Air pollution killing 3.3 million people a year

first_imgAir pollution causes 3.3 million deaths worldwide each year — primarily from strokes and heart attacks — according to a new study by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher and colleagues. The study used health statistics and computer modeling to generate the most detailed picture yet of air pollution’s global toll. It projects that if emissions continue at the current rate, the number of deaths caused by air pollution could double by 2050.The study was published online September 16, 2015 in Nature. John Evans, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard Chan School, was a co-author, along with scientists in Germany, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia.The researchers were surprised to find that agriculture was the second highest cause of air pollution-related deaths worldwide, and the top cause in the U.S. Northeast, Europe, Russia, Japan, and South Korea. This is a result of ammonia from fertilizer and animal waste combining with pollutants from power plants and car exhaust to form harmful soot particles.The cause of the most pollution-related deaths worldwide was the use of biofuels for indoor cooking in the developing world. China had the most air pollution fatalities (1.4 million deaths a year), with the United States at number 7 on the list with 54,905 deaths. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Towering success

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103-year-old Iran woman survives coronavirus: report

first_imgThe woman was the second elderly patient in Iran to have survived the disease.The other was a 91-year-old man from Kerman, in the southeast of Iran, the news agency said.After being sick for three days, he recovered on Monday despite having pre-existing medical conditions including high blood pressure and asthma, it added.The report did not say how the pair were treated. A 103-year-old woman in Iran has recovered after being infected with the new coronavirus, state media reported, despite overwhelming evidence the elderly are most at risk from the disease.The unnamed woman had been hospitalized in the central city of Semnan for about a week, IRNA news agency said.But she was “discharged after making a complete recovery”, Semnan University of Medical Sciences head Navid Danayi was quoted as saying by IRNA late Tuesday. Since Iran announced its first deaths on Feb. 19, the novel coronavirus has spread to all of the country’s 31 provinces and killed nearly 1,000 people.The elderly are the most vulnerable to the disease, which first emerged in China late last year.The World Health Organization this month estimated the novel coronavirus kills 3.4 percent of all those infected.But for people aged over 80 the fatality rate was 21.9 percent, according to a report the WHO carried out with the Chinese authorities.center_img Topics :last_img read more

More Britons seeking German citizenship

first_imgThe Guardian newspaper said the number of German citizenships granted to Britons last year was the largest for 16 years.Daniel Tetlow, co-founder of the British in Germany association, told the paper there is little doubt Brexit triggered the clamoring for German passports.”Of those Brits that have managed to get a German passport, all of them reported Brexit as a key motivation,” said Tetlow, who co-authored a report on Brexit and migration patterns along with the Oxford in Berlin research partnership and the Berlin Social Science Centre.”For most of the people we spoke with, it didn’t mean any kind of rejection of Britishness but more the compliment of being British European,” he said. “And it’s a plain insurance policy, a no-brainer for Britons who have their livelihoods here and want to continue to have the rights and freedoms that come with an EU passport.” There has been a sharp rise in the number of British people acquiring German citizenship, something experts link to the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.Destatis, Germany’s federal statistical office, said in a data release on Wednesday that the nation granted a total of 128,900 naturalized citizenships in 2019, 15 percent more than in 2018.Of that total, 14,600 naturalized citizenships went to Britons, which was 2,300 percent more than the 600 granted to Britons in 2015, the year before the UK voted in a referendum to leave the EU. Since the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016, a total of 31,600 Britons have acquired German citizenship, the country’s office for statistics added.Most Britons have elected to keep their UK passports, something that has been possible in the past but that will end for people acquiring citizenship after the transition period closes on Dec 31, when the UK ceases to follow EU rules and conventions.Foreign nationals must live in Germany for eight years before they can apply for citizenship.Tetlow said German immigration offices had been “committing more staff to deal specifically with British applications”.The Reuters news agency said Britons have been seeking EU passports as the clock ticks down to the end of the transitional period because they want to hang onto the right to freedom of movement within the EU, and the right to work in any member state.As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany has long been popular with Britons because of the opportunities it presents.Topics :last_img read more

Nordea’s life, pensions business grows 11% in Q1 on unit-link sales

first_imgAssets in unit-link products  continued to grow in the reporting period compared with the same period a year before.At the end of March, their share of total assets under management had risen by 4 percentage points.“As a result of the continuously increasing share of capital-light products in relation to total AUM, the Solvency I ratio increased by 7 percentage points in the first quarter, ending at 180,” Nordea said.Operating profit for the life and pensions business fell 1% from the fourth quarter 2013 to the first quarter of this year to €68m, it said, attributing the fall to seasonal effects. Compared with the first quarter of 2013, however, operating profit was 10% higher in the latest reporting period. Nordea’s life and pensions business grew by 11% in the first three months of this year from the previous quarter as the Nordic and Baltic banking group reported high levels of sales for unit-link products via its banking network.Gross written premiums in the Life & Pensions division rose to €2.06bn in the first quarter, up 11% from the fourth quarter 2013 and up 16% from the first quarter of 2013, the banking group said in its interim report.Nordea said: “The strong sales are primarily driven by solid sales momentum for market-return products in the Nordea Bank channel.”In the January-to-March period this year, unit-link products accounted for 87% of total gross written premiums, a 5 percentage point increase from the same quarter in 2013.last_img read more

Greater Manchester pension fund returns 7% despite hit on global bonds

first_img“The impact of the fall in yields on government bonds more than offset the investment gains through the adverse impact this has on the valuation of pension promises earned,” he said in the fund’s annual report.Over the year to 31 March, the fund, the largest local government fund in England, fared well its 62% asset allocation to public equities, in particular its UK equities exposure.The asset class returned more than 15%, above the fund’s benchmark.Despite the fund’s making its best and worst returns in UK equities and index-linked global bonds, respectively, it still withdrew close to £300m from UK equities to finance increases in property and alternatives.It also shifted allocations from cash and global corporate bonds to further hedge inflation exposure with index-linked global bonds.GMPF made a close to 5% return on global equities and a near 12.3% return on property.Its alternatives allocations, predominately made up of private equity and infrastructure, returned nearly 6%.The fund committed to increase private equity by £100m per year, with annualised performance hitting 16.7%.Infrastructure allocations are now set to increase by £75m a year, but the fund said, with only £98m currently invested in projects, its target allocation of 3% would still take several years.Its 10% allocation to property is also set to increase as the fund continues to grow its direct holdings and the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund (GMPVF).The GMPVF aims to generate returns while supporting the fund’s local area, namely Manchester.While taking stakes in a project around the city’s airport, and funding office developments and social housing, GMPF said it would continue to build a broad portfolio in the next three years.The fund’s assumed liabilities grew by 3.2% over the year to £16.9bn, leaving the fund 90% funded. The £13.3bn (€17bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) returned 7% over its last financial year, backed by strong returns in both public and private equity.However, the local authority fund was held back by significant losses in its global bonds portfolio that included sovereign and corporate fixed income and inflation-linked bonds.Despite a net growth in assets, the fund also saw its funding ratio, calculated on an actuarial basis, fall to 90.5%.Councillor Kieran Quinn, chairman of the fund, said despite investment returns outperforming the actuary’s expectations, long-term interest rates made the funding situation difficult.last_img read more

Environment Agency pension fund to ramp up private debt investments

first_imgThe UK’s Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) is looking to increase investment in private debt funds this financial year as it continues to diversify growth assets as part of strategy changes agreed in 2015.This strategy involves reducing equity risk and creating a “high level” allocation to diversifying growth assets as an alternative to low-returning bonds.The diversifying-growth allocation consists of a 12% allocation to real assets, 5% to growth fixed income and 5% to private debt/illiquid credit.As part of the latter, the £2.73bn* (€3.47bn) EAPF worked with other Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) and UK pension funds to create a private debt fund, run by BlueBay Asset Management, that is tailored to the particular needs of LGPS. “We are looking to invest in one or two more funds in this area during 2016-17 on a similar basis,” said the EAPF in its recent annual report.The EAPF invested £50m in the BlueBay Direct Lending Fund in the 2015-16 financial year, according to its annual report.Its real assets portfolio stands at £330m, or 12.1% of the fund, as at 31 March, counting investments and undrawn commitments.“Despite a lot of demand from investors,” the fund said, “we have found some good opportunities, partly through focusing on partnerships and innovative structures.”It highlighted investments in UK wind – with fund manager Temporis – and UK and European renewable energy – with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.As concerns the fund’s bond allocation, it moved from a passive mandate to a “buy and maintain” basis, which it said provided “a low-cost portfolio with a better balance and more consideration of environmental, social and governance issues than an indexed allocation would achieve”.Last year also saw the EAPF launch a policy to address the impact of climate change, aimed at ensuring its investments were in line with keeping global warming to below 2°C pre-industrial levels.Analysis done for the policy influenced the EAPF’s decision to reduce its exposure to UK equities.The pension fund also reviewed its exposure to “value equities” – value being the factor driving the equity selection. It decided to keep this exposure but is looking for “options to reform it into an approach that is both ‘low carbon’ and ‘value”.As a first step in this process, it has switched smart beta indices, moving from a Research Affiliates Fundamental Index (RAFI) tracking 3,000 companies to the RAFI 1000 index, which has lower carbon exposure.The EAPF had some £100m invested in the value-orientated equity strategy as at 31 March.The fund is also understood to be continuing to look for private equity funds combining high return and strong sustainability credentials.These investment plans come as the EAPF and nine other funds work to develop an asset pool to meet government requirements. The grouping has been named the Brunel Pension Partnership and, like other LGPS pools being developed, submitted a proposal to the government in time for a 15 July deadline. Risk aversion rewardsThe EAPF has a target for 25% of the fund to be invested in the “sustainable and green economy”, and it said it has delivered on this.As at 31 March, 28% (£769m) of its assets were invested in companies with more than 20% of revenues derived from energy efficiency, alternative energy, water and waste treatment, and public transport, and investing in property and infrastructure funds with low carbon or strong sustainability criteria.The EAPF posted a return of 2.3% for its active fund in the year to 31 March, with assets growing by £73m to £2.73bn. The overall return of 2.3% for the last financial year outperformed the fund’s strategic benchmark by 2.6 percentage points (the benchmark posted a loss of 0.3%).Clive Elphick, chairman of the pensions committee, said: “The outperformance in the year was due to the benefits of the risk-averse stance we have chosen to take to support the fund in more difficult markets.”The EAPF’s CIO recently told IPE the fund’s investment strategy had sheltered it from the impact of the Brexit vote. In its 2016 annual report, the pension fund also noted that its investment performance was helped by the fund’s having significantly reduced its exposure to high carbon assets, sheltering it from the fall in the oil price.*As at 31 March 2016. The fund recently told IPE it had £2.9bn in assets at the end of June 2016.last_img read more

Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex Boosts Orderbook by 42 Pct

first_imgRussian Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex managed to increase its portfolio of orders by 42 percent in the second half of 2018.Currently, Zvezda has a total of 37 vessels in its orderbook and is in the process of securing new contracts.Zvezda’s anchor customer is Rosneft, which placed an order for 26 vessels, including twelve Arc6 and Arc7 ice-class tankers, four ice-class multi-purpose support vessels, and ten Aframax tankers.Gazprom ordered three support vessels, one vessel for transporting drilling crews, and one multi-purpose service vessel for offshore production unit.In addition, Rosmorport ordered one shallow-draft icebreaker. The contract also provides for an option to build three similar vessels.What is more, Sovcomflot ordered two Aframax tankers and three medium-range tankers of the MR class at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex.The creation of Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in the Far East is one of the stages in the implementation of the Russian government’s strategy to increase the competitiveness of Russia, its economy and human capital. Founding the complex is closely related with top-priority directions of the Russian shipbuilding industry development — securing efficient exploitation of the Northern Sea Route and transforming it into a national transit passage.Established at the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Centre (FESRC) by a consortium of Rosneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprombank, the shipbuilding complex design provides for the construction of a heavy outfitting berth, a dry dock, full-cycle production shops, and shops for the construction of offshore marine facilities.Once completed, Zvezda will produce heavy tonnage ships, offshore platform elements, ice-class vessels, special vessels, and other marine equipment.last_img read more

Maloney: I owed team

first_img Press Association Maloney was hardly alone in his frustration as most of Wigan’s players struggled alarmingly as they failed to take advantage of Bobby Zamora’s 21st-minute dismissal for kicking Jordi Gomez in the head. “After the game we realised that for 85 minutes or so it was a disappointing performance from us. Our manager told us that at half-time,” Maloney said. “It wasn’t quite good enough from us for large parts of the game. It wasn’t because of nerves. “When they went down to 10 men they shifted into two banks of four with the lone threat up front. It probably had the opposite effect on us, we took our foot off the gas. We didn’t want to, it’s just something that spread throughout the team, particularly the forward players, myself included. The passing and movement off the ball just wasn’t good enough.” Wigan’s bid to spend another season in the Premier League is interrupted on Saturday by their FA Cup semi-final against Millwall at Wembley. Maloney hopes the disappointing afternoon against QPR will offer a reminder of what will be required against the npower Championship side if the Latics are to reach the final. “It would be great if we can get back to the type of performance we showed against Norwich and Newcastle. If we do that we’ll have a better chance of winning,” he said. “Millwall are in the division below so people will make us favourites. That’s just something we have to embrace. “We need to match the workrate of Millwall, which is something we didn’t do against QPR. We need to improve on yesterday’s performance. “The cup is very important, but it hasn’t been mentioned too much at the club until this week. It will be a big occasion. The main priority of our season is to stay in the Premier League, but as you get further in the cup each round becomes more important.” Maloney rifled home a free-kick deep into injury time after toiling against 10 men for 70 minutes to secure a point that was insufficient to lift them out of the bottom three. It was his fifth goal of the season and the 30-year-old Scot was pleased to have delivered after producing what he considered to be a sub-standard display at Loftus Road. “It was needed because it was one of my poorer performances for the club, so I needed to do something to try and rescue the match. Fortunately the free-kick went in,” he said. center_img Shaun Maloney felt he owed Wigan his last-gasp equaliser in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with QPR that could yet prove instrumental to their Barclays Premier League survival.last_img read more

Other Sports Indian women’s hockey team beat Malaysia 3-0 in series opener

first_img New Delhi: Striker Vandana Katariya scored a brace to help Indian women’s hockey team beat hosts Malaysia 3-0 in the opening game of the five-match series here Thursday. Vandana struck in the 17th and 60th minutes before Lalremsiami (38th) scored in the third quarter to hand India the easy win.  It was Malaysia who got a head start with a penalty corner in the third minute of the match, but it was well-saved by an experienced Savita guarding the Indian goalpost. India shook off the initial nerves and young Lalremsiami took a brave shot on goal in the fifth minute but her effort was saved.  For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Indian women’s hockey team beat hosts Malaysia 3-0 in the opening game of the five-match series.Vandana struck two goals at 17th and 60th minute. Lalremsiami, too scored a goal in the game.  Two minutes later, Navneet Kaur attempted a shot on goal but was denied by an alert Malaysian goalkeeper. Soon India got a penalty corner but the resultant try went wide. After a goalless first quarter, India broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Vandana scored a fine field goal. With a one-goal cushion, India maintained a good structure and controlled the proceedings in the third quarter too. The Indians kept the Malaysian attack in check and under pressure, the hosts conceded three penalty corners but all the chances went in vain. India doubled their lead in the 38th minute through another field strike by young striker Lalremsiami. The 2-0 lead put India in a comfortable position in the fourth quarter and the visitors increased their lead just seconds from the final hooter through Vandana. The second match of the series will be played on Saturday.(With Inputs: PTI) highlightslast_img read more