Arsenal face Leeds in the third round of the FA Cup (Picture: Getty)Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players that they must start feeding off the energy from their supporters to ‘create more fear’ for opposition teams ahead of the side’s FA Cup clash with Leeds United.After their unsuccessful defence of the trophy last season, the Gunners will be desperate to book their place in the fourth round of the competition.On Wednesday evening, Arteta got his first taste of victory as Arsenal head coach as the north London giants beat Manchester United in convincing fashion.The atmosphere inside the Emirates was electric that night and the Spaniard hopes to make the stadium a fortress during his tenure at the club.ADVERTISEMENT Metro Sport ReporterSunday 5 Jan 2020 11:49 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.5kShares Advertisement Advertisement Mikel Arteta sends warning to Arsenal players ahead of FA Cup clash with Leeds United Arteta’s side play host to Leeds United on Monday night (Picture: Getty)‘When you take the fans to Wembley they are all proud of you. It’s a special day for everyone, they all travel with their families looking for success,’ Arteta said.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘The history of this club means they are used to winning trophies and when you do that it generates something special.‘So if we can get connected with the fan-base again, that will be a powerful weapon.‘It’s in our own hands. If we can give the supporters what they want, I am sure they will give us even more.‘When we know the fans are behind us, we have to pinch the players to react to them and use them to have a better performance and create more fear for the opponent.’ Comment Arsenal will be bursting with confidence after their win over United (Picture: Getty)He added: ‘When I arrived here we were trying to win the Premier League but didn’t quite have the level to compete for the title every year.‘So the cup competitions became very important and after eight years without winning absolutely anything it was a massive relief when we lifted the Cup in 2014.‘That success generated a really good belief and unity around our team and helped that group of players to achieve more trophies.‘Winning always brings togetherness and when you have beautiful experiences together and you win trophies those shared memories stay within the group.‘You like the people you work with more and you believe more in your team. You become addicts to winning and that’s what we have to try to implement at this club again.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityPierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to skipper Arsenal after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the armband and Arteta has refused to confirm whether or not the Swiss will captain the club again.‘I don’t know, time will tell that,’ he said.‘Now he’s happy to stay here, he’s completely committed and that’s a big plus today.’MORE: Jurgen Klopp provides James Milner injury update after Liverpool beat Everton
Opening shots were fired two weeks ago when 15 influential business organisations – including the Romanian Pension Funds Association (APAPR), the Foreign Investors Council (FIC), and trade unions – presented the government with a letter arguing for the preservation of the second pillar.The letter attacked the government’s “short-term thinking”, saying any changes would have negative economic and social effects.Romania’s second pillar was introduced in 2008, the legislation enshrining a gradual increase in contributions to 6% of gross salary by 2016.Not only has this level never been attained – contributions eventually rose to just 5.1% – but in 2017, the new centre-left (PSD) government lowered contributions to 3.75%.The open letter said that the second pillar had not only supplemented a state pension system increasingly under strain, but had also been a crucial player in developing local financial markets.It said: “The pension funds invest more than 90% of their assets locally, thus helping public debt financing, economic growth and job creation. At the Bucharest Stock Exchange, the pension funds hold approximately €1.9bn, amounting to 15% of the market’s liquidity.”It continued: “About 40 Romanian companies benefit from additional funding through the involvement of the second pillar, and market institutions, including the rise of corporate governance, have grown robust throughout this time.”On 20 May, the government website published proposals to suspend contributions to the second pillar from the second half of this year, diverting payments instead to the state pension fund in order to reduce budget deficits.The next day, the Bucharest Stock Exchange’s blue-chip BET index plummeted.Although the government later said the press release had been published “in error”, and that no second-pillar contributions would be suspended, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis weighed into the controversy, calling for more clarity from the government and warning it not to touch second-pillar savings, as citizens were losing trust in the pension system.Meanwhile, European lobby group PensionsEurope came out in support of the Romanian pensions industry.“We have heard alarming reports that in the upcoming months further actions could be taken by the government to overhaul the design of private pensions,” it said. It also called on the government to safeguard the schemes’ design and legislative framework.The lobby group pointed out that Romania’s demographic challenges were worse than for most other EU countries, having experienced a population decrease of 3.5m people over the past 30 years. A further 4.7m decrease was projected by 2070. This would lead to a dependency ratio of 56.9% in 2060, according to Eurostat – more than double the 2015 figure. PensionsEurope said: “The fact that fewer active people will have to support an increasing number of retirees puts an extreme strain on the public finances of the country and requires measures aimed at ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the Romanian pension system. Private pension saving should be encouraged to compensate for potential lower state pension benefits.”According to the OECD, Romanian pension funds – along with those in Poland and Croatia – were among the top performers of the EU’s newest member states during 2016.PSD leader Liviu Dragnea told Reuters last week that the government would continue to cut taxes while raising state pensions until 2020, in order to improve living standards.Membership of the second pillar pension system could also become voluntary, he added. Romania’s coalition government will publish new proposals for the country’s private pensions system at the end of June or early July, the country’s finance minister said last week.Eugen Teodorovici said that discussions would take place over the next few weeks, to include private pension administrators and other stakeholders.He also said state pensions would increase as planned by 10% from July.The commitment comes after a media skirmish between business groups attacking rumoured plans to weaken Romania’s mandatory second-pillar pension system, and a government with a track record of fiscal U-turns and confusing policy statements.
The Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown (M&CC) was recently unable to pay wages and salaries, and had to seek from Central Government a bailout in excess of $475 million. Mere months later, this entity has earmarked $20 million to host “City Week”, to mark the birth of Georgetown.This worrying issue was raised at Monday’s statutory meeting by Councillor Carolyn Caesar, who questioned the purpose of the celebration, especially with the City in its current financial position.“I had asked for some information about the purpose of this celebration and what was its budget. It was later circulated to the value of $20 million… That is a lot of money to be expended on such an exercise. That money can be paid to the NIS; so I don’t think that it is necessary that we have this event this year,” Caesar promulgated.A shabby section of City HallIn response, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said the idea of City Week is something that was started some time ago, but, due to a mix-up in dates, was never kicked off.“For me, even if we don’t have this big, grand celebration that will cost $20 million — because I don’t know how we (got the figure of) $20 million — we have done it (in) previous years, and we would be getting back some money,” she said.“If you don’t want this big celebration, then we must recognize the day the city was born; and (on) that day, at least you must have some activity to mark that day. If $20 million is too exorbitant, then you must have something, even if it is a church service and a display of the City Constabulary. Because you have Berbice Town Week, Linden Town Week, and all of that; so it is reintroducing that to the city,” Chase-Green expanded.The Council’s Social Development Committee is responsible for hosting the City Week celebrations, and Chairperson of the Committee, Councillor Monica Thomas, explained that the budgeted sum is just “a ballpark figure,” the activity could exceed or be lower than that sum.She added that the committee is treating the event also as a fundraiser. “What we are treating this as is a fund-raising event mostly. You will have other things, but it is a way of garnering money,” she related.Councillor Khame Sharma said the $20 million figure is a cause for concern, since that money could be used for other purposes.Councillor Malcolm Ferreira noted that the capital city should be allowed to celebrate as well, and threw his support behind the event. “I am pretty sure that there are things that could be done that don’t have to cost so much. There are artists, poets and others who would be willing to provide their services for free, and I would support something like that, but not (at a cost of) $20 million,” Ferreira said.In a move to stymie Councillors’ questions, the mayor ordered that a structured programme be prepared and brought to ‘full council’ to be vetted. She also used the opportunity to remind that the aim of the event is to raise funds for the Social Development Committee, so that committee could execute its functions.City Hall has, over the months, found itself figuratively between a rock and a hard place relative to the management of its financial resources. The municipality have been unable to pay workers their wages and salaries, resulting in mass protests being staged; and NIS, PAYE and credit union dues deducted from the workers’ emoluments have not been paid over to the relevant agencies.Last Monday, Town Clerk Royston King announced that a section of City Hall had “simply fallen off”, bring attention to the need for urgent repairs to be effected on that edifice. However, City Hall administration has said it is not in a financial position to execute the urgent repairs required on the building.