# # # # # Burlington Police Chief Michael E. Schirling will testify Wednesday before the US Senate Judiciary Committee at the invitation of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Leahy, who chairs the panel, scheduled the hearing to explore Encouraging Innovative and Cost-Effective Crime Reduction Strategies. Leahy has made state and local law enforcement issues a priority for the Judiciary Committee this Congress. He dedicated the first hearing of the 111th Congress to examining the needs of state and local law enforcement. In 2008, Leahy twice brought the Judiciary Committee to Vermont to hear testimony about community efforts to address crime.Chief Schirling will offer testimony about the Burlington Police Department s success in developing and enhancing community policing through partnership and problem solving. Police departments across the country are facing cutbacks in resources and funding during difficult economic times, and are increasingly looking to local business and community organizations to help identify and implement innovative strategies to address violence and crime.The hearing will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3, at 2:15 p.m., in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. A live webcast will be available online. Source: Leahy’s office. WASHINGTON (Tuesday, March 2)
The National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested four suspected terrorists in separate areas in Bekasi, West Java, on Sunday.“The first suspect, Muhammad Nasir alias Safiq alias Martin alias Kholid, was arrested in South Cikarang, Bekasi,” National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said on Sunday as quoted by tempo.co.According to Argo, Nasir had allegedly helped hide suspected terrorists Muhammad Tsabat Abdullah alias Dul and Soleh Habibi. He also participated in outdoor training for the Adira group in 2012, Argo added. Tsabat was the second suspected terrorist arrested. He was nabbed in the Perumnas III housing complex in Aren Jaya, East Bekasi.Densus 88 also arrested suspected terrorist Nur Muhammad Maulidi Kusnanto alias Alung alias Nur alias Salman in Bekasi city.“The person helped hide Tsabat,” Argo said.Lastly, Irfan Gunawan alias Muhammad Ilham alias Bagus alias Yulian alias Sahidi alias Bimbim was arrested in Bekasi city on suspicions of terrorism.Argo said Irfan had served as a leader of a local Jemaah Islamiyah group and was responsible for managing tajhiz (handling, bathing, covering dead bodies). (syk)Topics :
The actuarial society also warned that the compensatory measures suggested to soften the blow of the cut to the conversion rate would lead to “massive increases” in benefits for some people and thereby generate “considerably higher costs”.According to the reform plans, the rate by which salaries are discounted to calculate contributions into the second pillar is to be slashed.This rate – the Koordinationsabzug – is used to coordinate expected payments from the first pillar and those from the second pillar to make up 60% of the final salary before retirement.The Swiss pensions industry has been debating for several years now whether a higher compensation rate might be fairer for lower incomes.However, according to calculations by the SAV, slashing the Koordinationsabzug could increase costs in the second pillar by up to 50%.Asip, on the other hand, has welcomed the reform proposal as a much-needed improvement for people on lower incomes.To simplify calculations, the pension fund association suggested doing away with the Koordinationsabzug altogether and instead capping payouts from the second pillar at a certain maximum.One reform proposal Asip has challenged is changing the mode in which the second-pillar minimum interest rate is calculated.Currently, the minimum rate is set at the end of a given year for the next year based on bond returns.The government wants to change this to an ex-post calculation based on actual returns in pension fund portfolios for the year in which the minimum rate had to be achieved.However, Asip said this change did “not bring any added value” for pension funds and their members, and argued that Pensionskassen needed to know “the rules of the game” in advance. The debate over Switzerland’s reform plans, Altersvorsorge 2020, look set to continue after Asip, the Swiss pension fund association, approved the government’s plans to lower the conversion rate just days into the consultation phase.Asip agreed that the conversion rate – used to calculate pension payouts from accrued assets – should be cut from 6.8% to 6% in the second pillar, yet Swiss actuaries still consider this level to be too high.In a statement, the Swiss actuarial society SAV said “a rate of 5.6% at the most is justifiable”.The SAV cites the country’s largest pension fund Publica, which is to lower its conversion rate to 5.65% from 2015, similar to other pension funds managing above-mandatory contributions.
University President C. L. Max Nikias believes that the limited data recently released by the Department of Education on their college “scorecard” website does not paint a full picture of USC.The new government-sponsored site features statistics on over 7,000 U.S. higher education institutions. It allows future college students the opportunity to sort and compare schools based on statistics such as graduation rate, school size and average financial aid benefits.Nikias expressed his concern for the website’s focus on quantifiable factors.“The College Scorecard metrics such as cost, access and outcomes are surely an important part of the consideration,” Nikias said, “But they do not fully take into account the academic quality of an institution as reflected in the quality of the faculty, students and curriculum. And it is these factors that have and will continue to guide USC’s academic mission.”President Barack Obama abandoned his initial effort to create a rating system for colleges in the United States. Under the original idea, all institutions of higher education would be assigned a ranking based on average student debt and post-graduation earning potential. Additionally, it would have been possible for colleges with low rankings to lose access to the billions of federal student aid dollars.Despite the lack of ratings on the new website, it still allows students and parents to compare schools based on relevant measurements. For example, students can filter schools based on average annual costs, graduation rates above 75 percent and average salaries after graduation of more than $50,000 per year.Undergraduate Student Government President Rini Sampath said there is a need for greater transparency at institutions of higher education.“I believe the new college scorecard is an innovative way to hold universities accountable for their actions,” she said. “When I was on a call with the White House earlier this summer, I brought up the need for governmental oversight of private institutions. We need some type of governmental support in our advocacy for greater accountability for spending at private universities like USC.”Sampath also mentioned that the newly consolidated data might not only help families explore affordable options, but also push colleges to focus on quality of education before profit. She said the realization that the government is keeping an eye on institutions like USC could potentially lead to future efforts to make education affordable and more worthwhile.“Students have emailed me saying they feel hopeless about their financial situation and continuing their education,” Sampath said. “There are students who work two to three jobs, skip meals, start GoFundMe’s and go sleepless in order to put themselves through school. That’s an embarrassment. I believe this college scorecard is one step forward in the larger picture of the government putting the pressure on universities to stop acting like for-profit businesses.”Since the website’s release, colleges and universities have called the quality of the 171 megabytes of data into question. The American Council on Education expressed its concern about the Department of Education compiling data without comprehensive external review.