first_imgPresident Donald Trump’s administration will welcome Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to the Pentagon on Friday after dropping a de facto ban on his entry into the country imposed over accusations of human rights abuses.Prabowo, a 68-year-old former special forces commander, has long been a controversial figure in Indonesia, accused of involvement with military crimes in places like East Timor that have earned him scorn among human rights advocates.But since being named as defense minister last year, Prabowo, who denies any wrongdoing, has also become a key figure as the Trump administration attempts to deepen defense ties with Indonesia. Prabowo will receive official briefings elsewhere in the Washington D.C.-area on Thursday as Jakarta weighs a fighter jet purchase that has also attracted interest from Moscow.Amnesty International and other rights advocates condemned the decision by the US State Department to grant him a visa, something it had denied in years past, including when Prabowo’s son graduated from Boston University.Prabowo told Reuters in 2012 he was refused a US visa due to allegations that he had instigated riots that killed hundreds after the overthrow of Indonesia’s then-president Suharto in 1998.”The State Department’s recent decision to lift the ban on Prabowo Subianto is an abrupt, complete reversal of longstanding US foreign policy,” said Amnesty International USA’s National Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Joanne Lin, calling his visit “catastrophic for human rights in Indonesia.”Senator Patrick Leahy, author of a law that prohibits US military aid to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity, condemned the Trump administration’s decision and said Prabowo was “ineligible to enter this country.””By granting a visa to Prabowo, the President and Secretary of State have shown once again that for them ‘law and order’ is an empty slogan that ignores the importance of justice,” Leahy told Reuters.Topics : Of particular concern to Washington, Indonesia’s military is also being courted by Russia and China.A senior US defense official strongly defended the decision to welcome Prabowo to the Pentagon, where he will meet Defense Secretary Mark Esper.”Minister Prabowo is the appointed minister of defense of the now twice duly-elected president of Indonesia, which is the third-largest democracy in the world,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”He is our counterpart, of a very important partnership, and it is important that we engage with him and treat him as a partner.”last_img read more

first_imgSwiss pension funds are awaiting for a final decision on a motion that would increase their ability to increase their investments in infrastructure.Thomas Weibel, the former member of the Green Liberal Group (GL), proposed a motion in 2015 to split infrastructure investments from the broader category of alternative investments in pension funds’ asset allocations, as it is stipulated in the regulation for occupational pensions (BVV 2).The lower house of the Swiss parliament, the national council, and the upper house, the council of state, have already approved the motion following the rejection by the government.Hanspeter Konrad, managing director of Swiss pension fund association ASIP, told IPE that it is still unclear whether the amendment to the regulation will go ahead. The investment limit would be increased to 25% in total – 10% for infrastructure plus 15% for other alternative investmentsArticle 53, paragraph 1 letter f, defines a separate category for infrastructure investments, opposed to hedge funds, private equity, insurance linked securities and commodities, under letter e of the same article.Flückiger noted that the motion wants “certainly” promote investments in infrastructure and make them more attractive for pension funds.“Basically, nothing changes just because infrastructure investments will no longer count as alternatives in the future,” he said, explaining that pension funds now have more freedom before making use of the investment options under Article 50 (4) BVV2.In future the investment limit would be increased to 25% in total – 10% for infrastructure plus 15% for other alternative investments.Risks and returns“Infrastructure investments are characterized by a high value retention with stable, constant yields, and Pensionskassen can, among other things, also invest in ecologically sustainable projects,” Konrad said.“The diversification of assets gives funds a greater freedom of action and ultimately, this has a risk-reducing effect on assets,” he added.“The diversification of assets gives funds a greater freedom of action and ultimately, this has a risk-reducing effect on assets”Hanspeter Konrad, managing director of ASIPOn the other hand, political, regulatory and operational risks must also be taken into account, he continued. “Due to their size, immobility, illiquidity, counterparty risks and their complexity, infrastructure investments show risks that should not be underestimated.”Flückiger said: “Infrastructure investments are very long-term investments and the board of trustees [of a scheme] has to consider whether to commit in the long term. Like other alternative investments, for example private equity, infrastructure investments are very illiquid, have complex structures, high fees, and there are also political, regulatory and counterparty risks to consider.”“It does not mean that boards no longer have an obligation to exercise prudence, if the BVV2 is amended and infrastructure is not considered as alternative investment,” he concluded.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. “In the current low interest rate environment, Pensionskassen will continue to examine various investment opportunities,” he said, adding that infrastructure investments have already raised increased investor appetite in recent years. “With appropriate offers, growth is likely to be expected,” he said.Heinrich Flückiger, senior consultant at Prevanto, told IPE the current low interest rate environment can create the condition for Pensionskassen to deal with the possibility of investing in infrastructure assets.“For many Pensionskassen, the focus is on expanding real value investments – shares, real estate in Switzerland and abroad,” he said, adding that a new infrastructure category “will certainly lead” to a shift in nominal values on the investments into this new category.The Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office, BSV, held consultations on the amendment to the BVV 2 until 20 March.According to consultation documents, the ultimate goal of the motion proposed by Weibel is to boost the real value of assets in energy, mobility, and health infrastructure.Increasing value of these assets would lead pension funds to invest in sustainable projects in Switzerland at a greater extent than in previous years, at the same time promoting the energy transition policies of the federal council and parliament.Under the new article 55 letter f, pension funds can now invest up to 10% of their assets in infrastructure, while so far the limit for investments in alternatives, which include infrastructure, is a maximum of 15%.last_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 6, 2014 at 12:10 am There have been false alarms for Syracuse this season. But none like this. None this loud.In the Orange’s 28-6 loss to Louisville on Friday night, the Carrier Dome touchdown horn sounded off twice in three plays. The Orange didn’t score on either of them.The first was a pass from running back Prince-Tyson Gulley to wide receiver Ben Lewis, which Lewis caught in the end zone and celebrated before right tackle Omari Palmer was flagged as an illegal man downfield. The second was an end-around wide receiver pass from Jarrod West to a wide-open Lewis, which Lewis missed before staring at the ground in disbelief.Each horn added a punctuation mark to an unfinished sentence — two reminders that Syracuse’s offense, at present, can’t even hang in games.“It’s like working all week and not getting your paycheck,” SU offensive coordinator George McDonald said of those missed opportunities. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange (2-3, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) didn’t earn a payday, but there were factors aside from miscommunication and lack of execution that led to the 22-point loss.First, H-back Brisly Estime, top target Ashton Broyld and right tackle Ivan Foy all sat with injuries. Louisville’s run defense came in as the best in the country and held the Orange to a season-low 59 yards on the ground. Finally, Terrel Hunt didn’t look 100 percent after being banged up against Notre Dame then having to leave the game after he was injured on a hit in the fourth.But the loss still looked something like this: SU’s offense scored six points on two field goals and gave up four points on two safeties — the first of which came on a shotgun toss to Adonis Ameen-Moore that sent him into the end zone. The Carrier Dome was essentially empty when the game clock finally ran out.The offense didn’t execute, the defense bent then finally broke and nothing in Syracuse’s play or postgame assessment of it showed that the execution problems are going to subside. If anything is certain after five games, it’s that Syracuse isn’t ready to compete for wins in the ACC this year.“I think there’s a huge misconception of what toughness is. Toughness isn’t just the physicality of it,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said after the loss. “Toughness is the ability to get your mind in a very nice place where you can execute better and find that balance. That’s toughness.“Being soft is not having the fortitude to be able to say to yourself, ‘I’ve got to stop thinking about the negatives.’”The injuries and the opponents that Syracuse could hardly control were only compounded by the mistakes it could have.“If they score six points, we have to hold the other team to five,” junior cornerback Julian Whigham said when asked if the lack of finishing frustrated the defense. It’s almost an impossible reality to win in, much like eliminating enough of these errors before No. 1 Florida State visits the Dome on Saturday is a tall, tall order. Some mistakes can be fixed in preparation. Like running on third-and-10 only to lose 2 yards, checking to a toss on your own goal line only to give up a safety and telegraphing an interception a play after the defense got you the ball.Then there’s not knowing how many timeouts are left at the end of the first half, moving backward instead of forward in the red zone and otherwise playing with an offense that nearly outscored itself in 60 minutes of play. No amount of defense, toughness or time in the film room can heal those kinds of wounds.“It’s tough because when you’re not finishing, it’s not necessarily a function of the scheme. We got to continue to look at it,” McDonald said.And while Syracuse looks at that, it’s hard not to look at the coming weeks and see a season that is all too close to being defined. The Seminoles are next, then Wake Forest and Clemson on the road.Add in Hunt’s uncertain status. Add doubts about Broyld, Estime, Foy and third cornerback Wayne Morgan’s health, too. Then add fake touchdown horns and it all really starts to sting. Commentslast_img read more