NEW YORK (Reuters) – All three major U.S. stock index rose to record closing highs on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average less than 50 points below 23,000, ahead of a long list of earnings this week and as financial shares recovered from last week’s losses.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cetaceans — whales and dolphins — are among the brainiest of beings. In terms of sheer brain size, the sperm whale is tops on Earth, with a brain six times larger than that of a person.
(Reuters) – Netflix Inc added more subscribers than expected around the world in the third quarter and projected growth in line with Wall Street forecasts, saying it had a head start on rivals as internet television expands globally.
IBM – ‘Big Blue’ – has announced a new regional cross-border blockchain payments solution with a Silicon Valley based partner and blockchain services firm to slash the cost of making global payments for banks and customers. Already live in the Pacific Island region, it is designed to be global.
The executive tasked with building back community trust in Upload, the VR startup shaken by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee earlier this summer, has quit less than six weeks after officially announcing she had joined the team as COO, multiple sources tell TechCrunch. Anne Ahola Ward joined as COO of Upload, which runs co-working spaces in its LA and SF offices as well as… Read More
If you want to save on your property tax bill, why not ask municipal election candidates “will you scrap the LAPP?”
The LAPP is the Local Authorities Pension Plan and it is provided to thousands of municipal employees across Alberta. The problem is, it’s costing taxpayers a fortune each year.
According to the LAPP’s 2016 annual report, there are 417 organizations that are enrolled in the pension plan, primarily consisting of municipal governments, school boards and health organizations.
Municipalities enrolled in the plan range from small towns like Cardston and Eckville to large cities like Calgary and Edmonton.
Back in 2007, Alberta taxpayers had to pay $476 million for the costly benefits provided to government employees enrolled in the plan. But due to the plan’s financial problems, by 2016, the annual bill for taxpayers had skyrocketed to approximately $1.3 billion, a 179-per-cent increase in just 10 years.
What happens if we see another escalation of costs over the next decade? Are taxpayers supposed to just keep shovelling more and more money into the golden plan each year?
Has your paycheque gone up 179 per cent over the past decade? Have your workplace benefits increased by 179 per cent? If not, why vote for a politician who thinks it’s reasonable for taxpayers to have to pay 179 per cent more for government employee benefits?
Again, we’re not talking about a one-time $1.3-billion expenditure. That figure is the annual cost for Alberta taxpayers for this one pension alone. If you divide that figure by the number of current employees enrolled in the pension plan, it works out to about $8,240 per employee each year.
Is your employer contributing $8,000 towards your retirement each year?
Considering most Albertans working outside the government don’t have a workplace pension plan, it’s probably fair to say most readers probably can’t relate to such a golden benefit.
Defenders of the plan will have all kinds of excuses for leaving the plan alone.
But maintaining the status quo is not only costly, it’s also quite risky. What happens if we see another escalation of costs over the next decade? Are taxpayers supposed to just keep shovelling more and more money into the golden plan each year?
It’s also important to note the plan isn’t fair for many new employees. You see, in order to keep the plan afloat, the LAPP has been increasing the contribution rates for current employees. As a result, some of their contributions are being used to ensure the fund has the resources to make payments to former employees. Those close to retirement may not mind paying a higher amount for a couple years, but if you’ve just started working for the government, the situation is anything but fair.
Scrapping the LAPP will not be easy, but Saskatchewan has shown it can be done. In the 1970s, their province’s NDP government began putting new employees in a far less costly pension plan, much like an RRSP, known as a defined contribution plan. Thus, over time, many of Saskatchewan’s pension problems have slowly been addressed.
So the question is, do Alberta politicians have the steely resolve necessary to stand up for taxpayers and tackle this golden entitlement problem? Try asking your local candidates: “Will you scrap the LAPP?”
(SAVANNAH, Ga.) — A Georgia physician said her plan to honor a fallen soldier by singing the U.S. national anthem aboard a Delta Air Lines plane carrying the soldier’s casket was stopped by a flight attendant who told her it would violate company policy.
Dr. Pamela Gaudry of Savannah said she and fellow passengers were told “to stay quietly in our seats” as an honor guard escorted the casket from the plane Saturday at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A flight attendant told her that singing “The Star Spangled Banner” would make passengers from other countries uncomfortable, she said.
“I couldn’t put up with that,” Gaudry told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. “I wouldn’t be offended if I was in their country.”
Gaudry said she kept quiet until she was off the plane. Then she found an unoccupied stretch of the airport terminal where she took out her cellphone and self-recorded a 6 minute, 30 second video that she posted on Facebook. By Monday afternoon, it had been viewed more than 778,000 times.
Gaudry said she was flying Saturday from Philadelphia to Atlanta when the pilot told passengers the plane was carrying the remains of a fallen American soldier. She said she began asking other passengers if they would join her in singing the anthem as the casket was taken off the plane. Many agreed enthusiastically, she said.
“The chief flight attendant came back to my seat and she kneeled down and she said, ‘It is against company policy to do what you’re doing,’” Gaudry said in the video. “And I said, ‘The national anthem? And there’s a soldier onboard?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you cannot sing the national anthem. It is against company policy.’”
Gaudry said she stayed in her seat with her head down — a decision she soon regretted. In her video, she reserved the harshest criticism for herself: “I just did the most uncourageous thing in my life today.”
Anthony Black, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Delta, declined to comment Monday on the specifics on Gaudry’s account.
“There is not a policy about singing the national anthem, period,” Black said.
The body of Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, a special forces soldier who was among four U.S. troops killed in an ambush attack Oct. 4 in Niger, was returned Saturday to Wright’s family in rural southeast Georgia.
Black said Delta policy prohibited him from identifying the deceased soldier transported on Gaudry’s flight.
Gaudry’s account comes amid the politically divisive backdrop of professional football players kneeling as the U.S. anthem is sung during pregame ceremonies — a form of protest some Americans, including President Donald Trump, have lambasted as disrespectful to U.S. service members.
“If it instigates a spiritual and patriotic feeling in this country, I’m thrilled,” Gaudry said of her video. “I’m not real thrilled with the attention to myself.”