ANTHONY SQUIRE To the Editor:Before and after President Trump became our president, in some segments of the country I saw media images of some protesters with signs likening President Trump to Hitler or that our nation had veered toward fascism. You may disagree with presidential Executive Orders or Memoranda, but a show of respect is due our president. President Trump does appear to be more authoritarian than authoritative at times but I do not think he’s a fascist like Hitler. There are ample signs that our country’s system of checks and balances are operating. Protests are held, mostly peacefully. Academics and scholars still voice their opinions in the press. Talk shows and pundits of all stripes still have not been censored. With some irregularities notwithstanding, and some exceptions, people are not disenfranchised. Trial by jury is still the democratic model. The three branches of government are still in dynamic tension. Citizens have broad exercise of freedoms despite some restrictions in privacy. So, no, the USA is not a fascist country. I urge more verbal restraint in protests against specific Trump policy matters, less anti-Trump venting, inflammatory rhetoric. You may get a better hearing as you exercise your constitutional rights in a civil manner and dialogue on points of agreement and disagreement. Exercise discipline by avoiding demonizing our president or his office. By and large, we are still a “land of the free” and for that, I never take my liberties as a citizen for granted.
Austria’s nine second pillar pension funds posted an average loss of 5.3% in 2018.National pension fund association FVPK blamed “high volatility” on the capital markets for the considerable losses – “particularly in the fourth quarter”.At the end of September, the five multi-employer pension funds – which manage the majority of the €22bn in the Austrian second pillar system – had posted an average loss of 1.1% for the first nine months of 2018.In a newsletter, the FVPK highlighted that the average performance since inception of the occupational pension pillar 28 years ago was at 5.2% a year, despite the 2018 losses. The funds gained an average 6.1% in 2017. Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the pension fund association, said the long-term results proved that it made sense to invest in the capital markets for supplementary pension income.Good years also allowed Austrian pension funds to build buffers, which were used to cushion cuts to pension payouts in defined contribution funds.The extent of the cuts depends on the contract a company signed with a pension fund and how well its buffers are filled. One pensioners’ rights group has warned of a 16% cut for some higher-earning pensioners.Austria’s largest pension fund, the €6.7bn VBV, lost 5.5% last year after a 7.4% gain in 2017.Günther Schiendl, board member at the VBV, said equities was not the only asset class that made a negative contribution to performance.“At the end of last year all relevant, investable asset classes had a considerable negative performance – including money-market funds,” he said.He also noted the extreme volatility on the US stock exchanges, especially in the last trading days of 2018 when share price declines “were the worst since the 1930s”.
In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown After that, a single-round knockout tournament will be observed, with the first round victors advancing deeper in the Division 1 tournament. The first round losers, meanwhile, will be demoted to the Division 2 tournament.All games will be played at Mall of Asia Arena and Cuneta Astrodome.“If there’s anything about the SM NBTC tournament that I want to stress and point out, it is growth,” shared Altamirano. “We started this as a program to grow the sport of basketball and help the kids grow. After all, we also like to say that we are building leaders and communities. We at NBTC closely mirror that as well. We have grown from a few cities to a nationwide program, and now, an international one as well.”The action-packed week will culminate on March 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena with the All-Star Games and the championship game for the two divisions.ADVERTISEMENT Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters The Pingris effect: Hotshots draw inspiration from injured teammate Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina SPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkAlso qualified in the first round are the top eight regional champions from last year’s NBTC tournament, which are seeded from spots 17 to 24.But the international teams from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand which are occupying seeds 9 to 12, the NCR wildcard teams which are slotted at 13 to 16, and the remaining eight regional champions which occupy places 25 to 32, will all first go through the seeding round on March 18 at One E-Com Center in the Mall of Asia Complex to determine their first round assignments for the next day. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism High school champions, regional crews, and international groups test each other’s mettle when the 2018 Exped SM SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National Finals rolls on from March 18 to March 23.After 835 teams across 76 cities nationwide which featured over 12,000 players battled it out the last few months, the 32 best teams remain as they dispute the right to be called as the best high school team in the Philippines.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback “This is our 11th year, and it is extremely gratifying that we have become a top event in the Philippine sports landscape,” said NBTC program director head Eric Altamirano.UAAP champion Ateneo, NCAA titlist La Salle Greenhills, MMBL kings Chiang Kai Shek, and NBTC-Cebu lords University of Visayas banner the top slots as they, together with their bridesmaids, are already seeded in the top eight slots in the first round.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown