Your outdoor news bulletin for May 8, the day Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto reached the Mississippi River just south of modern day Memphis, Tennessee, on his quest to find gold and silver in the new world – and we all know how that turned out:Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hands Out HonorsShe may not be a backcountry ranger or a superintendent, but Heather Wood knows how to make an impact. On Monday, Wood was honored as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Employee of the Year for 2012 for her work as an administrative support assistant for the park’s resource and visitor protection division. Woods, chosen from a pool of five candidates nominated for the award, was acknowledged for her character, hard work, and “willingness to assist any employee within any division at any time.” For her service, Woods received a monetary gift from Friends of the Smokies, a gift basket, engraved clock, and two paintings from the local communities. Not a bad haul for doing something she says comes naturally. Congratulations to Heather and all the other nominees.Speaking of GSMNP, they are still looking for volunteers at the Clingmans Dome Information Center. More details here.Asheville Up for Beer Honor AgainConsidering we just released our annual Southern Brew Guide, and one of our offices is in this town, this story is super relavant. Asheville, North Carolina is once again up for the honor of BeerCity USA in the annual Examiner poll, now in its fifth year. Last year’s poll saw undefeated, 4-time champion, Asheville split the title with Grand Rapids, Michigan, a newcomer. In the article on the BeerCity USA poll, the Examiner emphasizes the poll is “not a measure of beer quality, number of breweries, volume of beer enjoyed nor any kind of ‘best-of-show’ measurement.” So what is it, if not all those things? Good question, and I’m not sure we have an answer. The official word is “it’s an indicator of the coherent nature of beer communities.” Say what? Whatever it is, Asheville has been dominating so scoot over to the poll and vote for your favorite beer city before Friday. Blue Ridge towns also included in the list are: Raleigh, N.C. and Richmond, Va.Got a Green Idea? Call YvonPatagonia has been on the giveback kick pretty much since its inception, with founder Yvon Chouinard at the forefront. It gives one percent of profits to grassroots environmental organizations, last year told outdoor folks to quit buying their stuff unless they really, really need it, and now they are really putting their money where their mouth is while trying to get a little back – they still are a major retail company after all. Monday, Patagonia launched what they are calling $20 Million and Change, an in-house venture capitalist entity that will invest in start-up, for-profit, sustainable, businesses involved in food, water, energy or waste. Companies elegible for the investments – ranging from $500,000 to $5 million depending on company needs – will need to have $1 million in revenue or capital (hedge those bets) and obviously have some sort of green angle. Through this effort, Patagonia will certainly help fund a company that could eventually become a direct competitor, which is crazy enough that it just might work (see the “don’t buy our clothes” movement they started). With over $400 million in annual sales, and a business plan virtually unaffected by the economic downturn (profits have tripled since 2008 and last year was the companies best in terms of sales), Patagonia continues to prove that doing the opposite of what makes sense, makes the most sense.
Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for May 8, 2013
Brookhaven, Nonprofit Seed Moriches Bay With Shellfish, Eelgrass
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Environmentalists and the Town of Brookhaven are joining forces to seed Moriches Bay with clams and oysters as well as plant eelgrass in an effort to improve the degraded local water quality.The Moriches Bay Project Initiative, a program developed by a Westhampton Beach-based nonprofit, announced the plan along with town officials at a news conference Tuesday at the Forge River Marina in Mastic.“We started this project a few years ago, and we look forward to this partnership to make the water here as beautiful as its surroundings,” said Aram Terchunian, a co-founder of the project along with Laura Fabrizio. “It is such a gorgeous area. It’s got such a rich heritage; there’s no reason that the water quality shouldn’t match.”The initiative is one of many similar projects across Long Island that aim to simultaneously revive the shellfish industry and rid local bays of nitrogen pollution from cesspool runoffs that cause harmful algae blooms.Thomas Carrano, the assistant waterways management supervisor for the Town of Brookhaven, estimated that each year the town grows two million oysters, one million clams and 70,000 scallops. Shellfish such as oysters and clams are beneficial to the environment due to their ability to filter water and reduce the levels of nitrogen in the water, which helps to prevent algae blooms.“These animals are vitally important to the ecosystem of Great South Bay; they’re what we call ‘keystone species,’” Carrano said. “We need to restore the industry to restore the health of the bay, and to restore a fishery that is vitally important to the economics of the Town of Brookhaven. These partnerships with the not-for-profits have allowed us to expand our capabilities.”Carrano explained that the oysters are put into floating cages in groups when they are “seeds,” or juvenile oysters. They remain in these cages until they’re fully grown, which takes about two years. Then they’re released so they can benefit the environment.“Each oyster filters 50 gallons of water,” said Carrano, “and our goal is to create a self-sustaining oyster population in the bay so that we can restore the filtering capacity of the bay.”So far the town has planted 20,000 oysters, but officials want to expand this number to 90,000 or higher.Eelgrass also has many ecological benefits, such as stabilizing seafloor sediments and shorelines, cleaning coastal waters and providing habitat for a diversity of marine life.Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine has submitted a grant to fund the expansion of the Brookhaven oyster and clam-growing facilities. He also said the town might pass legislation in the coming months to limit the amount of nitrogen derived from human waste that could be dumped into the bay. Romaine did not provide specifics at this time but he indicated that this was an important step.“This partnership is vital to the preservation of the water quality in the bay,” Romaine said. “Our waterways have been severely impacted over the years, and it is time to take action and clean them up before it’s too late.”
DJI Mini 2 With 4K Video Support and 31 Minutes Flight Time Launched
There is no information about DJI Mini 2’s international availability so far.DJI Mini 2 features, specificationsDJI Mini 2 supports up to 4K video resolution, at 30 frames per second at a 100MBps bitrate. It supports HD video transmission at a distance of up to 10 kilometres. The drone has a 12-megapixel camera. You can choose from wide-angle mode, 180-degrees, and sphere panoramas. It is also possible to click RAW photos from the DJI Mini 2, not just JPGs. QuickShot Modes in the drone consist of Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle, and Boomerang.The drone has a maximum flight time of 31 minutes and uses a 2250mAh battery. DJI Mini 2 can resist 29-38kmph winds, as per the company, and take off at a max altitude of 4,000 metres. It weighs less than 249 grams, making it compact and convenient.- Advertisement – DJI Mini 2 has been launched, offering 4K video support and 4x optical zoom. The lightweight drone comes with OcuSync 2.0, which is the company’s data transmission technology. DJI Mini 2 has upgraded features and improved flight capabilities as compared to the DJI Mavic Mini. The maximum transmission range between the drone and controller has been extended to 10 kilometres. DJI Mini 2 has a three-axis motorised gimbal, ensuring solid stabilisation.DJI Mini 2 priceThe new drone by DJI is available for $449 (roughly Rs. 33,400) from the DJI store. You can also opt for purchasing the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo, priced at $599 (roughly Rs. 44,500). The combo comes with a propeller holder, a two-way charging hub, DJI 18W USB charger, and a shoulder bag. It also includes two more sets of battery and spare propellers and a bunch of extra spare screws.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – When DJI Mini 2 is close to your smartphone, the DJI Fly app will automatically recognise it and synchronise selected photos and videos at 20MBps. With the trimmed download feature, you can cut out a segment of the footage to edit and download. You can also share videos directly on social media. The app can also be used to add soundtracks and filters.Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Service Quality Survey: Find out who has the best service in the region?
Mystery shoppers visited in total 800 points of sale from various activities: car showrooms, banks, gas stations, retail, supermarkets, points of sale of telecommunications companies, tourist and catering facilities, service facilities. Slovenia leads in the quality of service in the region, Croatia in third place Heraklea doo, mystery shopping agency The research was done according to the acronym of the English word GUEST (guest) for Greet, Understand, Explain, Suggest, Thank, which consists of: greeting, determining the needs / desires of customers, product knowledge, offering an additional product to zthanks for visiting. Heraklea doo, mystery shopping agency In this year’s survey, Croatia is with a score of 75,12% occupied third place recording an increase of 1,96 percentage points compared to last year. With the best service in the region stood out Slovenia achieving a result of 83,44% and increase from 7,84 percentage points. S most areas for improvement and with a drop of even 15,41 percentage points she stood out Montenegro which achieved a result of 55,18%. Source: Heraklea doo, mystery shopping agency / Cover photo: Ibrahim Boran, Pexels.com As the best category, as in previous years, the category stood out product knowledge achieving a result of 92,57% you rise from 0,89 percentage points compared to the previous year. On the other hand, for several years in a row, the category offering additional products highlighted with the most areas for improvement. She achieved a result of only 34,35% and is the only category that recorded a decline compared to the previous year, and for 6,41 percentage points. In Croatia, the situation is the same as in the region, in the category product knowledge (90,27%) we achieved the best result, and we had the most areas for improvement in the category offering additional products (39,10%). In the period from 3 to 30 June 2019, for the eleventh time in a row, the Heraklea Agency, in cooperation with mystery shopping agencies from the region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia), conducted a service quality survey measuring the basic elements of good or quality service.
CABE wants in on the planning debate
To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters
Civilian, soldier killed in attack by ‘separatists’: TNI
An Intan Jaya-based armed “separatist” group in Papua reportedly launched several attacks against civilians and an Indonesian Military (TNI) member recently, causing at least two fatalities, according to the military.The TNI spokesperson for the Joint Regional Defense Command III in Papua, Col. Suriastawa, said in a statement that the latest incident took place in Bilogai village of Sugapa district in Intan Jaya regency on Thursday against a civilian named Badawi and Chief Sgt. Sahlan of the TNI, on two separate occasions. The 51-year-old ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver Badawi purportedly lost a lot of blood after his left hand was amputated by the armed criminal group using a machete, which eventually led to his death. The incident took place at around 10:50 a.m. local time.Not long after that, at around 2:20 p.m., another attack reportedly took place against Chief Sgt. Sahlan, who was transporting logistics to nearby Hitadipa district, where he served as a village supervisory noncommissioned officer (Babinsa).Read also: Papuan armed group accused of shooting COVID-19 team members“The victim, who suffered a gunshot wound, died on the scene,” Suriastawa said, adding that the bodies of the two victims had been moved to the Bilogai community health center. The official further revealed that the group had also launched criminal acts against two ojek drivers, Fathur Rahman and Laode Anas Munawir, on Monday. They are currently receiving treatment at local hospitals.“Joint security forces from the National Police and TNI are hunting down the perpetrators,” Suriastawa said, while calling on residents to remain cautious.Topics :
Beijing passes law to protect medical whistleblowers
Since the initial outbreak in January, Chinese authorities have waged a crackdown on COVID-19 rumor-mongering, investigating and detaining hundreds across the country. Beijing’s city government will protect “non-malicious” medical whistleblowers under a new law, passed months after a Chinese doctor was punished for sounding the alarm at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.China’s leaders suffered a rare wave of public outrage after ophthalmologist Li Wenliang died of the disease in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus first emerged late last year.He had attempted to warn authorities about the new infection but was instead reprimanded for “spreading rumors”. Topics : Other medical whistleblowers in Wuhan later told Chinese media they were punished by government officials for discussing the outbreak without permission from superiors. The new Beijing law, which came into effect from Friday, states that anyone whose tip-offs are later verified would be rewarded, and suffer no penalties. But the regulations do not cover anyone “fabricating or deliberately disseminating false information” about developing public health emergencies, according to a government notice on Saturday.The new legislation is similar to a public health emergency law passed by Shenzhen municipal government in August, which also vows to protect “non-malicious” whistleblowers from legal consequences — the first of its kind in China.
Dutch regulator rejects Wonen, Detailhandel merger for second time
For the second time, the Dutch regulator (DNB) has blocked the planned merger between Wonen, the pension fund for the home-furnishing industry, and Detailhandel, the retail sector scheme.The regulator concluded that the funding gap between the two schemes was too great.The pension funds are now faced with two choices: work together within the new ‘general’ pension fund (APF) – expected to come into force from 1 January 2016 – or continue as they were, independently.The companies and workers involved in the schemes initially aimed to merge the €3.2bn Wonen and the €12.9bn Detailhandel on 1 January 2015. As of the end of 2014, Wonen had a coverage ratio of 111%, Detailhandel 117%.To bridge this gap, the schemes suggested the companies associated with Wonen would increase their contributions over a five-year period. Other proposed measures included passing on the benefits of scale for Detailhandel to the participants of Wonen, as well as re-allocating Wonen’s early retirement reserves to its general pension assets.However, André Steijaert, chairman at Wonen, said the regulator concluded the merger would come at the expense of Detailhandel’s participants, as well as Wonen’s future participants.He added that he felt the social partners involved in the proposed merger had set Wonen’s board “an impossible mission”.In 2013, the regulator rejected a funding-gap plan that would have seen Wonen’s participants forego indexation and face a series of rights discounts.Steijaert said the APF was a now potential option, assuming the industry-wide schemes could ringfence their assets.Continuing independently is also an option, he added, explaining that Wonen’s contribution for 2016 would be lower than the expected premium under the new merger scheme.Steijaert added that the Wonen social partners had shown no interest in merging with any other pension fund than Detailhandel, and that this option was, therefore, not on the agenda.Wonen’s board will discuss the situation with its social partners next month.At July-end, Wonen’s funding ratio was 102%, while Detailhandel’s coverage stood at 109%.The pension funds have 132,000 and 1m participants, respectively.
Netherlands roundup: Pension funds, social partners to tackle diversity
Subsequently, the pension fund organisation and StAr – which represents the biggest unions and employer associations – would flesh out best practices for increasing diversity and come up with policy proposals and a rota for appointing trustees, Koolmees said.The rota is meant to support an early search for new board members.Accountability boards to get approval over cross-border transfers The Pensions Federation and the Labour Foundation (StAr) are to collaborate to encourage Dutch pension funds to increase board diversity, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has announced.In a letter to parliament, Koolmees said many schemes still failed to comply with the Code Pensioenfondsen, which stipulates that every pension fund must have at least one female trustee as well as a board member of under 40 years old.According to the minister, 40% of the 240 pension funds lacked a woman on their board, while 65% of boards don’t have a younger trustee.He indicated that the federation would engage with non-compliant pension funds in order to hear about their “experiences and barriers”, starting with the country’s 20 largest schemes. Wouter Koolmees, social affairs ministerThe accountability boards (VO) of Dutch pension funds will be given the right of approval over transfers to cross-border schemes, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has said.Answering questions from parliament about the implementation of the IORP II directive, Koolmees said representatives of workers and pensioners would have to agree with such a transfer.However, he said this wouldn’t apply for a collective value transfer between Dutch entities “as this would remain subject to the Dutch prudential framework”.The Christian Democrats (CDA) indicated that the minister’s answer did not entirely dispel their fears regarding different supervision regimes abroad. The minister didn’t exclude the possibility that other EU member states would tax pension assets, the party said.However, Koolmees argued that pension funds considering a value transfer would logically take aspects of stability and taxation into account before making a decision.He emphasised that individual participants also had a right to object.
Swiss pension funds’ perseverance pays off in pandemic-stricken H1
The proportion of funds impacted by the negative interest rate regime imposed by the the Swiss National Bank has risen steadily from 58% to 73% since 2016.The share of pension funds with technical interest rates below 2% continues to increase – 58% for private funds and 49% for public pension institutions –up from 4% in 2016.Swiss pension funds increased investments in equities and reduced allocations in bonds in 2019. Around 31.6% of assets were allocated to equities (up from 29.3% the prior year) and 29.3% for bonds (down from 30.9% in 2018). Real assets also saw investments worth 24.3%, while 1.4% went to mortgages, 6.4% to alternatives, 5.5% to liquid funds, 0.5% to loans and 0.9% to other asset classes.Pension funds achieved on average returns of 10.85% in 2019. The pension funds with the best performance have achieved an annual return of 5.4% over the past five years.Swisscanto stressed the necessity of a rapid reform of the second pillar system with a particular focus on the immediate reduction of the minimum conversion rate – Mindestumwandlungssatz – from 6.8% to 5.8%.The average conversion rate continues to fall, however, from 6.74% in 2010 to 5.63% in 2020.Swisscanto expects the number of pension funds to continue to decrease. This development is associated with a profound change of occupational pension provisions, with traditionally close ties between companies and pension funds disappearing.The number of Pensionskassen are expected to fall in 2026 to around 1,000 from 1,562 in 2018, according to pension supervisor OAK BV.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. Swiss pension funds have fared well to market shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020, according to the Swisscanto Pensionskassenstudie 2020.Funding ratios rose to 110% at the end of H1, up 10 percentage points from the peak of the pandemic in March, but still down from 113.9% at the end of 2019.A study conducted by Swisscanto, based on data of 520 pension funds with total assets worth CHF772bn (€710.6bn), noted that the current funding ratio scenario is only a snapshot.The essential element to finance the second pillar pension system in the long term is the ability for pension funds to make returns on assets through active investment strategies, it said. Generating returns in the long run remains a major challenge, it said.