Manager Monitor: Erin Greenfield, Trimark Investments

first_img Change to Counsel Global Small Cap Fund Erin Greenfield, who took over the lead role in managing Trimark Global Balanced in mid-2013, has stayed the course with the $611-million fund by keeping the asset mix stable and portfolio turnover low.Greenfield is a vice-president and portfolio manager for Trimark Investments, a division of Invesco Canada Ltd. in Toronto. After co-managing Trimark Global Balanced since 2009, he was appointed lead manager in June 2013, and continues to work with co-manager Jeff Hyrich. Since 2008, Greenfield has also co-managed Trimark Global Endeavour with Hyrich. NEO, Invesco launch four index PTFs Keywords Fund managersCompanies Invesco Canada Ltd. Though Greenfield and Hyrich have the flexibility to vary the asset mix, the balanced fund has remained at approximately 70% equities and 30% bonds over the past five years. On the equity side of this fund, which ranges between 25 and 35 holdings, the duo has added a few more names since mid-2013. Otherwise, there have been no significant changes over the past 14 months.This is despite being given a free hand. “With a lot of the Trimark funds, there’s not many handcuffs,” says Greenfield, who joined the Trimark team in 2005 and started out in Canadian equities. “And any time you remove handcuffs from portfolio managers, you increase the chances of outperforming.”Greenfield is responsible for the overall asset allocation of Trimark Global Balanced, but the bond components are chosen by a three-member fixed-income team. “We’ve told the bond managers to be opportunists,” says Greenfield. “Use that Trimark approach of trying to find great bargains.”There is considerable overlap in stock positions between Trimark Global Balanced and Trimark Global Endeavour, but the latter does not hold any fixed-income securities.Another difference has to do with the market capitalizations of equity holdings. Trimark Global Endeavour is primarily a mid-cap fund. Trimark Global Balanced is approximately one-third large cap, one-third mid-cap and one-third small-cap.Many of the “best ideas” of the two managers have come from smaller companies. “Often smaller companies can grow faster than larger companies,” says Greenfield, “but they can certainly be more volatile.”Following a fundamentally driven, bottom-up process, the Trimark team emphasizes quality management with a strong track record. Other sought-after qualities include profitability, competitive advantage, barriers to entry, growth opportunities, balance-sheet strength and valuations.Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT), the current top holding in Trimark Global Balanced, “ticks many of the boxes,” says Greenfield. The information-technology giant has at times been unloved in the market, he says, “so it shows that we can be somewhat contrarian. It’s not a fast grower, but it does have some opportunities for growth in mobile and cloud platforms.”A top-five holding in the balanced fund and in Trimark Global Endeavour is Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd., a South Korean auto-parts provider. The company has had very strong growth over the last 10 years, supplying parts to Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp., which make vehicles that are “really gaining in popularity,” says Greenfield. Hyundai Mobis sells globally and also handles most of the aftermarket parts. “So it’s somewhat of a royalty business for people getting their cars fixed, regardless of what’s going on in the economy.Greenfield and his Trimark colleagues don’t pay much attention to market indexes or sectors, but they aim to have a fairly diversified portfolio of separate ideas. For example, even if they consider U.S. banks to be cheap, the fund would generally include only one U.S. bank. “That way you have a portfolio of uncorrelated ideas,” says Greenfield.Currently, Trimark Global Balanced has invested close to 40% of its portfolio in the U.S., spanning both equities and fixed-income securities. The fund’s equity portion does not hold any Canadian companies. Most of the U.S. equity holdings are in companies that are global in scope.There are certain areas of the world that “we would shy away from,” says Greenfield. For example, “Russia is a place that I’ve always had a tough time with, and China I find is tough to understand at times.”When investing in China, Greenfield says he favours companies that are managed out of Hong Kong. The reason, he says, is that these companies have “a much longer history there of investor protection, better governance and more regulatory filings in English that you can review.”Greenfield, 41, received a BBA (honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1996. After graduation, he joined NCR, owned by AT&T, as a cost accountant in Waterloo for about a year. He then returned to Wilfrid Laurier to take courses toward the CA designation.In September 1997, Greenfield joined KPMG in Toronto, auditing financial statements, before being transferred to the company’s Bermuda office in 1999 as a senior manager. He received the CA designation in 2001 and the CFA designation in 2002. He believes his experience in auditing a broad range of companies “is a great background to have as a portfolio manager.” Diana Cawfield center_img Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Franklin Templeton renames funds with new managers Related news Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Pharmacy Robberies Sweeping US

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. NEW YORK – A wave of pharmacy robberies is sweeping the United States as desperate addicts and ruthless dealers turn to violence to feed the nation’s growing hunger for narcotic painkillers.From Redmond, Wash., to St. Augustine, Fla., criminals are holding pharmacists at gunpoint and escaping with thousands of powerfully addictive pills that can sell for as much as $80 apiece on the street.In one of the most shocking crimes yet, a robber walked into a neighborhood drugstore Sunday on New York’s Long Island and gunned down the pharmacist, a teenage store clerk and two customers before leaving with a backpack full of pills containing hydrocodone.“It’s an epidemic,” said Michael Fox, a pharmacist on New York’s Staten Island who has been stuck up twice in the last year. “These people are depraved. They’ll kill you.”Armed robberies at pharmacies rose 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, from 380 to 686, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says. The number of pills stolen went from 706,000 to 1.3 million. Thieves are overwhelmingly taking oxycodone painkillers like OxyContin or Roxicodone, or hydrocodone-based painkillers like Vicodin and Norco. Both narcotics are highly addictive.In New York state, the number of armed robberies rose from 2 in 2006 to 28 in 2010. In Florida, they increased nearly six-fold, from 11 to 65. California saw 61 robberies in 2010, Indiana had 45 and Tennessee had 38.Most robbers don’t hurt anyone, but authorities are worried the risk of bloodshed is increasing as assaults multiply. In September, a clerk was fatally shot in the chest and a pregnant woman wounded in the foot when a shootout broke out between a robber and an armed employee at a pharmacy in a suburb of Sacramento, Calif. In April, a gunman killed a pharmacist in Trenton, N.J., before stealing $10,000 in pills.The robberies mirror a national rise in the abuse of narcotic painkillers, DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno said.“Drug addicts are always seeking ways to get their drugs,” Carreno said. “Whenever there’s an increase in a problem, you’ll see it manifested in ways like this.”Prescription painkillers are now the second most-abused drugs after marijuana, with 7 million Americans using them illegally in the past month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says. The number of patients treated in emergency rooms for prescription drug overdoses more than doubled between 2004 and 2008, from 144,644 to 305,885.Drug dealers may be turning to violence as authorities crack down on other ways of getting painkillers, Carreno said. Many states have launched introduced computer systems designed to prevent “doctor-shopping” by addicts, and federal investigations have shut down several shady Internet pharmacies.That is believed to have spurred addicts to target small pharmacies like Haven Drugs in Medford, about 60 miles east of New York on Long Island.Prosecutors say David Laffer, 33, walked into the drugstore on Sunday and opened fire without warning.“He did not announce a robbery,” Assistant District Attorney John Collins said. “He simply shot first after engaging the pharmacist in conversation.”Laffer shot 45-year-old pharmacist Raymond Ferguson once in the abdomen, then killed 17-year-old store clerk Jennifer Mejia before pumping two more shots into Ferguson, Collins said. Then he started pulling Norco and other hydrocodone drugs off the shelves, Collins said.When customers Bryon Sheffield, 71, and Jamie Taccetta, 33, walked into the store, Laffer sneaked up behind them and shot them in the back of the head, Collins said.Laffer is a former Army private who once worked as an intelligence analyst. He had recently lost his job as a warehouse worker. Both he and his wife, Melinda Brady, were high when they were arrested on Wednesday at their home about a mile and a half from the pharmacy, police said. Brady was charged with driving the getaway car; both have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.In posts on a wedding-related website, Brady said she had been taking different painkillers in the year before their January 2009 wedding because of several surgeries on her mouth. She added that it was taking a toll on her relationships.It’s a familiar pattern, said Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, which advocates for more cautious use of narcotic painkillers. Many patients get addicted while taking a legitimate prescription and turn to crime after they lose their jobs and the insurance coverage that comes with them, he said.“People with addiction who could be perfectly good people will do all sorts of horrible things to maintain their supply,” Kolodny said.Like Laffer, most pharmacy robbers are white males, said Richard Conklin, manager of RxPatrol.com, a website that tracks robberies. However, they come from all backgrounds and ages, he said.In May, a 51-year-old man in a suit and tie approached a pharmacy counter in Boise, Idaho, and told the clerk he had something in his briefcase that he could “light the place up with” if the store didn’t give him OxyContin. He left with hundreds of pills.In Lynchburg, Va., a 27-year-old man used a 3-foot-long samurai sword to rob a pharmacy in March.Fox said he had two customers in his drugstore in Eltingville, a middle-class neighborhood of Staten Island, when a man broke in a rear door and forced him to the floor at gunpoint in April 2010.“He put the gun to my head, and I thought it was over for me,” Fox said. The robber made off with about $4,000 of oxycodone.In April 2010, another robber struck. Claiming he had a gun in his jacket pocket, he demanded bottles of oxycodone.Fox handed over two bottles. The robber opened them to check the pills, then demanded more.“I took a chance: I told him that was all I had,” Fox said. The robber left without harming anyone, he said.Robbers have also hit the nearby Annadale Family Pharmacy. A sign in the window there now says, “We do not stock oxycodone or Roxicodone.”Along with armed robberies, pharmacy associations say they are also seeing an increase in burglaries.Keith Hodges, a pharmacist in Gloucester, Va., said his store has been broken into at least six times in recent years. One thief came through the roof by squeezing into an air conditioning shaft. Another used an electric saw to cut the knob off a steel door.In April, a woman was caught in Billings, Mont., trying to smash in the bulletproof drive-through window of a Walgreens with a crowbar. Police said she had shards of glass on her clothing, a fresh cut on her head and her fingertips wrapped in bandages.Rxpatrol.com, sponsored by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., says it has tracked 1,258 pharmacy burglaries since 2002.“I get nervous at night,” Hodges said. “I stay late a lot, and you worry about what could happen.”Hodges said he’s installed security cameras and alarms that are activated by the sound of someone breaking in. His employees wear wireless “panic buttons” that they can push to alert police.The National Community Pharmacists’ Association, which represents 23,000 independent drugstores, is distributing “height signs” to help employees record the height of robbers as they flee stores.The Walgreens pharmacy chain is experimenting with medicine safes that delay several minutes before opening, in hopes that robbers won’t have the patience to wait.Some pharmacies are even considering installing bullet-proof windows like those found in many banks.But Hodges, the Virginia pharmacist, worries that the security precautions are harming legitimate customers by lengthening the wait to fill prescriptions and eroding the relationship between pharmacists and patients.If pharmacists are forced to work behind bulletproof glass, it will discourage customers from asking questions about their treatments, he said.“The more a patient knows, the healthier they’re going to be in the long run,” Hodges said. “They need to have access to their pharmacist.” Emaillast_img read more

Student Proves We Can Grow Millions of Pounds of Food By Planting it on Top of Trash

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThis student’s plan to tackle food insecurity may sound unappetizing, but it’s actually pretty ingenious.Joy Youwakim, an economics student at the University of Texas, has proven that we can safely grow produce on top of inactive landfills. Using a 200-foot patch of land in a closed landfill southeast of Austin, Youwakim worked with her fellow students to grow 20 pounds of various crops, such as radishes, eggplant, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupe. All of the produce was then tested and declared safe by the Food Safety Net Services.If Youwakim expanded her efforts to include all 390 acres of the landfill, she would be able to grow enough food for over 8,000 families. There were more than 6,000 inactive landfills in 2012, which roughly amounts to over 2 million acres of unused land. If implemented nationwide, Youwakim’s experiment could spell the end for food insecurity.CHECK OUT: Instead of Arguing Online, Political Foes Are Coming Together Over Food to ‘Make America Dinner Again’The economics student says that she first got the idea for her initiative when she saw what an unused landfill actually looked like.“I was working at the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality one summer and struck up a conversation with an employee working in the landfill division,” she told the Good News Network. “When he showed me a picture of a closed landfill, I was so surprised to find that it looked more like a closed golf course than a pile of trash.“I’ve always been passionate about food access, so I immediately began thinking about the possibilities of growing food on this space. I learned that landfills are typically located in low income areas, so I saw this as an opportunity to bring fresh produce to individuals living in food deserts as well as a way to sustain farmable land as our population grows and we continue to urbanize.”LOOK: Cheap ‘Plant Pods’ That Can Grow More Lettuce in a Room Than Half-Acre Plot May End HungerAfter that, Youwakim says it took about 13 months of phone calls, proposals, and cutting through red tape to get the necessary food permits to conduct her experiment.Now, she has been nominated as one of four finalists for the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program for a chance to win $50,000 to develop their food relief initiatives.Kate Stagliano, who is one of the other competition finalists, has been featured on Good News Network in the past for her incredible story about how a massive cabbage inspired her to start an organization that encourages youngsters to grow their own food for the needy.RELATED: How One Girl Fed Thousands Thanks to an Unusually Large CabbageWhether Youwakim wins or not, she says that she is excited to expand her initiative to other communities, one trash patch at a time.“Landfills are not an endangered resource they’re going to keep being around,” she told GNN. “When these landfills close, I want to use this space and grow food on top of them instead of abandoning them.”(WATCH the video below)Plant Some Positivity And Share The Good News With Your FriendsAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

All change for Valley First Challenge Penticton in 2016

first_imgUnder way with race week for this year’s event, Valley First Challenge Penticton has announced changes to the 2016 event – as Penticton prepares to host the ITU World Triathlon and Multisport Festival the following year. As a result, the 2016 Valley First Challenge Penticton will be run across one single distance; the world long-course championship distance of 3K swim, 120K bike and 30K run. Individual and relay events over the new format will also be available.The 2016 edition of Valley First Challenge Penticton, scheduled for 27-31 August, will be expanded to incorporate the Canadian cross-triathlon, duathlon and aquathon championships across a five-day festival. Each of the four national championships will act as a qualifying event for the respective world championship, which will be held the following year in Penticton.The 2017 ITU Triathlon and Multisport Festival is a 10-day event incorporating the world championships for four of the sport’s disciplines. The event is expected to attract as many as 4,000 athletes from across the globe.“Our 2016 race will be the ultimate preparation event for athletes looking to race the world championships in Penticton just 12 months later,” said Michael Brown, co-race director at Valley First Challenge Penticton. “It will be an exciting week as thousands of athletes descend upon the city to test themselves on the world championship course and race other athletes for spots on the national team.”“Triathletes coming to experience the legendary Valley First Challenge Penticton course bring economic activity to our community, which is a big part of our sports tourism strategy and a chance to showcase our region as a premier destination to invest, relax, train and play,” said Andrew Jakubeit, Penticton Mayor.“Challenge Family’s first commitment is to the athletes, and this requires flexibility according to changing environments and markets,” added Zibi Szlufcik, CEO at Challenge Family. “We’re delighted to support the Valley First Challenge Penticton team and the wonderful Penticton community in delivering a successful ITU world championships in 2017.”Registration for next year’s individual or team relay event is open now. Athletes at this year’s event can complete their entry for next year at package pickup or the info booth at the Athlete Village. To save time at registration, athletes can download, print and complete a registration form for the 2016 event. Payment will be taken on site by credit card.Full details of next year’s new events – together with qualifying information and registration for cross-triathlon, duathlon and aquathon national championships will be released soon.www.challenge-penticton.com Relatedlast_img read more

Cimarron Industrial signs $6.4M permanent loan in Scottsdale

first_imgChurchill Commercial Capital, Inc. (Tom Ryan, Vice President) has arranged a $6.4 million loan for Cimarron Industrial Partners, LLC, on a 94,800 square foot multi-tenant industrial property consisting of five buildings within the Scottsdale Airpark. The property was 98% leased at the time of closing.This unique transaction was placed with one of our many correspondent Life Companies and will be serviced locally by Churchill. This loan execution was refinance to a ten year, non-recourse, fixed rate loan. We were able to maximize leverage with an aggressive interest rate in addition to meeting the borrower’s objective of having a significantly reduced prepayment option for a future event in the later years of the loan.last_img read more

Spanish newspaper reveal Real Madrid were also interested in Chelsea January…

first_imgChelsea fans, let’s take you back to darker times briefly, around the time in January when the Blues came very close to signing Edin Dzeko from AS Roma. Wanting a new striker, Antonio Conte was fixated on trying to sign a target man, eventually landing Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, which has worked out relatively OK since.Despite not being regularly selected by Maurizio Sarri, the French striker can put his lack of club minutes to one side for now while he polishes his World Cup champions’ medal he won over the summer, while picking up three assists in 153 minutes of league football.Returning to Edin Dzeko, Marca on Wednesday reveal that Chelsea weren’t the only ones interested in the now 32-year-old, as Real Madrid were also on his trail.Embed from Getty ImagesBack when Zinedine Zidane was still manager, the La Liga side were looking for someone else up front, as Karim Benzema, now enjoying life without Cristiano Ronaldo, was struggling to find the back of the net.However, the former Manchester City forward refused to swap clubs, even for a heftier paycheque, as he knew he wouldn’t be the first choice in either side, overshadowed by the likes of Alvaro Morata and the aforementioned Portuguese superstar.Now, Dzeko is readying himself to face the club he could have joined back in January in the Champions League on Wednesday night.It’s interesting to think what might have happened had he agreed to move to Spain, or London, for that matter.Had he chosen the latter, for example, he might be playing on Thursday nights instead…by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksTrending TodayForge of Empires – Free Online GameChallenge Your Brain With This Must-Play Strategy Game. No Install.Forge of Empires – Free Online GameUndoRaid: Shadow Legends | Free DownloadEven Non-Gamers Are Obsessed With This RPG Game (It’s Worth Installing!)Raid: Shadow Legends | Free DownloadUndoDating.comWhere do attractive singles find each other in Tung Chung?Dating.comUndoKeto减肥1個簡單的妙招一夜「融化」腹部贅肉(今晚試試)Keto减肥UndoStanChart by CNBC CatalystDigitization in Banks Is No Longer About Efficiency, but Business Resilience. Don’t Get Left Behind.StanChart by CNBC CatalystUndoCNBC InternationalSingapore’s Freelancers Find New Income During the Coronavirus Pandemic.CNBC InternationalUndoInstant Voice TranslatorGenius Japanese Invention Allows You To Instantly Speak 43 LanguagesInstant Voice TranslatorUndoTheTopFiveVPNEnjoy Netflix Now Without Any RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPNUndoPerfect-Dating.comReveal Tung Chung As The Best City to Date for Love & RomancePerfect-Dating.comUndolast_img read more

Australia aim to pour cold water on England’s summer

first_imgLONDON (Reuters) – England are still basking in the glow of an epic World Cup triumph but if anything can throw cold water over their memorable summer it would be a first home Ashes series loss to Australia for 18 years. Battle commences at Edgbaston on Thursday and the last time Australia won there was the opening match of the 2001 series which they ended up dominating 4-1.Since then, apart from England’s series win Down Under in 2010-11, home advantage has proved overwhelming.Australia, holders of the urn after a 4-0 home win, will take heart from their previous visit to England in 2015 when they lost 3-2 in a series that could have gone either way. England still rely heavily on record test-wicket taker James Anderson and his partner in crime Stuart Broad, although the searing pace of test debutant Jofra Archer, a revelation in the World Cup, and Olly Stone should lighten the load.Anderson will be 37 when the first test starts but no Australian batsman will feel set at the crease against a player whose ability to make the Dukes ball sing is unrivalled.“If it swings, England will win almost solely because of Jimmy. If he was in the Australia team, they would win the Ashes,” former England spinner Graeme Swann said. Anderson will need to be at his best if England are to regain the Ashes as their batting gives genuine cause for alarm.Last week’s test against Ireland was meant to calm the jitters. Instead England were bowled out for 85 in the first innings and lost seven wickets for 77 in the second.A magical spell by Chris Woakes and Broad bowled Ireland out for 38 to seal victory but it could not disguise the fact that since Alastair Cook retired last year England have not come remotely close to finding a reliable top order. ROLLERCOASTER TESTEngland’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss said “you don’t need to be Einstein” to work out where England’s problems are after that rollercoaster test at Lord’s.They have been bowled out for fewer than 100 twice already this year and Australia’s pacemen, led by world number one Pat Cummins, taker of 23 wickets in the 2017 series, and featuring Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and all rounder Mitchell Marsh, will be licking their lips. “How would I feel if I was getting ready to play in this series, preparing myself to bowl at an England top three that is far from solid? Quietly confident,” said Australian bowling great Glenn McGrath this week.Jason Roy, so destructive as a one-day batsman, will open the batting but is a rookie in international red-ball cricket. He made his test debut against Ireland, scoring 72 in the second innings after failing in the first.Fellow opener Rory Burns made 12 in two goes against Ireland and averages 22 in tests while Joe Denly, set for the tricky number three slot, has played three tests.England will be relying on the likes of skipper Joe Root, at four, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Sam Curran to eke out enough runs to keep the Australians at bay. Australia have their own batting weaknesses and lost series to Pakistan and India in the wake of the infamous 2017 defeat in South Africa which led to bans for leading batsmen David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft for their part in a ball-tampering scandal.That trio, averaging 48, 61 and 30 in tests, are set to return to the test arena at Edgbaston, however, and will add class and experience to a batting lineup featuring Tasmania’s Matthew Wade and Queensland’s Marnus Labuschagne.Ball is expected to dominate willow over the five-test series culminating in mid-September and draws do not appear likely. It will be entertaining but blink and you might miss it. “This will be up there with the lowest-scoring Ashes series,” former England skipper Michael Vaughan said.“You look at both bowling attacks, and their skill and discipline, and teams might struggle to reach 300.”last_img read more

In Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa, Gullele Botanical Garden captivates city dwellers

first_imgGullele Botanic Garden (GBG) is the first of its kind located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Officially inaugurated and opened to the public in January 2019, it has become increasingly popular among the city’s residents and educators.On a smaller scale, similar initiatives such as Shashemene Botanical Garden are being undertaken elsewhere in the country. ADDIS ABABA — Five miles northwest of Addis Ababa’s thriving city center is the lush Gullele Botanic Garden (GBG), the first well-established site of its kind in Ethiopia that covers both forest and semi-forest vegetation.Of the more than 2,500 botanical gardens that exist in the world, only an estimated 4 percent are in Africa, many of which can be traced back to colonial times in the 18th and 19th centuries.Unpublished GBG records show that efforts to establish a botanical garden in Ethiopia date as far back as four decades. However, Gullele was only officially inaugurated in January 2019, 14 years after it was realized as a joint venture between Addis Ababa University and the city administration, which provided full funding for the 705-hectare (1,740-acre) park.Berhanu Belay, the garden’s director of botanical research and development, says awareness has improved significantly since then and that it’s even been referred to as the “green lung” of Ethiopia’s capital.Conservation of plant speciesA green house at the Gullele Botanical Garden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Gullele Botanical Garden.Over the past year, the botanical garden received recognition from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), a U.K. charity membership organization, for its focus and best practices on plant conservation. According to BGCI, more than 9,600 trees worldwide are in danger of extinction and more than 1,900 are critically endangered.Belay says his main priority this year is to introduce and cultivate critically endangered indigenous and endemic plant species, such as Euphorbia burgeri, known locally as qulqual, and Erythrina burana, or welina.With the increase in Ethiopia’s population and scarcity of agricultural land, forest degradation and the consequent loss of biodiversity have become key problems for the country. Studies show that 13 percent of the total woody plant flora in Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea are endangered.Eradicating eucalyptus treesThe Gullele Botanic Garden in 2017. Photo by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese.Eucalyptus trees were first introduced into the country in 1895, during the reign of Emperor Menelik II, who recognized the scarcity of and high demand for fuelwood among the population.More than a century later, the once-exotic tree has become increasingly popular among farmers and abounds in many parts of the country. Studies show that its fast growth rate, short rotation nature and multi-faceted value have made it an ideal tree, especially in rural and semi-urban parts of the country that mainly grow it to generate income.However, many experts say it’s not suitable for the environment, since it requires more moisture than indigenous vegetation, releases toxic chemicals into the soil, and threatens local species.The botanical garden took the task of removing Eucalyptus globulus trees seriously. When established in 2005, 90 percent of the garden was predominantly covered in the species known as southern bluegum. Today, an estimated 420 hectares (1,040 acres), or 65 percent of the coverage, has been successfully removed.Since September 2018 alone, the garden has employed hundreds of local people to successfully clear more than 40 hectares (100 acres) of land and replace it with indigenous plants.Raising awareness among youthStudents of Bole Gerji Primary and Secondary school in Addis Ababa planting trees that they received from the botanical garden as part of its ‘Model Gardening’ Project. Image courtesy Gullele Botanical Garden.Gebreselassie Mebrhatu is a facilitator for an environmental protection club at the Bole Gerji primary school in Addis Ababa. Every year before the rainy season starts, he and the 78 other members of the club set out to dig the ground and plant trees around their school. The school is part of GBG’s model gardening project, which supports students to plant indigenous trees like Acacia abyssinica, known locally as girar.According to Eshetu Worku, an environmental education officer at the botanical garden, the model gardening project was launched a couple of years ago at 10 primary and secondary schools in Addis Ababa, where students get a hands-on education in horticulture by taking plants from the botanical garden to their schools.“We want to enable people to have an understanding and care for their environment because they unnecessarily cut plants or remove forests out of the lack of knowledge. So we create awareness in order to avoid the consequences that come out of cutting trees,” Worku says.In recent years, GBG has made a serious effort to promote the garden through various media outlets and stakeholders. Consequently, more than 10,000 people visited the botanical garden in the first half of 2019 alone.The majority of these are students from primary and secondary schools in the capital city and higher education institutions all over the country, benefiting from the provision of ecological science education support from the garden.Relevance for the communityEmployees are seen at the nursing site in Gullele Botanical Garden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Gullele Botanical Garden.Martha Tadesse, 28, started an all-women’s hiking group, Berchi (“be strong” in Amharic), in June 2017 through social media. Since its establishment, the group has hiked together in the botanical garden several times.“Living in a city like Addis [Ababa] where there are few or no green areas, [the] botanical garden is a gift to residents around it,” said Tadesse, who said she has hiked there more than 10 times in the past three years.But Tadesse isn’t the only one who enjoys spending time in the garden. Yoga teacher and writer Heran Tadesse (no relation) has been giving yoga classes in the botanical garden for the past six months.“Every time I visit the Gullele Botanic Garden, there are wedding pictures being taken and communities gather to celebrate the special events,” she says. “Like the other day, I witnessed an Islamic wedding, Protestant wedding as well as a traditional Oromo wedding. Culturally enriching and refreshing!”Records at the botanical garden show that since its establishment in 2005, more than 50,000 people have visited for leisure, education and research.Other initiatives for new botanical gardensA view of Shashemene Botanical Garden in February 2018. Photo by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese.While not on the same scale as Gullele Botanic Garden, botanical gardens have sprung up in the towns of Shashemene and Jimma, under the auspices of the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute.The 17-hectare (42-acre) Shashemene botanical garden, situated 249 kilometers (155 miles) south of Addis Ababa, was established in 2005. But it wasn’t until 2013 that it fully commenced the activities of conservation, ecotourism and plant nursery. It’s home to the Lephis Forest field gene bank, where rare indigenous trees like Albizia gummifera and Prunus africana are planted and protected.The institute grows more than 200 indigenous and 12 endemic plant species at the nursery site that produces more than 100,000 seedlings every year to be distributed to the community and restore degraded land in the region.But the small yearly budget of $60,000, an estimated 50 percent of which goes toward administration fees, and a quarry site just outside the perimeter are among the challenges hindering it from possible future expansions and meeting expected standards for a botanical garden. The town of Shashemene is also struggling with a shortage of drinking water and loss of water bodies, which has affected how the garden cultivates plants in its vicinity.Banner image: Students of Bole Gerji Primary and Secondary school in Addis Ababa planting trees that they received from the botanical garden as part of its ‘Model Gardening’ Project. Image courtesy Gullele Botanical Garden.Maheder Haileselassie Tadese is an award-winning freelance photographer and journalist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. More of her work can be found here. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Botany, Ecotourism, Ex-situ Conservation, Forests, Medicinal Plants, Plants Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Genevieve Belmakerlast_img read more

In B.E.D. with TechCrunch – literally…

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting alex iskold 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus. A pure TechCrunch goodnesshas descended on New York on this rainy evening. Ignoring the rain, hundreds of web 2.0fans, venture capitalists and sponsors rushed to the sought after New York venue calledB.E.D.The venue is famous for serving out-of-this-world food to lavish and spoiled NewYorkers, but this is not why the crowds piled in this evening. The crowds sought to be inB.E.D. with TechCrunch, and this is exactly what they got as the 8th TechCrunch partytook place.The party occupied the entire 6th floor – which featured bar, music and slide shows on thewalls. 15 presenting companies got a chance to showcase their products to a lively crowdthat made a point to show up despite the rain. I got lucky and had a chance to attend,because AdaptiveBlue was one of the sponsors. The party turned out to be pretty good, Imade a round through the presenters and here is what stood out for me.Compete.comThe alleged Alexa killer Compete.com,one of the sponsors of the party, was showing off their latest traffic tracking tool.Although at present there is little data for some smaller sites, the tool lookspromising. First of, the interface is cleaner, simpler and faster than the one offered byAlexa. But what gets me excited is the ability to create and track competitiveportfolios, which is going to be opened to the public in about a month.Multiply.com Multiply.com, the social networking sitethat we have covered here before, hasre-launched a brand new site. With this re-launch Multiply is focusing on the uniquevalue that they deliver – a user centric site oriented towards aggregating andprioritizing information for the end user. The new site is definitely simpler and easierto use. Multiply’s focus on the individual seems right on. We are not aware of anyother site that would aggregate and prioritize an individual’s information in quite thesame way.Snap.comThe makers of the Snap search engineshowcased a new product called SnapPreview anywhere. This is a simple idea of previewingthe page via a link that has been done many times before, but there is a niceimplementation here that is noteworthy. Snap’s claim to fame is the preview. If yousearch for a term on Snap.com you get results in two frames – one liststhe matches, the other one shows a preview of a selected match.Themakers of Snap have taken the idea of a preview one step further. They create theinfrastructure for bloggers and companies to embed a small snippet of code into theirpages, in exchange for some preview magic. Once the code is installed, all the users ofthe blog can hover over any link to get a preview of the page. This service is completelyfree, but here is where it gets clever. The preview also shows the Snap.com search box,which allows the user to perform an instant search. This is a nice touch and should get Snapa lot of traffic, if they manage to sign people up to use their preview technology.Me.diumLast, but certainly not least, we want to profile a newsocial browsing startup called Medium. This company hascreated a browser add-on that allows users to collaborate and chat about the sites theyare browsing. There are a few companies that do this already, but this one seems toimplement it in a very nice way that might become viral.The service is implemented asa browser sidebar. As you browse, you see a visualization (a graph to be precise) ofpeople who are also visiting this site. The people are presented based on their proximityscore relative to you. For example, someone who is in your network will get a high score,but also someone who has been visiting similar sites as you have, will get a high promityscore as well. So basically, you see the relevant people who are also browsing this page.You can also chat with these people, which is quite handy. The use case that Iwas given was shopping. As you are looking at a product, you can shout to the crowd fortips. If someone has found a better deal, they have the chance to send you the link.Overall, I felt that if the UI is simplified a bit (like having an option to show relevantpeople as a list), this has potential – because having the opportunity to exchange ideas andtips with people while browsing specific sites, is valuable.Wrap upWhew, so there you have it – four Blue Moon beers later. It was nice to meet some people I knew virtually in person. And I got toshake the hand of the man himself. I guess I can now say, I was in B.E.D. with MikeArrington. Not that there is anything wrong with that… [Editor’s note: did I mentionthat Alex wrote this ;-)] Tags:#business#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Wolters Kluwer Interview: A Three-Part Series on the New Code Sec. 199A Passthrough Deduction and Proposed Regulations

first_imgLast year’s tax reform created a new 20-percent deduction of qualified business income for passthrough entities, subject to certain limitations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) created the new Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction for noncorporate taxpayers, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, the provision was enacted only temporarily through 2025. The controversial deduction has remained a buzzing topic of debate among lawmakers, tax policy experts, and stakeholders. In addition to its impermanence, the new passthrough deduction’s ambiguous statutory language created many questions for taxpayers and practitioners.The IRS released the much-anticipated proposed regulations on the new passthrough deduction, REG-107892-18, on August 8. The guidance has generated a mixed reaction on Capitol Hill, and while significant questions may have been answered, it appears that many remain. Indeed, an IRS spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting before the proposed regulations were released that the IRS’s goal was to issue complete regulations but that the guidance would “not cover every question that taxpayers have.”Wolters Kluwer recently spoke with Joshua Wu, member, Clark Hill PLC, about the tax implications of the new passthrough deduction and proposed regulations. That exchange included a discussion of the impact that the new law and IRS guidance, both present and future, may have on taxpayers and tax practitioners.The interview is presented as a three-part series running from Tuesday, September 11 through Thursday, September 13. Part I of the interview can be located here.Part II – Aggregation, Winners & LosersWolters Kluwer: How do the proposed regulations provide both limitations and flexibility regarding the available election to aggregate trades or businesses?Joshua Wu: Treasury agreed with various comments that some level of aggregation should be permitted to account for the legal, economic and other non-tax reasons that taxpayers operate a single business across multiple entities. Permissive aggregation allows taxpayers the benefit of combining trades or businesses for applying the W-2 wage limitation, potentially resulting in a higher limit. Under Proposed Reg. 1.199A-4, aggregation is allowed but not required. To use this method, the business must (1) qualify as a trade or business, (2) have common ownership, (3) not be a SSTB, and (4) demonstrate that the businesses are part of a larger, integrated trade or business (for individuals and trusts). The proposed regulations give businesses the benefits of electing aggregation without having to restructure the businesses from a legal standpoint. Businesses failing to qualify under the above test will have to consider whether a legal restructuring would be possible.Wolters Kluwer: How does Notice 2018-64 Methods for Calculating W-2 Wages for Purposes of Section 199A, which accompanied the release of the proposed regulations, coordinate with aggregation?Joshua Wu: Notice 2018-64 contains a proposed revenue procedure with guidance on three methods for calculating W-2 wages for purposes of section 199A. The Unmodified Box method uses the lesser of totals in Box 1 of Forms W-2 or Box 5 (Medicare wages). The Modified Box 1 method takes the total amounts in Box 1 of Forms W-2 minus amounts not wages for income withholding purposes, and adding total amounts in Box 12 (deferrals). The Tracking wages method is the most complex and tracks total wages subject to income tax withholding. The calculation method is dependent on the group of Forms W-2 included in the computation and, thus, will vary depending upon whether businesses are aggregated under 1.199A-4 or not. Taxpayers with businesses generating little or no Medicare wages may consider aggregating with businesses that report significant wages in Box 1 that are still subject to income tax withholding. Under the Modified Box 1 method, that may result in a higher wage limitation.Crack & PackWolters Kluwer: What noteworthy anti-abuse safeguards do the proposed regulations seek to establish? How do the rules address “cracking” or “crack and pack” strategies?Joshua Wu: Treasury included some anti-abuse provisions in the proposed regulations. One area that Treasury noted was the use of multiple non-grantor trusts to avoid the income threshold limitations on the 199A deduction. Taxpayers could theoretically use multiple non-grantor trusts to increase the 199A deduction by taking advantage of each trust’s separate threshold amount. The proposed regulations, under the authority of Section 643(f), provide that two or more trusts will be aggregated and treated as a single trust if such trusts have substantially the same grantor(s) and substantially the same primary beneficiary or beneficiaries, and if a principal purpose is to avoid tax. The proposed regulations have a presumption of a principal purpose of avoiding tax if the structure results in a significant tax benefit, unless there is a significant non-tax purpose that could not have been achieved without the creation of the trusts.Another anti-abuse issue relates to the “crack and pack” strategies. These strategies involve a business that is limited in its 199A deduction because it is an SSTB spinning off some of its business or assets to an entity that is not an SSTB and could claim the 199A deduction. For example, a law firm that owns its building could transfer the building to a separate entity and lease it back. The law firm is an SSTB and, thus, is subject to the 199A limitations. However, the real estate entity is not an SSTB and can generate a 199A deduction (based on the rental income) for the law partners. The proposed regulations provide that a SSTB includes any business with 50 percent common ownership (direct or indirect) that provides 80 percent or more of its property or services to an excluded trade or business. Also, if a trade or business shares 50 percent or more common ownership with an SSTB, to the extent that trade or business provides property or services to the commonly-owned SSTB, the portion of the property or services provided to the SSTB will be treated as an SSTB. The proposed regulations provide an example of a dentist who owns a dental practice and also owns an office building. The dentist rents half the building to the dental practice and half to unrelated persons. Under 1.99A-5(c)(2), the renting of half of the building to the dental practice will be treated as an SSTB.Winners & LosersWolters Kluwer: Generally, what industries can be seen as “winners” and “losers” in light of the proposed regulations?Joshua Wu: The most obvious “losers” in the proposed regulations are the specified services businesses (e.g., lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.) who are further limited by the anti-abuse provisions in arranging their affairs to try and benefit from 199A. On the other hand, certain specific service providers benefit from the proposed regulations. For example, health clubs or spas are exempt from the SSTB limitation. Additionally, broadcasters of performing arts, real estate agents, real estate brokers, loan officers, ticket brokers, and art brokers are all exempt from the SSTB limitation.Wolters Kluwer: What areas of the Code Sec. 199A provision stand out as most complex when calculating the deduction, and how does this complexity vary among taxpayers?Joshua Wu: With respect to calculating the deduction, one complex area is planning to maximize the W-2 wages limitation. Because compensation as W-2 wages can reduce QBI, and potentially the 199A deduction, determining the efficient equilibrium point between having enough W-2 wages to limit the impact of the wage limitation, while preserving QBI, will be a fact-driven complex planning issue that must be determined by each taxpayer. Another area of complexity will be how taxpayers track losses which may reduce future QBI and, thus, the 199A deduction. The proposed regulations provide that losses disallowed for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, are not taken into account for purposes of computing QBI in a later taxable year. Taxpayers will be left to track pre-2018 and post-2018 losses and determine if a loss in a particular tax year reduces QBI or not.The third and final segment of the interview discusses how the proposed regulations may change and provides key takeaways for practitioners. The final segment will be released on Thursday, September 13.By Jessica Jeane, Senior News EditorLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more