Tourists forced to write ‘sorry’ 500 times over India lockdown breach

first_imgPolice have come up with unusual methods to encourage people to stay home to halt the spread of the deadly disease, including wearing coronavirus-shaped helmets.But officers in some states were also seen in videos on social media beating drivers on roadsides and making people out and about during lockdown do squats and leapfrogs as punishment.On Sunday, police said they arrested nine people violating the lockdown after an officer’s hand was chopped off in northern Punjab state’s Patiala district.The group were stopped in a vehicle at a checkpoint and — refusing to turn back as ordered — hit the accelerator and smashed into steel barricades, officials said.During the clash, one of the group pulled out a sword, slicing off a policeman’s hand. Six more officers were injured in the attack, police said.India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to extend a nationwide lockdown that was originally slated to end on Tuesday, for another two weeks.Some states have already extended the restrictions.On Sunday, India had registered more than 8,300 coronavirus cases and 273 deaths from the disease.Topics : Ten foreigners who broke a coronavirus lockdown in an Indian town made famous by the Beatles, were forced to repent by writing “I am so sorry” — 500 times, officials said Sunday.The nationwide lockdown was imposed near the end of March, with residents permitted to leave their homes only for essential services such as buying groceries and medicine.The travelers — from Israel, Mexico, Australia and Austria — were caught taking a walk in Rishikesh, where the Beatles sought spirituality at an Ashram in 1968. Local police officer Vinod Sharma said they were each made to write “I did not follow the rules of lockdown so I am so sorry” 500 times.More than 700 foreign tourists from the US, Australia, Mexico and Israel staying in the area had flouted the lockdown rules, Sharma said, adding the unusual punishment was handed out to teach them a lesson.Police said they would direct hotels in the area to allow foreign guests to step out only if accompanied by local helpers.Establishments that did not follow the order could face legal action, Sharma said.last_img read more

HBS ‘neither useful nor suitable’, PensionsEurope tells EIOPA

first_imgEIOPA should stop work on the holistic balance sheet (HBS) or any other type of common methodology as a harmonised solvency framework for occupational pension funds because they “do not work”, PensionsEurope has said.The association made the comments in its position paper on the stress tests the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) carried out on occupational pension funds (IORPs) last year, with the results announced on 26 January.The paper develops PensionsEurope’s initial reaction to the stress tests, when it urged for caution in interpreting them.It reiterates this view and fleshes out doubts it raised about EIOPA’s use of a common methodology. The stress tests measured the resilience to financial turbulence and increased life expectancy of defined benefit (DB)/hybrid and defined contribution (DC) schemes in 17 countries in the European Economic Area.The impact of the shocks was assessed on two bases, with one founded on a “common methodology” developed by EIOPA, the other on the national balance sheet of the pension funds’ home countries.PensionsEurope was unequivocal in its criticism of the common methodology, which it said was the HBS renamed.The stress test results show the HBS “does not work”, said Janwillem Bouma, chair at PensionsEurope.“EIOPA should not continue to work on the HBS model or any other similar ‘common methodology’ as a harmonised solvency framework,” he added.HBS is equated by many in the European pensions industry with the controversial introduction of solvency requirements for pension funds.These have been dropped from the remit of the revision of the IORP Directive currently underway, but EIOPA will still be giving advice on solvency and the use of HBS.It plans to deliver this advice by the end of March, although PensionsEurope suggested EIOPA may be heading for a mistake.“PensionsEurope is willing to explain its concerns in advance of EIOPA’s publishing the Quantitative Assessment report to help EIOPA avoid taking a wrong path,” said Bouma.The HBS has many shortcomings, involving both fundamental and “severe” practical problems, according to the association.The approach, it said, was “neither suitable nor useful”.It welcomed the rejection in late January by the European Parliament’s ECON committee of the further development of IORP solvency models at EU level, which said quantitative capital requirements could “potentially decrease the willingness of employers to provide occupational pension schemes”.PensionsEurope said it remained unclear how sponsor support should be taken into account.Instead of the HBS, EIOPA should propose principles-based guidelines only, according to the association.These could then be considered and adopted where appropriate by national authorities of the relevant countries.EIOPA should “think instead about encouraging alternative risk-management tools”, it said.It referred back to previous suggestions it made, such as an ALM analysis, that could serve similar goals as those EIOPA set for the common methodology but that would be less complex, cheaper and entail “less model uncertainty”.Beyond the HBSPensionsEurope also raised concerns about the stress tests that do not have to do with the HBS – about EIOPA’s conclusion that IORPs do not pose a systemic risk, for example.Given this outcome, according to Matti Leppälä, chief executive at PensionsEurope, “future stress tests would best be used to highlight the risks to individuals’ retirement prospects”.He added: “This would help to underpin the central message we all wish to get across – that more people should be saving more for their retirement.”Overall, EIOPA should carry out any future stress tests only when there are “situations that justify the exercise”, according to the association.The authority has said it will carry out further stress tests, with the next being in 2017 given a two-year cycle, but PensionsEurope said bi-annual stress tests “would be excessive”.The association also raised the issue of the stress tests’ compatibility with the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) project.IORPs are “essential players in the realisation of the CMU”, it said, but some assumptions used in the stress tests might prevent their investing long term in sustainable real assets, “which seems counter” to the CMU’s aims.An area of agreement was in relation to the need for more work to understand the potential impact on the real economy and financial markets from the occupational pensions sector’s sensitivity to adverse market developments.It also welcomed EIOPA’s recognition of the heterogeneity of European IORPs and their respective financial assessment frameworks, adding that “a consequence of that heterogeneity is that funding requirements and funding ratios differ between countries”.last_img read more

Argentina go second as Belgium, Uruguay rise

first_imgThe 185 matches played in the past month have certainly left their mark on the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.In the top ten, only Spain’s ranking remains unchanged, and the world and European champions have managed to further extend their lead at the summit, where they have reigned since September 2011.However, there has been a big shake-up just below pole position, where Argentina have ousted Germany out of second place after successfully qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Uruguay (7th, up 5) are also among this month’s climbers, making it back into the top ten at the expense of Portugal (11th, down 4). There are currently four South American teams in the top ten.Belgium continue to rise up the global ladder. The Red Devils are unbeaten in their Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign and, with their current ranking of sixth, have once more reached their best-ever position.There have been many changes, not just in the upper echelons of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, which have mainly been caused by the 86 FIFA World Cup qualifiers played in all of the confederations except the OFC over the past month. Of the 820 total preliminary matches leading to Brazil 2014, 747 have unfolded, and nine teams – Japan, Australia, Iran, Korea Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, USA and Argentina – have secured places at the tournament alongside the host nation.All matches played up to and including 10 September have been taken into account for the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The current edition of has taken the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s decision of 12 September 2013 on the Tunisia-Cape Verde Islands match into account. The next instalment will be published on 17 October 2013.last_img read more