St. Louis, Mo… As the governments of the United States and the European Union (EU) explore ways to enhance trade between our countries, including through a potential free trade agreement (FTA), the American Soybean Association (ASA) has provided its views to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). As soybeans represent the nation’s largest agricultural export, valued at more than $26 billion last year, soybean farmers have a vested interest in seeing barriers to transatlantic trade reduced. Such barriers, like the EU’s discriminatory biotech labeling requirements and renewable energy standards, have had a significantly negative impact on soybean exports to the EU in recent years, with a 44 percent decline in the value of EU-bound exports between 1998 and 2011, and a 70 percent drop in export volume during the same period.”Central to our concerns with EU biotech labeling and renewable energy regulations is the fact that they represent discriminatory non-tariff barriers to U.S. access to EU markets for soybeans and soybean products, and have no basis in scientific fact,” wrote ASA President Steve Wellman in ASA’s comments. “Instead, the EU has invoked the so-called Precautionary Principle, under which unsubstantiated concerns about the safety of biotech products to health and the environment are deemed sufficient to require labeling them.””Similarly, the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) establishes arbitrary criteria for the production of soybeans and other commodities in order to meet sustainability requirements and be eligible as feedstocks for biofuels used in EU Member States,” added Wellman. “In combination with the EU’s biotech labeling regulations, the RED will effectively eliminate imports of U.S. soybeans, since soybean oil will not be used either as an ingredient in food products or as a feedstock for biodiesel production.”Discussing a potential free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU, and suggestions by some that agricultural interests may be excluded from any such FTA, Wellman maintained the importance of agriculture to trade issues, saying, “Agriculture is too important as an export industry for the U.S. to not address it in any new FTA negotiations. Moreover, as we have pointed out, U.S. soybean exports to the EU have been severely impacted by its biotech labeling and RED regulations during the last 13 years, and these issues must be addressed in any FTA negotiations.”Wellman then looked to the regulations’ potential larger impact, saying, “To allow the EU to establish unsubstantiated process-based labeling requirements or to impose arbitrary environmental criteria on imports and on producers in countries from which they are imported will only invite additional EU regulatory initiatives in other sectors that could offset any positive benefits which an FTA might achieve in reducing domestic or export subsidies or tariffs.”For a full transcript of ASA’s comments, please click here.ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by more than 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.###For more information contact:Steve Wellman, ASA President • 402-269-3464Patrick Delaney, ASA Communications Director • 202-969-7040
A Vancouver Police officer who received “Department Recognition” in 2008 was found dead in a wooded area Tuesday night, several hours after he fired gunshots and threatened suicide at his home on Northeast Schauer Drive, a few miles east of Battle Ground.Officer Douglas Deaver, 46, was found dead by a creek near the home shortly after 8:35 p.m. of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The department confirmed his death Wednesday. An investigation into Deaver’s death by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing.“Officer Deaver was well liked, hard-working and was highly regarded by his peers and members of our community and he will be greatly missed,” Vancouver Police Chief Clifford Cook said in a statement.Deaver was off-duty when officers were dispatched to a disturbance at his home shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.Southwest Washington Regional SWAT officers were called to take over the scene as the night grew darker and shots were heard inside and outside the home.They searched for Deaver in a wooded area surrounding the home. A fading heat signature detected near the creek helped officers locate his body.
Energy streamed off of Lois Elaine Smith-Zoll as she strolled through The Columbian’s newsroom, gearing up to talk about her 45 years of work with the Miss America Pageant.Asked if she’d mind doing the interview in a small area with no windows, she had a ready reply.“No,” she said. “I’ll brighten up the room for you.”The quick-talking Smith-Zoll, 74, could be considered one of Vancouver’s best-known characters. She takes over a room once she enters it, shaking hands and offering friendly banter to anyone in range.Her polished style no doubt has come in handy during her time working with Washington’s young women trying to prepare for the Miss America competition. Smith-Zoll knows what she’s looking for in contestants.“I look for intelligence, sincerity, a smile on their face, their own convictions and how they stand up to the real world,” Smith-Zoll said.During her time with Miss America she’s volunteered as a coach, judge and scholarship coordinator. And though she’s been working with the group for a long time, she said she’s not ready to quit just yet.
A man was hit and killed Tuesday morning by a freight train on a bridge over the Toutle River about 18 miles north of Longview, officials said.A southbound Union Pacific freight train heading from Tacoma to Portland hit an adult male who was trespassing on the bridge just before 9 a.m., said Gus Melonas, BNSF Railway spokesman.It was a confirmed fatality, he said.Cowlitz County and BNSF officials are investigating.The track was closed until 10:45 a.m. delaying seven trains, including four freight trains and two Amtrak passenger trains.This was the fourth fatality on BNSF tracks this year, Melonas said.
SEATTLE — Washington state is tops in the nation for something many students, educators and parents would like to change — the number of tests required to earn a high school diploma.Starting with this year’s sophomores, Washington will be the only state to require students to pass five different tests to graduate. Nine states have four graduation exams. Four states have three such tests. Ten states have one or two. In 26 states, high school students don’t have to pass any exams to graduate.Every state has to test its students in reading and math, but they get to decide whether to use those tests as a graduation requirement and whether to add other subjects like writing and science to the mix, as Washington has.Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn would like to see Washington save money and time by dropping down to three graduation exams and by transferring most grading of a test alternative known as the “collection of evidence” to local school districts.House Bill 1450, which would make these changes, is scheduled to be heard today in the House Education Committee. Dorn said the bottom line is: Are students learning more in Washington because they have to take high school exit exams?
OK, I confess. I’m addicted to browsing (and occasionally buying) in downtown Vancouver’s boutiques during my daily lunch-hour walks.On my budget, looking is half the fun. But whenever I buy something, I can do it with glib satisfaction instead of guilt and self-loathing. That’s because I’m supporting a local business, which helps our local economy.Right?Jeff Milchen thinks so. A co-founder and co-director of the American Independent Business Alliance, Milchen promotes movements that encourage shopping at local businesses. “Buy local” campaigns improve the bottom line for those shops. They also keep more money recirculating through the community.How do we know that? Take a look at a 2012 study published by the Institute for Local Self Reliance. The report, based on sales data from nearly 2,800 independent businesses, found 48 percent of the revenue spent in local businesses stays in the community. If you shop at a chain retailer, the study concluded, only 13.6 percent of your money sticks around.There, there. I’m not suggesting you give up on your Target store shopping sprees. Just tone it down a bit. Try to buy a few more items from local stores and send less local money back to Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis or other out-of-state locales.Milchen was in town last Monday to cheerlead members of the “Buy Vancouver” campaign. The movement is small but growing. If we embrace its message, we’ll give a boost to our county, which loses an estimated 40 percent in sales tax revenue to sales-tax-free Oregon. If we want strong businesses, we need to spend more time buying from local, independent merchants here at home.
QUNU, South Africa — Nelson Mandela came home Saturday.A hearse carrying Mandela’s body drove into his hometown in rural South Africa ahead of burial Sunday, returning the country’s peacemaker to the place where he had always wanted to die.It was here in Qunu that Mandela roamed the hills and tended livestock as a youth, absorbing lessons about discipline and consensus from traditional chiefs. From here he embarked on a journey — the “long walk to freedom” as he put it — that thrust him to the forefront of black South Africans’ struggle for equal rights that resonated around the world.As motorcyclists in uniform and armored personnel carriers escorted the vehicle carrying Mandela’s casket to the family compound, people lining the route sang, applauded and, in some cases, wept.“When I saw the hearse passing, I couldn’t hold my excitement. I felt like I was holding him by the hand,” said Norma Khobo. “It was very exciting, I saw him!”The vehicle carrying Mandela’s casket, covered with a national flag, arrived at the family compound under cloudy skies at 4 p.m. It was accompanied by an enormous convoy of police, military and other vehicles, and a military helicopter hovered overhead.Many people carried small national flags or banners with a smiling image of Mandela.According to Xhosa tribal tradition, Mandela was honored as a leader by placing a skin on the coffin, replacing the flag.
BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Pentagon has confirmed that a Special Forces soldier from Oregon has been killed in Afghanistan.He was identified as 22-year-old Spc. Johnathan Pelham. A Department of Defense press release said he and another member of his battalion died Wednesday after they were hit by small arms fire.His father, Wendall Pelham of Beaverton, told KGW-TV his son was an intelligence analyst on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.The Pentagon said he was in Kapisa Province. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.
What’s open and closed on Labor Day:• GARBAGE: Waste Connections will operate on its regular schedule. In Camas, pickups normally made on Mondays will be made Tuesday.• MAIL: Post offices closed. No home delivery except Express Mail. The postal unit at Shell, 1605 N.W. Sixth Ave., Camas, is open 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the year.• PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Closed.• COLLEGES: No classes at Clark College or Washington State University Vancouver.• PUBLIC LIBRARIES: Closed.• BUSES: C-Tran buses follow Sunday/holiday schedules. TriMet buses and MAX follow Sunday schedules.• GOVERNMENT: Offices closed.• PARKING METERS: On-street parking in Vancouver is free.• BANKS: Most closed. Some in-store branches might be open.• U.S. FINANCIAL MARKETS: Closed.• DRIVER LICENSING: Closed.• VEHICLE LICENSING: Closed.• EMISSIONS TESTING: Closed.• CLARK PUBLIC UTILITIES: Offices closed. For 24-hour customer service, call 360-992-3000. For outages or emergencies, call 360-992-8000.• FIRSTENBURG COMMUNITY CENTER: Closed. • MARSHALL COMMUNITY CENTER: Closed. The pool will be closed Sept. 2-14 for maintenance.•ZOO: Oregon Zoo is open.• THE COLUMBIAN: Closed. The circulation line, 360-694-2312, is open 4:30 a.m. to noon.
The slowing of the Chinese economy will see Macau’s VIP gaming revenue continue to decelerate over the remainder of 2018, but there will be no such concerns in the mass and premium mass segments where overnight visitation and average player spend will continue to grow.So say Sanford C Bernstein analysts in a research note released on Tuesday titled “What Slowdown? Identifying and Sizing (or Denying) the Slowing of the Chinese Economy.” Proposing that there is no concrete evidence of any definitive slowing of China’s economy, the Bernstein team contends that VIP deceleration in Macau will nevertheless be significant over the second half of 2018 – particularly in Q4 – due to higher-end players being “more impacted by concerns around the Macro China environment.”However, the industry’s positive growth story will continue on the back of mass and premium mass, buoyed by new hotel and IR openings in recent months and the finalization of a number of long-awaited infrastructure projects (most notably the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge).“Mass should continue to show modest growth as overnight visitation grows, helped by new supply expansion and improved transport,” Bernstein says.“Average spend should also increase as premium mass continues to outperform base mass. Mass has been largely driven by increasing overnight visitation and increase in average spend per visitor, supported by modest base mass growth.“The new supply that came on line in 2015-2016 has helped drive overnight visitation as Macau hotel occupancy rates have strongly rebounded with occupancy rate around 90%. Consequently, Mass GGR per visitor is up nearly 12% year-on-year in 1H18.”While Macau’s limited hotel room inventory remains a potential headwind for growth across all segments, the long-term view for Macau continues to look rosy.“During the short to medium term, these drivers will likely create headwinds for GGR, leading to deceleration in growth,” Bernstein said. “However, over the long run, the improvements in transportation infrastructure and the opening and ramp up of new capacity support long-term growth in mass (and premium mass, in particular) – the execution of a supply driven market. With strong premium consumer growth in China forecasted over the long-run, Macau’s long-term growth story remains intact.” Load More 70% of Macau gaming market driven by 400,000 premium players: brokerage RelatedPosts Big trouble in little China Strong VIP growth sees Okada Manila GGR climb 72% in August
RelatedPosts 2019 WSOP main event the second biggest of all time Global gaming product sales push IGT to 5% growth in 2Q19 Load More Aristocrat shares drive 4.6% increase in AGEM Index in June “Over the past decade, Foxwoods transformed the traditional gaming model through a relentless pursuit of guest-first experiences resulting in the only true all-encompassing resort destination,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler. “With his proven track record for innovation, John is the right leader to continue that commitment to our guests, fulfill our vision and ignite our passion for delivering a resort that excites and surprises. John perfectly represents our team’s values and beliefs, and we are ready to drive the future of Foxwoods together.”Foxwoods has previously indicated an interest in bidding for a regional Japan IR license, with Rappaport explaining his Japan vision to Inside Asian Gaming at the 2018 Japan Gaming Congress. However, the company’s Japan activity has quietened since his passing just a month later in June 2018. US tribal casino Foxwoods has named John J. James as its new President and CEO, his appointment coming 12 months after the sudden death of his predecessor Felix Rappaport.James, currently COO of Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in California, will take the helm at Foxwoods, located in Connecticut, on 12 August.
Yokohama is set to formally bid for one of three IR licenses to be issued by the Japanese government.According to local media reports on Monday, mayor Fumiko Hayashi will formally announce in September the city’s intention to develop an integrated resort at Yamashita Wharf.After a long period of showing no clear movement either way, it appears that the city’s budgetary issues – the result of an aging and declining population – have led Yokohama to view an IR as the most appropriate means to boost the economy and establish a tax source for the city. There are now plans to set up a dedicated division in the municipality and for structural reinforcement.The JPY260 million general account supplementary budget will be submitted at the third regular city meeting to be held on 2 September. The proposed spot on Yamashita Wharf, in Naka ward, covers 47 hectares and Yokohama is ready to start a public offering and the selection process for an operator once the site is approved by the Diet.While mayor Hayashi did initially show some interest in an IR bid, she toned her rhetoric right down prior to the mayoral election in the summer of 2017 and has consistently emphasized indecision thereafter. One of the catalysts for the sudden change in direction was likely the national government’s recent movements.The IR Development Act, established in July 2018, laid out the process from local government application to licensing to opening for business and made it clear that a maximum of three cities would be approved for such development. The first opening is expected to be in the mid-2020s and the IR Basic Policy, which will define the selection criteria, is expected to be set in place this year.This means that it won’t be long before competition between the bidding cities really heats up. Even Chiba prefecture, which has been researching Makuhari New City (Makuhari-shintoshin) as a prospective IR site, announced its policy to accept submission of information from the private sector this month. It looks like Yokohama felt the pressure to throw its name into the ring before other municipalities passed it by. Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki have already been pushing for bids and now that Yokohama is definitely in the race, others may also be forced to pick up the pace.
Nearly half (48%) of respondents are offered tools by their employer that are designed to promote wellbeing in the workplace, according to research by Robert Half.Its The secrets of the happiest companies and employees report, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults who work on a full or part-time basis, also found that 17% of respondents have access to counselling through their employer.The research also found:63% of respondents experience stress in their jobs.17% of respondents are able to leave work early on a Friday, and 11% are limited in the amount of overtime they can do.17% of respondents can utilise flexible-working policies.15% of respondents have access to a subsidised gym membership, 10% of respondents have access to corporate sporting and fitness activities, and 9% can take advantage of tools that encourage physical activity, such as Fitbits or step counters.Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK, said: “Starting a wellbeing programme may come at a cost but health and happiness go hand-in-hand. Creating a working environment that encourages good health fosters a more stable workforce. It also helps facilitate better team relationships, which in turn drives employee satisfaction, performance and morale.“It’s important to remember that employees are an organisation’s most important asset. Those [organisations] that promote and protect [employees’] health are building a culture dedicated to the overall wellbeing and happiness of employees. These businesses are likely to see higher levels of staff engagement and productivity, helping them become more successful and competitive in the long term.”
Engineering organisation GKN has closed its UK defined benefit (DB) pension arrangement to future accrual.The DB scheme closed to future accrual following a consultation with active members. As of 1 July 2017, members will receive pension benefits on a defined contribution (DC) basis.GKN operates a number of DB and DC schemes across the group. This includes two UK DB schemes, GKN2 and GKN3.The 2016 triennial funding valuations are currently underway for both UK DB schemes, with the valuation for GKN2 nearing completion.GKN plans to make a £250 million lump sum payment into its GKN2 DB scheme in the second half of 2017 in order to address the pension deficit.Discussions with the pension trustee for GKN3 are ongoing.The organisation’s UK pension deficit fell from £1,221 million at 31 December 2016 to £1,063 million at 30 June 2017.GKN’s cash contributions to its various DB scheme and historical retiree medical arrangements totalled £70 million across the group, compared to £71 million in 2016. The income statement charge for its DC pensions was £32 million in 2017, compared to £28 million in 2016.Nigel Stein, chief executive at GKN, said: “We made progress in the first half and are on track for the full year. We are performing well against our key markets, demonstrating once again the strength of our businesses, strong market positions and leading technology. We continue to invest for growth and have made significant progress to address our UK pension deficit.”
Food delivery organisation Deliveroo has updated its accident insurance provision to provide all of its delivery riders, across 12 countries, medical insurance if they are involved in an accident while working.The insurance will cover medical expenses up to £7,500 and will also protect up to 75% of their average gross income.The organisation originally introduced accident insurance for on-demand, self-employed delivery riders in December 2017. This has now been updated to provide insurance on more generous terms and at no cost to the rider.The updated policy includes an increase of £5,000 for medical expenses, up from £2,500, and a £1,500 increase in hospital benefits, up from £1,500. It will also allow up to £1 million in public liability insurance for cyclists, as well as covering a rider’s substitute, and covering scooter riders while they are off their vehicle. Riders will also be entitled to up to £2,000 for dental treatment.Riders will be automatically enrolled into the scheme, with all riders eligible regardless of whether they are a bicycle or scooter rider. However, they will have the option to remain on the current individual personal injury and sickness cover, at a cost of £1.85 per week.The initiative is expected to initially cost Deliveroo approximately £10 million, and is being rolled out for 35,000 riders in 12 countries, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Singapore and Hong Kong.Deliveroo has expressed a wish to offer even more benefits to its delivery riders, but has stopped due to the risk of reclassifying riders’ employment statuses, and limiting their flexibility as a result.Will Shu, CEO and founder of Deliveroo, says: “We know riders value the flexibility of being able to fit their work around their life, but they also deserve security if they’re involved in an accident. This insurance gives riders security while they’re out delivering great food and maintains the flexible work they value. This is just one way we are working to increase riders’ security. We would like to go further, but are currently constrained by the law. Deliveroo will continue arguing for the law to be updated so on-demand companies can offer both flexibility and security.”
West Sussex-based Gatwick Airport has announced that it will be introducing a new shared bus service for the 20,000 individuals working on-site, 2,500 of whom are employed directly by the airport itself, to provide a more cost-effective, stress-free and sustainable commute.The new bus service, provided by Zeelo, has been designed to target local areas where Gatwick Airport employees are poorly serviced by existing public transport links. The benefit further aims to help the organisation achieve its goal of increasing the proportion of employees that travel to work by sustainable means to 42% by 2020.The commuter bus service will initially operate on a route between West Crawley and Gatwick Airport, with additional routes also in development. Tailored around employees’ shift patterns, early bus services are scheduled to arrive at Gatwick Airport from 5am, with a total of eight morning rides and eight evening rides a day, to provide flexibility for employees to arrive and leave work when required. The bus route incorporates two drop-off points, at the airport’s North and South terminals.The bus benefit will provide employees with a guaranteed seat and access to Wi-Fi and device charging points. Employee are able to select flexible ticket options through the Zeelo app.Gatwick Airport is launching an initial free trial of the bus service from Monday 12 August 2019. Following this, the bus service will be formally implemented from Tuesday 27 August 2019; it will then cost from £0.88 per ride for staff members.The benefit has been communicated to employees via internal social and communications portal Yammer, The Gatwick Family App, direct staff emails, social media campaigns and on-site posters and flyers. Staff have also been able to register their interest directly with Zeelo, so that the provider can assess the demand for additional routes.Emma Rees, head of surface transport at Gatwick Airport, said: “Gatwick Airport has a major focus on sustainability and this initiative further demonstrates our commitment to reducing emissions and congestion in the local area.“The new Zeelo shuttle service provides another choice for airport employees to travel to work in a more sustainable fashion, while maximising convenience and reducing travel costs.”
US-based healthcare organisation Geisinger has launched a new paid parental leave benefit for its 32,000 employees, effective from 1 September 2019.The leave initiative enables all full and part-time employees with at least six months’ service, to take up to two weeks of fully paid leave upon the arrival of a new child through birth, adoption, legal guardianship or foster care.The new benefit can be used in conjunction with other available paid leave provisions and, if both parents work at Geisinger, then they are both still able to utilise parental leave.Geisinger has introduced paid parental leave in order to offer employees greater flexibility to balance their careers and family needs, as well as to improve the attraction and retention of talent.As part of its overall employee benefits package, the organisation currently also invests $40 million (£32.5 million) a year in employee merit increases, tuition reimbursement and recognition programmes. The reward offering also includes adoption reimbursement, low medical premiums, reimbursements for college tuition and medical education courses.Jaewon Ryu MD, JD (pictured), president and chief executive officer at Geisinger, said: “We recognise that in order to deliver the best care to our communities, we need an outstanding workforce of dedicated employees.“By continuing to support our employees with benefits like paid leave, it will help us attract and retain talented individuals to our Geisinger family. Ultimately, a dedicated workforce allows us to improve our communities’ health and make care easier.“We continuously look for ways to invest in our employees, personally and professionally. We understand that employees have commitments beyond those at Geisinger and we want to make it easier for them to participate in these important roles.“This enhancement of our benefits package allows us to take care of our Geisinger family members in their many callings in life.”
MIAMI (WSVN) – Construction has begun on a 72,000-square-foot learning center for visually impaired children, Wednesday.The “Lighthouse Learning Center for Children” wing of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, in Brickell, will house a pre-kindergarten program for blind and visually impaired toddlers who are from all corners of Miami-Dade County.The program will try to help those children transition into public school.Miami Lighthouse partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Early Learning Coalition to introduce the program.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Two South Florida residents received high honors after a successful bird rescue.Dr. Renata Schneider and Roman Gotsulyak received an “Animal Crusader Award” at an animal adoption fair in Fort Lauderdale this afternoon. “We want to really appreciate and thank these people for their extra efforts and hard work,” said the man who presented the honors to the Good Samaritans.Schneider and Gotsulyak are credited with saving the life of an injured royal tern that was found on the side of the road in Haulover Beach.Gotsulyak said he was driving when he noticed the bird in the middle of the road. When the bird refused to eat or drink, he took the animal to the Wildlife Care Center in Fort Lauderdale, where Schneider and her team of veterinarians took over.“It’s really an honor to be recognized, and it’s not just my work. It’s the work of everyone at the Wildlife Center,” said Schneider. “We do great work for wildlife all day, every day.”The rescued bird was released back into the wild after fully recovering.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
6pm #workingfire @BrowardSheriff #FireRescue @CityofLaudLakes 4520NW36St fire in 2nd floor apartment, no one home, no inj’s pic.twitter.com/Z0K1rUedTe— PIO Mike Jachles (@BSO_Mike) March 16, 2017No one was home at the time, and there were no injuries.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. LAUDERDALE LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) – A fire destroyed a second-story apartment in Lauderdale Lakes, Wednesday afternoon.Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue tweeted out pictures of the damage at the apartment, along Northwest 45th Avenue and 36th Street.