Rabat – Morocco’s railways operator ONCF has pledged to improve quality after technical problems caused long delays.ONCF said in a statement that technical problems and construction work caused long delays in the arrival of trains and has vowed to implement an “immediate action plan” to improve the quality of its services.The company said that delays were caused by technical problems at the overhead cable system in the El Mansouria station on Wednesday May 12th, and that it is being renewed (progress rate 70 per cent). Disruptions were also due to the fact that part of the company’s fleet is being maintained and renovated in preparation for the summer period, in addition to construction work on the two existing tracks and overhead cable system on the Kenitra-Casablanca axis (progress rate: 65 per cent).Renovating signaling installation and improving security of the rail network (constructing footbridges and wall fences) also caused delays, the company added.Therefore, ONCF has promised to improve punctuality, comfort, availability of equipment and the flow of travelers. It also said it will not reduce the number of daily trains and will mobilize teams to conduct maintenance work during the night.
“The Road Map implementation process will not likely be easy, but its goal, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, is too important for the parties to be deterred from by early difficulties,” Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Danilo Türk said in an open briefing to the Council on developments since 19 March.The Road Map, a plan put forward by the diplomatic Quartet – the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States – which calls for parallel responses by the Israelis and Palestinians to security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, will be presented to the parties once the Palestinian Cabinet has been confirmed, Mr. Türk noted.He also stressed that in the face of the grim reality on the ground, with continuing terrorist attacks on the Israelis and the deepening humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the path ahead represented the only realistic hope for ending the current cycle of violence and counter-violence.On the political front, Mr. Türk said the new Palestinian Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, should receive the full, active cooperation of the international community as he works to curb terrorism and continue the reform process.”We hope that Abu Mazen will be empowered to continue and extend the Palestinian reform process,” Mr. Türk told the Council. “He must prove to be a leader who will provide the Palestinian people with the transparent, effective government they deserve. He must also provide the Israelis with the partner in peace that they need.”Turning to the Government of Israel, Mr. Türk said that it had an important role to play in ensuring the success of the new Palestinian Government. Crucial first steps would include facilitating the reform process and minimizing the effects of security measures on the people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Removal of internal closures and lifting of curfews would be welcome developments. Such steps would empower the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen to take action against terrorists.”Recent statements by Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon in support of a peace process in which he acknowledges that Israel might need to make ‘painful concessions,’ including the removal of some settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, are to be welcomed,” Mr. Türk said. “Israel’s early embrace of the Road Map and active implementation of the process would seem to be an essential manifestation of the support expressed by Mr. Sharon.”
Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme “Women as the Voice for the Environment (WAVE),” some 140 women representing 60 countries at the Global Women’s Assembly on the Environment also recommended pinpointing the roles of women in the environmental recovery of war-torn zones.The WAVE assembly, sponsored by the Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the New York-based Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), included environment ministers from Iran, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Sweden.The manifesto, which will be given to governments attending UNEP’s Governing Council in February 2005 for action, said, “Globalization, militarization, fundamentalism, and the market-driven economic model have undermined the achievement of the agreed goals.”It included expressions of similar deep concern over “the ever-widening gap between rich and poor,” “unsustainable levels of production and consumption” and the “culture of fear and threat, with its many conflicts and increasing levels of violence and militarization.”The Network of Women Ministers for the Environment, chaired by Lena Sommestad of Sweden and Rejoice Madubafhasi of South Africa, drafted a separate declaration for presentation at the 2005 Governing Council meeting, which has as its theme gender equality and empowerment.The WAVE assembly aimed to put women’s issues at the centre of the global effort to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty and integrate them into the World Summit on Sustainable Development’s Plan of Implementation.UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said, “In the past, the role of women and their know-how has often been sidelined. I sincerely hope that our assembly signals an end to this gender apartheid. All too often women are treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights and lower status than men. I hope we have now started a WAVE that will wash away the inequities of the past and bring women into the centre of environment and development issues.”Ms. Sommestad said the delegates had been inspired by the presence of Prof. Wangari Maathai, this year’s Nobel Peace Laureate and Kenya’s deputy environment minister, who addressed the assembly’s opening ceremony.
“Although differences on substantive issues remain, I found a willingness on both sides to address them in a practical and pragmatic way,” Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno said yesterday at the end of a visit during which he had held “constructive discussions” with leaders on both sides, who showed an openness to reengage and resume the peace process.Talks between the sides were frozen for much of last year, in part due to protracted elections in Abkhazia, and no progress has been made on the core issue of the political status of Abkhazia within Georgia since the Abkhaz side has for the past several years invoked its unilateral “declaration of independence” of 1999.Mr. Guéhenno said he was hopeful the openness he found would lead to more substantive exchanges and eventually produce concrete results in the three priority areas – political and security matters, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and economic cooperation.He noted that a spring meeting in Geneva of the so-called Group of the Friends of the Secretary-General (Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), who are assisting in seeking a solution, provided a fresh opportunity for both sides to meet.“I feel quite confident about the willingness of both sides to consider further steps towards a peaceful resolution,” he added.In his latest report on the situation last month, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) remained vital in preventing a flare-up of hostilities, and the Security Council extended its mandate for a further six months until 31 July, calling for a settlement that fully respected Georgia’s territorial integrity.UNOMIG, which consists of 130 uniformed personnel, including 119 military observers and 11 civilian police supported by 103 international civilian personnel and 184 local civilian staff, was established in 1994 after an accord reached in Moscow ended the fighting in Georgia’s northwestern corner.
Maple Leaf Q4 profit soars to $54.6M despite slight decline in sales revenue by Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 26, 2013 9:13 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI) is raising prices due to cost increases caused by the droughts last year, chief executive Michael McCain said Tuesday as the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $54.6 million.The company has already increased some and warned that lower hog production will likely cause higher hog and meat prices in first half of this year.McCain said the higher prices will likely lead to some short-term earnings volatility in the first half of the year.“We’ve demonstrated over time that we have the pricing power to pass through those economics, but there can be some unpredictable volatility over a quarter or two as we go through that process,” he told a conference call with financial analysts.The company said its profit amounted to 38 cents per diluted share for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $8.4 million or six cents per diluted share in the same 2011 quarter. Revenue fell 3.3 per cent to $1.2 billion from $1.24 billion.Maple Leaf said lower restructuring costs and higher gross margins were among reasons for the more than six-fold increase in its fourth-quarter profit.Adjusted earnings were 38 cents per share in the quarter, compared with 21 cents a year ago.Revenue was slightly below the average estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters, but Maple Leaf’s profit beat estimates of 31 cents per share of adjusted earnings and 27 cents per share of net income.McCain said this year will see significant changes as the company opens several new operations and overhauls others as part of Maple Leaf’s restructuring. The company expects to spend about $139 million on restructuring costs between this year and 2015.In its outlook for 2013, the company said it expected $425 million in capital expenditures, up from $306 million in 2012.Last month the company sold a potato processing product facility in Lethbridge, Alta., to Cavendish Farms for $57.8 million and announced plans to close a bakery in Grand Falls, N.B., and another in Edmonton.Maple Leaf expects to take a $6.3-million restructuring charge before taxes related to the closures.For all of 2012, the company earned $115.3 million or 81 cents per diluted share on sales of $4.86 billion, compared with $82.1 million or 58 cents per diluted share on sales of $4.89 billion in 2011.McCain said the results “reflect steady, ongoing progress in realizing earnings growth.”“The challenging market conditions in primary pork processing margins and consumer bread demand were significant headwinds for the year,” McCain said.The company’s meat products and agribusiness operations reported sales of $814.2 million in the fourth quarter, down from $845.3 million last year. For the full year, sales for the Group totalled about $3.3 billion, roughly the same as 2011.Adjusted operating earnings grew to $60.8 million for the quarter, up from $42.2 million a year ago, while they totalled $189.7 million for the year, up from $177.9 million.Maple Leaf’s bakery business, which includes the Dempster’s, Tenderflake, and Olivieri brands, saw fourth-quarter sales slip to $390.6 million compared to $400 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Sales for all of 2012 for the group amounted to $1.57 billion, down from $1.59 billion for 2011.The unit reported adjusted operating earnings for the fourth quarter grew to $31.4 million from $16.1 million in the last three months of 2011 as growth in the fresh bakery and North American frozen bakery businesses was partly offset by lower earnings in the fresh pasta business.For the full year, the bakery group earned an adjusted operating profit of $97.6 million, up from $86.3 million in 2011.The company has some 20,000 employees at operations in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia is a leading value-added meat, meals and bakery company.
CHILE OUT – NO PUBLICAR EN CHILE – A worker from the U.S. South Pole Amundsen-Scott station arrives at a clinic in Punta Arenas, Chile, on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. A small plane with two sick U.S. workers arrived safely in Chile after leaving Antarctica in a daring rescue mission from the remote South Pole research station, officials said. (AP Photo/Joel Estay) by Seth Borenstein And Eva Vergara, The Associated Press Posted Jun 22, 2016 5:56 am MDT Last Updated Jun 23, 2016 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Daring flight removes 2 sick workers from South Pole station SANTIAGO, Chile – Two people who fell ill while working at the U.S. research station at the South Pole have been evacuated by a small plane that made the daring rescue flight in Antarctica’s harsh winter.The National Science Foundation said the two workers arrived safely late Wednesday in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile, after a long trip from the Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole. They stopped for a few hours at a British station on the edge of Antarctica to be put on another plane.“From Punta Arenas, the two patients aboard will be transported to a medical facility that can provide a level of care that is not available at Amundsen-Scott,” said a statement on the National Science Foundation’s Facebook page.The foundation runs Amundsen-Scott and two other centres in Antarctica. It did not identify the sick workers or give their conditions, citing medical privacy. They were described only as seasonal employees of Lockheed Martin, which is the prime contractor for operations and research support for the foundation’s Antarctic program.At Magallanes Clinic in Punta Arenas, nurse Mauricio Seron told The Associated Press that a female patient “with a gastric problem” was the sicker of the two. He said the second was a male patient who had suffered a heart attack. The woman was carried in on a stretcher and the man walked in on his own accord.In a hectic two days of flying, the rescue team flew 3,000 miles roundtrip from Britain’s Rothera station to the South Pole and returned to Rothera with the sick workers Wednesday afternoon, said Peter West, spokesman for the National Science Foundation. The workers were transferred to a second Canadian-owned Twin Otter plane for the flight to Punta Arenas.At Rothera, the temperature was a balmy 27.5 degrees (minus 2.5 Celsius) Wednesday afternoon. That was toasty compared to the South Pole where it was minus 75 (minus 60 Celsius) in the morning.West confirmed that the operation, coming right after the equinox, was the darkest and coldest of all past missions to the South Pole for medical evacuation. He said that the departure of the two workers should not affect the functioning of the base.Before they left, there were 48 people — 39 men and nine women — at the Amundsen-Scott station for the winter.Normally planes don’t go to the U.S. polar outpost from February to October because of the dangers of flying in the pitch-dark and cold. The first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere was Monday — the sun will not rise at the South Pole until the first day of spring in September.Steve Barnet, who works with a University of Wisconsin astronomy team at the polar station but is in the U.S. now, lauded the rescue crew.“The courage of the pilots to make the flight in extremely harsh conditions is incredible and inspiring,” Barnet wrote in an email.The extreme cold affects a lot of things on planes, including fuel, which needs to be warmed before takeoff, batteries and hydraulics, West said. The Twin Otter can fly in temperatures as low as minus 103 degrees (minus 75 degrees Celsius), he said.“The air and Antarctica are unforgiving environments and punishes any slackness very hard,” said Tim Stockings, operations director for the British Antarctic Survey. “If you are complacent it will bite you.”“Things can change very quickly down there” with ice from clouds, high winds and snow, he said.The station has a doctor and a physician’s assistant and is connected to doctors in the U.S. for consultation, West said, but sometimes workers need medical care that can’t be provided at the South Pole. There have been three emergency evacuations from Amundsen-Scott since 1999.The 1999 flight, which was done in Antarctic spring during slightly better conditions, rescued the station’s doctor, Jerri Nielsen, who had breast cancer and had been treating herself. Rescues also were done in 2001 and 2003, both for gallbladder problems.Scientists have had a station at the South Pole since 1956. It does astronomy, physics and environmental science with telescopes, seismographs and instruments that monitor the atmosphere. The foundation runs two other research stations in Antarctica.___Online:National Science Foundation: https://www.nsf.gov___Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein reported this story from Washington, AP writer Eva Vergara reported in Santiago, and AP videographer Joel Estay reported in Punta Arenas.___Seth Borenstein is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/borenbears . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein .
When lawyer Bill Kordos came across a photograph of the Water Rat Hotel taken in 1919, he was smitten. With a keen interest in architecture, Bill set out with fellow investor Victor Stroumos to revitalise the historic South Melbourne watering hole. “The culture of the management team is focused on excellence … there’s a very positive energy within the team.”Bill Kordos“It’s been an iconic landmark for over 100 years,” says Bill, who researched the hotel’s history before buying it. “We thought it would be a magnificent opportunity to bring it back to life and create a contemporary fine-dining venue that still resonates in its Victorian grandeur.” And bring it back to life they did. A classy renovation and revamped menu has brought in new customers and kept them coming. Six years after moving into the hospitality business, Bill and Vic’s investment is paying big dividends. Last month the Water Rat won the Best Restaurant (Metropolitan) – Victoria Award given by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). Along with refurbishing the hotel, the owners made some shrewd appointments to get it where it is today. Offering a menu beyond the usual expectations, created by a chef with imagination and ambition, has been key. Kiwi culinary ace Chris Worley joined the team last year and says realising the Water Rat’s vision is more than making the best chicken parmigiana. “Customers come back for what they try, not for just the standard generic dishes.” While Chris’ menu pays homage to pub favourites, dishes like sun-dried tomato stuffed duck breast with chargrilled vegetable tian and a fig glaze puts some clear blue water between the hotel’s offerings and traditional pub meals. “We’ve gone step by step, it’s about building a relationship with our clients,” says Chris, who points out that since winning the AHA award, prices have remained the same. The business’s commercial success is also down to Lia Spyropoulou, who as Functions and Marketing Manager, alongside chef Chris, make up the only full-time staff. Born in Chalkida in 1987, Lia studied marketing at La Trobe University, before starting at the Water Rat in 2009. Pitched in at the deep end, Lia’s first task was to introduce new cost management systems. Lia’s scope of work not only involves being the public face of the hotel, she also deals with its day to day management, and with 15 front of house staff and four in the kitchen, it’s no small order. “I do all the rosters and daily procedures. I want my own place one day, so this is good experience for me,” says Lia, who won the AHA’s ‘Rising Star’ Award for 2011. Though the Water Rat is Lia’s first job, she’s been a perfect fit. “The culture of the management team is focused on excellence and there’s a very positive energy within the team,” says Bill Kordos. In Lia, that energy is clear to see and hear. “I’ve learned heaps,” admits the young marketing manager, “particularly in terms of dealing with difficult situations and customers.” With an a la carte menu that changes every two months to keep it seasonal, the Water Rat has become known for its wine dinners – six course gastronomic feasts matched with fine wines. “They’re so much fun,” says Lia, who extends her role to be the welcoming host on such occasions. While the restaurant is getting accolades and drawing ever greater numbers, the mainstay of the turnover continues to come from functions. “It’s 60 per cent of our business,” says Lia, “they can be corporate events, birthday parties, engagements, and weddings.There’s a Greek church just two blocks up, so it’s easy for people to come here. We can do 350 stand-ups or 100 for a sit-down dinner.” With no intention of resting on their laurels, Bill Kordos says the next target is already in their sights. “We’re committed to being the premier functions venue in Victoria with a chef’s hat dining rating.” The owners’ passion for the hospitality business is so obviously shared by their staff, and therein lies the reason for the Water Rat Hotel’s recent achievements. “The best restaurant award was a big first step,” says Lia, “but our vision is to be the leading hotel in Victoria. I want us to be the best.” With its winning management team the historic Water Rat Hotel is in good hands, and one of Melbourne’s rising stars in the hospitality industry.The Water Rat Hotel, 256 Moray Street, South Melbourne. Victoria 3205. For bookings call Lia Spyropoulou on (03) 9686 1973 or 0404 10817. www.thewaterrathotel.com.au Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, October 26, 2017 – Nassau – Members of The Bahamas Society for Human Resource Management called upon Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General, at Government House on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.Pictured at the courtesy call, from left: Lauren Adderley, Tanya Rahming, Chrislyn Benjamin, H.E. Dame Marguerite Pindling, Nekessa Beneby, Edris Davis and Akua Anyane.(BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson) Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
KUSI Newsroom City Council votes 5-4 to proceed with Housing Navigation Center KUSI Newsroom, Posted: November 14, 2018 November 14, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council voted, 5-4, Tuesday to proceed with a proposed Housing Navigation Center that will offer services and programs to help homeless residents find housing and obtain medical care, mental health treatment, job training and other supportive services.With the vote, the city enters into a one-year agreement from Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019 with Family Health Centers of San Diego to operate the center. The agreement includes four optional one-year extensions.The council, acting as the San Diego Housing Authority, also authorized a memorandum of understanding on the roles the city and the San Diego Housing Commission will play in the operation of the navigation center, with the Housing Commission overseeing the day-to-day management and oversight of the facility.“Helping someone transition from homelessness isn’t just about finding an apartment, it is about rebuilding a life” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “A navigation center will be where this starts. Where people can find financial assistance to get back on their feet; where people can reconnect with family; where people can get an ID, assistance from (Veterans Affairs) benefits or access to healthcare from county and federal services.”The council voted unanimously in January to purchase a building in downtown San Diego that will eventually house the navigation center. The city agreed to pay $7.3 million for a building at 1401 Imperial Ave., adjacent to Father Joe’s Villages and a trolley station.Funding for the navigation center is expected to total $1.8 million during the first year and $1.5 million each subsequent year, with $1 million annually coming from the city’s Community Development Block Grant program.The vote could be the council’s last significant one before the three new City Council members are sworn in next month, and it did not lack partisan politics despite the council being technically nonpartisan. Democratic City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole voted with the council’s four Republicans in favor of the proposal, while Democratic City Council members Barbara Bry, Chris Ward, David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez voted against it.Council Democrats noted that the navigation center does not include sorely needed new housing units. Ward, who represents the district the navigation center will be in, argued that the center does nothing new to assist the city’s homeless population.“This no longer aspires to be a one-stop, low-barrier shelter model with access to multiple providers and on-site services, targeting the chronically homeless and those living in encampments,” Ward said. “Instead, this proposal will provide zero additional shelter beds, zero additional housing units, and zero additional services for our vulnerable population.”City officials remain unsure how many homeless residents will use the navigation center each year. The city’s 2018 Point in Time report found San Diego’s unsheltered homeless population at roughly 5,000, with another 3,500 homeless residents in emergency shelters and transitional housing. Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
KUSI Newsroom Posted: March 18, 2019 Updated: 9:48 AM Categories: Local San Diego News, Trending FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom, March 18, 2019 Bernie Sanders bringing presidential campaign to San Diego 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Bernie Sanders will bring his presidential campaign to San Diego, as California gears up to play a significant role in who the Democrats will select to run against President Trump in 2020.As KUSI’s Steve Bosh reports, this is because California is joining eight other states in moving up its primary to MarchThe traditional campaign strategy is focusing on the Iowa caucus, the first primary in New Hampshire, followed by three other primaries may not work this time around.But can candidates afford not to compete in California?“It has really multiple media markets which means they not only have to invest time in our state cause our delegates are more than all of those states put together”, says Will Rodriguez Kennedy, Chair of the County Democratic Party. “If you don’t play in California you’re sitting out hundreds of delegates that are critical to where you need to go. You’re going to see a really interesting contest to see if someone gets a majority, and the votes are done proportionally so they’re gonna want to get as many delegates as they can.”We’re also reminded that California’s 55 electoral votes go to the candidate with highest popular vote. Another important reason to campaign here.
PORTLAND — A United Airlines flight from Portland to Houston returned to the airport shortly after takeoff Tuesday morning and landed successfully after the crew was unable to raise the aircraft’s landing gear.Portland International Airport spokesman Steve Johnson said the plane made what looked like a smooth landing about 7 a.m., and there were no reports of injuries.
What are salary sacrifice company car schemes?Salary sacrifice car schemes have become a popular benefit, allowing employees to sacrifice a portion of their monthly salary in return for a new car.Employees benefit from having a safe, maintenance-free car, while employers go some way to demonstrating compliance with their duty-of-care requirements under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007. These schemes may also help with employee retention, since employees are usually locked into the scheme for a two- or three-year period.What are the origins of salary sacrifice company car schemes?Salary sacrifice on cars was first launched in 2008.Where can employers get more information and advice?More information is available from The Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) at www.acfo.org and at www.employeebenefits.co.uk/company-cars.What are the costs involved?Scheme provider Tusker has estimated that employees can save an average of £900 a year on income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) and up to £500 a year on fuel, depending on the efficiency of the model they choose, while an employer could save approximately £300 net per employee per year on NICs.What are the legal implications?In the Spending review and autumn statement 2015 policy paper, the government expressed its concern at the growth of salary sacrifice arrangements. With this in mind, employers launching a new scheme would do well to start with a pilot before seeking approval from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which it will only give post-launch. Employers also need to ensure employees do not fall below the national living wage, which will take effect in April 2016, or the existing national minimum wage. This can be a bigger issue when employees have opted into salary sacrifice arrangements for more than one benefit.What are the tax issues?Both employer and employee save on NICs, owing to the reduction in salary, however the employee does attract some tax liability because cars are classed as a benefit-in-kind.What is the annual spend?There are no industry figures collated for the spend on salary sacrifice car schemes.Which providers have the biggest market share?The main providers in the market are Affinity Vehicle Leasing, ALD Automotive, Alphabet, Autoserve, Fleet Evolution, Fleet Hire (including Car Salary Exchange), Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, Inchcape Fleet Solutions, Lex Autolease, LeasePlan, Ogilvie Fleet, Pendragon Vehicle Management, SG Fleet (including Novalease), TCH Leasing, Tusker, Venson Automotive Solutions, Zenith (including Leasedrive).Which have increased their market share the most?With no industry figures collated, this is impossible to assess.Salary sacrifice schemes for cars have been increasing in popularity since they first launched in 2008, with research by global strategy consultancy OC&C estimating that 10% of new car sales will be part of a salary sacrifice scheme by 2025.However, employers would be forgiven for being slightly wary when considering setting up a new scheme, with the government flagging its concerns over salary sacrifice more than once in the past year.Car schemes are slightly different to other salary sacrifice schemes because employees also pay a benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax on the vehicle, prompting consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to report that car schemes are tax positive to the Treasury over a long-term basis.But owing to the question mark that lingers over salary sacrifice generally, it is advisable for employers to seek scheme approval from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when setting up a new scheme.The only snag is that HMRC will only give approval after the first transaction has taken place, so it may make sense to introduce the arrangement to a limited number of employees first before rolling a scheme out. For approval to be given, HMRC asks to see evidence of the variation of terms and conditions and pay slips before and after the introduction of the salary sacrifice arrangements.Under salary sacrifice the employee pays less income tax and both employer and employee are eligible for reduced national insurance contributions (NICs). The amount of BIK tax due is calculated according to a number of variables, including the type of fuel used and the official carbon dioxide (CO2) figure of the car. Because more fuel-efficient cars attract less tax, the most popular models offered and taken up are those with low CO2 emissions. Electric cars, which attract no BIK tax, are also becoming more common under these schemes.Those already in salary sacrifice schemes have been reassured that they will not be negatively affected by last year’s Volkswagen scandal, where Volkswagen Group was found to have cheated in emissions tests. HMRC has stated that cars will not be rebranded for BIK duty. According to research by scheme provider Tusker, Volkswagen came seventh in the top 10 manufacturers chosen under salary sacrifice schemes in the first quarter of 2015.Besides the tax benefits of salary sacrifice arrangements for cars, there is the added advantage that employers are assured employees are driving a safe, more environmentally friendly car.By enabling staff to sacrifice a portion of their salary rather than providing a cash option, the employer is less at risk of an employee choosing to drive an older car and spending the cash elsewhere. Under a scheme, the car is regularly maintained and serviced, so providing a car in this way also helps employers meet their legal duty-of-care responsibilities for staff required to drive on business.Despite the benefits, there are some issues to look out for when considering implementing a salary sacrifice scheme. The first relates to parental leave and long-term sickness. When an employee is on maternity or paternity leave, or long-term sick leave the employer is obliged to continue providing the benefit, despite a potential drop in salary, or the individual even being on unpaid leave.Additionally, under salary sacrifice, ownership of the car is retained by the employer, putting them at risk of shouldering an ongoing liability if an employee leaves. The most common way to mitigate against this risk is by adding early termination insurance to the premium or setting up a contingency fund that can be built up through an addition to the premium paid.Another option is novated leasing. Under this model, the contract is between the employee and the provider, not the employer. If the employee leaves, they take the car, and the contract with them.To guard against issues, the salary sacrifice contract should specify what is expected if an employee leaves an organisation and wishes to end the terms of the car scheme early. However, a scheme can also act as a good retention tool, with most contracts lasting for two to three years.Another potential issue is the risk of salary sacrifice taking an employee below the national minimum wage, especially where salary sacrifice is being used by an employee for more than one benefit. Schemes already in place should be reviewed whenever changes take place around the national minimum wage. The same is true of the new national living wage, for workers aged 25 and over, which will take effect from April 2016.Through communications, employees should also be made aware that a reduction in their salary could affect other benefits, such as pension contributions, and things such as mortgage applications, for example.Running the scheme may also result in extra administration, with scheme details and administration potentially requiring an update whenever tax changes occur, especially in terms of changes to value-added tax (VAT), NICs or BIK taxation. Scheme providers should be able to help with these administrative details.
The top 10 most read stories on www.employeebenefits.co.uk between 14 and 20 July 2016:British Gas holiday pay case heard at Court of AppealRos Altmann leaves pensions minister postBritish Airways i360 pays living wage to all staffEmployment tribunal to hear Uber workers’ rights cases37% of financial organisations introduce flexible-working initiativesRichard Harrington to fulfil pensions minister dutiesImperial Chemical Industries Pension Fund completes £750m buy-inTaylor Swift and One Direction top list of highest-paid celebrities57% would attend dental check-ups if they had help with costWatch Employee Benefits Wired: the changing shape of the employee benefits market on demand
In a step to further the publisher’s e-commerce strategy, F+W Media has announced a partnership with Google’s Affiliate Network. The deal, F+W said, enables the company to utilize “easy-to-employ” promotional tools and offer revenue incentives to partner sites that drive e-commerce through F+W’s Web stores. In the second half of 2008, F+W launched five e-commerce-focused sites, including WritersDigestStore.com, PopulatWoodworkingShop.com, MyCraftivityShop.com, ArtistsNetworkShop.com and ClearanceBooks.com. Each site includes products for sale such as magazines, books, CDs and DVDs.According to CEO David Nussbaum, F+W has grown its e-commerce revenues more than 140 percent over the last 12 months. “Increased direct-to-consumer online sales through our community-focused Web stores is a priority,” he said. “Adding this revenue opportunity for our partners is the logical next step.”The Google Affiliate Network is operated by DoubleClick Performics, an affiliate network launched in 1998. It was purchased by Google in March 2008.
Put your nostalgia goggles on full blast: As part of the E3 schedule, Nintendo showed off more footage of the upcoming Link’s Awakening at the E3 Nintendo Switch and I’m sorry, but it looks glorious. As someone who played and adored the original Link’s Awakening on the original Nintendo Game Boy, this looks like a faithful rework on every possible level. It retains the charm of the original but the new art style looks to elevate it into something truly special in its own right.I cannot wait to play this video game all over again.Perhaps the most newsworthy part: Link’s Awakening has some sort of new “dungeon creator” that looks like it allows players to design their own dungeons seamlessly. Looks like it could provide a lot of replay value to those who blast through the main quest quickly.The game is set for release Sept 20 2019. Review • Xbox One Elite controller review: Luxury gaming and customization, at a price See It Walmart Share your voice Aug 3 • E3 journalists see their personal info exposed by security flaw See it Mentioned Above Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller E3 press conferencesSaturday, June 8Electronic Arts — The game maker showed off 15 minutes of gameplay for its upcoming adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It also announced new features for its free-to-download Apex Legends last-man-standing battle royale game, offering a new character and weapon to play with. The company also showed off a new paid update for The Sims 4, called Island Living, that brings the series to a tropical beach. Finally, the company did discuss drama over the mixed reviews for its Anthem action adventure game, saying it “learned a lot” and had more updates and features planned soon.Sunday, June 9Microsoft / Xbox — The gaming giant’s biggest news was Project Scarlett, its next-generation Xbox, coming in 2020. The new device is up to 4x more powerful, the company said, and like the next-gen PlayStation it’ll include a fast non-mechanical SSD hard drive, and it’ll be powered by custom innards built with the help of chipmaker AMD. The company also announced that Halo Infinite will launch alongside Project Scarlett next year. Meantime, Microsoft is starting public tests of its Project xCloud streaming service in October, promising people the ability to play high end games on their mobile devices while away from home. While fans wait, Microsoft announced an update to its Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 as well as a slew of new games. And action star Keanu Reeves, fresh off the success of John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, was on stage to announce his involvement with Cyberpunk 2077, which is coming next year.Bethesda — Bethesda kicked off its event with humility over the mixed response to Fallout 76, but quickly went back on the offensive. Fallout 76 got a new Battle Royale mode, Wolfenstein Youngblood received a new trailer and a co-op mode. We got a new game called Deathloop from the clever folks behind Dishonored and Bethesda introduced us to Orion, a piece of tech from ID Software designed to make game streaming better on services like Google Stadia. The lion’s share of attention, however, went to Doom Eternal, which looked fantastic in both single player and multiplayer.Monday, June 10PC Gaming Show — This annual PC Gaming Show is held at a theater a short walk from the Los Angeles Convention Center, but still draws a large crowd, filling the 1,700-person capacity Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Inside, the usual suspects, from Halo to Doom, were nowhere to be found. Instead, the crowd cheered for PC-centric games including Zombie Army 4, Baldur’s Gate 3 and Terraria: Journey’s End. (No, the game sequel problem isn’t any better on PCs.) The highlight was a brief on-stage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classic such as Hang-On and Virtua Fighter. His long-awaited Shenmue 3 is expected in November, 18 years after Shenmue 2. Ubisoft — The French gaming giant announced its next big dystopian hacking adventure game, Watch Dogs: Legion, launching March 2020. The new game is set in near-future post-Brexit London, where the economy is failing and government is breaking down. The company also announced a new television show, called Mythic Quest, that will launch on Apple TV Plus. And it celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Just Dance party games. Square Enix — This was a huge franchise fair. The press conference started out with juicy details on Final Fantasy VII Remake, namely that it’ll be a two-part game. The first part, an entire Blu-Ray disc, will be devoted to exploring Midgar. After a flurry of trailers and an in-depth look at Final Fantas XIV: Shadowbringers, we then got the main event unveil: Marvel’s Avengers. Tuesday, June 11Nintendo (livestream only) — 9 a.m. PT (noon ET)We’re thereCNET will be on the ground, covering covering E3 2019 alongside our sister site, Gamespot. We’ll update this page throughout the show as more games are announced. Gaming Culture Post a comment See It E3 2019 E3 2019 $190 Electronic Arts (EA) Microsoft Nintendo Apple $115 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. reading • Link’s Awakening shown off at E3 Nintendo Direct, reveals dungeon creator $149 Aug 19 • Borderlands 3: FL4K, new endgame content and everything else we know Jul 26 • Doom Eternal: QuakeCon ‘Year of Doom’ keynote shows more ‘Battlemode’ action See All • 40 Photos Preview • Xbox Elite Wireless controller lets you customize to your heart’s content 0 Aug 28 • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer, gameplay footage and everything we know Why 2020 could be the best year for video games Abt Electronics Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller Tags
An employee sits at the front desk inside Tech Mahindra office building in Noida.Reuters fileAfter IT giants Cognizant, Infosys, and Wipro, Tech Mahindra seems to be the latest company to plan employee layoffs. The firm may hand out pink slips to about 2,000 employees for poor performance.While it was said that Cognizant and Infosys were laying off employees in India to hire workers in the US, Tech Mahindra is reportedly letting its workers go on the basis of performance. “We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year and this year is no different,” the company told the Times of India.The IT giant is India’s fifth largest IT services provider and has about 117,095 employees across 90 countries. Laying off 1,500 employees makes up for about 1.2 percent of its workforce. Though the company has said that the layoff would be on the basis of the ongoing appraisal and the employees’ performance in the past years, it is yet to be revealed whether the decision will affect workers across the board or only at certain levels.In light of the latest reports on employees being laid off on such short notices, the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) filed a petition with the labour commissioner on Tuesday, May 9, regarding the same.”We demand the state and central government intervention to stop the illegal termination of Cognizant employee’s with immediate effect, reinstate all the affected employees, restore the normalcy in work environment affected by illegal terminations,” FITE said, according to the Indian Express.Meanwhile, IT giants have been making headlines over the issue in the last few days. It was reported that Cognizant was planning to lay off about 6,000 workers in India to hire in the US. It was said that the firm was not only trying to expand its brand in the US but was also trying to appease the Donald Trump administration, which has expressed displeasure over American firms outsourcing jobs to other countries. Hiring and headcount details based on company filings.Quarterly results and statements.Soon after CTS made news for the layoffs, Capgemini too came under the limelight for similar reasons. While it was initially said that the French IT firm planned to lay off about 9,000 employees, Capgemini later said that the figures were unfounded.”The figures reported in the article published today – including the reference to igate – are unfounded. We have not announced any lay off plan,” the statement said. The logo of Capgemini is seen at the entrance of the company headquarters in Paris.Reuters”Each year our employees are evaluated based on strict performance criteria in an objective process, consistent with industry norms, to ensure we are aligned with our customer needs, business priorities, and the overall industry evolution. This leads naturally to a varying number of employees transitioning out of the organization in any given year,” the company added.Wipro, which is said to have sacked about 500 employees, said the exits were part of the annual performance appraisal. Infosys too said that the employees were let go only on the basis of their performance.
© 2011 PhysOrg.com The experts turned to the modern science of x-ray imaging for answers. The scientific work showed an unfinished self-portrait by Rembrandt under the paint surface.The ESRF and Brookhaven sites performed the scientific explorations. Ernst van de Wetering, emeritus professor of art history at the University of Amsterdam and head of the Rembrandt Research Project, said the evidence was clear that this is a Rembrandt. Copper distribution map from XRF analysis with the contours superimposed on the hidden portrait (centre) (reconstruction by E. Van de Wetering). Comparison of the outline to other self portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn: Rembrandt as a young man (left), (© Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA); Self portrait of Rembrandt (right), dated 1630, (© National museum, Stockholm). The scanning technology that was used at ESRF was a dual energy X-ray imaging technique. The Brookhaven National Lab used used Macro-scanning X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry (MA-XRF). Central to Brookhaven’s contribution was its new fluorescence microprobe system that can scan surfaces with high definition. The XRF technique was used with this new “Maia” detector system.The detector can produce high definition maps of the spatial distribution of different chemical elements in a painting. The painting is placed on a motorized scanning stage that allows for element-specific mapping. A pencil beam of synchrotron radiation (SR) is swept over the painting. What do Facebook and Rembrandt have in common? Everything More information: www.labmanager.com/?articles.v … rs-of-a-Purported-Re www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR … =1359&template=Todaywebh01.ua.ac.be/mitac4/rembran … /oldman_pxrf_100.jpgwebh01.ua.ac.be/mitac4/rembrandt/index_301111.html Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. KES imaging of the painting Old Man with a Beard at beamline ID17 allowed a quick visualisation of the distribution of heavy elements in the paintings. Based on these results, the presence of a complete second figure could be excluded. Image credit: Koen Janssens. (PhysOrg.com) — Advanced imaging technology from the Brookhaven Labs and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble has revealed an authentic Rembrandt self-portrait in an art authenticity effort involving leading art historians and scientists at the two labs. The hunt for authenticity all began when a private collector showed art historians in Amsterdam a small panel “Old Man with a Beard” from about 1630. The collector wanted to know if it was a Rembrandt. Citation: X-ray techniques help art historians verify Rembrandt sketch (2011, December 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-x-ray-techniques-art-historians-rembrandt.html The Maia detector, according to the publication Lab Manager, which details the technology used in the Rembrandt probe, is based on a massively parallel detector array composed of 384 individual detectors, an “on-the-fly” scanning system, and advanced analysis software. The publication reported that the detector was able to image the entire painting in about eight hours, in a task that would normally take about 30 days.In general, X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) is considered a key technology for those in the art world, as it highlights pigments concealed beneath the surface, and has previously been used to authenticate works by Van Gogh and Goya, among other famous artists. The tool is especially helpful as it can determine chemical composition in a nondestructive way; the work of art is left intact.Prof Ernst van de Wetering, an art historian at the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam, and head of the Rembrandt Research Project, had worked meanwhile with his team to examine the sketch for authenticity. The imaging results gave scientific support to authentication, which Prof. van de Wetering announced at the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam on Friday.From 1 May to 1 July 2012 the Rembrandt House Museum is staging a special exhibition of research into ten paintings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries using XRF technology.
Life reconstruction of Paleoparadoxia from Tsuchiyu Onsen Town. This artistic image was constructed based on a combination of photogrammetric 3D models of original skeletal fossils by using PhotoScan v. 1.4.0, including EESUT-PV-0001, and designed models of missing parts. This image gives more accurate proportion of Paleoparadoxia than ever reconstructed for the animal. Credit: Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172441 A team of researchers from several institutions in Japan and one in the U.S. has identified a fossilized bone, long believed to be from a dinosaur, as belonging to a Paleoparadoxia. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes the history of the bone and how it was finally correctly identified. Pregnant T. rex could aid in dino sex-typing This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Royal Society Open Science More information: Kumiko Matsui et al. A long-forgotten ‘dinosaur’ bone from a museum cabinet, uncovered to be a Japan’s iconic extinct mammal,Paleoparadoxia(Desmostylia, Mammalia), Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172441AbstractHere, we report a new ‘discovery’ of a desmostylian fossil in the geological collection at a national university in Japan. This fossil was unearthed over 60 years ago and donated to the university. Owing to the original hand-written note kept with the fossil in combination with interview investigation, we were able to reach two equally possible fossil sites in the town of Tsuchiyu Onsen, Fukushima. Through the interviews, we learned that the fossil was discovered during construction of a debris flow barrier and that it was recognized as a ‘dinosaur’ bone among the locals and displayed in the Village Hall before/until the town experienced a fire disaster in 1954. As scientific findings, the fossil was identified to be a right femur of Paleoparadoxia (Desmostylia), which shows well-preserved muscle scars on the surface. The age was estimated to be 15.9 Ma or younger in zircon-dating. This study shows an excellent case that historical and scientific significances could be extracted from long-forgotten uncatalogued specimens as long as the original information is retained with the specimens. Explore further © 2018 Phys.org The researchers report that the bone was found sometime during the 1950s when workers building a dam came across it. The bone was found near the town of Tsuchiyu Onsen in Fukushima. Archeologists called to recover the fossil described it in a note as a dinosaur femur, and later placed it on a shelf in a museum. It was there on that shelf that the researchers with this new effort found the bone. Testing showed the fossil was from approximately 15.9 million years ago (long past the age of the dinosaurs) and that it was actually the fossilized remains of a Paleoparadoxia femur.Paleoparadoxia resembled the modern hippopotamus—prior research has shown that they were plant eaters and grew to approximately two meters in length. They lived in what is now the Pacific Ocean from 20 to 10 million years ago, with a range running from Alaska to Japan and as far south as Mexico. They were also once thought to be amphibious, but more recent research has shown that they were true marine animals, spending most of their time crawling around on the ocean floor eating.The researchers report their work was made easier by the hand-written note left by the original investigators along with the fossil describing where it had been found. That allowed the researchers to return to the dig site to further investigate its history and to provide material for dating the fossil. Instead of testing the thigh bone directly, the team tested rock from the dig site, which contained datable crystal zircons. After measuring the fossil, the researchers used it to create a 3-D model of the creature when it was alive. They report that due to the condition of the fossil, the recreation was believed to be the most accurate to date. Citation: Nearly forgotten ‘dinosaur’ bone found to belong to ancient hippo-like creature (2018, July 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-forgotten-dinosaur-bone-ancient-hippo-like.html
Register Now » August 21, 2014 2 min read Does there really have to be an app for everything?A pair of patents initially filed in February 2013 by Apple suggests that the storied tech company is seeking to answer a question asked by absentminded drivers through the ages: Where’d I park my car?The patents, first noted by AppleInsider, could theoretically determine when and where a car has been parked, and then navigate users back to their vehicles without requiring a data connection.For instance, an iPhone might establish a Bluetooth connection with a car in order to watch for certain triggers — such as open doors or shuttered ignitions — to determine that it has been parked.Related: Want to Text and Walk and Still See Where You’re Going? Apple Has a Patent for That.Then, using GPS when a signal is available and the iPhone’s own onboard sensors and accelerometer data when it’s not, the technology could purportedly tracks a driver’s whereabouts by dropping digital breadcrumbs in relation to that parking spot.To activate directions, Apple imagines that users might initiate a vocal command to Siri — upon which an audio and/or visual navigation would appear.The patents would seem to bolster Apple’s marked play for car integration — including its CarPlay system, which syncs users’ iPhones with a built-in dashboard display and whose launch was recently pushed into next year.Related: Apple’s Latest Patent Tracks Temperature, Perspiration and Heart Rate — in Your Headphones Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
Disc Archiver: backup data to discs by Martin Brinkmann on May 08, 2017 in Software – 3 commentsDisc Archiver is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that enables you to backup data to one or multiple discs, and to restore it.When it comes to creating backups, one of the decisions that you need to make is to pick a target storage location for the data. Most pick hard drives, internal or external, probably as they may store Terabytes of data.Disc based solutions, be it on CD, DVD or Blu-Ray, are specialized. It is clear that you cannot push as much data on them as on a medium sized hard drive. While you may use multiple discs for the backup to increase the available storage, it increases the chance of restorations failing due the larger number of discs.The majority of backup solutions support backing up to discs, but only a few are specialized programs that only support disc-based backups.Disc ArchiverDisc Archiver is a free disc-based backup program for Windows. You can run it on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, starting with Windows 7 and going up all the way to Windows 10.Please note that the program requires a license key that is sent to an email address that you enter on first launch. The program won’t work without it.The program works for the most part like other disc-based backup solutions. It displays the folder and file structure of the PC it is run on in the interface on start, and you may use it to add files or folders to the backup job.Once you start adding files and folders, the total size of the data is displayed. The other options that you have are to change the disc type and writer, and to change some burning options (disc titles, copies, whether to insert an index).The program supports multi-disc backup jobs, so that you are not limited to what fits on a single disc. Disc Archiver supports file splitting, so that space is used effectively.Disc Archiver supports disc autoloaders, Acronova Nimbie Disc Autoloader to be precise, which makes backing up and restoring data to and from multiple discs more convenient.The restoration may restore the files and folders to their original location. This works only if index mode is enabled (which it is by default). This is a big advantage over other disc-based backup solutions which usually don’t support this.The application lists a backup job history in its interface for record keeping. You may also want to check out the system settings on first run to make changes there.Among other things, you may change the temporary storage location and database location, disable auto-update, and change burn settings.Burn settings allow you to enable file splitting to squeeze as much data as possible on each disc, and to change the free space of the various disc formats the program supports, and the burn speed of these formats.Lastly, you may enable the disc serial maker there. This is only useful if the disks are labeled with serial numbers, as Disc Archiver may then record these serial number in the database for reference purposes.Closing WordsDisc Archiver is a well designed program that is best used when it comes to low to medium sized backup jobs. It is a good option if you want to create a secondary or tertiary backup of important data for instance that is stored on another medium.The program lacks a couple of features such as compression, encryption or scheduling that most backup programs support.Now Read: CD DVD data recovery software overviewSummary12345 Author Rating5 based on 4 votes Software Name Disc ArchiverOperating System WindowsSoftware Category BackupLanding Page http://www.broadexsystems.com/discarchiver Advertisement