UK roundup: IBM, UK Court of Appeal, Northumbrian Water, GMB

first_imgIBM appealed the Court’s judgment.However, in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, IBM said: “If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Court’s rulings would require IBM to reverse the changes made to the UK defined benefit plans retroactive to their effective dates.“This could result in an estimated non-operating one-time pre-tax charge of approximately $250m, plus ongoing defined benefit related accruals.”In other news, Northumbrian Water Group is facing potential strike action from members over changes to its pension fund.Hong Kong group CKI owns the company, which supplies water to the North East and South East of England.CKI has proposed closing the final salary scheme and shifting to a career-average arrangement, moving indexation from the RPI to the CPI.According to trade union GMB, the scheme currently has a deficit of £153m (€215m).CKI, however, has since come out with a figure closer to £270m.The GMB said CKI’s proposed changes had nothing to do with the deficit but were aimed purely at maximising profits. If the company fails to produce an improved offer after August, the union will ballot members over strike action, it said.The GMB’s Maxine Batholomew said: “The company claims the current final salary scheme is unaffordable but has failed to show [figures] to back up its arguments.“CKI gave the trustees [the impression] it was fully committed to fully safeguarding pension entitlements, [but] it is just wallowing in greed.” IBM has told US financial regulators it expects to write off $250m (€226m) should it lose an appeal court case against its UK pension scheme trustees and members.The case, ongoing since changes to the scheme were made in 2009, is set to be heard by the UK Court of Appeal, with a verdict expected next year.The case relates to allegations that the computer giant made misleading statements and breached its duty of good faith when closing the defined benefit scheme to future accrual in 2009.However, in 2014, after four years of litigation, the UK’s High Court ruled in favour of the trustees and members, arguing that IBM misled members in consultation and failed to meet its legal duties.last_img read more

Reclassification to affect local high school volleyball teams

first_imgELLSWORTH — The Maine Principals’ Association finalized its reclassification proposal last Thursday, and three volleyball teams in the area are on the move.Bucksport, George Stevens Academy and Sumner will move from Class B to the newly created Class C in the sport. Joining them will be Washington Academy, Machias, Jonesport-Beals, Lee Academy, Calais, Narraguagus, Woodland and North Yarmouth. Maine Girls’ Academy could also join the new class.The Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island volleyball teams will remain in Class B, in which the nearest opponent for both teams will be Cony High School in Augusta. Yet Ellsworth Athletic Director Josh Frost said the Eagles plan to play a schedule that includes both their new opponents and the three local teams that switched classifications.Ellsworth will drop its football partnership with Sumner beginning next fall, but the team will remain in Class D with Bucksport. Class D champion Maine Central Institute has been bumped up to Class C, which includes MDI. Foxcroft goes from Class C to Class D.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe six Hancock County high schools will stay at their current classification levels in soccer, cross-country, golf, basketball, swimming, wrestling, competition cheer, baseball, softball and track.last_img read more

Why the Jets, Le’Veon Bell are likely stuck in rocky marriage for at least another contract year

first_img (SN/Getty) (Getty Images) I’m on record as calling Bell’s sitting out the 2018 season rather than playing under the $14.5 million franchise tag as the most ridiculous holdout in NFL history. He never was going to recoup that lost money.Yet it was all about the money when Bell signed with the Jets as the highest bidder, and he obviously didn’t care about the system he would play in or the team’s potential to win. Now he could be on a path like his former teammate Antonio Brown, which would take him out of the league in a couple years.Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a business and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He makes speaking appearances to corporate/civic groups and college classes on negotiation and sports business/sports management. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL. Things are unlikely to improve the rest of the season for Bell, who says he’ll be ready to play Thursday night in Baltimore against one of the league’s top defenses. Then the season wraps up against two teams who, like the Ravens, have a top-six defense — the grudge match against his former Steelers team and the finale in Buffalo.For Bell to return to stardom, he needs the Jets offensive line to improve while Gase tweaks his system to help the running back. Quarterback Sam Darnold also must make a big leap in his third season after a lackluster start to his career (80.6 passer rating among the league’s worst with 32 TD passes against 26 interceptions over his first two seasons).If Darnold and the Jets passing game improve, Bell’s productivity should rise. But if Gase doesn’t think Bell is a good fit for the system, how long will the coach stick with him? And what is Bell’s level of motivation now that he has been paid and if he believes Gase is not in his corner?MORE: Mike Tomlin’s miracle playoff push with Steelers should force his critics to puntI think Douglas is in a bad spot with a player who is headed toward the label of “free agent bust.” He can’t trade Bell without the acquiring team seeking a contract adjustment that Bell would surely refuse. At 27, Bell is perceived as having a lot of mileage from a heavy work load at Michigan State and in his five seasons in Pittsburgh. He has an injury history and, after skipping last season, the reputation of a bad teammate who is now underproductive and overpaid.Douglas and the Jets are most likely stuck with Bell for another year due to the salary cap ramifications of jettisoning him. After the 2020 season, I see Bell being released by the Jets and looking for his next team with the offers not to his liking. I guarantee Steelers owner Art Rooney and GM Kevin Colbert are not surprised at Bell’s latest turn of events. And along with Mike Tomlin, they’re happy he is now the Jets’ headache. The truth of the matter is he never should have left Pittsburgh, where he played in a perfect system for his dual-threat skill set of rushing and receiving. He had one of the league’s best offensive lines blocking for him and a dynamic quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger to keep teams from loading up in the box to stop him.I don’t believe Bell left because the Steelers wouldn’t pay him. They reportedly had a five-year, $70 million offer on the table with $33 million in guarantees (better than his Jets contract), and Pittsburgh has a lower cost of living. It was more about Bell’s irritation with the Steelers’ use of the franchise tag on him. But he and his agent needed to look at the big picture of what was best for his career, which was to stay in Pittsburgh.MOCK DRAFT 2020: Jets land a game-breaker at wide receiverBell’s stats tell the story of his mistake in leaving one of the most well-run organizations in all sports for the instability of the Jets franchise. In his last two seasons with the Steelers, both Pro Bowl years for Bell, he gained 3,830 combined yards in 27 games for 142 yards per game. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored 20 touchdowns over those two seasons as the Steelers won 24 regular season games and two AFC North titles.Talk about feast to near famine football-wise. In 12 games this season, Bell has 992 yards from scrimmage, which equates to 83 yards per game, a 42 percent drop in productivity from his last years in Steeltown. He has scored four TDs and is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. His Jets have won four of the last five against a bunch of lousy teams after a 1-7 start, but at 5-8, they’re not sniffing the playoffs. Now Bell is dealing with the repercussions of missing last week’s Miami game due to the flu when, rather than resting at home as coach Adam Gase preferred, Bell went bowling Saturday night. Not that he cares what Gase or anyone thinks since he bragged to the media that he “bowled a 251 off the flu…career-high.” He also says the doctors “advised me to get out of the house and move a little bit.” Did they tell him to hit the lanes until 1 a.m.?Gase called it a bad look, and if I’m first-year Jets general manager Joe Douglas, I’m not happy with my $13 million-per-year running back who continues to make bad decisions on and off the field.WEEK 15 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsDouglas reportedly tested the trade waters earlier this season on Bell, who was signed by former GM Mike Maccagnan to the four-year, $52.5 million deal with $27 million in guarantees. Douglas probably did this to appease his coach, as a Bell trade this year was virtually impossible due to the dead money hit on the Jets salary cap.Douglas surely found out that no other team wants to take on Bell’s contract or his diva personality. The Jets also would have $17 million of dead money if they release Bell in 2020. So this shaky marriage appears to have one more season to run before the dead money is manageable at $4 million in 2021.It’s hard to see the situation improving for Bell or the Jets. Bell is engaging in a lot of double talk — complaining about how Gase is under-utilizing him while saying he is being patient with his new team, system and offensive line. Meanwhile, I’m sure he is telling his agent to get him to a new destination ASAP. Think Le’Veon Bell is having second thoughts about sitting out last season, leaving the Steelers and signing with the Jets?The 27-year-old running back is too much of an egomaniac to admit it, but I’ve got to believe Bell has a case of seller’s remorse after his first season in New York/New Jersey, where his numbers have dropped significantly under a coach who reportedly didn’t want him signed.last_img read more

Juggling between two worlds

first_imgDivyenndu is one of those actors who gets into the skin of the character he plays, brings it to life on screen and makes his audience feel every emotion that the character is experiencing. That is why as much as we love the aggressive yet sweet Liquid of ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnaama’, the evil Munna Bhaiyya from ‘Mirzapur’ fills our heart with anger and hate. To prove his acting skills yet again, Divyenndu is back with Zee5’s feature film ‘Badnaam Gali’ and Season 2 of ‘Mirzapur’. Read what he has to say about playing two entirely different characters at the same time. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHow is it to work on two different characters at a time (in Mirzapur and Badnaam Gali). My character in ‘Mirzapur’ is entirely different from what I am playing in Badnaam Gali, and it is tricky to keep the two worlds separate. It gets even more difficult when I have group reading and rehearsal sessions for ‘Mirzapur’ and Badnaam Gali happening simultaneously. Though I can’t do much about it, I try and concentrate on one project at a time and not think about the other. This helps in keeping things sorted to an extent. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivePeople have high expectations from you after ‘Mirzapur’. Does that scare you? I actually don’t think about anything apart from my work. I believe in honesty and 100 percent involvement. That is why audience’s expectations don’t scare me, instead they inspire me to improve my craft. Moreover, I think, as actors, our only job is to work hard and enjoy every bit of what we do. Do you agree that web platforms give more artistic freedom to the actors. How? Yes, I totally agree with it as web platforms have no restrictions or rules. There is all the freedom to present a story in whichever way you want. Also, unlike movies, you don’t have to be worried about the weekend’s collection. You don’t compete with anybody and anything. All these factors have made web actors more fearless and creative, thereby giving them the scope to explore and experiment. If given a choice between web shows and movies, what will be your pick? That’s really difficult! But honestly, the platform doesn’t really matter to me. I would have been equally excited to play Munna Bhaiyya if ‘Mirzapur’ had been a film. It’s not the medium but the content that tops my checklist. I pick projects according to the content, character, and story. What’s your most prized possession? It might sound like a cliché but people who like and appreciate my work have a belief that ‘if this guy (me) is there in the film, then there must be something special about the project’. This appreciation towards my work…towards my craft… is what I value the most. Your feature film Badnaam Gali revolves around surrogacy – an extremely sensitive topic. Did you have inhibitions while signing a film, which discusses surrogacy in a humourous way? Not really, because it totally depends on the intention of makers and how they want to present it. What hit me was the fact that it is important for us to talk about things like surrogacy as normally as possible, without considering it a taboo. It is not something to be ashamed of, rather it’s a great way to give hope to couples who can’t have a child due to biological issues. Tell us about your character in the film. On a scale of 0-10, how challenging was it? It was quite challenging because I was playing a Punjabi guy who comes from a well to do family and is extremely confused in life. For somebody who is not a Punjabi, it is challenging to get the dialect right and maintain the essence. I had to pay attention to minute details and that consumed a lot of energy. So, I would say it was 8/10 for me. The story is focused on Patralekha’s character. Was it difficult to make your character look equally prominent? Not really! The story justifies both the roles equally. The story is about how Randeep Singh Sodhi (played by Divyenndu) comes to this Badnaam Gali and meets Patralekha (who is playing a surrogate mother). It revolves around how people have different opinions about her, consider surrogacy as a taboo, and create negative views in their mind. Randeep stands along with her all the while and appreciates her effort in helping couples who are biologically incapable of having a baby. So, both the characters are equally important for the story to progress.last_img read more