UK: HMS Dragon Returns Home

first_img Training & Education HMS Dragon returned home to Portsmouth on Friday (November 22) from eight months on operations in the Indian Ocean and eastern Mediterranean. Hundreds of friends and family turned out to welcome the ship back home joined by Portsmouth Military Wives Choir and the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth.The youngest crew member, 20-year-old Engineering Technician Grant Mitchell and Commanding Officer’s wife, Pippa Lower, were invited to cut a special welcome home cake created as a gift to the ship in celebration of the occasion.The ship marked her return by firing a 17-gun salute on her approach to Portsmouth Harbour.The Type 45 destroyer’s maiden deployment included maritime security and counter piracy patrols in the Gulf and operations in the Mediterranean as part of the UK response to the recent crisis in Middle East.Dragon was deployed off Cyprus to help protect the two sovereign base areas on the island which are home to more than 6,000 British service personnel and their families.Dragon combined with RAF units to generate a constant picture of activity in the region as part of the air defence effort.In the Indian Ocean Dragon visited nearly all of the Gulf states including Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.Dragon’s tasking also included the use of Royal Marines and the ship’s boats to visit local fisherman – providing an ever-watching presence to contribute to the security of the seas and prevent acts of piracy.The ship also worked closely with the UK minehunter force in the region, escorting them around the Arabian seas as required.And in exercises with western allies, including the United States, Dragon showed off her power and capabilities and worked with an array of military firepower in the skies above the Gulf – including US Navy fighter jets and unmanned air vehicles.Dragon has clocked up more than 50,000 nautical miles since leaving the UK in March. Her Commanding Officer, Captain Iain Lower, said:“As HMS Dragon returns after her first ever deployment I am immensely proud of what my ship’s company have achieved in the last eight months.“Dragon’s success is testament to the agility and hard work of all her people who, building on the fine work of her predecessors, have set the standard for integration with our allies particularly with the United States Navy.“When taken alongside the challenging environmental conditions and engineering and logistical complexities, I am very proud of the team.”ET (ME) Grant Mitchell, added:“It is a great feeling to be coming home after all we have done as a ship’s company in the last eight months.“Working with so many other countries’ navies and visiting so many places has been a great experience.”[mappress]Press Release, November 25, 2013; Image: Navy UK: HMS Dragon Returns Home November 25, 2013center_img Back to overview,Home naval-today UK: HMS Dragon Returns Home Share this articlelast_img read more

Netherlands roundup: Fresh guidelines for SDG investments [updated]

first_imgThe Dutch financial sector, government and supervisors have welcomed new guidelines for measuring the impact of investment in the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations.The guidelines – drawn up through a joint effort of the financial sector – have been endorsed by the Platform for Sustainable Financing, established by regulator De Nederlandsche Bank last year.The sector organisations represented in the forum – including the Pensions Federation, the Association of Insurers (VvV) and the Dutch Fund and Asset Management Association – are now to discuss the recommendations with their members.A significant amount of funding is needed in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030, but currently it is difficult to establish the exact impact of investments. The guidelines provide a limited number of indicators for measuring impacts. Investments are expected to be scaled up ultimately from millions to billions of euros. The platform’s working group that produced the suggestions will flesh out the guidelines.APG and PGGM have already plotted investment routes to the UN’s sustainable development goals. Last year, the two asset managers – which cater for the €389bn civil service scheme ABP and the €187bn healthcare pension fund PFZW, respectively – as well as asset managers MN and Kempen Capital Management, announced that they wanted to contribute to the UN’s SDGs.PFZW said it wanted to have invested €20bn in projects linked to the SDGs by 2020, while ABP said its aim was to have a €58bn stake in this category of investment by then.Pension assets now 181% of GDPFinance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that combined assets of Dutch pension funds had risen from 90% to 181% of the Netherlands’ GDP between 1997 and 2016.In the same period, liabilities increased from 77% to 178%, he said. Dijsselbloem was answering MPs’ questions about the country’s annual budget.Dijsselbloem added that, during the past 20 years, total liabilities had exceeded assets four times, in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2011.The difference was largest between 2007 and 2008, when a €200.6bn (40.8%) funding surplus transformed into a €38.6bn (6%) funding gap, the minister said.His overview also showed that the discount rate for liabilities – based on interest rates with a 20-year duration – had dropped from 5% at the end of 2007 to 1.2% at 2016-end.The minister reiterated his view that raising interest rates was a bad idea.Next week the Dutch parliament is to debate a bill to increase the discount rate as long as the European Central Bank continues its policy of monetary easing. The bill was tabled by Martin van Rooijen, MP for the party for the elderly, 50Plus. Deutsche Bank scheme considers futureThe board of the €390m Dutch pension fund of Deutsche Bank has said it plans to consult its 800 active participants, as well as its sponsor, works council (OR) and accountability body (VO), about the future of the scheme.The company pension fund is facing a decreasing number of participants and increasingly stringent and expensive regulation. Last year, its costs for pensions provision had risen to €660 per participant.Although the board said the scheme’s current situation was not worrying, it underlined the importance of an early assessment of its future for the mid-term, also taking the expected reform of the pension system into account.At August-end, funding of the pension fund stood at 118.2%. The Deutsche Bank scheme is a collective defined contribution arrangement.TenCate to transfer to sector schemeThe €415m company scheme TenCate is to transfer its pensions to sector scheme Mitt at the end of the year.The scheme said the employer would made an additional contribution of €10m to ease the transition to Mitt, the €2.7bn industry-wide pension fund for the fashion, interior design, carpet and textile industries, where its 800 active participants will accrue new pension rights.Last year, TenCate’s board concluded that continuing independently was not an option for the longer term, following the textile firm’s plans to increase the independence of its businesses.As a consequence, the pension fund would have had to deal with more employers, each of which could decide to place their pension arrangements elsewhere.The board also cited rising costs for implementing different pension plans combined with a dropping number of participants and increasing difficulties finding new board members.At August-end, funding of Mitt and TenCate stood at 99.5% and 98.9% respectively, a difference that could be bridged by the sponsor’s additional contribution.Mitt’s cost of pensions administration of €96 per participant was less than one-third that of the TenCate scheme. Asset management costs at both pension funds were roughly the same.last_img read more

Frye: Share the road this harvest season

first_imgGreensburg, In. — The beginning of autumn means harvest time in Indiana and more than 57,000 Hoosier farmers are hitting the roads to bring in their crops out of the fields. It’s important to remember to share the roadways with our local farmers and watch for slow-moving farm equipment. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, farm equipment vehicles were involved in 92 fatal crashes across the U.S. last year, six of which were in Indiana. With approximately 64 percent of the state’s total land area being farmland, there are a lot of crops that must be harvested, and it is imperative to stay alert and aware of your surroundings during this time of year to help prevent wrecks and keep everyone safe.The Indiana State Department of Agriculture urges Hoosiers to “be alert, slow down and share the road.” Avoid following farm equipment too closely, in case of sudden stops on the road. Give yourself ample time to get to your destinations, and consider alternative routes in case you need to take them to avoid slow-moving farm machinery. Any vehicle that travels at a rate of 25 mph or less should have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign. This sign is an orange triangle with a red reflective border, and serves as a warning to oncoming drivers.As a reminder, avoid using your cell phone behind the wheel where distractions can cause injuries to both you and other drivers.Use caution and patience when passing wide farm equipment that takes up most of the roadway. Due to the large size, farm equipment makes wide left turns. Be sure to watch for the driver’s turn signals and do not assume that the farmer can see you. Do not attempt to pass a vehicle if you are in a “No Pass Zone,” at an intersection, railroad crossing, bridge or tunnel. They will try to pull over to the side of the road to allow you to pass once it’s safe to do so.For more tips on how to stay safe on the roads this harvest season look online here. Your safety and the safety of others is important. When you are on the road this fall, please use caution when going from destination to destination.last_img read more