‘ Newly Passed Minimum Wage in Seattle Changes Lives ‘

#AceFInanceNews – UNITED STATES (Seattle) – June28 – For 100,000 working people in Seattle, a newly passed citywide minimum wage of $15 per hour will mean an increased standard of living – and recognition of their contributions to the local economy. “It’s going to help me and a lot of other people,” said Crystal Thompson, 33, a Dominos Pizza customer service representative who currently earns the city minimum wage of $9.32 per hour. “They [the corporations] have been making money off us. I’ve had the same job for five years and [am] still making minimum wage. I open and close the store. I pretty much run the store and do manager shifts and still get paid minimum wage.”
The basic argument behind these campaigns is that a person working full-time shouldn’t have to live in poverty, a precept that has been popularly accepted.
While Seattle is often associated with technology-driven firms such as Microsoft and Amazon, service workers like Thompson provide a critical backbone for the area economy – a trend that also holds nationally. Over the past 20 years, community and labor organizations have united in a living wage movement to raise the floor for these employees and to make sure that prosperity is widely shared throughout the economy. Even as efforts to increase the minimum wage nationally have encountered resistance in Congress, this movement has made great strides at the local and regional levels.
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‘ Members of the House of Transportation Committee Discuss Private Financing for Pubic-Private Partnerships ‘

#AceFinanceNewsUNITED STATES (New York) – When members of the House Transportation Committee trekked this morning to Manhattan for a roundtable discussion on private financing for public projects — also known as public-private partnerships, or P3s — with financiers from J.P Morgan and other firms, they got a message of both opportunity and caution.

“The focus on U.S. infrastructure from participants around the globe has never been at this high a point,” said Jamison Feheley, managing director and head of the public finance team at J.P. Morgan, which recently served as lead banker to the state of Washington on a $1.1 billion toll revenue bond financing program for building a new bridge across Lake Washington to replace an ageing span.

He cited reasons for the interest: “The attractiveness of U.S. assets, the stable political environment, and the long-term nature of the assets, the stable and predictable returns.” He told the panel “the amount of calls we field on a weekly basis from participants around the globe asking ‘how do we invest in U.S. infrastructure?’ – I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A convergence of forces is driving interest in P3s, including low interest rates, pension funds’ searching for predictable returns, and an unwillingness by Congress to increase gasoline taxes to finance infrastructure building. Or as Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D- Mass., put it, “because we in Congress don’t have the courage at the moment to actually do what we have to do on the Highway Trust Fund,” which is facing inadequate revenues from the gas tax ……………

Read More of this well written article from By Tom Curry @ Roll Call the Container

AFN2014

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` California Plan to Spend $600 Million to Build Houses for Homeless Veterans ‘

#AceFinanceNews – CALIFORNIA – June 04 – California residents have voted for a plan to spend $600 million to build houses for homeless veterans.

The state has the highest number of ex-servicemen without a roof in the US – about 25 percent, or 19,000 homeless veterans.

After voters backed the plan in a primary election on Tuesday, the state will sell bonds to build apartments and temporary shelters for qualifying veterans or those recovering from physical injuries or mental health issues, Reuters reported.

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`Overseas Accounts to Hide Income Will Have to Share Information Under New US Plan’

#AceFinanceNewsUNITED STATES – June 03  – It will soon get a lot harder to use overseas accounts to hide income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

More than 77,000 foreign banks, investment funds and other financial institutions have agreed to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS as part of a crackdown on offshore tax evasion, the Treasury Department announced Monday.

The list includes 515 Russian financial institutions. Russian banks had to apply directly to the IRS because the U.S. broke off negotiations with the Russian government over an information-sharing agreement because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Nearly 70 countries have agreed to share information from their banks as part of a U.S. law that targets Americans hiding assets overseas. Participating countries include the world’s financial giants, as well as many places where Americans have traditionally hid assets, including Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Starting in March 2015, these financial institutions have agreed to supply the IRS with names, account numbers and balances for accounts controlled by U.S. taxpayers. 

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` US Setting-Up $5 Billion Terrorism Partnership Fund ‘

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – May 28 – US is setting up a $5 billion “terrorism partnership fund” to help other countries push back against radical extremists, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

He told “CBS This Morning” that US foreign policy needs to reflect a“rapidly changing, more complex world where terrorism is the principal challenge.” 

In morning interviews, Kerry also defended President Barack Obama’s decision to terminate America’s combat role in Afghanistan by the end of the year, AP reported.

AP – Washington Post

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`Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism As Cost to Corporate Business is Taking Its Toll ‘

#AceFinanceNews- says back in November 13 2013 the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) met together with a number of people to thrash out aspects of Terrorist Risk. This was a “Statement in Conjunction with House Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing on Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA)”

According to WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following letter is being issued on November 13, 2013, by the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT):

Attendees:

The Honorable Randy Neugebauer      The Honorable Michael Capuano

Chairman                            Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Housing &            Subcommittee on Housing &
Insurance                           Insurance

Committee on Financial Services     Committee on Financial Services

United States House of               United States House of
Representatives                     Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                Washington, DC 20515

Statement as Follows:

Dear Chairman Neugebauer and Ranking Member Capuano:

Thank you for convening this important hearing to further examine the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). CIAT is a broad coalition of commercial insurance consumers, formed immediately after 9/11 to seek a way to restore availability of commercial terrorism insurance for American businesses and the broader economy. CIAT’s diverse membership represents, among others, commercial real estate, banking, energy, construction, hotel and hospitality, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation, the major league sports, as well as public sector buyers of insurance including colleges and universities. CIAT is the true consumer voice on terrorism risk insurance, as we are comprised of the principal policyholders of commercial property and casualty lines of insurance in the United States.

CIAT strongly supports the TRIA program. For more than a decade, TRIA has made it possible for businesses to purchase the terrorism risk coverage they need at almost no cost to the taxpayer. TRIA brought stability to a marketplace that was severely paralyzed following 9/11, and it remains a critical component of ensuring economic continuity following another large-scale terrorist attack.

It is imperative that TRIA be extended beyond 2014. A recent study by Fitch Ratings concluded that it is “unlikely that substantial private market capacity would arise as a substitute” were TRIA to expire(1). Bloomberg Government’s analysis concurs, indicating “there is no reason to assume that reinsurers will re-enter the market if the TRIA program expires, and every reason to assume that the availability of coverage will fall.”(2)

We remember all too well what happens when terrorism coverage is not available: commercial borrowers lose their ability to get financing – or go into technical default on financing covenants, billions of dollars in real estate-related transactions stalled or cancelled, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. Simply letting TRIA expire is not a realistic option.

Under TRIA, all insurance against terrorism risk is written in the private marketplace with no upfront federal liability. All losses recognized in the TRIA plan go first through the private insurance mechanism where much of the loss is retained by design. In the absence of TRIA, which ensures industry participation, the federal share of such a disaster could well be larger. TRIA replaces government exposure with private capital, since insurers retain the cost of all but the largest terror incidents.

As a coalition of primarily commercial entities, we instinctively prefer private market solutions. However, the unique characteristics of terrorism (e.g., adaptive, intentionally driven to inflict catastrophic damage, can strike anytime/anywhere, etc.), significantly hampers the reliability of traditional actuarial risk models, thus necessitating a program like TRIA. To this end, we believe one of the strengths of TRIA is the manner in which it utilizes the private insurance marketplace to manage terrorism risk – indeed, as mentioned above all exposure under TRIA starts with private insurance contracts and, due to both significant retentions and the recoupment mechanism, the ultimate risk-bearers under TRIA are the policyholders and the private insurers. We are always willing, however, to consider ways to further limit taxpayer exposure under the program,  which we know is your focus as well.

Overall, we support the current structure of TRIA and are wary of major structural changes. We are open to modifications so long as they do not have the effect of restricting the availability of terrorism insurance. The current retrospective pooling arrangement, nevertheless, has advantages over various “pre-funding” mechanisms because:

—  the retrospective pooling arrangement avoids the need to set
contribution rates based on some guess as to how much in terrorism
losses there will be
—  a pre-funded pool poses temptation to spend the funds on other purposes
—  the uncertain nature and timing of large terrorist attacks leads to the
risk that a pre-funded pool could be either insufficient or
over-capitalized

With respect to the various private sector retention levels under TRIA (i.e., the program trigger, insurer deductibles, etc.), we remain concerned that increasing these levels too much too quickly could restrict the availability of terrorism insurance. We understand, after all, that reinsurance capacity for even the existing retention levels under TRIA is limited.(3) This fact alone demonstrates that TRIA is not “crowding out” the private sector.

Lastly, reasonable measures to attract greater reinsurance and other private sector capacity to the terrorism insurance marketplace are to be encouraged. To date, however, we see no evidence that creative private sector capital alternatives such as CAT Bonds and insurance link securities are sufficiently developed to inject meaningful private capital into the terrorism insurance marketplace. Ultimately, it is important that Congress find ways to incentivize this without impairing TRIA to ensure that terrorism insurance remains available in the event that private sector capacity does not develop to the degree assumed.

We are committed to working with you as you craft a solution to extend TRIA beyond 2014, and we again thank you on your leadership on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

The Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism

American Bankers Association

American Bankers Insurance Association

ABA Securities Association

American Council of Engineering Companies

American Gaming Association

American Hotel and Lodging Association

American Land Title Association

American Public Gas Association

American Public Power Association

American Resort Development Association

American Society of Association Executives

Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association of American Railroads

Association of Art Museum Directors

Building Owners and Managers Association International

Boston Properties

CCMI Institute

Campbell Soup Company

Citigroup

CRE Finance Council

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, LLC

CSX Corporation

Emerson

Financial Services Roundtable

The Food Marketing Institute

Helicopter Associates International

Hilton Worldwide

Host Hotel & Resorts, Inc.

Institute of Real Estate Management

InterContinental Hotel Group

International Council of Shopping Centers

International Franchise Association

International Safety Equipment Association

International Speedway Corporation

Long Island Import Export Association (LIIEA)

Marriott International

Mortgage Bankers Association

National Apartment Association

National Association of Chain Drug Stores

National Association of Home Builders

NAIOP

NASCAR

National Association of Manufacturers

National Association of REALTORS

National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts

National Association of Waterfront Employers

National Basketball Association

National Collegiate Athletic Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Football League

National Hockey League

National Multi Housing Council

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Roofing Contractors Association

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

New England Council

Office of the Commissioner of Baseball

Public Utilities Risk Management Association

The Real Estate Board of New York

The Real Estate Roundtable

Securities Industries and Financial Market Association

Self Insurance Institute of America

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association

Union Pacific

University Risk Management and Insurance Association

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Travel Association

UJA Federation of NYC

(1) Fitch Ratings U.S. Terrorism Reinsurance: Looming Uncertainty of Program Renewal, 1 (2013).

(2) Bloomberg Government, Extending Terrorism Insurance: The case is strong for maintaining a federal backstop in a market too risky for private sector alone, 5 (2013).

(3) According to Eric Smith of Swiss Re, “Based on the most recent estimate, the total amount of reinsurance capacity available for terrorism in the United States is approximately $6-10b — well below the $27.5b insurance marketplace aggregate retention under TRIA and the $34-35b cumulative insurer loss retentions.” The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002; Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Financial Services, 113th Cong. (2013) (statement of J. Eric Smith, President & CEO, Swiss Re Americas, at 4).

SOURCE  Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT)

Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT)

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` Russia’s Foreign Ministry Calls into Question US Decision on Tempbank ‘

#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW – May 13 – Russia’s Foreign Ministry believes that the US decision to impose anti-Syrian restrictions against the Russian bank Tempbank is “absolutely unacceptable”, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement Tuesday.

http://tinyurl.com/mdcpo2x

http://tinyurl.com/mdcpo2x

“We would like to remind the American side once again that the language of sanctions is useless and counter-productive with Russia.

Should the administration keep following the vicious path, this will negatively affect our joint work on Syria and the general atmosphere of Russian-American relations that are not going through the best times now,” Lukashevich said.

WASHINGTON(VOA) May 08 –  The United States on Thursday for the first time slapped sanctions on a Russian bank for its dealings with the Syrian government, which has been engaged in bloody three-year civil war with opposition forces.

The U.S. Treasury put Tempbank, a Moscow-based bank, on its list of sanctioned entities, which effectively cuts the bank off from the U.S. financial system.

The Treasury also put sanctions on an official in the bank, Mikhail Gagloev, six Syrian government officials and two Syrian refinery companies, Banias and Homs.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has been using Russian banks to access world markets, but the United States had in the past resisted imposing sanctions on the banks, ……………. despite pressure to do so from U.S. lawmakers.  

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` Larry Gillette Serving a Sentence for Identity Theft Planned to Blow-Up Walmart to Cover-Up Bank Robberies ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – May 04 – According to federal agents, 53-year-old Larry Gillette, who was serving a sentence for identity theft, told several inmates that he planned to blow up a Walmart and two gas stations as a diversion for three bank robberies once he left prison.

An anonymous federal law enforcement source speaking to reporters from Kiro Radio also stated that Gillette had plans to blow up Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, although the FBI has yet to comment on the claims.

Upon his release, Gillette unknowingly met with an undercover officer and received four inoperable pistols as well as a defective car bomb. Reports state that Gillette met with the officer a second time on April 28 and attempted to detonate the bomb before being arrested by the FBI.

“This certainly had the potential to be very devastating and dangerous and he was certainly the driving force,” Asst. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Backhus told Komo 4 News last Thursday.

“The FBI was in charge of the situation the entire time. There was no threat to the public that we believe of because they were in charge of the situation but certainly, potentially, there was a great chance for loss of life.”

Less than a week later, Gillette would be found dead in his cell at the Seatac Federal Detention Centre.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons announced the death the following day, saying hospital workers were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive Gillette from a suspected suicide.

Kiro Radio – Story Leak – Komo 4 News – New York Times

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` Extradition of Businessman `Dmitry Firtash ‘ from `Austria to United States ‘Expected to Take Place in May ‘

#AceFinanceNews- VIENNA – April 30 – Decision to extradite businessman Dmitry Firtash from Austria to the United States is expected in May, according to Deutsche Welle , with reference to the District Court of Vienna.

Firtash is the head of the board of Group DF group of companies and of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine. Lawyer businessman in court will act former Minister of Justice of Austria Dieter Bemdorfer.

As the U.S. Department of Justice, Firtash threatens conclusion for several decades for the creation of a criminal group and money laundering, the maximum combined sentence for the crimes he is charged with is 50 years.

Firtash suspected of forming a criminal group and bribing local officials in one of the states of India, as well as representatives of the central authorities.

DEUTSCHE WELLE – GAZETA – BBC

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` MIT Students to Receive $100 in Bitcoin After Wall Street Financier Donated $500,000 as a Study ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – April 30 – Every student at a US university is to be given $100 (£59) in bitcoin after a Wall Street financier donated $500,000 (£297,000).

Students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will receive the virtual currency when they return to campus this autumn, as part of a study to see whether a small-scale bitcoin ecosystem can be created.

They will be free to spend their bitcoin in any way they please, but it is hoped they will use it to trade and barter with each other.

Given bitcoin’s soaring price, $100 will give each student just a fifth of a bitcoin at the current exchange rate.

Dan Elitzer, who founded the university’s bitcoin club, wrote on the website: “We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: ‘When you step onto campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to bitcoin; what are YOU going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?'”

Bitcoin is a virtual currency – also known as a cryptocurrency – which was introduced five years ago.
It can be mined using advanced computer processors, and exchanged between people at often fluctuating rates.

It is still unclear whether it is a passing fad, or a currency of the future.

Ace Related News:
1. Sky News – April 30 – http://tinyurl.com/osvxwey

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