Photographing Native American cultures

first_imgWhen Matika Wilbur and her fellow teachers at Tulalip Heritage High School in Washington state reviewed their curriculum, what they found was crushing.“We could not find one single source that represented our people with dignity and honor and integrity and respect,” said Wilbur, a photographer and a member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes in Washington.So she decided to do something about it. In 2012 she sold most of her belongings, jumped in her RV, and set out on a mission to abolish negative stereotypes and to “raise awareness about contemporary Native America.”Dana Eldridge. Photo by Matika WilburThe result, titled Project 562 in honor of the number of federally recognized tribes in the United States when she began, is an effort to tell the stories of members of each of those tribes through her camera. Almost four years, many thousands of miles, and thousands of photographs later, Wilbur has arrived at Harvard with a selection of her ongoing work.“Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Stories of Native American Women” is on view through May 28 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s recently renovated Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery. The exhibit features 25 photos of Native American women, along with interviews, written narratives, and Native American music and song.In an interview in the gallery, Wilbur, a striking 30-something with a force-of-nature personality, stood amid her portraits and described the show’s beginnings. Last summer she visited close to 30 tribes, and heard heart-wrenching stories. One woman told of being sterilized without her consent. Another said she had been raped while in the Army and rejected by her own community when a mixed-race child resulted from the attack. Wilbur heard about women who had lost their property to oil tycoons eager to exploit the land, and even watched as “white men in suits with stacks of money” tried to convince women from the Navajo Nation to sign papers to test their land for oil.She called the sexual assault and domestic abuse of Native American women “an epidemic.”Aurelia Stacona . Photo by Matika Wilbur“I couldn’t not talk about what’s happening to our Indian women,” said Wilbur, who said her subjects are “so much more” than victims. They are activists, artists, grandmothers, daughters, Ph.D.s, and professionals. “Despite all of the turmoil that they’ve experienced, they endure, and they radiate and thrive and become these incredible women who are proponents of change and advocates of something resilient.”Her portraits illustrate her point. Dana Eldridge stares at the camera, her shadow falling on snow on the side of the road. From the Diné (Navajo) in Arizona, Eldridge was photographed on a 1,200-mile trek to the Navajo Nation’s four sacred mountains to protest fracking on their land.Nearby, Ramona Peters, director of the Historic Preservation Department for the Mashpee Wampanoag in Massachusetts, looks out candidly at the viewer, her eyes smiling. As a child Peters said she was ashamed of being part of a tribe that welcomed the Pilgrim colonizers. “I used to feel that we were the ones who made the big mistake and caused this big problem. No. We should never be ashamed of being friendly. That’s how we were created. That’s a big part of our culture, even today,” Peters remarks in the show’s accompanying booklet.So far, Wilbur has visited roughly 350 tribes for Project 562, a Kickstarter-funded effort. She expects to spend about two more years on the road before she’s done. Yukio Lippit, faculty director of the arts at Radcliffe, said the exhibit highlights Radcliffe’s research theme ­for the 2015-2016 academic year — the study of indigenous peoples — as well as Wilbur’s drive and determination.“She hasn’t stopped,” Lippit said. “[Project 562] is attempting to convey the richness and diversity, the lived experiences of native peoples all across the United States, and what you will see here is a small selection.”Charlotte Logan. Photo by Matika WilburWilbur’s subtle use of color in many portraits draws in the viewer. She often shoots with black-and-white film, prints the images, and then colors in sections with oil paint. If she uses color film, she frequently manipulates the pictures in Photoshop to “de-saturate the background or bulk up the color in the front” of the image.She also lets her subjects choose where they would like to be photographed. Initially, Wilbur planned to pose her subjects against a white background framed by perfect lighting, but quickly opted instead to “photograph people in the environment.” Instead of asking herself how she can get the best shot, now she asks her subjects if there is a place they would like to have their picture taken, if they have something special they would like to wear, or if there’s a story they would like her to tell with her lens. She calls it “the indigenous photography method,” and says it forced her to become a better photographer. “Now I shoot when people are ready, not when I feel like it, or when the sun is right,” said Wilbur. “It’s a shift in the way I see what I am doing.”Sometimes that means forgoing a portrait on Utah’s dramatic salt flats for a shot taken on an 84-year-old grandmother’s porch. More important than the best possible background, Wilbur said, is leaving her sitters “with the feeling that they were heard.”The exhibit is part of the Initiative on Native and Indigenous Peoples and is presented in collaboration with the Harvard University Native American Program. The Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery is in Byerly Hall at 8 Garden St., Radcliffe Yard, and is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.last_img read more

Members discuss role of Off-Campus Council

first_imgAt this week’s Council of Representatives (COR) meeting, members discussed the role of the Off-Campus Council and how possible improvements could increase effectiveness and take more of the burden of handling off-campus concerns from other groups, leaving more resources for other issues. “So much of the focus of on-campus bodies has been off-campus issues,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “We think one of the things we can do is to really bolster the power of the Off-Campus Council.” Referencing the group’s constitution, Soler said the Off-Campus Council’s purpose is to “sponsor functions and disseminate information to off-campus students, which has been the goal of student government this whole year.” Hoping to reduce ambiguity about electing members to the council and better express the group’s intended purpose, Soler raised a discussion about potential constitutional amendments. One of the unclear clauses pertains to eligibility to run and vote for off-campus positions. Under the current rules, only current off-campus students can vote for the following year, and in practice, only off-campus juniors have tended to run for these offices. “I guess it’s just been implied that you have to live [off campus] junior year to run for these positions,” off-campus president Ryan Hawley said. “It doesn’t really make sense. What we’re thinking is having people who are going to live off campus be able to run and vote so it’s much more representative of off-campus students.” Soler said expanding eligibility for participation could attract more applicants and ensure the most capable students are given the opportunity to fill the positions. “We think we can really up the quality and get more people to apply for this if we could get on-campus students who are living off next year to run,” she said. After it was suggested that the Off-Campus Council’s level of activity has been lacking, Hawley said the problem was figuring out how to get interested off-campus students involved and maintaining a consistent meeting schedule. “We don’t really have meetings which is part of the problem,” he said. “It’s been hard. People want to get involved and help but actually getting them involved has been difficult.” Hawley introduced the idea of off-campus ambassadors, whose role would be to facilitate the flow of information between off-campus students and the on-campus president, as well as maintaining positive relationships with members of the community. “We were thinking about having neighborhood ambassadors who would go around neighborhoods introducing themselves,” he said. “They would report directly to the on-campus president.” Soler said she felt redefining the purpose of the Council could also help with the group’s current funding problems. “The focus was thought to be that it was a programming board,” she said. “But if we decide that it’s disseminating information then it’s probably something that could be taken more seriously, if this is a more legitimate need for funds.”last_img read more

Rio de Janeiro Hosts International Defense and Security Exhibit

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo September 12, 2018 The Latin American defense and security industry gathered for the first edition of the Rio International Defense Exhibition (RIDEX) at Pier Mauá, a port area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27- 29, 2018. The Naval Project Management Company of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, hosted the event with the participation of about 100 exhibitors, more than 30 delegations, and 13,000 visitors. The Brazilian Defense Industrial Exhibition (BID, in Portuguese), held in Brazil since 2012, inspired the creation of RIDEX. “We transferred to Rio de Janeiro and included the naval segment, renaming it: Rio International Defense Exhibition,” said Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) Vice Admiral Marcelo Francisco Campos, director of the Business Bureau of the Ministry of Defense. The objective: integrate the Latin American defense, security, and naval sectors, and foster strategic partnerships in the region. RIDEX, to be held every other year, will be added to Brazilian and international calendars of defense and security events. The Brazilian Armed Forces participated in the first edition, showcasing the main strategic projects in development. According to Vice Adm. Campos, the participation of the Armed Forces was crucial for a successful first edition. “One of the goals for the event was to balance the interests of our forces and those of strategic partners based on the technological development capacity of the Latin American defense industry,” he said. For the officer, RIDEX facilitated discussion on the importance of sovereignty and the defense industry’s contribution to Brazil’s economy. “We had the opportunity to discuss the life cycle of systems and defense products in various debates and talks related to sovereignty and the defense economy, and present the benefits to society,” he said. “The integration of defense sector participants was a very relevant contribution to the fair.” The three-day event covered cyberdefense and public security challenges, among other topics. In the exhibition area, visitors inspected innovations such as a bulletproof vest with lateral protection and fast release developed for officers of the Rio de Janeiro Special Police Operations Battalion, and a modern drone blocking system. RIDEX also offered interactive booths, such as a shooting stand, robots, skydiving, navigation, and submarine simulation. Vessels on display RIDEX’s proximity to the ocean allowed visitors to discover several MB ships and witness watercraft demonstrations. The multipurpose landing craft NDM Bahia, as well as the Barroso corvette, the Gurupá patrol vessel, and the Mearim oceanographic support vessel were anchored at port. Aboard the NDM Bahia, visitors examined the volumetric search X band radar Gaivota-X, with capacity to guide anti-aircraft surface missiles. Visitors also saw up close the AH-15B Super Cougar helicopter, armed with an Exocet AM39 anti-ship missile and its launcher, provided by the MB’s Missile and Submarine Armament Center. MB Rear Admiral Antônio Capistrano de Freitas Filho, deputy director of Logistics for the Navy’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that all materials MB displayed promoted its capabilities and demonstrated BID’s national potential. “It was an opportunity to exchange knowledge and information on various systems, resources, and equipment used in Latin America,” he said. Bilateral meetings between MB’s General Staff and those of foreign navies took place during the event, Rear Adm. Capistrano said. “We already scheduled future meetings with Canada, Chile, France, and Italy,” he added. Strategic projects RIDEX 2018 saw the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB, in Portuguese) best projects on science and technology. Visitors were privy to a full-size replica of FAB’s future fighter jet, the Gripen NG—allowing them to board the aircraft—and a full-size model of the VSB-30 space vehicle. Manufactured with national technology, VSB-30 is sold in several countries, including Germany and Sweden. According to FAB’s Communication Center (CECOMSAER, in Portuguese), RIDEX highlighted the importance of joining forces to strengthen the Brazilian defense, security, and naval sectors. “Visitors were able to see FAB’s efforts to consolidate strategic projects that went from a necessity to reality. The Gripen NG and KC-390 [aircraft], currently undergoing tests, will soon increase FAB’s operability,” CECOMSAER stated. The Astros 2020 program for missiles and rockets, the Integrated Border Monitoring System, and the Guarani armored vehicles program were some of the projects the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) showcased during RIDEX. “We were able to interact with different audiences who took part in the event,” said the Army’s Communication Center (CCOMSEX, in Portuguese) in a release. At EB’s booth, service members from the First Battalion of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (CBRN) presented equipment for reconnaissance, identification, and CBRN agent decontamination. “This event allowed the battalion to interact with other national defense agencies, facilitating cooperation in the event of a CBRN incident,” CCOMSEX stated.last_img read more

Why your members don’t need you

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Austin WentzlaffConsumers, particularly millennials, are becoming less interested in meeting actual people to solve their problems and more interested in doing it themselves.  With the rise of the internet, information is readily available to all.  This allows consumers to search and find solutions to meet their needs in a matter of seconds.  This is a tremendous opportunity for consumers but it is also a serious challenge for retail institutions.  This is especially true for retail financial institutions such as community banks and credit unions.Federal Reserve StudyA recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve has revealed that more and more people are using their mobile devices to carry out their basic banking needs.  The Federal Reserve’s 2015 Consumers and Mobile Financial Services Report shows that there are more smartphone users than ever before and, consequently, more people carrying out their banking needs with their mobile device.  This “pocket bank” allows users to check balances, deposit checks, and even transfer money to friends (P2P payments) and other institutions (mobile payments).  The convenience of mobile banking has unmeasurable benefits for consumers but what does the shift toward mobile mean to retail financial institutions? continue reading »last_img read more

Credit union investments in 2016: Many happy returns?

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The key question about the U.S. economy entering 2016 is whether China and other emerging economies will export their woes to the U.S. It’s a reasonable question because they generate a larger percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) than ever before.But first, a review of 2015.By the second quarter of 2015, it seemed clear the U.S. stock market’s higher-than-average valuations left it vulnerable to a correction.Lofty valuations don’t generally trigger a selloff by themselves—they often need a catalyst, like, say, China abruptly devaluing its currency. That’s exactly what happened in August.In response to a steep decline in its own economy, China’s policy makers moved to shore up its capital markets and stimulate exports by devaluing its currency.Around the world, stock markets slid. When analysts see nations devalue their currency, they consider the tactic “hitting the panic button” because it is usually a last-resort attempt to rescue a declining economy. continue reading »last_img read more

3 ways to shore up your finances in 2020

first_img 39SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: Details I don’t think anyone saw 2020 going the way it has. With job security at an all-time confusing level and viruses popping up out of nowhere, it’s a great time to make sure your accounts are ready for whatever comes next. Here are three ways you can make sure your money is in good shape going into 2021…Stop acting on impulses: If money isn’t really a problem for you, that’s great, but bad habits can come back to haunt you. Think about your spending habits. Do you make impulse buys any time you want? No matter how big or small, impulse purchases can lead to trouble if things are suddenly not going so well. If you have a pile of entertainment subscriptions, do you know which ones you’d cut loose if your budget suddenly tightened? Hopefully, when COVID leaves us, it’ll be saying “peace out” and never coming back, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.Know how to use a credit card: Enjoying the use of a credit card can be dangerous, especially in the crazy times we’re currently in. Even if you find it pretty easy to pay off your purchases each month and you love earning cash rewards, what are you going to do if you drive to work one morning and find your office swallowed up by a giant sinkhole? Yeah that seems unlikely but like I said earlier, it’s 20 freakin’ 20. Look to the future: Have you saved enough to enjoy retirement one day? Are you going to be able to leave anything to your kids? There are a lot of questions and uncertainties when it comes to your financial future. Even if you don’t have heirs, humans are living longer than ever these days and you want to make sure you don’t outlive your savings. If you haven’t checked in with your financial advisor lately, use the unpredictability of 2020 as an excuse to at least have a quick conversation with them before the end of the year.last_img read more

Another antibody against diverse flu strains found

first_imgFeb 27, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – For the second time this week, scientists have reported the discovery of a human antibody that, at least in theory, could lead to development of a vaccine or drug effective against most types of influenza A, including the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus.A team from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and the Dutch company Crucell Holland BV describe the new antibody, called CR6261, in a report in Science. They write that the antibody recognizes a stable, or nonmutating, region of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein in the 1918 pandemic flu virus and a 2004 strain of the H5N1 virus.As it is described, the antibody targets the same general region of the HA protein as do the monoclonal antibodies described in the report published Feb 22: the stem or neck of the molecule, which sits on the surface of the virus and helps it bind to host cells. And like the earlier report, the new one says the antibody neutralizes the virus by blocking it from fusing with cells.”The antibody neutralizes the virus by blocking conformational rearrangements associated with membrane fusion,” the Science report states. “Identification of the CR6261 epitope [the HA site the antibody targets] provides a lead for the design of antivirals and takes a significant step towards the development of a durable and cross-protective ‘universal’ vaccine against influenza A,” it concludes.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which provided funding for both studies released this week, said in a statement yesterday, “Taken together, these studies provide a blueprint for efforts to develop new antiviral drugs as well as a potential universal flu vaccine.”The scientists, with Damian C. Ekiert of Scripps as first author, write that they isolated CR6261 from a healthy, vaccinated person by mixing a serum sample with HA from an H5 virus. In a previously reported study, they found that CR6261 neutralized several influenza A subtypes, including H1, H2, H5, H6, H8, and H9. They also found that it protected mice from H1N1 and H5N1 viruses when administered up to 5 days after infection.To determine which part of the HA molecule the antibody targets and how it neutralizes the virus, the team studied the crystal structures of the antibody in combination with HAs from the 1918 H1N1 virus and a 2004 Vietnam strain of the H5N1 virus. They found that the antibody attaches to the base of the proteins rather than to the mushroom-shaped head—the portion targeted by existing flu vaccines.In further experiments, the scientists concluded that the antibody prevents HA from initiating the process of fusing the viral membrane with the host cell membrane. “CR6261 appears to neutralize the virus by stabilizing the pre-fusion state and preventing the pH-dependent fusion of viral and cellular membranes,” the report says.The researchers also analyzed more than 5,000 HA genetic sequences in a flu database in an effort to learn why certain flu subtypes, such as H3 and H7, are not neutralized by CR6261. They concluded that the masking of a certain site on the HA molecule by glycoproteins (glycosylation) is the probable reason. From this analysis, they concluded that the antibody probably can neutralize HAs from 12 of the 16 influenza A subtypes: H1, H2, H4-H6, H8, H9, H11-H14, and H16.The presence of the CR6261 epitope in a wide range of influenza viruses “suggests a critical role in membrane fusion,” indicating the possibility of using it to develop new antiviral drugs and a broadly protective vaccine, the researchers write.Experts who were not involved in the study said the latest findings are very similar to those reported earlier this week in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.John Treanor, MD, a vaccine researcher and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester in New York, called the idea of using the “fusion region” of HA to develop a vaccine interesting, though not entirely new. “It’s a long way to go between knowing you have an antibody that can recognize that region and making a vaccine,” he said.If the CR6261 target region were used to make a vaccine designed to induce the immune system to generate similar antibodies, immunogenicity could be a challenge, Treanor said. “Bear in mind that you don’t really make this antibody when you’re exposed [to flu viruses], or you don’t make much of it. So presumably you’d have to cook up some way of presenting the epitope in such a way as to make it immunogenic.”He said the findings certainly raise the possibility making CR6261 antibodies for use as a flu treatment. “I don’t have any doubt that we could do that. I will say that if the experience with palivizumab is any guide, you’d expect this type of passive antibody approach to be much more effective for prevention than for treatment.”Palivizumab is a human monoclonal antibody used to protect certain vulnerable children from serious infections with respiratory syncytial virus, he said.Dr. Richard Webby, a virologist, flu researcher, and associate member of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, called the latest findings “great stuff.”Given that monoclonal antibodies are already used to treat certain diseases, the findings certainly point to a possibility of antibody-based therapies for flu, he said.”There are some limitations on the wider use of this approach, cost being the major one,” he said. “As production techniques improve and costs come down, it becomes a little bit more viable.”Webby added that antibody-based flu therapies have been “very, very effective” in animal models, surpassing other drugs. “So I absolutely think it’s an avenue that needs to be pursued aggressively.”As for the vaccine possibilities, he noted that a number of researchers are trying to make vaccines that induce immunity to more stable parts of influenza viruses, including sites on the HA, and have had mixed success. “There’s no doubt that if we want to produce a more cross-reactive vaccine against influenza, we have to understand more about these cross-reactive epitopes,” he said.Ekiert DC, Bhabba G, Elsliger, MA, et al. Antibody recognition of a highly conserved influenza virus epitope. Science 2009 Feb 26 (early online publication) [Abstract]See also: Feb 26 NIAID statement 23 CIDRAP News story “Researchers find antibody that fights H5N1, seasonal flu strains”last_img read more

PREMIUMCapital market no longer ivory tower in Indonesia’s 75th year

first_imgLinkedin Forgot Password ? Facebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Google Documenting 75 years of resilience” is a series of special reports by The Jakarta Post to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day on Aug. 17, 1945.Indonesia’s capital market has been thriving in the past decade, opening its doors to more and more common people thanks to technological advancements and relaxed requirements.However, the rising number of retail investors requires better investor protection, which still has room for improvement.“It’s very easy nowadays to find information on various products of the capital market compared to in the 1990s, when information was very limited and exclusive,” Hans Kwee, PT Anugerah Mega Investama director, told The Jakarta Post in late July.Read also: IDX rolls out discounts for companies looking to list on stock marketDespite the available information, financial literacy and investor protectio… Log in with your social account stock-market Indonesia-Stock-Exchange IDX #Indonesia75 OJK Financial-Services-Authority retail-investors financial-literacylast_img read more

Mikel Arteta identifies the four positions he wants to strengthen during the transfer window

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 5 Jun 2020 1:21 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.9kShares Comment Mikel Arteta identifies the four positions he wants to strengthen during the transfer window Man City stars head back into training as season set for June 17 returnTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 1:58FullscreenMan City stars head back into training as season set for June 17 return 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.The Ghana international has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates after coming close to joining the north London club under previous manager Unai Emery last summer.Partey is yet to sign an extension on his current deal at Atletico and has a £44 million release clause.Even if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League, they could still move for the 26-year-old and view a swap deal involving Alexandre Lacazette as a potential option.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalAdding another centre-back is also on the agenda and club scouts have watched Reims’ Axel Disasi, who could be available for around £13m.Arteta also wants another right-back to challenge Hector Bellerin, but the club are likely to be priced out of a move for Norwich City’s Max Aarons and may have to focus on making Cedric Soares’ loan move from Southampton permanent.And if star strikers Aubameyang or Lacazette were to leave, Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Genk’s Jonathan David are being lined up as possible replacements.However, if the Gunners fail to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years, swap deals, loans and low-cost moves could well be the order of business for the club.MORE: Premier League restart: Provisional fixtures revealed for Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and ArsenalMORE: Arsenal’s provisional fixtures for Premier League restart announcedFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Arteta is looking for a complete squad overhaul (Picture: Getty Images)Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reportedly wants to sign at least one centre-back, a midfielder, a right-back and a replacement striker if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette were to leave the Emirates this summer.The coronavirus crisis is likely to affect transfer business for all clubs given the immense drop in revenue with no games played since mid-March.However, the Gunners are still expected to be busy this summer, but their budget for signings will be dictated by whether they can qualify for European competition or not.Mikel Arteta’s side will resume their Premier League campaign later this month in ninth place, eight points behind Chelsea who occupy fourth spot.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTAccording to Goal, the Spaniard has identified four key positions in his squad he wants to strengthen, with Atletico Madrid’s box-to-box midfielder Thomas Partey a top priority. Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Poland’s second-pillar pensions reform faces class action

first_imgPoland’s controversial second-pillar pensions law, which took effect in 2014, is facing a new legal challenge.On 4 March, the Warsaw District Court ruled that a class action initiated by lawyer Paweł Kowalczyk for 53 claimants could go ahead.The lawsuit – against the Polish State Treasury, Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) and pension fund management companies – claims the transfer of Polish sovereign bonds from pension fund (OFE) portfolios to ZUS violated members’ property rights.The transfer, in February 2014, removed PLN153.2bn (€36.7bn) in assets, equivalent to 51.2% of the previous month’s net asset value. The Court ruled that, because the claims of the individuals – all OFE members – were substantially the same, the lawsuit could proceed as a group action.Other members can now sign up to the action.Any compensation from the State Treasury, should the case succeed, would be subject to a separate lawsuit.The ruling, which is subject to appeal, has already caused disquiet, given that the government had earlier insisted its reforms were legally watertight.There are other outstanding challenges to the 2014 law.In January 2014, president Bronisław Komorowski, after signing off the law, referred sections to the Constitutional Tribunal.These included the ban on investments in sovereign bonds, the requirement for a high level of equity investment and the prohibition on pension companies advertising during the window when all members had to declare that they wanted to remain in the second pillar or default to ZUS. Subsequently, Irena Lipowicz, Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman, referred the law to the tribunal on the grounds it violated public confidence in the State.Neither party addressed the issue of legal ownership of second-pillar assets.The tribunal has yet to set a date for the hearings.Meanwhile, the size of the second pillar has shrunk dramatically following the bond removal, the decision of the majority of former members to stop further contributions once the system became voluntary, the incremental transfer to ZUS of the assets of members with 10 or fewer years left till retirement, and the massive indifference of new labour market entrants.In January 2015, net assets, at PLN150.6bn, were down 49.6% year on year in Polish zloty terms, while the total monthly contribution plunged by 78.5% to PLN231m.last_img read more