US charities receive Enron cash

 12 total views,  2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 28 January 2002 | News Charities are one of the few beneficiaries of the collapse of Texas-based energy company Enron.Charities are one of the few beneficiaries of the collapse of Texas-based energy company Enron. Some politicians are keen to return political contributions from the company by giving them to charity.Read Charities benefit from Enron cash by Jeff Zeleny at the Chicago Tribune. Advertisement US charities receive Enron cash About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. read more

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Ethical funeral providers seek new ways to say goodbye under lockdown

first_img“The separation, isolation, no opportunity to say goodbye in person is the absolute opposite of the more modern approach to funerals and bereavement grieving,” she said.”As individuals, we don’t want to feel alone in our grief.”The natural burial ground Rothschild founded in 2010 as a social enterprise – a business with a mission to do good – is at its finest at this time of year, covered in white cowslip flowers.It had to close to visitors for a period, and now operates under restrictions. Since March, it has hosted funerals with just a handful of people, who are forced to stand apart. For those who cannot be there in person, Rothschild has suggested ways to mark the occasion, such as lighting a candle and sitting quietly with a picture of the person, planting a tree or laying down flowers.”They can still find ways to [say goodbye] creatively and imaginatively – I do believe that ritual can help us,” she said.Social enterprises have emerged around the world in recent years as a flexible alternative to expensive funeral providers that upsell extras such as flowers and cars, pushing some grieving families into debt.Ethical providers offering cheaper options report seeing higher interest during the coronavirus pandemic, while traditional businesses are struggling.Britain’s largest funeral provider, Dignity, said its profit fell 11% in the first quarter as customers looked to spend less.Australian funeral organizer and social entrepreneur Marc Allison helped establish Salvo Funerals in 2017 to offer compassionate services at a lower cost, with profits going to the Salvation Army charity.Although Australia has had far fewer COVID-19-related deaths than Britain, Allison said social distancing requirements had created demand for simpler services.To adapt, he suggests mourners read tributes from people who cannot be there and attendees – both in person and online – wear a color or item that reminds them of that person.”The crisis is forcing us to rethink the deep needs of grieving families,” he said.”Families need to make culturally unusual decisions. If there’s to be a funeral, who should they invite? How do they interact with people on the day of the service if restrictions prevent them from hugging?”Human touch All over the world, there has been a rise in streaming funerals and in online memorial sites to compensate for not be able to gather together.In China and Taiwan, websites have been set up to enable virtual tomb-sweeping, an annual tradition of tending to ancestral graves.But virtual grieving has its downsides, from having to grapple with new technology to the absence of human touch.”Personally the only thing I want when I’m sad is to hug someone or hold hands,” said Nora Menkin, executive director of the Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial in Seattle.”It will be really interesting to see what the long-term effects of this isolation are on someone who is grieving.”The funeral home, which is run as a not-for-profit co-operative and offers simple, lower-cost services, usually sees business slow in spring following the winter peak, but this year has been busy.The United States has the highest reported death rate from COVID-19, at more than 80,000 and some of the country’s earliest confirmed cases occurred in Seattle.More people are choosing lower-cost options such as direct cremation, without a service or people in attendance, which starts at about $800, said Menkin.The median cost of a funeral and cremation in the United States is about $5,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.As countries start to relax lockdown restrictions, ethical funeral providers are eager to see which of these changes endure.In Britain, where COVID-19 has claimed more than 32,000 lives, churches closed in March and funerals are only permitted at the graveside or crematorium, with immediate family only.But an easing on restrictions to allow small-scale funerals in churches was discussed by the House of Bishops – part of the Church of England’s ruling body – at a virtual meeting this month.For now, Australia’s Allison has suggested people opt for a simple funeral, with a memorial service at a later stage.But he believes the rise in basic funerals is temporary and they will be “richer and longer” after the crisis as people appreciate spending more time together after a period of social distancing.”Funerals and memorial services have brought us together in the past,” he said. “I think they will be opportunities to bring us closer together in the future.” As those bereaved by the coronavirus seek to say goodbye to loved ones in lockdown, ethical funeral providers are finding new ways to help them to grieve and connect from a distance.Many countries have severely restricted the number of people attending funerals or stopped ceremonies altogether, leaving families to watch live streams or plan memorials for later.Distancing measures have “utterly deprived” people of human contact when they need it most, said social entrepreneur Liz Rothschild, a funeral celebrant and co-founder of Westmill Woodland Burial Ground in the south of England.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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‘Totally shameful’: Outrage as ASEAN nations abandon Rohingya boat people

first_imgThey had gone without food for several days, officials said.However, beyond giving the Rohingya food and temporary shelter, authorities are still considering sending them back out to sea after they finish with boat repairs and refueling.”After repairing the ship, we will also provide fuel for the ship and then we are planning for the ship to be pushed back under the supervision of the Water and Air Police [Polairud] and the Navy to get out of Indonesian waters,” Lilawangsa military command post commander Col. Inf Sumirating Baskoro said as quoted by Kompas.com.Wednesday’s rescue came as a coast guard official in Malaysia said that dozens of Rohingya were believed to have died during a four-month boat journey, AFP reports. The new Rohingya refugee crisis that is brewing off the northern coast of Indonesia might cast a long shadow over the upcoming ASEAN Summit, with critics describing ASEAN countries’ handling of the stranded refugees as “totally shameful” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.Leaders of ASEAN member states are due to meet virtually in the landmark summit on Friday, where they are expected to discuss various regional issues including the fate of Rohingya refugees stranded at sea who face widespread rejection from countries on account of coronavirus concerns.Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that Indonesian fishermen and local authorities in Northern Aceh had rescued 94 Rohingyas on Wednesday, insisting that “based on humanitarian considerations” they would be given emergency assistance. There had been more than 300 people on board a boat that was intercepted by authorities earlier this month, said Zubil Mat Som, director-general of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. The 269 survivors were taken to Langkawi Island.”Some of them died at sea. They were thrown overboard,” Zubil told reporters, without specifying the exact number of dead.The countries’ reluctance to accept the refugees, especially during the time of COVID-19, has led observers and activists to sound the alarm on a possible repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis in the Andaman Sea.In May 2015, the Rohingya refugee crisis grabbed international headlines when tens of thousands of Rohingya fled from persecution in Myanmar in overcrowded boats heading toward Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.Nearly 25,000 were stranded at sea after states cracked down on the maritime smuggling networks that serviced these people, but they were largely saved after the three countries finally agreed to accommodate them.After a military crackdown in Myanmar forced hundreds of thousands more of the Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in 2017, the refugee crisis had become a subject regularly raised in various ASEAN meetings.Myanmar has consistently dismissed criticism of its treatment of its minorities, including the stateless Rohingya, a move that has attracted international scrutiny and has brought pressure on ASEAN as a collective.ASEAN, through its humanitarian assistance agency, the AHA Center, has promised to lead a regional response to help Myanmar repatriate the refugees, but repeated attempts in recent years have largely failed.Retno insisted that ensuring the voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingya to Rakhine state has been Indonesia’s main priority all this time, and that it would work with countries in the region on early detection to prevent so-called “boat people” from making the precarious journey.“I underline that the issue of ‘boat movement’ cannot be separated from the root causes of refugees in the region. Accelerated repatriation is the key,” Retno said on Thursday.Separately, the chairman of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights and a Malaysian member of parliament, Charles Santiago, called the ASEAN response to the refugee crisis “totally shameful”.“ASEAN talks about a caring and sharing society. You can see it in all of the documents and press statements and I am sure they will say the same thing, that we are a caring society, and nobody should be left behind in ASEAN,” he said in a virtual town hall meeting on ASEAN member states human rights accountability on Thursday.“But clearly when it comes to the Rohingyas, especially the refugees […] we do not have the compassion to bring them on board and provide them with the support that they need.”Secretary general of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network Themba Lewis said the crisis was accentuated by the pandemic due to the travel restrictions and the closure of borders across the region.The pandemic also saw a rise in xenophobic attitudes, especially in Malaysia, he said, however “even more alarming is the lack of substantive response from the Malaysian government to that rhetoric and also neighboring states in ASEAN as a whole.”Topics :last_img read more

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Asset managers side too often with corporate management – study

first_imgSome of the UK’s largest asset managers have come in for criticism after a report alleged the industry often sided with company management when voting on controversial shareholder resolutions.ShareAction, a responsible investment charity, also said regulators in the UK should be more forceful ensuring compliance with the country’s Stewardship Code among signatories, as several of the asset managers surveyed failed to disclose their voting record.The charity’s report examined the voting records of AGMs from 2014 where more than 30% of shareholders voted against management, with the votes largely concerned with board appointments and remuneration.It argued that there was often a disconnect between the voting behaviour of asset managers and its stance outlined in public voting policies. ShareAction chief executive Catherine Howarth criticised that many firms were failing to take their stewardship responsibilities seriously.“While the detail of any one vote may not be indicative of an approach, there does seem to be a pattern for some managers across the votes we looked at with significant shareholder dissent. “We expect investors will be asking tough questions of their asset managers, particularly those who appear to be simply backing management most of the time, based on this report.”It praised Aviva Investors, F&C Investments, Newton Investment Management, Royal London Asset Management and Standard Life Investments as the five most transparent companies of the 33 surveyed.Aviva Investors was also one of four praised for most consistently opposing management – alongside Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Threadneedle Asset Management and AllianceBernstein.Aberdeen Asset Management, BlackRock, HSBC Global Asset Management, Schroders Investment Management, Hermes Investment Management and M&G Investment Management were the asset managers identified as most likely to side with management.Saker Nusseibeh, chief executive at Hermes IM, said his company’s approach to engagement was about achieving “beneficial change”, as opposed to mounting a campaign or “box tick”.“We take a graduated approach and base our decisions on annual report disclosures, discussions with the company and independent analysis,” he said.“At larger companies or those where clients have a significant stake, we seek to have dialogue ahead of voting against or abstaining on any resolution. We vote accordingly and as part of a constructive discussion with the company’s board.”ShareAction’s report also urged a more consistent approach in disclosing the rationale behind a vote, noting that some asset managers took the time to explain why they voted with or against management, while others only explain a vote against a company.It also said a large number of asset managers declined to disclose voting rationale publicly, as it hindered engagement efforts – an argument the charity dismissed as “unconvincing”.“[Twenty four] of the 33 managers included in this study did not disclose any information on their voting rationales, and the level of disclosure of the remaining nine varied significantly,” ShareAction said.“There is room for significant improvement in the disclosure of voting rationales by asset managers, and this is critical to achieving real accountability by an industry that invests other people’s money.”The report also suggested that the Financial Reporting Council, the regulator behind the Stewardship Code, and the Financial Conduct Authority be more proactive in enforcing the Code’s principles – for example, in instances where signatories failed to publish voting records.“It is clear current regulation is not leading to the level of disclosure that is desirable in the market,” it said. “We suggest the Stewardship Code needs to be revisited in light of these failings and that some mechanism is needed to prevent managers claiming to comply with the Code when they do not.”,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to ShareAction reportlast_img read more

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