The European Commission is reforming the EU’s visa policy

first_imgThe European Commission has proposed a reform of the EU’s common visa policy to adapt it to new security challenges, migration-related challenges and new opportunities offered by technological advances. Thanks to the proposed amendments to the Visa Code, legal travelers will be able to obtain visas for Europe more easily, which will facilitate tourism, trade and business, while increasing security and reducing the risks of illegal migration.Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos he stressed that millions of passengers visit the EU every year and improve its tourism sector. “With the reforms we are proposing today, legal travelers will be able to obtain visas more easily and quickly, and enhanced security standards will more effectively detect and stop those who are not. Thanks to the new rules, our common visa policy will be able to contribute to better cooperation with non-EU countries on the return of illegal migrants.”, he explained.The proposed update seeks to modernize and simplify common EU visa rules, facilitate the visa process for both legal travelers and Member States, while strengthening security standards for the visa process.Faster and more flexible procedures: the deadline for deciding on visa applications will be shortened from 15 to 10 days. Passengers will be able to submit applications up to six months before the planned trip, instead of the current three months, and fill them out and sign them electronically.Multiple entry visas with a longer validity period: Multiple-entry visas will be subject to harmonized rules in order to more effectively prevent “visa trade” and reduce costs and save time for Member States and frequent travelers. Such multiple-entry visas will be issued to verified and regular travelers with whom there is positive previous experience regarding the issuance of visas over a period that will gradually increase from one to five years. It will be thoroughly and regularly checked whether passengers meet the conditions for entry.Short-stay visas at the external borders: in order to facilitate short – stay tourist stays, Member States will be allowed to issue single – entry visas directly at the external land and sea borders under a short – term and seasonal program and under strict conditions. These visas shall be valid for a maximum stay of seven days exclusively in the issuing Member State.Additional resources to increase security: given the significant increase in processing costs over the years, the visa fee, which has not increased since 2006, will increase slightly (from EUR 60 to EUR 80). This increase will allow Member States to retain an adequate number of consular officers worldwide to tighten security checks and upgrade IT equipment and software, and will not be an obstacle for visa applicants.The tourism sector, which accounts for 10% of EU GDP, plays a key role in the European economy. Although EU Member States are among the world’s leading tourist destinations, lengthy and complex procedures can deter tourists from traveling to Europe, diverting investment and consumption to other countries and negatively affecting the EU economy. At the same time, a balance needs to be struck between the benefits of visa travel and better migration, security and border management in order to adequately overcome current and future security and migration challenges.Today’s amendments to the Visa Code are the first step in the reform of the EU’s common visa policy, and a proposal to update the Visa Information System (VIS) will be presented in the spring, the European Commission said.last_img read more

Danone-AQUA, Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia use rooftop solar panels at power plants

first_imgBottled water manufacturer Danone-AQUA and soft drink manufacturer Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia have installed rooftop solar power systems at their respective plants, as the companies aim to boost the use of renewables and cut emissions.Danone-AQUA placed more than 8,300 solar panels on the rooftop of its plant in Klaten regency in Central Java in late August.The solar power system, developed by French oil giant Total’s subsidiary Total Solar Distributed Generation, is claimed to be the largest solar power system (PLTS) on a rooftop to be installed by a manufacturer in the province.With a capacity of 2.91 megawatts peak (MWp), the solar power system can generate 4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity every year. Such an output can contribute around 15 to 20 percent to the power needed for running the Klaten plant’s operations, the company claimed.“Our PLTS is one of the large-scale installations,” I Ketut Muwaranata, the director of Danon-AQUA’s plant in Klaten regency said in a virtual presser on Tuesday, adding that it was a show of support for the government’s renewable energy program.Since late August, Danone-AQUA has generated 521.94 megawatt-hours (MWh) with the solar power system, according to Muwaranata.The company estimated the rooftop solar power system had reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 314 tons in a month, which would be equivalent to planting around 29,776 trees.The launch of Danone-AQUA’s solar power system came at a time when the government was trying to close the gap between the actual share of renewables in the country’s primary energy mix and its target. Regulations stipulate that Indonesia should have reached 17.5 percent renewable energy by 2019, but only 12.36 percent of the country’s energy use that year came from renewable sources.The government is aiming at having renewables account for 23 percent of the primary energy mix in 2025.Read also: RI to break long-term green energy promises at current pace: IESRVera Galuh Sugijanto, the vice president general secretary at Danone-AQUA, said the company was planning to install solar power systems at 17 plants with a capacity of 15.6 MWp in total by 2023.With such capacity, it is expected to generate a total of 21 GWh of electricity and slash the company’s CO2 emissions by more than 16,000 tons.“The collaboration with the government is expected to provide an operational framework and better regulations, and incentives for doubling down our commitment to green energy for us and other industries with similar intentions,” said Vera.Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia also recently launched what it claimed to be the largest rooftop solar power system to be installed at a manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia.With an investment of Rp 87 billion (US$5.8 million), Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia installed the solar power system on the rooftop of its plant in Cikarang in Bekasi regency in West Java.The rooftop solar power system has a capacity of 7.34 MWp and can generate 9.6 GWh every year.Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia estimated that the solar power system could slash the company’s CO2 emissions by more than 9,800 tons every year — nearly three times higher than the estimated annual emissions cut of Danone-AQUA’s Klaten plant .As a comparison, Coca Cola Amatil Indonesia’s solar panels stretch 72,000 square meters and the ones at Danone-AQUA’s Klaten plant stretch 16,550 sq m.Harris Yahya, the director of various new energy and renewable energy at the Energy Ministry, said Tuesday he was expecting more businesses to follow suit as the cost of renewables had become cheaper and the technology had become more efficient despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.“If we talk about renewable energy, the challenges are still huge, especially with the COVID-19 situation,” Harris said in Danone-AQUA’s virtual presser.“The demand for electricity is falling drastically. In Java, the decline reached 10 percent. It has an impact on the penetration of renewable energy,” he added.Topics :last_img read more

Varma warns of trade war tensions; Ilmarinen hails merger success

first_imgFinnish pension insurer Varma posted a 1.4% loss on its investments in the first quarter of this year, but said returns on alternative assets had guarded against deeper losses.Risto Murto, president and chief executive of Varma, warned of current risks in both local and global economies from trade disputes.“The next steps are decisive,” he said. “If the trade war escalates, it may have almost immediate effects on Finland too.”Companies’ global investments in particular would be quick to react if confidence in exports and imports were to waver, he said. “It is also desirable from Finland’s perspective that free global trade remains unscathed,” Murto added.Large Dutch pension schemes also suffered Q1 losses that were blamed largely on the effects of trade war rhetoric.Reima Rytsölä, Varma’s CIO, said the markets “woke up from hibernation” in early February and volatility returned.He said the market was now in “a muted phase”, but warned that the end of the cycle was “looming on the horizon”.Varma’s equity allocation lost 1.4% in the January-to-March period, while fixed income investments lost 0.3%. However, hedge funds returned 1.9% and property generated 1.2%.“Diversification into alternative investments helped in the challenging investment environment,” Murto said.The value of Varma’s investments stood at €45.7bn at the end of March, ranking it just below competitor Ilmarinen in terms of assets under management.Varma runs statutory earnings-related pensions for 885,000 people in the private sector.Ilmarinen records equity loss  Ilmarinen’s office in HelsinkiMeanwhile, rival pension insurer Ilmarinen reported a first quarter loss of 0.1% with fixed income investments and real estate making positive returns.Stefan Björkman, Ilmarinen’s acting president and chief executive, blamed the loss on key equity markets for depressing the Q1 result.Listed equities made a 1.6% loss in the quarter, but the equity portion of Ilmarinen’s portfolio as a whole – including private equity – made a narrower loss of 0.8%.Fixed income assets returned 0.4%, while property generated a 1.3% gain.Björkman said the first phase of the company’s merger with its smaller rival Etera had been a success since the deal became official at the beginning of the year.Investment portfolios, HR and financial administration were merged as planned and the employees moved to shared premises in Helsinki’s Ruoholahti district, he said.“However, the integration process still continues by, for example, gradually merging the IT systems related to insurance and pensions over the next two years,” Björkman added. Ilmarinen aimed to get the full benefit of integration by 2020.Ilmarinen’s total investments were worth €46.1bn at the end of March, and as a merged entity, the firm said it managed pensions for more than 1.1m Finns.last_img read more

CARICOM delegation to US to protest rum exports.

first_imgCaribbean Rum Barrel BottlesGEORGETOWN, Guyana– Rum producers in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are getting high-level support in their protest against subsidies that are giving foreign rum producers in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) preferential access to the United States market. Following two high-level visits mounted by CARICOM delegations to Washington in March and April to plead the CARICOM rum producers’ case, reports are that the next step could be a case before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if there is little success from the meeting with the US Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Capitol Hill this month.CARICOM countries that have been exporting well-known rums to the United States for decades are lobbying against heavy subsidies being given to British spirits producer Diageo in the USVI because its rum and spirits have preferential entry into the US as they are recognised by the mainland as regional products.The complaint is that authorities in the Virgin Islands have given Diageo generous tax and other incentives and helped the company to build a brand-new heavy-duty distillery that would produce and export Captain Morgan Rum to the United States much cheaper than many of the spirits made by the CARICOM bloc’s producers.The bloc also said that they believe that the level of incentives granted to Diageo might be in breach of WTO rules. Their argument is that the subsidies offered by the USVI to the multinational rum producer Diageo are inconsistent with WTO rules because they make use of discriminatory taxation, offer export subsidies, and use such subsidies to cause adverse effects to the interests of other WTO members, in this case being the CARICOM members.Rum is CARICOM’s largest agriculture-based export industry, which generates an estimated US$500m in foreign exchange and well over US$250m in tax revenues.The CARICOM producers argue that excise taxes collected from the production of rum in the USVI are remitted back to the USVI for development purposes through the US government’s “cover-over” programme, which remits 98 per cent of all excise duties raised on rums sold in the US back to the US territories of Puerto Rico and the USVI.Concerns are that Caribbean producers will see their presently significant share of the US market wiped out by subsidised product, and other large international distilling groups seeking to locate in the USVI and Puerto Rico to seek a similar advantage.In 2010, the remittances amounted to approximately US$450 million and major multinational producers are being offered extremely generous concessions subsidies and long-term support by the USVI and Puerto Rico in exchange for the companies agreeing to site their distilleries and production facilities in their territories in order to secure the US territories a greater amount of this “cover-over” support.Caribbean 360 News 289 Views   no discussions NewsRegional CARICOM delegation to US to protest rum exports. by: – May 11, 2012 Share Tweetcenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Sharelast_img read more

Cole scare for England

first_img “He goes for a scan now, when we arrive (back in London), on his ribs. I hope he is fine. “I want England to do (well), so I hope he’s fine.” England left-back Ashley Cole is set for a scan on a rib injury suffered in the 3-1 win at Norwich on Sunday afternoon, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed. Press Associationcenter_img Cole was substituted with 15 minutes left at Carrow Road for tactical reasons, but Mourinho revealed the player later complained of a problem and so would be examined, but did not expect any major impact on his place in the England squad for next week’s World Cup qualifiers. Mourinho said: “I didn’t know (that Cole was injured). We were in a difficult position before. He had something in his ribs that we need to assess, but hopefully it’s fine. But yes, it was a tactical decision. last_img read more

Cisse accepts three-match ban

first_img Cisse elbowed Everton defender Seamus Coleman during Newcastle’s 3-2 victory on Sunday but escaped any action from referee Craig Pawson. The 29-year-old’s suspension begins with immediate effect. Press Association Papiss Cisse will be banned for three matches after the Newcastle striker accepted a charge of violent conduct from the Football Association.center_img Cisse is banned for Newcastle’s Barclays Premier League home match against Burnley on New Year’s Day, Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Leicester and a trip to Chelsea on January 10. The Senegalese striker had been expected to miss the games against Leicester and Chelsea anyway as he departs to play at the Africa Cup of Nations. Cisse has scored nine league goals already this season and five in his last six matches. A statement on the club’s official website read: “Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has accepted a charge of violent conduct from the Football Association. “Cisse was involved in an incident involving Everton’s Seamus Coleman during the Barclays Premier League fixture at St. James’ Park on Sunday, 28th December. “Cisse has accepted the charge and will now serve a three-match suspension, which starts with immediate effect.” last_img read more

GT Beer Super Sunday football

first_imgUpper Dem. to face Georgetown, West Dem to clash with Essequibo/PomeroonWITH the battle lines drawn for Sunday, it’s anybody’s guess who will make it to the inaugural final of the GT Beer Inter-Association Super Sunday night cup football championship, being staged by the Upper Demerara Football Association at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground.The die is cast for two interesting matches especially as Upper Demerara and Georgetown will collide in the second game of a double-header. The first brings together Essequibo Pomeroon and the emerging powerhouse West Demerara.With an unbeaten run from their three group stage matches, Upper Demerara will face a Georgetown side which suffered a 1-0 loss to West Demerara but still managed to qualify as the second team from Group B.Upper Demerara gained nine points after three wins and netted 10 goals while giving up three in the process. Georgetown on the other hand with two wins, that lone loss to West Demerara, ended with six points while scoring nine goals as against conceding four with six points.Essequibo Pomeroon came through after securing one win, one defeat and one draw for four points, bettering East Bank who had one win also, but lost twice after scoring five goals and allowing seven.East Coast the other team in their group failed to win after getting a draw and two defeats for one point. (Joe Chapman)last_img read more

CHTA launches initiative for hurricane-hit communities

first_imgCHTA launches  ‘One Caribbean Family’ initiative to help communities affected by recent hurricanes.The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has launched a recent booking initiative. The objective is to allow hotels across the region help those who have been adversely impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The initiative also highlight over 70 percent of Caribbean destinations have not been affected by the hurricanes and are ready to welcome visitors as usual.One Caribbean FamilyCHTA’s “One Caribbean Family” movement has been developed to help the  tourism industry rebound. It will serve as a hub for hotels, travel advisors and tour operators who would like to make a contribution through guest bookings.Donations made through the initiative will be sent to the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund managed by Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization which has partnered with CHTA to anchor the tourism industry’s hurricane recovery efforts in the Caribbean.Solidarity“We want to show our solidarity with the Caribbean countries affected by these storms, not just in words but with actions that can bring relief to those in need,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of CHTA and executive director of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts in St. Lucia.”“How can any hotel or hotel chain in the region and our trade partners feel good about securing incremental business as a result of other hotel closures due to hurricanes?” asked Troubetzkoy. “The need to come together and act as one Caribbean tourism family has never been greater,” she asserted.The CHTA President applauded tourism industry partners who have launched fundraising initiatives of their own, but hopes these will not deter them from also participating in the One Caribbean Family initiative.Leading by exampleTroubetzkoy is leading by example, with her company pledging to donate up to $50 for each booking for travel between October 1, 2017 and December 19, 2018. “We started this pledge for direct reservations and bookings through our travel advisors,” Troubetzkoy said, “but now we are also including some wholesalers who will match our donation.”Guests wishing to make additional contributions to the Fund will receive resort credits up to $250, depending on their contribution.The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund allows tourism industry stakeholders and friends of the region throughout the world to pool their resources in support of vulnerable, devastated parts of the Caribbean that welcome millions of visitors in a region that supports 2.4 million tourism-related jobs.Compliments existing relief effortsThe Fund’s focus on the recovery of islands directly affected by the recent hurricanes complements existing relief efforts and gives the tourism industry a way to leverage its resources to help the region bounce back.Participating hotels and trade partners will be showcased online and through a public relations and social media campaign.Donations are tax deductible where applicable and can also be made directly online to Tourism Cares or by check payable to Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund c/o Tourism Cares, 20 Vernon St., Norwood, MA 02062, USA.last_img read more

TBAC Celebrates 45th Anniversary with New Sculpture

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis The Thunder Bay Arts Council is working on bringing something new and beautiful to Alpena, but they need your help.In celebration of their 45th anniversary, the Arts Council has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a new sculpture that they’re hoping to place in Duck Park. The sculpture will be made of burnished stainless and raw steel, standing 15 feet high, 10 feet wide, and 12 feet long. It was a top pick from the community out of various sketches created by sculptor Ann Gildner of Cheboygan.In its essence the sculpture personifies freedom and represents the beauty of alpena…but it is a pricey one.The Arts Council is hoping to meet their goal of raising $5,000 by July 5th so that they can win a matching grant of the same amount through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.To help them reach this goal you can donate at the Thunder Bay Arts Council location on 127 Chisholm Street, or visit www.patronicity.com/departuresculpture.The installation of the sculpture is planned to take place in September. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Northland Area Credit Union Coming to AlpenaNext Major Power Outage Sends One to the Hospital and Shuts Down Alpenalast_img read more