Category: pbpnamox

  • In Divergent Easter Celebrations, Prayers For Virus Victims

    first_imgPixabay Stock Image.NEW YORK – Christians around the world celebrated an Easter Sunday upended by the coronavirus without the usual crowded church Masses and large family gatherings.Instead, they turned to the internet, television and radio from home to follow services that noted the grave impact of the pandemic. Some found novel ways to mark the holy day.  Others still assembled in groups, but took precautions to try to avoid infection.The virus forced a change in Easter traditions that had even endured wars. Christians in the U.S. contended with a patchwork of limits on how and where they could gather to mark Jesus’ resurrection.Many states exempted houses of worship from orders curbing communal meetings to help stop the coronavirus from spreading. A few pastors said they would stay open to visitors despite pandemic-fighting guidelines. But no matter how divergent the celebrations, the message from church leaders around the world remained consistent: prayers for the sick and dead and reassurances of God’s presence. Here’s a sample of Easter events from the U.S. and abroad:Parishioners from churches across New York City sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” from their balconies and windows as part of an initiative organized online.“My husband and I went out on the balcony and we belted it out as loud as we could,” said Kathy Keller, of Reedemer Presbyterian Church, who helped launch the ‘Easter2020’ singing event. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • Outfit Your Dog for the Great Outdoors

    first_imgPets make some of the best outdoor adventure partners: they’ll keep you motivated, will get excited about all your ideas, and make great listeners all the while down the trail.But for all the gear that you gather for yourself, it can be hard to prep your pup in the same way for a safe and comfortable trip into the wild. These new products will help you outfit your dog for the great outdoors so that no bark gets left behind.S_MuckCollar_greenStripes_zen (1)Kurgo Muck CollarYour dog may love to get dirty, but Kurgo lessens the impact with a collar that says no to all the byproducts of an adventurous day. The Muck Collar wipes clean of any dirt and moisture that crop up along the trail, and prevents odors and bacteria from sinking into the protective material. Plus, the attached bottle opener can really come in handy when playtime winds down around the fire. www.kurgostore.comTFSH_mount_lab_chest(gp)Tru-Fit Smart Harness With Camera MountCatch all your adventures on film by letting your dog take a turn with the GoPro! This Tru-Fit harness comes with a special mount on the chest or back for outdoor action cameras. Five adjustment points keep dogs snug and comfy on the job. www.kurgostore.comSONY DSCKurgo Zippy BowlAfter an active day following you through the great outdoors, your dog will want to lap up the whole ocean. With the Kurgo Zippy Bowl, you’ll always be prepared for when your four-legged companion needs some liquid fuel. This bowl holds up to 48 oz. of water, and folds up small to fit in any pocket or pack in between uses. Bring the Zippy Bowl along for your next trip, and you’ll never have to worry about a thirsty dog again. www.kurgostore.commtbachelor-padRuffwear Mt. Bachelor PadThere’s nothing like snuggling up on a big comfy bed, even if it is in the back of an SUV, and the Mt. Bachelor Pad from Ruffwear will fit the bill for your dog no matter where you go. This durable travel bed gives dogs a comfortable place to dream of chasing rabbits, even on trips to the slopes or the beach. The bed rolls tight, cleans easily, stands up to wear and tear, and keeps pets warm and comfortable. Sizes M and L available. www.ruffwear.comKibble-KaddieRuffwear Kibble KaddieNo one likes to go hungry on the trail, and your pup is no exception. Ruffwear makes it convenient to keep dogs full and happy with the Kibble Kaddie, an extremely durable portable pet food container. The grease-proof carrier holds up to 42 cups of kibble but also packs down small when empty. Food stays dry with a roll-top closure system and features a magnetic side chute for pouring. www.ruffwear.comKurgo Loft JacketLoft_JacketRain jackets keep us warm and happy when the weather takes a turn for the worse, so chances are that your dog would like one too. The Kurgo Loft Jacket boasts a quilted and reversible shell, made waterproof using nylon Ripstop material. Reflective piping keep pets visible, and zippers make collars and leashes easily accessible. Through wind, rain, and snow, the Loft Jacket will protect your pup! Sizes XS-XL and colors Blue/Orange and Green/Grey available. www.kurgostore.comHamilton Reflective Dog Collar StackHamilton Reflective Collars and LeashesDogs like to roam, and this collection lets your pets make their own way through the dark without fading from sight. Reflective threads weave through the striped patterns to help dogs stay safe after sunset. Grab a Hamilton collar or leash, and you’ll have no problem keeping an eye on your pet no matter where the trail leads. www.petandhorse.comKurgo Skipping Stonesskipping_stonesTake a game of fetch to the next level with Kurgo Skipping Stones, and create some fun for both you and your dog! These floating stones are perfectly shaped with a flat  bottom and slim design to easily skim across the water. Replace your old ball with these Skipping Stones to hone your skills while giving your dog a good run. The stones come in bright colors for visibility in the water, have a natural stone shape for the ideal toss, and are sealed tight to prevent waterlogging. Kurgo Skipping Stones will bring a new touch to any shoreline. www.kurgostore.comgandhi leashD-fa Dogs Gandhi LeashThe Gandhi Leash from D-fa Dogs takes after its namesake and brings peace to your daily walk. Strong webbing paired with a built-in bungee cord give this leash the perfect amount of stretch when needed, and a shortening buckle keeps trouble at bay in busier areas. The Gandhi Leash replaces the traditional collar hook with a swiveling, locking carabiner that allows dogs to move more freely, yet securely. Plus, you’ll never be caught unprepared when your dog takes a bathroom break – this leash comes with an integrated stuff sack for poop bags, or for treats. Trust the Gandhi Leash to make any canine activity more enjoyable. www.d-fa.comlast_img read more

  • Bay Shore Couple Convicted of $580K Nonprofit Embezzlement

    first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Bay Shore couple was convicted Tuesday of stealing $580,000 in taxpayer money from a New York City-based nonprofit that operated senior centers and using the money to pay for personal expenses.A Manhattan federal jury found Kwame Insaidoo, the 60-year-old former executive director of United Block Association (UBA), and his wife, Roxanna Insaidoo, 63, guilty of embezzlement from a federally funded program, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.“The defendants’ brazen theft deprived some of the city’s neediest residents of public money for healthy meals and senior citizen programs,” said Joon Kim, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.Prosecutors said Kwame embezzled some of the $8.7 million in federal, state and local funds to provide healthy meals and programming at four senior centers in Manhattan from July 2008 through March 2015.He and his wife were both signatories on a UBA bank account, which they used to write hundreds of checks to themselves, their son and a fake charity that they used to launder some of the money, authorities said. They used the money to pay their phone bills, utilities, wire $300,000 abroad as well as buy a Mercedes Benz and a Cadillac, according to investigators.To cover up the theft, Kwame lied to the city Department for the Aging in an effort to evade scrutiny for the unauthorized payments and to maintain UBA’s funding, prosecutors said.In addition, the couple was convicted of engaging in a scheme to defraud their mortgage lender by under-reporting their income and assets when they modified their mortgage under the federally sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program. They wrote off nearly $200,000 as a part of the scam.They face 20 years in prison when they are sentenced Aug. 11 by Judge Valerie Caproni.last_img read more

  • 7 reasons members don’t care for PFM on your mobile app

    first_imgPFM (Personal Financial Management) refers to credit union software that helps users manage their money through visual charts and graphs. While this seems like great technology on the surface, it mostly applies to people who are flush with assets and money to manage. This clearly does not apply to a great wealth of people, no pun intended. While it may be appealing to a subset of your members, here are 7 reasons your members don’t really care about these tools, and why your investment and time into pushing PFM’s should be limited:1. Pie Charts are pretty, but…. unless your mind is geared towards better understanding the graphical representation of your bank accounts, how necessary is it? Will you look at a pie chart before making any large purchase decisions? Probably not.2. Time is money… and keeping your PFM software current and licensed can be time-consuming. While some of these tools automatically sync with account data, there can be hiccups with the application programming interface (API). You might end up spending a lot of time trying to establish or re-establish connections to your accounts and working with 3rd parties to resolve issues. continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review: Hanging by a Thread

    first_imgMiles Morales was a tiny part of Marvel’s Spider-Man — the 2018 award-winning and best-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive — but he shot to global popularity later that year as the lead of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with the animated film interrupting Disney and Pixar’s dominance to win an Oscar. Those two aspects combine to deliver Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — also from Insomniac, with Brian Horton and Cameron Christian as creative and game directors, respectively — a video game spin-off that continues the story of the titular character. But it has very few original ideas of its own, and it’s more than happy to stand on the shoulders of giants, drawing elements off both its Spider-Man game predecessor and the Spider-Verse movie.When it comes to gameplay, everything in Spider-Man: Miles Morales — good or bad — is exactly as it was in Marvel’s Spider-Man. The thrill of swinging through New York City, heralded as one of Insomniac’s finest achievements on Marvel’s Spider-Man, is as exciting and on-note as it was. The only improvement is that tricks are now easier to pull off: rather than “triangle” + “circle”, it’s just the “square” button now. Of course, Miles has his own style that fits his flailing out-of-control nature and effortless owning-it personality from the comics, something we also saw in the Spider-Verse movie.- Advertisement – But it’s put to use in repetitive ways. As Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man tasked you with clearing out construction sites owned by the supervillain Wilson Fisk. Peter had supposedly transferred control over to the New York Police Department, but a new villainous outfit is now squatting there just a year later. As Miles, Spider-Man: Miles Morales tasks you with clearing out the construction sites again. You could make an argument about power vacuums and all that, but this is still uninspired game design. Insomniac is making us do the same thing but with characters swapped out.In big-picture terms, it feels like an attempt to pad out game length. It took me less than 10 hours to wrap up Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with a healthy dose of side quests and activities. Apart from construction sites, other activities involve helping the citizens of New York with their problems, be it a stolen vehicle, malfunctioning railway, or missing pigeons. Local crimes are still around, but at least they are not endless, as was the case on Marvel’s Spider-Man where New York felt entirely lawless. There are nine challenges (combat, traversal, and stealth) created by Peter, which riff on the kinds of challenges he had in his game.Suit upThe only actual new side activity in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is sound sampling, which requires Miles to locate where a particular sound is coming from and then re-create the recording, to help build a track he’s been working on. Miles’ interest in music is carried over from the comics, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales fittingly has a hip hop-inspired soundtrack and background score, though it’s no match for Into the Spider-Verse’s, which featured the likes of Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Swae Lee, and Jaden Smith, and had Daniel Pemberton as the composer.Watch the First Gameplay Trailer for Spider-Man: Miles Moralesspider man miles morales review spider verse suit spider man miles morales reviewMiles in the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesSpeaking of the Spider-Verse movie, Spider-Man: Miles Morales pays tribute to the film by including Miles’ movie suit, the relaxing hands-behind-the-head diving animation, and mimicking Into the Spider-Verse’s look. (The only thing the game doesn’t have are the film’s comedic chops.) That means animating in twos — holding one frame for two frames, which thereby lowers the frame rate — and displaying pop-up onomatopoeic words (“KRAAAAK”, “SKERUNCH!”, “HORK!”, “ZAP”, “THWOKK”, “SSSPAK!”) when Miles punches and hits enemies. Better yet, the Spider-Verse suit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is in fact made up of two mods that can be applied to any other suit too.That applies to the “Bodega Cat Suit”, which comes with a cat in a backpack. The cat stays in the bag for the most part (no pun intended) and jumps out to aid Miles (cosmetically) in finisher moves. It does this only when it feels like though unfortunately, which is at least a bit fitting given most cats are lazy. More importantly, said cat is also called Spider-Man. It truly proves that anyone can be Spider-Man. I once called it the best thing about Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Insomniac seemingly agrees, for the “Bodega Cat Suit” is only unlocked after you finish the story (and a side mission).Hanging by a threadSet about a year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man during Miles’ winter school break, Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes place in a New York covered in a blanket of snow. The snow doesn’t affect gameplay in any way, it’s just a look. Following his father’s death, Miles (Nadji Jeter) and his mother Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol) have moved back to Harlem, where the Roxxon Energy Corporation — led by one Simon Krieger (Troy Baker) — is building a new reactor that claims to work on clean fuel. But Miles discovers that their purposes might be more nefarious and he begins to probe into Roxxon, with help from his software developer best friend Ganke Lee (Griffin Puatu), who’s to Miles as Ned is to Peter in the ongoing Spider-Man film series: an in-ear sidekick.Spider-Man: Miles Morales also features a gender-swapped Tinkerer (Jasmin Savoy Brown) — previously seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he was part of Vulture’s outfit and played by Michael Chernus — as the leader of new high-tech criminal outfit called the Underground, which has its own plans for Roxxon’s technology. The new Spider-Man game also brings back some memorable villains from Marvel’s Spider-Man — Rhino (Fred Tatasciore) is the only one I’m allowed to mention — in supporting or guest capacity.Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 Recasts Peter Parker, Upsets Fansspider man miles morales review tinkerer spider man miles morales reviewThe Tinkerer in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesUnlike Peter (Yuri Lowenthal), who was in the Spider-Man business for eight years when his game began, Miles is still learning how to be Spider-Man, and how to juggle the personal with the professional. Peter has been showing him the ropes for the past off-screen year and he has one big piece of advice: don’t tell anyone about your secret identity. The original Spider-Man throws Miles for a curve when he reveals that he’s going to Europe for a few weeks with MJ (Laura Bailey) on a Daily Bugle assignment, which leaves Miles in charge as New York’s only Spider-Man. He’s soon pulled into a conspiracy that involves the might of both Roxxon and Underground, and the story and its stakes turn out to be very personal for Miles.The Spider-Man: Miles Morales story isn’t anything special — it riffs on the old frenemy angle that brings to mind Xavier vs Magneto from X-Men — but it’s relevant in how it speaks to police brutality and discrimination against minorities. As Spider-Man, Miles wears a mask that obfuscates his Afro-Latino identity from the cops, but a scene involving him and Roxxon’s militarised goons still works as a parallel to how the police ignore and don’t listen to minorities, to the point that people like Miles feel invisible in society. Elsewhere, Spider-Man: Miles Morales places emphasis on the community and family aspect. While Pete was shown a bit of a loner, Miles is embraced by the people of Harlem, who take to calling him “our Spider-Man”.Spider-wonkyThe only unbelievable part of the story is how Miles gets badly hurt during a mission and then immediately gets better, for the campaign must wrap up before Peter returns from Europe in a couple of weeks, a time limit Insomniac has forced on itself. Problems with realism are more common with mission setups themselves. Spider-Man: Miles Morales opens with a police convoy stupidly flying a giant plane between New York skyscrapers. It’s like the cops are looking for trouble and mayhem. And as you can probably predict, it all goes haywire.The Batman: Arkham-inspired stealth mechanics have problems of their own, as the implementation is still not convincing on Spider-Man: Miles Morales. While the Dark Knight only operated in shadows, Spider-Man trots about in broad daylight. More importantly, he’s not detected when he probably should be. Sure, you cannot see someone directly above you, but the farther they are, the easier it becomes. Many a time, an enemy could easily spot Miles — or the hanging trapped bodies of their teammates — if they looked up even slightly. But in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, unless someone is on the same plane as you, they never see you. Enemies fail to even spot Miles’ shadow when he’s walking on the edge of rooftops.Spider-Man: Miles Morales Will Run at 4K 60fps on the PS5spider man miles morales review camouflage spider man miles morales reviewA camouflaged Miles in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesThe new Spider-Man game does let you do more with stealth, for what it’s worth. Miles has two abilities that sets him apart from Peter: a “Venom Punch” that can be used after you rack up combos and fill the focus meter, and “Camouflage” which allows Miles to turn invisible. Thanks to the latter, you can approach missions in Spider-Man: Miles Morales in ways that wasn’t possible on Marvel’s Spider-Man. You can upgrade your Camouflage ability to stay invisible longer or to avoid being detected when you take someone out. At the same time, Insomniac is smart enough to craft opponents that can counter your Camouflage and Venom abilities.At launch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has some technical problems as well. The game crashed with an error screen once midway during a mission. During an Underground construction site activity, it froze and had to be force quit multiple times. Not wanting to be frozen again, I chose to go a different route and come back to the mission another time. And in certain stealth missions, enemies get themselves stuck by trying to walk into an immovable object. They stay there for the entire duration of the mission, unless you make a sound that causes them to walk in the opposite direction. Insomniac will release a “day one patch” on November 6, and hopefully that will take care of these.Speaking of the day one patch, Spider-Man: Miles Morales will also get additional updates to the photo mode and the ability to transfer saves from PS4 to PS5. I don’t usually bring up photo mode given it’s an ancillary experience for games, but it’s worth a mention given the extensive capabilities it offers. The Spider-Man: Miles Morales photo mode expands on the one offered in Marvel’s Spider-Man, adding light sources and stickers to the mix, which already had field of view, aperture control, focus distance, depth of field, exposure, vignetting, film grain, filters, frames, suit selection, and more.A bygone eraAs for the cross-generation support, it’s clear that Spider-Man: Miles Morales has been built for the PlayStation 5, and sufficiently works on the PlayStation 4. On one occasion, as I was swinging through New York City, it literally froze and threw up a loading sign in the right bottom corner. The game resumed a couple of seconds later. That’s as obvious an indicator of the fact that the PS4 hardware is a limitation for games (and has been for a while). For what it’s worth, Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks quite nice in cutscenes, with disappearing snow and a high level of detail in the hair, but not so much outside them.All You Need to Know About the PS5 and PS5 Digital Editionspider man miles morales review underground spider man miles morales reviewMiles taking out an Underground goon in Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5Photo Credit: Insomniac GamesHaving played it on the PS4 only, I can’t speak to the game’s quality on the PS5 — and whether you should pick it up if you’re buying Sony’s next-gen console at launch. But what I can say is that PS4 owners in India shouldn’t buy it at release. Here’s why.Insomniac has acknowledged the fact that Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not a full-fledged title — the developer said it has the scope of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy — which is why it’s priced at $50 rather than the new $70 ceiling for PS5 games. But Sony is being obtuse in India. While $70 has been translated to Rs. 4,999 sensibly, $50 has become the new Rs. 3,999. That makes no sense, as $60 translated to Rs. 3,999 for the longest time — as recently as the last PS4 exclusive: Ghost of Tsushima. Also, going by current USD-INR exchange rates, $70 is around Rs. 5,200 while $50 is Rs. 3,700.By pricing it at Rs. 3,999, Sony India is basically equating Spider-Man: Miles Morales with Marvel’s Spider-Man (also Rs. 3,999 at launch), which is bonkers. I normally don’t talk about pricing in reviews, because what’s acceptable for some is absurd for others. After all, console game pricing is screwed up to begin with, given Sony and Microsoft don’t allow developers to easily set localised pricing, the way Valve does with Steam. $50 should have been Rs. 3,499 at best, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like a Rs. 2,999 game.If the sticker price isn’t a concern, in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you’ll find a game that is lacking in originality but thankfully built on a solid core that needs a few tweaks. It’s a successful expansion of Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe, but it’s a new paragraph, rather than a new chapter. Hopefully it will give us the latter next time around. And though it’s also good for representation, it still has a ways to go. (Though the game wasn’t anything special, Marvel’s Avengers gave us a Muslim-American lead in Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel.) Hopefully we can get Spider-Gwen from Insomniac next, or a Spider-Verse game, though given the lack of setup, either seems unlikely. For now, Miles continues his upward trajectory. He walked in 2018, so he could fly in 2020.Pros:Fight choreography, cinematography is wonderfulUpgraded stealth mechanicsSwinging is thrillingFun suits, Spider-Verse lookRelevance of storyExtensive photo modeCons:Not original enoughRepetitive gameplayGame padding despite short lengthUnconvincing stealth gameplayUnrealistic in partsBugs, game freezing / crashesIndia pricing is a jokeRating (out of 10): 7Gadgets 360 played Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PlayStation 4. The game is available November 12 on the PS4 worldwide and the PS5 in select countries, and November 19 on the PS5 in the rest of the world. It costs Rs. 3,999 in India, $50 in the US, and £50 in the UK on PlayStation Store. This also holds true for Spider-Man: Miles Morales’s other centrepiece. Insomniac Games’ creative team really understands the value of fight choreography and cinematography, and they know how to best use the tools at its disposal, chiefly the virtual camera. As Miles takes on enemies and bosses, the in-game camera spins, swings, tilts, rotates, and revolves around the characters, which in turn infuses a lot of energy and excitement into the game’s core: action. This might seem simple but it’s not, as shown by the fact that so many action-adventure games fail to execute this.Spider-Man: Miles Morales currenciesThere are three currencies in the new Spider-Man game: skill points, activity tokens, and tech parts.Earning XP by playing the game and completing missions helps you level up, which grants you skill points. These can be used to teach Miles new combat skills.- Advertisement – Miles’ max level is 20, unless you start “New Game+”, wherein you begin the story from scratch but with all your upgrades intact. New Game+ is available after you finish the campaign.Activity tokens are awarded for completing objectives, be it missions, side quests, or local crimes. That leaves tech parts, which are found by opening hidden crates left over all the city. You need activity tokens and tech parts to unlock new suits and upgrade your gear.Some suits, suit mods, gadgets, and skills are intentionally locked behind New Game+, another way of padding game length.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Vivo to Unveil New OriginOS on November 18, Details Remain Unclear

    first_imgThe latest Q3 2020 report for Indian smartphone shipments shows Vivo was third in the latest of most smartphones shipped with its 9 million units. The company has a 16.7 percent market share in the country and experienced a growth of 27.4 percent YoY in terms of total smartphones shipped.Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. The company has set up a new account on Weibo dedicated to OriginOS that currently only mentions the November 18 unveiling date, but is expected to reveal details about the new OS in the coming days.At the end of October, it was reported that Vivo will be replacing its Funtouch OS with the new OriginOS. At the time, a tipster had said it will bring significant improvements over the current version of Funtouch OS. More information can be expected from the company in the coming days.OriginOS will most likely be based on Android 11 and will make its way to the company’s flagship smartphones like the Vivo X50 series and Nex series first. The OS will be unveiled in China and details about international rollout, including India, can be expected to be announced at the event.- Advertisement – Vivo will unveil its new OriginOS on November 18. The company made the announcement through a post on Chinese microblogging website Weibo. It has also created a dedicated OriginOS profile on the platform where it is expected to announce new information in the coming days leading to the reveal. It’s believed that OriginOS could replace the Funtouch OS currently powering Vivo phones. The company has the tagline “Brave new world” for this new operating system.While the company has not shared any details on what the new OriginOS will bring, it mentions that the OS will be unveiled on November 18 with a special event in Shenzhen, China. A user on Weibo shared that the event will start at 3:30pm local time (1pm IST). As of now, it is unclear which phones will be getting the new OriginOS, and what all changes it brings. Explaining its “Brave new world” tag line for the OS, Vivo says, “Interact with your emotional instinct with a real experience close to reality” (translated).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Tank-emptying made simple

    first_imgGerman Railway’s Stuttgart works has produced a range of small retention tank emptying vehicles using pumped collection tanks from Sanivac.The battery-powered carts are small enough for convenient use at stations or carriage depots. The batteries power built-in pumps to transfer waste from the train’s tanks into a transfer tank on the vehicle. Headlights provide adequate working illumination, regardless of trackside floodlighting.Tank emptying is achieved by simply reversing the pump direction to discharge through the connection hose. If a waste disposal drain is convenient to the on-board tank, the pump unit can be used to empty effluent directly.Sanivac Vakuumtechnik GmbHWedel, GermanyReader Enquiry Number 144last_img

  • Joseph Mariathasan: Europe’s pharmaceutical and biotech industries

    first_imgAre Europe’s large pharma companies thematically too diversified? Are there opportunities to invest in smaller companies emulating the US market? The fact 85-90% of one of Europe’s largest healthcare funds is invested in the US suggests Europe faces some significant long-term challenges if it wishes to retain its pre-eminence in healthcare. The manager prefers small and mid-sized companies as new investment ideas that have a clear world-class expertise and a focus on specific areas, which he holds for upwards of five years. He sees Europe’s large pharma companies as solid, good companies but argues that they are thematically too diversified, or even run as healthcare conglomerates.Europe does not see the plethora of small and mid-sized spinoffs and start-ups that are seen in the US, but the US is not its only rival. China and India have well-established pharmaceutical industries, and, with an abundance of brainpower, they are well positioned to produce streams of cutting-edge healthcare companies.Europe’s healthcare industry can be divided into three segments, with a handful of giants – the UK’s GSK, the British-Swedish AstraZeneca, the Swiss Novartis and Roche, France’s Sanofi, Danish diabetes specialist Novo Nordisk and possibly the German company Fresenius. Beneath the pharma giants is a set of mid-sized companies that, for historical reasons, are owned by foundations or families, such as the Danish company Lundbeck, the French company Ipsen, the Spanish companies Rovi and Almirall and the Italian company Recordati. Beneath this are hundreds of emerging biotech companies – some very tiny and others of reasonable size. But the biotech industry is very much weighted towards the US, versus Europe. There are many reasons for this, including the availability of risk capital.Pharma is still perceived as being a safer-haven, low-volatility sector. Over the long term, it would generate lower returns than biotech but outperform the broader market. Biotech is still perceived as an innovation industry that is more volatile. But the US companies such as Celgene are producing double-digit revenue growth rates with very high sustainable profit margins. For Europe as a whole though, the issue may not be purely one of generating short-term investment returns. If the jewel in its crown is not to be tarnished over the long term, Europe’s pharmaceutical sector must find a way to emulate the success of the biotech companies in the US.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE Europe’s pharmaceutical sector must find a way to emulate US biotech, Joseph Mariathasan writesThe European pharmaceutical industry is arguably the jewel in the crown of Europe’s industrial base, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the UK’s giants. It showed its strength last week when it filed its shingles vaccine Shingrix for US regulatory approval. Analysts estimate that the drug, one of GSK’s most promising experimental products, could generate revenues of $1bn (€909m) a year.But Europe faces some significant long-term challenges if it wishes to retain its pre-eminence in healthcare. GSK may be an example of what could be the problem – it needs to revitalise a drug portfolio characterised by reliance on a few blockbusters now seeing falling sales, such as its inhaled lung treatment Advair. The US patent on this expired in 2010, so it is only a matter of time before generic versions destroy its revenues.PwC estimates that almost half of all corporate research and development in the in UK in 2016 has been accounted for by the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. Clearly, the sector has immense strengths, but the problem is that virtually all of that figure is accounted for by just two companies – GSK and AstraZeneca. Europe has not seen the plethora of small and mid-sized spinoffs and start-ups that characterise the US healthcare market.last_img read more

  • People moves: APG appoints former Norges Bank chief to board [updated]

    first_imgAPG – The €475bn Dutch asset manager APG has appointed financial heavyweight Knut Kjær (pictured, left) as a member of its supervisory board (RvC). Kjær was the founding chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, responsible for Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and the management of most of the country’s foreign reserves.In recognition of his contributions to the management of the Government Pension Fund, he was knighted by King Harald of Norway in 2008. APG, Mercer, PMT, Bouwinvest, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Hoogovens, Loomis Sayles, BMO Global Asset Management, Fidante Partners, eVestment, IFM Investors Since 2011, Kjær has been chairman and partner at FSN Capital Partners, a Nordic private equity firm, chairing its asset management branch since 2017. He also holds advisory positions at China Investment Corporation and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Between 2008 and 2016, Kjær was a member of the investment committee of the €409bn Dutch civil service scheme ABP, APG’s main client.APG’s RvC also includes Maes van Lanschot (chairman), Bart Le Blanc (vice chair).Mercer – The investment consulting giant has hired Jo Holden as UK chief investment officer. Based in Liverpool, she has also joined the firm’s UK defined benefit (DB) leadership team. She has worked at Mercer since 2002 and set up its Manchester office in 2010 as well as expanding the firm’s UK public sector consulting team.David Fogarty, head of Mercer’s UK DB business, said: “Jo has extensive knowledge of the investment consulting space, and great energy and enthusiasm for developing our proposition further to meet the needs of our clients.”Holden replaces Steven Blackie, who was announced as head of global product strategy at Aviva Investors last week.PMT – The €70bn Dutch sector scheme for metalworking and mechanical engineering has appointed Gerard Roest and Ron Follon as trustees. Roest will be tasked with socially responsible investment. He was nominated by trade union FNV and succeeds Albert Akkerman, who died last September.Currently, Roest is board member of the general pension fund of Unilever and is a policy adviser at the FNV. He was previously chairman of BPL, the industry-wide pension fund for agriculture, and has been trustee at the former sector schemes for the wholesale of flowers and plants (Bloemen en Planten) and the paint and printing ink industry (Verf en Drukinkt), as well as the FNV’s own pension fund.Follon was nominated by employer organisation FWT and will become a member of PMT’s pensions committee. He is general secretary at the FWT and the organisation’s lead negotiator for collective labour agreements in the sector. Follon succeeds Hep van Luunen, who has been a PMT trustee for 16 years.Janus Henderson Investors – Georgina Fogo has been appointed chief risk officer at the £274bn (€315bn) asset management group. She will join in July from BlackRock where she is global head of compliance, and succeeds David Kowalski who retired last year. She has worked for BlackRock since 2009, and previously built the compliance teams for Barclays Global Investors – now iShares –in Europe and the US.In a statement, Janus Henderson co-CEOs Dick Weil and Andrew Formica said: “With the regulatory landscape for asset managers and clients becoming increasingly complex, her experience will be invaluable in ensuring Janus Henderson remains at the forefront of the change agenda and risk management best practice.”Bouwinvest – The €8.5bn property investor for the large Dutch pension fund for the building industry (BpfBouw) has appointed Barbara Sleijffers and Frans van Burk to the acquisition team of its retail fund. It said the new team members would assist the fund increasing its assets from €900m to €1.1bn by 2020.Sleijffers joins from Sweco Capital Consultants, where she provided pension funds with strategic and tactical advice on property. Prior to this, she worked at engineering firm DHV Royal Haskoning and insurer ASR. Van Burk is to become commercial assistant for acquisitions and joins from CBRE Global Investors, where he was senior commercial analyst. He has also worked at ING REIM.BNP Paribas Asset Management – Julien Halfon has joined the firm as head of pension solutions within its multi-asset, quantitative and solutions investment group.  (‘MAQS’). He is responsible for providing advice and designing bespoke strategies for pension funds and insurance companies. Halfon was previously a senior consultant at Mercer, and has also held senior positions at P-Solve, Lazard, Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, and Goldman Sachs.Hoogovens – André van Vliet has joined the board of the €8.5bn pension fund Hoogovens, representing the scheme’s pensioners. Van Vliet will focus on institutional asset management and becomes a member of the pension fund’s balance and investment committee. Since 2016 he has been a board member at the €409bn civil service scheme ABP as well as Het Nederlandse Pensioenfonds, the general pension fund (APF) established by insurer ASR. Between 1998 and 2014 Van Vliet worked at Ortec Finance, latterly as managing director and partner.Loomis Sayles – The $267bn (€216bn) asset manager has appointed Kathleen Bochman as director of environmental, social and governance (ESG), a newly created role. She will lead the company’s existing ESG committee, providing strategic support to investment teams and the wider firm. Bochman has worked at Loomis Sayles since 2006, and previously held investment roles at Wellington Management and State Street Research & Management.BMO Global Asset Management – Zahra Sachak is BMO’s new director of relationship management in its UK institutional team, where she will oversee relationships with existing clients. She joins from Investec Asset Management where she worked in the North America institutional sales team. Sachak has also worked at Aviva Investors and Schroders.Fidante Partners – The investment manager has hired Hugh Ferrand to its institutional business development team. He joins from Invesco Perpetual, the UK arm of global asset management giant Invesco, where he oversaw its institutional business with pension schemes, charities, endowment funds and insurance firms. Prior to joining Invesco in 1999, Ferrand worked as an investment manager at Adam Bank and Blairlogie.eVestment – The data and analytics provider has named David Keogh as managing director for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Based in London, he will be responsible for growing eVestment’s client base in the EMEA region. He has worked in various management and business development positions at companies including Accenture, Barclays and Banco Santander.IFM Investors – The Australian fund manager has appointed former Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley as global head of external relations. He will join in September to lead the firm’s public policy agenda. He will have global responsibility for the firm’s relationships with government, media, shareholders and industry groups.IFM Investors’ CEO, Brett Himbury, said: “Central to the role will be an emphasis on directing IFM Investors’ global responsible investment initiatives and its focus on enhancing returns, as well the societies in which we invest.”last_img read more