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CEE roundup: Russia, Poland, Czech Republic

first_imgThe targeted companies include Rosneft, the largely state-owned oil giant, whose investment programmes include the strategic development of the country’s Arctic oil fields.Rosneft was recently given leave to seek financial assistance from the National Wealth Fund, and others are set to follow.The RUB3.1trn fund, financed by oil revenues, was set up partly to finance future state pension deficits.These are being exacerbated by a shrinking working-age population, a low but politically sacrosanct retirement age (60 years for men, 55 for women) and, most recently, by the annexation of Crimea, which adds further pensioners to the system.In other news, Poland’s second-pillar pension fund (OFE) system also faces further predations, with the so-called “slider” now in effect.Under the slider, OFE assets of those citizens with 10 or fewer years left to retirement are being transferred incrementally to the Polish Social Security Institution (ZUS).Poland’s Finance Ministry recently announced that the transfers would amount to PLN4.7bn (€1.1bn) in 2014 and PLN3.8bn in 2015.The package of reforms, including the removal of all government bonds in February, has shrunk net assets from PLN296bn at the end of January 2014 to PLN147bn by end-July, according to the latest data from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority.For the pension management companies, the only current source of new contributions, aside from those switching from rival funds, are new entrants to the workforce.However, this cohort has been indifferent to the second pillar, with only one in 10 choosing to join this year.The Constitutional Tribunal has yet to rule on aspects of the reform law.In late August, it received another submission, from Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman.Lastly, in the neighbouring Czech Republic, the pension reforms introduced by the previous government continue to unravel.While the newly introduced second pillar is set to be abolished, the new third pillar is set for massive consolidation.The new third pillar replaced one-size-fits-all “transformed” funds with “participation” funds.Licensed pension companies can offer, alongside a compulsory conservative fund, programmes with a range of risk profiles.One of the legal requirements was that each of the new non-compulsory funds accumulated a minimum CZK50m (€1.8m) in capitalisation within two years of being licensed by the Czech National Bank. In total, 33 funds have been licensed, but around 60% of the membership has opted for conservative structures, leaving many of the riskier funds undercapitalised and the eight providers set to merge their less popular offerings. Russia’s second-pillar mandatory system faces another year of withheld contributions, with the monies going instead to the first-pillar Pension Fund of the Russian Federation (PFR).However, the PFR’s gain enabled the government to reduce transfers to the Fund from the state budget for 2014, and again in 2015.Finance minister Anton Siluanov has announced that next year the state will save some RUB309bn (€6.2bn), of which some RUB100bn will be diverted to a newly created anti-crisis fund to aid those companies affected by EU and US sanctions in the wake of Russia’s support of separatist rebels in Ukraine.The Ukrainian crisis has longer-term implications for future state pensions.last_img read more

Baseball wins twice, loses once in Tony Gwynn Classic

first_imgJunior shortstop Ben Ramirez hit 3 of his 8 total RBIs this season in USC’s win over San Diego State Saturday. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) USC will travel to face Cal State Fullerton before returning home to take on Keio University Tuesday and Wednesday. CSUF is 3-4 on the season despite having a historically strong program. On the other hand, Keio — a part of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League that features six prominent baseball programs — will be traveling from Japan for an exhibition game. USC beat Seattle University 6-2, lost to Southern Illinois 3-1 and took down SDSU in a comeback 11-5 victory. The Trojans are now 4-2 early in the season. As for the Aztecs, sophomore pitcher Aaron Eden had a perfect first three innings before giving up a walk with two outs in the fourth. But it was only a matter of time before USC started its comeback. The Trojans put up 11 unanswered runs the rest of the game, including 2 in the seventh and 4 more in the ninth. For the Trojans, freshman center fielder Rhylan Thomas finished the game with three hits and 2 runs while junior shortstop Ben Ramirez finished with three RBIs. “I was actually pretty proud of them,” head coach Jason Gill said. “It was a long stretch. We didn’t hit well yesterday, and then the first five innings of the game today seemed to snowball into ‘Oh no, here we go again.’ It just takes one or two guys to break that open.” The game started off quickly for the Trojans as USC scored three runs in the first inning thanks to a 3-run home run from sophomore first baseman Clay Owens, who finished with 4 RBIs. Juniors righty Kyle Hurt and lefty John Beller combined to allow just one earned run on the night as the Trojans coasted to the victory. It was SDSU, however, which started the game off hot, scoring 5 runs in the first four innings. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Alex Cornwell lasted only 3.2 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on nine hits for the Trojans a week after pitching 5.2 innings of 2-run ball against Western Michigan. “[SDSU was] kinda pitching us backward, and to beat guys like that, you gotta use the whole field,” Gill said. “You can’t just sit up there and try to hit 500-foot home runs. What [Thomas and Ramirez] did was [they] went the other way with the baseball. And it paid off.”center_img Sophomore first baseman Clay Owens is hitting .421 on the season with 7 RBIs. Owens hit a clutch home run in USC’s win over Seattle Friday. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) The USC baseball team traveled to San Diego this past weekend to participate in the Tony Gwynn Classic at San Diego State. The Trojans took on another opponent they had not seen in more than 40 years when they played Southern Illinois Saturday. In USC’s second loss of the season, the Trojans could not find a way to get the bats going. There were still some bright spots for the Trojans, however. Junior pitcher Isaac Esqueda pitched 5.1 innings while allowing only 2 runs on six hits with three strikeouts, and Owens added two hits out of just four on the day for USC. USC took on Seattle Friday in the first game of the event. The Redhawks were an unfamiliar opponent for the Trojans, as USC entered Friday with just a 2-0 all-time head-to-head advantage.  In the final game of the Tony Gwynn Classic Sunday, USC took on a familiar opponent in SDSU. Having faced the Aztecs a total of 89 times, the Trojans got their 61st win against the Aztecs on a 5-run comeback win to cap off the weekend. “We gotta get on a little roll,” Gill said. “We have a tough matchup on Tuesday against Cal State Fullerton, and I know they just recently got ranked. So we got our hands full on Tuesday and that’s all we’re going to focus on.”last_img read more

Coronavirus outbreaks now reported at 23 Iowa nursing homes

first_imgJOHNSTON — State officials have confirmed a coronavirus outbreak at the state’s largest nursing home,  the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.At least three residents of a long-term care facility must test positive for COVID-19 to meet the Iowa Department of Public Health’s definition of an outbreak. Additional outbreaks were announced Tuesday at nursing homes in Dallas and Dubuque Counties. Two nursing homes in Jasper County and two homes in Polk County now have outbreaks.Governor Kim Reynolds this morning said COVID-19, unfortunately, spreads quickly in these kinds of congregate settings.“We’re deploying long term care strike teams to conduct surveillance testing of employees in areas where virus activity is high,” Reynolds said during her daily news conference, “and will continue to ramp up these efforts.”There are now confirmed coronavirus outbreaks at 23 Iowa nursing homes. On Monday, the commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home said 15 employees had tested positive for COVID-19.last_img read more

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