Kelly will make city prosperous and green

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion This November we choose a new mayor, and I’ll be voting for Meg Kelly. Her priorities, her vision for the city, and her commitment to making real progress on our most pressing issues have sealed my vote. As I listen to her speak and read her platform, it’s clear to me that she has thought deeply about real policy solutions to issues that matter most to Saratoga Springs residents.On the question of open spaces, she plans to build trails and bike paths that will draw tourists and revenue for local businesses, even as the city preserves our open spaces. On the question of housing, she understands that we need creative solutions and new partnerships to address affordability.On downtown development, she knows that we must be more than a city of parking garages, and champions smart planning for mixed-use developments that make our city walkable, functional and prosperous.Saratoga Springs is my home, and my future is here. This November, I’ll be voting for the candidate whose vision of that future is prosperous, inclusive and green. Vote with me, and let’s build the future together.Eddy AbrahamSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%last_img read more

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The only solution is to ban assault rifles

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe mass shootings using assault rifles (ARs) continue. The mass shootings in Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Nevada and California have resulted in 190 deaths and many more wounded. All are equally tragic. In 1994, a law was enacted that prohibited the manufacture of ARs for civilian use, but it allowed manufacture for law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, this law expired in 2004 and there was no effort by Congress to extend it. Thereafter, AR manufacturing surged. In 2012, in response to the Sandy Hook shooting of children and their teachers, a bill entitled The Assault Weapons Ban similar to the 1994 law was introduced. The NRA condemned this bill and the Senate rejected it by a vote of 60-40. So now there are as many as 15 million civilian-owned ARs, and the number continues to grow.Certainly, a law like that proposed in 2012 should be enacted. But what should be done about the 15 million already manufactured and sold?To think that mental health expansion, which is worthwhile, will solve the problem alone is naive. This is because it would be impossible to find, evaluate, treat and monitor all those of the 15 million that might be thinking of using their ARs to kill. And, as we have seen in the past, the tracking of those individuals who are known to pose a threat is prone to human error. The only solution to this horrific problem is to ban ARs from our civilian population. People’s lives are at stake. Congress must act.Dale BrownNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

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Investment: Fortunes of war

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West Coast view: Roger Vincen

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Savills sparkles with 54% profits increase

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Leisure seekers

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UK to regulate internet in crackdown on social media companies

first_imgThe UK government will announce plans later Wednesday to regulate social media firms as part of a crackdown on damaging online activities such as child exploitation and incitement to violence.The broadcasting regulator Ofcom will be given the role as the new watchdog, two people familiar with the matter said. The regulator is likely be given the power to fine companies such as Facebook and Twitter if they fail to protect UK users from harmful content, though this will not be formally announced on Wednesday, one of the people said.The UK is trying to get to grips with ungoverned areas of the internet as it increasingly dominates modern life and exposes children in particular to harmful experiences, including abuse, bullying and terrorist material. The announcement risks inflaming tensions with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has already pushed back against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to roll out in April a digital services tax to target internet giants as international efforts to devise a global solution drag on.The latest proposals, which would place a duty of care on internet companies, add to a series of measures UK authorities are already taking. As well as the digital services tax plan, last month, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham unveiled a code of conduct designed to protect children’s data online so they’re less exposed to damaging content.But so-called online harms represent one of the trickiest areas to regulate because of the vast amount of material that gets posted daily on social media sites, as well as the need to strike a balance between protecting free speech and determining what content needs to be removed.Implementation of the plan will fall to Melanie Dawes, a civil servant at the Ministry of Housing who Ofcom announced on Wednesday will take up the role of Chief Executive Officer in early March. The regulator’s interim CEO, Jonathan Oxley, issued a statement saying Ofcom shares the government’s “ambition to keep people safe online.”“We will work with the government to help ensure that regulation provides effective protection for people online and, if appointed, will consider what voluntary steps can be taken in advance of legislation,” Oxley said.Topics :last_img read more

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Vale Indonesia increases revenue despite falling production

first_imgPublicly listed nickel producer PT Vale Indonesia has recorded higher revenue and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) last year as nickel prices went up in the second half of 2019.Despite booking a 5-percent year-on-year (yoy) decrease in nickel sales to 72,044 tons of nickel in matte last year, the company’s sales grew by 1 percent to US$782 million.“The increase nickel prices clearly had a positive impact on our financial performance, compensating for the lack of production in the first semester of 2019,” Vale Indonesia president director and CEO Nico Kanter said in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Realized nickel prices in 2019 averaged US$10,855 per ton, 6 percent higher than in 2018, the company said in the statement.However, its cash and cash equivalent went down by $52.1 million to $249 million in 2019 as capital expenditure (capex) skyrocketed by 99 percent to $83.8 million.The Indonesian government has been compelling miners to build smelters and process raw materials domestically prior to exporting through a ban on nickel ore exports to support the downstream industry.Read also: Mining investment expected to reach five-year highDespite the lower cash, Vale Indonesia managed to lower its cost of revenue to $665.5 million, down 1 percent yoy from 2018’s $672.9 million. As a result, the subsidiary of Brazilian mining giant Vale SA booked an 8-percent yoy increase in EBIT to $89.1 million.“Despite our lower production last year, we could still manage our costs carefully,” Nico said, adding that the company was optimistic that it could maintain the production rate this year while continuing to maintain cost efficiency.  Topics :last_img read more

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Indonesia considers 2032 Olympics bid for new capital city with SoftBank’s help

first_imgTwo people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that top Indonesian officials had raised SoftBank’s possible backing of the Olympics plan with Son in Jakarta in late February. The people spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media.Widodo enlisted the SoftBank founder this year, along with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, to act as advisers and help attract funding.Son met with Widodo and Blair about the new capital on Feb. 28, and the discussion included sports facilities but not the Olympics, according to a presidential spokesman, who did not answer further questions.According to the sources, Son is open to the Olympics proposal, which would see SoftBank provide assistance to the Games and SoftBank-backed Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab act as a “mobility partner.” Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is weighing an audacious 2032 Olympics bid centered on the country’s not-yet-built new capital and is in early talks with SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son and other investors for support, sources said.The world’s fourth-most-populous country unveiled in August plans to build a $34 billion “smart and green” new capital on the forested island of Borneo to replace the crowded, polluted megacity of Jakarta, which is slowly sinking into the sea. According to the head of the Indonesia’s investment board (BKPM), the government is evaluating how to make the unnamed new capital its candidate city for the 2032 Olympics. It had already submitted a bid for Jakarta, and it is not clear whether the new plan would include any events there.BKPM chief Bahlil Lahadalia told Reuters that the tentative plan had been presented to some investors. Lahadalia told Reuters he was not aware of specific discussions with Son. Representatives for SoftBank and Grab declined to comment.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select a host city by 2025.Son told reporters in January he hopes to invest more in Indonesia, with current commitments including a $2 billion investment in Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing firm, last July. A separate source told Reuters that while Son was still assessing plans for the new capital, an investment announcement was likely to come in April and involve Grab.Grab CEO Anthony Tan wrote on LinkedIn last week that he “was super stoked to have joined the (Feb. 28th) discussions on Indonesia’s new capital city” and was eager to work with SoftBank “to develop critical infrastructure for the new capital city.”The Olympic Games, which place a heavy financial burden on host cities, face a challenging year as the coronavirus outbreak raises the prospect that the 2020 Tokyo Games could be cancelled or postponed – something the IOC and Japan say won’t happen.Topics :last_img read more

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Explainer: The progress and challenges of sustainable financing in Indonesia

first_imgThe pursuit of sustainable financing to dateSustainable financing has been pursued for years. In December 2014, the OJK published a Roadmap for Sustainable Financing in Indonesia, which lays out much of the agenda’s development framework. Three years later, it issued the OJK Regulation (POJK) No. 60/POJK.04/2017 which set out the standard for green bonds issuance in the country. Last year, it appointed eight banks to start channeling loans based on the principle of sustainable financing.Other stakeholders have also taken part in the agenda. The Finance Ministry issued a green Islamic bond (sukuk) in February 2018 and put Indonesia on the map by becoming the first Asian country to do so. The bond raised $1.25 billion and was used to fund several environmentally friendly projects. The ministry issued another one in February 2019 worth around US$2 billion.In the local green bond market, state-owned infrastructure financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur became the first issuer of a corporate green bond in Indonesia, which was issued on July 9, 2018. The company was committed to utilizing 100 percent of the proceeds for green projects, such as the LRT and mini-hydropower plants, meanwhile, POJK No. 60 only required 70 percent of proceeds from green bond sales to be used to finance green projects.All these efforts are in accordance with Indonesia’s 2005-2025 National Long-Term Development Plan (RPJPN), which states that one of its eight missions is the realization of “a greener and sustainable Indonesia” as it recognizes that “the long term sustainability of development will face the challenges of climate change and global warming which affect activities and livelihood”.Reported better returns, better resilience“Sustainability is good business,” a 2020 report written by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on financing sustainability says.Of the 161 investors and 154 issuers across the Asia Pacific that the study surveyed, 68 percent of investors and 63 percent of issuers said that their sustainable investments and financing performed better than their traditional equivalents.It is worth mentioning that for over a quarter of investors, sustainable investing failed to bring about the desired returns. Despite this, the report noted that all of the parties interviewed for the study “firmly debunk the notion that there is no financial benefit to sustainable investing”.In the local bourse, there is already an indicator that shows the correlation of ESG to higher returns, as measured by the Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) -KEHATI Stock Index. It is the only one of its kind on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) as it focuses on companies that have fulfilled its ESG criteria.The SRI-KEHATI index tracks the shares of 25 publicly listed companies, among them are agribusiness company PT Astra Agro Lestari, PT Bank Central Asia and food manufacturing giant PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, and according to data provided on the IDX site, the index does better than the IDX main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), and the LQ45 index in terms of returns.Between Dec. 30, 2009, and Dec. 30, 2019, the SRI-KEHATI index generated a return of 173.66 percent, higher in comparison with the JCI and the LQ45 index, which generated a return of 148.57 percent and 103.59 percent, respectively.Over the years, the SRI-KEHATI index has also experienced fewer steep falls in comparison with the LQ45. In 2018, for example, when the main gauge’s return fell to a negative 2.5 percent, the LQ45 plunged to a negative 9 percent, meanwhile the SRI-KEHATI only recorded a negative return of 4.3 percent.Meanwhile, for the year to date, the SRI-KEHATI index fell by 29.65 percent, lower than that of the LQ45 which dropped by 31.64 percent but steeper than that of the JCI, which declined 26.60 percent.Challenges to weigh up“In my opinion, the support is not strong enough in Indonesia,” Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia research director Piter Abdullah told The Jakarta Post on Thursday when asked about the state of sustainable financing in the country.He explained that the agenda required cooperation between different authoritative bodies and also a change of behavior within market players.Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) executive director Tauhid Ahmad also noted that the growth of sustainable financing in Indonesia was below expectations considering its big potential.He went on to say that the innovation in sustainable financing was not well-received by the market, including Sarana Multi’s corporate green bond. “It didn’t turn out well, the market didn’t see this as something that is interesting,” he told the Post on Thursday.Tauhid said that the government was still dominating the development of sustainable financing when ideally it should predominantly be driven by private entities.The enthusiasm, either from investors to opt for sustainable investment or from issuers to offer such products, is still low as it seems that the general consensus is that sustainable businesses are less profitable than conventional ones.The returns are there, but not as big as businesses that are not concerned with sustainability,” Artha Sekuritas Indonesia vice president Frederik Rasali said via a messaging service to the Post on Thursday, despite acknowledging that caring for sustainability could mitigate the loss of resources in the long run as climate change risks had already been considered.The road aheadAs businesses and global economies will have to come to terms with the financial threat and monetary costs that come with the impacts of climate change, a greater push to adopt sustainable financing will be inevitable.The United Nations Environment Program Inquiry into the design of a sustainable financial system in Indonesia estimates that the country needs around $300 to $530 billion of annual investment that largely will be used for the agriculture, forestry, energy, mining and waste sectors.Biger Maghribi, a senior analyst at the OJK, wrote in a journal of Asian capital markets that sustainable financing will continue to grow in the future.“Green bonds are attractive as they create opportunities for investment in environmental change, delivering environmental and financial returns. Therefore, the OJK predicts green bond markets in Indonesia and around the world will continue to grow,” as written in the journal.Based on the OJK roadmap, between 2020 and 2024, Indonesia will focus on integrated risk management, corporate governance, bank rating and the development of an integrated sustainable financing information system.Topics : The World Bank approved in late March a US$300 million loan for Indonesia to assist Indonesia’s reform agenda by among other methods promoting sustainable financing practices in a bid to strengthen the resilience of the financial sector against economic shocks.Building sustainable financing is not a new idea within the country’s financial system. There have been numerous notable milestones over the years, as this report will explore.However, as the country has gradually progressed to establishing a sustainable financial system, there has been an ongoing debate whether financing green projects or investing in companies that uphold the environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria will bring good returns. To that end, economists have raised concerns about whether there is an appetite for sustainable investment products in the market. While the country is still laying down the building blocks, it is important to see what sustainable financing has to offer so that investors will not miss out on its potential benefits while issuers can plan ahead to cater to the growing market.What is sustainable financing?Sustainable financing largely refers to any form of financial service that takes into account the ESG criteria to achieve the broader goal of sustainable development.According to the  Financial  Services Authority (OJK) Roadmap for Sustainable Finance in Indonesia 2015-2019, sustainable financing includes efforts in the financial services industry to mitigate the impact of climate change, to shift toward a competitive low-carbon economy, to promote environmentally friendly investments, as well as to support the 4P development principles as outlined in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJM), which consist of pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-poor and pro-environment.last_img read more

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