first_imgIn the digital era, Americans have instant access to more information about everything — from health, science, and global affairs to the leaders of local, state, and federal government — than ever before. But are we better off or even better informed?  In researching his new book “Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News,” veteran CBS News journalist Bob Schieffer spoke to top news editors and reporters about the technological changes to newsgathering and publishing over the past 15-plus years that have made it harder for Americans to filter out fact from fiction and to process the information coming at them 24/7. The rise of social media as the primary purveyor of news, despite platforms like Facebook insisting they’re not news sources, has made the public vulnerable to propaganda, hoaxes, and other forms of misleading or inaccurate information.Schieffer, a 2015–2016 fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, recently returned to Harvard and spoke with the Gazette about the chaotic state of national politics and media coverage, and how Facebook, Twitter, and other social media — and ordinary news consumers — need to adapt to the new realities.GAZETTE: We last spoke in the fall of 2015 during the presidential primaries. Back then you said you felt we were at “a real turning point in the country.” How do you feel now?SCHIEFFER: At that point, I thought Donald Trump had a good chance at getting the nomination. I took him very seriously. I had interviewed Trump over a series of years, but I had never seen him on the stump until the South Carolina primary. We probably interviewed 35 people before he spoke. To a person, they said, “I just like the way he’s not afraid to speak his mind.” I came away thinking he’s saying what they wish they could say to their boss on their worst day of work. And that’s when I came to really start to believe he was going to win the Republican nomination.Now, after some of the things he did where he violated every rule in the book, I never thought he would be elected president. And I could never find anyone in the Republican establishment who thought he was going to win either. I remember going up to Capitol Hill the week before the Republican convention. I couldn’t find a single person in the leadership who thought he was going to win. What they were trying to do at that point was figure out a way to shift the money that was coming into their Senate races because they were afraid he was going to lose and take down the Senate with him. Well, what do we know? He did win. He crafted a message that somehow cut through all the political chatter and got to those people, especially out in the rural areas of this country, who felt they were being left behind. Maybe they didn’t particularly like him, but they thought, “What could be worse? Nothing is happening now.” So they took a flyer. And in the end, that’s how he got elected. He found a way to speak to them, and Hillary Clinton never did. She was eminently qualified, I don’t take that away from her, but her campaign was never able to really establish a rationale for her candidacy.GAZETTE: You’ve been in the news business since the Kennedy administration. How does this era compare?SCHIEFFER: When people used to ask me, “What was your favorite beat” (because I’ve covered all the big beats in Washington), they’d say, “I guess it was the White House, right?” And I always say, “No! Not at all.” I enjoyed covering the White House, but at the White House everyone works for the same guy. You get up on Capitol Hill, and they’re all independent contractors, and that’s how you get news. Well, that’s not apt anymore. Because in this White House, there are as many factions right now as there are up on Capitol Hill, and they all have different agendas. Many of them just hate each other and make no secret about that. You can find all kinds of people to talk with in this White House. They talk more than any White House I’ve ever seen. They’re far from on the same page, and that’s what’s really different here.GAZETTE: What do you make of Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) remarks where he said that President Trump’s erratic mental state and belligerent posturing could put the United States on a path to World War III if he’s not restrained by senior aides, and that most of the Republicans in the Senate share this view? And what do you think of the friction between the president and his secretary of state?SCHIEFFER: We’ve never had anything like this. This was a campaign unlike anything we’d ever seen, and now this has become a presidency unlike anything we’ve ever seen. There’s the idea that the president would be undercutting his own secretary of state, who’s trying to negotiate some kind of opening where we could have discussions with North Korea. And to have the president tweet out “You’re wasting your time” — I can’t ever recall any president reacting in that way. And this is what, of course, Sen. Corker was reacting to. I have to say in all honesty I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think we’re in a very dangerous time. We probably just have to strap ourselves in here and hope for the best.GAZETTE: Do you think these extraordinary comments might provide a tipping point in relations between the administration and a GOP-led Congress?SCHIEFFER: I think it’s going to make everything harder for Trump. Think about this: It’s an open secret that the president doesn’t like his secretary of state. Trump has made that known in a variety of ways. Frankly, I don’t see how [Rex] Tillerson can last much beyond Christmas because he now has no power whatsoever. When word gets out that the president doesn’t like you, why does anyone want to talk to you? Regardless of his talents and his abilities, I think it’s impossible now for him to be effective. So let’s say he goes. Whoever Mr. Trump nominates to take his place is going to have to be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. I think Corker is a patriotic person and a person of good character, and I think he’ll do, in the end, what’s best for the country. But having him on your bad side is not going to make it easier for you on a variety of things. Trump is not expanding his influence on Capitol Hill. To the contrary, he seems to be narrowing it. What he is saying is very popular with his base, but I don’t see him broadening his power. The presidency is about persuasion, it’s not ordering people around. It’s persuading people that it’s in their best interest to do what you’re advocating.GAZETTE: How much of what happened in the 2016 election should be blamed on the press, and what needs to change to correct those mistakes?SCHIEFFER: On the whole, I think the press did a really good job. I think we fulfilled our mission. I found a lot of people who didn’t like Hillary Clinton and a lot of people who didn’t like Donald Trump, but I have yet to run into anybody who said they didn’t have enough information about both of them to cast their votes. So if that’s the case, I think we did our job.What Trump was so good at is this old political theory called the “dead cat theory.” If you’re having a dinner party, I don’t care what you’re talking about, if someone throws a dead cat in the middle of the table, the conversation immediately shifts to the dead cat. And he did that over and over. The early morning tweets: He would say something before 7 o’clock in the morning, it’s on all the morning shows, and the rest of the day, the campaign narrative was about reacting to what he had said. Is it right? Is it wrong? And the Clinton folks just never figured that out until it was too late.We’ve got to find some way to get our polling better. As news organizations, we’re going to have to go back to doing more focus groups to go along with what we’re finding out with analytics. Peter Hart, he’s the dean of the pollsters, said, “We can find out a lot with social media, but you can’t know what’s in people’s hearts.” And that’s the part that we never got to and really understood. This is why the decline of local newspapers is such a factor. In the old days, newspapers would send people out and they knew, “This is a Republican neighborhood,” and they’d go out and knock on the doors and ask, “Are you going to be for or against, and why?” And we don’t do that anymore. They can’t do it because they don’t have the manpower to do it. So, they’re leaning on these polls.GAZETTE: With revelations that the Russians bought ads and pretended to be Americans in order to manipulate users of Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms during the election, should these companies be regulated when they accept money from politics, like TV and other broadcast media are?SCHIEFFER: Something is going to have to happen here. Facebook and Google started out saying, “We’re technology companies, we’re not media companies. We’re not responsible for what pops up; we can’t check out every message.” They’re going to have to do something. When you have 67 percent, I think, of the American people now getting at least some of their news off Facebook, to say that you’re not a media company? We’ve got to figure out a way, I don’t want to say to police this, because it’s a very difficult problem. How do you separate parity and political comment from just straight-out propaganda and messages that are like crying “Fire!” in a crowded theater? Now, the social media companies are at least saying, “We’re going to try to do something about this.” But they’ve got a lot to do here.GAZETTE: In your new book, you argue there’s a fire hose of information — both real and fake — coming at us so rapidly, it’s become harder to process events and discern what’s true and what’s not. How so, and isn’t that “flood the zone” tactic a hallmark of propaganda campaigns?SCHIEFFER: Sure. If you look across Europe and see what the Russians have done in all the satellite countries around them, they don’t drive their tanks across the border anymore. They found a cheaper, better way to do it. They go in, they use cyber to cause confusion, they bribe the local politicians, they make sweetheart deals with the local oligarchs, they loan them money, and then the next thing you know, they’re in control. That’s the Russian playbook. And we’re seeing the same thing in this country, and we simply have to recognize this. There’s no question that people have found a way to game this system. They figured out how you can manipulate this stuff to their own financial as well as national security advantages. And that’s the part we have to really be aware of and understand is happening. You can’t rebut every single lie, but we have to find a way to inoculate people and help them understand that just because you see it on the internet doesn’t make it true. Don’t just depend on one source for your news. Know where your news is coming from. I think that’s one of the things that those of us in the media have not done a good enough job at.Social media is having a greater impact on our culture than the invention of the printing press did on people of that day. We all talk about the wonderful thing the printing press was, and it obviously was, but there were 30 years of religious wars before Europe finally settled back into some sort of equilibrium. We’re just in the first trimester of this thing. We don’t know where all of this is going, and it’s going to take us a while to work our way through it. But in the meantime, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

first_img View Comments We’re finding out how many air miles we have. Looks like On the Town’s Tony Yazbeck, Emily Skinner and It Shoulda Been You’s Josh Grisetti have been tapped for the long-in-the-works musical The Prince of Broadway in Japan. Although the New York spokesperson for the production could not confirm further casting, the trio are included in Japanese promotional materials. Starring Ramin Karimloo and Shuler Hensley, the show celebrates the career of the 21-time Tony-winning director and producer Hal Prince. The tuner will play October 23 through November 22 at Tokyu Theatre Orb in Tokyo and November 28 through December 10 at Umeda Arts Theatre in Osaka.Tony nominated for his current role in On the Town, Yazbeck is set to headline the production’s tour; a spokesperson for the show said that he will play Gabey on Broadway until mid-September and replacement casting will be announced in a few weeks. Yazbeck’s multiple additional Great White Way credits include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Gypsy, A Chorus Line and Oklahoma!. Skinner was Tony nominated for Side Show; she has also been seen on Broadway in Billy Elliot, Dinner at Eight, The Full Monty, James Joyce’s The Dead and Jekyll & Hyde. Grisetti is making his Main Stem debut in It Shoulda Been You, which will shutter on August 9.Bryonha Marie Parham, David Pittu and Mariand Torres have also boarded the cast. As previously reported, the production will additionally star Nancy Opel, Kaley Ann Voorhees and Reon Yuzuki.The Prince of Broadway will be helmed by Prince himself with co-direction and choreography by Susan Stroman. The show pays tribute to Prince’s 60-year career and examines the circumstances and fortune, both good and bad, that led to him creating some of the most beloved theater of all time, including West Side Story, The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Company.The production will feature a book by David Thompson, set design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by William Ivey Long, wig design by Paul Huntley, musical supervision and arrangements by Jason Robert Brown and musical direction by Fred Lassen.The show was originally slated to open on the Great White Way in 2012 starring Sierra Boggess, Richard Kind and Skinner. No word yet on whether the production is still Broadway-bound. Star Filescenter_img Tony Yazbecklast_img read more

first_imgYour daily news bulletin for September 12, the day John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, proving that a Jack and a Jackie can make it work…if they have enough money, power, and good looks:Lassiter Dam on Uwharrie River Comes DownEarlier this month the Lassiter Mill Dam was removed from the Uwharrie River in Randolph County, North Carolina. The dam removal was a partnership between American Rivers, Piedmont Conservation Council, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the landowners around the dam. The 12 foot high, 200 foot long Lassiter Dam blocked migrating American shad, among other species, from reaching the upper Uwharrie. Removal of the dam opens up 14.6 miles of potential spawning habitat in the main stem and 189 river miles including tributaries. This will allow for easier migration, obviously, but also easier recreation activity like boating and fishing on the river by humans. In the next few years Duke Energy-Progress plans to trap and transport over 20,000 shad to the Uwharrie to boost stock and accelerate species recruitment. The Lassiter Dam is the third of five dams scheduled to be removed from the Pee Dee watershed.Click here to see video of the demolition.Appalachian Trail Hits the Silver ScreenAs part of their 2013 membership drive – titled A Journey of 2,000 Miles: The Appalachian Trail, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will hitting the road in October. Throughout the month, the ATC will be traveling up and down the East Coast showcasing the film Appalachian Impressions in 15 cities from New York to Florida. The film will take viewers on along for the ride as it showcases the trail and everything that goes with embarking on the thru-hike: “Appalachian Impressions captures the true essence of this historic pathway, its interesting characters, beautiful scenery and the generous spirit found in small town America.” The film is produced by Flagler Films, who specialize in long-distance hiking documentaries – they have probably cornered the market. The film tour is at the heart of the ATC’s goal of gaining the support of 2,180 new members, one for every mile of the trail. The tour will also feature guest speakers from the 2,000-mile club including authors Richard Judy, Susan Letcher, and Michelle Pugh, among other.For a full list of show dates, times, and locations, click here.Virginia Tech Finds Stadium Woods CompromiseThe controversy over Virginia Tech’s new football practice facility and the university’s iconic Stadium Woods appears to be over. Early this week a compromise was struck by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors subcommittee that will protect the 14-acre Stadium Woods stand of old growth forest from development – the indoor practice facility will be built on the existing footprint of the practice facility. The original proposal for the new facility would have destroyed about three acres of the woods, but this raised the ire of many advocates, including professors in the forestry department and students. The issue escalated in 2011 when several dozen white oaks estimated to be 100-400 years old were discovered at the site. Student committees were formed, the student government got involved, and it became a battle between the big money of college football versus the trees who can’t speak for themselves. With the compromise, all parties seem satisfied with the outcome, and of course the tress will continue to grow.Full story at Roanoke.comlast_img read more

first_imgEva Mendes Shocks Fans With a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Her Mono-Thread ProcedureEva Mendes Courtesy Eva Mendes/InstagramYou know what they say: beauty is pain! Eva Mendes seems to embrace this, sharing a picture of her latest skincare treatment.On Thursday, November 12, the 46-year-old actress posted a selfie to Instagram with needles poking out of her neck during an appointment with Dr. Mariana Vergara Hofstetter.- Advertisement – “So excited to support her as a skilled beauty technician opening her own Latina owned business!” Mendes continued in her caption. “Pa’lante reina! ❤”Fans were left shocked by the seemingly painful procedure. “Ouch???” asked one user. “Be careful,” wrote another.Meanwhile, another follower took it even further. “Holly s–t! I think I’d rather s–t a brick and fart a crow bar😂🤭”- Advertisement – “Oye! @marianalvergara has finally opened her own @beautyvillavergara,” she wrote in the accompanying caption. “This spa-home away from home is incredible! No office with bad fluorescent lighting. No sterile office vibe. This is my go to for all things beauty. A home where you can relax while being tortured by the best of the best.”Then she assures followers, “This is my happy place!”Eva Mendes Shocks Fans With a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Her Mono-Thread ProcedureEva Mendes Mediapunch/ShutterstockShe continues, explaining that this treatment is called Mono-Threads, which is a cosmetic treatment that amps up collagen production and works to lift unwanted sagging.- Advertisement – Others had nothing but good things to say about the treatment. “The threads are a game changer,” one user commented. “I work at a medspa and we see some incredible results! ♥️🔥”Still no update on Mendes’ results, but fingers crossed she shares! After all, she said she would in the caption.However, the Place Beyond the Pines star has never been concerned about what others have to say. Back in February, when a troll said that she was getting old, she clapped back in the most classy manner.“Yes your right. Thank God I’m getting old. That means I’m still here,” she replied in the comments section of an Instagram post. “I’m gonna be 46 soon and grateful everyday that I’m aging. Was your comment suppose to be make me feel bad? It didn’t. It makes me feel grateful. So thank you for the reminder that I’m still here. ❤️❤️❤️”Listen on Spotify to Get Tressed With Us to get the details of every hair love affair in Hollywood, from the hits and misses on the red carpet to your favorite celebrities’ street style ‘dos (and don’ts!) – Advertisement –last_img read more

first_imgA319 and A320 aircraft are planned on all routes, which are the backbone of the airline’s network on flights within Europe. Source: Croatian Aviation line Dusseldorf – Dubrovnik, from August 30, once a week (Sunday),line Cologne – Dubrovnik, from September 06, once a week (Sunday),line Berlin – Dubrovnik, from September 06, once a week (Sunday),line Hamburg – Dubrovnik, from September 06, once a week (Sunday).center_img According to the portal Croatian Aviation, at the end of this month, and after already launching its routes to all destinations in Croatia, the low-budget German airline Eurowings plans to connect Dubrovnik with four destinations in Germany. However, it should be noted that this summer season Eurowings will depart for Dubrovnik Airport with a minimum number of weekly flights on the following routes:last_img read more

first_img Lampard speaks after knocking Man Utd out of the FA CupTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 7:03FullscreenLampard speaks after knocking Man Utd out of the FA Cuphttps://metro.co.uk/video/lampard-speaks-knocking-man-utd-fa-cup-2213582/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.‘That’s football now. When you lose games, you’re out. If he loses his job and he has an FA Cup, he has an unbelievable CV!‘If Mourinho was in United’s position yesterday, knowing he has Arsenal in the final, he plays his strongest possible team.’Arsenal legend Merson added: ‘At the end of his career, Mourinho can say: “I won this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Oh, and this and this.”More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘There won’t be an asterisks next to one FA Cup which says: “Oh, that year we finished fifth instead of fourth.” It’s all about trophies!‘I was flabbergasted at his team selection. I couldn’t believe it.’Manchester United face West Ham on Wednesday evening before travelling to top-four rivals Leicester City on the final day of the season.Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page.MORE: Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s credentials questioned after Chelsea defeatMORE: Alan Shearer urges Solskjaer to replace David De Gea at Man United Comment Advertisement Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterMonday 20 Jul 2020 3:08 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.3kShares Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea (Picture: Getty)Paul Merson has slammed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over Manchester United’s team selection against Chelsea and says Jose Mourinho would never play a weakened side in a FA Cup semi-final.Solskjaer made a number of changes for United’s clash against Chelsea at Wembley, with Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all starting from the bench in the 3-1 defeat.The Red Devils have two important Premier League matches coming up as they chase a top-four place but Merson was nevertheless ‘flabbergasted’ by Solskjaer’s team selection. He told Sky Sports: ‘It’s clear that Manchester United’s next two league games are more important than the FA Cup semi-final. More important than winning a trophy. I cannot catch my breath.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘If that’s Jose Mourinho, he is playing his strongest team. You win trophies. You are judged on trophies!‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to win something! If he wins the FA Cup it’s massive for him! There are only a few trophies he can win in a season!‘This is on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He’s not going to be manager at Manchester United for the next 15 years, is he? Sooner or later when he goes on a bad run he’s going to be out of a job. Paul Merson aims Jose Mourinho dig at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Chelsea beat Manchester Unitedlast_img read more

first_imgNeutral tones feature throughout.Property records show Mr Willems bought the residence for $2.15 million — $530,000 more than the Member for Moncrieff paid for it in 2011.Mr Ciobo spent in excess of $200,000 renovating and landscaping the property during his young family’s tenure there. The property has its own tennis court.Selling agent Jackson Paradise of Ray White Prestige Gold Coast said the Sydney buyers were in Palm Beach to look at an apartment when they “were reading the paper and saw the Savoy Drive property”.“They’re going to live in the home, it’s a young family,” Mr Paradise said.“It’s a fantastic result for the area and buyer and seller are extremely happy.”The property was scheduled to go to auction on December 16, and it proved popular with 75 inspections held over one weekend.It now holds the record of second highest sale in Broadbeach Waters this year.The transaction was a case of history repeating itself — vendor and Gold Coast real estate agent Michael Willems purchased the home from Federal MP Steven Ciobo prior to auction, in November 2014. Wide water frontage. The kitchen was extensively revamped last year.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North1 hour ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa21 hours ago The property has private access to a tranquil cove.Mr Willems and his wife Dayna gave the property an extensive overhaul last year, transforming it into a contemporary waterfront oasis for their family of five. The property at 82-84 Savoy Drive has sold prior to auction.A HAMPTONS-style Broadbeach Waters house that last changed hands between a Gold Coast real estate agent and a Federal MP, has sold for millions of dollars prior to auction.The multimillion-dollar sale of sprawling waterfront sanctuary ‘Northcove’ came about after the new buyers noticed the property featured in the latest Gold Coast Bulletin’s Realestate. Northcove by name and by nature.The Hamptons style property features whitewashed timber walls, timber floorboards and neutral tones throughout.‘Northcove’ overlooks a private beach, tranquil cove and waterfront lawn, and has a tennis court, private pontoon, pool and media room.In 2013, it featured in the Australian television series Mako: Island of Secrets after a film crew approached then owner Mr Ciobo to use the property.undefinedlast_img read more

first_imgAerial shot of Nudgee PlaceA HOUSE and land package within the Nudgee Place development has sold for double the local median sales price. Nudgee locals Jim and Corinne Cleave bought their “forever home” for $1.245 million, with construction of their 387.29sq m highset house on a 926sq m lot to start soon. Jim and Corrine Cleave and their children will build their dream home at Nudgee Place.The easterly-facing home will include five bedrooms, a media room, study, multipurpose room, two bathrooms, two powder rooms and a double garage.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus23 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market23 hours agoNudgee Place is a boutique, infill house and land estate being developed by Brisbane-based developer, Weyers Estates, which has teamed up exclusively with Sunshine Coast builder, Vantage Homes.Weyers Estates project director Brad Hanson said the Cleave home would be built on a unique lot at the back of stage 2/3, overlooking a protected environmental zone.“The size of the block, its position within the estate, it is unique,” he said.Over 75 per cent of the release has been sold, mostly to local first home buyers and family owner-occupiers. Each modern home is being marketed as “turnkey” or “rent ready”, and includes features such as statement facades, stone benchtops, quality appliances, gas cooktops, high ceilings, and landscaping.Mr Hanson said the estate’s proximity to the Brisbane CBD, major transport nodes, including the Gateway Motorway, and employment hubs such as the airport and trade coast, made it attractive to buyers. And with packages starting from $627,000, first home buyers are also eligible for the First Home Owner’s Grant. The estate backs on to Nundah Creek and was formerly used for farming. Mr Hanson said the developer had rehabilitated 1.3 hectares of land for green space, with the estate also flanked by rural-use blocks.“When it came to our vision, we wanted to really provide a connection between the residential lots, the existing rural lots and the environmental zone,” he said.CoreLogic property data shows that the median sales price in Nudgee was $635,000 in the 12 months to August, with 60 houses sold.last_img read more

first_imgThe UK government has relaxed the need for independent financial advice for savers moving defined benefit (DB) funds to defined contribution (DC) after April.In conjunction with the budget freedoms announced last year for DC savers, which come into effect this year, the government placed the requirement on DB funds to provide independent financial advice for all members wishing to transfer funds from DB to DC.However, as the law – which removes the requirement for DC savers to annuitise – reaches its final legislative stages, the government said this would only be required with DB savings exceeding £30,000 (€40,170).Towers Watson senior consultant Stephen Green said: “The fact advice is not required for small pensions does not mean this is a decision to be taken lightly – especially where people have little else besides their state pension to fall back on. “But if someone’s other final salary pensions will provide them with a good income in any case, their desire to swap a small pension for a pot of capital they can access as they like may have overridden any financial advice not to do so.”The government previously consulted on whether to outlaw the transfer of DB funds to DC in light of the freedoms granted to the latter.However, industry respondents suggested few transfers would take place to materially impact DB investment strategies and sovereign bond markets.In other news, the UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) confirmed the number of penalties issued to employers breaching auto-enrolment requirements reached 169 by the end of 2014.In the last three months of the year, the regulator issued 166 fixed penalty notices as employers that had staged auto-enrolment failed to complete their declaration of compliance.It also issued more than 1,000 compliance notices forcing employers to amend failures in compliance, before being fined.TPR auto-enrolment director Charles Counsell said: “It appears some medium employers waited for a prompt from the regulator before completing their automatic-enrolment duties.”The regulator announced last year auto-enrolment policing would dominate its budget and agenda, with its share of TPR’s budget rising from 37% to 52%.Expenditure on auto-enrolment is said to have risen by 90% as TPR manages the staging of smaller employers.Law firm Pinsent Mason’s pensions partner, Tom Barton, said threats of regulatory action did not just come from TPR but also the tax office and employees.“The regulatory scrutiny could also throw a spotlight on practices such as contractual enrolment, unilateral changes to contribution rates and salary sacrifice,” he said.“These are employment contract issues employers need to get right.”last_img read more

first_imgNZ Herald 11 May 2012People charged with serious crimes would have to prove they can be trusted out at large. A bill which makes it more difficult for serious violent, sexual or Class A drug offenders to get bail has been backed in Parliament at its first reading. If the amendments become law, people charged with serious crimes would have to prove to the Crown they would not be a threat to public safety if allowed out of custody. This change reverses the burden of proof for bail cases involving serious offences. At present, it is usually the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove a defendant should not get bail. The bill was passed yesterday by a vote of 105 in favour to 15 against. National, United Future, Act, the Maori Party and Labour supported the bill and Greens and Mana opposed it. The first reading followed the launch of a community movement called “Christie’s Law” which aimed to tighten bail laws. It was created by the Sensible Sentencing Trust and the parents of Christie Marceau, who was allegedly killed by 19-year-old Akshay Chand.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=108050645 reasons to support the bail lawhttp://bobmccoskrie.com/?p=3090last_img read more