Pension progress made in South Burlington

first_imgFinancial analysts reported Monday night that South Burlington’s pension funding shortfall is still over $8 million, but noted solid gains in attempts to shore up the plan’s finances.According to an annual update for the City Council by Tracy Braun of Peoples United Retirement Services and Annie Voldman of Annie Voldman, a consulting actuary, the unfunded part of the municipal retirement fund dropped approximately $800,000 below last year’s $8.9 million shortfall.During the past decade, elected officials seemingly weren’t aware of the fund’s downward slide until they were revealed by new City Manager Sandy Miller. Paying the unfunded part of the plan through a low-interest bond was a strategy introduced during the council’s discussions.Public safety pensions have played a notably large role in the unfunded obligation, says the report summary. Starting this past July, the whole plan was 57 percent funded. However, only 52 percent of public safety pensions were funded compared to 72 percent for nonpublic safety employees.The fund’s assets, according to Voldman, increased by more than $2 million over last year, but increased expenses prevented the shortfall from continuing to shrink.last_img read more

Saudi cleric says combating anti-Semitism a duty

first_imgThe former justice minister vowed that the Muslim World League would “keep on until there is no more antisemitism and racism.”The organization is financed by Saudi petrodollars and is seen as a diplomatic arm of the kingdom, as well as an instrument of Wahhabism, the austere Sunni Muslim doctrine.Political conflicts have led to tensions between Islam and Judaism, Issa said, calling on people to put such differences aside.”Political outlooks change over time but our values, our morals should never change,” he said. The Saudi cleric was praised in January by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for traveling to Poland for events marking 75 years since the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was liberated.”This is another sign of change in the attitude of Islamic bodies and, of course, the Arab states toward the Holocaust and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said at the time.Visiting the World War II extermination camp, where the majority of more than a million people killed were Jews, marked a turning point for Issa.”We went to Auschwitz to tell the world that we are against these crimes and they will not be repeated,” he said.Riyadh has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, but the two have a common enemy in Iran.Both countries accuse Tehran of wanting to broaden its influence in the Middle East and develop nuclear weapons.While Egypt and Jordan have relations with their neighbour Israel, other Arab states have set a peace deal with the Palestinians as a condition for normalising ties.But Netanyahu’s government has sought to improve ties with Gulf nations in particular, including Israeli officials appearing at sport events in the United Arab Emirates.The administration of US President Donald Trump has argued that further diplomatic ties between Israel and Arab nations would improve prospects for peace with the Palestinians.Topics : Saudi cleric Mohammad al-Issa sees combating anti-Semitism as a religious duty, an approach which saw the head of the Muslim World League awarded this week by Jewish groups.Issa was given a prize by the Combat Antisemistism Movement and the American Sephardi Federation, in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday celebrating Muslim leaders tackling anti-Semitism and racism.”Fighting antisemitism is a religious obligation and a moral obligation,” Issa told AFP from the Saudi capital Riyadh.last_img read more

Dutch government rules out easing pension fund VAT rules

The lawmaker also questioned whether this reflected a “level playing field”.Wiebes pointed out that Belgium had a wider interpretation for VAT exemption for the management of a joint investment fund, with the dispensation being applicable to defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit pension funds.The Belgian statute book for VAT stipulates that all OFP pension vehicles are exempt from VAT, without distinction between pension plans.By contrast, in the Netherlands, only DC arrangements qualify for VAT exemption. Wiebes said it would be “undesirable” for Dutch pension funds to move to Belgium simply for VAT benefits.He added that he did not expect this to become a trend, as many Dutch pension funds were showing interest in joining the APF ‘general’ pension fund.The APF, which allows pension funds to co-operate within a single vehicle while ring-fencing assets, is scheduled to come into force from 1 January 2016.Wiebes said he would keep an eye on any developments in the market and brief the Dutch Parliament about a possible “follow-up” if he noticed “certain pension funds planning cross-border moves for VAT reasons”. The Dutch government has said it see no reason to ease value-added tax (VAT) rules for pension funds by equalising them with those found in Belgium.Responding to a query from Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democrats (CDA), Eric Wiebes, state secretary for the Treasury, pointed out that the current Dutch rules matched European jurisprudence on VAT.He said the possibility of easing tax rules for pension funds was therefore “not up for discussion”.His comments come after Omtzigt noted that Dutch pension funds relocating to Belgium paid no VAT. read more

Lakers sign Avery Bradley to two-year deal

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions At Summer League, remade Lakers and Clippers size each other upWhicker: Clippers, Lakers can’t just have eyes for each other How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years He joins a veteran-laden backcourt rotation that already includes Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Troy Daniels. Rondo’s two-year contract was officially announced Monday afternoon, bringing back the four-time All-Star at point guard. The 33-year-old had an injury-stricken season for the Lakers with modest numbers (9.2 ppg, 8.0 apg, 5.3 rpg) but also enjoyed one of his better 3-point shooting seasons.It’s unclear, however, how the guards will be used in the rotation. According to a Yahoo Sports report, the Lakers are planning to move LeBron James to point guard in the starting lineup alongside Green, which could squeeze the guard rotation for the coming season. At 6-foot-2, Bradley has typically played shooting guard in his career.The Lakers have placed an emphasis on 3-point shooting in the backcourt acquisitions after skimping last summer: With the addition of Bradley, the Lakers have added at least five players (Green, Bradley, Cook, Daniels and Jared Dudley) who shot better than 38 percent for their last team.RELATED:Have the Lakers adequately addressed their shooting woes? NBA buzzing to find out Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed center_img Needing shooting and defensive toughness on the perimeter, the Lakers added another guard who is looking for a bounce-back season.Avery Bradley signed with the Lakers on Monday after being waived by the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, agreeing to a two-year deal worth a reported total of $9.7 million with a second-year player option.Bradley, 28, is a nine-year veteran who made his initial reputation as a robust defender and solid outside shooter while playing in Boston. Through the last few years as a journeyman with the Pistons, Clippers and Grizzlies, he’s been more uneven as he has dealt with injuries. But a two-time All-NBA Defensive Team honoree and career 36.4 percent 3-point shooter is expected to add depth at a position of need for the frontcourt-heavy Lakers.Bradley averaged 9.9 points and 2.4 assists last season, enjoying a slight bounce-back to his old form (16.1 ppg, 4.0 apg, 38.4 3-point percentage) after the Clippers traded him to Memphis. Bradley has had numerous injury struggles, including groin and ankle problems during his Clippers tenure – the last time he played in at least 70 games was during the 2015-16 season. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers are using their room exception on Bradley, meaning his salary does not affect their salary cap space for the coming season. The Lakers had to wait for Bradley to clear waivers on Monday before officially adding him as the 14th official member of the roster.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more