The iconic Woodstock Festival is due for a 50th-anniversary celebration in 2019, and it seems as though moves are being made by both the tentative festival grounds and the state of New York. As reported by The Poughkeepsie Journal, the not-for-profit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts—a 2,000-acre site that includes Woodstock’s original grounds in 1969—recently received $689,063 for a three-day festival from New York’s Regional Economic Development Council. This money comes in addition to $28,225, which will be used for on-site improvements, including a stage, sound towers, performers’ bridge, and scenic overlook on the famous festival grounds.Woodstock Site Added To National Register Of Historic PlacesThe state’s interest in helping ensure the success of such an event is bolstered by the economic growth and tourism it would bring to the area. However, as JamBase points out, it is still unclear whether Michael Lang—one of the leading organizers of the original Woodstock festival, Woodstock ’94, and the disastrous Woodstock ’99—will be involved. Given Woodstock ’99 primary reputation for the widespread accounts of violence and fire throughout the event, New York throwing money at improving infrastructure for a potential anniversary festival would be unsurprising and could be read as a means to ensure Woodstock ’19 doesn’t involve a similar fate.[H/T JamBase]
The higher mortality rate among pensioners in the first half of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic has so far only had a very modest positive impact on the funding ratios of Dutch pension funds.The longer-term effects, however, are still uncertain.Excess deaths in the Netherlands in the first half of 2020 were the highest since at least 1995 when records started, according to the national statistics association CBS.Some 8.9% more deaths were recorded in the first six months of the year than could be expected based on the historical average, with excess male deaths (+9.3%) slightly higher than excess female deaths (+8.4%). The figure is considerably higher than the previous excess deaths record of +5.6%, which was registered in H1 2018.The impact of excess deaths on pension funds’ funding ratios is still very small, however, said Daan Kleinloog of pensions consultancy Sprenkels & Verschuren.“Pension funds tend to have a longevity risk buffer of 1% of total assets. This means that a 10% increase in deaths, roughly the number we’ve seen in the first half of the year, only translate into a 0.1% increase in funding ratios. So the effect is only very modest,” he said.What will happen to excess death going forward very much depends on the course the pandemic will take. “If the increase in deaths does not continue in the second half of the year, we’ll end up only having an excess death rate of 4.5% at year-end, halving the expected increase in funding ratios to just 0.05%,” Kleinloog noted.“And it’s also possible most people who died from COVID-19 would have died soon anyway, so perhaps the virus only brought some deaths forward. If this is the case, excess deaths could even be negative in the second half of the year,” he added.In this context, it’s also worth noting most excess deaths occur in the 80+ age group, which has a limited life expectancy anyway.Excess deaths could also rise going forward, Kleinloog said. “There are signs that a significant proportion of COVID-19 patients do not fully recover from the virus. This could shorten their life expectancy and lead to a higher death rate for a long time to come.”And, of course, the second wave of the virus which is now unfolding could lead to an increase in deaths towards the end of the year. After all, the bulk of COVID-19 deaths were recorded in Q2, when the excess death rate hit 15.3% for men and 14.7% for women.However, even in a worst-case scenario of excess deaths reaching these levels again next autumn and winter, the effect on funding ratios will likely remain small.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.
NewsHub 19 November 2018Family First Comment: If being ‘conservative’ means being against drugs and for life, then be 100% ‘conservative’, Simon.www.ChooseLife.nzwww.SayNopeToDope.nz www.RejectAssistedSuicide.nzOn Monday morning AM Show host Duncan Garner quizzed the 42-year-old on a few thorny topics currently before Parliament.When Simon Bridges took over the reins of the National Party, he promised generational change and an “evolved” National Party.While many read this as Mr Bridges taking the party in a more liberal direction than his predecessor Bill English, just how liberal is Mr Bridges really?On Monday morning AM Show host Duncan Garner quizzed the 42-year-old on a few thorny topics currently before Parliament, and found while he might be a generation younger than Mr English, he might also just be a chip off the old block.EuthanasiaThe End of Life Choice Bill from ACT leader David Seymour is currently in select committee after passing its first reading in November last year. Mr Seymour says it will allow eligible people to “end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones”.Mr Bridges voted against the Bill even being read, but didn’t vote on whether it should go to select committee. When it comes up for its second reading, Mr Bridges says he’s “likely to vote against it”.“It’s simply because I do believe life’s important,” he told Garner.“What’s also true is I’ve looked around and I’ve seen research on what’s happened in other parts of the world, and it is a bit of a thin edge of the wedge in my view. That is you start narrow, but you see people who perhaps aren’t at that very serious end of pain and suffering and illness receiving it, and I worry about that.”Different forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal in various European countries and US states, Canada, Japan and Colombia.CannabisThe Government is expected to hold a referendum on the recreational use of cannabis by, or at, the 2020 election. The exact question is yet to be decided, let alone what form a Bill would take.Mr Bridges says he’s unlikely to vote in favour of legalising recreational use of marijuana.“I’ve done the trials, I’ve seen the eastern Bay of Plenty, I’ve seen Northland, I do see the harm that is there. I do think also there is a very clear link to mental health issues, which we rightly worry so much about today.” He said it doesn’t matter if that puts him on the wrong side of public opinion.“What is important on these issues is you do what’s your conscience.” AbortionPerhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest wedge issues between liberals and conservatives is the one Mr Bridges seems most likely to back change.Justice Minister Andrew Little wants abortion taken out of the Crimes Act.“It attaches a pretty heavy stigma to a woman who is considering an abortion and taking advice about it, for her to think that she’s committing a crime, but she just has to go through these hoops and she’s okay,” he told Newshub Nation in October. “That’s not a good starting point.”The Law Commission has come up with three possible replacements for the current law, which dates back to 1961. Mr Bridges says he wants to see which the Government decides on before he makes up his mind which way to vote.“I think what we need to see is what Andrew Little is going to propose. He hasn’t put the legislation forward. I think he needs to do that. He’s said he’s going to take his time, and so I want to too. I do want to see what specific proposals he has are, treat them pretty seriously. So I don’t know.”Bridges stakes his claimMr Bridges said potentially voting against three moves to liberalise New Zealand law doesn’t mean he’s not a liberal. In his view, his party’s work “with the Government” on child poverty and climate change shows he’s taking the National Party in a new direction.“I think actually I’m showing the way to the future.”https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/11/how-liberal-is-simon-bridges-really.html