The Wonder Wheel in Coney Island (Getty)An excursion synonymous with summer in New York City is back.Coney Island’s iconic amusement park will reopen today as its famous Wonder Wheel starts turning, the Brooklyn Paper reported.“It’s exciting, but at the same time, we know that we have a responsibility to open safely. And that responsibility comes before anything else,” DJ Vourderis, whose family has operated Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park since his grandfather Deno bought it in 1983, told the publication.The park will require thrill seekers to take some precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, while it operates at 33 percent capacity, and only on the weekends until Memorial Day, after which it will open daily through Labor Day.ADVERTISEMENTSoon it will feature a new roller coaster named Phoenix to symbolize the park’s rebirth after the pandemic.The $12 million investment, split between land acquisition and construction, might open before this year’s season ends.Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more than a month ago that outdoor amusement parks could reopen beginning April 9 at reduced capacity. Guests can reserve a time online to enter the park.Luna Park, another Coney Island amusement park, put its $20 million expansion on ice when Covid descended on the city early last year. The expansion included plans for winter attractions.Last year Luna Park began negotiating with the city for a lease extension through 2040, which it believes would help it endure, if not become a year-round attraction.The Vourderis family said it will maintain its annual “Blessing of the Rides” tradition to open its park, with civic leaders and local residents gathering for a ribbon-cutting. The family plans to honor health care workers at the ceremony, which will double as the park’s 100-year anniversary celebration.“We would like health care workers to be the first ones on the Wonder Wheel,” DJ told the local publication.The park turned 100 years old last year, but no celebration was held because of the pandemic.[Brooklyn Paper] — Orion Jones brooklynconey islandCoronavirus Share via Shortlink Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
In this study, we consider the influence of mesoscaleoceanographic processes around the Falkland Islands(Islas Malvinas) in the South-west Atlantic, duringthe period in which the commercial squid fishery forIllex argentinus operates. Spatially referenced fisherydata and satellite-derived advanced very high resolutionradiometry (AVHRR) sea surface temperature(SST) data were examined using geographic informationsystem (GIS) techniques. The distribution andrelative abundance of I. argentinus in the FalklandIslands fishery was examined for the period 1989-96.Three consistent areas of high abundance wereobserved to the north-east (shelf-break region) andnorth-west (shelf region) of the islands, and close tothe northern coast of East Falkland. Areas of high seasurface temperature gradients (thermal gradients)extracted from remotely sensed satellite images wereused as an indicator of mesoscale oceanographicactivity and compared with the location of the fishery.I. argentinus were found to be associated with areas ofthermal gradients, commonly seen at the interface ofFalkland Current and Patagonian shelf waters. Thetechniques used in this analysis allow the overlay andanalysis of physical oceanographic and fishery datawith potential applications in fisheries managementand operational fisheries oceanography.
November 14, 2016 View post tag: Tripartite-class View post tag: Belgian Navy Belgium, Netherlands team up on frigate, minehunter replacement Belgium is joining the Netherlands in a naval acquisition that will see both countries invest around two billion euros for the replacement of M-frigates and Tripartite-class minehunters.As the Belgian news site VRT Deredactie reports, both countries will get two new frigates and six new mine warfare ships.Belgium will be in charge of the acquisition of minehunters while the Netherlands will acquire the frigates.According to the report, the countries’ defense ministers are expected to sign an acquisition agreement later this month.The new frigates that the countries are to acquire will be optimised for anti-submarine warfare.The Belgian and Dutch Navy operate two multi-purpose or Karel Dorman-class frigates each. The Netherlands initially operated eight vessels in the class. Between 2004 and 2006, six of the eight ships were sold to the navies of Belgium, Chile and Portugal.The new frigates and minehunters are expected to start entering service from the mid-2020s. Back to overview,Home naval-today Belgium, Netherlands team up on frigate, minehunter replacement View post tag: Dutch Navy View post tag: Karel Dorman-class Authorities Share this article
September 22, 2017 View post tag: GDEB View post tag: US Navy The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion contract for detailed design work and technology development for the new generation of US ballistic missile submarines.Under the contract, GDEB will complete design and prototyping efforts for the Columbia-class submarines including work on common missile compartment for the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class SSBNs.The contract award follows a successful Milestone B (MS B) approval on January 4 this year. To pass Milestone B, a program must have validated requirements, independent cost estimates, full funding over the the next five years and an updated acquisition strategy. Passing the MS B, the Columbia Program entered into the engineering and manufacturing development phase.The 12-ship Columbia-class will replace the existing Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarine force. The navy expects to spend $128 billion to acquire the 12 boats.According to the navy, the first patrol of the lead ship, SSBN 826, is scheduled for fiscal year 2031.The contract announced on September 21 follows a five-year, $1.85 billion award Electric Boat received in December 2012 to perform research and development work for the new class of ballistic-missile submarines.“Awarding this contract is an important step in ensuring an on-time construction start in FY 2021,” said Rear Adm. David Goggins, Columbia Class Program manager. “The Navy and our industry partners are excited to begin this important phase of the Navy’s number one acquisition priority.” Authorities View post tag: Columbia-class Back to overview,Home naval-today New Columbia-class SSBN submarines enter design phase with $5.1b contract award View post tag: SSBN New Columbia-class SSBN submarines enter design phase with $5.1b contract award Share this article
Pulse Flexible Packaging, which supplies businesses including Walkers Shortbread and Samworth Brothers, is to start production again after entering administration earlier this month.But administrators KPMG have said 152 redundancies will be made across the packaging firm’s two sites in Bury, Lancashire and Saffron Walden, Essex despite manufacturing recommencing.The administrators confirmed that, due to “overwhelming” support from customers and suppliers, they have been able to restart part-production at the firm’s headquarters in Bury and at its Essex site.Pulse entered administration on 3 April 2017.“We are in dialogue with a number of interested parties in the business, and will continue these discussions over the coming days and weeks in the hope of achieving a sale,” said Jonny Marston, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG.“Unfortunately, however, we have had to make redundancies across the two sites – 152 in total. We are now assisting these employees with their claims for any sums due to them from the Redundancy Payments Service.”Pulse Packaging, which employs 330 people across both sites, was established in May 2014 when the UK board of directors and pension trustees acquired the UK operations of Printpack Enterprises Limited from Printpack Inc in a management buyout.The business recorded a turnover of £57.9m and a gross profit of £8.8m for the year ended 31 March 2016. However, it had administration expenses of £5.7m and other charges that contributed to overall profit for the period of £1.7m.
Bradford-based Regal Foods is planning to open a new warehouse and create local jobs.The 18,000 sq ft warehouse will be part of a wider business expansion this summer, creating 20 new jobs at its headquarters in Wallis Street, Bradford.Currently under construction, Regal Foods’ new premises will provide additional storage space for raw materials, packaging and finished goods including Asian baked goods and snacks.The expansion will free up space in its existing 15,000 sq ft warehouse and enable the extension of its manufacturing arm, The Baking Company.It hopes to increase overall efficiencies and capabilities and develop new products for release later this year, said the company.“We are very pleased with and excited about our new warehouse extension, as it is the first of its kind for Regal Foods,” said Absar Younis, operations director. “The 20 jobs it creates will be highly beneficial to the local community of Bradford.“Our warehouse is a key part of our exciting 2020 business plans. Besides expanding our storage, it allows us to improve the range and quantity of our product selection. I’m very proud of our team as the company’s continuous growth over the years has allowed us to build a new facility, and thereby create new products for our customers to enjoy.”
Architect and urban theorist Rem Koolhaas is doing a lot of critical thinking these days, about architects in popular culture, the West’s irrational moroseness, the transformation of Swiss landscape, and global warming.Koolhaas, who recently told The Guardian newspaper he’s his own “criticism machine” when it comes to analyzing his own work, dove head-on last night into a host of thorny issues – including criticism.“Everything we do and say is critical,” Koolhaas said. “But architecture itself can’t be critical of anything.”Koolhaas, a professor in practice of architecture and urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), shared his thoughts on those and other subjects before an overflow crowd at Piper Auditorium with a presentation titled “Current Preoccupations.”Koolhaas, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, featured a slide-show sampling of insights into the intertwined spheres of architecture, environment, history, and politics during his talk at the GSD.The Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s wide-ranging program riffed off his exhibition by the same name at London’s Barbican art center, and featured a slide-show sampling of insights into the intertwined spheres of architecture, environment, history, and politics.He also took questions from panelists Sanford Kwinter, a GSD professor of theory and criticism, and K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the GSD.Tall, lean, and bespectacled, Koolhaas hunched over a microphone and, speaking in a rapid clip with a slight Dutch accent, began picking the world apart.Koolhaas pointed to the sinking status of architects in the public eye, noting they appeared on the cover of Time magazine regularly from 1920 through the 1940s, but never again after 1979 when Philip Johnson last graced the cover. From then, Time and other publications were bullish for Wall Street moneymen.His next target was Francis Fukuyama, who morosely declared “the end of history” in 1992. Koolhaas said “moroseness” is a Western problem, while exuberance characterizes other parts of the world.A champion of unique urban design — such as his innovative glass-and-steel Seattle Public Library building, Koolhaas also critiqued star architects who design anonymous buildings without character.Over the past 10 years, Koolhaas watched a Swiss village where he lived transform. The original inhabitants moved away, and foreign laborers were imported. Scenic meadows were landscaped, and modern architecture replaced traditional.“I’m not saying all this is bad, but it’s ironic that such drastic transformations are barely or rarely taught in our schools,” Koolhaas said. “I want to find ways to discuss and think about it.”Global warming also is on his radar. Recently returned from Vladivostok, Koolhaas ventured that Russia could be the big winner from global warming, with its cold climes transformed into the breadbasket of the world – if only its corrupt politics allowed it.“The irony is there are no Russians to exploit this new condition,” Koolhaas said.Koolhaas, co-founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, also discussed his new book on the Japanese Metabolists: “Project Japan.”The Metabolists were members of an architectural design movement arising from the ashes of post-World War II Japan.However, Koolhaas and co-author Hans Ulrich Obrist traced the movement’s origins to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, where imperial architects’ imagination was fired by the tabla rasa of the conquered Chinese province’s wide-open spaces. No longer confined by Japan’s cramped island, these architects began designing modernist buildings.Ironically, a Japan devastated by U.S. bombing served as a similar blank slate for Metabolists like Kiyonori Kikutake and Kenzo Tange, whose technocratic and avant-garde designs were on the cutting edge of architecture from the late 1950s into the early 1970s.The Metabolists’ legacy includes innovative megastructures, floating cities, and capsule towers.Koolhaas said that although much of his work has focused on Europe and Asia, he hopes to tackle an African film project he began years ago but shelved because it was “politically incorrect.”“I was intimidated to tell my story,” Koolhaas said. “Only now am I confident enough to say what I have to say.”Asked by a student if his feeling that Western civilization has gone morose meant he was folding up his drafting table, Koolhaas would have none of it.“I don’t feel I’m approaching the end of my career,” Koolhaas said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be playing these kind of games.”
By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo November 18, 2020 In two months of work, Brazilian police officers and military personnel from Arpão Base have seized drugs and other goods with an estimated value of about $900,000. Cocaine and coca base paste, marijuana, live turtles, and reptile eggs were some of the items seized.Arpão Base is a new project, launched during the second half of 2020 to integrate a series of measures to combat criminal activities on rivers of Amazonas state. The base is a 24-hour vessel, from which 65 police officers and service members from the Brazilian Army operate on rotating shifts. They monitor ships that pass by, inspecting those that seem suspicious.The National Public Security Force will keep additional agents in Amazonas state until December 2020, to curb the wave of violence. (Photo: José Cruz/Agência Brasil)“Eighty percent of the crimes that happen in the capital [Manaus] are associated with drug trafficking, and that is why it’s necessary that we decisively combat not only drug trafficking, but also piracy, illegal exploitation of the environment, and other illicit activities that occur because of the extent of our rivers and forests,” said Wilson Lima, Amazonas governor.The base is docked at the channel of the Solimões River. The river starts in Peru and enters Brazil as one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. “We positioned Arpão Base in the busy middle stretch of Solimões River to intercept a lot of drug trafficking activities and problems related to environmental crimes and piracy,” said Eduardo Bettini, general border coordinator of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP, in Portuguese).The agents also carry out patrols looking for criminal activities on the river and its riverbanks. It is common in this region for so-called river pirates, groups that attack ships, to take various kinds of goods. Security forces use two armored speedboats for their operations, which provide transport for the teams.Bettini also said that the base includes a new radio and digital communication system that the MJSP is installing in Amazonas. This technology is the same used by the Integrated Border Monitoring System, enabling safe communication and information exchanges between military and public security organizations.Increased securityIn Amazonas, the fight against crime was also strengthened with the deployment of additional units from the National Public Security Force to the state. The Brazilian National Force is made up of police officers from all over Brazil, who are deployed by the federal government at the request of state governments. In early August, police arrived in Amazonas and on September 1, their stay was renewed until December 30, 2020.During this period, agents work to curb the wave of violence in the surrounding cities of Manaus, where more than seven murders, including that of police officers, happened between August and September. According to the police, the crimes are linked to a narcotrafficking organization in the region.
Revenue from the total of debit card interchange and overdraft fees often accounts for over 50 percent of a given credit union’s total non-interest income. Debit interchange has been heading south for many credit unions of all sizes due to regulatory changes implemented in 2011 that impacted interchange rates and network routing practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also looking to further regulate overdraft practices beyond the changes to courtesy pay practices that were implemented in 2010. Regulatory risk continues to persist relative to both of these two important income streams.Credit unions need to fully understand what is happening and why across the regulatory landscape, and then work closely with their processing and network partners to determine steps to grow revenue and reduce operating expenses to offset the regulatory risk.Here is a look at how we’ve arrived at the place we are today and some recommendations for how credit unions can respond to protect their non-interest income.The Story So FarDebit InterchangeAs directed by Congress through the Durbin Amendment, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) introduced Regulation II in October 2011 with the intention to add competition and fairness to debit interchange fees and transaction routing. Institutions with total assets of $10 billion and above had their debit card interchange revenue capped and had to accept a blended interchange yield drop of over 52 percent. The FRB also included provisions that protected small issuers – those with assets of less than $10B – by excluding them from the interchange rate provisions; however, nothing in the final rules explicitly requires the networks to maintain favorable interchange rates for institutions under the $10B asset threshold.Payment networks had to become more creative in balancing merchant and issuer expectations and profitability. As we are observing today, these dynamics are producing an impact that the FRB was trying to avoid – negative financial influence for the small issuers who are exempt. All PIN networks with POS capability have introduced the PINless transaction set and most are equipped to introduce signature-based transaction routing options similar to what has been offered by Visa and MasterCard for several decades. The PINless routing schemes are already negatively impacting debit interchange revenues; this trend will only continue to accelerate as competition heats up for each consumer payment transaction.Post Regulation II implementation, we have observed notable interchange compression on unregulated issuers. About 18 months after the implementation, the blended debit interchange rate was down 13 percent, compared to pre-Regulation II levels. Competition for volume in the network arena continues to put downward pressure on debit interchange yields, with observed reductions of about 5 – 8 percent when compared year-over-year. We expect this trend to only continue into the foreseeable future, and as payment technology and network strategies continue to evolve, they may provoke acceleration.PAVD (PIN Authenticated Visa Debit)As a result of the Durbin Amendment effectively banning network exclusivity and, in some cases, requiring financial institutions to add another network, Visa witnessed reduced PIN POS transaction volumes over its Interlink network. In response, Visa decided to leverage an already existing network capability, which was primarily used for international transactions to route a PIN transaction over Visa’s signature network, and introduce that capability to all Visa U.S. merchants. At the same time, Visa restructured merchant pricing, and introduced the Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF), which incents chain merchants to send more transactions to Visa, in order to reduce switch costs incurred by the merchants. This strategy fueled Visa’s transaction volume growth to almost pre-Durbin levels and beyond, pulling volume from other PIN networks.Network strategies like VISA PAVD, VISA FANF and MasterCard’s Maestro network requirement continue to evolve, with PINless and dual message transactions routed over traditional single message networks only further eroding debit interchange yields for unregulated issuers.PINlessIn an effort to respond to Visa/PAVD and MasterCard/Maestro routing requirements, other PIN networks introduced the ability to submit low dollar value transactions without PIN information. On purchases of under $50, merchants can choose to just obtain an approval and not require the PIN to be entered and authenticated.PINless was introduced last year in an effort to compete with ‘No Signature Required’ (‘NSR’) transactions from Visa and MasterCard. The merchant roll-out was very successful, and as a result, PIN networks decided to expand the PINless transaction set beyond just ‘Quick Service Restaurants’ (‘QSR’), to most traditional point of sale and e-commerce merchants.Signature Debit Transaction over PIN Networks Some PIN networks have started routing signature debit transaction sets (dual message) over their network. This essentially means that a merchant who traditionally has the ability to route debit transactions to VISA or MasterCard, will have another option when evaluating their cost-based routing options for a signature debit transaction. Participation and support for this transaction set is mandated to all Issuers and Acquirers.Overdraft Fee IncomeNearly concurrent with the regulations that have impacted debit interchange revenue, some significant regulatory movement has also taken place in terms of overdraft fee income.Regulation E was modified in 2010, requiring that all financial institutions secure an account holder opt-in in order to charge an overdraft fee for one-time debit card and ATM courtesy pay transactions.Since the change to Regulation E and courtesy pay transactions, the CFPB has been evaluating overdraft practices more holistically – encompassing not only debit card and ATM transactions, but also checks, ACH and other transactions that debit funds from a deposit account. It is widely expected that the CFPB will publish an initial rule for comment sometime in 2016.The CFPB commissioned the Pew Charitable Trust to handle the research aspects of their regulatory review. To date, a great deal of the Pew research (such as consumer surveys) has involved customers of large banks and not necessarily members of credit unions.Pew has made three key recommendations for consideration by the CFPB:Disclosure: Provide consumers with clear, comprehensive and uniform pricing information for all available overdraft options.Fees: Make overdraft penalty fees reasonable and proportional to the bank’s cost in covering the overdraft.Posting Order: Prohibit the process of reordering transactions to maximize fees and post deposits and withdrawals in a fully disclosed, objective and neutral manner.Optimizing Debit Portfolio PerformanceWith respect to protecting debit interchange income, credit unions can consider several measures to mitigate the downward pressure on this revenue source.Observation: Issuers need to work to capitalize on current consumer usage trends and the technology influencing where and how they are using their debit cards.Small ticket transactions are on the rise, as consumers get more comfortable with using their debit cards, instead of cash, for small purchases like coffee shops and movie theaters. At the same time, many networks are expanding the rules around small tickets to include more merchant categories and raising the limit under which a purchase amount requires no cardholder verification, thereby offering a speedy checkout and more convenience.Recommendation: Reach out to your cardholders making them aware that they can use their card for these types of purchases, and can bring incremental transactions thus driving more revenue.Observation: Debit card usage has definitely been on the rise in past years, and issuers were able to capitalize on this ‘organic’ growth the cardholders have adopted. However, we are nearing the top of that growth curve.Recommendation: Take another look at your Penetration, Activation and Usage metrics to make sure you are at least on par with the industry. It is possible to “outgrow” the reduction in interchange from current volume, by finding ways to introduce incremental usage. A strong debit card rewards offer backed by relevant merchant-funded rewards will incent your members to use your debit card more often, keeping your card top of wallet. Contributing author: Vladimir Jovanovic, Director, Debit and Prepaid Product Management at PSCU 24SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Norman Patrick Norman C. Patrick, Jr. is Director of Debit Consulting at Advisors Plus. With over 20 years in the financial services industry, Norm originated this practice area in 2007 based on … Details
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