes, senior actuary at PIC, said: “We are proud to have been able to help the trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan with this significant de-risking exercise, highlighting the attractiveness of pension funds holding a buy-in as a matching asset in place of Gilts or other strategies.“This was the first sizeable pension insurance transaction under the new Solvency II regime, showing that large buy-ins priced under Solvency II remain an attractive option for trustees.”The lead adviser to the trustees was Aon Hewitt, with CMS Cameron McKenna providing legal advice.In other news, the €270m Dutch scheme Pensioenfonds Pon has appointed NN Investment Partners as its fiduciary manager.The multi-company scheme, with 11,000 former workers and pensioners, comprises two pension funds of Dutch VW importer Pon, building company Geveke and bicycle manufacturer Gazelle.The Gazelle scheme had already contracted out its fiduciary management to NN IP when it joined the multi-scheme in 2014.Bas Sprong, chairman at the Pensioenfonds Pon, said: “By choosing NN IP as fiduciary manager, we will achieve synergy benefits for all compartments of our pension fund.“We consider NN IP as an independent asset manager, which enables us to carry out a proper investment strategy and implementation. It has a good track record and provides tailor-made advice.”Last week, the €2bn sector scheme for public libraries, Bibliotheken, extended its fiduciary contract with NN IP for an indefinite period.The fiduciary manager also welcomed the €300m pension fund of merchant bank NIBC as a new client earlier this year.NN provides the NIBC scheme with strategic advice, liability-driven investment, operational balance management and management reporting.
Algeria condemns terrorist attack in Tunisia The Tunisian government reportedly has started shutting down mosques it claims are inciting violence. Prime Minister Habib Essid earlier this week accused them of ‘spreading venom’. But there’s been a mixed reaction to the clampdown. CCTV’s Adel El Mahrouky reports from Sousse in Tunisia. Tunisia Attack Solidarity: Public Iftar Held Following Deadly Terror Attack Related World Leaders Condemn Tunisia Attack