California Raisins and Waterfields team up

first_imgThe California Raisin Administrative Committee has teamed up with Waterfields bakers on a meal deal promotion. As part of the promotion, which will run throughout June, Waterfield’s new product development team have produced a California Raisin Fruity Nut bar, which will be offered with a fruited Californian Raisin roll filled with Lancashire cheese plus a bottle of spa water, for £2.25. Customers will also be given a packet of California Raisins and a scratchcard.The scratchcard will give customers the opportunity to win a major prize of a £1,000 holiday voucher plus many other smaller prizes from £2.50 off their next shopping bill to free cold drinks and fruity nut bars.California Raisins’ marketing manager Dee Cassey said: “We are delighted to be working together with such an established family business as Waterfields. We are very excited about this pilot scheme and are hoping for a great result to take this further.”last_img read more

Read More »

Sleep at last for Varanasi’s keepers of cremation fires

first_img“We still haven’t stopped working,” Jagdish Chaudhary, 51, told AFP from Manikarnika, the main cremation “ghat” or embankment in Varanasi, reputedly one of the oldest cities on Earth.”But none of us has experienced this drastic fall [in cremations] and deserted ghats along the river in our lifetimes.”He belongs to the Doms, the special caste who are keepers of the fire and custodians of the cremation grounds where fires burn 24 hours a day, and have done since time immemorial.The Doms pass flaming torches to the chief mourner — whose head is freshly shaved — to ignite the wooden pyres topped by a corpse wrapped in a white shroud and decorated with marigolds. The stench of smoldering funeral pyres usually hangs heavy by the Ganges river in Varanasi, the mystical Indian city where Hindus believe being cremated will free them from the cycle of rebirth.But because of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the 200 to 300 bodies from all over India and beyond that are typically cremated here daily cannot be transported to the city.Now barely 30 to 40 funerals are taking place per day, all of them locals, and the usual teeming crowds of mourners, pilgrims and tourists in one of India’s holiest places are eerily absent. Topics : They take turns tending the fires all night to make sure they burn properly, adding more wood or ghee — clarified butter — as necessary.The Doms then present the relatives with the ashes, which are given up to the sacred Ganges, where others scour the shallows for any jewelry that may have survived the flames.The Doms rely mostly on handouts of money and food, but not only are there fewer cremations now but also just five or so mourners at each, against 50 or even several hundred before.”Even through some of the worst calamities and violence, the city and its cremation ghats never looked this quiet,” said Chaudhary.But, he said, at least now he can get some sleep, the first in five generations from his family to make it home to his bed at night instead of tending the fires.”At this point, everyone is just praying to the gods that coronavirus goes away soon,” he added. StrandedIt’s not just the locals in Varanasi affected by the lockdown — which has been extended to at least May 3 — but some of its visitors too.Many like Naga Bhushan Rao, a 64-year-old pilgrim from southern India’s Andhra Pradesh state, are now stuck in the holy city indefinitely because all transport has stopped nationwide.”I came here with my brother’s family to pray at Shiva temples. But the lockdown was announced soon after we reached here,” Rao, a truck driver, told AFP. “We never thought our stay would be so long,” he said by telephone from the guest house room he has now been sharing with six family members for several weeks.Tens of thousands of pilgrims who flock to Varanasi’s temples from different parts of the country, as well as some who came for cremations, are confined to Varanasi, according to some estimates.Many have run out of money and locals have been helping them with food handouts, while some hotels have stopped charging.Some local activists managed to get Rao the medicine he needs for a liver complaint.”There are so many families,” Narsingh Das, deputy chairman of Varanasi municipal council, told AFP.  “Some are from Odisha, Maharashtra and other southern states. We are just trying to ensure all of them stuck in different hotels and accommodations get what they need,” Das added.”These Varanasi ghats and temples never looked this deserted.”last_img read more

Read More »

EIOPA sees ‘common methodology’ referenced in ESRB stress test calls

first_imgRecommendations from the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) for improved stress testing of non-bank entities reference the “common methodology” EIOPA developed for its stress tests of occupational pension funds, according to a spokesperson at the latter.The ESRB recently said regulatory stress tests for pension funds, asset managers, central counterparties and other non-bank entities “need to be developed further and carried out in a more holistic fashion, modelling the transmission of shocks across sectors”.It made the comments in a strategy paper setting out its vision for improving macroprudential policy addressing financial stability risks that originate “beyond banks”.The paper sets out short-term policy options and a long-term agenda. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank and chair of the ESRB, said: “In recent years, financial sector growth has primarily occurred outside the banking system. “This development is expected to continue, supported by the move to a European Capital Markets Union. The growth of finance beyond banking reflects new opportunities but may also bring financial stability risks.”The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) carried out its first EU-wide stress tests of occupational pension funds last year, having already done such exercises for insurers; the results were announced in January 2016.A spokesperson at EIOPA told IPE the authority developed its “common methodology” to be able to take a more holistic view of potential deficits in pension funds across Europe, with direct comparisons made difficult by “the diverse and fragmented regulatory system in Europe”.“This methodology,” the spokesperson added, “is also referenced in the ESRB report as the preferred way forward for future stress tests – as opposed to running exercises based on the national regimes.”As part of the European System for Financial Stability (ESFS), EIOPA cooperates closely with the ESRB, which contributed to the development of EIOPA’s pension fund stress tests.EIOPA had input into the ESRB’s strategy paper, and the spokesperson said EIOPA “welcomes the macroprudential discussion beyond banking and, in particular, for the insurance and occupational pensions sectors”.“These two sectors represent significant differences when compared with banking,” added the spokesperson, “both on the systemic relevance and on the transmission channels of potential risks to the system but also on the possible macroprudential approach to deal with them.”Many in the pensions industry were critical of the so-called common methodology, seeing it as a re-named version of the Holistic Balance Sheet and linked to since-abandoned plans to introduce harmonised solvency rules.EIOPA is planning to carry out further stress tests of occupational pension funds in 2017.In February, the ESRB suggested future stress tests should incorporate carbon asset risk.The ESRB’s recent strategy paper also states that the monitoring of systemic risk would benefit from aggregate and sector-specific indicators, which could enable policymakers to focus on sectors that contribute most to systemic risk.“In addition to banking,” it says, “it is likely that market-based finance (including open-ended investment funds), insurers, pension funds and financial market infrastructures such as CCPs will make a relevant contribution to overall systemic risk.“Such an approach could allow monitoring of risk shifting to or from different sectors – for example, as the size of a sector grows.“Such risk indicators could be complemented with sector-based indicators of resilience, which could be linked to a resilience standard.”last_img read more

Read More »

Spurs forward Pau Gasol denies report he asked for trade

first_imgPau Gasol has denied he asked the Spurs to trade him.Reports surfaced earlier this month that said Gasol requested San Antonio move him before the deadline. Gasol, however, said those rumors were not true when he spoke with reporters Tuesday. “I didn’t request to be traded,” Gasol said, via the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s not that I want to comment so much on it because it is what it is. I think people understand or can figure out that my situation is not what was expected for me.“My only wish and desire is to be able to contribute to the team and be able to be on the floor and do what I am supposed to do and do what I signed here to do, and kind of live up to what I am paid for.” Related News The six-time All-Star is averaging career-lows in points (4.4), rebounds (4.7) and minutes (12.5) per game over his 26 appearances in 2018-19. He has one season remaining on the three-year, $48 million contract he signed with San Antonio in July 2017.Gasol was asked Tuesday if he was seeking a buyout. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich uncertain if he’ll return next season “There are a lot of rumors, a lot of stories,” Gasol said. “Who knows where that comes from. It would be great if people say, ‘hey, this person has said this.’ OK, then let’s talk to this person…But I don’t know. It didn’t come from me.”The Spurs will enter their matchup Tuesday against the Grizzlies in seventh place of the Western Conference with a 32-26 record.last_img read more

Read More »