Polish president signs controversial pensions reform bill

first_imgPolish president Bronisław Komorowski has signed off the controversial pensions reform bill, but, in an unexpected move, also referred the law to the Constitutional Tribunal.Presidential minister Krzysztof Łaszkiewicz explained at a press conference that the key reason for signing the law was the need to preserve fiscal stability.The removal of state bonds from the pension funds’ (OFEs) portfolios, which kicks in on 3 February, would, according to Finance Ministry projections, reduce the public debt share of GDP to 47%, from an estimated 58% in 2013.Critics note that this gives the government spending leeway ahead of the 2015 general elections. On the other hand, there were constitutional doubts – and conflicting expert opinion – on some key aspects of the law, including banning OFEs from investing in sovereign bonds while forcing them initially to invest heavily in equities (75% in 2014).These articles changed the OFEs from balanced funds to high-risk plans, which could ultimately erode the trust of fund members in the state and the law.Komorowski also wanted to settle once and for the all the question of whether the funds were public entities, as the Polish Supreme Court ruled earlier, or private ones – in which case the removal of state bonds from OFE portfolios would be unconstitutional.Komorowski has long had misgivings about the reforms, which he described as a “backward step” for Poland’s pensions system, but his decision to sign the law and refer it to the tribunal has astonished the law’s many critics.The opposition has accused him of acting in the interests of Civic Platform, the senior ruling coalition party, whose membership Komorowski had to resign when he became president.Stanisław Gomułka, chief economist at the Business Centre Club and former Finance Ministry adviser, told the Polish Press Agency that, had the president delayed the signing until the tribunal’s verdict, the government would have lost only some six months in implementing the law if it proved constitutional.The risk now is that, if the tribunal rules against the government, it would have to prepare a corrected bill – a process that could take up to two years – with the second pillar operating unconstitutionally in the meantime.Gomułka questioned how Polish workers, who will have between April and July to choose whether to have their future contributions in OFEs or the Polish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), can make a rational decision in these circumstances.Jerzy Stępień, former president of the Constitutional Tribunal, echoed these sentiments on Polish Radio.Stępień has long maintained that the law is unconstitutional.As a former senator, he was also appalled at the speed with which the bill rushed through the legislature – the lower house completed its three readings and final vote over three days, while the upper house spent barely a day reviewing the law.The government has no such doubts and consequently no ‘Plan B’.The law comes into effect at the end of January.For more on pensions in Central and Eastern Europe, see the current issue of IPE magazine.last_img read more

‘National Public Lands Day’ brings free park admission

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — In observance of National Public Lands Day admission to Indiana state parks will be waived Saturday, September 30. National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort on public lands.The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has volunteer projects available at Brookville Lake, Turkey Run State Park, Raccoon State Recreation Area, Brown County State Park, Spring Mill, Quabache State Park, O’Bannon Woods and Tippecanoe River State Park.Hiking, pioneer activities, crafts and live bird shows will also be available.last_img read more

ATP, WTA cancel all tennis tournaments in China

first_imgNEW YORK: All tennis tournaments slated to be held in China this year, including the Shanghai Masters and the WTA Finals, have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ATP and WTA announced on Friday.This comes after the directive, issued earlier this month by the General Administration of Sport in China, which mandates that no international sporting events will proceed in China for the remainder of the year. Apart from the Shanghai Masters, the China Open in Beijing as well as the Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships will not take place in 2020, said ATP. Among the seven WTA events cancelled is the China Open, Wuhan Open, Jiangxi Open, Zhengzhou Open, Elite Trophy and Guangzhou Open. “We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” stated Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO in an official statement. “Unfortunately, this decision also includes the cancellation of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and as result, the corresponding Porsche Race to Shenzhen. We do however respect the decision that has been made and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season.” Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events. We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation.” “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year,” he added. The tennis season has been at a standstill since mid-March following the outbreak of novel coronavirus. The Palermo Ladies Open in Italy beginning August 3 is slated to mark the resumption of the WTA’s revamped calendar for 2020. IANS Also watch: Minister Reviews Flood Readiness for Guwahatilast_img read more

Jaguars enter Xmas break with thumping 118 points

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Guyana Jaguars enter the Christmas break of the Regional Four-Day Championship with a near 43-point lead while Barbados Pride have stormed into second place, after both sides pulled off convincing wins in the seventh round of matches last weekend.The three-time reigning champions Jaguars crushed Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 10 wickets in Georgetown, to move to 118 points and stretch their lead at the top.Jaguars remain the only unbeaten side in the championship, having won five of their seven outings. They drew with Hurricanes in the third round fixture in St Kitts and played to a dramatic tie against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the sixth round at the Guyana National Stadium.Pride, meanwhile, began the last round fifth, but leapfrogged several teams following their impressive 207-run victory over Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Brian Lara Stadium.Runners-up for the last three seasons, Pride are now in a familiar spot in the standings on 75.2 but just narrowly ahead of Red Force on 71.6.Jamaica Scorpions, who lost to Volcanoes at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in the last round, are virtually tied with Red Force on 71.4 points.Hurricanes, who started the season strongly but have now lost three matches, lie fifth on 61 points while Volcanoes, who secured their maiden win last weekend, are bottom on 52.2 points.The season resumes with the eighth round on January 4.last_img read more

3 storylines to look out for before No. 6 Syracuse’s matchup with No. 17 Johns Hopkins

first_imgNo. 6 Syracuse (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated then-No. 4 Virginia 12-11 on Sunday at Klockner Stadium. The Orange dominated through three quarters, allowing five goals to Virginia’s fourth-ranked offense in the first 45 minutes. After Virginia ripped a 6-1 run through the bulk of the fourth quarter to tie the game, freshman midfielder Tucker Dordevic provided the game-winner for SU.On Saturday, the Orange welcomes No. 17 Johns Hopkins (2-2) to the Carrier Dome for faceoff at 1 p.m. The Blue Jays enter the game following a 16-9 win over Princeton. Through four games played, JHU and SU are nearly identical in scoring. Both teams average 10 goals allowed per game and 11.5 and 11.75 goals for, respectively.Here are three storylines to watch for headed into Saturday’s matchup.Learning to fly In years past, Johns Hopkins entered seasons with five or six returners from the offense the season prior, senior midfielder Joel Tinney said. In 2018, that wasn’t the case. Tinney, along with senior attack Shack Stanwick and junior attack Kyle Marr, are the top three scorers returning from last season, with the rest of the Hopkins regular offensive starters leaving for graduation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Blue Jays inexperience was highlighted by a five-goal output at Loyola Maryland in its second game. JHU rebounded with a stronger showing against No. 9 UNC, scoring 11 goals in the loss, and a win last week over Princeton.“It was going to be a challenge at the beginning of the year, making sure that guys kind of worked together and we had good chemistry,” Tinney said. “I think coming out of the gates we’ve had good chemistry and now we just have to piece a couple of the other things we are working on.”Head coach Dave Pietramala said his team was running nine or 10 midfielders early in the season, an uncommon occurrence once the season moves on. The constant line changes help Pietramala and his staff figure out “what goes where” as far as positioning players but limits rhythm among teammates, he said.As the rotation has thinned, the Blue Jays offensive production has increased behind breakout performances from sophomore attack Cole Williams. With Marr and Stanwick already well established as elite attacks, Williams has burst out in the first four games with a team-high eight goals.“You have a big strong physical dodger,” Pietramala said. “And then you’ve got to figure out what he can do for you. Maybe more important, he has to figure out where he fits within in the offense and when is it good for him to go and when is it good for him to move the ball along.”Keeping the pace Syracuse scored first against both Army and Albany before falling stagnant. Against Albany, Syracuse went more than 35 minutes without scoring, and eventually finished the game with three goals, its lowest mark under 20-year head coach John Desko. After scoring first against Army, the Orange offense stalled for nearly 25 minutes between goals. The scoring eventually heated up behind six-third quarter goals and an eventual triple-overtime victory.Against UVA, SU scored first and continued through the rest of the game. Syracuse paced the game, encapsulated by a 4-0 run which began near the end of the second quarter and lasted until the beginning of the fourth, a span of more than 20 minutes.For the first time since its first game of the year against Binghamton, Syracuse won the faceoff battle. It used the added possessions to take its time and not rush like it had in weeks past, Desko said. Syracuse unleashed 43 shots, 27 of which reached cage in large part due to its possession time.Syracuse limited Virginia faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk, who entered the game winning 67 percent of his faceoffs, to eight conversions on 21 attempts. Virginia, known for a fast paced offense run by head coach Lars Tiffany, an Onondaga Nation native, ranked fourth in the country entering the game. UVA scored six of its 11 goals on possessions immediately following faceoff victories.When SU settled in, won its faceoffs, and controlled the ball, it was the better team.Getting long After struggling at the faceoff X against both Albany and Army, Syracuse has found a solution. Against Virginia and top-10 faceoff specialist Schwenk, SU played two long poles on the wings for faceoffs.With Brett Kennedy on one side and Austin Fusco on the other, Syracuse went 16-for-27 on faceoffs. The Orange limited Schwenk to 8-for-21 at the faceoff X.On Saturday, Johns Hopkins enters the Carrier Dome with a top-10 faceoff specialist of its own in Hunter Moreland. Pietramala expects Moreland to get similar treatment to that of Schwenk a week ago.“It’s something that we practice more than a couple times a week,” Pietramala said. “We spend some time working with the wings, in terms of their ability to disengage and get to an open area so we can get them the ball if hunter is getting pressured.”Pietramala added that teams often put two long poles on the wing to take the technique out of the faceoff, making it more of a “muck.” If the small sample size holds true, SU will want that scramble for a ground ball against JHU. Comments Published on March 8, 2018 at 1:42 am Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Late surge propels Syracuse men’s team to 2nd-place finish in ACC Championship

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ With just three events left to be scored, the Syracuse men sat third on the leaderboard in the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. But that would change after the 5000-meters. The Orange had six of the top seven runners finishers and picked up 34 points, and it jumped ahead.The 5k shot Syracuse into first place, and though the triple jump put Florida State back on top, it secured the Orange a second place finish in the meet, its best outdoor championship finish since joining the ACC. Justyn Knight secured his 11th ACC title with a time of 13:58.69. Right behind him, Iliass Aouani finished second, Colin Bennie finished third and Aidan Tooker placed fourth. Noah Affolder took sixth and Philo Germano took seventh.On the women’s side, the Orange finished 12th as Miami took home the championship hardware.The 5k wasn’t the only dominant performance for the men on Saturday. It also had a strong showing in the 110-meter hurdles. Angelo Goss took the gold with a time of 13.72 seconds followed by Matt Moore in second and Richard Floyd in fourth. Also on the men’s side, Knight placed fourth in the men’s 1500-meters with a time of 3:46.96 while Simon Smith placed ninth. In the 100-meter men’s final, Winston Lee placed eighth. In the 4×100 meter relay, the men placed fifth with a time of 40.22 seconds.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn the women’s side of the 5k, Paige Stoner took the bronze with a 16:14.81 finish. In the women’s 4×100 meter relay, SU placed ninth with a time of 45.53 seconds. The next meet for Orange runners will be the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, FL starting May 24. Comments Published on May 12, 2018 at 10:07 pm Contact Eric: estorms@syr.edulast_img read more

Niko Steinkrauß, Merkur Sportwetten: The Polish sports betting market will pose some challenges

first_img Merkur Sportwetten increases stake in Belgium’s Betcenter August 4, 2020 Share Share Submit Related Articles Polish wagering report highlights STS market dominance  August 17, 2020 Last week, Merkur Sportwetten GmbH grew its European and Polish presence by announcing that it was acquiring Warsaw-based Totolotek SA.Merkur Sportwetten operates as a subsidiary of the Espelkamp-based Gauselmann Group, consolidating the group’s national and international operations. SBC spoke to the CEO of Merkur Sportwetten Niko Steinkrauß to discuss the new acquisition and the challenges in navigating a new market.What are your hopes for the expansion into the Polish market? The Polish sports betting market definitely has its challenges – the high taxation (12% of stakes), and the difficulties in effectively cutting out non-licensed online operators, to name the top two. Still we believe Poland’s size and dynamic development offer good business opportunities. Especially the retail sector is not as developed as we know it from the other markets we operate (e.g., Germany, Austria, Belgium). We are confident that with our omnichannel product we can make a big impact in the market and offer Polish punters the best choice across all distribution channels – be it the betting shop, the self-service terminal, or online. In addition, expanding into Poland is a Group project. Gauselmann’s slot machine division is a partner of Totalizator Sportowy, providing the monopoly operator for gambling with our technology. The arcade operations division is also on stand-by to become active in Poland once opportunities open up. Together, we see the potential to become a major player in the polish gambling and betting sector. What will be the driving force behind the success of your expansion into the new market?The key driving force will be how Polish sports betting consumers accept Totolotek’s new proposition. We are investing heavily into our omnichannel approach – converting Totolotek’s legacy mix of different product platforms into our state of the art, integrated platform, refurbishing the shop network, and bringing our unique online offering to customers. The quicker we are with this transition, the better we can turn-around Totolotek and make it a market share winner again. The gambling industry as a whole has some significant challenges to face this year, especially with more jurisdictions changing their regulatory frameworks. How do you plan to address these obstacles?In fact, there are two sides to the coin here. On the one hand, we as a provider that is not only willing, but also able to comply with the ever increasing regulatory standards, are actually welcoming their strict enforcement. But the key point is that the enforcement needs to apply to everyone – not only to licensed operators. That unfortunately is not always the case. Also, if regulation overshoots, it just makes licensed offerings unattractive. That not only harms our business, but also prevents regulators from reaching their actual objectives. You cannot protect players and minors, if the unlicensed and illegal offering is much more attractive. We are in constant dialogue with policy makers on these issues. Only if we listen to each other, we can create an ecosystem in balance. Mateusz Juroszek – Non-stop STS will expand amid industry disruptions August 12, 2020 StumbleUponlast_img read more

Ghana Hockey Women surge into Africa Cup final

first_imgGhana Women’s hockey team have booked a date with defending Champions South Africa in the final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nation after beating their respective opponents at the City Park Stadium in Kenya yesterday.Ghana came from behind to beat hosts Kenya 3-2 while South Africa thrashed neighbours Tanzania 25-0.Kenya took the lead barely 13th minute into the match, thanks to an own goal.The goal boosted Kenya team’s morale as they threw everything into attack, but Ghana changed the tide and took the game to Kenyans but the hosts defence was alert –going to the break with a 1-0 lead.Kenyan increased the tally in the 37th minute, thanks to Audrey Amooh.Ghana’s Lydia Tenkorang pulled one back in the 49th minute and then capitalised on a defensive panic from Kenya with sensational striker Elizabeth Opoku scoring a brace on the 50th and 51st minutes.  Efforts by the Kenyan girls to force a draw flopped as a result of poor coordination.After the match, Ghana captain Georgina Sam said: “We have met with Kenya a couple of times and all along they have beaten us. We feel good to have beaten them (on their home).” soil.”Ghana will face South Africa in the finals on Saturday.last_img read more

Raleigh group’s campaign for MLB expansion franchise now includes website, more info

first_imghttps://t.co/xltPFxtsET is live.Today we officially declare Raleigh a candidate for a Major League Baseball franchise. We hope to show, beyond a doubt, our City and its people are ready. Join the Movement and let’s create something special. #RaleighonDeck pic.twitter.com/JxNK08YzaL— MLBRaleigh (@MLBRaleigh) March 5, 2019The website contains information about how an expansion club would look in the state’s second-largest city, and lists four potential stadium sites, all of which are in, or in close proximity to, the city’s downtown area. FLASHBACK: Eight cities that make sense for expansionWho are the people behind the project, are and why they are doing this? The site’s FAQ section provides no names but does lay out the reasons:”We are a collective of local creatives, business owners, and residents who love baseball and who want to work alongside the community to help put Raleigh in the conversation for a Major League Baseball team.Our main goal is obviously to get an MLB team in Raleigh, but as a by-product of that goal, we hope to bring people together, explore brand, and amplify Raleigh’s community, culture, and creativity so the rest of the world can see what we see in our city.”The site also includes data that is designed to make the case for why the Triangle area — which is composed of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill — makes sense as a location for an MLB team. Campaign organizers, citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2017, note that the Raleigh area’s population is larger than Kansas City and Milwaukee’s and not much smaller than Cincinnati or Pittsburgh’s. Raleigh was also the second-fastest growing metro area in the U.S. from 2010-17, according to the data. Even with its size and growth, Raleigh is not exactly a big sports town. The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes are the area’s lone major professional team. Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State are hugely popular among college sports fans.The website claims that baseball season would rarely overlap with the area’s other sports seasons. It would intersect for about a month with hockey and college football and wouldn’t interfere at all with college basketball. North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, has long been the subject of speculation about MLB expansion. Manfred has often referenced it, as well as Montreal, Mexico City and Portland, Ore., as a potential MLB market. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has expressed a desire for the sport to expand in the coming years. One group wants North Carolina’s capital city to be a candidate.Residents of the Raleigh area launched a campaign for an expansion team last year; on Tuesday, they launched a website, MLBRaleigh.com, to increase support for their bid.last_img read more