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Canadian manufacturer expands into St Albans

first_imgSource: Governor’s office, April 22, 2009 Governor Jim Douglas has welcomed a Quebec-based transformer manufacturer opening a factory in Vermont. The firm estimates it will create 16 jobs this year and up to 43 workers by the end of 2011. In a ceremony at the company s new facility in the St Albans Industrial Park, the governor introduced BEMAG Transformers, Inc and celebrated the company s selection of Vermont for their expansion project. The state used $267,569 in incentives to lure the Canadian firm to Vermont, as well as $106,000 for training, and VEDA financing of $718,000. It is gratifying to see a world-class manufacturer appreciate the value of locating in Vermont, particularly one from our largest trading partner, Douglas said. This is another example of our state competing successfully for the jobs of the 21st century, and we look forward to helping Vermont Transformers grow and prosper here.BEMAG Transformers manufactures dry-type electrical transformers at a facility in Farnham, Quebec, but was nearing production capacity at that plant as it moved forward with plans to expand its share of the North American transformer market. As part of our due diligence, we explored potential expansion in Farnham; investigated locations in western Canada; and spoke with officials in New York, said Christian Roberge, Vice President and CFO of BEMAG Transformers. But the job creation and workforce training incentives Vermont offered helped seal the deal, Roberge said. Our new company, Vermont Transformers, Inc. will allow us to significantly expand our Canadian market share and to bring our quality products into the billion-dollar U.S. market.Vermont economic development officials began working with BEMAG in the fall of 2008.  After several meetings in Vermont and Quebec, an incentive package including Green VEGI incentives totaling $267,569 and $106,000 in employee and manufacturing efficiency training from the Vermont Training Program were approved. The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) also approved $718,000 in financing assistance.BEMAG has established a U.S. entity called Vermont Transformers, Inc. which will lease the 23,000 square-foot former Vestshell building with the option to purchase in the near future.The new facility will employ innovative manufacturing practices and equipment developed and built in-house by BEMAG engineers, enabling greater efficiency and reliability.  Several million dollars will be invested in facility fit-up and machinery and equipment, and operations will begin with a single shift and the possibility of expanding to multiple shifts once production ramps up.Under reforms proposed by Governor Douglas in 2006 and passed by the General Assembly, the VEGI economic incentives are authorized based on job creation and capital investments that must occur before the company earns the incentives and then the company receives incentive installments over a period of years.Vermont Transformers is eligible to earn a maximum of $267,569 in job creation incentives over three years only if they meet and maintain payroll, employment and capital investment targets each year. The incentives would then be paid out over a total of seven years, if the jobs are maintained.The Vermont Economic Progress Council approved the application late last month after reviewing nine program guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis which showed that because of the economic activity that will be generated by this project, even after payment of the incentives the State will realize a positive net increase in tax revenues over five years.The Council also determined that these projects would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.The Vermont Economic Progress Council is an independent board consisting of nine Vermont citizens appointed by the Governor that considers applications to the state s economic incentive programs.The Council is attached to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, whose mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities.For more information, visit:www.thinkvermont.com/vepc(link is external)Or:www.vermonttransformer.com(link is external) ###last_img read more

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Norway, Seat of World’s Biggest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Urged to Modernize Its Investment Strategy, Including on Renewables

first_imgNorway, Seat of World’s Biggest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Urged to Modernize Its Investment Strategy, Including on Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Jobs, taxes and schools will be top of Norwegian voters’ minds when they go to the polls on Sept. 11, but it’s what to do about the nearly $1-trillion sovereign wealth fund that may be the next parliament’s biggest challenge.The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, pooling Norway’s revenues from oil and gas production, has been managed for nearly two decades with a focus on avoiding risk and conflicts of interest.With prices of crude oil down by more than half in the past three years and returns below target, policymakers and critics agree the fund is due for an overhaul. For Norway, the difficulty is building a political consensus around what it should look like.“It is more an academic topic than a bread-and-butter issue for voters but … the coming months are absolutely crucial,” said Torstein Tvedt Solberg, an opposition Labour Party parliamentary candidate and its spokesman on the fund.Norway’s SWF has returned 3.79 percent per year on average since it opened in 1998. With the pot always growing – now at two-and-a-half times GDP – the fact that that’s short of the target four percent hasn’t been a big problem.Last year, however, the government had to make its first net withdrawal to supplement a state budget hit by the fall in oil prices and lower state revenues from oil and gas production, which accounted for half of Norway’s total exports in 2016. More net withdrawals are expected in the years ahead, economists say.Norway’s returns compare to 6.1 percent over the past 20 years at the world’s second-largest wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and 4.76 percent at the third-largest, China Investment Corporation, since it began in 2007.Unlike those funds, Oslo’s SWF is managed by a unit of the central bank that must turn to the government to secure a majority in parliament to make strategic changes, no easy feat given that minority governments are common in Norway.Critics say the process of consensus-building among so many disparate interest groups is agonisingly slow and possibly even fiscally irresponsible, however.“They (Norwegian politicians) do not want to take any risk that will end up in headlines. That is why the fund underperforms,” said Sony Kapoor, managing director of the Re-Define think tank and author of several studies on the fund.The new parliament’s first opportunity to make changes will come in the spring of 2018 when the finance ministry presents its next annual white paper to parliament.The two main issues on the table are whether to make the fund independent of the central bank, as a government-appointed commission recommended in June, and whether to allow the fund into new asset classes, including unlisted shares and unlisted infrastructure projects.The inclusion of unlisted infrastructure projects, in particular, is supported by the current fund managers.Investing in such projects — airports, roads, bridges or wind farms — has been a hot topic in recent months. The opinions of politicians are mixed, however, and not necessarily along party lines.Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the potential increase in returns is well worth the risk, and expressed frustration about the hesitation.“They seem to be walking away from a market that is a trillion dollar and that is growing exponentially in the coming years. This is not prudent,” said Sanzillo, who wrote a report on renewable energy infrastructure investment and the fund.More: Norway’s risk-averse wealth fund considers next moveslast_img read more

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For student-athletes, time demands present challenges

first_imgIn an effort to reduce the time demands on NCAA student-athletes, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is traveling to all of the schools in the conference to meet with student-athletes from various sports about their concerns.He visited USC — the fifth campus on his trip — last Friday, and yet, he hasn’t spoken to a single baseball player.“I don’t think we’ve met any baseball players yet because on every campus — they’re out playing a game somewhere,” Scott said.It turns out even arranging a time to talk about time demands is a challenge. Indeed, as he was talking, the baseball team was playing in the second game of a three-game series at UC Santa Barbara. While Scott was meeting with a group of USC student-athletes on Friday afternoon, six different athletic teams had competitions. Four of them — including baseball — were on road trips that ranged from Seattle, Washington, for men’s tennis to Atlanta, Georgia, for men’s swimming.Student-athletes from eight teams did make it to the meeting at the John McKay Center, where Scott and Erik Price, the Pac-12 associate commissioner of compliance, had an open dialogue with the student-athletes regarding the rigorous schedules that they face. They discussed proposals that will be brought up during the NCAA convention in January 2017.Kamali Houston, a senior on the rowing team and the president of the Trojan Athletic Senate, said it was a productive meeting.“We had a very open and honest conversation about time demands and what’s going on in our daily lives,” Houston said.NCAA rules limit student-athletes to 20 hours of practice a week; yet, a study conducted in April 2015 of Pac-12 athletes found that, on average, they are spending 50 hours a week on athletics during the season. A majority of those hours are spent traveling to competitions in addition to receiving treatment and other “voluntary” hours.Scott said he just recently learned from student-athletes of the term “prehab,” which are exercises to prevent injury.“I’ve got a much more full appreciation for the time commitments around actual practices,” Scott said. “What it takes to get ready before practice to make sure you don’t injure yourself, and in the limited practice time you have, you can get the most out of it — then the rehab, the strength and conditioning. There’s so much more that goes into being an elite athlete than just the practice time and the travel time.”For student-athletes, it is difficult to balance the time spent on the sport with time in the classroom. But, with the NCAA insisting the “student” come before the “athlete” in the title, they have an obligation in making sure academics come first. Just 2 percent of NCAA student-athletes receive a scholarship out of high school for athletics, and only 2 percent of those student-athletes turn pro after college. A NCAA recruiting pamphlet from August 2014 explicitly states, “In reality, most student-athletes depend on academics to prepare them for life after college,” creating a dilemma between how time should be split between academics and athletics.“How do you balance [the focus on athletics], respect that and give them everything that they might want there, but also recognize that most student-athletes here are not going to be professional athletes and not going to compete afterward?” Scott said. “They’ve got this amazing opportunity for a USC degree and access to amazing faculty. [We want] to make sure that they’ve got enough time and flexibility to fully take advantage of that.”Yet, many student-athletes find themselves falling behind in classes because of the large time commitment to athletics. The same 2015 survey found that 54 percent of Pac-12 student-athletes do not have enough time to study for tests and 80 percent missed a class for competition during the 2014-2015 academic year.Scott added that the lack of availability of training facilities on campuses forced students to miss class in order to train.“That’s a direct result of the amount of resource that’s being applied to the facilities and the staff that’s available to help student-athletes,” Scott said.Road trips take a toll as well. A majority of teams have road trips during the week, which takes away from class time and adds to the stress of the already high-pressure life of being a Division I athlete.Scott pointed to basketball as an example, and USC’s men’s basketball team can certainly attest to that. The Trojans finished 3-7 on the road last season and the scheduling may have been an indirect cause. They took three separate road trips while school was in session to Oregon, Arizona and the Bay Area, played two games in each stop, and lost all six of them.Following a blowout loss at Cal on Feb. 28, a Sunday night, head coach Andy Enfield talked about the hardships of being on the road.“In this league, it is very difficult to win on the road, especially when you’re sitting around in the hotel for five days,” Enfield said. “These are challenging road trips where you go on the road for five days. Now we’ve got to fly back and [the players have] got to be in class on Monday morning at 8 a.m. The road is very challenging.”While both sides acknowledge the issues at hand, there hasn’t been a clear-cut solution to fixing the problem. Scott noted that student-athletes don’t necessarily want to cut back on the “voluntary” hours they spend on the sport outside of practice because they want to avoid injuries and stay sharp. He was unwilling to commit to adjusting the actual competition schedules, although he admitted the scheduling made the “biggest impact” on time demands and left open those changes as a possibility.Houston proposed an idea of mandating a 12-hour break after competitions for rest and recovery.“Scheduling, making sure that coaches are open and transparent with the schedule and athletes are ready to expect what’s going to happen with their week and can plan ahead,” Houston said as another talking point in the meeting.Still, there are only so many hours in a day. Seventy-one percent of Pac-12 student-athletes reported that athletic commitments kept them from sufficient sleep, and the ugly truth remains that being a student-athlete means signing up for a time-crunched collegiate career.“Given the commitment of being an elite student athlete, if you’re going to do a great job academically and you’re going to compete at the highest level, there’s very little time for anything else,” Scott said.last_img read more

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Lakers struggle again in crunch time in loss to Pelicans

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersRandle made just one of two free throws to tie the game at 97 with 1:54 left. Though he made a 3-pointer on the previous possession to cut the deficit to one, Russell then airballed a 3-pointer and clanked another. And Ingram committed a costly turnover with the Lakers trailing 102-97 with 44 seconds left.“You try to be aggressive on the next play,” said Ingram, who had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. “Make the next play a better play. Learning from that and see what you can do better.”Yet, Lakers coach Luke Walton said those late-game miscues are “not nearly at the top of the priority list of what we need to get better at” as the Lakers (19-44) suffered their seventh consecutive loss. Instead, Walton highlighted “the waves of effort leading up to that are much more important in building consistency and being a team that can put together wins.” It went beyond the Pelicans boasting Anthony Davis (31 points), DeMarcus Cousins (26) and Jrue Holiday (20) in double figures.After loving the Lakers’ ball movement that led to a 59-55 halftime lead, the Lakers experienced two long third-quarter stretches in which they could not buy a bucket. LOS ANGELES >> As the outlook on the Lakers’ young players still appears fuzzy, one troubling reality looks pretty clear.The Lakers lack a closer they can lean on in crunch time. The Lakers also often fall apart in the third quarter.The Lakers’ 105-97 loss to New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday at Staples Center became official once the Lakers failed to become clutch.After rallying from a 14-point deficit, the Lakers’ young core — D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram — all showed their collective inexperience and success with the game on the line. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img First, the Lakers missed eight consecutive shots and committed three turnovers during a 4-minute, 30-second stretch early in the third quarter. Less than two minutes later, the Lakers missed seven more consecutive shots and committed two more turnovers for another stretch that lasted 4 minutes and 24 seconds.The Lakers were outscored 28-14 in the third quarter while shooting 5 of 22 from the field.“We should’ve built a 15-point lead in the third,” Walton said. “That is a good lesson if we’re opening our minds and looking for these lessons. If you have an opportunity get on a team, you take that. We didn’t do it.”That’s because Walton believed the Lakers “were settling for 3-pointers on the fast break.” Walton then added, “which I’m fine with, if we’re hitting them. But at some point, go in and take the layup.”Russell criticized himself after scoring 16 points, making 7 of 20 from the field, including a 2-of-11 clip from 3-point range, with seven assists and six turnovers. Russell admitted, “we were settling for 3s including myself instead of getting layups.”Russell, however, defended his overall approach toward the 3-point line.“I could see it if I was forcing ones or whatever,” Russell said. “I missed a lot of wide-open ones and they capitalized on the other end.” Walton saw things a little differently.“Whether you missed nine straight or not, I want you taking that 3 if you’re him. The 3s we don’t want are when the ball hasn’t moved side to side or if it’s only been one pass, two passes and we haven’t put any pressure on the defense,” Walton said. “That type of stuff and that recognition comes with experience.”But as the Lakers gain experience, they believe they still have lacked one thing.“It’s our effort the whole game,” Russell said. “Our mind has to change.”last_img read more

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