Boxers fight to raise funds for Bangladesh

first_imgThe boxers participating in the 2016 Bengal Bouts are fighting — not just in the ring, but also to eradicate poverty in Bangladesh, a country where most people make under two dollars a day, according to the Bengal Bouts website.According to senior captain Mike Grasso, the combined efforts of the boxers participating in the bouts raises over $100,000 every year, which goes to the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. Grasso said that the boxers raise the money through a variety of ways including ticket sales, donations, sponsoring and ad sales. Zachary Llorens | The Observer Adam Pasquinelly, right, tries to clinch Ryan Dunn at Sunday night’s preliminary bouts.“Besides [Bengal Bouts being a] display of all of our hard work in the ring and our endurance and our strength, we really have a greater mission and a greater purpose in serving those less fortunate than us in Bangladesh,” Grasso said. “For example, a $150 donation is the same as sponsoring a child’s tuition for a full year and their room and board at the school. With just a little money, we can really help these people.”Freshman Cam Nolan agreed, and said that the most important part of Bengal Bouts is the mission behind it.“I liked that there is a purpose behind the sacrifice — instead of just playing sports for the fun of it, it’s playing sports for the good of another,” Nolan said. “Knowing that the money and the fight is for a good cause, and knowing that I am going this summer to see firsthand what that cause is, and knowing the reasons for our suffering, it’s given me so much motivation to work hard and to suffer.”Grasso said he credits the greater mission with uniting the boxers into one team, even while participating in an extremely individualistic sport.“We start off every week with our ‘Mission Monday,’ and that ‘Mission Monday’ really emphasizes the main point that we’re here to serve those less fortunate than us,” he said.  “When we start off our practices with that tone, when every boxer knows that we are here [for that purpose], we use that as fuel for our workouts. And we know that the harder we work, the better shape that we’re in, the more entertaining the bouts will be. And the more entertaining the bouts are, the more people will donate and come to the bouts and the more money we’ll raise.”Junior captain Alex Alcantara said while people may have entered Bengal Bouts because of their interest in the sport of boxing, most people chose to stay because of the team bond that ultimately forms.“Most people are drawn to the Bouts for the competition aspect of it,” he said. “However, I think what makes them stay up until senior year is the camaraderie and teamwork that they build, as well as becoming part of the mission.”However, Alcantara said the boxers do not just raise money for this far-off country and forget about it. They are invested in the work the missions provide in the country. Many boxers participate in an International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) in Bangladesh, which is sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns.Alcantara went to Bangladesh over the summer of 2015, along with three other boxers. The boxers stayed in Bangladesh for two months, teaching English during the day and helping during Mass at night.“The best part of the experience, is knowing that we’ve supported [the people of Bangladesh] for 86 years,” he said. “It really felt [like] we were family with the people we were helping, which was really the most rewarding part.”Tags: Bengal Boutslast_img read more

Government to offer $62.3b in bonds in H2 to finance coronavirus fight

first_imgIndonesia is preparing to offer Rp 900.4 trillion (US$62.35 billion) worth of sovereign debt papers (SBN) in the second half of the year as debt financing swells significantly to fund the country’s coronavirus response.The government had raised Rp 630.5 trillion worth of SBN as of June this year, including $4.3 billion from a three-tranche United States dollar denominated bond in April and $2.5 billion from a three-tranche global sukuk (sharia-compliant bond) last month, according to the Finance Ministry’s financing strategy and portfolio director, Riko Amir.“The market will not be able to absorb all of the Rp 900.4 trillion worth of bonds and therefore there will be a burden sharing scheme between the government and Bank Indonesia,” Riko said in a discussion on Thursday. The government, he went on to say, was still in negotiations with the central bank on the details of the scheme. The central bank and the government are set to sign an agreement on a bond sale program worth Rp 574 trillion at zero interest or below the market rate of 7 percent, which will be the largest debt monetization program among developing economies.Read also: Indonesia raises $930m in samurai bonds to fund pandemic responseUnder the agreement, Bank Indonesia (BI) will buy Rp 397.6 trillion worth of bonds with zero yields for healthcare and social safety net programs, among other things.The central bank will also purchase Rp 123.4 trillion worth of bonds with a 3.25 percent yield to fund relief programs for small and medium businesses as well as Rp 53.57 trillion worth of bonds to rescue big businesses with a 4.25 percent interest rate, the current benchmark rate. “BI is ready to share the burden not only in the financing efforts but also those related to the debts,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo told lawmakers on Monday, adding that the scheme would ease the government’s burden for paying higher interest rates as a result of the widening deficit.The central bank has already been buying government bonds in auctions, although in small portions, to help finance the government’s spending. BI has so far bought Rp 30.33 trillion in government bonds directly at auctions and bought another Rp 166.2 trillion of bonds in the secondary market to help stabilize the country’s currency.Under an emergency law issued by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak’s economic impacts, BI is allowed to buy government bonds directly at auctions. Previously, the central bank could only buy the debt papers on the secondary market.The government is facing the daunting task of borrowing Rp 1.53 quadrillion this year to fund the budget deficit, which is expected to reach 6.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), as well to finance investments and repay its debts.Read also: Administrative issues hamper COVID-19 budget disbursement: Sri MulyaniThis is an increase from a previous borrowing needs projection of Rp 1.4 quadrillion announced by the government in April, as it has now allocated Rp 695.2 trillion budget to strengthen the healthcare system and bolster the economy amid the pandemic.According to the ministry’s presentation materials, the borrowing needs will increase the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio to around 37.64 to 38.5 percent by the end of year from around 30 percent in 2019.“We will maintain the debt ratio within the safe limit of below 60 percent of GDP and we will be prudent in managing the debts while also supporting the countercyclical policies,” said Riko.The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the country’s economy as the government now expects a full year growth of only 1 percent under a baseline scenario or a 0.4 percent contraction under a worst-case scenario.Topics :last_img read more

Local authority funds cash-flow positive ‘due to investment return’ – report

first_imgLocal authority funds in England and Wales remain cash-flow positive, largely due to returns from investments, a report has shown.The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Advisory Board, set up by the government to monitor the performance of the English and Welsh funds, published the first annual report covering all of the nearly 90 schemes in the two countries.The report showed that the average funding ratio for the 2012-13 financial year stood at 79% across the schemes, with total assets of £180bn (€213bn) compared with liabilities in excess of £227bn.It also found that schemes received £12bn in income over the course of the year, exceeding the £9.2bn in benefit payments made during the same period. However, last financial year’s contributions only stood at £8.3bn, leaving investment returns of £3.1bn to prevent the system from becoming cash-flow negative.Kris Hopkins, the junior minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government responsible for the LGPS, welcomed the report’s publication.“By bringing together the data from all English and Welsh funds, the Shadow Scheme Advisory Board has helped usher in a new standard of transparency for scheme members, employers and taxpayers alike,” he said.“This will also provide a comprehensive and clear reference document for the scheme as a whole.”According to the report, the funds invested the largest amount of their assets, £73.5bn, in pooled investment vehicles, without offering a breakdown of what underlying assets these held.It added that a further 38% of assets were invested in standalone UK or overseas equity mandates, and £17bn in fixed income.The remaining £10.5bn were invested, directly or indirectly, in property and the final £9.8bn in undefined ‘other’ assets.In his remarks, Hopkins stressed the importance of the sustainability and affordability of the LGPS, shortly after the funds switched to a career-average, rather than final salary, approach for future pension accrual.His department is currently mulling how to cut costs among the local authority funds, with a ban on active investing considered.For more on the debate between active versus passive, see the active management Special Report in the current issue of IPE,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to the LGPS Advisory Board’s first scheme annual reportlast_img read more

Best back for Ulster

first_imgIreland and Ulster hooker Rory Best has recovered from his broken arm ahead of schedule to face Montpellier at Ravenhill on Friday night. The 31-year-old’s fitness will be a significant boost to Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad ahead of next month’s RBS 6 Nations. Ireland are due to name their Six Nations squad next week, and now Best has the chance to prove his fitness to win selection. The 70-cap front-rower broke his arm in Ireland’s agonising 24-22 defeat to New Zealand in November. Best has found fitness in seven weeks, beating expectation, to return for UIster’s Heineken Cup round five tie. Best paid tribute to Ulster’s medical staff in helping him make a quickfire return. “I knew that it was going to be a tight ask to get back for these games,” Best told UIster’s official website. “But it is testament to the medical team that we have here, Michael Eames the surgeon and the strength and conditioning coaches at Ulster that I am back. “I have been fortunate that there have been no set-backs along the way and it has just been a case of trying to push on and thankfully I have come through.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more