USS Santa Fe on deployment’s second visit to Japan

first_img View post tag: USS Santa Fe View post tag: US Navy View post tag: Fleet Activities Yokosuka Authorities After visiting Yokosuka in March this year, U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka on May 11, for the second visit to Japan during her Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment.USS Santa Fe is also the second submarine to visit Japan this month as USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) made a port call at Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, on May 2.Santa Fe’s visit to Japan is likely to be seen as a “show of force” and attributed to heightened tensions between North Korea’s Pyongyang regime and the U.S. which now has the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson operating near the Korean Peninsula.Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 6,000 tons when submerged, Santa Fe is one of the 23 improved 688 Los Angeles class submarines that have improved stealth features.Santa Fe is homeported in Pearl Harbor and is assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron 7. It is named after the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Back to overview,Home naval-today US attack submarine on deployment’s second visit to Japan May 11, 2017 US attack submarine on deployment’s second visit to Japan Share this articlelast_img read more

Evron scoops Spar garlic bread deal

first_imgNorthern Ireland-based fresh and frozen baked goods manufacturer, Evron Foods has secured a contract to supply Spar UK with own-label fresh and frozen garlic breads.Evron will now produce Spar brand twin-pack frozen garlic baguettes and own-brand fresh single garlic baguettes as well as garlic slices, which is a new line for the retailer.Dominic Downey, sales and marketing director, said: “This is a significant new contract for us, especially the chilled lines. Fresh foods are a growth area that Spar is trying to develop in the UK.”The firm already supplies Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Netto in the UK and the Musgrave Group in the UK and Ireland with their own-brand garlic breads. “We blend all our own fillings on-site, using fresh butter or margarine, fresh garlic and either fresh or IQF parsley,” said Downey. “We produce bespoke recipes for each customer according to their specifications.”Evron Foods also produces a range of bread and patisserie products for in-store bakeries and foodservice. These include French breads, ciabattas, fruit pies and crumbles. It also has dedicated lines at its Northern Irish and Welsh factories producing breads for the Subway chain.>>Subway supplier Evron to spend £400k on R&Dlast_img read more

Speech: United at home, stronger abroad

first_imgIt is a pleasure to be with you all this afternoon in Broughton and I want to thank Airbus for their hospitality today.This company is a great success story for Wales, for the United Kingdom and for Europe: the biggest private sector employer here in Broughton, but with two-fifths of its workers commuting each day from homes in England and part of a European enterprise now operating in five continents and employing people from 130 different nationalities. Airbus is a vivid example from the business world of how diversity in unity can make for global success.Those same characteristics have defined the success of the United Kingdom.The different nations that make up our country have had a long, often uneasy history. The castles just a few miles down the road from here at Chirk, Holt and Caergwle remind us of ancient quarrels.But the shared experience and solidarity of our four nations at times of great success and grave danger alike have come to represent one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of freedom, liberty and democracy anywhere in the world and the proudest citizen of Aberdeen, Plymouth, Coleraine or Broughton can take huge pride in also being part of the United Kingdom – a union greater than the sum of its parts.And now, as we prepare to leave the European Union, preserving and strengthening that union of the United Kingdom matters more than ever.As we negotiate a new deep and special partnership with our friends and neighbours in Europe and forge a new role for the United Kingdom in the world, we must work for a future that fosters wealth-creation, opportunity and innovation in every part of the United Kingdom, and which strengthens the sense of security, belonging and solidarity in all communities, building a country that really does work for everyone. fully respects the devolved settlements. I suspect that most of us here derive our sense of who we are from many different sources – from our family, from where we live, perhaps from a sports club, choral society or community group that we support, in many cases from our religious faith, and of course from our nation.And in the United Kingdom we know that there is no contradiction between being an ardent Welsh or Scottish patriot and being a committed supporter of the Union. If I needed any reminder of that truth, it was when the Secretary of State for Scotland was gloating to me about the rugby result on Saturday.Looking back to the last century, I think – being honest – that my party was too slow to recognise that the increasing calls for devolution and decentralisation represented a genuine shift in public mood.But I think if you look at our record in government in the last eight years demonstrates that we have got the message.The two Scotland Acts, in 2012 and 2016, have made Holyrood one of the most powerful parliaments of its kind in the world.City deals in Scotland – backed by more than £1 billion of UK Government spending – have now either been agreed or committed to for all of Scotland’s seven cities.The Wales Act is delivering a stronger, fairer, more accountable devolution settlement for Wales.City deals for Cardiff and Swansea and the future North Wales Growth Deal are supporting the industries and jobs of tomorrow.The passage of English Votes for English Laws at Westminster means that MPs representing English voters rightly have the final say on issues which matter directly to them and their constituents.We have created new combined authorities with elected mayors across England – putting power firmly in the hands of local people in the West Midlands, the West of England, Tees Valley, Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.And this government will continue to strive to restore devolution in Northern Ireland, and will remain fully committed to the Belfast Agreement. We will continue to govern in the interests of all parts of the community in Northern Ireland, and to uphold the totality of relationships embodied in that agreement, both East-West and North-South. And we shall stand by the commitments in the Joint Report between the UK and the European Union that was agreed in December last year.But while we can take pride in that record of decentralising power, we can and should go further to drive forward both the economic and the political regeneration of our country.So we are working with local authorities to help them co-ordinate their own economic plans with our UK-wide national industrial strategy – bringing together local businesses and leaders to deliver growth, enterprise and job creation in every part of our country.We are supporting combined authorities located around our English cities to adopt elected mayors, should they wish to do so.We will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal – including all councils on both the Scottish and English sides of the border – to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland.We will build on the future North Wales Growth Deal by also fostering opportunities between Welsh cities and the rest of the UK, for example by linking economic development opportunities in Cardiff, Newport and Bristol.And we have committed to looking at a city deal for Belfast.Our commitment to the unionNow at the same time, we are unapologetically committed to the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.So, alongside those initiatives to bring more powers closer to the people, we are working to ensure that the institutions and the power of the United Kingdom are used in a way that benefits people in every part of our country.For a country that not only has a shared past, but continues today to draw strengths from all parts of the union.There are more than 31,000 UK civil servants are based here in Wales, including in our new UK Government Hub in Cardiff.Eight out of ten goods lorries leaving Wales go to the rest of the UK, highlighting the importance of our United Kingdom wide market.Bombardier’s factory in Belfast has a supply chain of 800 companies throughout the UK and Ireland, supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs.It is from the Department for International Development’s joint headquarters in East Kilbride, Scotland that the ‘United Kingdom’s international work to vaccinate children against killer diseases, to educate girls and to provide clean water and sanitation to people who desperately need it is being driven.And of course our base on the Clyde, home to thousands of shipbuilding jobs, is central to the UK’s defence capabilities.Put simply: we are all more prosperous and more secure when we all work together for our common good as one United Kingdom.Now leaving the EU presents many challenges for our centuries-old union story – and opportunities too.And some want to use it as an excuse to loosen these ties that bind us together – even sever them completely. Such an outcome would leave every one of our four nations both weaker and poorer.Why we need frameworksThe task before us isn’t an easy one, it is complex.How do we allow greater control across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland over the things that affect them separately – while preserving the things that affect us all collectively as we return powers from Brussels to the United Kingdom.How do we ensure that a new wave of devolution delivers for the people of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland – but at the same time protects the essence of our union?For a start, we have all – the UK government and the devolved governments together – agreed that we will need to have frameworks that break down which powers should sit where once they have returned from Brussels.And that is a sensible and constructive approach – because these powers are not all the same.Some are very obviously for the devolved governments and parliaments to exercise, and don’t need any involvement on a UK-wide basis.For example, the devolved governments are best placed to manage the safety and quality of the water they drink, as well as looking after and caring for their natural environment.At the same time, there are other powers that are yes for the devolved governments to shape according to their own needs or ambitions and where they don’t need legislation to underpin how what they do relates to the other nations of the UK, but where it would still be in everybody’s interests to agree a looser form of cooperation – such as Memoranda of Understanding – between the devolved and UK governments.For instance, we will need to continue to work together on important domestic policy areas, for example by ensuring that a vital organ donated by someone in one part of the UK can be used to treat a patient in another part of the United Kingdom.Now those powers should rightly be devolved, not centralised – and that is the offer we have put forward on the table.But on the other hand, some powers are clearly related to the UK as a whole and will need to continue to apply in the same way across all four nations in order to protect consumers and businesses who buy and sell across the UK, in all parts of what we might call the United Kingdom’s common market. That market is one of the fundamental expressions of the constitutional integrity that underpins our existence as a union.The Government will protect that vital common market of the UK. And by retaining UK frameworks where necessary we will retain our ability not only to act in the national interest when we need to, but to do so with a unity of purpose that places the prosperity and security of all of our citizens, no matter where they’re from or where they were born, to the fore.For example, at present EU law means that our farmers and other food producers only need to comply with one set of package labelling and hygiene rules.Four different sets of rules in different parts of the UK would only make it more difficult and more expensive for a cheesemaker in Monmouthshire to sell to customers in Bristol or for a cattle farmer in Aberdeenshire to sell their beef in Berwick-upon-Tweed.Now these are everyday issues affecting how people live their life – they are issues that people in the UK expect us to get on and agree in the clear interests of families and businesses in every part of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland alike.So that is exactly what the UK government stands ready, waiting and willing to do.They are the steps that will ensure the United Kingdom’s market continues to work as it always has done: that the family firm in Swansea can continue to buy supplies from Swindon; and maintains the UK’s ability to secure an agreement with the European Union on our future partnership. And I want to say one thing further. The Prime Minister has been clear throughout the negotiations with the European Union that we want to preserve the standards that protect employment and workers rights, to deliver consumer protection, and safeguard the environment.And that means keeping these high standards across the whole of the United Kingdom, and for our part as the United Kingdom government, we are committed to working in partnership with the devolved governments to ensure those standards are universal in all four parts of our country.Clause ElevenNow, it is fair to say that the road to agreeing how we go forward together has not always been a smooth and straight one.I, along with my predecessors in the Cabinet Office and the Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have engaged closely with the devolved governments in order to understand their concerns and to respond to them.Those concerns have been expressed clearly – and often forthrightly – throughout those conversations!But we have continued to talk – both at political and official level – and, even more importantly, we have continued to listen.The Prime Minister’s first visit after entering Downing Street was to Edinburgh.Two of my first phone calls upon moving across to the Cabinet Office last month were to the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the First Minister of Wales.I met them both in person during my first weeks in this role, in Cardiff and in Edinburgh – to underline my personal commitment to engaging constructively and striking the agreement that is in all our interests.While they have always acknowledged that the Government has said we want to see many of the powers from Brussels go straight to the devolved governments, there has been a question throughout about what our starting point should be.Should those powers sit at a UK-wide level while we agree the future frameworks?Or should they sit at a devolved level while we then agree the future frameworks?The Government has listened to the different points of view – from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, from Welsh and Scottish colleagues in both Houses of Parliament at Westminster and to views expressed in the devolved parliaments.And just last week, we held constructive discussions in London where we put forward a considerable offer. A commitment that the vast majority of powers returning from Brussels will start off in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – and not in Whitehall.And let me be in no doubt: this would mean a very big change to the EU Withdrawal Bill that is before Parliament and a significant step forward in these negotiations.It would put on the face of the Bill what we have always said was our intention: wide-ranging devolution not just away from Brussels, but from Westminster too.And if accepted, this offer puts beyond doubt our commitment to a smooth and orderly departure from the European Union, in a way that doesn’t just respect the devolution settlements, but strengthens and enhances them.So our proposal is to amend the Bill before Parliament to make clear that while frameworks are being agreed, the presumption would now be that powers returning from the EU should sit at a devolved level.Westminster would only be involved where, to protect the UK common market or to meet our international obligations, we needed a pause – I stress pause – to give the governments time to design and put in place a UK-wide framework.As I have said before, we expect to be able to secure agreement with the devolved governments about what frameworks should – or should not – apply to each power.And where powers do need to be returned to a UK-wide framework, we will maintain the ability for the UK Parliament to legislate to do so.Just as the current provisions within the EU Withdrawal Bill on releasing powers to devolved governments are intended to be by consensus and agreement with the devolved governments themselves, so we should expect this new, inverted power to operate in the same way – by consensus and by agreement.Nor would this proposed arrangement prevent the devolved governments from doing anything that is already within their competence.At the same time, our proposal offers an important protection too. It would ensure that, if there were not to be an agreement – and not having an agreement on a framework would put at risk the smooth and orderly exit that we all need – the UK Parliament could protect the essential interests of businesses and consumers in every part of the Kingdom.A deal is there to be done.So I am clear that it is in the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom to agree a way forward that: and customers in Londonderry can still place their order in Leeds, without any extra red tape or expense.center_img preserves the integrity of the United Kingdom market. To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link by which we proceed to love of our country and of mankind”. to ensure that the factory in Paisley can continue to sell freely to Preston; The vote to leave the EUAnd we as a country are at a crossroads in our history.We face a choice: a choice that represents the difference between a prosperous, secure nation that is united at home and stronger abroad, and a poorer country that is divided at home and a weaker player on the global stage.Now let me be clear at the outset: this choice is not about whether we leave the European Union.As many of you here will know, I voted and campaigned hard to remain in the EU – as did many people in this country.But I recognise as indeed do our 27 partners that people in the UK took a democratic decision to leave the EU – and that is what we must now focus our energies on delivering, seeking to minimise the risks and to seize the opportunities.So the choice is therefore not whether we leave, but how we choose to do so.We could leave as a nation divided; a country split; an economy disjointed – struggling to forge a unified consensus on the way ahead.But there are opportunities too – opportunities we can seize if we come together, unite, and develop into that stronger, global Britain which we can be.There were many different reasons why people voted to leave the European Union in 2016.But reflecting on that campaign, I think that above all else, people throughout this country sought to regain a feeling of control, not just control over our laws, but over our lives too, and the people we elect into office.And when you talk to people on the doorstep, it’s clear that that vote expressed not just a rejection of membership of the European Union, but a demand to bring decision making and accountability closer to home, to restore a sense of belonging in communities, a feeling of connection between the elector and the elected.So yes, we have to ensure, as we are determined to do, that Brexit means more powers going to the devolved governments and not fewer.But I believe too that to renew that sense of connection between citizen and government, we need to press on too with our broader mission to devolve greater freedom, more power to act to cities, towns and counties in all parts of the United Kingdom. And I hope that the devolved governments will choose to take that approach too. After all, for someone in Broughton or Llandudno or Welshpool, Cardiff can seem as distant as London; from the perspective of Orkney, priorities may look very different from those of Central Scotland.Our aim should be nothing less than to see our entire country coming together and having their voices heard. It means people here in Wales, as well as in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England – and it means our villages, towns cities and communities throughout the United Kingdom all having a voice too.Our commitment to devolutionAt the heart of the Conservative political tradition is both patriotism, loyalty to the special, shared union of the United Kingdom, but also a commitment not just to individual rights but to the vital importance of family and community, of village, town and county in enabling individual men and women to find meaning, value and fulfilment in their lives.As Edmund Burke put it more than 200 years ago: Our new proposal is a reflection of the seriousness of our desire to strike agreements with the devolved governments.Our seriousness about delivering more powers to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, while at the same time ensuring there are no new barriers for people across the nations of the United Kingdom.So families can continue to buy and sell freely, so businesses won’t face extra bureaucracy and higher costs, so people face minimal disruption to their everyday lives, and maximum certainty that things can carry on as normal, as we look ahead to the future.So I hope that the talks that are now continuing between the UK and devolved governments will lead in coming weeks to an agreement that can be taken forward in the EU Withdrawal Bill and which we can all welcome as being to our mutual benefit.Seizing the opportunitiesAnd so as we look to the future, this is the balance that, working together, we can strike a strong and fair devolution settlement for our devolved partners, with powers sitting at the most appropriate level and common UK frameworks where necessary, with our constitutional integrity intact.By making that kind of agreement, we can truly become that United Kingdom we need to be here at home – and that greater, stronger United Kingdom abroad.For that is the task we now face. Building a global Britain that is fit for the future, equipped not only to tackle head on future global challenges, but confidently seize the new opportunities available to us as well and so when we do speak and act on the world stage we do so with one authoritative voice, which reflects and represents the interests of all four nations. A country that has the strength and flexibility needed to survive, and indeed thrive on the international stage.And with our considerable existing strengths, I am confident this future can be a secure and prosperous one:We are the sixth largest economy in the world, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the biggest European defence spender in NATO, with significant military capabilities and a proven readiness to deploy them in defence of our interests. A key player in a highly developed set of security relationships such as Five Eyes.Our country has:One of the best diplomatic services in the world and one of it’s biggest aid and development programmes.We have world leading universities that attract the best talent from around the globe; more Nobel Laureates than any country bar the United States; a globally competitive economy, with some of the most exciting burgeoning industries such as digital and fintec; a language that is the language of the world, and, thanks to institutions like the BBC and the NHS, the greatest soft power of any nation on the planet.But just imagine if we spoke with four conflicting voices: each would be weaker, fainter and misheard as our global competitors shouted louder with a strong, single voice, and a divided country at home would be weaker, less secure, and less prosperous overseas.The unity that exists between our four nations gives us a scale of ambition none of the four of us could possess alone.We need to use our collective economic clout and the experience and reach of our diplomatic network in the United Kingdom to sell Scotch whisky and engineering expertise, Welsh cheeses and mini-computers, buses and linens from Northern Ireland right around the world.And maintaining the common market of the United Kingdom will give us the heft to lead the charge for common regulatory standards at a global level. Having the right framework in place at home means we can be at the forefront of developing the new regulatory environment we need for the exciting technologies of tomorrow.And what we want is innovators and producers right across Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland to be able to get ahead of the curve and edge ahead of their global competitors.And it’s also by sticking together that we’ll be able to provide global leadership, discharging our international obligations, standing up for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law and defending the rules-based international order that is so vital to our security and our prosperity together.ConclusionIt would be easy to loosen the bonds that connect us.But with a strong, fair devolution settlement that ensures powers and decision-making are exerted as close to people as is practical, I believe a sense of trust can be restored between the people of the United Kingdom and those they choose to govern on their behalf.And with common frameworks in place that maintain the integrity of our union, we can ensure that we continue to speak with that powerful voice globally.Each of those two principles strengthens the other.So let us seize the moment and focus on that prize that is on offer:a union greater than the sum of its parts; a country that remains a strong, global leader; a United Kingdom at home, and an active, force for good in the world.Thank you very much indeed.last_img read more

EXPLAINER: Why India’s farmers are revolting against PM Modi

first_imgNEW DELHI (AP) — A sea of tens of thousands of farmers riding tractors and horses stormed India’s historic Red Fort this week — a dramatic escalation of their protests, which are posing a major challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. At the heart of these protests are Indian farmers’ fears that the government’s moves to introduce market reforms to the farming sector will leave them poorer — at a time when they are already frustrated over their declining clout as the government aims to turn India into a hub for global corporations. The Modi government says the legislation will benefit farmers by boosting production through private investment.last_img read more

Meet the Pampered Pooches of Broadway!

first_img Violet, Of Mice and Men The best thing about being on Broadway: I love all the special attention—belly rubs, extra special treats, and being harassed by the “pupperazzi” are all highlights of my Broadway experience! I hope this is only the beginning of an exciting career in show business. Favorite food to eat between shows: Whatever YOU are eating! Shhhh, don’t tell my mom! Favorite food to eat between shows: Nothing. A working actress never snacks. Pre-show must-have: My private time with Audra McDonald. NO ONE ALLOWED! Biggest onstage mishap: I once tried to rush onto the stage at the top of the show, about 30 minutes before my cue. Lydia had no idea I could run so fast! Never underestimate this senior pooch. Unfortunately Ray, one of the crew members, grabbed me just as I was putting my cute little paws on the stage. Ever since that day, Lydia puts my leash on when they call places. Harrumph. Must-have pre-show item: Full grooming session. I never go onstage without every hair being in place. Best thing about being on Broadway: Instead of my three-person family loving me, the whole theatrical community loves me. Roxie, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill Broadway dream role: Any Disney Princess role. The best thing about being on Broadway: I love riding in the Canine Car service with our driver Alice. I love hanging out with the cast and crew in the green room even though I’m no longer allowed on the couch. I love sneaking into Jim Norton’s room. He is always happy to see me and his pockets are full of chicken. Broadway dream role: Leading role in the musical adaptation of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Special thanks to Bill Berloni, Lydia DesRoche, Rachel Maier and the Bullets Babes. Broadway dream role: Elphaba in Wicked. The play shows how the witch is not “wicked” at all, it’s based on misperceptions and fear which is something I can totally relate to as a pit bull. I know I can rock the green make-up and a pointy black hat. The best thing about being on Broadway: Being a role model for girls and dogs everywhere, proving that even if you have a rough start, you can survive and thrive. And oh yes, promoting world peace. Biggest onstage mishap: I came onstage and there was a piece of grass on my tail and my co-star Karen Ziemba had to pull it off onstage. I was mortified. Biggest onstage mishap: The stage is a little slippery and sometimes I run so fast during my entrance that I misjudge how far I have to jump to get on the elephant stool. One time, I jumped too early and smashed into the stool and bounced off. I brushed it off and continued on like a pro. I’m so darn cute, I don’t even think the audience noticed! Favorite food to eat between shows: My understudy, Blue, eats this yummy chicken and rice food that comes from the refrigerator. I love almost anything that comes from the refrigerator. Best backstage celebrity visitor: Liza Minnelli. She gets me. Best backstage celebrity visitor: The day that Daniel Radcliffe and Patti LuPone came for tea was the best. Barnum, Pippin Favorite food to eat in between shows: Broiled chicken. A girl must watch her waistline. Trixie, Bullets Over Broadway Biggest onstage mishap: I forgot to brush my teeth before kissing Audra. So unprofessional. In honor of the 16th annual Broadway Barks event on July 12, Broadway.com is paying homage to our favorite furry friends—the pups of the Great White Way! These seriously pampered pooches are living the fine life in the Big Apple, rubbing paws with celebrities, chowing down on lots of delicious treats and taking luxurious naps in their dressing rooms. Broadway.com sat down with Roxie, Barnum, Violet and Trixie to find out the perks of being a Broadway pup. Check out their answers below! Best backstage celebrity visitor: Rocky star Andy Karl, who else? Andy and his wife Orfeh adopted one on my Legally Blonde co-stars. A girl can dream, can’t she? Must-have pre-show item: My make-up towel. When my trainer Lydia puts my make-up towel down, I know that good things are about to happen. Broadway dream role: I would love to play Toto one day. Although, I’d actually rather be the one wearing the ruby slippers! Must-have pre-show item: The quilt my grandma made me. It has all the smells of home to makes me feel comfortable in my dressing room. Also, I can’t resist a good squeaky ball…it drives my dressing roommate [Ciara Renee] insane! Best backstage celebrity visitor: Meeting James Earl Jones was the coolest—especially since I look like an Ewok! View Commentslast_img read more

15 stores with the best and worst return policies

first_img 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The holiday shopping season is in full swing. As you’re buying holiday gifts and checking off your shopping list, you should also keep in mind retailers’ return policies. There’s a good chance that something from your holiday shopping trips will get returned, since two-thirds (68.6 percent) of consumers indicated last year that they returned gifts most or some of the time, according to the National Retail Federation’s Gift Receiving and Returning report. Fortunately, most retailers offer fair return policies — or 90 percent of shoppers think so.However, some return policies definitely favor customers more than others, GOBankingRates found in its annual survey of retailers’ return policies. Looking at return time limits, receipt policies and other terms, this survey ranked 31 major retailers’ return policies from best to worst. Click through to see the stores that make returns a breeze — and those with the worst return policies.10 Best Return PoliciesThe best return policies make it simple and easy for customers to return or exchange a purchase if they aren’t satisfied. In fact, many of the 10 best return policies place no time limits on returns, and some will accept exchanges and returns even for well-used items.These favorable return policies truly put the customer first, which is a huge help for the shopper struggling with a holiday spending hangover, or a giftee dealing with a haul of unwanted presents. Click through to see the 10 stores with the most generous return policies this holiday season. continue reading »last_img read more

Matrix-driven overdraft system provides higher level of service, manages risk

first_img 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jeff Harper Jeffrey Harper brings more than 25 years of industry experience to his position as president of ​BSG Financial Group. ​ where he heads up the Sales and Marketing divisions of the … Web: www.bsgfinancial.com Details There seems to be some confusion about dynamic matrix systems–which can cause a customer’s discretionary overdraft limit to change from time-to-time based on the risk profile of the customer—and the benefits they provide to financial institutions and their account holders.A recent article entitled, “Disparate impact studies especially tough on dynamic matrix systems,” attempted to cast a negative light on dynamic limit overdraft strategies claiming that “these programs are not transparent and are based on an abstract set of parameters or a complex matrix of eligibility requirements, which disparately impact certain customer segments.”We would like to set the record straight by giving the whole story about a dynamic limit-setting strategy.First, a discretionary overdraft program is just that, discretionary. This means it is up to the financial institution to determine whether it will pay an item that results in an overdraft for the customer. Compliance-driven overdraft programs spell it out in account disclosures: the financial institution cannot guarantee or promise payment of every overdrawn item. To do so would imply a guarantee or an extension of credit, which violates the definition of a discretionary overdraft program.Institutions with fixed overdrafts limits should ensure that CSRs and other personnel do not communicate a verbal guarantee of payment to customers (i.e., “If you opt-in to Reg E, we will pay your ATM and one-time debit card transactions up to $500.”), as this conflicts with written account disclosures and program integrity.Second, with regard to the author’s statement that matrix style programs are “not transparent and are based on an abstract set of parameters”: The truth is, both fixed and dynamic-limit overdraft programs utilize a set of parameters to qualify accounts for the service; and they all have varying levels of transparency.A matrix-driven overdraft program attempts to predict a customer’s “ability to repay” an overdraft and its associated fees by utilizing algorithms that analyze multiple account data points. Based on this analysis, the program sets a custom overdraft limit for each account holder.With a “fixed advertised overdraft limit,” institutions automatically honor overdrawn checks and ACH items up to the fixed overdraft limit, say $500. For items that exceed the limit, the financial institution typically makes ad hoc decisions, often paying items in excess of the overdraft limit.Our experience tells us that when financial institution employees make these ad hoc decisions, they do so using common sense. Unfortunately, the decision process is inconsistent and does not apply to every customer, which is exactly the negative claim the author assigns to matrix-driven systems.On the contrary, a matrix-driven program consistently applies these “common sense” factors, like duration of account or relationship, related balances and deposit activity, to every decision, and every customer.While accounts may receive different limits, those limits are based on risk factors that apply to both the customer and the institution.  None of those risk factors should be based on the age, race, color, sex, religion, marital status, handicap or national origin of the account holder.For instance:An account that has recently been opened will likely receive a lower overdraft limit than one that has been in existence for years.A customer that deposits $50 per month will not receive the same overdraft limit as one who deposits $5,000 per month.A financial institution should lower or even remove an overdraft limit when deposits have stopped.Third, “disparate impact” occurs when a lender applies neutral policies, but the policies disproportionately exclude or burden certain customer segments. The article fails to inform the reader that a neutral policy that creates a disparity is not a violation if there is a “business necessity” for such policies. The business necessity is to protect the financial institution from losses and to abide by regulatory guidance to set overdraft limits based on an account holder’s ability to repay. A fixed-limit overdraft program fails to adequately address either of these concerns. Our contention: not all customers are alike, so why treat them that way?Utilizing a matrix-driven or dynamic limit overdraft strategy, financial institutions can provide a higher level of service by striving to pay more overdrafts when it makes sense for the customer while managing risk and meeting regulators’ guidelines for monitoring the “individual credit worthiness of account holders.”last_img read more

“We need a chip for the internet”

first_imgHow can online transactions become as safe as chip card transactions? Visa Chief Risk Officer Ellen Richey spoke at the Bloomberg Government Next.2018 conference in Washington, D.C. last month about this and other topics impacting the payments technology industry and government.In a conversation with Ari Schwartz, managing director of cybersecurity services at Venable, Richey explained that chip technology has significantly reduced counterfeit fraud at the point of sale. However, transactions in Visa’s payment system that take place without a physical card—so-called card-not-present transactions—account for roughly 47 percent of all transactions, but 68 percent of fraud.“We need to solve this problem of online fraud, and tokenization is a big part of the answer,” Richey said. “Why? Because a token substitutes a unique symbol for the account number. So when you enter your account number into a website, it will be immediately translated into a unique symbol that is restricted in use and can’t be used for any other purpose. It eliminates the incentive for people to hack into these places and steal data, because it can’t be reused. So that’s the beauty of tokens and we really need to get them out there.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

State leagues magnify mainstay value during crisis

first_imgAmerica’s credit unions are doing an amazing job helping their staff, members, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s safety in operations, loan relief, small business loans, financial support to local organizations, or a myriad of other ways, credit unions are truly financial first responders protecting millions of Americans’ financial well-being.One of the major ways credit unions are supported is through the tireless collective and individual work of credit union leagues/associations across the country. For example, you may have seen the comprehensive collection of resources, tools, and information on the CUNA/AACUL COVID-19 Response Center, which highlights the extensive resource pages on league websites as well as video and digital ads, graphics, templates, and other information shared by leagues to help credit unions communicate “we’re here for you.” Or maybe you saw your league president or other league staff on the news, heard them on the radio, or in the local paper talking about the great work credit unions are doing. Perhaps you benefited from a virtual meeting facilitated by your league with credit union leaders in your area to share best practices, used social media graphics developed by your league, had your compliance questions answered, used an important email update, or leveraged the impactful work of your state credit union foundation to help your community.Leagues are also coordinating webinars and calls with local, state and federal regulators, agencies, and lawmakers. These provide credit unions the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to policymakers about what is happening on the front lines when it comes to financial services. This is a critical time for collaboration and leagues, credit unions, and CUNA are working diligently together and with other partner organizations on regulatory relief and advocacy efforts to address the challenges of this health and financial crisis.These examples and countless others are all very visible ways of how leagues are working to support your credit union. However, much of what they do is behind the scenes and is mission critical. For instance, leagues routinely work with state regulators and the National Credit Union Administration on behalf of credit unions. Since the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was announced, leagues have been working with many officials to assist credit unions by getting clarification, guidance, and authorization related to PPP as well as creative approaches to help credit unions serve their members.This type of powerful action by leagues is happening nationwide and exemplifies the cooperative nature of our industry. It’s what we do together that sets us apart and I’m extremely proud to say the leadership and work of credit union leagues across the country have shown we are truly stronger together, particularly when members need us most. 47SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brad Miller Miller has more than 30 years with credit unions, national associations and related financial services industries. Prior to joining AACUL, Miller was President/CEO of Palmetto Cooperative Services, a CUSO … Web: aacul.org Detailslast_img read more

Chelsea are title contenders, but Frank Lampard must keep players happy, says Paul Merson | Football News

first_imgHakim Ziyech has got a left foot that can open a can of wormsPaul Merson If we are going to talk about Tottenham winning the title, then Chelsea are right in the mix. If Spurs can win it, then for sure, Chelsea can win it.- Advertisement – This is where Mourinho is special. He sees things others don’t. He sees what he needs, and he doesn’t just go out and buy players for the sake of it.In Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, they needed that ball-winning midfielder to break things up and then there are the full-backs.I couldn’t believe Wolves let Matt Doherty go. For the price Wolves let him go for, I didn’t get that one at all.That’s where Mourinho is so good, and I as I said earlier, as long as he’s in charge, they’ve got a chance. It’s not impossible at all, but again, we are only seven games in, and you could not write the script of the league so far this season. 2:44 – Advertisement – – Advertisement – 0:44 Is the squad too big? It depends how far they go in certain competitions, but that is where Mourinho was great. If you look at his Chelsea team and the squad he had at Stamford Bridge, you never heard anybody moaning.From the outside, you always thought, ‘wow’! How do you keep all those players happy? There’s got to be an art to it because when you’ve got that quality of player, to keep them all happy when they are not playing is a major skill.It’s alright people saying they get £100,000-a-week, they get paid well or whatever, but they want to play football. As a player, you want to play football and that will be Lampard’s biggest challenge going forward.They also have to play a better quality of opponent in the games coming up, but everything at the moment looks good.Mourinho knows what it takes to get Spurs over the lineIt’s a hard question to answer (can Spurs win the league?). They are going to be very reliant on Harry Kane.But, to be fair, results like the win at West Brom, they win you league titles. You look back on results like that and come what may, you remember it as a difficult game against one of the teams down at the bottom, who couldn’t win a game but turned up on the day, and it turns out to be an important win.That’s what you are up against if you want to win the Premier League. You watched West Brom against Fulham and they were atrocious. You start to think Tottenham have only got to turn up on Sunday morning and as long as they don’t forget their boots, they’ll win the game and move on.But in the end, it was a very hard game and Mourinho is probably sitting there asking himself why they didn’t turn up and play like that against Fulham. That’s how hard the Premier League is.Can Spurs go on and win the title? It’s not impossible and that’s because they’ve got a serial winner as a manager. They’ve got a chance because Mourinho is in charge and has won it before. He knows what it takes to get over the line.Can the players keep producing week in, week out? Only time will tell, but having Mourinho at the club gives them an advantage.Mauricio Pochettino was a good manager, don’t get me wrong. However, they’ve now got more chance of winning the title because of Mourinho. He knows what you have to do week in, week out and then all over again. – Advertisement – It’s coming from everywhere too. Hakim Ziyech has got a left foot that can open a can of worms, Timo Werner scores plenty of goals, Tammy Abraham looks like he’s getting better and then there’s Mason Mount. They’ve just got so much attacking talent.The problem is going to be keeping everyone happy and that’s going to be the hardest job in the world. You are going to have top, top-draw players not playing, and that’s hard.Kai Havertz wasn’t even in the squad because he was unwell and Christian Pulisic is injured too. Mateo Kovacic played on Saturday, but he hasn’t been playing. That’s going to be the problem Chelsea have to contend with going forward. The Football Show’s Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith assess where Tottenham striker Harry Kane will finish in the all-time Premier League top scorers list It’s like having Alan Shearer, who played up front as a No 9 and then there’s Teddy Sheringham as a No 10, and Kane can play both of them. Shearer couldn’t drop off and play as a 10 and I don’t think Sheringham could play the Shearer role.For Kane to be able to do both, and they were special players, is remarkable.Summer signings show Mourinho at his best preview image Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho embraceImage:Spurs have more chance of winning the title under Jose Mourinho than previous boss Mauricio Pochettino (left), thinks Paul Merson Frank Lampard has now got who he wants in key positions and you can really see the difference.Thiago Silva is world-class. They’ve got two full-backs who are as good as any in the league and for me, they [Reece James and Ben Chilwell] are the two England full-backs, in my opinion. They are outstanding. Silva is also only going to make Kurt Zouma a better player and the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is solid.I know Sheffield United are down at the bottom at the moment, but they are a hard team to play against. They are organised and when you go 1-0 down, you know it’s going to be a difficult evening.However, they literally dismantled Sheffield United. They made them look like a proper relegation team, which I don’t see that because I think Sheffield United will be okay this season. They made them look distinctly average and that’s a sign of a good team.Lampard does have one problem though…center_img Harry Kane and Jose MourinhoImage:Harry Kane has transformed his game, says Merson 2:51 Harry Kane Frank LampardImage:Frank Lampard will need to somehow keep all his players happy this season Kane is a special player. He’s changed his game a bit now as well. He starts drifting off into the No 10 position and he can spray the ball around the park. He’s showing he’s got vision and it is like he’s the all-round package.There are not many players about who can go up front and be a target man, be strong, put his body in the way, score goals and then in the game, he can drop off and hit a 30-yard ball through the eye of a needle and knit play together.There are not many of those players around, if any. I’m one of Mourinho’s biggest fans, but I have been critical of him.When I was critical, it wasn’t about him as a manager, because you cannot knock someone who has won all those trophies. It doesn’t matter when he won those trophies, he’s won them. They are on the CV.My only question mark was whether Kane would be able to get 30 goals in a season being in a Mourinho team.Mourinho is a winner. He doesn’t mind winning games 1-0. He’s not there to entertain people, he’s there to win football matches. If they entertain and end up winning 3-0, then fair enough, but he is one of those managers that wins a game 1-0, puts it into the back pocket and moves on to the next.Fans will moan that it was only 1-0, but Mourinho won’t care, and that comes with experience.But now, with Kane on fire and the other attacking players they’ve got at their disposal, they’ve got a chance. A real chance, but, for me, I just can’t see past Liverpool.Remarkable Kane has changed his game FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win over West Brom in the Premier League Chelsea vs Sheffield United highlights Paul Merson insists Chelsea are Premier League title contenders this season, but Frank Lampard has one big challenge: keep the players happy. Don’t rule out Chelsea for the league FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Sheffield United in the Premier League You have to be there or thereabouts all the time. You cannot be giving teams six, seven or eight-point head starts, and they are right in the mix at the moment.A word of caution, though. Everyone’s talking about the title and because it is November, people think we’re nearly halfway through the season. Usually we’d have played about 15 games by now and that’s a massive difference, but we’ve only played seven or eight games.But when Mourinho won the title at Chelsea, they always got off to a flyer. He’s the only manager I know who treats every game like it is the last of the season. Every point mounts up and Mourinho always flies out of the stalls in a title-winning year.Jose’s not here to entertain, but to win Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg during Spurs' friendly against IpswichImage:Paul Merson has hailed the signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerglast_img read more