The Canadian Press
WARSAW, Poland – Amid a spike in new COVID-19 cases, Poland’s health care and Catholic Church authorities have appealed to all parish priests to strictly observe the limit of attendance and distancing at church services, and especially during next month’s Easter holiday. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski and Secretary General of Poland’s Episcopate, Bishop Artur Mizinski said in the appeal Wednesday they were driven by concern for the “life and health of all Poles.” “We must not remain indifferent in the face of the rising number of new infections,” they said and stressed the need to “strictly observe the rules and sanitary requirements.” They said that was the necessary condition to avoid new restrictions that would be tougher than the current lockdown of hotels, shopping malls, theatres and sports centres. On Wednesday, the 38-million nation recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the pandemic, reaching almost 30,000. There were 575 deaths. Like in shops, only one person per 15 sq. meters (161 sq. feet) can be allowed inside, at a 1.5 metre (5 feet) distance from others, and wearing a mask. There have been reports that not all churches observe the rule. Photos have been circulated of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and other officials failing to observe the required distance at a memorial Mass for Kaczynski’s late mother in a church in Starachowice, central Poland. Easter, this year on April 4-5, and the week leading to it, are a time when people daily throng to churches for prayers and Mass. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: VACCINES: More than 85.4 million people, or 25.7% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 46.3 million people, or 14% of the population, have completed their vaccination. CASES: The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. decreased over the past two weeks from 56,045 on March 9 to 53,308 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. DEATHS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. decreased over the past two weeks decreased from 1,557 on March 9 to 940 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. — Dr. Fauci: Positive signs with vaccinations, but U.S. not turning corner yet on coronavirus — Bono, Penélope Cruz, David Oyelowo star in animated series on vaccine importance — Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana will end its limits Monday on which adults can receive the coronavirus vaccine, giving access to anyone 16 and older who wants to schedule an appointment. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards made the announcement as vaccine supplies grow and immunization appointments go unused. Louisiana is joining a growing list of states that are throwing open vaccine access to any adult interested in a shot. Edwards says Louisiana also will significantly ramp up its large community vaccination events to try to reach more people and make it easier for them to obtain the immunizations. ___ BOISE, Idaho — The governor of Idaho has said COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will be open to all Idaho residents 16 and up starting April 5. Republican Gov. Brad Little made the move three weeks ahead of schedule. He also said people with at least one medical condition will be able to get the vaccine starting Monday, about two weeks ahead of schedule. Currently eligible for the vaccine are those 55 and older, healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, first responders, K-12 teachers and school staff, and frontline essential workers. ___ WAILUKU, Hawaii — A hospital on Maui had to throw out nearly 1,400 vaccine doses after a refrigerator thawing the vials did not properly seal. A low-temperature refrigerator holding doses of the Pfizer vaccine at Maui Memorial Medical Center was not closed properly, and the vaccines were compromised over the weekend. Officials at the hospital said enough supply remains to keep all current vaccination appointments. Vaccines are locked in a freezer before being transferred to the low-temperature refrigerator to be thawed. The doses were put in the refrigerator on Friday in preparation for this week’s vaccinations. Staff members discovered the door was not sealed on Monday. Hawaii has distributed 832,800 coronavirus vaccines, or about 58,819 for every 100,000 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 16% of the state’s population has completed their vaccination. ___ BERLIN — Austrian authorities plan to close nonessential shops and businesses such as hairdressers in three eastern regions from April 1 to April 6 over Easter as they attempt to flatten a rise in coronavirus infections. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that the aim is a “cooling-down phase” in the capital, Vienna; the surrounding province of Lower Austria; and neighbouring Burgenland province, on the Hungarian border. The three eastern provinces are a cause of particular concern because of the rapid spread of a more contagious virus variant first detected in Britain. Austria has an overall infection rate of 247 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week. The rate is closer to 300 in the eastern provinces. The national rate is more than twice that in neighbouring Germany, where authorities initially decided on a five-day nationwide shutdown over Easter but then abandoned the idea because of logistical and legal concerns. ___ NEW YORK — More than three months into the U.S. vaccination drive, 70% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Also, COVID-19 deaths have dipped below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November. Dozens of states have thrown open vaccinations to all adults or are planning to do so in a matter of weeks. More than 43% of Americans 65 and older — the most vulnerable age group, accounting for an outsize share of the nation’s more than 540,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. The number of older adults showing up in emergency rooms with COVID-19 is down significantly. Vaccinations overall have ramped up to 2.5 million to 3 million shots per day. The outlook in the U.S. stands in stark contrast to the deteriorating situation in places like Brazil and Europe. At the same time, public health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci in the U.S. are warning it’s too early to declare victory and relaxing social distancing and other measures could easily lead to another surge. ___ MADRID — Spain’s top health official has warned the country is at risk of another spike in coronavirus infections that has already struck many parts of Europe. “We are facing a decisive moment,” Health Minister Carolina Darias said after meeting with Spain’s regional health chiefs on Wednesday. “We must invert this tendency. We have to intensify our efforts.” Darias says the spread of the more contagious variants is pushing up infections across Spain. A nightly curfew and other restrictions on movement had put a cap on infections until two weeks ago, when the figures started to increase. Darias made her appeal alongside Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who said police will be extra vigilant to enforce bans on travel between regions and unauthorized social gatherings for next week’s Easter holidays. “Our goal is to save lives,” says Grande-Marlaska. Also Wednesday, thousands of Spaniards lined up to get AstraZeneca shots again, the latest country to restart the vaccine after its credibility suffered a series of recent setbacks. Spain reported more than 7,000 infections in the past 24 hours and 320 deaths, increasing the confirmed death toll to more than 74,000. ___ ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has received approximately 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will begin administering shots next week. Turkey’s health minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter that Turkey received delivery of some 750,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday and 700,000 more arrived on Wednesday. Turkey is set to receive a total of 4.5 million doses of the vaccine. Turkey rolled out its vaccination program in January after authorities approved the emergency use of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac company. More than 14 million shots have been administered so far. Some 6 million people have received their two doses. The country of 83 million aims to provide vaccines to 50 million people by the fall. ___ WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t ready to say the nation has turned the corner on the coronavirus pandemic, despite about 2.5 million Americans getting vaccinated each day. The government’s top infectious disease expert says he often gets asked that question. His response: “We are at the corner. Whether we or not we are going to be turning the corner remains to be seen.” At the White House coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Fauci says the main challenge remains a stubbornly high level of new daily cases in the country. It’s hovering around an average of 55,000 and up slightly in recent days. While that is clearly much better than the 250,000 daily cases at the peak of the winter wave, it’s uncomfortably close to levels seen during the COVID wave of last summer. “When you are at that level, I don’t think you can declare victory and say you have turned the corner,” Fauci adds. On the plus side, along with the growing level of vaccinations, Fauci is underscoring recent studies that show negligible rates of coronavirus infection among fully vaccinated people. There’s also been a significant drop in the number of people 65 and older going to the emergency room with COVID-19. That’s the age group most vulnerable to the disease. ___ BRUSSELS — Belgium is reintroducing strict lockdown measures in response to a surge of new coronavirus infections. The government announced schools would be closed on Monday and residents would have limited access to non-essential businesses starting Wednesday night. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo says the virus variant first identified in Britain is likely taking a heavy toll on the health of the country’s people. Confirmed cases increased 40% in the last week and hospital admissions rose 28% following a long stable period. Under the new rules, non-essential shops can remain open but customers will need to book appointments. Hairdressers and beauty parlours must close until April 25. ___ PARIS — France’s culture minister has been hospitalized for COVID-19, the latest senior official to be infected as the nation faces a third surge of infections. Roselyne Bachelot announced last weekend that she had tested positive and her hospitalization was made public Wednesday. The latest surge has been likely propelled by the highly contagious virus variant first seen in Britain. ICUs in the Paris region as well as in northern and southeastern France are filling up. French President Emmanuel Macron, who was infected months ago but never hospitalized, on Tuesday announced an acceleration of the country’s vaccination campaign. Now all people over 70 are eligible to get a vaccine shot. ___ KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine has recorded 342 deaths, its highest daily death toll from COVID-19. The country’s Health Ministry says that’s up from the previous high of 333 on Tuesday. Ukraine began vaccinations in late February after receiving 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Reluctance to take the shots is strong even as new infections severely tax the country’s underfunded medical system. There have been 30,773 confirmed deaths in Ukraine during the pandemic. ___ BRUSSELS — The European Union is moving toward stricter export controls to ensure there are more COVID-19 vaccine supplies for the bloc. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on the eve of a summit of the 27 leaders that it has a plan ready to guarantee more vaccines produced in the bloc are available for its own citizens before they can be shipped for exports. EU nations have been specifically stung by the United Kingdom, which has received some 10 million doses from EU plants while they say nothing came back from Britain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken in the past few days to European leaders, including von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron. “Vaccines are an international operation,” Johnson says, adding that the U.K. would “continue to work with European partners to deliver the vaccine rollout.” The EU has been insisting that two AstraZeneca plants in Britain should also be part of the EU deliveries. ___ BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel has dropped plans for a five-day shutdown in Germany over Easter, which had prompted confusion and criticism. She called the idea a mistake and apologized to Germans. Merkel announced the decision after calling a hastily arranged videoconference with Germany’s 16 state governors, who are responsible for imposing and lifting restrictions. The same group had come up with the unexpected plan for deeper restrictions over Easter, which was announced early Tuesday. The plan was to make Thursday, the day before Good Friday, a “rest day,” with all shops closed, and only allow supermarkets to open on Easter Saturday. ___ ROME — Italian Premier Mario Draghi decried various interest groups getting their members COVID-19 vaccines before adults older than 80. Draghi told the Senate not all the nation’s regions are following the Health Ministry’s directives that give priority to older age groups. Said Draghi: “Some (regions) are neglecting their elderly in favour of groups that proclaim priority” based on their lobbying ability. Draghi expressed satisfaction of vaccination in nursing homes, telling lawmakers that 86% of care home residents have received at least one vaccine dose. He also says Italy will aim to reopen all primary and nursery schools nationwide, possibly after Easter, even in regions with the strictest COVID-19 restrictions ___ The Associated Press
Why Canadians are still struggling to understand investment fees – The Globe and Mail
Financial advisory fees remain a confusing subject to the vast majority of Canadian investors despite a decades-long effort by the investment industry and its regulators to provide greater clarity and transparency. That means financial advisors remain in the ideal position to help close that comprehension gap.
According to the results of a survey the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) released in June as part of a more expansive research report, fewer than one in five Canadian investors could identify correctly what types of costs are included in current fee summaries.
“The challenge we have today is that most investors don’t get a full picture of all the fees,” says Jean-Paul Bureaud, executive director of the Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR Canada), “they only get a partial picture and they might not appreciate that it’s a partial picture.”
Advisors can clarify that to clients relatively easily by making clear that current fee summaries only include the fees for advice and trailing commissions on mutual funds, he says, and that other costs – such as fund management fees and operational costs – also apply.
Advisors can also ensure investors understand as much as possible by avoiding “using all kinds of fancy terms for all the different types of fees,” Mr. Bureaud says.
In fact, the MFDA’s report states, “Even experienced investors struggle to understand key terms and how their choices influence the type and amount of fees they pay.”
That means even when dealing with sophisticated clients, advisors should not assume “MER” is universally understood to stand for management expense ratio, or what it means. Breaking down jargon such as “trailing commissions” in simple terms – perhaps as an annual fee the advisor receives each year a client holds a particular investment – will also help avoid misunderstandings.
Instead of simply noting what fees are or are not included in existing disclosures, the MFDA report urges advisors to get as close to total cost reporting as possible.
London-based global firm The Behavioural Insights Team ran an experiment on behalf of the MFDA testing four formats of expanded cost reporting. Three of them specified investment fund charges while the fourth, known as the “control” option, included only a disclosure that other charges, such as fund management and operation costs, applied.
Only 23 per cent of investors exposed to the control option were able to identify their total cost of investing correctly, while between 54 per cent and 70 per cent of investors exposed to the other three options were able to do so.
Karen McGuinness, the MFDA’s senior vice president of member regulation and compliance, says part of the reason the experiment succeeded was a focus on using plain language.
“When we did the format, initially, we were using industry terminology because it was just second nature to us, but we brought in the behavioural research firm and they were the ones who said we need to set up this information in a way that’s more easily digestible for the average retail investor,” Ms. McGuinness says.
Nevertheless, the MFDA report warns that dealers and advisors shouldn’t assume sharing more cost information will always lead to better comprehension among clients as they will eventually hit a point of diminishing returns.
Rather, the report recommends they should “eliminate any information presented in the fee summary that is unlikely to be useful to investors. People have limited attention [and] this is especially significant when information is complex.”
To establish a baseline for how much any given client already understands – and therefore how much education advisors should attempt to provide – regulators have developed a number of quick and straightforward tools for that purpose.
For example, the B.C. Securities Commission runs the InvestRight website that includes fee calculators and a short quiz designed to gauge investors’ overall comprehension of investment fees.
“It only takes about five minutes to answer the questions, and a lot of people would be surprised at what they learn,” says FAIR Canada’s Mr. Bureaud.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) operates a similar website – GetSmarterAboutMoney – that offers even more comprehensive tools and resources.
Meanwhile, regulators are working on a new set of disclosure rules to replace the second phase of the customer relationship model (CRM2) that has been in place since 2016. The goal of what’s being called CRM3 is to provide what the MFDA’s Ms. McGuinness calls “total cost reporting,” as it should get disclosures as close as possible to breaking down all the fees investors pay and not just those their advisor receives.
Although there’s no timeline for when CRM3 will be complete, Greg Pollock, president and chief executive of Advocis, says advisors will need to be more transparent with their clients on fees before the current bull market goes bust.
“Investors tend to look at the bottom line, and if they see that year-over-year returns are looking pretty good, they don’t get too focused on the fees simply because they’re satisfied with the overall performance,” he says. “But it does raise the question of what happens in a bear market when performance suffers. That really gets people’s attention.”
As RedBird Capital Eyes SpringHill Investment, LeBron James Continues March Toward Billionaire Status – Forbes
The private equity firm is expected to take a significant minority stake that will likely value the company at between $650 million and $750 million.
LeBron James is one step closer to cashing in on his entertainment business in a deal that would still leave the NBA superstar short of becoming basketball’s second billionaire.
People familiar with the matter say that private equity firm RedBird Capital is in advanced discussions to make a strategic investment in James’ SpringHill Co., an entertainment company that has been the subject of deal rumors since July. The amount of the possible deal, which was first reported by Sportico, could not be determined, although the investment is likely to be done at a valuation of $650 million to $750 million.
The infusion of capital would represent a massive win for James, who continues to expand his off-the-court interests. The 36-year-old Los Angeles Lakers superstar came in as the fifth-highest-paid athlete on the planet on this year’s Forbes list, with earnings of $96.5 million over 12 months. Only Conor McGregor and Roger Federer posted off-the-field totals higher than James’ $65 million. Prior to the SpringHill deal, Forbes estimated James’ net worth to be roughly $850 million. James is the largest single shareholder in SpringHill. Forbes recently valued his stake—believed not to exceed 50%—at approximately $300 million.
James and his childhood friend, Maverick Carter, together built the SpringHill Co., the diversified media company behind the new Space Jam movie, the HBO documentary What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali and unscripted series including the NBC competition show The Wall. The company, named for the apartment complex where James grew up, was founded in 2020 and also includes media platform Uninterrupted, which produces the HBO talk show The Shop, and a marketing agency, the Robot Company, which counts JPMorgan Chase, Beats by Dre and Sprite as clients.
James is chasing Michael Jordan, the only billionaire to have emerged from the sport, although he reached that status after his playing days were over.
RedBird was founded by Gerry Cardinale, a former Goldman Sachs partner with deep ties to Hollywood and the world of professional sports. He has been assembling an expansive portfolio of assets, taking a minority stake earlier this year in Wasserman, a sports marketing and talent agency, and investing $275 million into David Ellison’s Skydance Media, the studio behind the Oscar-winning movie Parasite. It also bought, sold and re-acquired a stake in the YES Network.
The potential SpringHill deal isn’t the first time Cardinale and James have crossed paths. Months ago, RedBird purchased a 10% stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns a bevy of sports assets including Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox. James bought 2% of Liverpool in 2011 and exchanged his stake to grab a reported 1% investment in FSG earlier this year.
Chevron triples low-carbon investment, but avoids 2050 net-zero goals – Reuters
Sept 14 (Reuters) – Chevron Corp (CVX.N) on Tuesday pledged to triple to $10 billion its investments to reduce its carbon emissions footprint through 2028, while saying it was not yet ready to commit to a 2050 net-zero emissions target.
Oil producers globally are under mounting pressure from investors and governments to join the fight against climate change and sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, with U.S. majors lagging efforts by European companies.
Chevron said half of its spending will go to curb emissions from fossil fuel projects. A total of $3 billion will be applied for carbon capture and offsets, $2 billion for greenhouse gas reductions, $3 billion for renewable fuels and $2 billion for hydrogen energy.
Chevron is not ready to commit to net-zero targets. Chief Executive Michael Wirth told investors on Tuesday that the company does not want to “be in a position in which we lay out ambitions that we don’t believe are realistic and deliverable.”
Just a minority of its shareholders currently support a strategy used by European oil companies to invest in less-profitable solar and wind power, he added.
“The board is looking to see, how do you deliver a strategy that meets the needs of shareholders today and the expectations of shareholders for the future?” the CEO said. Directors may re-address a net-zero goal later this year with the company’s climate report, Wirth said.
European oil producers have set plans to shift away from fossil fuels with larger investments in renewables and 2050 emission targets. U.S. oil producers Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N) sought to reduce carbon emissions per unit of output while backing carbon capture and storage, and doubling down on oil.
BP Plc (BP.L) has said it will invest $3 billion-4 billion a year in low-carbon projects by 2025 and shrink oil and gas production by 40% in the next decade. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) in February set annual investments of $2 billion-3 billion in clean energy.
Chevron maintained its goal of paring greenhouse gas intensity by 35% through 2028 compared to 2016 levels from its oil and gas output.
It said it would expand renewable natural gas production to 40 billion British thermal units (BTUs) per day and increase renewable fuels production capacity to 100,000 barrels a day to meet customer demand for renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel.
“We expect to grow our dividend, buy back shares and invest in lower-carbon businesses,” Wirth said.
Chevron aims to increase hydrogen production to 150,000 tonnes a year to supply industrial, power and heavy duty transport customers and raise carbon capture and offsets to 25 million tonnes a year by co-developing regional hubs.
Environmentalists said Chevron’s focus is on offsetting emissions from oil and gas output, not reducing oil output.
“Chevron’s new announcement does not represent a particularly large strategic shift,” said Axel Dalman, an associate analyst with climate change researcher Carbon Tracker. “The main item is that they plan to spend more on ‘lower-carbon’ business lines.”
Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston, Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Laura Sanicola in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Will Dunham, David Gregorio and Mark Porter
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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