Tributes spring up across campus

first_imgSince the death of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh on Thursday night, the Notre Dame community has honored him with various tributes around campus, spontaneous and planned. We have collected some of those moments here.March 110 a.m. — University President Emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and reflects on Fr. Hesburgh’s legacy in the homily. The Liturgical choir led a rendition of the Alma Mater in Hesburgh’s honor at the end of the Mass.9:33 a.m. — The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team unveiled the patches it will wear to honor Fr. Hesburgh in its Sunday afternoon game against Duke.Feb. 281 p.m. — The No. 2 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team observed a moment of silence in honor of Fr. Hesburgh before its game against Dartmouth in Loftus Sports Center. The team also wore “Fr. Ted” stickers on its helmets.“If you look at the history of Notre Dame, Knute Rockne made Notre Dame famous, and Fr. Ted took that and made Notre Dame a great university,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said.All day — The American flag in the middle of South Quad flies at half staff.Feb. 279:45 p.m. — Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra played the Notre Dame Alma Mater in honor of Fr. Ted following its concert Friday night.“Notre Dame lost her greatest son,” orchestra director Daniel Stowe said.7:00 p.m. — Fr. Ted was honored by the hockey team before its game against No. 9 Boston College at Compton Family Ice Arena with a moment of silence and a video tribute, in addition to “Fr. Ted” stickers on the Irish helmets.“I had no idea when I first started here what kind of man we had with us here on campus,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said.7:00 p.m. — The 85th annual Bengal Bouts Tournament remembered Fr. Hesburgh with a moment of silence and a 10-bell salute while his picture was put up on the video boards.5:27 p.m. — Senior Associate Athletics Director John Heisler sent out an email to the Notre Dame football media list reading, “Beginning today, Notre Dame athletic teams will wear ‘Fr. Ted’ patches or stickers on some combination of their uniforms, warm-ups or helmets. Moments of silence will be observed prior to home events in each of Notre Dame’s 26 varsity sports. In the near future, there will be commemorative signage created for each Notre Dame home athletic venue — to be featured either on the field or court itself or displayed elsewhere at the facility.”3:28 p.m. — The Notre Dame softball team announced through its Twitter account that players would wear black ribbons in their hair during two games against No. 20 Missouri and Georgetown “in honor of the late Father Theodore.”3:00 p.m. — A bouquet of flowers sits in the snow at the feet of the Fr. Hesburgh statue in front of the “Word of Life” mural on the south face of Hesburgh Library.11:00 a.m. — Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins held a press conference to reflect on Fr. Hesburgh’s influence on the University and to provide details about the schedule for the upcoming days.“Next to Fr. Sorin, no one had a greater impact on this University,” Jenkins said. “Notre Dame lost a piece of its heart last night. But Fr. Ted lives on.”At first light — The Notre Dame Grounds Crew began putting up Hesburgh banners on light poles across campus.Throughout the night — Notre Dame students, faculty and community members gathered at the Grotto to remember Fr. Ted. Candles spelling out “TED” were arranged on one of the racks, and some people sang the Alma Mater.1:07 a.m. — The Observer tweeted out the news Fr. Theodore Hesburgh died at the age of 97, confirmed by a University spokesperson. Tags: campus tributes, Remembering Father Hesburghlast_img read more

AHF: Over 900 million euros of investment in tourism is expected this year

first_imgThe sixth in a row, also the largest investment conference in Southeast Europe – Adria Hotel Forum, gathered on Wednesday about 350 most important names of the hotel and development industry, investment funds and regional experts in tourism.The main theme of this year’s AHF is: Our own responsibility, which answers questions about how each industry stakeholder can increase productivity, competitiveness and quality in their own projects over the next five to ten years, following the trends of the tourism industry. In the introductory part, the meeting was welcomed by Zlatan Muftić from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Frano Matušić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia and the British Ambassador to Croatia Andrew Dalgleish.Matusic presented the basic performance of Croatian tourism, which last year recorded records in tourist arrivals (11,5 million) and revenues (8,7 billion euros). “The continuous growth of arrivals and revenues shows that Croatian tourism is competitive on the global market and that we are an attractive destination for investors. We have managed to achieve that the sun and the sea are no longer the primary motives for coming, and we are attracting tourists with higher purchasing power. This year we expect over 900 million euros of investments, which is 13 percent more than in 2017, but through better cooperation between the private and public sectors, we can have even more. Still untapped potential is congress tourism, which enables year-round hotel operations Said Matusic.Damian Harrington (Colliers International) presented to the participants the main key macroeconomic trends at the global level and stressed that last year was marked by great geo-political instability, that we are currently witnessing market and financial volatility, but that economic indicators continue to grow. Marc Finney (Colliers International), Christian Giraud (Accor Hotels) and Kenneth Hatton (Belmond) participated in the panel A Look at the Mediterranean and European Environment for the next five years, and the discussion was moderated by British journalist Andrew Sangster (Hotel Analyst). Finney pointed out that currently European hotels are doing well, that growth can be expected next year, but that the question is whether the same dynamics will continue in three to five years.Finney believes that the 2008 economic crisis will not be repeated globally, but that it is realistic to expect a slowdown in growth. He also announced the return of destinations that have been in difficulty in recent years: Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt to the global competitiveness map. In his opinion, the best investment destination at the moment is Cyprus. Christian Giraud pointed out that there is currently so much money on the world market that everyone wants to participate in investment and growth, that Europe has a year advantage over the US, but agreed that at some point there will be a slowdown. He also pointed out the great interest of investors in investing in the region of SE Europe, especially in the luxury and lifesyle segment. Giraud also sees potential in building resorts with internationally recognized brands, especially in the Mediterranean. Its focal point for investment is currently Eastern Europe.Kenneth Hatton also mentioned the strong growth of the SE Europe market, but stressed that many destinations still do not have clearly defined products and offers, which should be ‘packaged’ into certain niche segments. New Zealand is currently the best investment opportunity for him. Christian Giraud at the end of the panel pointed out that currently the problem of high construction costs is much bigger than the threat of a new financial crisis.Zdenko Lucić from the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness presented the current Croatian investment potential, environment and benefits offered to investors and projects that are in the Government’s investment catalog. Damir Davidović, State Secretary of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, used the same opportunity, emphasizing that Montenegro has completed one large investment cycle and is now moving on to the next. The country also broke all tourism records last year and has a dozen large projects in the pipeline that already have investors (for example, Porto Montenegro, worth 450m euros, backed by Dubai capital).In a conversation between Keith Evans (Starwood Capital) and Ulf Pleschiutsching (Morgan Stanly), on investment strategies, moderated by Dirk Bakker (Collers International), it was discussed whether the return of strong rivals (Turkey and North Africa) is a threat to the destinations that are most profited from their geo-political problems. Evans mentioned that Croatia has been in demand among investors in the last few years, that more and more brands are interested in hotel management, and that he sees many opportunities. According to him, resorts with a certain mix of products are the preferred model in which to invest on the Croatian coast. Pleschiutsching pointed out that the construction of hotels in the four- and five-star segments is expensive for destinations that have limited tourism only in the summer months.Thomas Emanuel (STR), introduced hotel performance of the hotel sector in Europe in 2017. and forecasts for the sector this year. Occupancy of European hotels has increased by 10 percent in the last ten years and all destinations are recording an increase in revenue per room (RevPAR). This year, that growth should be five percent. “People are traveling despite terrorism and markets that have fallen into trouble are returning this year. In the Mediterranean market, the sun shines everywhere, and Portugal, Greece and Croatia had the best performance last year. Last year, revenue per room in Croatian hotels rose by 14 percent ”Said Emanuel. The highest occupancy is recorded in hotels in Prague, while Athens is the leader in the average room price.Na panel Key drivers Marybelle Arnett (Hilton), Otmar Michaeler (Falkensteiner & Michaeler Gorup), Ivana Budin Arhanić (Valamar Riviera), Živorad Vasić (InterContinental Hotels Group), Gordana Martinović (Zagrebačka banka) participated in the change, and the panel was moderated by Takuya Ayoama (Hyatt International). Arnett said that Hilton, which has two branded hotels in Croatia, is opening three more in the region this year – Tirana, Skopje and Belgrade. The current focus of Hilton, which has 375 branded hotels in Europe and another 100 on hold, is precisely Central and Eastern Europe.Otmar Michaeler, who has been on the Croatian market for many years, says that in the past 20 years many brands of various business models have appeared in Croatia and that currently everyone who sells beds is a competition. He pointed out that Falkensteiner used to be interested in the leisure model, while now they are focused on city hotels and the development of the luxury segment. He mentioned some of the advantages of investing in Croatia, but it still slows down the bureaucratic system and the fact that privatization is not over yet. Živorad Vasić emphasized that InterContinental is preparing some projects in Zagreb, Ljubljana and Belgrade and emphasized that he has a feeling that banks still do not fully understand the nature of the hotel business and the way in which it generates revenues.Gordana Martinović, on behalf of Zagrebačka banka, pointed out that her company, when studying the investment potential, looks not only at what the project is like, but also at its significance for the wider community and the larger market. Ivana Budin Arhanić spoke on behalf of the largest hotel group in Croatia about how large investors regularly face problems in destinations such as unresolved ownership issues and the uncertainty of fiscal policy, but that Valamar Riviera has learned to deal with it. “The fact is that local players in Croatia are more successful in consolidation and grow faster and better through acquisitions than international investors. ”said Budin.The last panel of the first part of the Adria Hotel Forum, moderated by journalist Dora Koretić (Hanza Media), was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Tourism who spoke about where they see the future of hotels in their destinations. Frano Matušić reiterated that Croatia is an excellent country for investment and that currently the main strategy of Croatia is the development of brownfield, not greenfield investment, which surprised many present.Damir Davidović said that Montenegro has already reached a good level, but it is still far from being completely satisfied. He said Russian investors had been replaced by investors from the Middle East and that the country was open to investors from the West. “Of all investments in Montenegro, 34 percent are in tourism. However, the big problem of Montenegro is that 76 percent of the capacity is in private accommodation ” says Davidović.Konrad Mizzi, the Minister of Tourism of Malta, said that Malta has undergone a transformation from a resort to a city break destination in the last few years (15 new hotel beds are currently under construction), with the largest increase in tourists in January and March. Mizzi attaches great importance to the creation of additional facilities and large attractions that attract various types of tourists.George Tziallas, Greece’s tourism minister, said his country was finally emerging from the crisis and that Greece had a new tourism strategy based on extending the season, new facilities and opening new destinations on the coast and islands in the Ionian Sea.  “Greece has only six percent of branded hotels in high categories, which means that there is still great potential. Smaller boutique brands are coming to us and we currently have 300 apps to build new and renovate existing hotelsTziallas concluded.last_img read more

Dutch Pensions Federation rings alarm bells over looming disaster [updated]

first_imgCredit: Mark Prins Dutch social affairs minister Wouter KoolmeesThe new financial assessment framework (nFTK), introduced in 2015, required pension funds to reduce pension rights if their coverage ratio had been below 104.3% for a consecutive period of five years.The industry organisation said it now expected that 2m pension fund participants and pensioners would be hit by cuts next year.Cuts of up to 8%It added that cuts of up to 8% would be possible, despite the reduction of the minimum required funding level.Although the Pensions Federation  did not dispute the reduced return assumptions, it noted that the combination with falling interest rates and a lower discount rate had created a “very worrying outlook”.The worsening financial position of schemes would have significant consequences for contribution levels and annual accrual rates for pensions, it added.The organisation estimated that contributions could have to rise by between 10% and 30% as a direct effect of the new parameters. It added that the trade war between the US and China, “rumours about new monetary measures” by the European Central Bank as well as Brexit developments had caused all warning signs to become “deep red”.Within a short time span “extraordinary things” had happened, the trade body said, such as a negative German government bond yield curve for all durations, and residential mortgages issued against negative interest rates in Denmark.Government bond yield curvesChart MakerThe Pensions Federation said it would be sensible for the cabinet set the minimum required funding permanently at 100%, rather than 104.3%, ahead of the introduction of a new pensions contract.In June this year, following an pensions agreement struck between the cabinet and the social partners, the government said it would temporarily reduce the minimum required funding level for Dutch schemes to 100% in order to reduce the scale of cuts of pension rights and benefits. Volatile equity and bond markets have worsened the financial position of Dutch pension fundsIf contributions could not be raised, annual accruals would have to be reduced to between 1.3% and 1.5% for defined contribution plans, rather than the 1.875% deemed necessary for an adequate pension, it said.According to the federation, pension funds’ financial position is expected to deteriorate further in 2021, when the new lower discount rate for liabilities comes into effect. Pension funds with a young demographic in particular could lose up to 10 percentage points of their funding.In August, pension funds’ coverage ratio fell to 98% on average, according to Aon Hewitt, and to 96%, according to Mercer.ABP and PFZWDuring a debate in parliament last Thursday, Koolmees said it wouldn’t be possible to entirely prevent rights and benefits cuts.He said he would look into the cuts prescribed by the nFTK for pension funds that were unlikely to be able to restore their funding level to at least 120% within 10 years.Under current circumstances, this prospect applied to the civil service scheme ABP and healthcare sector pension fund PFZW, the two biggest funds in the Netherlands. At the end of July, their funding levels stood at 93.9% and 94.8%, respectively.Koolmees rejected raising the discount rate as a way to prevent cuts, while acknowledging that a discount rate would not be relevant in a new pensions system with individual pensions accrual.A large majority in parliament demanded an investigation into the sustainability of the current capital-funded pensions system in the context of persistently low interest rates.Politicians also demanded independent advice – for example from the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank – about financing pensions in a zero interest rate environment, and what this would mean for supervision.This article was updated on 9 September 2019 to clarify the wording in the third paragraph and the second paragraph under the ‘ABP and PFZW’ heading.center_img Dutch social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees is to assess potential measures to limit cuts to pension rights and benefits in the Netherlands, after the Pensions Federation became the latest organisation to ring the alarm about a looming disaster in the sector.In a position paper, the pensions industry organisation called for urgent consultations between the minister and the sector in order to prevent the pensions system being severely damaged by collapsing interest rates, and to prevent public confidence in the system being undermined.The Pensions Federation warned that contributions would have to rise significantly to keep pensions at an adequate level. Without such an increase, annual accrual rates would have to be reduced.The organisation said that prospects had worsened following the cabinet’s recent decision to reduce the prescribed assumptions for future returns, to be used in pension fund recovery plans as of 2020, and to lower the discount rate for liabilities from 2021.last_img read more