Welch announces legislation to address rising gas prices

first_imgStanding alongside Vermonters struggling with rising gas prices, Representative Peter Welch on Monday announced three pieces of legislation to help calm rising prices in the short term and combat energy market speculation in the long term. Gas prices in Vermont are up nearly one dollar since September, hitting $3.74 in parts of the state. At the Montpelier City Public Works Department, Welch was joined by Cabot Cheese Warehouse and Distribution Manager Louie Quintin, owner of Middlesex Electric Donald Pierce and Montpelier City Manager Bill Fraser, all of whom are trying to absorb rising gas prices into tight budgets. The legislative initiatives would eliminate tax loopholes that encourage energy market speculation, release fuel from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to calm rising prices and set criminal penalties for those found to be engaging in price gouging. ‘As rising gas prices hit Vermonters at the pump and threaten a fragile economic recovery, we must use every tool we can to ease the burden,’ said Welch. ‘These common sense bills will provide much-needed relief in the short term and reduce the ability of speculators to drive up prices in the long term. With so many families and businesses struggling to get by in a down economy, it’s imperative that Congress and the President take action.’‘Rising fuel prices are affecting everyone,’ said Judy Sullivan, a constituent from Fairfax who recently contacted Welch about rising gas prices. ‘I commute 60 miles a day for work and $3.70 a gallon gas really eats up the budget quickly. The bottom line is that after paying to heat the house and fill my car’s tank, there really isn’t room left for much else.’Monday’s announcement marks Welch’s most recent efforts to combat rising gas prices. Last month, Welch wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to consider using the nation’s oil reserves to provide relief for working families and small businesses. The President has indicated he is considering tapping the reserves. Welch announced the following legislation Monday: The STOP ActThe Stop Tax-breaks for Oil Profiteering ACT would close a tax loophole that encourages speculation and distorts the normal supply-demand balance of the market. Under current law, financial speculators ‘ such as hedge funds ‘ pay an overall tax of 23% on profits and losses in commodities markets, while actual commercial participants ‘ such as farmers, fuel dealers or businesses ‘ pay a rate of 35%. The Enhanced SPR Act:The Enhanced Strategic Petroleum Reserve Act would direct the Department of Energy to release at least 30 million barrels of oil from the nation’s oil reserves, or about 5 percent of the current total volume. Such action has had a history of driving down prices in the past. Later on, the proceeds from the sale would be used to gradually acquire refined petroleum product, such as gasoline or diesel fuel over the next five years. Possessing refined products would ensure the effectiveness of the reserves, even in the event of a refinery outage. The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act:The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act would give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to investigate and punish companies that artificially inflate the price of energy. The bill sets criminal penalties for price gouging, and permits states to bring lawsuits against wholesalers or retailers who engage in gouging.Source: Welch’s office. 3.14.2011 # # #last_img read more

Moses Cone Closed to Runners?

first_imgFor decades, Moses Cone—a national park unit near Blowing Rock, N.C.—has attracted elite runners to its wide, rolling carriage trails and scenic lakeside paths. One of the country’s elite Olympic training centers —ZAP Fitness—is headquartered near Moses Cone. Many Olympic hopefuls have been forged on the trails of Moses Cone.Earlier this month, the National Park Service proposed restrictions on trail running in Moses Cone. According to the Blowing Rock News, a senior Blue Ridge Parkway official said that the park’s “frequent use by running groups and trail rides disrupts the experience of anyone wanting to walk in solitude.” Its proposed plan would likely result in a substantial reduction in the carriage roads’ use by organized running groups. Future Olympians—who live and train in our mountains—may have to look elsewhere to chase their dreams. And thousands of everyday runners will be denied access to some of the most scenic and exceptional trail running in the Blue Ridge.Fortunately, the draft plan can still be changed. The National Park Service is seeking comments on the draft plan. Express your thoughts on the proposed trail running restrictions in this beloved national park here.last_img read more

Brazilian and Argentinian Troops Conduct Simulated Exercise Against Invading Force

first_imgBy Andréa Barretto/Diálogo November 05, 2018 An enemy force takes over a territory near Brazil’s border with Argentina. The countries unite, forming the Guarani Combined Brigade to fight and resolve the conflict. The scenario, a simulated exercise of Operation Guarani, brought together 146 Brazilian and Argentine service members. The exercise, conducted since 2007, includes the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade and the Argentine Army’s 12th Mountain Brigade. The countries take turns hosting the operation every three years. The planning, simulated training, and live operation with troops on the ground take place during the three-year time span. The planning meetings for the 2019 edition of Operation Guarani began in April 2017. Participants completed the training simulation in September 2018 in Brazil, at the Southern Military Command, in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul state. In September 2019, the troops will put their knowledge to the test in a live exercise. “It’s very rewarding for the 12th Mountain Brigade and the Argentine Army to participate with our friends from the Brazilian Army in Operation Guarani,” said Argentine Army Brigadier General Juan Antonio Zamora, commander of the 12th Mountain Brigade. The officer coordinates the operation alongside EB Brigadier General Raul Rodrigues de Oliveira, commander of the First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade. Virtual combat The simulated exercise of Operation Guarani consists of a war game. Participants use the COMBATER system, which simulates interactions based on information provided prior to the game—for instance, maps of the territory—and during the game. Participants were first introduced to the exercise’s scenario: An extra-continental power invaded Brazil, identified as the green country. To fight the invader, the blue country (Argentina) assisted the green country, establishing the Guarani Combined Brigade. The exercise leaders provided scenarios to the players, who organized into several teams made up of Brazilian and Argentine elements, to come up with a plan. Each plan’s information was then entered into the software. “The software can create interactions between parties, the Guarani Brigade and the invading force. For instance, each time that a troop is deployed it can be observed by the other, possibly becoming a target for enemies. In this case, the software calculates the damage caused to the opposing force based on the characteristics of each force’s weaponry,” Brig. Gen. Raul said. While participants watched as the system executed their command, they faced new challenges. “These are the so-called simulated military problems,” said Brig. Gen. Raul, providing another example: A troop from the Guarani Brigade traveled down a road. No enemy maneuvers were initially scheduled on that area. Leaders, however, opted to create a conflict situation to train the troop. The responsible officer received their order and devised a new plan and new maneuvers. In this phase of Operation Guarani, the only simulated events are combat activities, which the software conducts. Participants’ discussion, planning, and decision-making are based on real commitment and doctrines pertaining to both countries. “This is the great gain and the main objective of the exercise: the teamwork from the higher ranks to those who execute the orders. The simulation provides a sense of what the interaction will be like, to test the planning efficiency, what goals were met, what can be improved, etc.,” Brig. Gen. Raul said. Real maneuvers Representatives from the First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade and the 12th Mountain Brigade will meet in May and July 2019. The final phase of Operation Guarani, scheduled for September 15-21, 2019, in Rio Grande do Sul, will take place 600 kilometers away from the Argentine capital. Hundreds of Brazilian and Argentine service members are expected to participate in a binational joint training to combat invaders from another continent. Each country will deploy troops, equipment, and weaponry. The 12th Mountain Brigade will participate with their U.S.-made Humvees, while the Brazilian brigade will use the Urutu and Cascavel armored vehicles, made in Brazil. Maj. Gen. Raul believes Operation Guarani benefits both countries on different aspects. The operation allows for language, culture, and doctrinal knowledge exchange. The exercise also strengthens cooperation and bonds of friendships between both armies. “On the military level, it also enables a great exchange, especially regarding the operational planning systems of each force. As we get to know each other even more, we can perhaps develop a common method to plan military operations,” he said.last_img read more

Development issue spotlight on education

first_imgThis is the fourth of the 12-part series on our blog highlighting the 12 major development issues.  In case you missed it, last month we discussed employment and income generation, which can be found here.  This month we are focusing on education.Education is deeply rooted in the heart and soul of credit unions; it’s even part of the 7 Cooperative Principles.  The principle of education refers to credit union’s responsibilities to educate, train and provide information to help improve the financial lives of members and those in the community.Unfortunately, education is not something that is available around the world.  This is due to many factors, such as a lack of facilities, teachers, funds, and more.  Education, especially financial education, has many benefits to society as a whole -which is why it’s so important for credit unions.As credit union professionals, we are tasked to actively promote the education of their members, officers, and employees along with the public in general.  April is National Financial Literacy month, providing the perfect time to focus on ways that we as credit union practitioners can build the financial capability of members and communities. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

How haggling is saving me hundreds of dollars a year

first_img 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Haggling for a better price can be intimidating. You don’t want to look like a cheapskate or feel rejected when a salesperson says no to your request for a deal. Perhaps that’s why less than half of shoppers surveyed by Consumer Reports said they tried to negotiate a lower price on everyday goods and services. But those who do try to haggle are typically rewarded; the survey also found that 89 percent of shoppers who negotiated did save money at least once.I don’t need survey statistics, though, to tell me that haggling pays off because it’s a technique I use to save more than $1,000 a year.Yes, it can feel awkward asking for a lower price. But, it feels great to get a deal. So if you tend to shy away from haggling, here’s what I’ve learned about how to do it successfully.I Save More Than $100 a Year by Asking for DiscountsIf the prospect of haggling intimidates you, you can still score discounts without negotiating back and forth. Simply ask merchants or service providers whether they have any coupons, special deals or ways to save. I’ve done this when booking hotel rooms and activities for family vacations, when shopping at retail stores and even when dining at restaurants. continue reading »last_img read more

5 risks credit unions face by partnering with Google

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The much anticipated moves by big tech firms into banking took center stage in 2019. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs to offer a no-fee credit card embedded in the Apple Pay mobile wallet. Later, Google partnered with Citigroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union to offer checking accounts that can be accessed via the Google Pay app.In between, Facebook announced its plans for its Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet, followed later by several less controversial Facebook Pay enhancements. JPMorgan Chase, meanwhile, has developed an e-wallet product it is offering to Amazon, Lyft, and other e-commerce platforms.These partnerships make strategic sense for both the tech giants and the banks. Goldman Sachs, for example, gets to grow credit card balances, accelerate loan growth, and solidify its foray into retail banking, while Apple gets to offer consumers a way to finance purchases while minimizing capital and risk exposure.last_img read more

Binghamton Police to BU students: Do not gather

first_imgBINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The Binghamton Police Department will be cracking down on large gatherings in accordance with the mandates set in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday morning. In a Facebook post addressed to Binghamton University students, Binghamton Police Chief Joseph T. Zikuski says the department will enforce applicable state and local ordinances put on social gatherings. For more coronavirus coverage, click here. The police department says it discourages all campus fraternities, sororities and other college groups from organizing. On Monday morning, Governor Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of over 50 people.last_img

MPR speaker meets with OJK to discuss guarantee schemes for insurance customers

first_imgPeople’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has voiced his support for the Financial Services Authority’s (OJK) plan to create a policy guarantee agency (LPP) to protect insurance customers’ funds.Bambang, who had a meeting with OJK commissioners on Monday, said the establishment of the institution could help restore public trust in the insurance industry. This follows the recent investment mismanagement cases of state-owned insurers PT Asuransi Jiwasraya and Asuransi Sosial Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (Asabri).Jiwasraya’s investment mismanagement led to the insurer incurring negative equity and being unable to pay its policyholders’ claims, which totaled Rp 16 trillion (US$1.17 billion) as of January. Although Asabri has still managed to pay its claims, its investment mismanagement led it to suffer a loss of Rp 10 trillion. Read also: OJK boss promises regulation, supervision reform amid Jiwasraya fiasco Bambang also said the LPP could create a sense of security for customers, like the Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS) did for the banking industry by guaranteeing customers’ funds in times of crisis and when money exits the financial system.It would also help the OJK to reform the insurance industry as part of its efforts to reform the nonbanking financial services industry.“The Jiwasraya and Asabri cases could make customers afraid to put their money in the insurance industry, so the OJK must reform the industry immediately,” Bambang said.He said the institution could help the OJK to strengthen its supervision of the insurance industry, especially insurers’ investment management, as he deemed investment action plans and risk management to be at the heart of the industry.“A healthy industry could increase the circulation of money in the market and boost economic activity in the country,” Bambang added.Topics :last_img read more