Royal Navy frigate escorts Chinese Type 052C destroyer through English Channel

first_img View post tag: Chinese PLA Navy Share this article Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster escorted a Chinese Type 052C destroyer through the English Channel as it was returning from Russia’s annual Navy Days event in St Petersburg.Fresh from a five-month patrol with NATO in the waters of northern Europe, Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster was activated to monitor the progress of the destroyer Xian.The destroyer transited the English Channel into the Baltic Sea three weeks earlier and was shadowed by Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans during that transit.“The Royal Navy routinely monitors other country’s warships through territorial waters as part of our ongoing mission in support of the defence of the UK,” said Commander Will Paston, HMS Westminster’s commanding officer.“The Xian conducted herself in a safe and professional manner throughout.”Westminster has been attached to a NATO task group since March and, most recently, has been honing her anti-submarine warfare skills off the west coast of Norway inside the Arctic Circle, as well as patrolling UK waters. View post tag: Royal Navycenter_img View post tag: Xian Photo: Photo: Royal Navylast_img read more

Coronavirus: Greggs stops plans for new store openings

first_imgThe business is reopening 800 stores on Thursday (see below) but has warned it cannot predict what impact of social distancing will have on its ability to trade or on customer demand. With in-store operations restricted by the size of shop, Greggs said it was expecting that sales could be lower than normal for some time.As a result of this, and a reduced menu in its stores, a proportion of the company’s store and production staff will remain furloughed for now.The business, which is securing funding through the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, has also reviewed its strategy while it assesses the longer-term implications of the crisis.This has prompted Greggs to temporarily suspended its new shop opening programme, with the exception of a few shops it was already legally committed to, or where it expects strong customer traffic. As a result, it plans to open about 60 shops and close about 50 over the year as a whole – a net gain of just 10 compared to the 100 it has grown by in recent years.Greggs is also approaching landlords with proposals in return for rent reductions, and plans to move to monthly rent payments from June.With lockdown making online shopping more important, the company is ramping up development of delivery and click-and-collect services. Among the 800 stores reopening this week, 19 shops will reopen for delivery and click-and-collect transactions.Greggs added it was continuing to invest in its new robotic frozen logistics facility, as this would improve efficiency.“Looking forward, although great uncertainty remains, we are excited to be resuming our service for many customers this week,” said Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside.“We are confident of our ability to adapt to market conditions in the short term while continuing to invest in the long-term growth of our business.”Greggs is due to report its interim results for 2020 on 28 July 2020. Greggs reopening plans revealedFollowing trials in shops in the north east, Greggs is opening 800 sites across the country on Thursday (18 June) for takeaway only.Staff have been trained in the operational changes and protective measures implemented across the retail estate, including:Floor markings and signage to help customers maintain social distancingProtective screens at countersAvailability of protective workwear for teamsAdditional, more frequent, cleaning measuresAvailability of hand sanitiserEncouragement of contactless card paymentA one-way system will be in place to help ensure social distancing and only one adult per household will be permitted to enter the shop at a time to join a social distanced queue. There will be a reduced number of workers behind the tills and a limited menu (see below).“Over the past month, we have carried out robust trials using our new operational and social distancing measures and they have progressed well,” said Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside. “This has allowed us to move to our next reopening phase with just over 800 of our shops welcoming customers back this week.“The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is our priority and, for this reason, we have put in the time and effort to make a thorough assessment of all shops. Although we will open with a reduced range, this will be a significant step in us helping the nation get back up and running and serving the communities that we operate in.”last_img read more

European Commission unveils sustainable finance legislative proposals

first_imgSpeaking at a press conference earlier this morning, Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said: “On climate change, we are running out of time.“The Titanic could not turn to avoid the iceberg at the last minute and we will soon be in a very similar situation.” Asset managers and other institutional investors who claim to have sustainability goals will need to show how their investments are aligned with these objectives under new rules proposed by the European Commission today.The information they would have to disclose would include the sustainability or climate impact of their products and portfolios.The requirements are part of a package of legislative proposals the Commission had promised when presenting its sustainable finance action plan earlier this year, aimed at harnessing the capital markets to help implement the international agreement on climate change that was reached in Paris in 2015.The Commission today said its proposals “will allow the financial sector to throw its full weight behind the fight against climate change”. © European Union, 2018. Photo: Georges Boulougouris EC vice presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Jyrki Katainen arrive for the press conferenceUnder the proposed disclosure requirements, according to the Commission, “all financial entities that manage investments on behalf of their clients or beneficiaries will now have to inform them about how their activities are impacting the planet or their local environment”.The proposed regulation would also require asset managers, pension funds, and insurers to report on the procedures they have in place to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks into their investment and advisory processes, and the extent to which these risks were expected to have an impact on financial returns.Exact requirements about the presentation and content of the information are to be set out via delegated acts, a special category of legislation that allows the Commission to specify the details of a law.European pension funds fought hard to keep delegated acts out of the revised IORP directive, arguing that EU harmonisation in the area of pension provision needed to be kept to a minimum.The Commission said its proposal for a regulation on the ESG duties of financial actors would introduce “consistency and clarity” on how institutional investors should integrate ESG factors into their investment decision-making process.It would mean “greater transparency towards end-investors, ensuring comparability between products and discouraging ‘green-washing’ or misleading information,” it added.  What is green, what is notThe Commission today also proposed a regulation “on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment”. This concerns the creation of an EU-wide classification system, or taxonomy, to designate which economic activities could be considered environmentally sustainable or not.Dombrovkis said it was about setting out “what is green, what is not”.An EU-wide classification system was “a first and essential step in efforts to channel investments into sustainable activities,” said the Commission. It would address the problems of “greenwashing” and confusing fragmentation, which undermined investor confidence.The taxonomy could eventually serve as the basis for standards and labels for sustainable financial products, according to the Commission.Under the Commission’s proposal for a sustainability classification system, an economic activity would be considered environmentally sustainable if it met the following requirements:contribute to at least one of six EU environmental objectives, such as climate change mitigation and adaptation or the sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources;not significantly harm any of the other environmental objectives;be carried out in compliance with a number of minimum social and governance safeguards; andcomply with specific “technical screening criteria”The criteria are to be set out in delegated acts and be based on advice from a technical expert group that the Commission is establishing.EU ‘positive carbon impact’ benchmarkA third proposal put forward by the Commission would create a new benchmark category for low carbon and “positive carbon impact” benchmarks. These would “foster a generally accepted market standard to measure a company’s footprint and, in consequence, an investment portfolio’s carbon footprint,” it said.The Commission said this would tackle the risk of products not living up to their touted environmental credentials. Providers would have to respect minimum EU standards for methodologies when developing any new EU carbon benchmarks. A “positive carbon impact benchmark” would be the only type of benchmark deemed compliant with the Paris agreement’s goal of capping global warming at 2°C.Benchmark providers would be free to provide a spectrum of other carbon benchmarks with “a different degree of ambition with respect to meeting climate-related objectives”, said the Commission.The European Parliament and the European Council have to review and agree on all the proposals.last_img read more

Rooney proud of United milestone

first_img Yet doubt remains over whether the 27-year-old will get there as he is still to declare a desire to remain at Old Trafford after all the speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea this summer. Speaking in an interview on his own website, Rooney offered no clarification on his stance, having refused to answer questions about it during a post-match interview on ITV on Wednesday night, but there was room for hope for United supporters. “It’s a great honour for me to have scored 200 goals for a club like Manchester United,” he said on www.officialwaynerooney.com. “When you look at the list of top scorers I’m only the fourth player in the club’s history to have reached this number after Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley. “It’s certainly something I’m very proud of. “My main aim is always to help the team win games and if I score that’s a bonus. Hopefully there are still a few more goals to come from me yet.” As the summer debate rumbled on with no correction offered to the Chelsea link, there was a feeling United’s supporters would turn their back on the player who caused consternation when he handed in his transfer request in 2010. Instead, the fans have been firmly behind him, starting when he warmed up during the opening game at Swansea last month, to the standing ovation afforded to the England man when he was replaced by Javier Hernandez near the end of Tuesday night’s victory. “The reception I got when I was substituted was amazing and meant a lot,” said Rooney. “I want to thank the fans for that. “The Manchester United fans have been brilliant since the start of the season, their support home and away is always top drawer and means a lot to the team. The best way to repay the fans is with good team performances. “I’m happy to be in a position where I get the opportunity to score goals – and long may that continue.” That last statement in itself gives fuel to a feeling Rooney would be willing to sign a contract extension if it was offered. Whether United would be willing to extend a deal due to expire in 2015 on the same enormous terms is debatable. For now, though, Rooney is more interested in maintaining his current impressive form at Manchester City on Sunday. “My main focus now is preparing as well as possible for the game against City at the weekend,” he said. “We all know they are a strong outfit and have made some good signings over the summer so we will definitely need to be at our best.” Rooney joined Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley in hitting the double century with his brace in Tuesday night’s Champions League triumph over Bayer Leverkusen. United manager David Moyes has already set Rooney the task of netting the additional 49 needed to equal Charlton’s club record. Wayne Rooney has spoken of his pride at joining Manchester United’s exclusive 200 club – and expressed a hope he will score a few more in the future. Press Associationlast_img read more